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What happens to Vegans in the military?<br><br><br><br>
Are they given special meals? I wonder how far the military goes to taking care of specific needs like these :p
 

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An Army recruiter once told me they don't even take people who need prescription medication because they don't want to have to worry about whether you get the right medication at the right time.
 

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That's a little different. They don't want someone dying on them because they couldn't get their pills. They want soldiers to be in near-perfect health.
 

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That's a good point. However, I think the US Military would probably want to concern themselves with things other than special dietary restrictions.
 
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as an interim measure, until someone who knows, comes along, i'll offer my thoughts- working from my very basic level of info on the army and navy (picked up from friends and relatives).<br><br><br><br>
i'd think that you'd have a couple of areas to consider, food wise- for a start- before you start on the ethics of leather boots and the whole 'dynamic harmlessness vs being expected to kill other people when deemed neccessary' stuff.<br><br><br><br>
depending what you're doing and where you are, your meal options are gonna be very different. i know that vegetarianism is catered for in the forces- under religious meals, in the UK and the States, but i doubt it stretches as far as veganism easily. i don't know if they'd take you on as a vegan, but they'd take you as a veggie, and i guess you could try and be minimal about eggs and dairy.<br><br><br><br>
i think if you're living on base, working in your home country or a station abroad like germany, you might be fed en-mass, in a canteen, in which case i'd think there would most likely be some degree of choice, so you might have a few options- all be them perhaps simple ones (veggie curry and chilli, rice, pasta, veggies, fruit, bread, etc).<br><br><br><br>
if you're in a situation where you're doing regular hours on base, and kinda 'commuting' (as a 9 to 5-er, lol.. i'm sure some people do this, like office staff, etc?!), and eating at home, you'll get whatever you or your partner/housemate cooks, so no problem there if they're vegan friendly. some stores on base and in military housing estates even carry amys meals, (even the ones in germany!) from what i've read!<br><br><br><br>
but if you're on active duty, on manuveres (sp), on a 12 day march across some bog, or in a war situation, things'd no doubt be different. if you were using 'ready to eat' meals (the ones in sachets that you put in your backpack and add water to heat them) and if you could afford to be picky and had a degree of choice on what meal packs you got (dependant on what everyone else picked, how close you were to the front of the queue, what you could swap, or what was available) you'd probably get one or two meals that passed as close 'enough to vegan' outta the choices they generally have. this page (all be it from 2003- don't know whats changed since then) seems to agree with this:<br><br><a href="http://www.vegparadise.com/news31.html" target="_blank">http://www.vegparadise.com/news31.html</a><br><br><br><br>
i know that in the Uk the 24 hour meal packs that 'accidently' turn up on Ebay, offer a few pretty palatable vegetarian options, but i bet eating the same few things over and over wouldn't be fun- and if something happened and your troop ended up with crates of meal rations that were solely baked bean and sausage breakfasts, beef chilli lunches, and chicken stew dinners, you'd have to eat it, or be hungry, and risk dying, or at least getting in big trouble with your commanding officer, i'd think.<br><br><br><br>
if you're somewhere like the middle east, and set up for a long organised stay, you'd probably not be using meal packs, you'd have a cook and catering team in your camp (depending on how many were in your team). he/she/they would probably cook based on staples supplied by the army/navy/airforce back home, and suplimented by whatever was available locally. if there was plenty of fresh fruit and veg around, that'd be great- maybe do-able... but you still gotta think that in some circumstances you'd need to account for about 3,000 calories a day on that. if there was bread, and not much else, i don't think you'd do well trying to ask about mono and dy-glycerides, or last too long being too picky.<br><br><br><br>
i remember looking into this a while ago, out of curiousity, and coming across a forum where guys talked about ww2 experiences. i'm pretty sure i saw a post from some guy who's dad was vegetarian in the forces then, and he said it wasn't fun at all and that he mostely lived on vile packaged cheese, and crackers. hopefully things have changed a lot since then, but i can see it still not being an easy thing to do, in a lot of situations.<br><br><br><br>
eta: you could also supplement your rte meals with ones you've bought yourself from hiking/camping/space food companies (i've heard that many non veggies in the forces choose to do this), which might help a bit. but there is always the situation where you're in the arse end of nowhere, and you've run out of rations, and you don't know when you'll be back home- soldiers are trained to catch and prepare their own food in survival situations- and carrots and twigs and berries might not cut it then.
 

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My husband was in the Army and the only meal that I noticed in the MRE's was a tomato sauce and pasta and a bean burrito. They do have a couple but just not a wide choice. Oh and I forgot to say that the commissary did carry some options. We lived in Germany and they didn't carry seitan in the commissary (military grocery store) or anything. They did carry Amy's Products, Morningstar, and Boca.
 

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When we eat on post, the vegan options are ... iceberg lettuce salad with vinegar and oil. Even vegetarian is sketchy, as who-knows-what gets added to the canned vegetables before they make their way onto plates. I've reached the point where I'll tell my husband to get whatever he wants, then I'll swing by the commissary and pick up hummus and baby carrots or an Amy's pot pie (to be nuked in his room), etc.
 

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I am in the Air Force, and I am as close to vegan as possible.<br><br><br><br>
I eat at home. I bring food from home for lunch. It's really not a big deal. When we go to our forward training location (in the US), we cook for each other. I make vegan meals, people eat them. When it's someone else's turn to cook, they make me a vegan meal (usually with a recipe or guidance from me), sometimes they make the whole meal vegan, sometimes just mine. I consider this a great opportunity to show how awesome vegan food is. Plus, now 30 more people in the military know a vegan, what a vegan is, and that it isn't "weird".<br><br><br><br>
I haven't deployed. I probably will in the next year or two, and I will let you know what I learn. I imagine I will have to go back to vegetarian (there are vegetarian MREs, none are vegan that I know of). That will be tough for me, (emotionally and actually making sure I have veg food). But I can't eat meat again, and being vegetarian is better than nothing. And if that's eating salad and whatever my guy sends me for a year, than so be it.<br><br><br><br>
I wear leather boots, because I am a pilot and they are required. If we crash, the leather will protect me more than fake leather boots (which melt). I don't like it, but I don't have another solution right now. I don't wear the leather jacket or carry a leather bag.<br><br><br><br>
Everyone I work with knows how I feel about animals and veganism. They don't necessarily "get it", but they accept it as just a part of me.<br><br><br><br>
So, there. I'd be happy to answer specific questions.
 

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"Everyone I work with knows how I feel about animals and veganism. They don't necessarily "get it", but they accept it as just a part of me."<br><br><br><br>
Good for you, Invictus. What do you fly if you don't mind me asking?
 

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I'm a vegan who was recently called back to active duty in the Army for a deployment to Iraq. I was on active duty from 2000 until 2005 and deployed to Iraq once in 2004, but I did not become vegan until last summer (2006). So, this is the first time for me being in the Army as a vegan.<br><br><br><br>
A quick answer to your initial question is No, the military does not officially consider veganism when making any decisions dealing with soldier needs. I will not receive special treatment on account of my dietary desires. Because, as far as the Army is concerned, that's exactly what they are - desires, not needs.<br><br><br><br>
The Army does have vegetarian MRE's (meals ready to eat) but they are by no means vegan. And, I would not even open one because that would go against my beliefs as a vegan.<br><br><br><br>
As far as boots, gloves, and other gear that is made of animal products, I was disturbed to find just how non-vegan-friendly the Army is regarding these issues. When given my issue of gear for deployment recently, I declined receipt of the boots because I already have 2 perfectly good pair from my last deployment. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I had to take them. It wasn't an option. I asked them to annotate me as having received them and just put mine back on the shelf for someone else. The people working at the issue facility told me that if I didn't want them, they wouldn't take them back, but I could throw them in the dumpster when I left. I told them that was completely against what I was trying to accomplish. They just didn't get it.<br><br><br><br>
I did hear one story (second hand, from his commander) of a vegan who protested being called back to active duty on account of the Army's inconsideration of vegan values. Apparently, he protested enough to eventually get released from his duty and sent back home. Usually, this kind of REFRAD (release from active duty) is reserved for people with medical problems, or (as in another amusing case I heard about from that commander) people who are called back to active duty but report as a gender different from that which they were the last time they were in the military (i.e. - sex change operation patients).<br><br><br><br>
I'm currently consulting with a vegan dietitian who's helping me create a diet suitable (and plausible) for my upcoming deployment. Knowing that I'll be subject to plenty of long, strenuous, and stressful days in the desert, I want to make sure I'm staying as healthy as possible. Especially since the food I'll have access to in Iraq will be limited, to say the least.<br><br><br><br>
Right now, I'm lucky enough to have access to a car and can make weekly trips to the commissary (grocery store) to buy vegan goods. But, before I had access to a car, I had to eat at the military dining facility. My daily diet consisted of nothing more than potatoes, salad, and PBJ. That's what I ate for almost a month, every single day. So, this is what I expect to find when I get to Iraq.<br><br><br><br>
If anybody would like to talk more about this, or if anybody has suggestions for me, I'd be glad to chat.<br><br><br><br>
Peace,<br><br>
Dan
 

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I asked hubby what they gave vegetarians in the US Army basic training, and also asked my friend who is vegetarian due to religious beliefs. Both confirmed they would usually scrounge up a PB&J...they did not make any special accommodations for them. The people in his unit who were vegetarian complained that they were starving most of the time because of the low quantity and lack of variety of vegetarian food.<br><br><br><br>
I doubt anyone would do very well as a vegan there, although many PB&Js are vegan, and you might be able to get fries, a salad, baked potato, or whatever veggies are in the chow line. Whoever said that there are no vegan MREs is right.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>hoodedclawjen</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
i don't know if they'd take you on as a vegan, but they'd take you as a veggie, and i guess you could try and be minimal about eggs and dairy.<br></div>
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I have to chuckle, because this statement almost makes it seem like the military deems it a favor to "take someone on" when they sign up. If anyone is doing anyone a favor, it's the people risking their life for...well, nothing, but that's besides the point.
 

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hey dan. i'm deploying in June. how is it there? i'm vegan and am anticipating being able to eat next to nothing.<br><br><br><br>
andy
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>allmessedup</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
The Army does have vegetarian MRE's (meals ready to eat) but they are by no means vegan. And, I would not even open one because that would go against my beliefs as a vegan.<br><br><br></div>
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Tell me about it. After hurricane Katrina that was all we had to eat, Well... That and bananas that weren't even ripe until <i>after</i> we got power and grocery stores back... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"> The vegetarian meals seemed to be based around cheese and i'm sure they had eggs in them, I wasn't vegan at the time, But It would have been AWFUL trying to eat a balenced meal with just those things and whatever other poor options they provide. Actually, With MRE's it would suck to be dairy intolerent... Do they even consider allergies?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lalajenn</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
My husband was in the Army and the only meal that I noticed in the MRE's was a tomato sauce and pasta and a bean burrito.</div>
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<br><br><br><a href="http://www.vegparadise.com/news31.html" target="_blank">Here are reviews on these MREs</a> she is mentioning<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?p=1899453" target="_blank">Here is a post from a veg*n in the US army</a> (seems to be vegan or mostly but calls himself vegetarian) ...doesn't look like he stuck around here though.<br><br><br><br>
It doesn't really sound particularly feasible to be a vegan in the army... If you really want to join (or are in it) you're going to have to either supply your own food (if they'll let you) or get donations or something when you're in the field.
 
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