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[P]
Why I'm giving up vegetarianism after 8 years

By danharan in Culture
Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 07:44:09 AM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)
Food

I have been vegetarian for 8 years, with a few forays into stricter diets and the occasional lapse and a few bits of meat eaten at family diners to keep the peace. While I clearly understood my reasons for being vegetarian when I started to eschew meat, for the past year and a half I have very honestly told people that inquired about my odd behaviour that it was only a matter of habit. It is a habit I am about to break. Here's why.


I was 20 when I became vegetarian. I cared about our planet and spent more time reading books than many spend in cathodic worship. Searching for books on the environment, I stumbled upon Diet for a New America in my local public library. Public libraries are wonderful places for unemployed 20-year-olds that haven't decided what institution of higher learning they would mortgage their future to attend. I skipped the first of the three parts of the book, which deals with animal welfare. Diet, I thought, was too important a matter to change on the basis of such emotional nonsense. The last two parts, dealing with health and the environment, were convincing: before finishing the book, I had sworn off meat and started to learn about such exotic foods as tofu and quinoa, convinced that I would live longer and healthier while minimizing my environmental impact.

However, I soon find out that people react very badly to vegetarians. Otherwise rational people might tell me I will turn green and die. In a cold Canadian climate, meat is essential. Everybody knows that. Sometimes, they leer at my plate, and launch into tirades about how much they like meat and how they could never "do it". When people aren't nicely volunteering such information, they are preemptively attacking me for my wicked ways.

While there are some militant vegetarians, most don't think they're superior, or even give a damn that you're eating meat, that you enjoy it, or think you could never live without it. Most won't say "moo" when you're having that steak or hamburger. They are not a threat, so why do some people feel the need to justify their choices? Can't we just "eat and let eat"? Most of the comments I heard were stupid, ignorant and boorish. Like telling the only black person at a party that you know some black people and even have some black friends, telling a vegetarian about how you could never give up meat (maybe even thought of it) just isn't kosher. And don't even think of asking about how we get enough protein or iron - another sure way to advertise your own etiquette deficiency. The etiquette is simple: unless the vegetarian is telling you  how bad you are for eating meat - or how virtuous they are for not doing so, there's no need to dwell on the topic.

The longer I was a vegetarian (and the longer I studied diets) the more I realized how complex the issue was. My very rational decision to give up meat highlighted the irrationality of our society's relationship to food. After 8 years of dietary exile, one thing is clear: not only is our diet bad for our health, our environment or the animals, and it isn't even very tasty. When people say they like the taste of meat, I wonder if they ever eat anything else satisfying. Odds are better than even that their veggies, if something other than potatoes, are always served terminally limp, that their desserts are mostly fat and sugar, and their salad base - if they eat salads - is an uninspiring iceberg lettuce.

Our society has a strange love-hate relationship to food, and I came to realize that for many vegetarians and perhaps most vegans, the decision was an ascetic one. While a strong scientific case can be made for the validity of their diet in terms of health and environmental impact, it often lacks beauty.

Let me be clear about this point: while the diets of vegans and vegetarians often lacks beauty, the diets of most other North Americans almost always lack beauty. SAD is an apt acronym for the Standard American Diet.

So, why, if I believe that the vegetarian diet is scientifically and aesthetically superior, am I going to start eating meat again? (And please note, I am talking about the diet, not the people who practise it!)

First, I believe that superiority to be relative . Our knowledge of diet is too imperfect to make many final statements about what is best for the human body - and we may soon be able to accurately measure what is best for a specific individual. As for environmental impact, hunting and gathering has less impact than a vegan diet- and fewer animals may die from our encroaching on their territory. Given time, chefs will also devise ever more beautiful ways to prepare their dishes, whether or not they contain meat.

More importantly, vegetarianism has a very high social cost. The alienation borne by a vegetarian will often do them more harm than the food they would consume to keep the peace or remain unnoticed. I'm not just thinking the occasional Thanksgiving lapse to please the parental units. There's also the job interviews, dates, sales call, and every day social engagements.

I've tried to understand the reasons for this social cost, even to vegetarians that don't want to make a big deal of their diet. Sometimes - well, ok, often - people are simply stupid, and will just assume you're some kind of weirdo and won't want to talk to you (interesting people usually have the opposite impulse). But refusing food from someone who cooked it surely is horrible karma.

And then there's the reasons we'd usually rather not talk about, starting with gender. A vegetarian woman is less of a problem - "they've always been more emotional". But for a man, barbecuing eggplant and portobello mushrooms is a sure way to have people question your sexual orientation. Real men eat steaks.

Food also helps define our ethnic and even religious identities. No self-respecting Acadian could pass on rapure pie, which Anglos accurately nicknamed frenchman's glue. Gooey-grated potatoes, pressed of their juices, baked in chicken stock- Yum! Turkey at Thanksgiving and Fish on Fridays, Kosher or Halal, all our major religions impose rules or conventions about food. Transgression can alienate you from your ethnic or faith community.

Our culture needs change, and getting this much negative attention puts me at a disadvantage. Worse, a personal 'vegetarian witness' is not the best way to encourage people to have a more sensuous experience with food, or challenge the centrality of meat in our diets.

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Display: Sort:
Why I'm giving up vegetarianism after 8 years | 498 comments (458 topical, 40 editorial, 1 hidden)
Why people don't like vegetarians. (2.07 / 26) (#3)
by duffbeer703 on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 09:24:53 PM EST

Vegetarians like to complain about how people look at them funny and criticize their dietary choices, then wax about how the rest of the world is a pack of ignorant hicks and ramble about the ethical and political implications of meat.

Beef, pork, chicken and fish are things I find delicious. I also love asparagus, beans of various types and salads. When I grill a steak or skewer some chicken, I'm making a meal, not a political statement.

Yeah, great, nice stereotype (2.09 / 11) (#15)
by A Proud American on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:11:06 PM EST

Did you learn nothing in school?

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


[ Parent ]
I read the story, how about you? (1.80 / 5) (#89)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:47:24 PM EST

<EOM>

[ Parent ]
I was under the impression (2.40 / 5) (#109)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:50:11 AM EST

That the story was by one person, not every vegetarian in the world.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Let's not generalize... (2.87 / 8) (#18)
by igny ignoble on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:25:01 PM EST

But I would agree with you in reference to this author.  I've been a vegetarian for years and never had anyone say anything disparaging to me, and similarly I don't make value judgements about other people by what's on their plate.

Interestingly, I think the same thing applies to politics.  Though you may have friends that differ from you in their views, that's no reason to get in a huff about anything.

People take things to seriously these days...

[ Parent ]

This is something I don't get (3.00 / 6) (#56)
by vadim on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 08:04:24 AM EST

Ok, you don't like how he complains about things, that I understand. There's a lot of things that can be said about tolerance.

Now, what I don't get is why everybody has to plug a mention of how delicious meat is. Why such a defensive posture? Do you feel attacked because somebody can clearly live without it and feel the need to justify your position?

Besides, the whole thing isn't even correct. AFAIK, most vegetarians don't eat meat because of their moral convictions. They may *like* the taste of meat, they just don't want to eat it. So I just don't get why people keep trying them about how delicious it is.

Say, I'm pretty sure that no matter how delicious human meat is I doubt anybody here would eat it.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Responding directly to the author (2.66 / 6) (#88)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:46:59 PM EST

The guy who wrote this story said flat out that he cannot stand the taste of meat, and the only reason that anyone else likes meat is that they don't know how to cook vegetables!

[ Parent ]
But that's just a personal preference (2.80 / 5) (#102)
by vadim on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:25:49 AM EST

There's really nothing to debate about statements like that. Some people just don't like the taste of some foods, and that's perfectly normal. For example, I don't like olives and mushrooms. Then, there are people who can eat cockroaches.

I seriously couldn't care less about what you think about the taste of mushrooms. I know I don't like them, and no amount of talking about how delicious they are is going to convince me.

The statement about cooking vegetables is more or less on the same line. He might hate the way most people cook vegetables. For a person who doesn't like the taste of meat, and likes vegetables cooked "right", such a statement makes a lot of sense.

Of course, there's some lack of consideration of other people's likes and dislikes there. But nobody is perfect anyway. In any case, it's completely useless to debate. He doesn't like the taste of meat and you do. Those are facts, there's nothing to debate there.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

oh id so eat you... (none / 2) (#146)
by dylanspurgin on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:29:21 PM EST

if it weren't against the law. Valentine Michael Smith knows what I'm talking about.
,y0
[ Parent ]
It's pretty simple. (none / 3) (#167)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:54:17 PM EST

Do you feel attacked because somebody can clearly live without it and feel the need to justify your position?

People "feel attacked" because the original article, in plain English, attacked them, by declaring their eating habits "irrational."

This is not rocket science, and unless you were dropped on the head as a child, you should be able to figure it out.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Generalization (none / 5) (#301)
by Calieri on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:24:06 PM EST

Fetuses, 3-month old babies, and toddlers are things I find delicious. I also love puppies, kittens, and the young of almost anything.

When I grill a fetus or skewer some babies, I'm making a meal, not a political statement.

[ Parent ]

So much people you didn't see. (none / 1) (#325)
by tchize on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:28:20 AM EST

First, sorry for my bad english.

You are speaking of all people around you, looking at you like and extra terrestrial because of your choice. And you change your choice because of them.

The problem is that it's a choice which brings discussion to people (like tatoos or others ones visible ones). And you can't do without noticing people discussing about it in front of you (quite natural to notice them).

But did you notice the people who simply didn't say anything about it? Not people who said 'nice choice, i agree with you' but people who simply didn't care, leave this choice as your's.

There are people who simply don't discuss about it, not because they don't want to hurt, or because it's not socialy acceptable to do it in public but simply because they consider this fact as simply there, not changing a human nature.

[ Parent ]

sorry i think i hitted the wrong comment link (none / 0) (#326)
by tchize on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:29:58 AM EST

says it all

[ Parent ]
Simple rule (1.96 / 33) (#4)
by godix on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 09:34:28 PM EST

If you don't want us meat eaters to pester you then don't go out of your way to point out you're vegitarian and oh so superior because of it. I don't give a fuck about your eating habits so please return the favor and quit whining about how 'unsatisfying' and 'uninspiring' what I eat is.

Incidently, I could never 'do it'. I personally hate the taste of chlorophyll which eliminates pretty much any green vegetable around.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<

You don't win friends with salad [nt] (2.06 / 31) (#5)
by Stick on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 09:37:55 PM EST




---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
As a vegetarian I have to agree... (2.50 / 12) (#17)
by igny ignoble on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:17:48 PM EST

Salad is perhaps the most boring of all foods.

[ Parent ]
oh, be creative (2.83 / 6) (#44)
by coderlemming on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 02:47:25 AM EST

You can make a salad really exciting... herbs and spices, wild greens, cheese (if you eat it), tofu (marinated in something tasty, grilled) etc. Be creative.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
Tofu (2.71 / 7) (#72)
by squigly on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 11:10:33 AM EST

How do you make tofu edible?  I've tried from time to time, but always seem to end up with a rather dull piece of flavourless mass.

As for salads - I'm very fussy about them.  People throw in a couple of common vegetables, put on some mayonaisse, and decide they're boring.  There is a whole host of ingredients that can be used.  Add a decent dressing, and you end up with a wonderful taste sensation.  

[ Parent ]

A fantastic tofu meal (2.75 / 4) (#110)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:58:10 AM EST

Yup, I know it seems like a contradiction in terms, but salt and pepper tofu is gorgeous:

Beat an egg.
Cut tofu into small pieces.
Dip tofu in beaten egg.
Next dip tofu in batter mix with plenty of salt and pepper mixed in.
Deep fry.
Shallow fry some hot, chopped fresh chillies at the same time.
Mix the two together.

Make sure the chillies are hot and there are plenty of them. As you can see, this isn't a particularly healthy meal, and I think there lies the real heart of the vegetarian / non-vegetarian debate - healthy food doesn't taste as nice as unhealthy food.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

sushi (none / 3) (#147)
by dylanspurgin on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:31:09 PM EST

...wait :/
,y0
[ Parent ]
I happen to like salad [nt] (1.80 / 5) (#60)
by Stick on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 08:39:57 AM EST




---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Would a vegetarian cannible eat a couch potato? nt (2.05 / 19) (#6)
by xC0000005 on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 10:11:52 PM EST



Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
No (2.42 / 7) (#111)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:58:58 AM EST

Too much fat

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Maybe it's where I live (2.87 / 31) (#9)
by cestmoi on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 10:22:06 PM EST

Out here in California, being a vegetarian is not something worth commenting on - they're just too common. I've only been accosted once by a vegan who thought she was superior because she didn't eat meat - the rest just avoid meat and don't make any big deal out of it. Hell, it's so common, even Burger King has a vegetarian burger.

So I guess I'm nonplussed after reading your article. You start out saying why you're not going to be a vegetarian, you meander through some social issues, attack meat eater's taste buds and then close with why society should change. If I were a vegetarian, I don't think I'd find your argument to stop being one very convincing.

My reason for not being a vegetarian can be summed up in four words - Texas Road House Ribs. Well maybe add two more, Curly's Barbeque. Meat cooked the way it's meant to be. Nitrates? Bring em on - you only get one go round so it may as well be a wing dinger.

I wish I lived in California! :) (2.36 / 11) (#11)
by danharan on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 10:51:42 PM EST

That kinf of attitude hasn't made its way to Atlantic Canada yet...

[ Parent ]
Out of curiosity... (2.25 / 8) (#29)
by Dest on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:20:49 AM EST

Where in Atlantic Canada are you? There's a few of us on K5.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]
Well (2.00 / 9) (#34)
by zipper on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:37:49 AM EST

If he's anywhere near Halifax, he's ignorant, there are a few vegetarian restaurants here.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
[ Parent ]
yup, I live in Halifax. (2.42 / 7) (#57)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 08:33:11 AM EST

And the fact there's a few bad veggie restaurants does not make this a tolerant place for veggies.

[ Parent ]
Buddy he's not ignorant (2.11 / 9) (#74)
by xutopia on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:00:34 PM EST

Those veggie restaurants suck bad!!! I remember going to the big life and getting served by what I thought was a man in a dress! Turns out it was a woman that hadn't washed or shaved, her armpits, face or legs!!! She smelled bad and looked like one of those marginals in society you try to avoid!

The other one on Grafton Street sucks even worst!! Last time I went there I had some veggie lasagna. It was tasteless and expensive!!! I think the name is Satisfaction Feast. It's more like empty stomach

I've gone to a lot of restaurants in Halifax/Dartmouth. Steak and Stein, Mic Mac Eatery, Rocco's, MacAskills, Mother Tuckers, Ponderosa, The Irish Pub, Mexicali Rosa's, Your Father's Mustache, that really popular italian one on Spring Garden, and many many others! All had veggie dishes there that tasted much better than anything in the veggie restaurants I've tried in the region. This is not to say that veggie restaurants suck as a whole. In London, Zurich, Cairo, and many other places I've tasted wonderful veggetarian dishes inside restaurants that served nothing but vegetarian food. Point of the matter is that what is veggie in Halifax tends to suck.

[ Parent ]

Halifax (2.00 / 6) (#59)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 08:38:00 AM EST

How many Atlantic Canadians here?

[ Parent ]
I don't buy it. (2.40 / 5) (#135)
by Ni on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:30:44 PM EST

I live in Sydney, gathering place for all backward hicks, and I still don't encounter the attitude you're talking about. Usually people just awkwardly change the subject when my eating habbits come up.


"Hang on a minute, I'll rupture the gas main and toss in a flaming midget." -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Awww.. (none / 0) (#449)
by Dest on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 03:05:56 AM EST

But I live in Sydney. Are you calling me a hick?

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]
Burger king (2.87 / 8) (#54)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 06:45:10 AM EST

AFAIK, both Burger King and MacDonalds both have vegetarian food in all resturants in Europe. I assumed this was world wide. Isn't it?

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
But maybe in California (2.62 / 8) (#112)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 08:02:37 AM EST

You don't have to wait ten minutes whilst they prepare your spicy beanburger, then find out that the centre is still frozen. It's pretty obvious that they don't seel that many.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

BK GardenBurger Deluxe (2.85 / 7) (#138)
by killmepleez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:45:47 PM EST

Fast food burgers taste like crap and aren't worth more than 65 cents as far as nutrition goes, much less the $3.00 most places charge for a sandwich with decent fixins these days.

That being said, the three or four times a year I have occasion to eat at Ye Olde Greasy Burger, I've discovered that it's BETTER to order the veggie burger. Why? Because nobody eats them, and therefore the register kid has to get the cook to grill a "fresh" one instead of just pulling one down from the stack of 10 sitting on the heat lamp slide-tray. When it's hot off the grill and not 28.8 minutes stale, Burger King's Garden Burger is actually pretty good, relative to the other choices.

__
"...if there isn't a delivery mechanism, it's not a weapon of mass destruction, it's a paperweight of mass destruction."
--Parent ]
Must be a US thing... (none / 2) (#180)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:36:10 AM EST

We have spicy beanburgers here in the UK. They are lovely, if only they'd cook them properly...

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

McMeat (2.60 / 10) (#113)
by mozmozmoz on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 08:12:11 AM EST

I don't know about vegetarian, but they're definitely not vegan, and they have other reasons to avoid them so I haven't bothered to do the research.

<insert rant>

To eat "vegetarian" McDeath for environmental reasons is nonsensical. Global junk food just isn't green, it's actually close to a triple bottom line violation. The McLibel trial spells this out more. Since I'm vege partly for that reason, no go.

TNC junkfood also promote the use of GMO which are based on dodgy science. TNCs by their nature are not good for the local community.

As far as the original poster... I haven't seen that. I get way more shit from people for not driving than I ever have for not eating meat. It's partly about community, and partly about choosing the moment. I live in Sydney which is not a small place (4.5M people), but the people I see every day are either Green, or tolerant if the subject comes up (I've never been refused service in a clothes shop, for instance, because I was wearing a "cool to be vege" shirt). Right now I'm working in the home of some dog-owning, car-addicted greed-heads (to put it in negative terms), but they're not hassling me about my choices, and I'm not hassling them, you know. I get money from them, they get code from me, and we talk about shit that's interesting - whether it's nimbys or greenies that are making the bush-fires worse, that sort of stuff.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

That's just too much for them (3.00 / 6) (#130)
by crudpuppy on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 03:47:25 PM EST

I get way more shit from people for not driving than I ever have for not eating meat.

I suppose they find you so weird for not driving a car that they consider being a vegetarian pretty normal against that :)

[ Parent ]

Veggie <> Enviro, burger <> meat (none / 1) (#404)
by TomV on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 02:41:51 PM EST

First up, I'm a fully-fledged meat eater. I love the stuff, it's the basis of my preferred diet. But I wouldn't touch the 5h!7 at McDs or BK with a ten-foot barge pole. And for that matter I don't eat battery-farmed chicken either. And my reasons for this are both ethical and aesthetic. Basically its the Organic Food argument, I guess. Basically, as I see it, and I beg the indulgence of my vegetarian friends for a moment, happy animals taste better. It's that simple. Fifty years ago, politicians could run for election on the slogan "a chicken in every pot". Chicken was a premium meat. A thing of succulent beauty and rich flavour. The more expensive end of the chicken spectrum still is. The stuff that makes chicken an affordable meat generally isn't. Your basic modern mass-produced chicken tastes of, basically, very little indeed, which is why it's used as a bland base in so many processed foods. It's lived a terribly dull life, in cramped conditions, and eaten a terribly dull diet. Garbage into the chicken, garbage under the grill. If an animal lives its life flooded with stress hormones, there's (to my palate anyway) a nasty bitter undertone to the flavour. An animal which never got any decent exercise has no muscle tone, and that muscle tone is all part of the sensation of eating it. Farmed salmon? Fairly nice stuff, don't get me wrong. But a big wild salmon that's lived a little, travelled the oceans, now you're talking flavour. Clearly this is utterly economically non-viable, but, as a meat-eater, I object to the big fast-food chains, and on pretty much the same grounds as my vegetarian friends - it's an abomination to torture animals to produce stuff that's bad for you and frankly tastes like what the animals probably spent their lives wading ankle-deep in. I'd rather have a nice fresh, crisp, well-prepared, clourful, balanced, spicy, tangy salad any day, thanks.

[ Parent ]
More likely it's where the poster lives (none / 5) (#206)
by gidds on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:14:10 AM EST

Here (south-east UK), too, vegetarians aren't that rare. I'm not one, but I'll quite often have veggie food, especially when eating out, mainly because it's normally interesting and tasty, and a nice change. (I also find it safer; you don't get bits of fat or gristle in vegetables.) People occasionally ask me if I'm a veggie, but it's never meant pejoratively, as it's really not that unusual.

Of course, it depends exactly where you're eating; Chinese restaurants can be a bit uninspiring if you avoid the meat dishes. But most others have some good veggie food. Or rather: amongst their good food are some options which happen to be veggie - which is how it should be. (You know you need to worry when the single 'vegetarian option' is off in a special corner and labelled as such in large letters! But I haven't seen that for a while.)

(Actually, since I've been on a low-carb diet, I've been having more meat; but also more fresh veg, and being more adventurous in my cooking, so I don't feel I'm losing out.)

It's sad that the article makes being veggie out as such a crusade, because it shouldn't be like that, and in many places it's not. While I may not agree with a few veggies' reasons, they have every right to choose what they eat, and it shouldn't matter any more than their eye or hair colour. Not all places are as backward in that respect as the author's home sounds.

Andy/
[ Parent ]

my sister is a vegan (1.54 / 22) (#12)
by paprika on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 10:56:30 PM EST

she says that animal meat is bad for humans and humans were originally vegans, which seems like crackpottery to me. anyway i like to point out that while cooked meat probably isn't good raw meat is great for the human body, cooking does away with a lot of the things needed to digest it properly. i eat 3 raw eggs every day and its very good.

Kucinich is a bitch -paprika

a few words for your sister (2.70 / 17) (#23)
by Entendre Entendre on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:54:37 PM EST

Generally speaking, animals fall into one of two categories: predators, and prey. Prey animals have their eyes on the sides of their heads, so they can have 360-degree vision (or close to it) to watch out for predators approaching from any direction. Prey animals are not very concerned with chasing food, but they are very concerned about becoming food.

One drawback to that eyeball arrangement is limited depth perception - the field-of-view of each eye only overlap slightly, if at all. That's no big deal when you eat plants, because they don't much much. Depth perception comes in handy when you eat things that run, though.

So, predators have both eyes on the front of the head, sacrificing field-of-view for depth perception. Predator eyeball placement is optimized for the chasing of prey.

Anyhow, your sister might want to consider where her eyeballs are located before she claims that she's designed for a diet of plants.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

It's not that simple (3.00 / 8) (#46)
by ShadowNode on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 03:57:46 AM EST

Many apes are herbivores (essentially vegans, since they can't raise chickes for eggs or cows for milk). Certianly some of our evolutionary ancestors both had front facing eyes, and where also herbivores.

However, none of this really has anything to do with our dietary needs now.



[ Parent ]
Yeah, true. (none / 3) (#96)
by Entendre Entendre on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 02:48:37 AM EST

All generalizations are false, I know. There's also carnivores with eyes on the sides of their heads, for that matter (think scavengers).

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

We're evolved from tree swingers! (3.00 / 10) (#49)
by squigly on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 04:47:17 AM EST

One drawback to that eyeball arrangement is limited depth perception

It also comes in handy when you're leaping from one tree branch to another.

But the whole argument about being designed to be vegan is a load of tripe.  Humanity has been omnivorous several millenia.  We've probably developed a digestive system that can cope quite well with meat.

[ Parent ]

raw eggs? (2.80 / 5) (#43)
by coderlemming on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 02:43:59 AM EST

Watch out for salmonella... nasty stuff. Try organic eggs, they have more nutrients and tend to have a far lower (usually zero) occurrence of salmonella.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
[ Parent ]
raw eggs are better for you (1.50 / 6) (#48)
by paprika on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 04:44:26 AM EST

i'm not worried about salmonella cooking makes eggs lose a lot of their nutrition cooking takes too long anyway

Kucinich is a bitch -paprika
[ Parent ]

Your sister is somewhat dim (2.50 / 6) (#82)
by Subtillus on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:08:18 PM EST

Of all the reasons to not eat meat (dieting, ethical, religious, being trendy...) this has to be the absolute worst I've yet heard.

The fact that we CAN I repeat, _CAN_ digest meat must mean that we have evolved to be able to do so. Why is this confusing?

When you're able to do something physiologically speaking, it's likely that it was selected for.

[ Parent ]

I wish... (3.00 / 5) (#136)
by killmepleez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:37:44 PM EST

...someone would explain that line of reasoning to the Pope in reference to buttsex.

__
"...if there isn't a delivery mechanism, it's not a weapon of mass destruction, it's a paperweight of mass destruction."
--Parent ]
Crap! (none / 3) (#273)
by farmgeek on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:01:20 PM EST

You made me ruin a perfectly good shirt.

[ Parent ]
This is why (2.77 / 31) (#14)
by epepke on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:09:34 PM EST

When people say they like the taste of meat, I wonder if they ever eat anything else satisfying.

You apparently don't realize how this comment is just as boorish as the comments you don't like. You've got these rules for what people are supposed to say around vegetarians, but then you go and say something like this. Just because I like the taste of meat, fish, and fowl doesn't mean that I am an ignoramus about food.

I have a family recipe for wheat berry stuffing. It's made of hard winter wheat berries, tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, bell pepper, onions, garlic, oregano, bay leaves, cumin, and lemon juice, cooked in broth. I've made it with vegetable broth for my vegetarian friends, and it is eye-wateringly delicious just as is. It just might be better than any all-vegetable dish you have ever had, unless you had the good fortune to get Falafel at the Pocket Sandwich Emporium in Tallahassee before it changed hands fifteen years ago. It's even better made with beef broth. It's even better when used as stuffing inside a turkey.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Care to share the recipe? (2.50 / 6) (#73)
by xutopia on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 11:45:18 AM EST

Seriously though this guy has a point. He mentionned somewhere (in the comments) that he lived somewhere in the maritimes. I know that this is a place where people almost always eat potatoes and carrots with their piece of meat. No wonder he has that impression.

Anyways I'm sure your recipe would be great. Care to share it with us? (it reminds me of a stuffing for avocados).

[ Parent ]

I'm glad to (3.00 / 7) (#95)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 02:40:27 AM EST

Although it's a bit difficult, as I've made it so many times I don't use a recipe. Anyway, it's easy to make, and if it doesn't seem to be turning out right, add more wheat berries or stock as appropriate.

Basic recipe which you'll probably have to double for a turkey:

In a saucepan, sautee four or more cloves of chopped garlic, one chopped Vidalia onion, one chopped green pepper, a quarter pound of mushrooms cut into big chunks, and two stalks of celery, chopped. I generally sautee them in a little bit of stock rather than oil. Add a large chopped tomato and sautee a little bit more. Add two cups of beef stock and somewhere between a cup and a half and two cups of hard winter wheat berries, a couple of pinches of salt, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer covered until the wheat berries have a nice chewy texture, anywhere from 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Add 2 tsp of dried oregano and maybe a tablespoon of freshly ground cumin and simmer a bit more. It should be slightly gloppy when hot; if you're using it for stuffing, when it cools, most of the water will be absorbed. When ready to use as a stuffing or serve, add the juice of one lemon.

Undersalt this before adding the lemon, because the tang of the lemon makes up for a lack of salt.

As I mentioned before, beef stock works the best. This is expecially good as stuffing for a turkey, because the juices from the stuffing suffuse the turkey and keep it moist, while the juices from the turkey make the stuffing more flavorful.

It can be made the day before using it in the bird, but avoid adding the lemon juice until the last minute.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Quit being a pussy... (2.53 / 32) (#21)
by Psycho Dave on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:40:48 PM EST

If you don't like to eat meat, don't eat meat.

I've never heard of vegetarians getting so much shit that they would actually start eating stuff they don't like just to appease others. I've lived with two vegetarians, and I loved it. If I didn't want their deadbeat asses eating my food, I just had to make sure there was meat in it.

And though I am a meat eater, I certainly enjoy meatless dishes as well. I can go weeks without eating the stuff and still eat like a king.

If your gonna give up, give up for a decent reason. Your just dying for a decent hamburger, a thick prime rib, some fried chicken, a big ole' greasy Philly cheese steak or a gyro sandwich. Or maybe you want to get more protien in your diet, like you're going Atkins or something. Don't give up because of some dumbasses.

funny you should call me a pussy. (1.87 / 8) (#62)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 08:53:57 AM EST

Especially after a link to the Sexual Politics of Meat. Why does someone you disagree with have to be called by the slang for a woman's genitalia?

[ Parent ]
Hint: homograph (2.50 / 10) (#75)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:05:11 PM EST

When people call you a stupid bastard, do you start telling them how your parents were actually married, and therefore you aren't a bastard at all?

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
call me a bastard if you wish (2.12 / 8) (#84)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:19:54 PM EST

and I won't point out that I'm not, just like I did not try to argue the point that I was not a pussy. You're quite entitled to that opinion.

However, if you wish to call me a pussy after reading my article that links to a critical feminist book, I am entitled to point out the hilarity of it all.

[ Parent ]

No need (2.62 / 8) (#85)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:35:14 PM EST

I see no reason to call you a bastard, and I wouldn't have been so rude as to call you a pussy. My point was that like the use of the word "bastard" people can use words based on their meaning, irrespective of any other meaning the word also carries.

However, now that you've linked to "The Sexual Politics of Meat" I'm finding it hard not to sling the pejorative "stupid" around. Have you read that book? It's right up there with "The Bible Code" or "Chariots Of The Gods". That is to say, it's trash. Still if you thought somebody calling you a pussy was hilarious, I can start to understand why you did ^_^

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Heh. (2.44 / 9) (#90)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 02:14:21 PM EST

I didn't give The Sexual Politics of Meat a thorough read; I only link to it because it was for me one of the first books to bring up the subject. I've never looked at "Chariots Of The Gods", but if it's in the same register as "The Bible Code", I won't bother :)

Actually, all this mud-slinging here is pretty hilarious. It just proves one of the central points of my theory: most people are completely irrational when it comes to food.

[ Parent ]

Sadly, I suspect (2.63 / 11) (#92)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 03:51:14 PM EST

most people are completely irrational - period.

But your theory would make an interesting submission

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

I share that suspicion! (1.60 / 5) (#121)
by danharan on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:32:42 PM EST

seeing how it applies to more than just food :)

[ Parent ]
amen to that. (none / 0) (#354)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:10:22 PM EST

though with food, we understand that food is very important to our health.  the acquisition and consumption of chow is one of the primary drives of our lives.  food stimulates base emotions, which are rarely what i'd call 'rational'.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Well, there's a sort of rationality to eating (none / 3) (#299)
by Calieri on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:19:26 PM EST

Completely irrational is a strong claim. People do vastly prefer to eat things which don't make them ill, are digestible and give them energy, and which have various taste properties which nearly any person can recognize as 'good.'

So I think the trouble is that people are bothering to claim that they follow some kind of 'rationalized' policy for eating ('rationalized' in the sense that it is not much more than empty post-hoc verbalization, not that it is really made any more rational).

But this also seems broader than just food ;)

[ Parent ]

Hint: you're ignorant (2.40 / 10) (#158)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:58:26 PM EST

There's a systematic pattern in the history of the English language (and others, for that matter) whereby words associated with females become derogatory. This pattern extends for centuries E.g. hussy (from huswif `housewife'; compare husband, structurally parallel but emotionally neutral), mistress (compare master), madam (in the "woman who runs a whorehouse" sense; compare with sir), bitch, etc.

Hell, your example with bastard can be fit to this pattern nicely, since a bastard is a child who doesn't have a legitimate father. A bastard is a child whose only legitimate parent is the mother; and the change of meaning by which this word becomes an insult presupposes that a child is not valuable if a man does not openly assume the father role; another way of looking at it is that the bastard is "the child of a whore" (e.g. as in the Spanish insult hijo de puta).

The point is simple: the homonymy that you point out for pussy is not an accident, but rather part of a systematic historical process which takes words for females (or racial minorities, lower-class people, the disempowered in general) and invests them with derogatory meanings.

--em
[ Parent ]

Hint: you're overly unpleasant (none / 4) (#186)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:43:00 AM EST

I find it interesting that you need to call me ignorant, but you didn't rebut my point, and you failed to say anything that I didn't already know and find obvious. You haven't cured me of my ignorance yet.

Let me expand a little on the bastard example, as I perhaps wasn't sufficiently clear. I have no problem with people being born out of wedlock. It is meaningless to me. Some of my (best) friends are bastards (^_^), and others may well be, who knows? Or, more to the point, cares.

That being said I have no problem calling people bastards when the need for a mild insult arises. And when I use that word, the value judgments that may have been part of its historical development do not flow with it.

Words are not defined by their history.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

re: Words are not defined by their history. (none / 1) (#333)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:29:10 AM EST

What exactly are they defined by then?
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Where on earth do you live? (2.88 / 17) (#22)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Oct 11, 2003 at 11:51:18 PM EST

In Ohio, the heartland, the state imortalized in the movie Heathers with the statement, "this is Ohio, if you don't have a brewski in your hand you might as well be wearing a dress", it is not all that uncommon to run into vegetarians.

So where do run into actual social ostracization for being a vegetarian?

I think (2.60 / 5) (#39)
by rankor on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 02:15:37 AM EST

he is in Canada.  Their thanksgiving is Oct. 13th this year.  His post references thanksgiving 'tomorrow'.

As a resident of Ohio, I can also say that vegetarians are pretty much a dime a dozen.

[ Parent ]

The day I discovered meat... (2.45 / 22) (#25)
by SwampGas on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:07:15 AM EST

My aunt/uncle are vegetarians....we consider them hippies and abnormal.  Other parts of their life are questionable, but growing up I could never imagine why someone would not eat meat.  I swore to myself that when I got older, I'd take my cousin out for a big cheeseburger to show him what he was missing.

Well, I'm all grown up now.  I assume he figured it out on his own.  I never really cared about meat...it was just another food.  I'll eat whatever is infront of me.  Meat was usually well done to shoe leather...all the time.

...and then the Christmas party for the radio station I worked for.  They served meat and it was medium...still some blood and pink.

THAT is when I discovered the taste.  I enjoyed it SO much I went to a steakhouse the next day and ordered a medium Mesquite serloin.  It was excellent.  I found "my" steak.

So do I eat meat for the taste?  Yup.

booyaka! (2.71 / 7) (#70)
by VoxLobster on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 10:53:34 AM EST

there's the reason so many people don't care for meat. They served meat and it was medium...still some blood and pink Most meats are only tasty when cooked at this level, and the bit of pink tends to turn people off...thinking that there's a risk of bacterial infections and such. The truth is, you only have to worry about cooking meat to well done if you're having chicken, or ground beef/pork. In the case of a steak, or other nice cut of meat, the bacteria that can harm you resides in the outer layers of the cut of meat, and is easily killed when cooked to a medium doneness. The inside of the meat is free of bacteria, and therefore safe to eat when a little pink.

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar
[ Parent ]

Oh, man... (none / 5) (#161)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:31:01 PM EST

You have much to learn, grassahoppa. Should you ever find yourself in a restaurant that knows what "Pittsburgh rare" means, get it. And get it on a porterhouse. A porterhouse is to a sirloin steak what a symphony is to a single song. Every place you cut has a different flavor and texture.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Pittsburg? (none / 3) (#279)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:56:52 PM EST

I've always heard it called 'Chicago' rare - if we're both talking about making a steak wonderfully charcoaled on the outside, but red and bleeding on the inside...

If you want an absolute treat, get Buffalo. A Buffalo T-bone, rare (preferabally open flame cooked!) is simply the best red meat ever invented by Darwin. I kid you not, you'll never enjoy a beef steak the same way again after that juicy morsel!


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Yes, that's the ticket (none / 2) (#289)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:44:30 PM EST

Around here, people call it Pittsburgh rare. But it sounds like the same thing.

I don't know what Buffalo means in this context


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
buffalo (none / 3) (#339)
by metalgeek on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:33:51 AM EST

big hairy animal, kinda like a cow.
was almost wiped out in the late 1800's (well kind of)
they taste good:)
then again, I thinkl pretty much any meat tastes good..
(well not every meat here in china, but thats a different issue)

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Buffalo versus buffalo (none / 1) (#372)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:39:18 PM EST

I've eaten buffalo; it's quite good. However, the parent comment mentioned Buffalo, which is a city in New York, and we were talking about cooking styles named after cities.

Or do you think Buffalo wings come from real buffalo? (Actually, I doubt they come from the city, either--more likely named after Bufalo hot sauce.)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
You're kidding, right? (2.68 / 25) (#26)
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:08:19 AM EST

I've been a vegetarian for six years now, and I have never experiences the problems that you complain about.

When I go out to eat with other people, I just order something that doesn't have meat in it, and nobody pays any attention at all. My family, in turn, was happy to accommodate my preferences at holidays and so forth.

I'm not sure why you've had such trouble.

Not Happy (1.85 / 7) (#139)
by oat5tout on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:49:07 PM EST

Your family isn't happy. They just say that. Behind your back they complain about what a pain it is to have to cook for you because they have to make two versions of half the meal just because of your uppity ass.

Free Rush! -speek
[
Parent ]

I should have been more clear. (none / 4) (#162)
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:31:10 PM EST

My preference was not to spend holidays with my family.

[ Parent ]
Maybe (2.83 / 6) (#217)
by Homburg on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:39:08 AM EST

Or maybe the OPs family are neither selfish nor culinarily unadventurous. I'm not vegetarian, but when I'm cooking for vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends, I don't cook two meals, I find a good vegetarian dish and cook that for everyone. Just because you're prepared to eat meat doesn't mean you have to do it all the time; actually, now I know how to cook a fair number of vegetarian dishes, I find myself eating meat a lot less, even when I'm just cooking for myself.

[ Parent ]
Are vegetarian diets really more healthy? (2.69 / 13) (#27)
by TheModerate on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:12:27 AM EST

Thats what I don't understand. I would seriously consider a vegetarian diet otherwise, but that food pyramid they taught me in grade school that we need two or three servings of meat per day. It sounds to me that vegetarians get their protein from soy beans rather than meat, but other than that what's the difference?

And the cultural problems come simply because vegetarianism comes across as feminine. Notice the difference between meat-eating animals and plant-eating animals. For us, we can choose to eat either: what kind of animal do you want to be?

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer

Not really (2.69 / 13) (#37)
by epepke on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:21:44 AM EST

The best evidence, or at least the evidence that I find most convincing, is that the most healthful diet consists of rather a lot of fruit, vegetables, fish, legumes, and egg whites with much smaller amounts of meat, grains, egg yolks, and dairy products.

Soybeans have some significant problems. For one thing, they have an awful lot of oil. For another, they have a lot of glutamaic acid, which seems to give many people migraines. However, this makes them a good cash crop.

Not that I'm going to change my diet to be optimally healthy, mind you. I know that I might as well just eat a teaspoon of MSG and salt for all the good it does me, but still, Miso soup tastes damn good.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
the evidence again? (2.60 / 5) (#81)
by speek on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:55:09 PM EST

The best evidence, or at least the evidence that I find most convincing...

Yes? After reading that I was waiting to hear the evidence, not an assertion. And what you did assert is hardly unquestioned or unquestionable.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

I'm not arguing (3.00 / 5) (#94)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 02:23:48 AM EST

Eat what you like; it's no skin off my nose. I make up my own mind, and you can make up yours. I put fish high due to the low incidence of heart disease amongst the Japanese and also because of iodine from sea fish and omega-3 fatty acids.. I put meat low due to the high amounts of cholestorol. I put fruit high because it is a big part of our ancestral diet. I put grains low because the anthropological evidence suggests that growing grains was associated with a fair amount of disease. I put vegetables high because nobody has shown anything wrong with them (except carrots). I put egg whites high because fetal chicks can digest them without enzymes. I put egg yolks low because of the fat and cholestorol.

I'm not trying to persuade anybody, because I know it's pointless.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
yummy pyramids (2.90 / 10) (#77)
by treat on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:06:47 PM EST

Thats what I don't understand. I would seriously consider a vegetarian diet otherwise, but that food pyramid they taught me in grade school that we need two or three servings of meat per day

I'm a big a proponent of meat eating as you'll find. But there's two things you should know:

1) A lot of the stuff they taught you in school was wrong. It was either known to be wrong at the time, or it was so simplified that it became wrong, or it has since been determined to be wrong.

2) What is considered healthy for you and what is not changes all the time. I don't know whether scientists can't make up their minds, or the media/government repeats the information as if it is authoritative when not all the evidence is in. But there's some credible evidence against the food pyramid, like here. It's simply an outdated concept, and it was taught to people in a context where they did not understand that it's a "best guess" based on current information

[ Parent ]

What's fascinating (none / 0) (#366)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:07:48 PM EST

I remember when the Food Pyramid was introduced, and people bitched about what it was replacing in exactly the same way that they bitch about the Food Pyramid now. Politically motivated, not supported by science, all that stuff. If and when the Food Pyramid gets revised or replaced, within about ten milliseconds people will start bitching about that, too.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Vegetarian diet healthfulness (none / 1) (#417)
by dn on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 02:34:47 AM EST

It sounds to me that vegetarians get their protein from soy beans rather than meat, but other than that what's the difference?
Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin. It is not present in plants to any significant degree. It is only produced by microorganisms, either by deliberate fermentation, or by fermentation in the gut of a plant-eating animal. Lack of B-12 causes nerve damage and can cause anemia, which are especially dangerous in infants born to strict vegetarian mothers.

Curiously, the human body is extremely conservative of its supply of cobalamin. A healthy person who stops consuming it can go for years, maybe even decades, without developing deficiency. This suggests our evolutionary ancestors either (1) went for long periods with minimal animal consumption, or (2) were mostly vegetarian and their guts were colonized with a cobalamin-synthesizing microorganism that is rare today.

    I ♥
TOXIC
WASTE

[ Parent ]

Article in a nutshell: (2.38 / 21) (#36)
by gjetost on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:14:52 AM EST

"I'm giving up vegetarianism because the social pressure is too great."

social cost, rather than social pressure (2.00 / 6) (#114)
by danharan on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 12:47:10 PM EST

yes, the pressure is certainly annoying. But I also take a fair bit of social pressure for being eccentric... doing such things as:
-arguing for gay rights against Catholics and fundamentalists,
-promoting local organic food,
-trying to take religion seriously even if this is ridiculed by most "progressives",
-arguing for good business practices in my local food co-op (pisses off the commie idealists)
-and most importantly, by neither fitting into the right or the left: seems you piss off a lot of people that way.

But the social cost remains great. Working in Paris for a year, I can assure you that going out for dinner with a client or potential employer is tough. The French have less tolerance than Atlantic Canadians when it comes to such radical deviance, and a single lost contract can be worth several thousand dollars for a week's work.

I hear they're more tolerant in California, but then I don't have American papers, and the job situation there looks dismal.

[ Parent ]

so let me get this straight... (2.81 / 27) (#40)
by coderlemming on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 02:35:29 AM EST

You're giving up vegetarianism because:
  1. vegetarianism isn't that much more superior anyway
  2. "normal" people don't like vegetarians
  3. people will think that you're gay
It's time to re-evaluate your decision.

Why'd you become a vegetarian in the first place? 1 above suggests a holier-than-thou reason... that's a bad reason in the first place. The reasons above are pretty much outwardly motivated. In my opinion, the decision of what you eat should come from inside. It's like this: do you enjoy eating meat, or don't you?

I'm a mostly-vegetarian because I don't like meat. I don't like the taste much, and more importantly I don't like how it makes me feel. I started off by not eating beef, as many meat-eaters do anyway, and then realized after awhile that I didn't like many other kinds of meats. Now I eat meat about once a month or so to catch up on any lacking nutrients.

Point is, it should only come down to what you like to eat. And if they think you're gay, throw tofu at them.


--
Go be impersonally used as an organic semen collector!  (porkchop_d_clown)
Yeah, dude. (2.57 / 7) (#127)
by traphicone on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 03:11:28 PM EST

"And if they think you're gay, throw tofu at them."

That'll totally show 'em.

"Generally it's a bad idea to try to correct someone's worldview if you want to remain on good terms with them, no matter how skewed it may be." --Delirium
[ Parent ]

Bravo (1.50 / 6) (#51)
by psychologist on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 04:59:38 AM EST

I couldn't have said it better.

Oh please (2.57 / 21) (#53)
by ph317 on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 06:05:50 AM EST

First off, let me rebutt some of your statements about meat eaters.  There are many people out there, myself included, with very refined tastes in food, who love the taste of various meats.  I've eaten some incredible dishes at incredible places (the best being at people's homes rather than restaurants of course), but there's always a special place in my heart (or on my tongue) for a warm bloody-rare fillet mignon, as simple and boorish as you may think it is.  And game meats are even better.  A good cut of backstrap off a freshly-killed Nilgai is to die for.  But anyhow, if you don't like meat then don't eat it, and it won't bother me.

And of course, the Standard American Diet sucks.  It needs nutritional improvement.  It needs more veggies.  This is not an argument for vegetarianism.  This is an argument for eating more vegetables.  Get that straight, and stop using that argument.

Contrary to the word on many vegetarian websites out there, humans have always been omnivores, and we've always had meat as a strong part of our diet.  Check out our teeth, our digestive system, hell our whole biological makeup.  It screams omnivore.  And not "eat meat twice a year when available" omnivore - we're the "eat meat every day and throw in some veggies too" omnivore.

That's the diet our bodies evolved with, it's what they want and need.  A sensible diet of traditionally cooked vegetables, meats, and starches serves many healthy humans very well.  The meat does not rot in our herbivore guts and cause disease (another veggie claim I've heard), it doesn't raise cholesterol dangerously high (sure meat has cholesterol, but in a normal diet it won't hurt you.  If you add a bunch of deep-fried fat and little to no exercise... well, that's your problem, not the meat).

To cut off this runaway train of thoughts above - what I'm getting is that there is no practical justification for vegetarianism.  It's all a bunch of whacko pseudo-science.  The only valid justifications for vegetarianism are ones based on religious, environmental, or animal welfare causes.  And anyone who takes a vegetarian stance based on one of these reasons needs to acknowledge that they are bucking human nature and causing themselves dietary problems that need to be closely monitored and made up for.  Stop the lying about other bullshit reasons and just own up to the only valid reasons to do it.

And then there's the radicals.  I don't like people who storm into steakhouses weaing cow suits and screaming that I'm murdering their freinds.  I don't want to hear about how I'm hurting "mother earth" (whoever tf that is) when I drink a glass of milk.  Keep your agenda to yourself, you're in the minority on this issue for good reason.

You started off quite well... (2.25 / 12) (#55)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 06:57:19 AM EST

But went quickly downhill. Would you care to point out exactly how the human body needs meat?

There is a very practical reason for vegetarianism - ethics. For some people their ethical values make it impossible to eat animals for food. This isn't "a bunch of whacko pseudo-science" just because you don't like it.

As for what the body wants - I wouldn't pay overly much attention - at least if your brain is working. My body want to have sex with 20% of people I meet. But it doesn't get to do it.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Sure thing! (2.66 / 12) (#66)
by gnovos on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 10:03:59 AM EST

Would you care to point out exactly how the human body needs meat?

I can help you out there..  oh but first, would you mind telling me exactly why you would ever need to have sex outside of once a month during ovulation for the purpose of procreation?

Why would you ever need to drink anything except for mineral water?  

Or perhaps why you would ever need to do anything every day but work, eat, shit and stare at a blank grey wall until you fall alseep?  

I happen to believe strongly that this is the way life should be led; strong ethics, just what you respect right?  And you know what?  I look down on you for having such poor ethical values that you do such barbaric things like having your unethical sex for pleasure, drinking you barbaric juices, listenign to your heathen music, etc.

And if you don't fully agree, I just want to remind you that by beliefs are based on strong scientific evidence that I have just recently come up with.  This isn't "a bunch of whacko pseudo-science" just because you don't like it.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Of course you can't (1.81 / 11) (#71)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 11:09:32 AM EST

We don't need to eat meat, and we all know it.

The activities you mention, we don't need to do either. I don't feel the need to claim that I need (rather than want) to do the things I do (including eating meat), and so therefore don't get caught out looking foolish for making stupid unsupportable claims.

When you say people need to eat meat, you look foolish.
When you then say you can back it up, you look more foolish.
And when you then fail to back it up, you look even more foolish.

By the look of your spelling in the last paragraph you must have been having a fit. Wipe your chin.

And then show us the evidence, please.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

I'm confused... (1.87 / 8) (#79)
by gnovos on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:14:06 PM EST

By the look of your spelling in the last paragraph you must have been having a fit. Wipe your chin.

Do you mean THIS last paragraph:

And if you don't fully agree, I just want to remind you that by beliefs are based on strong scientific evidence that I have just recently come up with.  This isn't "a bunch of whacko pseudo-science" just because you don't like it.

Because that one has no misspellings...  Or perhaps you meant this one:

I happen to believe strongly that this is the way life should be led; strong ethics, just what you respect right?  And you know what?  I look down on you for having such poor ethical values that you do such barbaric things like having your unethical sex for pleasure, drinking you barbaric juices, listenign to your heathen music, etc.

Because in this one, you are absolutely correct, I made a simple typo in the word "listening"...  

Wow, yeah, making a single typo certainly does show my irrationality and fevered angry mind.

I never claimed that one MUST eat meat...  Only that, simply because the human body can technically survive on protien-glucose gel and distilled water doesn't mean that it's the right way to survive.  

The human body isn't about maximizing energy efficiency, we aren't sessile photosynthetic creatures.  We exist on an entirely different plane.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Cool (2.60 / 5) (#83)
by spasticfraggle on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:18:37 PM EST

we're the "eat meat every day and throw in some veggies too" omnivore. That's the diet our bodies evolved with, it's what they want and need.

You said the body needs meat, which isn't true. And then you said you could back it up, and you can't.

Now you can argue that our mental health might mean that eating meat is a necessity for some people. You could claim that as a "higher species" human desire outweighs any rights animals might have to life (or that we confer those rights upon them).

To eat meat or not is largly an ethical decision. Pretending that the body needs meat is not only false, but in turn weakens any actual argument you had about eating meat being a defensible position for other reasons.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Hey, idiot, look who you are replying to next time (1.80 / 5) (#120)
by gnovos on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:32:15 PM EST

My name is Gnovos.  Not ph317.  You want to argue what he/she said, you go ahead, but reply to him, not me.  You want to argue with what I said, then go re-read the names next time.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
I was wrong (none / 2) (#183)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:07:25 AM EST

I failed to read the attribution. And for that, I must certainly be an idiot. There can be no other explanation.

You did however say that you could show exactly how the human body needs meat. Please, do it.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

I was being facetious. (none / 2) (#185)
by gnovos on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:16:20 AM EST

He said we needed meat.  I didn't.  I made a joke saying that i could prove that we need meat, assuming you could prove that we need sex outside of procreation.  The point you were meant to take away from that was that just because it isn't essential to staying alive doesn't mean that it's wrong.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Wow (none / 2) (#196)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 07:07:52 AM EST

That never would have occurred to me. I never realised a point could be so, how shall I put it? Pointless. ^_^

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
Rubbish, matey (2.00 / 6) (#99)
by gordonjcp on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:05:09 AM EST

We don't need to eat meat, and we all know it.
If that's the case, where do vegans get certain proteins and vitamins only found in meat from? I'd rather eat meat than take some chemical supplement of unknown origin.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Sneaky (2.80 / 5) (#106)
by spasticfraggle on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:28:10 AM EST

Not eating meat makes you a vegetarian, not a vegan. As far as vegetarians go, the biggest liable deficiency is in B12. Which is found in high quanties is such unusal food products as milk (and obviously cheese), breakfast cereal, yoghurt, eggs, vitamin B12 tablets(!) and marmite. In some countries processed bread also contains it.

The fabled (presumably necessary) "certain proteins" don't exist - or perhaps you'd like to take up the offer I extended earlier. Show the evidence, please. I really want to see it.

I don't know what the certain vitamins are, maybe it was B12 you were thinking of. Is there something else you have in mind?

As for vegans, there are vegan sources of B12 (google for it, mostly made from yeasts). The protein issue is, I believe, false, or at least "unproven". Is there is something to it (and there may be), it is certain to be very slight, otherwise the effect would be noticable.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

On the other end of the spectrum... (none / 1) (#277)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:32:19 PM EST

Innu in Canada's Arctic have been living there for thousands of years.

Their diet consists of seal, fish, small birds, Narwahls (A whale with one tusk out it's head, like a unicorn), and other small mammals. The eat vegetables...well...never.

So how do they get things like Vitamin C, without which they would all die of scurvy?


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

That one's easy (none / 0) (#370)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:34:56 PM EST

Seal liver. Quite high in vitamin C.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The human body does not need to eat meat. (none / 4) (#179)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:28:13 AM EST

I can prove this easily. <ahem>.

There are vegetarians.
AND
They ain't dead.

Ipso ergo facto, Mr Robacto.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

needing meat (none / 1) (#353)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:04:34 PM EST

the point has been made in subsequent comments, so i won't repeat why humans need meat to be healthy, but instead, i will tell you about my friend julia.

most of the people who are vegetarians and commenting here decided to become vegetarians at some point.  after adolescence, after most of their growing had been done, they threw their hat in the no-meat box because of ethics, spiritual concerns, or because they'd been presented with enough proof that it was more healthy.  not so with julia.

julia's parents raised her vegetarian, as they did with all of their children.  julia's brothers and sisters (five of them) all have very fickle health, fragile bones, and can't put on weight.  they are prone to depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.  they are not athletic despite one brother's constant workouts.

they are, as a whole family unit, sickly, despite living a lifestyle that is in all other ways healthy and active.  

when i met julia, she couldn't stand up from a seated position without getting dizzy, and this condition was common enough in her household that they'd never thought to go to the doctor about it.    she was always weak and tired, and would sometimes fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.  she was 20 years old.

i encouraged her to seek some medical help, but she argued that that was just the way her family was.  after much persuasion, she went to the doc.  the doctor found that she was so iron-deficient (among other things) that she would require constant perscription-strength iron supplements to maintain health.

she couldn't afford them.

about this time, we started hanging out more.  i cook a lot for my friends.  specifically, i cook a lot of meat.  red meat.  (and many, many tasty vegetables, neither limp nor tasteless.)  after a few months of hanging out with me and at my place she started to put on a little weight, felt a lot better, and stopped having the dizzy spells she'd had all of her life.  she was more alert, happier, and has since been able to stop taking anti-depressants with no major changes in her life other than her diet.

by changing her diet, she had changed her entire health profile .. simply by adding meat.  changing to a vegetarian lifestyle as an adult and being raised that way are, apparently, very different.

do we need meat?  red meat?  my experience says yes.  but the word 'need' is very subjectively interpretable.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

But They&rsquo;re Dumb&hellip; (none / 0) (#386)
by Robert Uhl on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 11:39:58 PM EST

For some people their ethical values make it impossible to eat animals for food.

But those ethical values are almost always stupid. If we are no better than beasts (that is, they are equal to us), then since they eat one another, we should feel free to do the same. If we are above them, then since animals eat that which is below them then once again we should feel free to do the same.

I’m a vegetarian/vegan slightly more than half the year, but not for silly ethical concerns about animals.

[ Parent ]

Did you know (2.91 / 12) (#63)
by Everett True on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 09:26:29 AM EST

Did you know that there is a gene in the human body, discovered a few months ago, that makes it better able to deal with certain prion build ups that can be caused by cannibalism? That's right, the human body has *evolved* to be able to eat the flesh of other humans. And yet, few would argue that this is a moral justification for doing so.

In the end, arguments based on the "nature" of human beings are worthless, in this regard. Yes, we have evolved to eat meat. We've also evolved to be a lot of other things quite easily, and not all of them are morally acceptable in this day and age.

The only fundamental fact about being human is that, unlike animals, we can reject and even control our base urges and our "nature" and evolution and behave in a - gosh - civilised manner.

All this is certainly not to say that I am a vegetarian. I enjoy eating meat, but I think the honest argument, as you touch upon but don't stay consistent with, is to reject any nonsense about the nature of human beings and stick with the simple fact that animals are dumb brutes entirely under our Dominion, and that we can use them for what we will, within certain ethical boundaries perhaps, when we have that luxury.

Other arguments fall into the same trap as those emotional vegetarians.

Today is gonna be the day that they're gonna throw it back to you!
[ Parent ]

canibalism (none / 1) (#225)
by ceejayoz on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:59:20 AM EST

The meat of herbivores is better tasting than that of omnivores and carnivores. Eating a human isn't going to be as good as eating a nice corn-fed Omaha steak. Canibalism also harms human society (considering you're killing humans for food...), whereas eating cows doesn't, unless you ask PETA about it.

[ Parent ]
Ugh, corn fed? (none / 1) (#293)
by Sanction on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:53:12 PM EST

I think you are generally correct about the taste of herbivore meat, but I must admit to being a bit leery of the taste of someone who thinks corn-fed is a positive trait.

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]
We evolved for a lot of diets (3.00 / 12) (#123)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:44:46 PM EST

Which is probably why we're such omnivores. Evolution has been pretty hard on homonids over the past five million years or so, and most of our relatives didn't make it. We survived the fat and happy years of plenty of fruit and the occasional chunk of monkey meat. Some of us learned how to get yummy termites out of a stump by stripping a stick and poking it in. When the volcanoes started happening and the climate dried up, we survived a long time eating practically nothing but bone marrow. We survived in deserts by digging up tubers. Some of us moved north and survived cold winters with almost nothing but what squirted out of our domesticated animals or the animals themselves. We even survived argriculture and grain production, something not at all part of the natural diet of our relatives. We survived eating cabbage long enough to turn it into broccoli and cauliflower by artificial selection.

We're adaptable little bastards. For all one can criticize this or that modern diet, I don't see it putting much of a dent in the population.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Needs to be stronger (2.85 / 7) (#140)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:57:06 PM EST

While the general point of your comment is well taken, there is still a point that needs to be made much more strongly: Natural selection is not teleological. Contrary to the way everybody keeps talking about it, homo sapiens (nor any other species) did not "evolve to be omnivorous", or evolve to be anything in particular. The standard way of talking about this sort of stuff, which takes species as if they are supposed to be some particular way, simply fails to give the proper weight to environmental factors (and to purely contingent events that impact fitness, for that matter).

So the way of talking that you use in your subject line, saying that homo sapiens "evolved for a lot of diets" is frankly detrimental to your point. You should simply say that if the range of diets that people can survive on were much narrower, there are a lot of environments that they would haven't been able to live on. (And it sounds like natural selection "foresaw" that homo sapiens would come to live in a bunch of unexpected environments.)

--em
[ Parent ]

That's covered by natural selection (none / 5) (#151)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 08:15:05 PM EST

You should simply say that if the range of diets that people can survive on were much narrower, there are a lot of environments that they would haven't been able to live on.

Natural selection works primarily by killing anything that can't cope. It secondarily works by making it so that anything that can't cope doesn't get to reproduce. I would have thought this was obvious. But you're probably right; this is Kuro5hin after all.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not k5: the culture at large (none / 5) (#153)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:06:36 PM EST

But you're probably right; this is Kuro5hin after all.

This is a problem with the culture at large-- natural selection is seen as providing the "design" for how species are supposed to live. In the case of e.g. vegetarianism, you get people arguing that our species "evolved to" eat meat, and therefore that a good diet should have meat. Or wackier things, like some of the arguments put foward for the Paleo Diet.

--em
[ Parent ]

Which, of course, is stupid (none / 3) (#156)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:39:36 PM EST

Natural selection doesn't "design" for shit.

But we're still shaped by it. I've tried a vegetarian diet several times. I just can't hack it. Of cource, I have a 6-8 hour gut, compared to the average human 24-hour gut. I ascribe it to my Bavarian ancestry. My father had it, and my mother still has it. And eating the foods beloved of vegetarians only makes it worse.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
veggie cuisine is asian (none / 2) (#159)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 10:02:20 PM EST

And eating the foods beloved of vegetarians only makes it worse.

Which vegetarians are you talking about? I hope it's not the ABOMINABLE "health food" types that AngloUSians associate with vegetarianism... For me, vegetarian cuisine is an Asian phenomenon.

--em
[ Parent ]

American/European vegetarians (none / 2) (#160)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:25:32 PM EST

That's what I'm talking about. The sort of tofu-in-everything, undercooked beans and shredded carrots kind of crap.

Indians, on the other hand, know their stuff. I still can't live on it, but it doesn't cause massive gut acceleration. Well, except for the hot peppers, but I'm used to those. And it sure is tasty from time to time


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
epepke knows all that (none / 2) (#216)
by speek on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:37:24 AM EST

But taking the intentional stance to explain his point made it much easier for him to write it and us to understand it. Hell, sometimes even I talk about people "choosing" this and "wanting" that even though it's perfectly obvious that we are just machines doing what we do. It's just easier to get points across without being so tedious as to be technically correct in every detail.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

sir (none / 0) (#351)
by Battle Troll on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 03:55:07 PM EST

even though it's perfectly obvious that we are just machines doing what we do.

U R a genius 4ever!
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

gah (none / 0) (#379)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 09:54:40 PM EST

Hell, sometimes even I talk about people "choosing" this and "wanting" that even though it's perfectly obvious that we are just machines doing what we do.

I guess I'm not responsible then if I kill you for saying that. I mean, other than in the lame sense where "responsibility" is a distributed deterministic process across the many molecules that make up "people" in the "society" where "I" would "kill" "you".

--em
[ Parent ]

and we want "responsibility" to exist (none / 0) (#395)
by speek on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 09:15:04 AM EST

So therefore, it must exist.

I wouldn't hold you accountable for killing me - no more than I would hold you accountable for your pedantic posts.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#398)
by Battle Troll on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 12:09:22 PM EST

You've philosophized yourself into a collection of conditioned responses taking place among an assortment of organic molecules. And you did it all by yourself. Congratulations.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#400)
by speek on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 01:09:12 PM EST

If I can philosophize myself into it, I can philosophize myself out again. Or wait, maybe philosophy's just words and thoughts and can't change reality?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

heh, ^2 (none / 0) (#408)
by Battle Troll on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 05:56:30 PM EST

maybe philosophy's just words and thoughts and can't change reality

If you don't think that thoughts and words have ever changed 'reality,' your idea of 'reality' is terminally stupid.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

ok Mr. Geller (none / 0) (#414)
by speek on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 09:27:20 PM EST

Let me know when you've succeeded.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

joke's on you (none / 0) (#415)
by Battle Troll on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 10:00:45 PM EST

My words altered your reality by making you reply.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
You need to say that different. (none / 0) (#422)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:16:45 AM EST

You should try it this way:
You've philosophized yourself into a collection of ...
And you should add something in the lines of "And of course, you did it from that place outside of the world where you can say what the world is."

Don't thank me for this argument, BTW. I'm inclined to thank Merleau-Ponty more than anybody else, but maybe it's Descartes, after all.

--em
[ Parent ]

sir (none / 0) (#430)
by Battle Troll on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 11:57:41 AM EST

While you're quite correct, my point isn't that speek's argument is contrary to logic; it's that speek's argument denies his own humanity.

Merleau-Ponty is quite something, yeah.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

and... (none / 0) (#435)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:14:33 PM EST

my point isn't that speek's argument is contrary to logic; it's that speek's argument denies his own humanity.

...which is a prerequisite for it to be an "argument" at all...

--em
[ Parent ]

heh, no kidding (none / 0) (#438)
by Battle Troll on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:34:00 PM EST

Amazing how the g**ks are absolutely enslaved by Enlightenment rhetoric and "philosophy" - that is to say, they're at least 300 years out of date. Mock him ever they may, even old C S Lewis had their number on the free will issue. But that's part of being a g**k; philosophy is only instrumental (to promote libertarianism and Lunix,) not a worthy end in itself.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
300 years out of date? (none / 0) (#446)
by speek on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 10:37:37 PM EST

I'm not the one clinging to a discredited Cartesian dualism.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Who said he was? (none / 0) (#450)
by gzt on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 11:19:08 AM EST

You're the one who brought it up.

[ Parent ]
he said he was (none / 0) (#465)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 09:13:08 AM EST

Right here.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

That doesn't imply... (none / 0) (#468)
by gzt on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 09:58:00 AM EST

...he's promoting Cartesian dualism, it's acknowledging a debt to Descartes.

[ Parent ]
more specifically... (none / 0) (#472)
by gzt on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 02:31:31 PM EST

...a discredited Cartesian dualism. While the dualism promoted by Descartes may be a bit shaky [perhaps even discredited], his dualism is not necessarily Descartes' dualism or a Cartesian dualism. This is clear enough.

[ Parent ]
lots of philosophers (none / 0) (#475)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 04:25:22 PM EST

Have made the error of promoting Cartesian dualism while thinking they weren't. And lot's have tried to remove dualism from Cartesian philosophy without losing what they liked about it, and failed.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

while this is true... (none / 0) (#478)
by Battle Troll on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:12:40 PM EST

Our experience demands that there exist a "mind" which is not completely determined and conditioned by a universal mechanistic system. Your strict, deterministic materialism is even less creditable that a Cartesian dualism, on prima facie grounds (it denies the existence of any mind in the sense that a mind is free.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
prima facie (none / 0) (#481)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:34:34 PM EST

Our intuitions, even about what our experience demands, are entirely capable of being completely wrong.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

oh, I get it (none / 0) (#486)
by Battle Troll on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 08:27:06 AM EST

You don't read the posts you reply to.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
You got it wrong (none / 0) (#473)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 03:04:31 PM EST

And the fact that I cited Merleau-Ponty-- an anti-dualist if there ever was one-- should have prevented your mistake.

It's not an issue of mind that I'm bringing up, it's one of subjectivity. Crudely put, the argument is that all discourse presupposes subjectivity (hell, intersubjectivity, I should say, or even more, a cultural world), and reductive materialism leaves no place for subjectivity (or the rest of the things I cited as better alternatives).

The Cartesian cogito is a skeptical argument that (among other things) claims to establish the priority of a subjective starting point in knowledge. The fact that it is dualist is an additional fact, from this perspective.

--em
[ Parent ]

Merleau-Ponty (none / 0) (#474)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 04:20:56 PM EST

Merleau-Ponty made a gallant attempt to extricate the beloved Cartesian concept of self from the dualism inherent in that philosophy. He failed. Thus, IMO, an appeal to Merleau-Ponty is an appeal to dualism, of the Cartesian variety.

You'll have to do a lot more to explain what you mean by "discourse presupposes subjectivity". What is discourse? What is subjectivity? Can you explain these terms without assuming intentionality?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

speaking of Cartesian dualism (none / 0) (#458)
by Battle Troll on Sun Oct 19, 2003 at 11:51:34 AM EST

Are you seriously suggestion that materialistic determinism is an advance over it?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
let me put it this way (none / 0) (#466)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 09:17:50 AM EST

The materialistic determinist is more likely to provide a solution that works, to a problem that needs solving.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#469)
by Battle Troll on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 10:21:19 AM EST

The materialistic determinist is more likely to provide a solution that works, to a problem that needs solving.

Yeah, his intervention is foreordained.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

no counter arguments here (none / 0) (#437)
by speek on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:32:36 PM EST

speek's argument denies his own humanity

But that does not prove the argument false. Just like a snide remark about not being responsible for killing me does not prove the argument false.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

you don't get it (none / 0) (#439)
by Battle Troll on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:53:10 PM EST

If your argument is true, then by that very fact its truth value will not be possible for us to meaningfully assess.

Why don't you go back to dividing by zero?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#445)
by speek on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 10:32:01 PM EST

It all depends on what you consider "meaningful". Wishful thinking does little to convince me you or I have free will.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

consider: (none / 0) (#451)
by Battle Troll on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 11:28:28 AM EST

Let's imagine a hypothetical proposition in physics, which if it were true, could never be proved. Would physicists bother discussing it once this property became clear? So why should philosophers?

I can't prove that we're not all a bunch of brains floating in jars, dude, just like the Matrix. Just think, it could be real!!1! But that speculation is a philosophical dead letter. Professional philosophers may explore it, but they don't put any credit in it.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

which way is up? (none / 0) (#464)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 09:12:23 AM EST

It seems clear to me that it's a matter of how you approach the problem - from one direction, the proposition of free will seems analogous to speculating about brains in the jars, and from the other direction, complete determinism is the analogous speculation.

But, in the world of science and investigation of the nature of reality, it has been highly successful for people to assume determinism - to assume things work by identifiable rules and that those rules don't get broken. This remains true even when the subject of investigation is ourselves.

Materialistic determinism isn't so much a proposition being investigated in physics as it is an approach, an assumption, that we use to build an understanding of the universe.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

why do you insist on being part of the problem? (none / 0) (#470)
by Battle Troll on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 10:23:48 AM EST

it has been highly successful for people to assume determinism - to assume things work by identifiable rules and that those rules don't get broken

That's not determinism, of course. You know it, I know it, but thousands of kurobots don't know it.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

it's a form of determinism (none / 0) (#476)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 04:29:11 PM EST

What's your complaint now?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

that's not determinism at all (none / 0) (#477)
by Battle Troll on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:07:59 PM EST

You're mistaking a scientific axiom for a scientific law. Yes, things must work mechanically under ordinary circumstances for the scientific method to be viable. No, that's not determinism (determinism would be established only if it could be proven that all things everywhere inevitable work exclusively mechanically - something which doesn't exactly suggest a ready proof.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
oh, I get it now (none / 0) (#480)
by speek on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:30:30 PM EST

You don't read the posts you reply to.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

you're talking about this? (none / 0) (#485)
by Battle Troll on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 08:26:39 AM EST

Materialistic determinism isn't so much a proposition being investigated in physics as it is an approach, an assumption, that we use to build an understanding of the universe.

You're saying that while determinism may be philosophically bankrupt, it's a scientifically necessary fiction. While this may be true, it's hardly an argument for shoring up the philosophical foundations of determinism - which, by the way, you are consistently conflating with materialism to the detriment f both.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

no, I wouldn't say that (none / 0) (#487)
by speek on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 09:56:54 AM EST

philosophical bankruptcy is a mostly irrelevant concept. About all you can demonstrate with logic and abstract reasoning is that a concept is inconsistent with itself, which determinism is not. Beyond that, determining the truth or reality of an idea, requires you go out into the real world and check it. Purely "a priori" philosophical investigations into a question about reality are useless.

As far as materialism and determinism, I'm entirely willing to drop the determinism part.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

are you suggesting (none / 0) (#436)
by speek on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:24:07 PM EST

that the only place from which one can comment about the world is outside it?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

argument doesn't go through (none / 0) (#421)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:09:07 AM EST

We want a deterministic world devoid of first-person phenomena to exist; therefore, it must exist.

--em
[ Parent ]

And there's another problem. (none / 0) (#423)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:23:06 AM EST

[...] it's perfectly obvious that we are just machines doing what we do.

How exactly do you intende to reconcile the fact that this statement is enormously controversial with your claim that it's "perfectly obvious"?

I'll spare you for now giving us the truth-conditions for the predicate "X is a machine".

--em
[ Parent ]

well (none / 1) (#447)
by speek on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 10:49:35 PM EST

It's perfectly obvious to me. What a silly question. Did you not see that part of my post as a humorous little expansion on the idea that one can use the language of intention to describe events that (one believes) lack intentionality, in order to communicate a point?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

OT question for em (none / 0) (#248)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:54:50 AM EST

Pardon the intrusion, but I wrote a diary entry about a week back in the hope that you were lurking out there somewhere. Alas, you didn't respond. Any recommendations for a good introduction to Davidson in general and truth-theoretic semantics in particular?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Common sense: meat is expensive. (none / 2) (#199)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:35:35 AM EST

Humans, interpreted as "holly shit, we just were monkeys a few thousend years ago" could not have been omnivores with a mostly carnivore slant.

Look at us: we are mostly harmless creatures on our own, we could possibly not kill anything with our bare hands, not even a fucking squirrel. Thus  reason dictates that we were mostly vegetarians, that was easy to do and our closest relatives (chimps, gorillas, bonobos) do likewise.

The meat got included most probably from scavenging, specially bone marrow from what was left by other stronger scavengers like hyenas. That is hell of a little meat once in a very while, our teeth clearly  point to that: small canines, good enough to rip meat appart from a carcass, useless as a hunter's tool.

We are close enough to vegetarianism that we can afford to become vegetarians without serious health issues. Try that with a lion or a bear. The beasr case is specially interesting because that is an animal that is omnivore but mainly vegetarian: bears must eat meat, loads of it, or the would be toast in the winter, but they are happy to much fruits and grass. We don't behave like that, if we eat only meat our health  would deteriorate fast, if we become vegetariasn we can manage easily.

So nope, I don't think your assertions regarding this are correct, informed or even logical.


Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Bears, mostly carnivores. (none / 1) (#200)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:37:23 AM EST

Soory for the mishap above....

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
So Explain (none / 2) (#278)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:37:00 PM EST

Innu. Their diet is almost totally meat. No vegetables, until explorers introduced them to veggies a few hundred years ago.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Debunking all the outrageousness (1.33 / 18) (#67)
by Hide The Hamster on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 10:18:08 AM EST

Your research into the SAD or "Standard American Diet" is fatally flawed. For display, below is a "food pyramid" which deatails the "SAD" as you so coarsely put it:
        /\
       / 1\
      /----\
     /  2|3 \
    /--------\
   /    4|5   \
  /------------\
 /       6      \
/________________\


6: 6-11 servings. This is the grains group, the base carbohydrate food group that supplies you with a more readily available energy source. Breads, cereals, et cetera. Most of these wonderful products come from America's plentiful midwest "breadbasket".
5: 2-4 servings. The fruit group provides necessary vitamins, sugar and fibre. The best fruits from around the world come from the Florida orange and grapefruit groves, Washington and Colorado apple orchards, the peach and nectarine trees of Georgia and the Carolinas. Let us not forget the delicious lime and avocado trees of California. Second to none, completely unfettered and delicious.
4: 3-5 servings. The vegetable group is your major daily source for vitamins and minerals. It's no surprise that the average young American is visibly taller, more muscular, and comparatively more statuesque when lined up with the same age group in other nations. Extra consumption of the necessary growth minerals results in more generally useful gentle American giants. And the most startling blow to your argument that the "SAD" is without vegetables, is that just one serving of vegetables either includes a full cup of leafy greens, slightly compresses, or one-half cup of cooked vegetables. Be they Mississippi green beans or peas, golden weather-resistant Nebraska corn, or Alabama romain lettuce.
3: 2-3 servings. The dairy group provides you with your daily requirement of essential life-giving complex sugars. Largely debunked are the claims made by extremist groups such as PETA that it is not in the natural order for humans to consume dairy. Pitifully flawed.
2: 2-3 servings. The meat group. This is perhaps the most obvious contradiction to your argument. The "SAD" would seem to promote a disproportionate amount of vegetable consumption in comparison. This is due to the tireless effort of extremist Marxist groups like PETA, which lobby against ranchers, creating a hostile atmosphere and hampering the free market. 1: Oils and fats. Miniscule presence in almost any food. May be essentially ignored. Only appears due to extremist lobbyists and their sympathetic California representatives.

So, clearly you have not made the case for at least that section of your argument.


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

that's normative, not standard (none / 2) (#69)
by danharan on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 10:48:19 AM EST

Standard is what people actually eat, and it's a far way off from what you describe. Certainly, following that pyramid would be much healthier.

Not for everyone, however. This diet won't do as a one-sized fits all. Many ethnic groups do not have a history of eating dairy, and consequently many can not digest it. If you're like me, it doesn't cause a problem, but most of the people of Native North-American, African and Asian descent don't seem to handle it very well.

[ Parent ]

Politics in the pyramid (3.00 / 4) (#76)
by IHCOYC on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:06:21 PM EST

The most obvious political fiddling with your pyramid is the unusual prominence it gives to starches and grains. If the notion behind the Atkins diet is sound --- and a widely publicised study suggests that it has at least some merit --- then these foods ought to be much less prominent. The producers of grains are of course quite well politically organised and their voice speaks loud in Washington. It's no wonder the government wants you to eat more wheat and corn.

My own æsthetic preferences dissuade me from endorsing any system that requires that people do bookkeeping with their food. I don't know much about the dietary science behind this, but the anthropology is intriguing. The introduction of grain based agriculture almost everywhere heralds evidence of more widespread diseases and evidence of poor nutrition in human remains found at archaeological sites. Nomads and hunter-gatherers seemed to be healthier, judging by their skeletons. This may be due to factors in addition to the change in diet coming from mass agriculture --- the denser the population, the more diseases they catch --- but the diet seemed definitely to have something to do with it. Other negative social changes, such as the appearance of sacrificial religions and social hierarchies with clearly defined haves and have-nots, are also associated with the introduction of grain agriculture.
 --
Luce extincta, periculum minus: adsumus, oblectemur!
Stultus me sentio ac pestifer: adsumus, oblectemur!

[ Parent ]

I agree wholeheartedly. (none / 2) (#78)
by Hide The Hamster on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:10:14 PM EST

The railing against the proud meat ranchers of America is a disgrace. Pork bills and special-interest programs will be the death of us all.


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

[ Parent ]
Dept. of Agriculture is revamping the food pyramid (3.00 / 5) (#87)
by kestrel13 on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 01:42:52 PM EST

I heard on NPR recently that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is revamping the food pyramid to move away from the emphasis on carbohydrates. While they don't plan on swinging totally in the other direction of the Atkins diet, they are going to place the most emphasis on vegetable and fruits instead of the grains, which are quite possibly largely responsible for making many Americans obese. Links to the NPR audio: here and here.

[ Parent ]
what about the empty calories of processed foods.. (none / 1) (#237)
by infinitera on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:48:22 AM EST

And the extra large portions? ;) I don't think all the blame can be placed on grains.

[ Parent ]
The natural order of dairy. (none / 3) (#133)
by AnimalChin on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:25:35 PM EST

I eat dairy foods once in a great while. But I would love to see compelling evidence that it is "natural" for adult organisms of any sort to consume milk. Seriously, this is just idiotic.

Please cite one of these studies debunking my "pitifully flawed" position.

Have you seen him?
[ Parent ]

And in addition to that..... (none / 0) (#347)
by DJTiesto on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 02:24:59 PM EST

What could possibly be natural about humans consuming the milk from a cow?

[ Parent ]
And in addition to that..... (none / 0) (#393)
by Madvax on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 07:36:07 AM EST

What could be unnatural about that ?

[ Parent ]
Because... (none / 0) (#396)
by DJTiesto on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 11:23:19 AM EST

The purpose of milk is to provide proper nourishment to young offspring.  

Are you a baby cow?  If not, explain why you think it is natural for you to drink cow milk.

[ Parent ]

I was a vegetarian for 3 years (2.27 / 18) (#68)
by Kirsten on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 10:24:38 AM EST

My hope was to eat a healthier diet. It was slow going, but I eventually learned to eat better. Then I realized that one can eat meat without compromising one's health. This is when I decided to swith back to a healthier version of my pre-vegetarian diet.

This has simplified my life enormously without compromising my health. The biggest obstacle was my ego: "people will think I'm weak and have had caved into meat".


:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Research Based Suggestions for a Happier Life

I've had different experiences. (2.18 / 33) (#91)
by Kasreyn on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 03:35:07 PM EST

While there are some militant vegetarians, most don't think they're superior, or even give a damn that you're eating meat, that you enjoy it, or think you could never live without it. Most won't say "moo" when you're having that steak or hamburger. They are not a threat, so why do some people feel the need to justify their choices? Can't we just "eat and let eat"?

Actually, in my experience, 9 out of every 10 vegetarians I've met have been trendy, stuck-up assholes who are only interested in making themselves feel morally superior to me for eating meat. The other one was usually doing it to get into the pants/panties of a vegan of the opposite gender, or to appease vegan parents.

You also frequently allude to the "rationality" of vegetarianism and the "irrationality" of meat-eating. Please support these claims with proof, otherwise they just make you sound like an idiot.

Our knowledge of diet is too imperfect to make many final statements about what is best for the human body - and we may soon be able to accurately measure what is best for a specific individual.

Exactly MY point when I talk to vegans. We didn't design the human body, Nature or God or space aliens or who knows what did. We can no more decide what fuel is proper for human beings than we can decide to fill our cars up with Mountain Dew instead of unleaded gasoline one day and expect them to work.

I also don't understand this silly notion that vegans are somehow "saving the planet" by not eating meat. First off, it's outright arrogant. The planet is doing fine, has been doing fine, and will continue to do fine no matter WHAT human beings do. We are completely incapable of either harming or defending this planet, so put all notions of it out of your head. 'What about Global Warming!?', you say? Global Warming is just part of Earth's climate self-adjustment system kicking into gear to wipe us out before we can do any real damage. Earth will wipe us out and restore balance in a few dozen million years, which is less than a gnat's fart in the lifetime of a planet. And it will be as if humans never lived. So please, don't trot out this "saving the planet" garbage. It's arrogant and silly in the extreme, and it just makes me laugh.

As to animals dying for man, even if you aren't religious and don't believe in man being given dominion over animals by God, there is still IMO quite good reason not to bother eschewing meat. My philosophy goes like this: I eat; I will be eaten. Yes, eaten. What we call "rot" or "decay" is actually your corpse being devoured by worms and fungi to recycle your energy back into the food chain. I also happen to sit at the top of the food chain, due to nothing more than my luck at having been born human. As such, I have never seen the slightest moral qualms in an animal being killed for my meal. Death comes to us all, and we're all going to be worm food someday, if not food for something higher up the chain than that.

Besides, I believe in trusting my body. Hasn't let me down yet. I eat when I'm hungry, not when society says it's time. As much as possible to schedule it, I try to sleep only when sleepy, and for as long as my body tells me to. When it says eat meat, I do that, too. I don't waste my time second-guessing 10-million-year-old instincts which are *very* well-honed to the task of convincing stupid apes like us to get proper shelter, rest, and nutrition. The instincts are there to protect and guide me, seems silly to ignore or fight them.

More importantly, vegetarianism has a very high social cost.

This is because the rest of us think they're fucking wacko, and put pressure on them to go back to eating healthy omnivorous diets.

I've tried to understand the reasons for this social cost, even to vegetarians that don't want to make a big deal of their diet.

I have never met one of these. Ever. Any other k5ers care to weigh in on this one? Does the "Unobstrusive Vegan" truly exist, or are they somewhere between the Jabberwock and Snipe in rarity?

Anyway, the short snappy remark I'm sure someone had already used: if Nature didn't intend me to eat cows, why do they taste like meat?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
A few points (2.50 / 6) (#98)
by spasticfraggle on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 03:06:37 AM EST

Agree with lots of what you wrote. Eating meat is not irrational (AFAIKS)
  • We're completely incapable of harming the planet? Are you mad?! Is your definition of harm so strong that nuking the entire planet doesn't count as harm? Even if the Greenhouse gases theory is incorrect, it seems a little hopeful to say we can't harm the planet. Why don't we just dump all the radioactive waste out at sea then? Or in a field somewhere. Not in containers, just on the ground? Sure the rocky part of the planet will be around afterwards. Is that all that counts?
  • I don't think vegetarianism has a high social cost ('round our way in any case). Most people don't think vegetarians are "fucking wacko". But that does explain why you only seem to have met asshole vegetarians. I mean, if I knew somebody who thought I was a "fucking wacko" for not eating meat, I wouldn't want to spend much time around them. It's so intolerant. But if I liked to be all "in your face" and confrontational about it, I'd certainly make my voice heard I suspose.
  • Unobtrusive vegans, and vegetarians certainly exist. In cultures where they aren't ridiculed and taunted about it. The loonyness of some vegans is perhaps a response to some peoples intolerance of their decision. For others it's just their "cause" that they have chosen to be vocal about.
  • if Nature didn't intend me to eat cows, why do they taste like meat? And if Nature didn't intend me to rape and pillage, why does it feel so good? If it feels good, then Nature must have intended it, and if Nature intended it, ooh, I better go and do it.


--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
Replies to points (2.75 / 4) (#115)
by Kasreyn on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 12:56:31 PM EST

1. Yes. We ARE completely incapable of harming the planet in any lasting manner. Yes, we could nuke the surface. So? It's not even a tenth of one percent of Earth's total mass. Even if we used every nuke we have, Earth would probably recover in a hundred million years or two. Still not all that long to a planet. And again, it will be as if we had never existed.

Let me rephrase for maximum clarity: we are capable of destroying ourselves, and of destroying 99% of Earth's biomass. And that's about it. The reason we don't dump radioactive waste is, it will kill US. Radioactivity doesn't bother planets, in fact it spurs mutation and evolution.

2. Like I said, I've mostly encountered militant vegans. My opinion of vegetarianism has been shaped by my fundamental belief that it's trendy foolishness, and that the people practising it all seem to be assholes. I can only go on my experiences. Perhaps I was wrong to try to speak for all other non vegetarians, though.

3. Well put.

4. Nature would have no problem with you raping and pillaging! Survival of the fittest, after all. However, society does have a problem with it, and will jail or even execute you for it if you do. My point? Eating meat is an urge one can obey without harming society, being a cannibal or raping people is an urge which harms society. Society functions by placing restrictions on our individual urges and wants for the betterment of the group. However, this has nothing to do with a person's choice of diet that I can see, thus drawing a parallel between eating meat and cannibalism or rape is senseless.

A proposed rule of thumb: Where a natural instinct of man does not conflict with the safety and well being of others, he should be allowed to fulfill it.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
it's all subjective. (none / 4) (#148)
by MX5 on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:33:30 PM EST

1. Yes. We ARE completely incapable of harming the planet in any lasting manner. Yes, we could nuke the surface. So? It's not even a tenth of one percent of Earth's total mass. Even if we used every nuke we have, Earth would probably recover in a hundred million years or two. Still not all that long to a planet. And again, it will be as if we had never existed.


I don't really care about 100 million years time, I'm only here for the next 50-odd years. So as far as I am concerned, "saving the planet" == "the planet still being nice for me to be on in 50 years time".

It's clear that a vegetarian diet is more efficient in terms of land usage - so won't someone THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
eat yer greens - thanks.
M

"Next week on the programme, bats. Are they really blind or are they just taking the piss?" -tfs
[ Parent ]
Mooo! ^_^ (none / 1) (#195)
by spasticfraggle on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:29:16 AM EST

1. Agreed. However I think you are being extremely disingenuous. Whilst that is a valid definition of "destroying the planet", when vegans have claimed to be helping to "save the planet" (or that non-vegans are helping to destroy it), I don't believe that they meant it in the "death star" destruction sense. I don't believe you thought they meant that either. ^_^

2. Maybe just bad luck. As my experiences are the complete opposite of yours, everything evens out in the end. Hooray! ^_^

4 & the rule of thumb. This is the heart of it, and ethical vegetarians (I mean those who are vegetarians for ethical reasons) probably agree with it. However, they include animals in the "others". At least, this is as far as I understand it.

The classical liberal rules of "freedom insofar as it does not infringe the freedom of others" can easily be used whilst including animals in the equation. "Do animals have (natural) rights?" is an important question (ok, it becomes a more important question if the answer is "yes" than "no"). Unfortunately, it's largly a premise.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

As a quiet ovo-lacto veggie.... (none / 2) (#250)
by gte910h on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:19:57 PM EST

I would have to say I agree that most vegans that I know as such are militant pricks that are assholes.

Then again, I only slowly find out people that I know are vegetarians. The quiet normal ones don't really find occasion to bring up the fact they don't eat meat until you order a food on which meat is standard.

Dating is a little bizzare for the other person if you don't pick your resturant carefully for the first couple, but after that, they realize the veggie thing is no big deal. I would have to say my beer allergy (tragically, I can only have one about every 6 weeks or so or stomach pain insues) has been much more noticeable to people than my veg diet. Then again, I can eat at almost any resturant besides certain seafood resturants and Wendys.

Unfortunately, just like with libertarians, the vocal ones are shameful and silly, where the reasonable ones are normal folks with a well reasoned life.

[ Parent ]

If Nature didn't intend me to eat people (2.62 / 8) (#100)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:15:35 AM EST

Why are they made out of meat?

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Er.... (2.55 / 9) (#107)
by loveaxelrod on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:35:43 AM EST

Does the "Unobstrusive Vegan" truly exist

How would you know if they are "unobstrusive". I have yet to met any vegetarian/vegan who has gone on about it or made a big deal over it. I have, however, met plenty of meat eaters who are vocal on their hatred of vegetarians/vegans.
------------------
He's got his eye on the gold chain, that the next man's wearing
[ Parent ]

fundamental mistake (2.14 / 7) (#155)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:24:42 PM EST

We didn't design the human body, Nature or God or space aliens or who knows what did. We can no more decide what fuel is proper for human beings than we can decide to fill our cars up with Mountain Dew instead of unleaded gasoline one day and expect them to work.

You assume there is a proper, determinate way that human beings should eat, instead of the much more reasonable alternative that diet choice is inextricably tied up with preferences and value judgements that vary across and within cultures.

--em
[ Parent ]

They didn't teach you about the Food Groups (1.75 / 3) (#170)
by Kasreyn on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:32:17 AM EST

when you were a kid?

Maybe I'm weird, but I was awake during this thing called "Health Class". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a health food nut and I thought the class was malarkey. But I remember the point being clearly made that humans need meat, breads, vegetables, dairy products (for those of us who can digest them), and perhaps some sweets, as part of the holy grail called a "Balanced Diet".

This was not my assumption, this was my education, faulty as it may be.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Meat isn't a food group (none / 2) (#223)
by Homburg on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:55:59 AM EST

While it's true that humans need certain foods to survive (and I don't think saying this is unacceptably culturally imperialist), you don't need to eat meat. Meat is in the 'protein' food group, but you can get all the amino acids necessary to synthesise protein from vegetables. It is important, though, if you're a vegetarian, to eat a range of vegetables, pulses and (if you're not a vegan) animal products like cheese, because not all vegetables contain all amino acids.

[ Parent ]
The one that was paid for by the meat industry? (none / 1) (#384)
by flamingweasel on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 11:19:38 PM EST

Yeah, I learned that one too.

[ Parent ]
Oh, come on... (none / 1) (#387)
by epepke on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 01:09:11 AM EST

Every purveyor of foodstuffs has an industry. If it isn't the Meat Industry, it's the Corn Industry or the Wheat Industry or the Soybean Industry.

I'd guess that, right now, there's a lobbyist for Deaf Smith County in Washington waiting for her knock-off of a Coco Chanel suit to get pressed by the hotel.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Oh god. (none / 1) (#420)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:05:05 AM EST

The "food groups", "pyramids" and all such other things don't do what you think they do for many reasons:
  1. First, you are talking as if these things were set in stone, when in fact (a) they are compromises between a wide range of opinions held by nutritionists, (b) these opinions are changing all the damn time anyway.
  2. Second, you are talking as if they were guided by an "objective" logic, when in fact they are guided by a "pragmatic" one. The goal is not to lay down the Truth about nutrition (and have it go over the head of the target audience); the goal is to efficiently get the target audience to eat a better diet than they would otherwise.
  3. Third, and related to the second point, you are assuming these things are culture-neutral. They are not. Tofu is a damn good source of protein, and this has been known for a long time, yet you don't see the "food groups" or "pyramid" going out of its way to recommend it. In fact, these instruments stick to foods that are familiar to the target audience; or should I say, culturally normative.

    Even if it were scientifically conceivable that a diet enormously different in ingredients, cooking techniques, etc., would be better for the target audience, this does not mean that they could realistically be expected to adopt it; i.e. most USians I know hate tofu, if they even know what it is.

    Likewise, if you think dietary recommendations packaged for another culture should look just like those made for USians, you should rethink that. E.g. in India there is a very large number of vegetarians, and a dietary guide for a general audience must take that into account; in Asia in general, vegetarian cuisine is much more developed and accepted, and the culturally appropriate food recommendations can take that for granted.


--em
[ Parent ]

Although you're trying to sound sarcastic (none / 1) (#383)
by levsen on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:55:04 PM EST

it's absolutely right. Because humans bodies don't vary accross cultures.


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[ Parent ]

I'm not trying to sound sarcastic at all (none / 1) (#419)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 03:53:09 AM EST

So you can go to hell if you keep up the "oh he's just trolling" treatment.

Human bodies do vary across cultures. Belieive it or not, there is a pretty good correlation between continent and skin color, though it breaks down for one particular landmass that Europeans populated with a mix of themselves and Africans. Oh, and Australia.

Less trivially than that (since I can hear you protest that modern genetics has shown that the genetic variation between "races" is no bigger that within a single "race"), human bodies aren't spontaneously, acontextually generated at conception by the DNA. They develop over many years in a complex interaction with the environment. In the case of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, this environment is cultural through and through. And bodies do develop differently in different cultures, even given the genetic unity of our species.

But that said, even if human bodies didn't vary across culture, my statements would still stand. Why? Because diet choice boils down to the notion of "health", health is irreducibly about human preferences, and people have different preferences within and across cultures. Classic examples are e.g. religious orders where people live on very meagre diets; some medieval Christian orders were like this. By our standards, some of these monks and nuns were anorexic and malnourished; but they did this out of an institutionalized preference. In simplistic terms, they prefer to please Deity than to eat more than they do.

You can disagree on the wisdom of those monks and nuns, but you can't demonstrate their diet to be suboptimal given their values.

--em
[ Parent ]

Paragraph 1 and 2 (none / 1) (#444)
by levsen on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 10:30:50 PM EST

are somewhat reasonable, I know that Asians are e.g. more often lactose intolerant than Caucasians (by DNA), and I'll believe you that a Hindu brought up as a vegetarian by their parents has somehow developed a meat intolerance. But I think these were not the concerns you wanted to address in your original comment, rather that what you are repeating in paragraph 3, and that's still utter bullshit.

A diet is good for people just because they believe in it?? You are still giving culture and religion too much credit. There is nothing supernatural about culture or religion that makes them right, magically defeating the biology of bodies and other natural science. Stop having so much respect for people's minds and opinions and start respecting nature.


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[ Parent ]

don't be simplistic (none / 1) (#454)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 09:39:23 PM EST

A diet is good for people just because they believe in it??

This is an excessively simplistic way of recasting what I said; it abstracts away from the fact that people hold inconsistent beliefs. For example, person A might value X and mistakenly believe that diet Y will lead to X; thus, transitively, A believes that diet Y is good for her. But in a case of this sort it might be possible, staying within her belief system, to show her that diet Y isn't good for her.

Still, I await your marvelous insights on how to cast the concept of "good" so that it does not irreducibly involve belief.

--em
[ Parent ]

My marvelous insights (none / 1) (#460)
by levsen on Mon Oct 20, 2003 at 06:15:23 AM EST

Still, I await your marvelous insights on how to cast the concept of "good" so that it does not irreducibly involve belief.

My marvelous insights come from a serious dedication to scientific study over the course of several years. Although I didn't study the science of metabolism, I gained important general insight about the difference between scientists and "believers" and how it's hard to rescue the latter from floating in a sea of uncertainty.


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[ Parent ]

Have to second this (none / 3) (#166)
by MSBob on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:52:04 PM EST

Never met a vegan that wasn't on a crusade to rid the world of the meat eating menace.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Ok, I'll give you vegans (none / 2) (#215)
by Karmakaze on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:35:34 AM EST

But I've never met a vegetarian who was on a crusade to rid the world of the meat eating menace.

Possibly my experience was colored by the fact that some of the vegetarians I've known were from parts of the world where vegetarianism is more common.  (India, for example).  But still, the most strident any of my vegetarian friends get is a request that when we have group dinners, we make sure there's enough food there that everyone can eat.  (We usually default to vegetarian anyway, since we're accomodating a vegetarian and a person who keeps Kosher.)

I also have to modify that most of the vegans I have known, I knew in college, where every personal choice is a Crusade To Save The World.
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 2) (#300)
by MSBob on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:19:40 PM EST

Vegetarians are usually much less fussy than vegans. They rarely cause trouble and usually accept the "live and let live" rule when it comes to eating habits.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
You have some points (none / 5) (#241)
by Roamerick on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:19:19 AM EST

You are one of the VERY few people who seems to have clocked onto this basic fact:

I also don't understand this silly notion that vegans are somehow "saving the planet" by not eating meat. First off, it's outright arrogant. The planet is doing fine, has been doing fine, and will continue to do fine no matter WHAT human beings do. We are completely incapable of either harming or defending this planet, so put all notions of it out of your head. 'What about Global Warming!?', you say? Global Warming is just part of Earth's climate self-adjustment system kicking into gear to wipe us out before we can do any real damage. Earth will wipe us out and restore balance in a few dozen million years, which is less than a gnat's fart in the lifetime of a planet. And it will be as if humans never lived. So please, don't trot out this "saving the planet" garbage. It's arrogant and silly in the extreme, and it just makes me laugh.

Absolutely. Most of the people who keep going on about "saving the Earth" don't realise that. It's not the Earth that needs saving, it's us! The Earth's ecosystems will recover even following a nuclear holocaust, life will go on. Sure, the balance of power will be somewhat skewed in favour of cockroaches and scorpions but hey, nothing a few billion years of evolution won't fix.

The belief that we can do anything besides self-annihilating (and taking down a few thousand species with us in the process) is nothing but your classic human-centric arrogance. The "Earth" will be just fine without us. We need to start working on saving humanity!

Oh yeah and about the veggie thing... Humans are omnivores by nature, and our evolution has established hunter-gatherer behaviour as one of the basis for our society. Yet in these more "enlightened" times more and more people seem to believe that Vegetarianism (and its evil brother Veganism) are more "natural" ways to live, with complete disregard to our biological makeup.

Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to process all types of foods. Just because in the last few decades it's become more trendy not to eat meat, it doesn't change the fact that our bodies are still the same: biological evolution runs at a fraction of the rate of social evolution.

So, just because you won't die by renouncing meat, it doesn't mean it's a healthy choice. Cows' rights aside, vegetarianism is simply not what your body has evolved to live on.

The ideal diet, quite simply, is a bit of everything in moderation. Just like many other things in life.

[ Parent ]

I'm one (2.75 / 4) (#253)
by winthrop on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:53:21 PM EST

I'm a vegetarian.  I've been one my whole life, though the rest of my family isn't.  From a young age, I was a picky eater.  One of the things I refused to eat was meat.  Since then, I've expanded my diet to eat almost everything else (including eggs), but I still won't eat meat.

I don't give a shit if you eat vegetables or meat or Martians or whatever the hell you want, but still, many people have extreme reactions to my diet.  They tend to make bold, wrong assumptions about everything from my reasons for being vegetarian to my political affiliations just because I request the vegetarian meal.  Some people are jealous of me because they tried and failed to become vegetarians (a concept I find really silly), others are angry at me because I have to be so loud and militant because I congratulate the chef on how good the dishes I'm eating are.  I used to find it all rather confusing and amusing, now I'm just resigned to it.

[ Parent ]

lol (none / 3) (#270)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 02:38:20 PM EST

We are completely incapable of either harming or defending this planet,

So, I take it we can store our toxic waste at your house then?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Challenge (none / 2) (#312)
by R0O on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:09:06 AM EST

I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I did it because I was an athlete. When I decided I needed more in life than to bench way too much and weigh way too little, I quit being a vegetarian along with it. I had my reasons, and as stupid as they may sound to everyone else ... I had a good time. I'm now older and fatter and enjoy hamburgers and I still have a good time. I never gave ppl shit about being eating meat or not, and I didn't spend a nanosecond listening to ppl try to give me shit about my decisions. My whole point in saying all this was to try to meet your challenge of the "Unobtrusive Vegan" though technically, I wasn't a vegan, I was a lactos vegetarian. There is a differece but if your not one of them you probably don't give a rats arse so I'll spare you the details. Roo

[ Parent ]
Excellent response (n/t) (none / 1) (#382)
by levsen on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:48:58 PM EST


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[ Parent ]
not tasty? (2.75 / 8) (#101)
by dimaq on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:15:42 AM EST

not being a vegetarian, and having a tad of peer pressure (i.e. a cute vegie p.o.s.) at an unspecified university location where food was prepared by [pro?] staff, I tried the vegetarian option (tno sure if it was dairy-free though), and o my suprise it was way better than meat option.

I reckon the taste and overall quality of the dish depends on the skill of the cook, not on the content of the dish.

as for me I decided that I won't bother learning to cook meat dishes, rather, if I ever bother to learn cooking, I'll learn some nice vegie meals - after all half the populus can cook a good stake or something - I'd rather not be yet another cliche!

cheers

Apposite spelling mistake. (2.44 / 9) (#103)
by signifying nothing on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:31:05 AM EST

You describe the choice to be a vegetarian as "ascetic", when you obviously mean "aesthetic". However, I think the "ascetic" reason may be truer - I suspect many people give up meat to obtain a sense of virtue from self-denial.

sic: I meant ascetic (none / 3) (#119)
by danharan on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:25:05 PM EST

It really does seem like self-denial. My original reasons being health and the environment, I was ready to sacrifice for the change. I ended up learning to cook with more spices than most, so it became more aesthetic too, but that was later :)

[ Parent ]
Delicacies (2.80 / 10) (#104)
by nebbish on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 06:43:15 AM EST

I was vegetarian for a year a while back. I started eating meat again because I was missing out when it came to extra-special treats - oysters, lobster, really good steak or lamb, the list goes on. There is some very good vegetarian food that is much better than most meat you will eat on a day-to-day basis, but very few delicacies. I can only really think of truffles off hand.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

morels (2.80 / 5) (#124)
by dreadclown on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:53:38 PM EST

Try morels, especially if you can find them wild. I'm not normally a fan of mushrooms but morels are a tiny slice of heaven.

[ Parent ]
I've heard of these (none / 1) (#182)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:52:06 AM EST

But never tried them. I'll give them a try (along with fresh truffles. I've only ever had shavings of them in sauce, and I want the real thing!)

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Yeah, I know that... (1.80 / 5) (#145)
by baron samedi on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 05:59:59 PM EST

I was a vegetarian for a year, until one fateful night when I found myself illogically arguing to myself that pancetta was really not all that different than cheese, so I could eat it. That was the end of the vegetarian thing.

The alternative was too chilling. I don't like many vegetables, squash and eggplant make me gag, and every fucking vegetarian dish on the planet has fucking eggplant or squash in it.


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

nonsense (none / 3) (#154)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:19:22 PM EST

[...] every fucking vegetarian dish on the planet has fucking eggplant or squash in it.

Nonsense. Most veggie dishes don't have either of these. You know, I can't stand eggplant other than in Baba Ganoush, and I never had any problem steering clear of it when I was vegetarian. Hell, the typical veggie section in the menu of a Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area will have over a dozen items, only one of which is spicy eggplant.

--em
[ Parent ]

Eggplant was made for Baba Ghanouj (none / 2) (#163)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:34:09 PM EST

Really, it's so good in that an so bad in almost everything else, I don't see the point.

Although I have made a decent ratatoille with Spanish olives and hot peppers using eggplant, but still, it's just so much better in baba ghanouj.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Baba (none / 1) (#175)
by baron samedi on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 03:43:12 AM EST

I think that baba gannouj had to have been invented to make it palatable to the people who find its taste offensive.


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

OK. Yep. (none / 2) (#176)
by baron samedi on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 03:47:52 AM EST

Yes. You are correct, sir. Chinese places are probably the only places where you can get tolerable vegetarian dishes that don't involve eggplant.

Having worked in fine dining for a few years, I can always remember the afterthought vegetarian dishes that many chefs will deign to make. What do you always find in these? Fucking squash (and that includes zucchini/courgettes) and eggplant.

I was also trying to be funny, but that's wasted on many vegetarians, as it seems that the lack of animal flesh within their diets also makes them devoid of humor.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

Ummm.... (none / 1) (#239)
by gte910h on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:07:33 AM EST

...Italian Resturants
...Thai Resturants
...Shusi Bars(and they DO make ovo-lacto sushi)
...Indian Resturants

Are all simple as hell to eat at for an ol-veg.

[ Parent ]

Vegetarian delicacies? (3.00 / 8) (#152)
by epepke on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 08:38:07 PM EST

I can think of several off-hand.

  1. Deep-fried battered cloves of garlic.
  2. Baba Ghanouj
  3. A really nice falafel
  4. Sliced squash dredged in cracked pepper and roasted. (Seriously. I am a committed squash-hater, but even this is good.)
  5. Olives stuffed with jalapeno or habanero peppers and/or garlic
  6. Tabouleh. Don't use too much parsley!
  7. Marinated mushrooms
  8. Giardinera
  9. Hawaiian potato chips
  10. Kim Chee (the cabbage and onion and pear and hot pepper kind)
  11. Fried starch chips coated with Wasabi
  12. Those weird little Japanese bar snacks
  13. Any number of delicious alcoholic beverages, not to mention root beer and agua de jamiaca
  14. Fresh-cooked tortillas (if you haven't had these, you don't know what you're missing out on)
  15. Tempeh marinated in ginger, soy sauce, wine, and garlic, and stir-fried with vegetables

This is just the vegan stuff. Don't get me started on egg and cheese dishes, like a really decent eggplant parmigiana, or a spinach quiche, or a Greek salad.

For some reason, however, a lot of vegetarians seem to eschew this kind of thing, preferring instead to pretend that tofu is the best of everything and, after cooking vegetarian dishes for their omnivore friends, jumping up and down and saying, "Huh, huh? Didja miss the meat? Didja miss the meat? Huh, huh?"


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Doesn't cut it (none / 4) (#165)
by MSBob on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:45:13 PM EST

I've had about half of the stuff from your list and it's good food but it's not delicacies. It's not exactly the same as lobster or escargots. It's not lamb cutlets or glazed game. It's more on par with a good broiled chicken or some other casual dish. That stuff wouldn't be classified as delicacies.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
De gustibus non disputandum est (none / 3) (#169)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:03:03 AM EST

Although I wonder which half you've had.

As far as lamb cutlets, well, fooey. The best lamb is to be had by this simple expedient. Fly to London. Take the train to the tube, unless you arrive in Heathrow, in which case you're already on the tube. Take the tube to the Leicester Square stop. Get off. Walk to the Cafe Crimini. Order a kebab with chili and garlic sauce. This is the best lamb you will ever taste.

Glazed game? I'm not sure which game you're referring to. I've had antelope ribs; they were good. I've had buffalo bratwurst; that was also good. I've had beaver bolonga; that was excellent. Actually, it was quite incredible, and I wish I could find a source for it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
This is very good food (none / 2) (#181)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:48:36 AM EST

But it isn't expensive, once-in-a-blue-moon culinary ecstacy.

Having said that, it's a lot better than most meat eaters will eat in their lifetime.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Quorn (nt) (none / 1) (#209)
by djotto on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:22:37 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Once in a blue moon delicacies (none / 2) (#272)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 03:59:51 PM EST

If you want to talk about that, I think that cheeses are probably at the top of the list. Meats are fairly cheap. I can't think of too many animal products that fit your description, except possibly for real caviar and things like blowfish.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Durian (none / 1) (#350)
by eretica on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 03:22:04 PM EST

What about Durian? I saw a cooking show featuring this fruit; the guy acquired it at a Vietnamese (I think?) market and had to take it out into the country side to eat it because it apparently smells so bad. Yes, that is part of the experience. The fruit reeks, and it will make you reek, but apparently it tastes awesome.

I had a Durian flavoured bubble tea at a Chinese cafe around a month ago. Unfortunately it was made with a durian powder that had been de-skunked.

I have seen it being sold in Chinatown here in Toronto, so I know it is not too hard to acquire in larger cities, but it is pretty expensive for a fruit.

[ Parent ]

One more (none / 0) (#358)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:32:14 PM EST

The 1978 edition of Aardbeg scotch. Weighing in at about $100 a bottle, I think it qualifies. Hey, it's vegan!


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
This list exemplifies (none / 3) (#205)
by Kax on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:05:13 AM EST

one of the main problems with vegetarian cuisine- It's too fucking soft. Everything is a variation on sauce. Nothing you can really sink you teeth into.

[ Parent ]
uh, carrot? (nt) (none / 0) (#399)
by tps12 on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 12:42:41 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Unfortunately... (none / 2) (#236)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:22:26 AM EST

...Most of these things you can't get in America, or at least not in the states that I've been to. In Israel, on the other hand, I subsisted on a steady diet of falafel, hummus and an occasional mushroom dish with tabouleh. But here... they put vinegar in everything ! They put vinegar in hummus ! And their hummus already tastes like sandpaper, even before the vinegar ! Why ? ! Whyyyyy ??!!

Er, sorry, I'm ok now. Anyway, if anyone knows of a place in SoCal where I can get actual hummus/falafel, let me know...
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Hmm... (none / 2) (#274)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:11:09 PM EST

I'm an American, and I live in North Florida, which is not particularly a hotbed of culinary delight. (Except for barbecue; 20 miles north of here they make the best pork ribs I've ever tasted.) Still, I can get everything I mentioned within walking distance.

But here... they put vinegar in everything ! They put vinegar in hummus !

I feel your pain. That's just vile. When I'm in SoCal, I generally stick to Mexican food, which is at least fair to middling.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
there are lots (none / 1) (#397)
by tps12 on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 11:50:41 AM EST

Plenty of vegetables are hard to grow, harvest, or ship, or have very brief growing seasons, so they tend not to be widely available or known (which just makes them more special). Zucchini blossoms, fiddleheads, lots of mushroom varieties, and hybrid fruits all come to mind. Other common vegetables are of such greater quality when obtained outside of a grocery store, that their fresh incarnations could really be considered delicacies: tomatoes fit for shipping are bland and flavorless, and green beans are said to lose their flavor so quickly after harvesting that many people actually sprint from their gardens to their kitchens. I am no vegetarian, but food lovers are definitely not left high and dry when they pass on animal flesh.

[ Parent ]
Tried stir-fried lotus petals? (none / 1) (#428)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:16:17 AM EST

I think it's lotus petals, or some similar flower...

Not really overpriced compared to other veges, but probably something you don't usually find on the menu of a chinese restaurant. Only place I've had them are in restaurants in Hong Kong.

[ Parent ]

Please be fair (1.91 / 12) (#105)
by A Proud American on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:13:29 AM EST

I was vegetarian for 3-4 years back in high school, and have now been vegan for about a month.

Please don't think that all veg*ans are stuck-up lunatics.  I'm very sane, can hold a good steady job, am tolerant of others, and look fairly normal.

Your writing about this topic seems to have an unwarranted attitude like Me vs. The World or Me vs. Vegetarians.  I'm not sure what you're so upset about -- perhaps it's because you have not been able to sustain a vegetarian diet for more than 8 years.  I don't know, and it's probably none of my business anyway.

If anything, post this as a diary.  But I don't think this belongs on K5, because at best it's a rant, and at worst it's probably just a troll (and hurtful to good, loving veg*ans like myself).

Thanks for reading this comment.

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


I agree completely (2.60 / 5) (#108)
by Koala Bear on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:41:24 AM EST

I've been a vegetarian since I finished childhood (growing); my friends are normal (though most are vegetarians as well, and some are vegans); my attitudes occur within the spectrum of Western social ethics, and I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 3:50:~~ last weekend.

A Proud American is right: this story expresses a valid social position, but no more than a diary.

-Koala

[ Parent ]
fair and objective? (2.71 / 7) (#118)
by danharan on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:19:45 PM EST

Sure, this is a personal story. That's where I start most of my theorizing from: I guess I'm stuck in a "relativist" rut where knowledge is socially constructed, and personal practice shows my culture's contradictions.

I was vegan for 3 months before I got offered Moose heart for breakfast one morning. Should I offend the native hunter who had just arrived at the base camp of our logging protest, and eat the food we had imported from hundreds of miles? Or should I eat what had been hunted less than an hour's walk away, and avoid social and environmental costs? I ate the moose heart, and got stomach cramps, but I avoided a bad first impression that could have jeopardized testy inter-group relations that were necessary to maintain to achieve a larger objective.

Even a nice vegan agriculture system is not going to kill less animals than hunting and gathering, except maybe if you're a fruitarian. And what of eating milk, which subsidizes the veal industry? Or honey and leather? Is your food organic, and your tofu free of GMOs (if you eat tofu or soy products)?

I'm not trying to attack you with those questions: merely point out that it's a complicated issue. I admire you for trying to change your habits and become vegan, and I'm not here to tell you what to do. Just please don't assume it's a troll: I have put a lot of thought into these issues to come to a compromise position I can live with.

[ Parent ]

Liar (1.25 / 4) (#149)
by Stick on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:25:55 PM EST

You tried to beat me to death with a fur coat.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Vegetarians = Plant murderers. (1.50 / 12) (#116)
by Fredrick Doulton on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 01:01:53 PM EST

Vegetarians and vegans are only denying their instincts as human beings. If God had intended us to eat nothing but plants, he wouldn't have given us cows.


Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

Divine flesh (none / 3) (#142)
by DLWormwood on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 05:09:03 PM EST

If God had intended us to eat nothing but plants, he wouldn't have given us cows.

If God hadn't intended us to get high, he wouldn't have given us weed, huh?

If you had bothered to read your Bible or pay more attention in Sunday School, you would know that God made Man & Woman vegetarian. I wasn't until Noah and after the flood that God gave mankind formal permission to eat meat. (Compare Genesis 9:2 with Genesis 1:29.) And it wasn't until the New Testament (for Christians, anyway) that meat eating became more open ended (i.e. the eating of all meat, instead of just "clean" beasts)
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

I'm a lawyer.. (none / 2) (#150)
by Fredrick Doulton on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 07:59:46 PM EST

What the hell would I do with a bible? ;)

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"
[ Parent ]

Beer and pot is proof that God loves us [nt] (none / 0) (#222)
by kurodink on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:50:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Does God really love us? (none / 0) (#251)
by DLWormwood on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:31:23 PM EST

Beer and pot is proof that God loves us

Pity most of the fundie types don't agree with that. I used to be one in my youth, but gave up on it when I saw too much sectarian disagreement over what was of God and what was of Satan... (Despite the NT's repeated admonishments against intrafaith quarrels.)
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

Fruit (none / 0) (#235)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:14:49 AM EST

If you had bothered to read your Bible or pay more attention in Sunday School, you would know that God made Man & Woman vegetarian.
Then whose fault is it that we ate that apple ? Maybe we wouldn't be in this mess if there were plenty of tasty cows around at the time :-)
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
changing of mind is interesting (2.16 / 6) (#128)
by originalbigj on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 03:18:36 PM EST

The only fault I can find with this article is that everyone who is uncomfortable with their own diets felt the need to convince themselves that they are okay by writing long comments.

Vegetarian for 18 years (2.78 / 14) (#129)
by bigbtommy on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 03:30:31 PM EST

Solely because I prefer the taste of vegetables, fruits etc. to that of meat and fish. Screw the social / political / religious reasons - I don't eat meat simply because I think it doesn't taste good.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
nonsense (2.33 / 6) (#157)
by scatbubba on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 09:54:15 PM EST

Saying "i don't like the taste of meat" is like saying "i don't like the taste of vegies". you expect us to believe that of the dozens of types of meats prepared in thousands of ways, it just doesn't taste good to you?

[ Parent ]
It's possible, I guess (none / 2) (#234)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:12:59 AM EST

For example, I just don't like the taste of yogurt (and most other milk products). There are hundreds of flavors available, but there's something about the basic composition that literally makes me sick. Human bodies are peculiar that way, I guess.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Cool (none / 1) (#337)
by bigbtommy on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:25:58 AM EST

With all this talk about bodies and sutf, this thread could become like a literal version of Douglas Coupland's "Microserfs".
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
Question (none / 2) (#172)
by gjetost on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:55:53 AM EST

Do you eat Jello? How about yogurt with gelatin in?

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#187)
by bigbtommy on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:46:11 AM EST

There are vegetarian equivalents available.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
er... (none / 1) (#378)
by gjetost on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:39:05 PM EST

If you don't eat meat solely because you don't like the taste, but you like the taste of these items, why don't you eat them? Just curious..

[ Parent ]
Reenactment of how we image the response (2.25 / 3) (#392)
by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 07:07:44 AM EST

Curse you Holmes, you have outwitted me again.
But I shall make my escape into the all concealing
shadows, and I, Morarty, Master of Deception,
will have my revenge.
        /
   _|_
   _O
  /< V
 /__\
   //


[ Parent ]
I like vegetables and fruits (none / 2) (#265)
by omrib on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:44:44 PM EST

But I get very tired and cannot concentrate if I skip meat for a few days. I admit it's not a moral reason, but who says I'm moral?

All people are different.


[ Parent ]

I like vegetables and fruits too... (none / 0) (#427)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 05:04:56 AM EST

But exactly how does one compare the taste of asparagus sizzled with olive oil, garlic and basil (which I had for dinner a few days ago), or cherries during peak season (I almost always go on a cherrir-eating binge when they are selling 1kg boxes for less than the price of a McD's meal), and a barely cooked piece of salmon, or a piece of steak?

Anyway, you are British, so since when do your opinion on cuisine matter, monsieur Roast Beef?

[ Parent ]

some good points, some bad ones (2.41 / 12) (#131)
by Timo Laine on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:02:29 PM EST

I skipped the first of the three parts of the book, which deals with animal welfare. Diet, I thought, was too important a matter to change on the basis of such emotional nonsense.
What do you mean by that? How is animal welfare "emotional nonsense"? I understand that there are many people who give vegetarianism a bad name by using stupid arguments, but I don't think you can dismiss the more powerful ethical arguments for vegetarianism. I haven't read the book you mention, but I know there are several good ones available.

Of course you are also insulting a major segment of the world population. You do know that it is a common practice, and indeed a moral ideal, in many parts of the world not to eat meat? Are the people living in these parts of the world somehow backwards, more likely to believe in emotional nonsense?

Personally, I think that if you forget about all the emotional nonsense, it becomes perfectly okay to eat people as well. Emotions are a significant part of being a competent moral agent, which I'm sure you realize.

There's also the job interviews, dates, sales call, and every day social engagements.
Uh, in many cases you can just lie, can't you? They don't force you to eat anything in a job interview at least, I believe. Or you can say that you're dieting, and that's why you're having the dish you're having. Or you can say you just ate or whatever.

It's really a shame because I really liked many parts of the story.

qualifying "emotional nonsense" (none / 3) (#137)
by danharan on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:38:29 PM EST

I felt strongly at the time that such thinking had no place in diet, that it was pure nonsense... although I have mellowed since then :)

I know believe there is room for such emotions. Unfortunately, all the animal rights movement uses a worldview where they only seem to count animals as individuals, while environmentalists argue for habitat preservation. If we recognize that habitat loss is the biggest animal killer, and that hunting and gathering causes less suffering... then where does that put all the vegans?

And as far as telling lies... For a sales call, perhaps - some would say that's part of the job description. But for a date? That's no way to start a long-term relationship, only good if you just want mea.. er sex. As for a job interview? Tough call, I'd rather be honest about being veg, or just eat meat.

[ Parent ]

well (none / 2) (#144)
by Timo Laine on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 05:14:24 PM EST

Unfortunately, all the animal rights movement uses a worldview where they only seem to count animals as individuals, while environmentalists argue for habitat preservation. If we recognize that habitat loss is the biggest animal killer, and that hunting and gathering causes less suffering... then where does that put all the vegans?
I'm not sure I see your point. The idea is that some people think killing animals or causing them to suffer is wrong. They don't say it is wrong to let them die or suffer. Now this might sound wrong to you: why should we ignore their suffering? But we could also kill a lot of people in areas experiencing famine as well, because that would leave more food to others. That sounds wrong, because we don't want to treat people as means, but also as ends.

But the whole point of the original vegetarian argument is that the moral distinction between people and animals is artificial. If we want to treat people as ends, and fail to present any morally relevant difference between animals and human beings, we have to treat animals as ends as well. Therefore we can't kill some of them so that the others may live.

[ Parent ]

Animal Welfare (none / 1) (#233)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:10:41 AM EST

I think I gave up on trying to take the animal welfare arguments seriously when I read Singer's (uh... was that Singer ?) book on the Animal Liberation Front. This guy honestly believes that The Man (tm) is keeping the poor little lambs down on purpose, and if only they had a chance, they would pick up their signs, line up in rows, and march on Washington chanting "Four Legs Good ! Two Legs Bad !" (in heavily accented English, of course). At first, I thought that Singer was being sarcastic, but then I realized that he was quite serious. That was pretty sad.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 1) (#243)
by Timo Laine on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:24:06 AM EST

I'm not sure you're being very fair to Singer (I haven't read the book, but I mostly know what's in it), but I don't agree with him either. I think the whole issue is much simpler: we don't see the philosophical problem of treating people and animals unequally.

Although in general a line can be drawn between people in other animals, this is not enough. We can't say a member of some species should be treated in a certain way just because it is a member of that species, because a species is not a morally relevant fact; we need to observe each animal and person individually, to see if it is deserving of moral treatment. For example, there are no relevant moral differences between a gorilla and a person with some significant brain damage. Why is it wrong to kill the person (against his wishes) but not so wrong to kill the gorilla? And what if some day some super-intelligent aliens land on earth, and start to eat us because we lack their supreme moral abilities? (Not that I believe that will happen, but it's a thought experiment.)

Now this is no argument, but just a problem. The simplest way to get rid of it is to lose faith in all morality altogether. Another way, which has its own share of problems, is to stop believing in moral absolutes: in a moral continuum, normal human beings are in the other end, and rocks in the other. Those who are in between deserve to be treated according to their moral status. Or we can just ignore the problem, which is what people typically do anyway.

[ Parent ]

Moral Spectrum (none / 1) (#317)
by bugmaster on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 04:02:47 AM EST

And what if some day some super-intelligent aliens land on earth, and start to eat us because we lack their supreme moral abilities?
No need for aliens: we, ordinary humans, have done this multiple times. Witness Cortez's annihilation of the Aztecs, or the English enslavement of India, or our very own destruction of Native Americans and enslavement of blacks. Ok, we didn't eat them, but we probably would, given half the chance.
Another way, which has its own share of problems, is to stop believing in moral absolutes: in a moral continuum, normal human beings are in the other end, and rocks in the other.
This is the solution that most appeals to me, because it does not rely as much on religious (and quasi-religious) beliefs as the other solutions. You treat entities solely based on their behavior, and that's that.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
right (none / 1) (#322)
by Timo Laine on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:04:37 AM EST

Witness Cortez's annihilation of the Aztecs, or the English enslavement of India, or our very own destruction of Native Americans and enslavement of blacks.
Right, but in those cases, the violence wasn't even justifiable, because there was no difference between the moral capacities of the attackers and the victims. I meant that the aliens would be so intelligent, they would look at us like we look at ants or something.
You treat entities solely based on their behavior, and that's that.
Most people are going to have trouble with the implications of this decision. Babies and people with severe brain damage do not behave in a significantly different way from some of the more intelligent animals. In fact, it could be said that a pig would be more deserving of moral treatment than a baby. Then we couldn't justify killing pigs if we continued to tell people not to kill babies for ethical reasons.

This wouldn't necessary lead to vegetarianism, though. We could still probably eat at least worms and insects, for example.

[ Parent ]

Re: Right (none / 1) (#323)
by bugmaster on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:32:40 AM EST

Right, but in those cases, the violence wasn't even justifiable, because there was no difference between the moral capacities of the attackers and the victims.
Actually, at the time, Aztecs, blacks etc. were thought of as less than human; this was used as the justification for their genocide and enslavement. Now we know better, but hindsight is always 20/20...
In fact, it could be said that a pig would be more deserving of moral treatment than a baby.
Comparing an adult pig with a human baby is like comparing apples and oranges -- just because someone decides to abandon moral absolutes, doesn't mean that they have to be stupid.

Which is not to say that the relative approach doesn't have its problems (such as the brain-damaged cases you mentions); but at least it's correctable in light of new evidence or whatever. Moral absolutes (the kind that killed the Aztecs) will remain frozen forever in their arbitrary states, which is why I am a bit afraid of them.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

not that far-fetched (none / 1) (#324)
by Timo Laine on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:06:43 AM EST

Comparing an adult pig with a human baby is like comparing apples and oranges -- just because someone decides to abandon moral absolutes, doesn't mean that they have to be stupid.
Actually it's not that far-fetched. I remember some academic moral philosopher arguing against the moral status of babies. Unfortunately I can't recall his name.

But as you said, babies are not the only example.

[ Parent ]

Animal welfare (none / 1) (#281)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:09:40 PM EST

Animal welfare is a valid concern. Many food animals are treated quite poorly, and for anyone with empathy for them, it's a reasonable consideration. I've noticed a big upsurge in the demand for free-range eggs and free-range fowl. Florida free-range grass-fed cattle are also more popular. Lots of people don't eat veal. Etc. and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, to get serious for a minute, given that there are people on the planet, it is a serious boon for survival for an species to have some product that humans can use. I get the impression that a substantial number of vegetarians live in a fantasy world, where if there were no more meat eaten, animals would just dance around happy until they died of old age. If it weren't fantasy, I'd expect to see hundreds of high-profile meat-animal refuges, supported by money donated by vegetarians, where meat animals could live out their lives naturally.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
hmm (none / 1) (#292)
by Timo Laine on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:12:06 PM EST

I get the impression that a substantial number of vegetarians live in a fantasy world, where if there were no more meat eaten, animals would just dance around happy until they died of old age.
I don't really think there are that many. But of course it is easy to get that impression because as always, the stupid ones are also the loudest ones.

But then, when you say this:

If it weren't fantasy, I'd expect to see hundreds of high-profile meat-animal refuges, supported by money donated by vegetarians, where meat animals could live out their lives naturally.
I don't really understand what you mean. Could you explain? Do you mean that to prove they are not living in a fantasy world, the vegetarians would have to pay other people not to eat or produce meat? If so, they would soon be out of money, and everyone else would continue eating meat.

[ Parent ]
Good question (none / 1) (#294)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 07:39:26 PM EST

I don't really understand what you mean. Could you explain? Do you mean that to prove they are not living in a fantasy world, the vegetarians would have to pay other people not to eat or produce meat?

No, but I would expect them to be realistic about their dreams and provide places where animals could live out their lives.

There are hundreds of high-profile places where domesticated animals such as dogs are kept to live out their natural lives. I even give them some money, because I think it's a good thing.

Where are the corresponding places for the poor suffering sheep and cattle?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
well (none / 1) (#297)
by Timo Laine on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:05:33 PM EST

Where are the corresponding places for the poor suffering sheep and cattle?
I think the question is irrelevant, because the sheep and the cattle are someone's property. They won't give them away, unless it is profitable for them to do so. The only way to "save" the animals from the farmers is if the animals have been illegally mistreated or abandoned. That's what the Farm Sanctuary does. But if the farmer obeys the law, like the vast majority of farmers probably do, there's no way you're going to steal his animals.

[ Parent ]
So are cats and dogs (none / 1) (#302)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:30:16 PM EST

Cats and dogs are also property, and there are hundreds of places that support letting them run free. Thanks for the link on FarmSancuary; they look like good people and I might give them some money.

But stop dancing around the issue. So buying farm animals costs money. That's part of what money is for. Where are the hundreds of big sanctuaries to preserve a breeding population of meat animals? I keep hearing vegans say "Cow milk is for baby cows." But where are these baby cows going to grow up? Other than industry, the answers are 1) in these hundreds of refuges (which do not exist except for India) or 2) in Fantasyland, where Everything is Happy and Right.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I still don't get it (none / 1) (#306)
by Timo Laine on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:20:18 PM EST

  1. A farmer has a cow. He intends to sell its meat.
  2. A vegetarian buys the cow at the price the farmer is willing to sell it (i.e. at a good price: the farmer has to profit at least as much as he would have by selling the meat).
  3. Since the vegetarian was willing to buy a cow, why wouldn't he buy another one as well? So the farmer buys a new cow. If the vegetarian won't buy it, he can sell the meat.
  4. It doesn't matter what the vegetarian does. If he buys the second cow too, the farmer will without doubt buy a third one because this is profitable business for him. In the end, the vegetarian will be out of money anyway, which means he cannot even support the animals he's already bought, and the farmer can return to selling animals as meat.
So I think animals will continue to be killed at essentially the same rate no matter what the vegetarian does. Meat will continue to be produced according to the market demand.
But where are these baby cows going to grow up?
Most vegans would answer that there should be no more baby cows anyway. But there will be because selling meat is a profitable business.

[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 1) (#320)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 04:26:12 AM EST

One way out of your zero-sum game is to buy dried-up milk cows; this wouldn't increase the demand for milk cattle any more than the greyhound rescue programs increase the demand for racing greyhounds. Although some of these are used for food production, far more are just treated as waste products.

However, you also suggest...

Most vegans would answer that there should be no more baby cows anyway.

Now I see what you're saying. This isn't what I typically hear from vegans, though. I hear them saying things like "Don't drink milk. It's for baby cows." I don't see that happening if there are no baby cows. But, of course, that requires my reading into their thinking something that might not be there. I just generally assume that if one loves animals, one would want to have some of them around. However, that may be a mistaken assumption. And, surely, having cattle die out is an efficient way of ensuring that no more of them die.

It's also consistent with a feeling of being creeped out that I get when people talk about how much more efficient it is to grow plants for human consumption. Which of course it is, but the word for this kind of inefficiency is "life," and I like it. I like the fact that when I travel through Florida I see huge amounts of land being grazed by cattle on whatever grows there, because I know it supports hundreds of species. It might be better if it were all completely wild, but if your arguments are persuasive, that ain't gonna happen. Given a choice, I'd rather see land used this way than tilled and planted with a monoculture. I'd rather have steers crap on the land than see someone using synthetic fertilizers. If I lived somewhere else, such as places where overgrazing is common, I might feel differently. But I live here, where as far as I can tell, sustainable cattle ranching works fine, but at the same time, phosphate plants are sucking up ungodly amounts of the aquifer.

Come to think of it, this is also consistent with a certain amount of creeping out I get when people talk about hemp production and how great it is that you can have four crops per year. This probably seemed a good idea fifty years ago, and the U.S. government did have a hemp program back then, but surely we've learned something about topsoil since then.

I've always assumed that this reflected a different interpretation of evidence, but you've got me thinking. If you're right about vegans, then it might be a basic difference in philisophy. Thanks for the discussion.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
This is a weird article. (2.28 / 7) (#132)
by AnimalChin on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 04:17:23 PM EST

I don't get it. I myself don't eat red meat or fowl, only fish/shellfish and fruit/vegetables. Only one person I know ( who incidentally, is a chef...and not very sharp) has reacted badly to this, and I live in Kentucky. You make it sound like you are roundly ostracized for your choice of diet. Perhaps your diet is not the reason people give you so much shit. At worst, I get a blank look when I tell people, "Sorry, I don't eat beef". Nobody (including me) gets all worked up about it.

It sounds like you're just tired of being different. But to me, it seems like vegetarianism is ridiculously trendy. I don't talk about it often for just that reason.

Have you seen him?

Are you serious? (none / 2) (#178)
by faddat on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:19:05 AM EST

I'm from Buffalo, New York and currently living in Rome, Italy and I get shit all the time for being vegetarian.  I hardly ever talk about it, except for when people ask about how I lost weight (60 pounds so far)*250 to 190.  

What do people say?  


  • How do you get enough protein?

  • Look at this steak, doesn't it look great?

  • I could never do that

  • What the hell are you thinking, haven't you heard about the atkins diet?

There are a million other things, and honestly, I think I hear at least one comment about my being vegetarian per day, and hear really rude comments at least once a week.  In the kitchen in the dormitory where I live, my needs are not accomodated (at all, even though I was reassured that they were a vegan-friendly kitchen (I'm not a vegan, just your usual cheese, eggs, and veggies vegetarian)).  It's tough.  

So, clearly you live in an area where people acutally respect your decision to eat whatever you'd like-- cheers to that, and to the dietitically tolerant state of Kentucky!

[ Parent ]

please explain (none / 2) (#220)
by ceejayoz on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:44:20 AM EST

In the kitchen in the dormitory where I live, my needs are not accomodated (at all, even though I was reassured that they were a vegan-friendly kitchen (I'm not a vegan, just your usual cheese, eggs, and veggies vegetarian)).  It's tough.

What "needs" are we talking about here?  Do you require your own set of pots and pans that haven't ever touched meat or something like that?

[ Parent ]

Rude comments (none / 2) (#230)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:07:22 AM EST

I think I hear at least one comment about my being vegetarian per day, and hear really rude comments at least once a week.
How do all these rude people know that you're a vegetarian ? Do you greet people with, "Hi, my name is $name, and I AM A VEGETARIAN !!!" ? Just curious.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
on the money (none / 0) (#357)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:29:03 PM EST

here's the telling comment:

In the kitchen in the dormitory where I live, my needs are not accomodated (at all, even though I was reassured that they were a vegan-friendly kitchen (I'm not a vegan, just your usual cheese, eggs, and veggies vegetarian)).

you say you get hassled because you're a vegetarian .. it's not the vegetarian aspect.  look at that statement: what you're really asking for is special treatment.  veg*anism is a preference, and as such, is treated like one.  if your attitude is generally to make a fuss and ask for special treatment, then you're likely to get hassled, regardless of what special treatment you ask for.

i know that i, personally, go out of my way to hassle flag-wavers and people who wear things on their sleeve, regardless of what it is -- political affiliation, lifestyle choice, religion, whatever.  i even do this to people who wave flags on issues i agree with.

why?  because they're over-sensitive whiners that want special recognition and special treatment, and it gives me great pleasure to discomfit them.

oh yeah, and i'm also from the friendly bluegrass state.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Beef Isn't Fashionable.. (none / 1) (#330)
by Chiron on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:22:56 AM EST

Actually, I don't eat any red meat, and restrict myself to chicken and fish, due to the loss of no less than three out of four of my uncles to heart disease; I've never had someone try to ram beef down my throat simply because I said I don't eat red meat. Given a rational explanation, even my wife's grandparents who raise cattle understand. I wonder about the article author's environment, if people are making such a fuss about what he eats. If I can look a man in the eye in cattle country and say I don't eat steak, and get no hassle, surely he can.

[ Parent ]
a few comments (2.73 / 19) (#143)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 05:09:59 PM EST

When people say they like the taste of meat, I wonder if they ever eat anything else satisfying. Odds are better than even that their veggies, if something other than potatoes, are always served terminally limp, that their desserts are mostly fat and sugar, and their salad base - if they eat salads - is an uninspiring iceberg lettuce.

So true. I was vegetarian for two years, and I remember that the "vegetarian" foods sold in USian health food stores were as a general rule HORRIBLY TASTELESS. They were also full of cookbooks full of abominable recipes for making insipid versions of European food, substituting all the stuff that made it tasty (i.e. the meat) with tofu. I'll pass.

In the end, I ate almost nothing but Asian and Indian food those two years. Why? Because those cuisines are such that they know how to season and prepare vegetable dishes that are TASTY. Most European cuisine just depends on meat to flavor dishes.

First, I believe that superiority to be relative . Our knowledge of diet is too imperfect to make many final statements about what is best for the human body - and we may soon be able to accurately measure what is best for a specific individual.

Here you're committing a common mistake. There is no way to measure what's the "best" diet, simply because this involves value judgements that differ from person to person, and from one cultural group to another. (This is similar to the problem with "health": no empirical criterion will tell you for all cases which bodily condition is "healthier" that another, because it involves preferences which can't be settled empirically.)

--em

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible (none / 1) (#204)
by Kax on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:58:41 AM EST

from a pure health standpoint to someday figure out what the 'best diet' is. The value judgements come in when you start to make decisions like: "I can either live two years longer, or eat tasty food."

[ Parent ]
Tradeoffs (none / 1) (#221)
by dcheesi on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:48:48 AM EST

There are too many way to define "healthy" or "fit". One diet may make you live longer under ideal conditions, but leave you too weak to save yourself in some disaster situation. Or a diet may extend your life but make you feel bad/tired/etc., reducing the quality of life (even without the "taste" consideration). There are lots of mutually exclusive goals inherent in improving survival/health for everyone, to the point where I doubt there will ever be one "best" diet for all people.

[ Parent ]
I see what you are saying, (none / 1) (#252)
by Kax on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:52:36 PM EST

yet does it not stand to reason that for whatever goal you are eating towards, there's some ideal combination of nutrients you should be taking in? If I want to eat with an eye towards fitness in a hardship situation, then my diet should be X. Yours would be different. If we could model exactly the effects of food on our bodies, then there is one best answer per individual per goal, no?

[ Parent ]
it's gets more complicated (none / 4) (#263)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:28:34 PM EST

One of the funniest mistakes of many nutritional theories is they assume you actually digest what you eat. That's simply not true.

People that are allergic to dairy products simply should not consume them. If they do, it only harms them.

Add to that parasites, and intestinal ecology. That complicates thing a bit. Whether you're stressed also affects digestion.

Oh, let's not forget synergies in absorbing nutrients. If you eat iron rich food with Vitamin C, you'll absorb more of it.

After you physically absorb nutrients, your body has to retain it. Exercise, even minuscule amounts, can increase your retention of calcium.

And then you can absorb stuff from the sun.

Your nutritional status quickly beomes something that encompasses much more than just what you put in your mouth.

In other words, while I think we can get close to your ideal, it's so insanely complicated that we may never be able to understand all the factors involved...

[ Parent ]

Discussion of Difference Bad? (3.00 / 7) (#164)
by feline on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:44:59 PM EST

While there are some militant vegetarians, most don't think they're superior, or even give a damn that you're eating meat, that you enjoy it, or think you could never live without it. Most won't say "moo" when you're having that steak or hamburger. They are not a threat, so why do some people feel the need to justify their choices? Can't we just "eat and let eat"? Most of the comments I heard were stupid, ignorant and boorish. Like telling the only black person at a party that you know some black people and even have some black friends, telling a vegetarian about how you could never give up meat (maybe even thought of it) just isn't kosher. And don't even think of asking about how we get enough protein or iron - another sure way to advertise your own etiquette deficiency. The etiquette is simple: unless the vegetarian is telling you how bad you are for eating meat - or how virtuous they are for not doing so, there's no need to dwell on the topic.

The author suggests in this passage in saying that we should 'eat and let eat' rather than discuss choices, so as to be polite, as it were. But why should people not discuss the differences in choice between themselves? As long as the conversation is civil, why can it not be good?

The author also states that many think that vegetarians are weird. Thus, it benefits society if people actually know about the practices of others within the society.

Anyone that knows anything about people has taken the chance of appearing rude to find out about other people. Given this, and that it's important for members of society to know about those different from themselves, it's practically imperative for vegetarians and meat-eaters to have discussions about their differences.

The appearance of one's politeness does nothing except foster misunderstanding and unpleasantness.

A very good point! (none / 2) (#219)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:40:41 AM EST

Unfortunately in my experience, most people that bring it up do so to justify their own choices, or put down mine. You can usually tell when someone is genuinely interested in knowing about you, in which case it's not that bad.

However I do get bored of explaining basic dietary theory and debunking common myths - like the idea that we're naturally carnivores (we're omnivores), that because we have eyes in front of the head we are natural hunters (Chimps?), that vegetarians can't get enough protein or iron, etc, etc...

And then, there's the purely selfish reason that I'm naturally an introvert, and I don't like that much attention, especially when such conversations have become attacks.

[ Parent ]

Chimps hunt. (none / 1) (#364)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:03:48 PM EST

...that because we have eyes in front of the head we are natural hunters (Chimps?)...
Wait are you saying chimps don't hunt? Because that isn't true. A link to support me.

Not that I'm saying every animal with front-of-the-head eyes does hunt, off hand I have no idea about that claim.



[ Parent ]

Binocular vision (none / 0) (#368)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:13:37 PM EST

Bioncular vision amongst the great apes (of which we are a species) probably has as much to do with brachiating as it does with predation.

But, you're right, of course. Chimps hunt. They also eat termites, caught by a method that involves some tool-making and requires pretty good depth perception. Gorillas seldom hunt, but they also eat insects.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The question is did chimps (none / 0) (#377)
by kuro5hinatportkardotnet on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:37:44 PM EST

always hunt or did they pick it up from watching humans. There have been a number of documented cases of lower primates picking up habit from humans, habits which then became a regular part of their lives and were passed on to their offspring.

 

Libertarian is the label used by embarrassed Republicans that long to be open about their greed, drug use and porn collections.
[ Parent ]
vegetarianism can be a religion of sorts (none / 5) (#168)
by cronian on Mon Oct 13, 2003 at 11:57:45 PM EST

Different people are vegetarian for different reasons. However, vegetarianism can be a sort of religious belief. People feel they are pufifying themselves, and fulfilling some sort of ethical need by not eating meet.

Some even add other reasons. Raising animals is less efficient in terms of land usage since the animals require agricultural feed. Livestock are pumped full of hormones and anti-biotics and can carry diseases like mad cow disease. And yes, getting meet requires killing animals.

Yet, animals like cows can be raised on grassy land where other agriculture wouldn't really grow, and can provide many nutrients to a diet. Plants are sprayed with various pesticides, and really aren't inherently more safe than meat. I think we should take closer look at exactly where our food comes and make sure we aren't sacraficing quality for the current agriculture subsidy regime, but vegetarianism is mainly a faddish cultist to an area that has real problems.

America has a huge a food industry putting out unhealthy crap. Foods are created to last a long time and market well while quality gets last. Why shouldn't that candy be the tastiest dessert. Does Taco Bell or McDonalds really produce the best food? "Health" food doesn't provide anymore quality, but it is just a repackaging of the other food made so it kills you in some less usual way instead of the usual way while it severely lacks in qualtiy. Quality food is healthy and tasty.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
Quality food is just tasty (none / 0) (#426)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:56:24 AM EST

It's your job to moderate your intake to an healthy ammount. Having those nice, buttery foie gras day in and day out is probably worse than hamburgers, but it sure is quality food.

[ Parent ]
reaction (none / 0) (#457)
by cronian on Sun Oct 19, 2003 at 10:08:32 AM EST

Buttery Foie Gras may be unhealthy, but I can't imagine wanting to eat one everyday. I don't quite like eating a big mac everyday, but I did for a time because Big Macs are addicitive. I don't believe quality foods are neccessarily healthier in their parts, but they are appetizing in reasonable quantities. Maybe, it is all just my personal bias.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
You're a big pussy (1.00 / 16) (#171)
by QuantumG on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:39:06 AM EST

and this is a diary entry.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
This is a diary entry, but (none / 4) (#177)
by faddat on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:05:13 AM EST

He's not a big pussy.  While I'm a vegetarian, despite the disadvantages mentioned in this article, I have to agree with danharan.  Being a vegetarian does have a very high social cost, unless your friends and family are very understanding.

However, as anyone who has been a vegetarian at any point can tell you, there are a plethora of people who love to attack your diet for no other reason than the fact that it is different.  It happens to me all the time.  People will tell you that you surely can't be getting enough protein, and others will tell you that you can't be getting enough Iron, while others will simply rattle on about "how hard that must be".  And the truth of the matter is that those people make being a vegetarian a lot harder than those who say nothing.  I don't see why the mere fact that I don't eat meat makes it okay for the whole world to comment on that and give their two bits.  

Vegetairanism has served me very well.  My weight has dropped from 250 pounds to 190 right now.  Let me make this very clear: that is sixty pounds!  If vegetarianism isn't doing me good, then I don't know of anything that is.  

This article (yes, its's a diary entry) could use a little more tofu to deserve to be posted on the main page (perhaps a bit more discussion of Carol Adams' Book)  On a side note, I saw Carol Adams speak at Talking Leaves bookstore in Buffalo, and she has a very good understading of the issues surrounding gender and vegetarianism, especially interesting were the points at which she talked about the difficulty of being a male vegetarian, which is what I am.  You have no idea how many times I have been called a pussy for adopting a diet that is actually harder to follow in this society.  

[ Parent ]

190 pounds is 86kg. (none / 1) (#192)
by gordonjcp on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:21:33 AM EST

Fine if you're about 5'6" tall. Otherwise, that's almost embarrasingly skinny.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 2) (#197)
by faddat on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:01:47 AM EST

Huh?! I weigh 190 pounds, I'm about 6 feet tall, and I could stand to lose a few more, you should see my gut! I would guess that my ideal weight is somewhere between 170 and 180. I'm most certainly not skinny in any way shape or form (and no, I'm not an anorexic).

[ Parent ]
190 pounds is skinny? (none / 2) (#202)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:45:06 AM EST

Geez, dude. I'm 6' and according to the insurance company, the *max* I'm supposed to weigh is 185.

--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
I'm 6' and 92kg (none / 1) (#208)
by gordonjcp on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:17:38 AM EST

So, that's about 200lb? Something like that. We don't really measure weight in pounds here. And no, I'm not particularly fat, 32" waist, 42" chest.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
200 pounds and a 32" waist? (none / 1) (#262)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:26:40 PM EST

I have trouble believing that. You'd have to be pure muscle. Right now, I weigh 230 lb (~104 kg) with a 38" waist and a 48" chest, and I'm considered strongly built. I know guys who weigh less than I do and have 44" or 46" waists.

--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Not too hard (none / 0) (#275)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:14:04 PM EST

Around 1995, I had a 32" waist and weghed in at about 210 at 6'. But I have very wide shoulders, which seemed to play into it somehow.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
stats, because it's fun. (none / 1) (#359)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:41:04 PM EST

i'm 5'6" and weigh 205 lbs.  i have a 36" waist, 48" chest, and run 2 miles every morning with a 30# weight vest strapped to me.  my doctor and i had a conversation -- he told me i needed to get more exercise.  i look a little soft in the middle.  i told him about the running, the weight lifting, and the rock climbing i do on a very regular basis.  his response:

"damn.  nevermind then."

a person's best weight is really hard to determine for marginal cases, apparently.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

On measuring... (none / 0) (#318)
by gordonjcp on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 04:12:03 AM EST

... it's more like 34". So I am a little fatter than I used to be. Heigh-ho, that's life I suppose. I wouldn't say I was "pure muscle" but I do have extremely dense bones (my wrists are thicker than most people's ankles).

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Translation (none / 0) (#452)
by FeersumAsura on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 11:49:52 AM EST

38" waist and a 48" chest, and I'm considered strongly built.

Translation: My mum calls me strongly built, everyone else calls me fat.
==
It didn't work the first time.
[ Parent ]

Dude, (none / 2) (#203)
by Kax on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:53:28 AM EST

just because your girlfriend is 5'6" and weighs 190, and you think she's 'hot', does not make it the ideal weight for that height...

[ Parent ]
huh? (none / 1) (#268)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 02:17:16 PM EST

Let me break it to you... your scale is broken, fatass.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Skinny? (none / 0) (#280)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:04:05 PM EST

If I was 5'6" at 190 pounds, I'd probably look like a beachball! Hell, at 6'1" I don't that THAT much more (205 lbs), and I KNOW I'm heavier than I should be!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Some people hate non-conformists (2.28 / 7) (#174)
by enfilade on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 03:22:45 AM EST

It's a fact of life. Anything that sets you apart, marks you as "different" will be a red flag to certain kinds of people. It's the same reason they hate minorities, gay people, etc.

Here in oz we have a disgusting habit of having "sausage sizzles" at informal, open-air gatherings. Apparently frying a piece of low-quality "meat" and slapping it on a white bun with ketchup and doling out to people in queues is meant to be "social".

I eat white meat, fish and eggs, but never red meat. I've gotten flack for that, so it must be even worse for the true veggos.

BTW, I heard that red meat has a sugar in it that the body can't produce, which is why it gives you cancer.

Fad diets (none / 4) (#184)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:15:25 AM EST

I heard that red meat has a sugar in it that the body can't produce, which is why it gives you cancer.

Seeing as we're made of red meat ourselves, I find this claim a bit hard to swallow.

It's very easy to get bogged down with pseudo-theories about which foods are bad for you. If you listened to them all you wouldn't be able to eat anything. If you want to follow dietary advice, you're probably best off speaking to your doctor, not your mates.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

There's nothing fad about it, nebs (none / 2) (#189)
by enfilade on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:57:18 AM EST

It's perfectly scientifical. Good on you for making me find the link though.

From the beeb, the sugar isn't toxic per se but having lots of it in your body over a long period probably isn't good. But who knows?

More interesting, though, is the fact that it will cause problems for animal transplants. And I so wanted a robot-controlling monkey brain...

[ Parent ]

I stand corrected (none / 3) (#191)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:03:14 AM EST

Its just that there is so much quack shite written about food... Oh well, should have googled first.

Never fear, the technology won't be limited to monkeys for long. My bet is that Sony will be the first to use it for the much-awaited Playstation 3.

Eye-Toy? Pah!

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

The Other Red Meat (TM) (none / 3) (#218)
by dcheesi on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:40:29 AM EST

They say it's in the big three livestock mammals (cow, pig, sheep), but they don't mention any of the more exotic red meat sources. I wonder how many mammals actually have it, considering that we don't. Maybe buffalo, deer, or even (gasp!) dog would be a healthier source of yummy red meat?

[ Parent ]
Key to the wiggly worm? (none / 1) (#210)
by rickmccl on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:23:40 AM EST

Let's not bring up worms while discussing red meat.. :P Your doctor listens to the same pseudo-theories the rest of us do, is his "bullshit filter" any more professional? I have heard something similar about red meat, but I would have to produce a link before I posted it. If you have troble swallowing it, perhaps you could try vegetarianism. Cobb Salad: Best of both worlds.

[ Parent ]
Filter (none / 4) (#228)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:04:22 AM EST

Your doctor listens to the same pseudo-theories the rest of us do, is his "bullshit filter" any more professional?
Yes. That's what makes him a doctor. Similarly, your accountant's bullshit filter is much stronger as far as tax laws are concerned; your mechanic's filter is stronger against the wonder-oil propaganda, etc. That's what makes these people professionals. Ok, that's a generalization, of course -- some professionals are still incompetent -- but in this case, it's partially your fault for choosing to employ an incompetent professional.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Doctors are NOT nutritionists (none / 1) (#246)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:51:15 AM EST

Most doctors in North America reeive so little nutritional information in their 4 years of medical school that most are completely unable to give any of their patients reasonnable diet advice.

[ Parent ]
Are nutritionists doctors ? (none / 1) (#287)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:39:43 PM EST

I guess I was assuming that they were; in fact, it's probably a good idea to check their credentials before listening to their advice. Otherwise, you might end up with some sort of a "homeopathic" diet that does nothing, or some other quackery. The rigorous educational/testing process that M.D.s go through helps eliminate those.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Fair enough (none / 2) (#232)
by nebbish on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:10:01 AM EST

Sig changed :-)

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

oz? (none / 2) (#349)
by JyZude on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 02:48:03 PM EST

Here in oz we have a disgusting habit of having "sausage sizzles" at informal, open-air gatherings.

I never liked the taste of munchkin, either.


-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
Sausage Sizzle (none / 1) (#391)
by Cackmobile on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 06:38:15 AM EST

There is NO event that can't be inproved with a Sausage Sizzle. Are you sure your an Australian?

[ Parent ]
Well, at least the restaurants get better... (none / 0) (#425)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:52:45 AM EST

I still remember how much of a cullinary hinterland New Zealand was as a kid over a decade ago...

[ Parent ]
At last: a 100% visually accurate reenactment! (2.33 / 15) (#188)
by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:54:58 AM EST

Oh yeah?  Well, I'm 
deceptively healthy.
       /
     O
    <|>
     |
    / \


-1, -1, -1, oh god, I wish there was a -2. (1.04 / 22) (#190)
by Motekye on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:01:09 AM EST

Meat is fucking delicious, hence the term "deli" — delis serve meat, dumbass.

Kris Gallant ( left ), is a Vegan, but look how fucking fat he is!

Now, if you want to lose weight, go on the Atkins diet, the thing is almost completely meat.

You are the most misconceived yuppie-assed block of fodder I have ever been fortunate enough to find! You've made my fucking day! Now I'm going to track you down and grill you on my Foreman.


Grrr....
Ugh, I bet _all_ of those kids watch anime. (none / 2) (#227)
by Dinner Is Served on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:03:05 AM EST


--
While I appreciate being able to defend against would-be rapists who might suddenly drop in from the sky, I don't appreciate not being able to see the Northern Lights. -- mfk
[ Parent ]
Culinary differences (2.88 / 9) (#193)
by gyan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:28:16 AM EST

while the diets of vegans and vegetarians often lacks beauty

 In Western cuisine perhaps. In the vast and myraid Indian cuisine (mostly vegetarian), that's not a problem at all.

********************************

Beautiful? (none / 1) (#213)
by BurntHombre on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:32:16 AM EST

What does one mean by "beautiful diet?" Beautiful to the eye, or to the tongue? Or to the conscience?

[ Parent ]
To the (none / 0) (#389)
by gyan on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 03:25:49 AM EST

tongue, primarily. Maybe, even the eye.

********************************

[ Parent ]
so if you ever ask (1.66 / 6) (#198)
by auraslip on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:33:29 AM EST

A human can be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore if
he eats meat he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake
of his appetite. -- Leo Tolstoy

Flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of
an act which is contrary to moral feeling: killing. By killing, man
suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity,
that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself and by
violating his own feelings becomes cruel. -- Leo Tolstoy

___-___

Leo Tolstoy was a nutritionist? (none / 2) (#201)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:41:51 AM EST

You might want to tell that to all the fans of the Atkins diet.

--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
no (none / 2) (#212)
by Timo Laine on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:26:23 AM EST

You don't have to be a nutritionist to know that a human can be healthy without killing animals for food. I think people have known that even before there were nutritionists.

[ Parent ]
Tolstoy? (none / 2) (#207)
by rickmccl on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:17:31 AM EST

Those are some interesting /OPINIONS/...

[ Parent ]
Yes indeed. (none / 2) (#258)
by tkatchev on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:19:49 PM EST

He was a jerk, a sex offender and barely literate in his own native language.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Morality (none / 3) (#226)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:00:50 AM EST

Tolstoy notwithstanding, this is the argument that Vegan evangelists always use. I personally don't really understand it: why do Vegans hate plants so much ? Are plants not alive ?
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
so by that logic... (none / 4) (#242)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:19:33 AM EST

some argue that you would have to cut out dairy, as calves are killed to be able to keep dairy production "flowing".

Commercial egg production also disposes of hens that are not laying enough, far sooner in many cases than their natural life expectancy.

Even if they were never killed, their living conditions are incredibly cruel.

Where do you draw the line?

Even if you are vegan, and only using one-sixth or one-third of an acre for your food production, how many animals will be mowed down when the field is being plowed? Or perhaps you wish to be a fruitarian, and not have the soil plowed under?

And then here's something disturbing: hunting and gathering could kill far fewer animals than a vegan diet. If this was a rational decision to minimize killing, you may still need to do some killing... but, yes, this is an emotional response.

It all comes down to where you draw that line. In an ecological context, "all killing is wrong" is a quaint notion: some killing is inevitable. I'm all for minimizing such killing - wanton killing is despicable - but we have to have open eyes to see where that killing is occuring. And unfortunately, a vegan is not spared - even their diets entail suffering.

Also, there is something horrible about a diet that would simply look at whether animals were killed without looking at what conditions they live in. Killing makes for nice manichean thinking, far too neat to apply to ecological realities.

[ Parent ]

Hunter/Gatherer (none / 2) (#282)
by silk on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:13:21 PM EST

Unfortunately, being a hunter gatherer is not feasible in today's world, what with its high population and lack of forest land.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 2) (#285)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:23:22 PM EST

There are a few hunter/gatherer bands here in Florida, which has quite a lot of wild land. One wasn't even re-discovered until a few years ago; they were living on land given to them by some guy back in the 19th century.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Yeah? (none / 2) (#305)
by kraant on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:14:52 PM EST

And how many acres support how many of them?
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Swamps (none / 3) (#316)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 03:28:23 AM EST

Swamps produce more food per acre than just about any other kind of land with the exception of rainforests. Certainly not any worse than farmland.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 1) (#371)
by silk on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:35:49 PM EST

Do you know where I could go to find out more about that?  It sounds fascinating!

[ Parent ]
Can't find any web links (none / 1) (#376)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:04:33 PM EST

I remember reading about this particular case in the newspapers around 1997. There was a bit of a controversy, because various state agencies wanted to go in and help (or "help") them, but they responded that their health was quite fine, thank you very much.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
even their diets entail suffering (none / 2) (#295)
by auraslip on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 07:54:32 PM EST

can a fish suffer? Can a bug?
I guess where I draw the line is intelligence. I don't think fish or plants suffer..or at least at the same level we or higher mammals do.
___-___
[ Parent ]
Not all... (2.33 / 6) (#211)
by PigleT on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:24:43 AM EST

"all our major religions impose rules or conventions about food."

No they don't - Christianity doesn't say anything about whether you should arbitrarily discriminate between fish or mammals or whatever. More to the point, it says "God made it, so *don't* go around calling it `unclean'".  This is distinctive; Judaism and Islam fall down on one particular side of the discriminatory coin; Christianity sees the whole coin at once.

"before finishing the book, I had sworn off meat and started to learn about such exotic foods as tofu and quinoa"

Erm, right. I'm *hoping* that's meant to be sarcastic, 'cos y'all know what tofu is really like.

"Most won't say "moo" when you're having that steak or hamburger."

I wouldn't care whether someone mooed at me for tucking into a decent steak. In fact, I'd be 99% likely to moo right back. I suspect this is because eating meat is the societal norm, so it's hardly as though I'm likely to perceive being mooed at as any realistic "attack" on my character for being hard on the wee darling lambs.

It's vegetarians who get off on some kind of intellectually-dishonest reason, or have only arbitrary dislike of meat, that really piss me off. I'll accept some kind of bizarre ailment as a valid reason; anything else stands a large chance of merely being a trendy fad.

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed

To be quite fair... (none / 4) (#224)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:58:38 AM EST

...Some vegetarians are vegetarian for legitimate medical reasons -- my former coworker was one. There was something wrong with his metabolism, so that he had a strong allergic reaction to most meat. Also, some people choose to be vegetarian because they think it's healthy; they may be wrong, they may be right, but they tend to be pretty laid-back about it.

In my experience, it's mostly the vegans who, as you put it, "get off on some kind of intellectually-dishonest reason" for their dietary faith. They are the ones who are likely to condemn you to burn in... uh... some New-Age version of Hell for killing the poor little lambs.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Xianity still has conventions (none / 3) (#229)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:05:55 AM EST

and if you feel very comfortable with your food choices, why do vegetarians piss you off?

Given your comments about Christianity against Islam and Judaism (Xians see the whole coin at once, an implicity put down of the others), an omnivorous seems for you very tied in to religion. And that's exactly what kind of reactions I got.

Your reaction proves the main thrust of the article.

[ Parent ]

passion cake (none / 2) (#238)
by PigleT on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:59:26 AM EST

"Xians"

What's an `Xian'?

"implicity put down of the others"

Maybe, maybe. I don't see anything inaccurate with that summary, however.

"seems for you very tied in to religion"

I have my religious moments. So do a lot of folks, it kinda shapes where we come from. However, if I try to imagine someone with no religious preconceptions, I can't see why they'd not ask "why make arbitrary discriminations?" just like I do, even if I have potentially slightly different reasoning going off behind asking such a thing.

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

X = Christ (none / 2) (#259)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:22:17 PM EST

just like Xmas = Christmas

There's a long history behind that - many early Christians using 'X' for Christ. Fundies really make me laugh when they get upset about writing "Xmas".

Anyhow, I thought the meaning was clear from the usage.

[ Parent ]

fundies (none / 1) (#365)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:04:48 PM EST

fundies feel about being called 'fundies' how you felt about being called a 'veggie'.  

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Mooo! (none / 3) (#319)
by bloat on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 04:20:02 AM EST

so it's hardly as though I'm likely to perceive being mooed at as any realistic "attack" on my character for being hard on the wee darling lambs.

Peaple moo at you when you're eating lamb? Vegetarians are wierder than I thought.

CheersAndrewC.
--
There are no PanAsian supermarkets down in Hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy peanuts there.
[ Parent ]
thats the same reason I'm not gay (1.12 / 8) (#214)
by auraslip on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 09:32:29 AM EST


___-___
...because it's bad for the environment? (1.50 / 4) (#314)
by chuckcanuck on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:24:42 AM EST

I had no idea.

[ Parent ]
Mmmm fish. Mmmm food! (2.71 / 7) (#231)
by Anonymous Hiro on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:08:24 AM EST

Fish is good for you. There are plenty of decent scientific studies showing the benefits of eating fish. Seems almost like humans are "designed" to have fish as a significant part of their diets.

It's really up to each person where he/she wants to draw the line.

I usually draw the line at eating an animal whilst it's alive or torturing an animal, but I must admit fresh raw oysters taste pretty good.

I also won't eat humans and don't recommend it- whatever diseases and parasites the human had, you (if you're human) can get, so eating your own kind is usually not a good idea.

Lots of westerners I've encountered don't seem to fully comprehend what they are eating, or are in a sort of denial. They lose their appetite if a chicken or fish is served still looking like a chicken or fish (e.g. head still on etc).

Yes, a real living animal suffered and died so that you could eat and live. If you can't accept that, then you better be a vegetarian instead of denying what you are consuming.

I'm thankful I've got food to eat, and have access to a wide variety where I live. All the various cuisines, mmmm - Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Hungarian, Russian, Swiss, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Thai, Vietnamese, Nyonya, Malay, Middle Eastern, African, Mexican, Brit, US etc..

Many of these are the results of centuries or even millenia of people making the best of what they had. And the best they've got? Mmmmmm! You'd really be missing out if you limit yourself to just plants or just animals.

Some plants even eat animals too!

omega acids = good (none / 2) (#296)
by Rhodes on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:01:38 PM EST

and mercury = bad mass farming of fish can be as environmentally damaging as mass fishing (i.e. ocean / sea fishing). And it's pretty complicated to figure out how much fish is good to eat, depending on the mercury risk.

[ Parent ]
Yeah it's sad and worrying (none / 1) (#345)
by Anonymous Hiro on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:45:38 PM EST

Sure humans can do without fish, but from the various studies, it's harder for us to do as well.

So the pollution and overfishing stuff is a big problem.

What really gets me is the WASTE. The term "bycatch" is too gentle a term. e.g. When you have a squid boat throwing away good fish because it's a squid boat and a fish boat throwing away good squid because it's a fish boat. Or a sardine boat throwing away some other fish.

A lot of this is because of false "economies of scale". Most fish aren't farmed, and worse: farmed fish are typically fed unfarmed fish.
The small time fisherman can't compete even if he doesn't throw away stuff he catches. The big boats just take tons and tons and throw away tons and tons (end up dead), leaving less for the small time fishermen.

Grrr.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (none / 1) (#362)
by epepke on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:56:21 PM EST

I looked up crawfish, and it turns out that about 60% of crawfish from Louisina are farm-raised. That's not too bad.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Mercury is not good for you (none / 0) (#462)
by cactus on Mon Oct 20, 2003 at 09:16:59 PM EST

Unfortunately, in recent years many, many species of non-farmed fish have had substantial levels of mercury in them.

Occasional consumption of fish is fine, but it's not a good idea to eat it as a staple. Especially if you're pregnant.
--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
[ Parent ]
Social stigma (none / 5) (#240)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:10:40 AM EST

I find it odd that your dietary choice is so socially stigmatizing. Perhaps it's that way in Canada, but here in California (I know, I know), if someone says "I'm vegetarian," the likely reaction would be "Oh, didn't know that. Anyway ..."

I'm seriously asking: Are you surrounded by rednecks?

yes (none / 4) (#261)
by crazycanuck on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:25:29 PM EST

all canadians are moose-hunting rednecks that live in igloos.

since our national sport is hunting the moose and caribou we don't take kindly to veggie pussies. what's manly about hunting lettuce?

[ Parent ]

no... (none / 4) (#267)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 02:12:24 PM EST

he's just a whiner.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
I see you ... (none / 4) (#291)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:11:05 PM EST

... have declined to answer.

[ Parent ]
Vancouver is more like California (none / 3) (#315)
by skeptik on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:49:20 AM EST

...where you can eat whatever you like, and rednecks won't get upset. .

[ Parent ]
It depends on location (none / 2) (#341)
by darkonc on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:12:29 PM EST

In Vancouver, like California, being Vegetarian is almost 'in style'. It's reasonably hard to find a restaurant that doesn't have a decent pick of vegetarian meals, and there are a good number which classify their meals a meat / vegetarian / vegan (and a few more that even include things like ovo-lacto, etc.).

Alberta, on the other hand, is meat territory -- much like Texas. And with the US cutting off imports of Canadian beef for a few months, in the face of the BSE scare, the level of propaganda in the prairies about it being (essentially) your civic responsibility to eat meat has hit a high point.

Similarly, there are parts of the state where finding a non-meat plate is more of a hunt than finding a live buffalo that you can kill and have butchered for supper. It's not unusual for people in such places to ask what kind of wuss you are if you aren't eating meat... Remember how Opera got sued in Texas for berating beef?
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
[ Parent ]

Holy Groupthink Batman... (2.37 / 8) (#244)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:37:39 AM EST

So not following the crowd irks those that do. Surprise Surpirse.

What I find disturbing though, is that you're going to disregard your personal ethics because not being popular is too much for you to handle. We have a word for people like you: cowards.

The last thing this world needs is another mindless suv driving-suburban living-gap wearing buffoon.

Thank god some people actually have a backbone.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Robin, you've been inhaling too much gas (none / 3) (#264)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:33:12 PM EST

you can't even tell the difference between social pressure and social cost.

I promise I'll get a backbone if you still think I need it - after you figure that one out.

[ Parent ]

doubtful... (none / 4) (#266)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 02:07:19 PM EST

that's you'll get a backbone that is.

you can't even tell the difference between social pressure and social cost.

Unfortunately, I think you've elevated simple pressures into some grand weight you must bear as a vegetarian.

 You readily admit that most folk that questioned your choice of diet were ignorant, stupid or both. If you can recognize this, why even address it? Furthermore, you haven't sited an experience where you've lost your job, been denied a raise, or been kicked out of your home for espousing your vegetarian beliefs, so any "social costs" you derive are simply magnified into being so by yourself. Stop whining.

Your article (why it was voted up is beyond me) comes across as an immature teenage rant - people make fun of me because I'm a vegetarian, so I'm going to start eating meat. Lovely.

If a few snide remarks and ignorant folks are enough to defeat you, you are either:

A. A very weak individual or,
B. One of those folk that adopt "causes" because it's cool, and it help's their image.

Either way, a coward in every sense, lacking a backbone either to live a life as they believe, or to defend those beliefs when confronted with adversity.

I don't like people like you, although you are definitely in the majority, if that makes you feel any better.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

But.. (none / 3) (#276)
by Politburo on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 04:26:45 PM EST

you are either: A. A very weak individual or, B. One of those folk that adopt "causes" because it's cool, and it help's their image.

But..

A. He did this for 8 years. While his reasons for switching back may not be grand, to say he is switching back due to social pressure because he is 'very weak', seems to ignore the fact that 8 years passed since he started. It's not like 2 weeks went by.

B. Same reasoning. If he adopted this just as a flippant 'cause', why did he do it for 8 years? That's a hell of a long time to modify your diet just to be 'cool'.

[ Parent ]
modifying diets.... (none / 2) (#283)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:17:09 PM EST

hmm.. although throwing the same argument right back at ya': Why, if these pressures where evident for nearly eight years do they all of a sudden matter so much?

Honestly, he seems to have changed his opinion (if he even had one in the first place) regarding
the eating of meat. This is all well and good, but to play the victim and claim, as he does, "Social pressures are making me change." is a clear cop out, and tells me that either his principles are weak, or he is.

Either way, it really bothers me when people lay such a small amount of respect upon themselves and those beliefs they hold true to their hearts, either by not holding anything, or by holding meekly, regardless of the challenge.  

The worst thing is that his "cop out" completely avoids him having to realize the real reasons for his change of heart. Everyone changes their views now and again, but it's important to recognize why. Problem is, because his reason for being vegetarian wasn't adequately defined in the first place, he can't think of any reason why he should change.

Another member of the heard doesn't do any of us any good, now or 8 years from now, really.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

let's all be individuals. (none / 2) (#288)
by danharan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:44:05 PM EST

being different for its own sake seems like an odd value, and being oblivious to social pressure could be really stupid at times.

but it's your life.

[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 2) (#290)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 06:07:42 PM EST

Wait a second... I wasn't the vegetarian, you were.

At no time did I state to be different "for its own sake", nor do I suggest that now. That's even more ridiculous than doing what others tell you to do.

being oblivious to social pressure could be really stupid at times.

I'd agree, however using social pressure as your prime - and even worse in your case - only motivation for doing (or not doing) anything is always stupid.

I'm not a vegetarian, nor will I ever be, since I don't have the moral objections to the killing of animals that others do. I do however admire those that do act on such objections, it is their right.

You may be in the same moral category as myself, yet that is not "wrong" or "evil". If you truly feel that it is, why would you worry about my opinion at all? You shouldn't, yet you do. The only person in this world you can really trust is yourself, so don't live your life according to what I think, live it by your own compass.

"Social pressures" come with the territory no matter which ethical, political, of social stance you will take. You must learn to deal with them, period. If you can't, you will not be a person, you'll be another part of a giant, unthinking herd of idiots, and I for one, will look down upon you with disgust as weak and impotent.

but it's your life

Exactly, so live it for yourself, not for others.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

all figured out..... (2.00 / 6) (#245)
by tkarches on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:42:35 AM EST

I'm impressed with all the smart people here that have all vegetarians figured out :-) Excuse the ramble... Until about a month ago, I was vegetarian for about 8 years. I now occasionally eat meat if I find it appetizing. I don't eat it for the sake of eating it. My wife has started eating fish as she has developed an intolerance for soy. My reasons? I started to feel like I was being vegetarian for the sake of being vegetarian. I may go back. I think that most meat is not healthy to eat, with all the hormones and drugs used during production. I have found that the best way to deal with being a vegetarian socially is not to make a big deal about it. For me it was a personal choice; I wasn't on a crusade. If someone asked me why, I told them. It also is a good way of finding out who your friends really are. Your true friends won't give you grief about it. As for "Vegetarianism has a high social cost" and the "negative attention" what's their problem anyway? it's not like you were trying to convert them. Sounds like a good way of weeding out the "stupid" people from your circle of acquaintences. My wife and kids rarely eat meat. I have no problem with them eating it; we just don't prepare meat for meals at home in general. I don't prevent them from eating meat because I want them to make their own informed decisions. We also don't call cow meat "beef" or pig meat "pork" or chicken meat "poultry". Call it what it is.

so what do you call bacon? (none / 2) (#254)
by MMcP on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 12:55:46 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Sigh... (none / 5) (#271)
by epepke on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 03:54:02 PM EST

We also don't call cow meat "beef" or pig meat "pork" or chicken meat "poultry". Call it what it is.

You make it sound like "beef" and "pork" and "poultry" are euphemisms.

The reason English speakers use those terms is due to the Norman Conquest. The only difference is the language of origin. The conquerors spoke French and so insisted upon using the French terms when talking about cuisine (another French word). The Saxon terms survived in reference to the animals rather than the edible parts thereof because the "vulgar" people were the ones who raised and slaughtered the animals, and they spoke Saxon.

"Meat" is not such a precise descriptive term, either (meat of a walnut), and "flesh" is even worse (flesh of an orange). Besides, beef isn't generally cow meat; it's steer meat, although some places like Western Sizzlin' use muscle tissue from old dairy cows (which is really quite flavorful).


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
It's dead simple (2.53 / 15) (#247)
by Roamerick on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:54:28 AM EST

At the risk or sounding simplistic I think these multiple pages of rants, including the original story, can be summarised as follows:

A) Some people eat meat.
B) Some people don't.
C) Some people are stupid enough to try and justify their choice of A or B (especially B) with ethical/theological/scientific BS.

Fact is we CAN eat meat, and it is NOT bad for us in reasonable quantities and as part of a balanced diet. Whether you want to eat it or not is your choice.

Everything else is bullshit.

what do you mean we *can* eat meat? (none / 2) (#260)
by crazycanuck on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:23:23 PM EST

you make it shound like our ancestors were grazing in the fields next to cows and goats

[ Parent ]
It makes no difference how you say it (none / 1) (#298)
by Calieri on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:09:28 PM EST

It's not news that we can eat meat or not. How would you like that to be expressed - 'We can not-eat meat'? It's no different.

[ Parent ]
we're *supposed* to eat meat (none / 2) (#307)
by crazycanuck on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 10:07:33 PM EST

agriculture was invented only 10 000 years ago. what do you think humans did before then, eat berries and apples?

[ Parent ]
Berries and Apples (none / 1) (#309)
by R0O on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 12:11:16 AM EST

Yummmmm. Apples.

[ Parent ]
who says 'supposed to'? we are opportunists (none / 0) (#413)
by Calieri on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 08:10:44 PM EST

Why do you suppose they didn't eat fruits and nuts? Of course they did. Fruits and nuts are high-energy foods. You don't need to have invented irrigation or whatever to eat things other than meat.

'We *can* eat meat' isn't a misrepresentation. We are opportunists. Meat isn't unimportant but neither are fruits or nuts or any other high-energy source of food which we now enjoy and which we quite obviously enjoyed and subsisted on in the past, agriculture or not.

It's not true that it's unnatural to eat meat, or unnatural not to eat meat. It is natural to be an opportunist over a widish range of the foods any person eats. We are well equipped as general foragers.

Compare us to animals which actually DO NOT EVER eat plant matter (like insectivores). We can truly say of them that they only eat insects, except in very contrived circumstances where we've tricked them; it's still not the norm for them to eat anything else. But people don't need to be put in any kind of unnatural or even post-stone-age situation to eat fruits and nuts and all kinds of things in addition to meat. We can say of insectivores that they have special features to favor eating just-insects, but people don't have such special features. People effectively find fruit, eat it with relish, digest it easily and profit thereby. If there's nothing else or they love fruit, they'll eat lots of fruit.

'We are mainly designed to eat meat' is clearly not right - not because we are designed to be vegetarians, or 1-meat-2-vegetarians or whatever, but because we are clearly designed to be opportunists. And 'we ought to eat meat' is just normative bullshit.

[ Parent ]

the environmental argument (2.25 / 3) (#304)
by panZ on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:39:03 PM EST

> Everything else is bullshit. Not quite, the environmental argument for vegetarian has some merit. It takes a considerable amount of plant protein to produce animal protein. Sources vary and some overzealous vegetarians inflate the numbers but in general, studies estimate about 15lbs of edible plant protein are used to produce one lb of meat. Also, about 1000 times more fresh water is used/buffered producing equal amounts of plant and animal protein. Just drive by a few pig or beef industry areas and you'll realize just how expansive our farms are and how much damage they do to their surrounding areas by the resources they consume.

Fortunately in most of the western United States and large pockets of western Europe, being a vegetarian has never had a negative social impact on me and I've never had to forgo any major social/cultural experiences to avoid meat. In fact, I've made many like-minded acquaintances and friends when someone realizes that I don't eat meat.

I agree, white meats are generally not damaging to the body and free-range red meats in moderation won't clog your arteries much but in my personal experience vegetarianism is healthier. Since quitting meat, I almost never get sick; I eat a lot (I love to eat) and don't gain weight due to the naturally low fat and slightly lower protein intake. I don't miss meat flavor or texture, in fact, my cooking has become much more creative and tasty. In places like California, waiters and chefs don't even blink when you ask for a burger without meat or a taco with beans instead of meat, its wonderful. In the mid-west and most of Asia, most people might look at you funny but they are more curious than antagonistic; I'm sorry the author hasn't had a similar experience.
"Some days are good days to die and some days are good days for breakfast."
[ Parent ]

Indeed (none / 1) (#321)
by WeaponOfChoice on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 05:19:49 AM EST

I've had much the same experience. In London a large proportion of the restaurants and cafes clearly mark vegetarian and vegan options and there has been a recent spate of vegan cafes opening. No stigmata there...
My friends range from vegans like myself to full blown meatlovers and we all seem to get on fine and the sheer variety of foods and styles you get at parties these days makes the effort worthwhile. We are not threatened by the choices others have made, which I think is certainly part of the reason we co-exist so easily.
I'd also agree that my cooking is far better now, both in terms of variety and quantity and illness has been restricted to a couple of colds in the last half decade.
I've found the experience to be both interesting and worthwhile - though somewhat complicated in certain european countries (france especially - they don't seem to understand the concept)

Be Strong: Protect the Weak.
[ Parent ]
...is a red herring (none / 1) (#375)
by Josh A on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:58:37 PM EST

You can't save the world through shopping. Great, you make less of an impact on the Earth by being vegetarian. You also make just about zero impact on all the environmental problems said to be caused by our meat-centric culture.

Only now, your conscience is assuaged... you don't actually have to do anything about the problems. Now you are free to sit back and blame everybody else. Those nasty meat eaters, if only they would be veggie, too, none of these problems would be happening. It's not MY fault, I'm vegetarian.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Hahaha (none / 0) (#467)
by jynx on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 09:29:41 AM EST

You also make just about zero impact on all the environmental problems said to be caused by our meat-centric culture.

Sure, the actions of an individual make little difference. But that's not what it's about. The collective actions of many people being vegetarian DOES make a difference.

By your argument, there's no point anyone voting, because a single person never made a difference to an election.

Only now, your conscience is assuaged... you don't actually have to do anything about the problems. Now you are free to sit back and blame everybody else. Those nasty meat eaters, if only they would be veggie, too, none of these problems would be happening. It's not MY fault, I'm vegetarian.

Now THIS argument really is a red herring. You're just assigning opinions to other people in order to back up your argument. Where exactly did anyone claim they can sit back and do nothing because they are vegetarian? Who said the problems are solely caused by meat eaters? Even if someone did, they are idiots, and are a tiny minority of vegetarians.

Meat eaters sit back and blame everyone else just as much as vegetarians do. Vegetarians have made a choice which they think will make things better. Why exactly does that upset you so much?

--

[ Parent ]

Ramakrishna on vegetarianism (1.00 / 9) (#249)
by urbanSadhu on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:58:06 AM EST

"The eating of meat is certainly impure. Vegetarian food is definitely pure. Whose goal is  directed only towards Dharma, they will do well with vegetarian food. And those who are working for advancement in this world, it is true that meat can be of benefit to them. It is also true that pure food gives rise to pure thoughts. If one wants to become a devotee,  then meat should be renounced. This is because it makes excitement. And then its nature is impure. It is not proper for us to take another life for our personal enjoyment. Just as long as warrior energy remains foremost in man, for so long meat will remain a  regular food commodity. By eating animals man gets an animalistic nature, and thus brings about the destruction of the race. When a man acts without selfishness, then lust and greed are completely without energy, and  one renounces self-conceit. Without knowledge of ego, Sattwa guna is expressed. These are the signs that an individual has no desire for consuming meat."

Look. (none / 2) (#255)
by tkatchev on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:10:04 PM EST

When I want the opinion of a certain Mr. Ramakrishna, I will remember to ask you, OK?

Till then, have a good day.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

lol (none / 1) (#269)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 02:32:08 PM EST

speaking of non-conformists...

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Oh well that's settled it (none / 0) (#331)
by Roamerick on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:23:53 AM EST

"By eating animals man gets an animalistic nature, and thus brings about the destruction of the race."

Hitler was a veggie...



[ Parent ]

Hitler was a Vegetarian - and a Chrisitan! (none / 0) (#340)
by danharan on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:39:42 AM EST

For pete's sake, what an immature, ignorant bit of BS.

And yes, I've heard that argument before. Just because I'm going to eat meat, I won't stop avoiding people like you.

Hitler had trouble digesting, and chose not to eat meat. His PR flacks used it to spin his image, period.

Hitler was also nominally a Christian. Does that mean all Christians resemble Hitler? That they should all be suspects?

Are you arguing that someone, if they choose not to eat meat or worship as a Christian, is suspect of having nazi tendencies or being a Holocaust revisionnist?

If so, I think you have tendencies to mental problems that make you ripe for institutionalization.

[ Parent ]

Touchy, touchy (none / 0) (#390)
by Roamerick on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 03:51:52 AM EST

Oh, have I hit a nerve?

Since your ability to detect sarcasm seems to have gone on the blink, may I point out to you that my comment was simply a way of pointing out the absurdity of the original poster's statement. Namely that we don't need meat to bring out the basest and most deplorable instincts within us. Twit.

[ Parent ]

Good point except... (none / 0) (#405)
by JohnnyCannuk on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 04:02:02 PM EST

..as you probably know, Buddhism (the Dharma) isn't about dogmatically following what someone wrote down on a parchment or in a book 1000 years ago. It's about investigating and testing for your self.

You realize, for health reasons, His Holiness the Dalai Lama eats meat? I'm sure he has had a few "pure thoughts" in his day.

Food is about the environment you live in and the choices you make. That should be as political as it gets. In some parts of the world (Tibet, the Canadian North etc) eating only vegetables is a recipe for death (pardon the pun).

Now, if you choose to be a vegetarian (to whatever degree) that is your choice. You may have the luxury to do so because you live in a country that can grow abundant crops or you can afford to by imported fruits and veggies. Sadly, not all the world is like that. Many meat eaters are more ethical and moral than many veggies. Perhaps they only get free-range chicken or hunt turkey, moose and deer rather than support a horrid meat industry. But they are still making ethical choices. How many vegetarians out there purchase food grown with dangerous fertilizers, or from corrupt third world dictators (ever wonder where the term "Banana Republic" comes from). You do know that more human misery and damage was done in the past 1000 years by the quest for spices than for meat?

Judge people by what they do and the ethical decisions they make, not by what they eat.

For the record. I am a meat eater, a hunter and a Buddhist. I have killed for food in the past and will do so again. I never had beef until I was 7 years old, because we always had moose, deer and partridge in the freezer. I would say that I am more of an environmentalist than any of the leather-coat wearing, not-food-with-a-face hipsters I knew in Toronto, because I have actually been out in the "environment", in the wild. Like many natives, I feel this give me more respect for animals and the natural world not less.

Not so black and white is it?
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Real men stand up for themselves (2.75 / 20) (#256)
by dgswensen on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:18:41 PM EST

So, in summary, "I decided to be a vegetarian, but am going to stop because of peer pressure." That would be more understandable if you were an insecure teenager desperate to find their own self-identity or something, but you're an adult, and should know better. If you believe in this as passionately as you seem to want to, it should take more than a little negative attention to change your mind about this.

Real men eat steaks? "Real men" are defined by having the balls and the backbone to stand up for what they believe in.

And unless you are living on a cattle ranch, I seriously think you are either calling more attention to your vegetarianism than you are letting on in this article, or you are exaggerating the amount of negative attention you are actually getting, either internally or externally. And if not, then perhaps you should consider moving in more progressive circles, i.e. people who aren't living in the backwoods of 1950.

You seem to be going for the martyr angle in this writeup (I, the poor dietary exile, realize that our culture is irrational when it comes to food, but alas can no longer fight the good fight), but what I'm getting from it is, you like being a vegetarian but are giving it up to gain the acceptance and approval of people whose opinions and personal taste you obviously have a great deal of contempt for. I'm sorry, but that's crap.

Your reasons for becoming a vegetarian, and staying a vegetarian, are well-reasoned and admirable. Your reasons for quitting are not. I would encourage you to stick by your ideals and your eating habits, and don't let the majority wear you down into conformity.  

I'm dissapointed (1.69 / 13) (#257)
by crazycanuck on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 01:19:04 PM EST

I thought you gave up on vegetarianism because you realised what a stupid choice it is, but instead you're doing it for peer pressure...

religiousness of vegetarianism (2.75 / 8) (#286)
by loudici on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 05:28:11 PM EST

i understand many of the reasons why you would think that eating meat is not a good idea and avoid doing it. the thing that i find puzzling is how vegetarian turn their choice into a religious taboo. not buying meat because you do not want to support mass agriculture is a respectable choice. leaving the meatballs on the side of your plate because you think they are unhealthy is probably a good idea. on the other hand, if i cook a stew with some pieces of meat and you refuse to eat it because the potatoes have cooked in the same pot has the meat, you have crossed the line out of rationality. i was buying and cooking that meat anyway so you are not supporting the meat industry, and if you leave the meat aside the quantity of meat you are absorbing is not significant for your diet. you have created yourself a religious taboo. without a religion.
gnothi seauton
understanding (3.00 / 8) (#308)
by damon on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 11:02:27 PM EST

Hi Gnothi,

Supposing I eat dogs (which I don't).  You are a guest in my house and I cook dog stew.  Let's assume you don't like to eat dogs.  I say "no problem, you can put it to one side, I won't be offended".  Would you eat the stew?  The same argument could be made for chimp stew.

The fact is, some people do eat dogs and chimps.  But would you eat something that was cooked with dog or chimp flesh?  If not, perhaps now you can understand why vegetarians (like me) don't like to simply "put the meat to one side".

Damon

Asian Reflection
http://www.asianreflection.com
[ Parent ]

I dont know (none / 4) (#313)
by Resonant on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:18:14 AM EST

Ive never been in that particular situation before, but I dont think it would bother me too much. As long as it wasnt MY dog. And chimp is a tad too close to cannabilism for me, but dog/snake/racoon/cat/etc wouldnt bother me too much, as long as they were properly cooked.

"I answer, 'This is _quantitative_ religious studies.'" - glor
[ Parent ]
just my point (2.00 / 4) (#342)
by loudici on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:19:58 PM EST

you are illustrating my point. in order for me to understand your point of view i have to consider that eating meat is utterly disgusting, unclean and taboo, like dog meat or chimp to a european, or pork to a muslim. if this is a cultural tradition that makes you think so, i can and do respect it. as a political or ethical choice it puzzles me. i could not do it.

and since you consider that my culture, in which eating meat is a highly social and familial event ( easter without easter lamb?) is disgusting i feel i have the right to be puzzled about your dietary extremism.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

it's both (none / 1) (#343)
by w2 on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:26:06 PM EST

Why does it have to be either-or? As an ovo lacto vegetarian for 10+ years, I can say that I've always felt both political and moral/emotional reasons for being one. So although I might argue against meat eating for political reasons, I'm also disgusted by it for emotional reasons.

[ Parent ]
Consistency (none / 1) (#416)
by 0tim0 on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 10:06:22 PM EST

Why does it have to be either-or?

It doesn't. I know a lot of vegetarians (my sister, for one) and I really respect their choice. What annoys me is that some of them use the politcal/moral reasons at their whim, rather than consistantly.

For example, I might have a vegetarian friend who will preach at me that eating meat is bad because it is killing animals to eat. But that same person might be walking around in a leather jacket.

And then on the other side there are some who don't claim moral or political superiority but just "don't like the taste of meat." That's fine for me too, but do you have to make sure we order an extra pizza because you can't pull the peperonis off the one the rest of us are sharing?

Sorry for venting ;)

--t

[ Parent ]

nonsense (none / 1) (#367)
by danharan on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:07:51 PM EST

in order for me to understand your point of view i have to consider that eating meat is utterly disgusting, unclean and taboo, like dog meat or chimp to a european, or pork to a muslim.
You don't have to believe the same thing just to understand what another person is thinking. You understand pork is considered unclean by the muslim, how difficult is it to stretch your mind to accomodate the concept that a vegetarian finds all meat unacceptable?

[ Parent ]
stretch my mind (none / 0) (#432)
by loudici on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 01:39:16 PM EST

i can stretch my mind all right. my point was that for a lot of people being vegetarian is not a rational deliberate choice but some sort of religious act of faith.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
O.k., but... (2.00 / 4) (#356)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:28:06 PM EST

... I hope you understand that you are being insulting to a very deep part of human psychology by not sharing the food. As long as you are o.k. with insulting people for your choice, fine.



[ Parent ]

Long time vegatarians (none / 3) (#329)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:46:30 AM EST

People who are vegetarians for a very long time often develop an intolerance to the types of protein and animal fats found in meat. Eating the stew, even putting the chunks of meat to the side, might make the feel ill.

A year or so ago I went to the sea side with my girlfriend, we had chips from chip shop, and both very quickly felt ill afterwards - my girlfriend more than me. We later discovered that the chips had been cooked in lard - animal fat.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

and how is that good? (none / 5) (#344)
by loudici on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 01:30:27 PM EST

so you found out that your trendy diet is making you unable to digest some food. you probably are missing some enzymes in your digestive system. that sounds like a disability to me. if you have a child will you raise her vegetarian and make it physically impossible for her to digest meat? what if she ever wants to?
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
Deluded parent (none / 2) (#388)
by vejable on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 01:58:52 AM EST

Jeez, you know nothing of which you speak. Statistically, the person most likely to be lacking in enzymes (do you even know what they are?) is a meat eater, specifically the regular consumption of meat tends to inhibit the digestive enzymes, which is why the majority of meat eaters never feel full despite eating mountains. This is why most regular meat eaters are fat and end up dying of heart disease. It is usually compounded by the fact that most meat eaters tend to maintain a highly acidic diet (pasta, cake, cheese, bread, sweets, meat etc etc). However, some people can eat as much meat as they like with no ill effects, and some can't. Some people can stay very healthy on a vegetarian diet and some can't. All people are different, and only individuals can work out their ideal diet. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and I feel fantastic! I keep an eye on what I eat and try to keep a balance of around 60-40 alkiline to acid, in order to stay happy. Seems to work well. However, my son is a died-in-the-wool meat eater; he loves it and it obviously suits his constitution, so I would never ever prevent him from eating it, as long as he is maintaining a healthy diet, which I have helped him to learn to identify. You, however, probably are incapable of determining what a healthy diet is because you are too scared to do proper parenting.

[ Parent ]
it's not good or bad (none / 0) (#433)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 02:04:50 PM EST

I was just pointing out why that behavior is not necessarily irrational.

First of all, it's only a disability if I *want* to eat meat, which I don't. Secondly, as any ex-vegetarian will tell you, it is a disability that passes very quickly. It's like when you are reading a book on the sofa, and your arm goes dead. It wakes up long before you can get down to social services and claim your 'disability allowance'.

There is no if about my having a child. I have one. He is not vegetarian. We will make the choice when he is old enough to make it for himself. At the moment his parents give him mostly (but not exclusively) vegetarian food, and his grandparents (both sets) and his nursery school usually include some meat in his meals. His dietician is very happy with his diet. It is more balanced, and more healthy than the diets of most of kids she looks after, she tells us.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

It happens with most foodstuffs (none / 1) (#448)
by epepke on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 01:34:07 AM EST

A lot of people who go to Mexico think they get Montezuma's revenge, while it's just that they're not used to having so much fruit in their diet. (You can get an intestinal parasite from the tap water in Mexico, but it isn't anywhere near as common as people think.) Same with beans, hot peppers, raw grains. It takes a few days to get used to them if you aren't used to them.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
By extension... (none / 0) (#456)
by splitpeasoup on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 10:27:32 PM EST

...vegetarians should be OK with eating meat in restaurants since the restaurant has already procured the meat. And so on.

For most vegetarians [1], it's kind of a fuzzy line. As a vegetarian myself, I have been OK with picking anchovies out of salad and shrimp out of rice, so as not to hurt people's feelings or waste food. However I'd probably pass on a stew or chili where the taste of meat is intrinsic to the dish. Is that so wrong?

-SPS

[1] The exception would be extreme conservative Indian vegetarians of my parents' generation or older, who would typically not set foot in a household or restaurant that ever served meat, nor shop in a market that sold it. For them, yes, it was a taboo with definitely religious overtones.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

Here, here! (Sort of.) (none / 2) (#461)
by jynx on Mon Oct 20, 2003 at 09:10:44 PM EST

I'm a vegetarian, and I agree.  I don't like the fact that we raise and kill animals in a cruel and wasteful way to eat them, but I find it far more offensive to raise and kill animals in cruel and wasteful way and NOT eat them.

So, although it hasn't happened in a long while, if I came to your house and forgot to mention I was vegetarian and you had prepared a meal containing meat for me, I would eat it.  And I'd probably enjoy it too.  (As an aside, I find that I miss the TEXTURE of meat much more than I miss the taste.  There's more than enough tasty vegeterian food, but I've yet to find anything vegetarian that you can chew on like you can a steak.)

Having said that, although I disagree with it, I do in some small way appreciate what causes the religious vegetarianism you describe.  After a quite a number years of only eating meat on very rare occasions, I do find the smell of uncooked meat rather repulsive now.  And on the rare occasions that I have eaten meat over the last few years, I've been much more aware that was I was eating was an animal, whereas when I ate meat regularly it was just "food".

I am rational enough that these things don't affect me too much, but I could understand that they would affect others more.

Consider what would go through your mind if you were shipwrecked and ending up having to eat your friends body.  You might be able to say on a rational level that what you are eating is just another bit of meat, but still emotionally it would be very hard.  This is because we view eating bodies as wrong, even though rationally there is perhaps no reason for this.

I can imagine that some people would feel very similarly about meat.  If your trying to eat your bacon sandwhich and all you can think about is the pig that that bacon once was, and all the reasons why you don't eat, you really aren't going to enjoy it.  If eating it is going to make you feel uncomfortable or guilty, should you eat it just to avoid being impolite?  I don't see any reason why.  I personally have accidentally prepared food containing eggs for someone who I didn't realise was vegan, and I wasn't at all offended when they refused to eat it.

It may not be logical for vegetarians to refuse meat that's put in front of them, but if we looked at food in no other terms then logic, we'd all be eating 100% diet balanced food cubes.

I know several people who have be bought up vegetarian, and I can totally understand why they would completely refuse to eat meat.  For them it really IS a taboo, because it something they haven't done in their entire life.  Just like you'd probably leave the medium-rare person steak at the side of your plate if you happened upon a village of cannibals.

--

[ Parent ]

Reasons for not eating meat (2.44 / 9) (#303)
by beavan on Tue Oct 14, 2003 at 08:31:00 PM EST

I don't think health is the issue here - a person can be as healthy as the next carnivore and vise versa if he has a balanced healthy diet. Nor does taste have anything to do with it. It's just that nowdays, we don't really need to kill animals to survive. It's primitive, as simple as that. People will look at us in the future and will compare us to the romans that used to throw people to the lions for the pleasure of the viewers. So what if every once in a while some morron asks you a stupid question? I find it to be a very simple and effective idiot filter. I really liked meat, but it gives me no right to murder animals for my pleasure. I also want to have money but I don't go around shooting people to take their money, do I? This is what I realized six years ago.

I love burekas in the morning
Invalid point (none / 3) (#335)
by Roamerick on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:33:50 AM EST

"I really liked meat, but it gives me no right to murder animals for my pleasure.

That right belongs to us as hoinchos on the food chain. The important thing is using it responsibly (appropriate farming/cattle rearing methods etc.).

Self-denial is just pointless. Plus, how long do you think it would take until cows became as rare as Bengal tigers if their market value suddently vanished? Let's say everyone "saw the light" and became vegetarian. Farmers would get no profit from rearing cattle. Cattle Breeding would stop. Existing cattle would be culled for it would cost too much to maintain. Within one or two generationd we'd have kids pointing at them at the Zoo.

Save the Cows. Eat Meat Today ;)

Of course that would never happen, you say. So basically vegetarians need meat-eaters in order to maintain an air of superiority while avoiding being blamed for the extinction of a species, right? Heh heh heh...



[ Parent ]

Man, your point is so lame. (none / 2) (#441)
by beavan on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 07:45:24 PM EST

Your point is: "we can kill animals because we're higher in the food chain."
Gee, that's smart.
Following this logic, I can beat the shit out of you because I'm stronger.

When you make arguments such as these, who needs to be a vegetarian to be superior?
Forgive me for not responding to your "save the cows" campaign...

I love burekas in the morning
[ Parent ]
yeah, and? (none / 0) (#363)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:00:44 PM EST

i don't know about you, but i don't stay up at night wondering what people from the fuuuuuuuuture are going to think about my social, dietary, or masturbation habits.  i was raised baptist, and have long come to terms with the fact that god watches me masturbate.  and eat meat.  if you have some guilt about the animal on your plate that's fine, but understand that that is a factor of your ethics, and not anyone else's.  

you may not feel like you have the right to 'murder animals' for 'pleasure'.  i respect that -- and i do mean that.  that doesn't stop me from killing animals for food, whether i'm using my bare hands, or buying a steak in a grocery.

we don't need to kill animals to survive.  nor do we need to have sex to procreate.  sex is fun (to me), and meat is tasty (to me), so i'm going to keep fucking, and eating meat.  because life is more than just survival.  i mean, we could live without sex, but why?

incidentally .. i don't shoot people and take their cash, either.  not because i find it primitive or distasteful or immoral, but because it's illegal.  the consequences are too high.  if it weren't illegal, your cashbook would be mine.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Careful before you ask for a duel... (none / 2) (#440)
by beavan on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 07:30:36 PM EST

if it weren't illegal, your cashbook would be mine.

Ahm, well, I'm a trained GI who's seen actual combat.
Are you sure you'd have my money?
Don't worry though, at least one of us is not a savage.

The position of force (I'm pretty sure you'd last only 2 seconds against me) does not make me go after you, does it?
Not because I'm afraid of the law, but because it's plain wrong.
Sure, I like having sex, but if the only way I could have sex was to commit acts of rape, I'd become a monk.


I love burekas in the morning
[ Parent ]
i'm sure .. (none / 0) (#442)
by naught on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 08:27:01 PM EST

.. your dick is very large, and you're very pretty.    i'll take your word on it, and leave your gf/bf to be the judge.

and, for the record, you don't have to be a trained g.i. to have seen 'actual combat'.  though your being a g.i. does explain the chest-puffing, so i'll  give you a cultural bye, and not think less of you out of appreciation.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Please leave my dick out of it (none / 1) (#443)
by beavan on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 08:40:42 PM EST

You were the one that claimed he could kick my ass, as far as I can tell, you can't expect me not to respond, can you?
BTW, rating a reply to your comment?
That's low...

I love burekas in the morning
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with primitive? (none / 0) (#411)
by error 404 on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 06:59:55 PM EST


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
I no longer wear white socks with black shoes. (2.00 / 11) (#310)
by wrinkledshirt on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 12:41:33 AM EST

I used to wear white socks with black shoes. I did it because of the fact that (a) black shoes are much more socially acceptable than sneakers, and (b) white socks are superior when it comes to fit and comfort. But now, after all the abuse I've had to put up with feet snobs who say that you can't wear the two together, I've decided that I'm going to change my ways. Not because it's right, mind you, but just because you have to get along in this world.

[insert long-winded rant about public insensitivity towards people with my plight]

What do you think? +1 FP material?

Colour = comfort? (none / 3) (#336)
by Roamerick on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:37:28 AM EST

"white socks are superior when it comes to fit and comfort"

What's the relation between colour and comfort? I'd say you just had bad taste. Ah, I see, now the analogy holds. ;)

[ Parent ]

So wait... (none / 3) (#338)
by rusty on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:26:40 AM EST

Are you still going to go around in that wrinkled shirt all the time?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
yes, +1FP (none / 0) (#373)
by danharan on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:47:14 PM EST

but only if you use big words like sartorial

[ Parent ]
Respect (none / 4) (#311)
by R0O on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 12:51:19 AM EST

I was a lactos vegeterian for 2 years. When people asked, and they did, they accepted my answer or they did not. I don't waste my time spending it with people who have nothing better to do than try to make me feel stupid for my decisions. Roo

So much people you didn't see. (none / 3) (#327)
by tchize on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:30:52 AM EST

 

First, sorry for my bad english.

 You are speaking of all people around you, looking at you like and extra terrestrial because of your choice. And you change your choice because of them.

 The problem is that it's a choice which brings discussion to people (like tatoos or others ones visible ones). And you can't do without noticing people discussing about it in front of you (quite natural to notice them).

 But did you notice the people who simply didn't say anything about it? Not people who said 'nice choice, i agree with you' but people who simply didn't care, leave this choice as your's.

 There are people who simply don't discuss about it, not because they don't want to hurt, or because it's not socialy acceptable to do it in public but simply because they consider this fact as simply there, not changing a human nature.


Wow, so you've a social coward? (1.85 / 7) (#328)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:34:01 AM EST

What's what your saying, right? A couple of hundred words to try to justify what boiled down to you not having the courage of your convictions. Caving in to social pressure. What a sad little excuse for a man you are. I hope you choke on your steak. I hope it makes you sick.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
Interesting (none / 1) (#361)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:53:11 PM EST

Social coward Eh?  I'll have you know our club is over six billion strong.  We don't like to admit what we our though.  We're often a little too ashamed to admit it to ourselves.  And we know that society won't except us for admitting what we are so we keep quiet.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
perfect example. (none / 0) (#403)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 02:24:58 PM EST

A point:

I'll have you know our club is over six billion strong

An this is relavent to personal morality how, exactly?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

What's your point? nt (none / 0) (#412)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 08:08:02 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
The etiquette is simple: (1.50 / 6) (#332)
by devon on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:28:31 AM EST

Unless someone asks why you're giving up vegetarianism, assume they don't care and keep it to yourself.

--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
Clarification (none / 0) (#401)
by devon on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 01:28:49 PM EST

The low votes for the parent post indicate to me that the voters didn't get what I was saying. Let me clarify for the other dim bulbs in the crowd.

At the end of a paragraph, the author says "The etiquette is simple: unless the vegetarian is telling you how bad you are for eating meat - or how virtuous they are for not doing so, there's no need to dwell on the topic." He says this at the end of section in which he is essentially advising the reader to ignore vegetarianism in those who don't shove it in your face. Don't bother telling them that you couldn't ever give up meat; don't bother telling them about other people you know who are vegetarians; don't bother telling them your views on its health ramifications.

He's ignoring his own advice, and I was just letting him know that. Perhaps it was too subtle and a little snide, but the point is valid. I won't dwell on his vegetarianism, and I'd like the same consideration in return.

--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
[ Parent ]

Vegetarian for 21 years (1.50 / 6) (#334)
by dzimmerm on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 08:33:41 AM EST

I am technically an ovo lacto vegetarian. That means I eat dairy products and eggs as well as various plant materials.

The reason I stopped eating meat was I thought it was hypocritical to be willing to let others kill animals for me when I personally could not kill them unless I was starving.

I consider myself an ethical vegetarian. I will eat animals if I have to but I would have to be so hungry that I would be willing to gladly kill an animal for food.

I will also add that I do not give two hoots and a holler about the animals welfare. I am worried about the effect of killing animals on me. I know I am just about a millimeter shy of being a cold blooded killer. I think if we all look inside some would realize that they could easily take another humans life. I think killing animals can lead to making the killing of humans easier. I want to keep that millimeter of distance inside myself so I can choose not to kill today, and the next day, and the next day after that.

Not eating meat is my way of keeping my sociopathic tendancies in check. I also do not care if you eat meat. I don't even care if you give me a hard time about eating meat. If you could look inside my thoughts you would probably be glad I don't eat meat as you would not sleep well if you saw me suddenly start eating it.

I do not know how many are in my situation. I doubt if most would admit to having this mindset if asked.

The only thing that really worries me is, if I do kill a human, would that mean I would have to eat them? I hear that we taste pretty bad unless properly cured or smoked. If I am lucky that situation will never arise.

dzimmerm

0, go back to grade school Biology. (none / 4) (#355)
by Fen on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:21:49 PM EST

"I think killing animals can lead to making the killing of humans easier."  Compare to..."I think killing tulips can lead to making the killing of plants easier."  Moron.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Not parallel (none / 1) (#374)
by Josh A on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:55:05 PM EST

Try "I think killing plants can lead to making the killing of tulips easier."

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Won't someone please think of the fungi ? (none / 1) (#381)
by Maserati on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:39:09 PM EST

A reductio ad absurdium somehow seemed appropriate here.

--

For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.
[ Parent ]

killing (none / 3) (#360)
by naught on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 06:48:38 PM EST

killing is a mechanical process.  

yes, i can kill for food, and have done so .. not because i was starving, but because it was available, cheap, and tasty.  (and, to some small extent, the understanding that we've exterminated the critters which prey on deer, so their population locally is out of control.)

i've also taken a human life, in self-defense.  i didn't suddenly turn into a serial killer or sociopath the second i had another human's blood (literally) on my hands.  and no, i didn't eat him.

killing is a mechanical process.  psychosis is an emotional one.  get help, and get a more convincing reason for being a vegetarian, if you plan on commenting about it.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Amazing. (none / 3) (#352)
by scarabic on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 05:43:17 PM EST

I can hardly believe that someone who quits over such flimsy logic as "hunting and gathering has less impact" even lasted 8 years in the first place. Even your own essay is more about your reasons for being vegetarian than your reasons for quitting. So you're finally giving in to the mainstreamers' pressure, and rationalizing with "well, we don't really know for sure." Good for you. Take a stand, dude.

My two cents..... (2.00 / 4) (#369)
by KnightFilm on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 07:15:20 PM EST

It's always surprising to me the way even those items indicted as mere "survival" necessities can become socio-political-ethnic-cultural debates once we have gotten past the pressing need for living past the next 24 hours or so. Having been a vegetarian for the last 6 years or so, I've gone through the Thanksgivings where I appeased my folks, and the party conversations over why everyone else in the room could never give up meat. I've certainly thought of going back to eating meat plenty of times, and someday I probably will. But I can honestly say that I'm better for the experience and I think those around me are as well. I'm not out to prosletize the wonders of tofu or convert the hog-loving heathens. I'm living my life and leading by example. I'm doing my part for the environment in a way that works for me. If food is a religion, then everyone has to come to God/Allah/Jehovah/Buddha in their own time and route. For danharan, the detriments both to his diet and his cause outway his desire to abstain. But I guarantee he will eat far less meat than he would be eating now, had he not spent the last 8 years exploring all the other tastes and textures meat eaters so often miss. And he will lead by example, giving those around him an option to choose another way, a first step on a road less traveled. And that will make all the difference for him, for us and for the world around us. Good luck!

Tofu is great with meat... (none / 1) (#424)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:40:49 AM EST

Absolutely brilliant in a seafood casserole, or with pork mince.

The problem is not with food, it's with cuisine, or rather the lack of it in all nations that can trace it's lineage from England.

When you have good food, you are less inclined to run around conquering people.

[ Parent ]

Awwww, GARBAGE (1.12 / 8) (#380)
by levsen on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 10:30:02 PM EST

This article is written the way only a vegetarian would write. Note that it's not about facts. His "reasons" for being a vegetarian in the first place are vaguely described as "having them read somewhere in a book", duh. Sure that makes the situation clear. And the reason for giving up is partly because "our knowledge of diet is too imperfect". Can you please stick to the facts? Hint: "Facts" do not include "people" and "opinions", they inlcude *things* such as nature, animals, molecules, biology, metabolism, etc.
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Why Shouldn't I Speak? (none / 4) (#385)
by Robert Uhl on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 11:26:52 PM EST

The etiquette is simple: unless the vegetarian is telling you how bad you are for eating meat—or how virtuous they are for not doing so, there's no need to dwell on the topic.

Why not? I happen to believe that, unless undertaken for the right reasons, vegetarianism is a moral wrong. Why should I speak about than any more than I would for any other topic I feel strongly about?

Undertaken for the proper reasons, vegetarianism is good. But almost everyone I’ve met who is a vegetarian did it not for the right but for the wrong.

There’s naught wrong with eating meat: God permitted it after the Flood, and it’s almost certain that the Trinity ate meat while visiting Abraham and that Christ ate meat while on the earth. It’s no doubt better to abstain from eating meat; this is why monastics do so. Beasts eat one another; if we’re naught but beasts, why not do the same? If we’re above the animals, why not eat them as they do plants, which they are above?

Plus, steaks are just so good

Of course, the modern American diet has too much meat in it, due to ag subsidies. Someday we’ll get rid of those, the prices of various foods will stabilise and life will be good.

Been veggie for a while now (none / 1) (#394)
by daragh on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 08:41:59 AM EST

And on the whole, reaction is supportive. My mother even cooks seperate dishes for me when I come home, and my dad used to be a steak chef, and has never even mentioned it. Friends sometimes give me the odd ribbing (ha ha) but apart from that no-one cares.

You should stick to your guns, giving up for social reasons is cowardly.

No work.

Why does it matter? (none / 1) (#402)
by wabisabi on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 01:47:31 PM EST

The meat industry is politicaly, socialy, ecologicaly corrupt. Ranching is a mess; meat lots are horrible places; and slaughterhouses are like something from the dark ages. If you want to eat meat, that's your deal, but do the planet and your health a big huge favor and eat locally grown, organic meat. And stay away from Fish - we're strip mining the ocean at a disastrous rate. Eating your beliefs is a pain in the ass, but if you can't do that much, then what's the point of having beliefs?

Meateaters! Demand better quality! (none / 0) (#429)
by bananajr on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 11:53:10 AM EST

My reasons for being mostly vegetarian combine health issues and ethical ones.

Health.  What I've read about the meat-processing industry, all the way from ranching to stockyards to meatpacking to the grocery store makes me very distrustful of eating a food product that is very easily contaminated in the first place.  Many of the posts here point out that a medium-to-rare steak is the best, which I agree with: meat it tasteless when cooked to the point where it would give me peace of mind.    I also distrust the practice of injecting animals with hormones, and mixing of post-slaughter remnants back into their food supply.  When I eat meat, that's all I want to eat.  The tradeoff is, of course, nutritional: do I get enough protein, B-12, and fatty acids in my diet?  The answer is, I have to pay a lot of attention but it's possible.  I recommend a rather objective book call Becoming Vegan for reference, which despite it's title would actually be a good purchase for evangelical meat eaters to learn about the dangers of vegan/vegetarianism.

Ethics.  (1) The amount of land used to raise a enough beef to feed one person could raise enough grain to feed N people, where N is nontrivial (see above book).  (2) The meat processing industry is notorious for treating their (often immigrant) workers poorly, and running small ranchers into the ground.  (3) I'm all for the killing of animals for food, but even if they are being raised for slaughter this does not mean they need to be tormented and miserable in life.

I have a meat-eating friend who likes to say "I didn't spend 40,000 years clawing my way to the top of the food chain for nothing."  I have another friend who claims that "happy meat tastes better."  I agree with both of them.  I'm mostly vegetarian, meaning that I won't eat meat if I'm unsure as to whether it lived a relatively natural life before being killed for my consumption.

It's tough to come by such meat, and to me, this is the hardest part of my dietary lifestyle.  In order to eat meat in a restaurant, I have to inquire of the manager where it comes from.  Similar inquiries must be made of my grocers.  Usually, they don't know or are unwilling to find out.  When they do know, one usually finds that the meat was purchased from an objectional packing plant.  On the rare occasion that one finds a restaurant with a good source of meat, one treasures it and returns often, but for the most part, it's simply easier to be vegetarian when eating out.

However it's much easier to cook meat at home.  Around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania there are a couple of ranches and dairies which raise organic meat.  And at Thanksgiving time, my sister brings an organic Turkey from a local farm in Helena, MT which my mother overcooks in her traditional style.

To meat eaters I say: here's one vegetarian who will never argue for you to quit eating meat, but would insist that you demand better quality from your supplier.  Meat should be savored as a quality product in small quantities, and a responsible meat-consuming society in no way requires the current questionable practices employed by the modern meatpacking industry which contaminate our supply and harm the consumer base which supports it.
----
"What if the Hokey-Pokey is all it really is about?" -- Jimmy Buffett
[ Parent ]

i have (none / 1) (#406)
by hapbt on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 04:17:36 PM EST

a sausage for you

yeesh (none / 0) (#407)
by tunesmith on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 04:46:31 PM EST

Man, I wonder where this person lives. Sounds like there's a really high ratio of jerks per square mile there. Either that or he's imagining things. I've been veggie for eight years or so and I'm never given any crap about it when I'm eating with people. The most I get is, "oh, you're a veggie? I could never do that, I need my steak!" Smile, laugh, move on. If you're worried about job interviews, just order a pasta dish with white sauce. And what kind of lousy family is it that expects you to eat meat with them if you're a vegetarian?
Yes, I have a blog.
From Vegetarian to Vegetarian (mostly) (none / 0) (#409)
by artsygeek on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 05:58:45 PM EST

I, for the most part, just don't like meat.  Some meats give me headaches due to preservatives.  That's why I was a vegetarian for most of my life.  Then I decided to add meat.  But, I don't eat most meats...I just eat a few.  I do eat lamb and chicken, but not beef or pork (except for the occasional slice of bacon, but I also try to stay away from pork, culturally because of the folks I associate with, but I digress).  I despise turkey, but it's okay at Thanksgiving, because I like to eat potatoes and beans and bread...and frankly, that's good enough for me.

My philosophy has historically been, I just don't like most meats, and that's the way it is, it's not ideology...to quote Flanders and Swann "It's simply a case of chacun a son gout"

Flanders & Swann? (none / 1) (#410)
by epepke on Thu Oct 16, 2003 at 06:27:59 PM EST

Wow. Have some Madeira, m'dear, but don't eat people under the satellite moon in the mud, mud, glorious mud. And little metal bottlecaps turned upside-down and nailed to the floor give an uncanny sensation of walking on little metal bottlecaps turned upside-down and nailed to the floor.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Two points (none / 1) (#418)
by arcade on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 02:47:26 AM EST

After 8 years of dietary exile, one thing is clear: not only is our diet bad for our health, our environment or the animals, and it isn't even very tasty. When people say they like the taste of meat, I wonder if they ever eat anything else satisfying.

I disagree. In my book - and to my knowledge (I'm sure some militant veggie will have the fits and throw a lots of references at me for this) meat has lots of protein, makes you stronger and makes your body more fit.

Furthermore, there is nothing as satisfying (in my opionion) as digging my teeth into a rare steak. Not only the taste, but the entire experience. It's.. just great. :-) Lots of thing _taste_ better, but is not nearly as satisfying.

But refusing food from someone who cooked it surely is horrible karma.

Indeed. Oh, he doesn't eat what I serve? Well then, I'll refrain from inviting that guy then - bloody picky bastard.

When visiting people one eats what is served - unless one has an allergy or something - in which case it's of course okay to say no thanks.

--
arcade

More Efficient (none / 0) (#431)
by bugmaster on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 12:35:42 PM EST

Eating meat is just more efficient, from a personal perspective. The herbivores have already performed most of the task of concentrating solar energy into compact storage (well, the plants started it, and the herbivores picked up the slack). All you need to do now is bite into the steak and absorb lots of energy in one hit.

This allows predators and omnivores to devote some time to pursuits other than feeding -- such as building nice nests or composing poetry or whatever. This is why, historically, carnivores have more complex brains than herbivores -- well, that, and the fact that they actually need to track down their prey, which requires more thought than just "moo. grass."

The downside to eating meat, of course, is that carnivores are less efficient in general: at each step of the energy conversion process (sunlight -> plants -> cows -> us) some energy is lost; thus, you need to eat more energy to compensate.

For better or for worse, however, humans have evolved as omnivores. Our evolution would not have been possible at all if we had to devote all our time to feeding, as cows do; then, all we could evolve is bigger stomachs or something. Thus, most humans like the taste of meat: they are biologically programmed to seek it out and eat it.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Yes, but (none / 0) (#471)
by raukea on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 12:34:40 PM EST

Full time carnivores tend to rest for quite awhile after hunting, mainly because it's such a hassle digesting meat. Some reptile carnivores will take it easy for several months after eating their fill. And which is more smart? A crocodile or a horse?

Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Unfair comparison (none / 0) (#483)
by bugmaster on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:48:50 PM EST

Reptiles are cold-blooded, and horses are not. Cold-blooded animals in general tend to rest a lot, especially when it's cold, because their metabolism is externally regulated.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Okay (none / 0) (#484)
by raukea on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:00:46 AM EST

I don't know about unfair, but it doesn't work anyhow. Well, well, just trying to be smart in the middle of the night. Does not work. Mneh.
Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#434)
by epepke on Fri Oct 17, 2003 at 04:17:10 PM EST

And I'm not a vegetarian, let alone a miliant one.

Egg whites are probably the best and most digestible source of, followed by whey protein. When bodybuilders need to eat a lot of protein because they're tearing up their muscles to make them grow back stronger, this is the kind of stuff they consume.

Meat, however, is good for a few things. B vitamins, for instance, are found in meat; vegetarians should generally take supplements. The fats in meat in moderation are used to keep skin supple and to lubricate joints. I've known many long-term vegetarians with significant premature aging due to a loss of skin elasticity; they develop networks of fine wrinkles.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
poor skin (none / 0) (#495)
by Smaug the Golden on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 03:03:21 PM EST

Are these vegetarians you know the kind that strive for very low fat (no matter the source) diets?

[ Parent ]
Yep. (none / 1) (#453)
by Icehouseman on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 02:49:12 PM EST

I'm a meatarian. I try to have meat at every meal and avoid eating veggies. I really like plants and find them much more interesting and beautiful than a bunch of stupid cows and pigs.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
hunting and gathering impact... (none / 2) (#455)
by splitpeasoup on Sat Oct 18, 2003 at 10:13:38 PM EST

You said: "hunting and gathering has less impact than a vegan diet."

How is that relevant? Most meat-eaters are not hunter-gatherers. Needless to say, the breeding of animals for the meat industry has a far larger environmental/ecological impact than vegetarian agriculture.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Why vegies. (none / 2) (#459)
by Rainy on Sun Oct 19, 2003 at 07:09:12 PM EST

The most important thing about eating meat or not is having a habit for eating richly salted meat or not. If you eat that regularly (as well as other salty foods), all other, non-salty food will taste bland. If you get off these 'in your face' food for a period of time, non-salty food becames as tasty as meat-based food, and then you'll never be able to take part in heated arguments pro or vs, because there won't be much difference to you. Both options will be equally acceptable, as far as taste is concerned.

I eat vegetables for the last 2 years. I do this for mixed reasons.

Hodge-podge or reasons

Meat takes long for me to digest. I like the feeling of lightness and alertness when all food is digested. I come from work at about 5:40, if I ate right away, I'd be heavy and my mood would be lower until sleep. If I ate later on, I'd not get a good night's sleep. Meat does not taste good to me unless it's quite salty. I find salt has an unpleasant effect on me, too - it's a little like caffeine jitters. If I eat 5 (yes, only 5) good-sized potato chips on an empty stomack, they'll have enough salt to make me queasy. Meat of high quality is expensive. I don't make much money, and this is somewhat important for me. I've heard cattle is fed antibiotics and hormones. Grass-fed 'natural' cattle is more expensive yet and has to be ordered by mail, or so I hear. Again, this is impractical to me. I'm peaceful by nature and I'd rather not kill anyone. I never had to, and though I think I may kill an animal or a human (not much difference, imho), if pressed, I'd quite simply rather not do it. On top of that, if I *do* kill someone, I'd do it myself. I'll take a knife and cut the throat, get my hands all bloody and sticky, drink the warm blood first and then cook the meat - this just feels more honest than hiring someone to kill for you. If it's a human, I'll only do that if he attacked me and I had no other recourse, and I need his body for food. If it's an animal, I'll do that if I'm starving but it's not necessary that he attacks me first. In a shipwreck scenario, I hope I won't let hunger get the best of me and make me a cannibal, but of course you never know until you're right there on golden beach, by azure waves, under romantic palmtrees, 2 weeks passed since your last potato-and-broccoli and a cup of hand-rolled georgian tea. As far as taste goes, I find that a well-done meat dish is very tasty, but (sorry), I find a well-done vegie dish tastier yet. One thing about meat, though, of a somewhat redeeming nature, is that you can have a salty piece of meat in a fridge with something on the side, and you can re-heat it and it will taste half decent and filling. A nice dish of freshly prepared vegies will be *much* better, BUT it will take some time to prepare, and sometimes you're hungry *and* tired. On the other hand, I find vegies unpalatable when reheated, or cold for that matter. So, the meat totally has the instant gratification appeal. If I always had some meat at my place, it could be much harder for me to keep up with vegetarianism. In two years I ate meat 5 or 6 times, never more than half or a third of a portion. It's tasty and filling but so are some vegie dishes.

yoga

Another reason is that I practice yoga and it recommends to avoid meat. In one of his books, Swami Sivananda says "one who eats meat can become a warrior or a scientist, but rarely a yogi".

In yoga, there is no vegie/meat diet division. There are three kinds of food, instead: sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. The first one, sattvic, is the one that's good for yoga practice: vegies, fruits, grains, milk, nuts. Sattvic food makes your mind calm, dispassionate and concentrated - qualities necessary for yoga practice. Rajasic group is meat, onions, garlic, all sour, hot, pungent dishes, salt, pickles, etc. This group makes you agitated and excites passion. Tamasic food makes you heavy and inactive; eggs and some meats (I don't remember what else) belong to this group.

Sivananda says that onions and garlic are worse than meat. Yogi Bhajan, though (of Kundalini yoga school), recommends using some Rajasic foods, and in particular onions and garlic. Sivananda allows black and red pepper on grounds that they assist digestion. (I think).

Anyway, the core of yogic approach to diet is that one should eat to live, not live to eat. Food is fuel, it allows me to live, experience, move, work, love, and so forth. I am not to focus on the sensuous pleasure of food. Light, simple food is sattvic. Another aspect is that one should not be dependent on one particular food - if there's rice I'll eat rice. If there's potatoes I'll eat them. If only meat is available, I'll take that, not giving much thought to it. Refusing a meal because it is not sattvic is bad karma. The idea is not that eating this or that is bad, but having a dependency and drug-like attachment to a particular taste. This isn't entirely true, though, because meat diet will have effect on your body even if you don't have mental attachment; but the essential idea here is that if there's no attachment, you will tend to pick the 'right' food and eat the right amount, not more than you need or less than you need.

No convincing proof

I have no mathematical proof that sattvic food is better or healthier. I find that it is, for my own body, and I suspect that it is for most if not all other people, but I'll never try to convince anyone who is attached to the taste of meat or onions, for example, because there can be no proof obvious enough in this case to override that attachment. If there is no attachment, or someone finds this food taxing, he can try it and may convince himself, or not; but as for me, I'll never be able to do that and I will never waste my time trying.

I think a lot of vegetarians perhaps do it to feel superior. But that may be said of any other endeavor. A scientist may have become such to feel intellectually superior. Ditto for a programmer. A businessman may have chosen that path to be materially superior to someone. I guess to avoid this accusation you have to be very careful to stay very average. What, you're watching a movie that did not do well in theaters? What the hell, you think you're so tasteful and we're all dumbasses?

When I used to eat meat, my attitude was generally that, yeah, maybe I shouldn't, but nothing else tastes good. Or it does, but is not filling. If I had known a vegetarian, I may have felt that nobody can put up with that only because of highly abstract idea of some animals suffering somewhere who'll be killed off anyway, and so the only 'real' reason must be that he gets off feeling superior to the rest of us. The fallacy here would be that vegie diet taste is in any way inferior to meat based diet. But, as I said above, if you're accustomed to the taste of salty meat, this is true to a large degree. So, instead of a whole life of tasteless, unsatisfying food you really only have to endure maybe a week or two. For me the benefits were good enough - I'd do it even if it took a year.

vegie dishes

My typical meal is romaine-based salad, some cooked grains with butter and vegies on top. I often drink milk and eat fruits.

My salad will always have some romaine in it, because it has the most amazing aftertaste, that kicks in after you eat half the salad bowl. It's the tastiest flavor I ever met, by far. It's amazing. I could add spinach or celery, cabbage and other stuff.

The 'filling' food is mostly potatoes, rice, pasta, buckwheat, always with generous chunk of butter (very important! taste improves by tenfold), and lightly boiled asparagus, or broccoli, cauliflower, or maybe stringbeans.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

what social cost, and foot pyramid (none / 0) (#479)
by dh003i on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:26:56 PM EST

Firstly, what social cost to being a vegetarian? Last time I checked, most people weren't up and in arms about those who dared not to eat meat.

Second, there's nothing wrong with eating meat in moderation. In fact, meats are a recommended part of the food pyramid, although what they provide (namely protein and fats) can be replaced in a vegetarian diet.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

"Why I'm giving up libertarianism" (none / 3) (#482)
by dh003i on Tue Oct 21, 2003 at 05:46:17 PM EST

Well, after a discussion with someone, I thought about the nature of the State, and the nature of individual men and freedom, and decided that the best political system would be libertarianism (anarcho-capitalism/agorism). There are many reasons why I believe this, which I've talked about in my diary and elsewhere, but sufficed to say, I thoroughly and completely believe in it.

However, I better give up believing in libertarianism, because, well, most people don't agree with me. I mean, most people don't even know what a libertarian is. Not only that, but they dismiss it out of hand. And some people look at you strange. When I walk down the street, I feel all these people eying me as the wierd anti-State anarcho-capitalist.

Thus, I better give up my belief. I mean, convenience is more important, right? Come to think of it, I better give up thinking altogether, because if I think, eventually I will reach conclusions and beliefs that other's will disagree with me on, and perhaps ridicule me for.
...
My point isn't that you should or should not be a vegetarian. My point is that if you really believe in something, you shouldn't let what "other people think" per se bother you. Most of the successful people in this world are successful because they ignored "what they said". Henry Ford, for example.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

beliefs and behaviour (none / 0) (#488)
by danharan on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 10:59:12 AM EST

Point is, it never was a belief based on animal rights- it was based on beliefs about the virtue of such a diet for health and the environment. After further study, I have found many more grey areas, and the behaviour was maintained by habit, without any more valid reasons for keeping it up.

Suppose a black block member decided it was a bit too much bother getting clubbed by police on a regular basis... they could abandon their behaviour without abandonning the core belief that freedom is essential for humans, that the state is encroaching and has to be reduced/elminated.

Understanding that violence is something the state claims a legitate monopoly on; that violence inevitably reduces freedom; that using violence against the state perpetuates a violent cycle; that deligitimating violence would deligitimate the state --- beliefs evolve, even if the sensibility that started the journey is still there.

That, by the way, is not an attack on libertarian ideas: it's my parallel evolution in that sphere.

[ Parent ]

wierd anti-State anarcho-capitalist (none / 0) (#497)
by wingnutx on Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 01:18:26 PM EST

I find that most people don't even know what the hell a libertarian actually is. That, or they deliberately mischaracterize libertarians as a convenient boogeyman. Republicans and Democrats do this on a pretty regular basis.
tanstaafl
[ Parent ]
Don't be so quick to criticize this guy (none / 2) (#489)
by Squidbait on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 02:28:16 PM EST

First of all, a lot of people accuse this guy of being cowardly, abandoning his beliefs, etc. Read the article folks, he did it primarily for diet reasons ie to benefit himself personally, not for moral reasons or to save animals. If he feels the social costs outweigh the benifits, he is not abandoning his principles by going back to meat, he is intelligently maximizing his own welfare, which was the point of giving up meat in the first place.

Second, maybe some of you don't think there is a social cost to being vegetarian, but I think that really depends on your social situation. If all of your friends are hippy vegans, sure nobody is going to attack you. I know that when I went vegan, many of my friends went ballistic, with such supportive comments as "what a fucking idiot" etc. A few times I seriously had to sit and defend myself against vicious attacks of this nature from three or four people at a time. (thankfully, most of these people I no longer associate with). Whenever it comes up in conversation, and it inevitably does if you go out for meals etc, you have to watch for the guy that will attack you like this. It happens a lot more often than non-vegetarians probably realize, but again it depends on who you hang around with. And don't try to feed me the "then find new friends" arguments, get realistic. Friendships aren't perfect, you take the good with the bad, as long as one outweighs the other; plus finding a whole new set of friends is not easy or fun. Friends aside, you can still face this sort of criticism from people you meet day to day who aren't necessarily your friends, and who are also less inhibited about mocking you.

The point is that there is a real social cost, and if you have strong beliefs then you will bear the cost, but in this guy's case it wasn't a moral issue, so he did what was best for himself. You should always be willing to reevaluate your beliefs and decisions based on your current situation or changes of opinion. The real idiot is the guy who clings to his beliefs when they are no longer appropriate or rational. I originally went vegan for moral reasons, but I have since reevaluated those reasons and now eat meat. Of course, I'm sure my critics just think I caved either due to social pressure or not being able to live without meat (despite the fact that I did just fine for a year or so). It's often just as hard to give up your position if your beliefs change than to stubbornly cling to them, given all the effort you put into defending them in the first place.



You mine as well (none / 0) (#490)
by CoolName on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 01:07:21 PM EST

You had no good reason whatsoever to adopt vegetarianism. Or at least this article would indicate the such. And vegetarianism is a hassle.

"What does your conscience say? -- 'You shall become the person you are.'" Friedrich Nietzsche


reasons (none / 0) (#491)
by doneflipin on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 09:09:49 AM EST

The environment, health, ethics etc. were not the concerns of the first vegetarians (i.e. those that can afford meat but chose not to), I chose to be vegetarian when I was five (I don't remember why), I seriously doubt if my health or the environment ever came across my mind back then. All I remember is finding out what meat is (part of a once cow or once pig etc.). perhaps one forgets that the most important thing about vegetarianism- that is that it's not just a dietary rule, but a principle. One is not defined by what one eat... I thought it weird that society should come into the author's decision to eat meat again. How does the society at large matter at all as far as one's own principles are concerned? to abstain from meat is a conscious choice. sure one should be free to choose one's diet hence to eat meat if one would like, but how free can we be if societal pressure/ cultural conventions/ inconveniences, are enough for us to abandon our principles. It's not the culture that needs to change as the author puts it, it's each of us that needs to change, to understand our own principles and live it, understand what we eat and be aware of it, people's acceptance is always out of one's control in the short term, if one in principle believes in the environmental/ health advantages of vegetarianism, one should live it principally - but if one sees it as work and a grounding habit turning one into a more or less social retard- one may as well never be vegetarian in the first place. I'm sure what makes a man a real man isn't `beef' but adherence to principles. The most important thing of the principle of being vegetarian is the fact that it is an exercise of empathy. The environmental impact and one personal health are merely good side-effects of being vegetarian, it'll doubtless come to nonsense with time - because how can we ever know if there is if at all any damage to our health if we eat excessive meat? - many people live long healthy lives that eat mountains of meat in their lives. The reason the author starts to eat meat again is because it's hard to see the point when of abstinence when a lean leg of lamb is nutritious, tasty. So too may pork and beef be (if not in excess). There's no point to the author's post because there's no understanding of what it has meant to have a vegetarian diet. The whole thing is a generalization of his own personal experience of being a vegetarian, with respect to his world. Shallow. Fact is, there's no reason to be vegetarian except to understand our natural empathy, it for the same reason we find the way some willows seem to weep, it is for the same reason that stars in the sky reminds some of the dead heroes, it's for the same reason that we can feel sorrow and pain when someone else gets run over by a car and moans in a pool of blood with mangled hands as they cut of her arm. I don't think it's just about animal rights, but the fact that one cares enough of suffering to abstain from possible pain upon another creature. Fact is if we could empathize with a lamb on a conveyer belt to the slaughter house, we wouldn't be one to wage war, if we could empathise with a cow's agony as a bolt meaning to pierce between its eyes missed and left her spouting blood and mooing in pain as she slowly drowns in deflating lungs - We would not wish ever to torture any human beings. Atrocities like My Lai in Vietnam would we would never in a million year participate in, nor would we be a part of the whole gas chamber scheme, for if one could empathise with a cow one has never met, one could empathise million fold more, when one faces a person that one is in a position or is pressured to hurt/ to maim/ to torture. It can't even be proved that an animal is aware at all of anything - but anyone who's ever tried to kill something slowly (I've killed a spider once, slowly, tearing off its legs one at a time) one would know that it feels it, it feels the pain, it struggles to stay alive, one can feel almost (one thinks) exactly what it's going through. I know I'll never do it again, because I would not personally like my limbs to be torn off one at a time - and that's the foundation of most common ethics - no matter one is religious or not to - `do to others what you would have them do onto you', or as Confucius would have it `don't do to others what you wouldn't want done onto you'. It's a practical application of that particular ethics in our every day life - if one abstain from meat. It is not superior to be vegetarian, there's no such thing as superior person. People who don't eat meat should understand why they don't, because if one is really objective - meat `does' taste good, meat `is' absolutely nutritious, it is also an art to cook meat well. And meat cooked well `is' bliss. And people who eat a lot of meat `can' live long and healthy lives. The question is if or not, one is empathetic to life per se - that was the reason the people first became vegetarians, and that is the only reason that is objectively viable.

Thanks (none / 0) (#492)
by Captain Queegs Diaphragm on Tue Nov 04, 2003 at 01:38:14 AM EST

...for the article, sir. You make some observant points.

Hunter-gatherers: You note that these eaters likely do less harm to the environment than do vegans. I might add, the meat which they eat would seem to have more flavor, variety, 'aesthetic appeal' (not: 'ascetic').

I might well note, I've not experimented with vegetarianism or any other special diet, in a sustained manner.

To comment still: I reckon, giving up meat makes sense as a means of re-ordering one's passions to the end that they become more subject to right reason. Asceticism (thus), perhaps, is the idea here. Like a monk who practices regular abstinences, and chastity and voluntary poverty, the vegetarian, too, might, by the effects of his decision, free his appetite from the dictates of societal norms: for an example norm, that gobs of cheese and sugar must accompany a main course centered on a slab of meat. Thus freed, he may, with prudence, reorient his appetite towards more estimable norms yet ones which, by their very nature of being distinct from conventional, societal norms, may only be sensibly considered after he has retrenched into the initial abstinence (from meat).

To continue: But, the abstinence need not be the end; I'd argue it ought not to be the end of the vegetarian choice. Now seeing more clearly that contemporary American understanding of food is not right, the vegetarian might recognize that he admires the relationship of the Eskimo to his food: seal meat and all.

* * *

Ah, that's enough. Thanks again.

--
"God damn thee and the Guelph party with your distrustful malice!" ~ Guido

Militants. (none / 0) (#493)
by grendelkhan on Wed Nov 05, 2003 at 02:50:01 PM EST

I've seen actual militant vegetarians/vegans. The kind who don't eat honey because you're raping/exploiting the bees to get it. (I swear, I'm not making this stuff up. I can't make this stuff up.)

Having had the educational experience of visiting Oberlin College, something of a hotbed of lefties, I learned that a co-op prohibits the presence of meat within its doors. I asked the following questions:

People are made of meat; why are they allowed in? If this only means no dead meat, does that mean you're breaking the rules if you die there? If humans don't count, are you breaking the rules if your pet bunny dies there? What if your pet bunny dies by falling onto a barbecue grille, and in its death throes marinates itself with a savory blend of lemon, pepper and barbecue sauce?

I swear, those people have no sense of humor whatsoever. All they did was turn gray and threaten to call campus security. (I'm not making this up. I couldn't make this kind of stuff up.)

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca

Trolling in real life (none / 0) (#494)
by Smaug the Golden on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 02:35:24 PM EST

Would you have expected them to react any differently if you walked in and started talking about pouring hot grits down Natalie Portman's pants? They kicked you out for being an idiot, not because they are millitant. I am not saying you are an idiot, but it sure sounds like you were acting like one.

One time while making a meatless meal someone asked me "You aren't one of those religious vegans are you?" I wasn't telling her not to eat meat or anything like that. It was simply known that I am vegan and she felt threatened, or something. I didn't feel like bursting her bubble, but I noted to myself - here is a religious meat eater. Yes, blacks can be racist, and meat eaters can be (and often are) millitant/religous. Imagine that!

[ Parent ]

Informative Debate vs Hot Grits. (none / 0) (#498)
by grendelkhan on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 04:54:47 PM EST

Point was that the rules were ridiculous, not the reasoning behind them. The idea of 'we forbid meat in this area' isn't well thought-out.

How is challenging a swiss-cheesey idea tantamount to threatening Hot Grits infliction?

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

my own experience (none / 0) (#496)
by luciensims on Thu Nov 20, 2003 at 10:01:20 PM EST

I am a life-long vegetarian, as my parents were vegetarians until I was 9. I'm 24 now, and haven't ever eaten meat.

I remain vegetarian for a number of reasons... Out of habit, because I don't like the idea of eating flesh, and because I don't look at animals as part of the food chain. I suppose there's an element of willpower-testing involved, but that theory goes out the window given that I don't actually get hungry looking at meat.

I go out of my way to ensure that my diet doesn't restrict anyone else from eating what they choose, and don't ever make disparaging remarks about what other people eat (except eyes - yuck!).

Nevertheless, a goodly portion of my life has been spent having to explain myself for my dietary choice, and copping criticism for it. I'm thick-skinned, and I can take it, but I imagine if a less confident person was accused on a regular basis of having 'vaginitis' they might get upset.

The social cost the author describes is very real. On a number of occasions I have turned down invitations to dinner because I couldn't be bothered going through the rigmarole of explaining my vegetarianism and then having the inevitable tedious conversation where my dining companions tell me all about how they could never give up meat, and don't I get tired of only eating vegetables?

I'd love to write these people off as morons, but given how common it is, I think it's more fair to say simply that people don't tend to understand anything different than their own experience, and are curious. It's unfortunate that some let their curiosity transform into defensiveness or aggression.

At times I have considered beginning to eat meat, if only to satisfy my own curiosity as to its taste, and to take part in the rituals associated with it. A previous poster mentioned a barbeque -- I'd have to say that a good ol' Aussie barbeque is something I sometimes dread unless I know the company well. Endless explanation and a tough hide are generally required.

You may like to think that society doesn't care, and it's all in the author's imagination. I wish that were the case.

Why I'm giving up vegetarianism after 8 years | 498 comments (458 topical, 40 editorial, 1 hidden)
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