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The rise in veganism

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by BelleDuJour, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Veganism is the new thing it seems.
    Why a rise in being vegan rather than vegetarian surprises me.
    TBH we eat a lot of vegan meals......but also a lot of vegetarian meals and we eat fish and meat.
    The idea of 'flexitarian' bothers me. Surely that's just a normal diet with some animal products?
    Anyway......I'm going more over to a plant diet. Not wholly, but certainly more than I used to.
    Vegans are certainly deficient in vitamin B12, so from that point of view it is not a 'healthy' diet without supplements, and I couldn't imagine a world without eggs, Greek yoghurt and cheese.
    Vegan/vegetarian meals we have a lot include veggie curries of all types, beans on toast, jacket spuds, fritatta, nachos, fajitas, pizza, cauli cheese, stir fry, bean burgers, pasta to name just a few.
    Any thoughts?
    nizebaby likes this.
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Vitamin B12 doesn't occur naturally in any non-animal-derived foods, but that doesn't mean vegans are deficient in it. There are quite a few foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 during production - plant milks and nutritional yeast, for example - so it's not absolutely necessary for a vegan to take supplements in order to be healthy, as long as he/she eats enough of the fortified food.
    ItchyFeet1 likes this.
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    With regards what others do, I couldn't give a b*gger. Their lives, their bodies and they aren't doing anyone else any hard.

    The idea of 'flexitarian' is nonsense. You're either a vegan or a veggie or an omnivore. You can't pick and choose when it suits you.

    We eat vegetarian and vegan meals often. I think it's in everyone's interests to eat less meat and animal products. Better for public health and better for the environment.

    But we're definitely omnivores - not bloody flexitarians!
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Lots of people are cutting down their use of meat and other animal products. Sometimes it's for health reasons, sometimes ethical ones and a big driver right now seems to be sustainability. The terms vegan and veganism are being misapplied perhaps but who cares what you call it? The word flexitarianism only exists because some people can't bear to not be able to put a label on everyone.

    As to the actual shift in diet rather than the ludicrous labelling, then yes, I see it as a very positive thing.
    nizebaby likes this.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Too much like hard work, even were I convinced by the allegedly ethical arguments.

    I do not believe that a vegan diet, even supplemented, is suitable for everyone for sustained periods of time. While everyone has the same nutritional needs, different people process these more or less efficiently due to genetic & environmental factors. Women should avoid a vegan diet, in my view, as their menstrual cycle already gives them a good kicking every month. Parents who raise children on vegan diets are wrong to do so, falsely assuming that children are simply mini-adults.
  6. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    My thoughts exactly!
    But it does puzzle me this sudden rise in veganism, as opposed to vegetarianism.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
    nizebaby likes this.
  7. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Just googled 'flexitarian' and got this:

    A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word.

    You cannot be a 'semi-vegetarian'! It's a bloody omnivore!
    Trust the Americans to think this isa great word :mad:
  8. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I suspect it's for ethical reasons. For example, the number of male calves and male chicks routinely killed in dairy farming and egg farming is well documented. You could argue that being a vegetarian is no more ethically sound than being an omnivore, as animals are still killed as a byproduct of dairy and egg farming, etc. Of course, people are vegetarian for other reasons than ethics.

    There are claims that vegan diets are better for the environment as well in terms of reducing one's carbon footprint and more sustainable in terms of land use.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  9. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Agree @nick909, but I'm not convinced such a huge numbver of individuals have suddenly developed a conscience!
  10. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Fortified non dairy milk. Is not without its ethical concerns given the large amount of land given over to exploit this fairly new level of demand and the consequences of that change of land use.
    nizebaby and bombaysapphire like this.
  11. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I think you're right regarding ethical attitudes towards animal welfare but it will be an issue for a great many vegans.

    The environment is a biggie at the moment though. It's increasingly looking like we are headed for an environmental catastrophe unless something changes and more and more people, particularly young people are looking to what can change. Lots of studies suggest that a vegan diet is better for the environment.

    I think there will be a few reasons why the vegan diet is suddenly so popular but I's say with most people it's a combination of some or all of:

    1. Ethical concerns about animal welfare
    2. Environmental benefits
    3. Concerns that excesses of red meat and dairy can lead to health issues (whether this is true or not, there is still a wide perception that it is true)
    4. Cost. Vegetarian and vegan diets are a lot cheaper!
    5. Fashion and social media (it's cool to have a label and be able to hashtag your instagram pics, right!)
    Kartoshka likes this.
  12. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I can never understand why someone can claim to be a vegetarian but eat fish, sometimes chicken as well!!
    Having taught cookery, under it's various names, I got used to having to find alternatives for certain foods for religious reasons.
    nizebaby likes this.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Hearing a flexitarian on the radio the other day, some of what she said made perfectly good sense to me.
    Good sense, that is, if you believe that your ethics can manifest themselves via what you eat
    Her take on it was that when eating at home they were completely in control of their food intake. They could choose to source food responsibly, to whatever dogma they subscribed. However, if they eat away from home that facility does not exist. It is impossible to monitor food miles, provenance, meat derivative content etc etc etc. She also said that the experience of trying to investigate these elements when you eat out is ultimately difficult and alienating. Therefore the extrapolated decision to live omnivorously through the week but not at the weekend. The way she presented it was as a sort of courtesy to how the majority operate, in particular in the hospitality and catering industry, and to others who eat out. Ultimately if you are quizzing a waiter about how happy the beef is bred, you are also taking away service time from others.
    I suppose from an ethical standpoint it is always best to do the right thing when you can, even if not all the time, and so that was her line too.
    Yes, it's flawed, but I honestly think all food dogma is flawed, all regimes, all foodisms. By being flexitarian, the misleading aspect is the perception of fickleness, but actually that's not true. It's pragmatic dogmatism, and it's allowing the bigger picture to steer you, rather than your own ethics to take charge.
    Kartoshka and sparkleghirl like this.
  14. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Before I gave up meat altogether, I started going off various kinds of red meat - some I was never keen on. When eating out, vegetarian was always easiest but also, if invited to someone's home for a meal, it seemed easier to say i was vegetarian than to provide a list of meat I wouldn't eat or risk offending by not being able to eat what was given to me.

    In recent years I have, on four occasions, eaten fish. Three were because I was in places where there was no vegetarian alternative. Once was after discussing this with a friend, and talking about the health benefits of fish, she offered to cook a fish meal for me. Would I eat fish again? Yes. Would I still choose vegetarian where possible? Yes.

    As @sbkrobson says above, it's about being realistic and often about not wanting to cause a fuss or inconvenience others.
  15. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I just cannot understand a 'flexitarian'. It's an omnivore......like most of us are. We eat some meat, some fish, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. It's nothing new.
    I chose the vegetarian option at my daughter's wedding a few weeks ago. We chose lamb, sea bass and a spinach and sweet potato pithivier. I chose the veggie option because it was lush! But I do love lamb and sea bass.
    We will never live in a perfect world, and going veggie/vegan will not in itself save the planet. But it does make people stop and think of what they eat and the effects on their health.....which has to be good.
    IMO the best we can do for the planet is to only eat seasonal foods......not bullet hard Spanish strawbs in winter or green beans flown half way around the world.
    nick909 and nizebaby like this.
  16. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Interesting! I understand this, and what @sbkrobson says. It's extremely difficult to live entirely by your morals, and virtually impossible regarding food, unless you shop for and cook everything you eat. I have a few friends who are largely vegetarian, yet who will eat meat or fish when at a friend's house, rather than feel as if they're being a burden.

    I suppose I am similar, in that the meat and eggs I use at home are as ethically sourced as they can be, yet if I'm eating at a friend's house then I'll just eat what I'm given with good grace, as to pick apart the ethical credentials of what's being served would actually make me something of an *rsehole!

    I'd honestly never thought about it like this. It makes sense. I think I've had my mind changed!

    I'm still not sure I see the need for a specific label for it. But people do like a label these days. I guess it's not harming anyone though, and if it makes people happy, then it would be a bit churlish to complain about it. Each to their own, eh.
  17. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

  18. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Yes, the fixation on labelling people seems to be more of an issue than the diet itself.
  19. ItchyFeet1

    ItchyFeet1 New commenter

    I brought up this subject a while ago and was heavily slated. I am so happy to see a shift in thinking. The evidence that we should all be moving toward a plant based diet is astounding, for more than any one reason. I started out on this journey for my health but now it is all about the animals. Healthier than I ever was before and no looking back. Once you see it as 'someone' instead of something' that you are eating, it is easy to make the switch.
  20. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    A pure plant based diet is deficient.
    I eat animals, but am very careful where I buy my meat from as I have a respect for the animal.
    I like dairy too, and wish in the UK we could have a market for rose veal to save the needless slaughter of bull calves at birth.
    But I love veggies and base much of my diet on plant foods, with some meat and fish.
    nick909 likes this.

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