Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The 80% Vegan: A EcoBlog Debate


Mike's Original Post

I’ve been having a debate recently with some of my more purist vegan friends about whether a 100% vegan diet is the only way to go when it comes to sustainable living.  To clarify matters for those who are confused by the terminology used by those who adopt plant-based diets, by a vegan diet I mean one that is free of any food items that come from animals.  In practice, this means that a true vegan would avoid eating the flesh of animals (beef, pork, lamb, and yes, fish and chicken as well) and would avoid eating products that come from animals (milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, chocolate, etc). 

First, here’s where I agree with my purist vegan friends: 
  1. A vegan diet most certainly is optimal for the health of individuals.  The China Study—the largest epidemiological study in the world—clearly shows that the closer one moves to a purely plant based  diet, the less one is afflicted by the diseases of affluence suffered by so many Americans (e.g., obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease).
  2. A vegan diet is optimal for the well-being of animals, including egg-producing chickens and dairy cows, which experience as much suffering as animals used for meat.
  3. Finally, studies have conclusively shown that our planet itself would benefit if there were fewer animals producing methane (and thereby contributing to global warming) and polluting our waterways with their waste run-off.
So, there are some definite reasons why one would want to go 100% vegan.  You’d look better and be much healthier, animals would suffer less, and the planet would certainly benefit if larger numbers of people adopted a totally plant-based diet.
But here’s where I part company somewhat from my noble vegan friends.   I believe that this lifestyle is far too difficult for the average American to adopt.  A vegetarian diet is difficult enough, but just try going out with your friends for dinner on a Friday night and see how many vegan options there are at the local Applebee’s or Friday’s in the New York area (the answer is virtually none).
So what I propose is a less purist solution, but perhaps a more practical one that would have many of the same benefits as a purely vegan diet.  I call it “The 80% Vegan”.   Assuming one eats 21 meals a week, in practice this would mean that 17 of these meals would be vegan.  The other four would ideally be vegetarian, but might also include modest amounts of meat products as well. 
Those four meals where people could eat whatever they want in reasonable amounts may not seem like much.  But this would allow enough flexibility in one’s diet to avoid annoying your friends when they want to go out for a night on the town and there are no vegan options available.  It would also mean that you wouldn’t have to offend your dear Aunt Sally when she makes her famous leg of lamb on Easter Sunday.
Those four “anything goes” meals would also mean not having to worry if you are getting enough protein, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B-12 in your diet.  The first three are rarely a concern with those who adopt a vegan diet, but the B-12 issue is significant for some vegans. 

Finally, the 80% vegan diet that I am proposing would come closer than either the strict vegan diet or the standard American diet to the kinds of eating habits of our ancestors and people in traditional communities around the world.  Most healthy, traditional diets—think of the famed Mediterranean and Okinawa diets, for example—are mostly plant-based, but include very modest amounts of meat or fish on special occasions. 

The question that I would like to raise is whether this sort of more flexible, less dogmatic veganish diet would (1) be more likely to be adopted by the average American, (2) be more likely to be followed consistently, and (3) produce some of the same sorts of benefits as its more rigid counterpart.

Response from Elyssa Hopkins
Resolution Kitchen

To answer your questions.. yes, yes and yes.

First, it is unlikely that the average American will be presented with vegan options at every single meal. Unless you're preparing every meal, every day for yourself, you're going to encounter animal ingredients. Eating vegan at restaurants is usually possible (salad is always an option!), but when was the last time you went to dinner at someone's house and they served vegan dishes? I suppose you could only eat a side of veggies or something of the like prepared by your host, but is it worst offending them? That's one way to make sure you follow a strict vegan diet, since you won't be invited anywhere after that.

Secondly, it's definitely more likely to be followed consistently. Advocating absolutely no animal ingredients ever is not likely to be appealing to most people. I think it's more realistic to promote what you're suggesting, a lifestyle including healthier choices for yourself, animals and the environment, and it's up to individuals to set realistic goals for themselves. For example, in my house I make almost all vegan dishes. Occasionally I'll use cheese in something (there's just no good substitutes for delicious cheese!), and I'll even make a chicken dish once or twice a month to appease the hubby. While my friends and family know how I eat at home and do try to cook accordingly, when I eat at their homes I would never refuse something on the basis that there is an animal ingredient in it. And when I meet a friend Tiger Lily Cafe in Port Jeff tomorrow you can bet I'll be ordering the Provencal, an old favorite, which has brie. Stressing over menus and declining invitations is not how I want to live all the time. This brings me to your third question. Any sort of reduction in animal products will result in a positive change. While the "80% vegan" will not have results as drastic as the "100% vegan", they're still making a positive difference and setting a good example. I understand that there are people out there who think any sort of animal exploitation is abhorrent, so they live their daily lives without animal products regardless of the situation, but most people aren't as drastic. What I'm getting at here is that everyone should do the best they can to be responsible citizens of this Earth, and should implement healthy lifestyle choices, but at a rate that they determine feasible.

Response of Demosthenes Maratos
Molloy College Sustainability Institute

First, allow me a clarification or terms. Veganism is not simply a diet, but a lifestyle and there really is no such thing as an “80% vegan”. You’re either vegan or you aren’t. There is no in between. People who eat animal products regularly and intentionally are not vegan, period. If anything, an “80% vegan” is really just an omnivore who happens to eat more vegetables than animals. A true vegan, as correctly defined in the original post, is someone who eschews all animal flesh and animal byproducts. It might be confusing for readers to believe that someone calling themselves vegan would, even on occasion, eat animals. I also believe it’s far too easy to revert back to unsustainable and unhealthy eating habits if, even on occasion, one continues to consume animals and their byproducts. But I digress.

Those of us who are seriously concerned about the environment should go vegan and take a strong animal rights position. No other food choice has a farther-reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the environment and all life on earth than choosing to become vegan.

Here’s why:

1) Being vegan is easy. In fact, it’s never been easier. To contend otherwise seems really more about maintaining convenience and tradition rather than a defensible ethical position. There are vegan alternatives in virtually every grocery store in North America. Websites, discussion forums, books, magazines, videos and more are all available to help make the transition. I became vegan in 1989, and while it was not particularly difficult back then, it is absurd to characterize it as difficult today. To consider veganism difficult or even a sacrifice is to believe that we have the right to use and abuse animals any way we choose. Being vegan is not about giving up; it’s about not taking. It’s not about giving up meat, dairy and eggs; it’s about not taking someone else’s life and liberty. Sure, you are more limited in your restaurant choices, particularly if you don’t live in or near a large city, but in the New York Metro area? And if this inconvenience were significant enough to keep one from being 100% vegan, then I would question just how serious about the issue they were in the first place.

As far as being annoying to friends when dining out, people tend to default to what’s convenient and familiar, but you learn quickly that it doesn’t mean people are going to be put out because you suggest the vegan friendly Asian restaurant instead of Applebee’s. Remember, your friends like you for you, not what you eat. If your friends only like you for the way you eat chicken wings, you need new friends. You don’t have to change your personality or treat people differently because you’re vegan, so don’t.

And I have to be honest, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been thanked by omnivorous friends for introducing them to vegan restaurants, and I’ve had exactly zero complaints from unsatisfied friends following a vegan meal.

Sure, you’re bound to get some antagonism for your choice not to take part in animal exploitation, but that’s nothing for which you need to apologize. After all, these subjects make people very uncomfortable. It forces them to look inside themselves and ask, "Is consuming and otherwise using animals really ethical and just?" For a lot of those folks the antagonism is often a display of just how uncomfortable your lifestyle makes them when thinking about their own. I know that regardless of the hurdles I’ve overcome being vegan, the decision was a sincere desire to shift the paradigm that views animals as things, even if I did offend some omnivores along the way.

I don’t apologize for being vegan. I know what I’m doing is right for me, right for the planet, and right for animals.

And if you’ll allow me, don’t let anyone tell you that vegans sacrifice delicious food. See here for example. A vegan diet can include fruits, vegetables, beans and grains from all over the world. If one is interested in vegan meats, cheeses, ice creams and other sweets, there are more and more of these types of products hitting the market every day. See here.  It might take some time and effort to learn about vegan products, but any change in routine requires an adjustment period.

2) Becoming vegan doesn’t necessitate changing anything that we already believe. It’s a simple matter of aligning your actions with your ethics. Here’s an example: Most Americans agree on the following ethical considerations: Protecting the environment, protecting animals from abuse, and doing what we can to alleviate global hunger. In fact, 90% of Americans recycle because they believe the environment is an ethical value, 97% of Americans, according to Gallup polls, believe that as an ethical matter there ought to be laws protecting animals from abuse, and I would bet that everyone reading this believes that where we can, we should try and alleviate the scourge of global poverty. Veganism is about living all three of these already widely held ethical beliefs. So you see, no one has to change anything they currently believe to become vegan. Again, we only need to do align our actions with our ethics. Our food choices matter; taking the life of a sentient creature, harming the environment, and contributing to global hunger cannot be trumped by our desire for convenience, tradition, or the mistaken belief that we must consume animals to be healthy.

Some people become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. If you can't become vegan overnight, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan.

Connecting with other vegans or vegan groups can be very helpful for information, support, camaraderie, recipe sharing or local restaurant recommendations. The American Vegan Society is a nationwide organization, and members receive a quarterly newsletter. Many organizations have vegan events, and there are also many informal Yahoo groups and Meetup groups for vegans.

3) The environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle are significant and fully realized if the dietary aspect is followed consistently. Consider a 2009 climate change study from the Netherlands’s Environmental Assessment Agency titled, ‘Climate Benefits of Changing Diet’ that reported the following: “A diet without ruminant animals, which produce the most methane, would reduce the cost of climate change by 50 percent. However, switching to a diet of no animal products, including no eggs or milk, would reduce the mitigating costs of climate change by more than 80%”. Those are by no means comparable benefits resulting from the two diets. And a 2010 study out of Dalhousie University in Canada warned, “the projected doubling of meat and dairy consumption by 2050 would imperil the planet, due to increased emissions related to animal agriculture”. They also compared substituting chicken for beef, finding that the net reduction in environmental impact would be only 5-13%. However, a diet of 100% protein from animal sources ranked on a scale from 1 to 100 as 100, compared to only 1 from a vegan diet where 100% of protein came from plant sources. Again, in no way can those numbers be construed as comparable benefits resulting from the two diets. And if authoritative studies are not enough or perhaps you’re a fan of celebrity news, Oscar winning director, James Cameron, who switched to a vegan diet for ethical reasons has recently admonished meat-eating environmentalists to switch to a vegan diet if they are serious about saving the planet. He did so in a 28 second video clip on the Facebook page of the documentary ‘Earthlings’.

And he also recently told the Calgary Herald, “It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere”.

By doing nothing more than simply living as a vegan – which means to eliminate one’s support for all exploitation of sentient beings – we have the power to greatly lessen our ecological footprint, take our health into our own hands, play a part in eliminating world hunger, and experience the peace of mind that comes from making a powerful personal contribution toward peace on earth.

4) Lastly, I submit that the basis of veganism is recognizing the inherent value of animals as individual beings unto themselves. And for that reason, one cannot be a part-time vegan or even an 80% vegan. From the moment Donald Watson first coined the term ‘vegan’ in 1944, veganism has been about the rights of animals to be given equal consideration. To this day, veganism continues to be the only cogent answer that gets at the heart of animal exploitation. Furthermore, if we consider animals to be part of the moral community, it’s misleading and not ethically consistent to present not eating the flesh of animals at 80% of meals, but not 100% of meals. Think of it this way: Sure, you’re not having a hamburger today, but that’s little consolation to the chicken you’re eating on another day or the goat confined and impregnated to make your feta cheese on yet another day.

I must also add that I believe an environmental thrust alone is an insufficient basis for a long-term vegan position, or for a movement seeking to gain animals important rights. To put it another way, going vegan for solely environmental reasons is quite like opposing the Holocaust because the trains to Auschwitz had a big carbon footprint. I know that is a provocative thing to say, but before getting up in arms, think about the central point I’m making. In both cases, yes the person is opposed to the holocaust. But all of us would argue that the person making an objection on environmental grounds is really failing to see the larger point. That is that genocide is profoundly disgusting and wrong because it violates the inherent rights that we think all human beings should have.

Being vegan is your everyday statement that things are not right as they are, that you are one more person who is standing up to be counted in opposition to the exploitation of animals. It is a refusal of a system that produces enormous profits at the expense of animals who are just as sentient as the family dog or cat. Veganism is and has always been about animal rights.

That does not mean we need to be silent about the environmental benefits of veganism, but when we do address such benefits, we should point out that, while great, they are very much incidental to the grave moral wrong of exploiting and unnecessarily breeding and killing the innocent. I would be vegan even if it were bad for the environment, but it's good to know that I can be a good environmentalist and a good vegan simultaneously. Focusing on the environmental or health benefits of veganism undermines the whole moral point of veganism.

If you’re not vegan – go vegan. It’s really easy. If you are vegan – stay vegan. It’s better for the planet, better for your health and most importantly it’s the ethically right thing to do.

71 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I personally think that becoming a vegan would be extremely hard. Why? Because I am not use to not eating any meat product. I personally would find it hard. I can understand that it's healthy but it's really a no no. My mom once made peas soup and I didnt know what she had in there. I was eating the soup waiting to see the meat, ate everything only to find out there is no meat. I almost went crazy cause I saved the best for last only to find out there was no meat. So I can't do without my meat. Anyways! Eating salad is good but like its stated how can one follow a vegan diet when when if a person goes out it's hard to find a vegan menu?

    Kadian G.

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  3. Kadian:

    Veganism may seem way out from what you’re used to, and that’s understandable. However, you’re likely to find it to easier than you think.

    Please consider whether your pleasure, convenience, or comfort is worth someone's life. If you conclude that it's not, then it's easy to go vegan and stay vegan. Start here: http://vegankit.com/

    Sure, you are more limited in your restaurant choices, particularly if you don’t live in or near a large city, but I'm assuming that you live in the New York Metro area. Is that correct? If so, then you have more than 100 restaurants that are either entirely vegan or have vegan options. See here: http://www.friendsofanimals.org/programs/vegetarianism/restaurant-guides/new-york-vegan-restaurant-guide.html

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    1. I try to have some fruits and vegetable with every meal but thats hard especially when I am always on the run. I dnt go to resturantes unless its a gathering with my family or a date. I dnt have a problems trying the diet, I personally think it would be better for me.
      K Green

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    2. Hi Kadian:

      You don't have to eat out in restaurants or have all the time in the world to be vegan. You only need the desire to live according to your ethics. If you believe that it's wrong to harm animals unnecessarily, you already believe what it takes to become vegan. And you're right, it would be better for you. Better for you, better for the planet, and better for the animals.

      Shoot me an email if you have questions: dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

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  4. In my opinion I think the vegan lifestyle is healthier, and less prone to disease. However, It is a drastic change from a person who is used a diet that is completlely opposite. It is hard to adjust to, and I'm honestly not sure I'd be able to go with not eating certain foods. Although it is a healthier lifestyle, I probably would consider the "80% vegan" concept. This way I could start little by little, and then eventually become full 100% vegan. It's very interesting diet, seems challenging, but if it helps me and the enviornment I might just be willing to give it a shot!

    Gabriella A.

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    1. Gabriella:

      You’re right that a vegan diet is healthier. Healthier for the individual, our planet, and most importantly, the animals raised and killed for food. And while it’s understandable that a vegan diet seems far out from what you’re used to, you’d be surprised just how easy it really is. Some people become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. Not everyone can become vegan overnight. It didn’t work that way for me. I resisted at first, but with planning, some investigation, and a transition period I was able to do it and I’ve never looked back. You mention starting slowly and moving forward from there. That’s smart. If you’re inclined become vegan, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan. Please start here: www.vegankit.com

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    2. I will definitely try! Eliminating one animal product at a time, seems like a good plan to me, and a lot simpler and easier!

      Gabriella

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    3. Hi Gabriella:

      Great news! Shoot me an email if you have questions: dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

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  5. I think the 80% vegan is a much better idea than going all out. Americans love their meat and animal products to much to give it up all together. I know I do. I tried the whole eating vegan thing once but gave it up as soon as I heard all the things I could not eat, like chocolate. It’s safe to say it lasted all of two minutes before I went to the nearest Wendys. I give the people who are 100% vegan much respect. But still the 80% vegan idea seems more doable then being a hardcore vegan. It would be easier for Americans to have those freebees then to not have any animal products. To me it seems an almost impossible task to ask Americans to have a strict vegan diets. It’s hard to find a restaurant or a grocery store that has vegan option. That and most people don’t care about how their actions affect the world around as long as they have their meat and are not affecting another human being. If they have those little breaks to go out and eat whatever they want then it will be easier for them to become 80% vegan and live a healthier life without disrupting their life. And if even a small amount attempts this then the world and their health would be a much better. Personally I think it would be very difficult for me to give up the diet I have and would be a hard adjustment but I would take in consideration becoming an 80% vegan.

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    1. Stephanie:

      You’re right. Americans do love their meat, dairy and eggs, and it’s killing us, killing the planet, and killing 65 million animals globally each year. It may seem like an impossible task to get Americans to consider veganism, but consider the alternatives. http://veganismisthefuture.com/diehardmeatcountry/ Or as author Anthony Douglas Williams put it: “If we continue to seek Mother Nature’s breaking point, we will find it.”

      I understand that you’ve tried to eat vegan only to go back to back to eating animals because you thought you’d have to give up too much. Try and appreciate the fact, however, that not only do you need not give up chocolate to be vegan (a google search for “vegan chocolate” turns up 31,900,000 results), but being vegan is not about giving up anything; it’s about not taking. It’s not about giving up meat, dairy and eggs; it’s about not taking someone else’s life and liberty. That, I submit to you, is the basis of veganism. Once you’ve accepted that, you realize that your conscience can be your compass.

      You mentioned it being hard to find restaurants and grocery stores with vegan options. That sounds to me to more like an attempt to maintain convenience than anything else. And while I understand that desire, it’s not at all hard to find vegan options. You just have to care enough to look. Sure, you are more limited in your restaurant choices, particularly if you don’t live in or near a large city, but you live in the New York Metro area, do you not? Then it’s absolutely easy to find a restaurant. Start here: http://www.friendsofanimals.org/programs/vegetarianism/restaurant-guides/new-york-vegan-restaurant-guide.html

      You said “…most people don’t care about how their actions affect the world around as long as they have their meat and are not affecting another human being.” What I believe Professor Russo is attempting to have you do with this exercise is to challenge that notion and to actually care about the impact of your actions. What is important to remember, always, is what's at stake for animals in their use as property. Animal use is often trivial for us (and trivial is often an understatement), but it means their lives to them.

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    2. Thank you Demo for your response. I absolutely look at things differently now thanks to your knowledge. I hate animal cruelty and I know that this occurs in our world. Animals have rights. They feel and they hurt and my heart hurts for any animal that is treated cruely. Changing my eating options will be my way of standing up for them.

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    3. Demo I read carefully what you said and looked into the sites you have brought to my attention. I understand what you are saying and that by not trying vegan or at less 80% vegan as suggested in this article that I am being lazy and destructive to the very things that keep us all alive. Speaking for myself I know that I could try one more time to be more conscious about the problems my generation faces and attempt to become vegan. But as for the rest of America I just feel they are not easily convinced as me and will be stuck in there ways until it is too late to change.

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    4. Hi Janel:

      I'm so happy to hear that you feel this way. Please don;t hesitate to shoot me an email if you ever feel the need or have a question: dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Demo

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    5. Hi Stephanie:

      Just because one person can't change everything, doesn't mean that one person shouldn't change anything. Of course many people might not ever consider the implications of their actions, but many will. Think of it this way: Even decades after the civil right movement, many people are still racist. That doesn't mean that we should be racist just because we can't eliminate all racism.

      And the more people that become vegan, the more animals that will be saved. It's estimated that more than 50 animals are spared a lifetime of misery by those becoming vegan. Multiply that over a lifetime and we are talking about thousands of lives spared by one person's actions. Combine that with the millions of other vegans in the world and the number of lives spared becomes hard to ignore. And the fact that more an more people are exploring veganism everyday means still more lives can be spared. Don't be discouraged. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

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  6. I never would have thought of an 80% vegan diet. I think it's a great idea to try and adopt. Many other vegans might not like this idea but everyone it entitled to their own opinion. I agree that a lot of restaurants don't offer different options that a vegan might like, depending on where you go. I would be willing to try the 80% vegan diet. I feel that it will help in reducing some medical issues and maybe my body will feel better instead of sluggish.

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    1. Janel:

      I’m glad to know that you’re beginning to think about the impact of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Not only could one’s health improve, but so too could the environmental health of our planet. And more of us adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle would also mean that many of the billions of animals raised for food globally, would be spared unspeakable exploitation and death. Vegan options are readily available in virtually every grocery store in North America, so finding alternatives is not difficult. You only need to look.

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    2. Hi Janel:

      I'm so happy to hear that you feel this way. Please don;t hesitate to shoot me an email if you ever feel the need or have a question: dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Demo

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  7. I personally believe that the basis of a vegan diet would be some what difficult. Most college students now a days have a hard time actually making meals and in most cases result to eating something such as fast food or any other unhealthy choice there is that can make you full fast. Although these ways are certainly not ideal for anyone's health this seems to be the only choice. I believe that an 80% vegan diet would benefit the health of most people in the U.S because of the benefit it rises in many aspects. To me though this seems very difficult. This eating habit is a way of life in which most people are not usually appeased, especially at most restaurants as stated. In my life i believe it would be quite difficult considering I live a very busy life with a lot of responsibility at a young age, which most students do live. I try to stay as healthy as possible and continue to strive for a better diet, but it can and will cause a difficult way of living. I do believe that if every american followed some ways stated above changes will be made as years go by, only for the better. This may appear to me a tad difficult, but possibly in the future can help me as I raise my children and have a family.
    Carissa S.

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    1. Carissa S:

      Do you feel that the convenience, tradition and comfort of the Standard American Diet trumps taking the life of a sentient creature, harming the environment, and contributing to global hunger? If you conclude that it doesn’t then it’s easy to go vegan and stay vegan. No matter how hard you think it might be to become vegan, think how hard it is for the animals that you aren’t vegan. Most of us lead busy lives, but 7.5 million Americans are vegan. Do you think all of us have the time to cook an elaborate meal three times a day? Don’t you think that we all have commitments and responsibilities that take up much of our time? Of course we do, but if we understand that our food choices truly matter, then becoming vegan is a lot easier than you think.

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    2. Demosthenes:
      The average american doesn't have time to cook three elaborate meals a day and this is why the population is not completely vegan. I think that it is very hard to lead an everyday life having one more thing to worry about. Being a complete vegan is not very appealing because of the changes you're body must go through to get to the healthy stages. I'm sure it is hard to be this way, but many people choose not to because of preference. Since you believe and back up so strongly on this aspect I think you should maybe start some kind of awareness group that travels around the country even the world expressing a vegan diet and its beneficial aspects.
      Carissa

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    3. Hi Carissa:

      One could argue that many of us (whether vegan or not) don't have the time to prepare three elaborate meals a day, but vegan meals don't take any more time to cook than animal-based meals. People are not vegan because of tradition, convenience, habit and taste. Hardly good reasons when you consider that the lives of creatures, who are just as sentient as the family dog or cat, are being taken for such frivolous reasons. Being vegan may seem way out from where you are, and that's understandable, but it's downright easy once you accept that there's no justifiable reason or necessity to consume an other wise use animals. And your body doesn't go through any changes to become vegan, except to potentially become healthier. Who doesn't want that, right?

      Please consider whether your pleasure, convenience, or comfort is worth someone's life. If you conclude that it's not, then it's easy to go vegan and stay vegan. Start here: http://vegankit.com/

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

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  8. My opinion on this matter is that i feel like it is being somewhat hypocritical. I feel this way because i feel like you cant go a certain percent one way. That is as if a doctor were going to say that they were going to perform surgery at a 80% success rate for that weak. And that is not logical.If you want to do something, then i feel that it should be 100% or nothing at all, you cant go halfway in the middle with these kinds of things. I believe that being vegan may be true in which it helps animals sustain life, or that humans would lead a healthier life, but if you do decide to do this, then you should stick with it and not have any exceptions.

    Sara V.

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    1. Sara V:

      I’m happy to see you take a differing point of view from your classmates who have replied so far. You’re right, half measures and excuses are not going to challenge the paradigm enough to the point of reversing the course we’re on. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on whether you feel strongly enough about these issues to consider changes in your lifestyle that will benefit your health, the planet, and animals.

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  9. I believe that a 100% vegan diet is a lifestyle which takes great dedication. In this respect I could agree with Demosthenes; why would those who make an effort at avoiding all animal based diets want to call someone who "cheats" 80% vegan. Now one point that I do disagree with is the fact that this type of lifestyle is for everyone. This semi-vegetarian diet that Professor Russo proposes would be a perfect substitute. In this case everyone will be making some sort of effort at making a change in the environment. This type of diet also isn't unethical because God placed every species on the earth with intentions on having everyone benefit from each other. The world's equilibrium is sustained by this system, the problem arose when humans began to abuse this privalage. In conclusion those who engage in a mainly vegan diet will be the start of the world's restoration.

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    1. Kiani:

      Becoming vegan only takes a desire to align your actions with your ethics. If you believe that global hunger, your own health, the health of the planet, and the lives of billions of animals raised and killed each year are ethical considerations, then you already believe what compels people to become vegan. And yes, the lifestyle can be for anyone and everyone. You only need a desire to be the change you want to see in the world. If the issues raised here matter to you morally, you already have the foundation to become vegan and to stay vegan.

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  10. In my opinion a full on vegan diet is not very ideal to most people. To partake in that diet once must have dedication to it because finding things to eat becomes difficult. It is a smart diet to follow because it very healthy because you cut out all the things that can harm our body and it also saves the lives of many animals. For me this diet would be difficult because I am always on the move and need to find quick, easy and cheap meals since I am a college student. Many restaurants do not have vegan options these days but they should start to adopt it so that more people would feel comfortable with the diet. Becoming a vegan can become an inconvenience to people but if it was more popular I feel more and more people would catch onto it. This would cause Americans to decrease in obesity and live healthier lifestyles.

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    1. Chelsea:

      Finding vegan options to eat need not be difficult at all, even if you’re “always on the move.” Most of us are always on the go, but if one is committed to the ethics of veganism then one only need the desire to become vegan. Otherwise, it sounds more like just the desire to maintain convenience, and I don’t think that is an ethical position. You only need a desire to be the change you want to see in the world. If the issues raised here matter to you morally, you have the foundation to become vegan and to stay vegan.

      Delete
    2. Demosthenes:

      I never really thought about a vegan diet before reading this post, so I guess I should research it more. I just feel that this seems like a difficult diet to maintain and puts pressure on the body. Like i said I do like convenience but I will have to come outside my comfort zone for the sake of the environment.

      Delete
    3. Hi Chelsea:

      I'm glad that Professor Russo's class and post here has opened you up to thinking about issue you may never have thought of otherwise. And I'm glad to be part of the discussion. I hear you on liking convenience. I absolutely like it too, but there's nothing particularly inconvenient about being vegan. Sure, it will take some getting used to and an adjustment period, but many things in life require that and you often find they're not as bad as you might have thought. Let me know if I can answer any questions you might have. And thank you for considering my views.

      Demo

      Delete
  11. I believe that adapting a 100% percent vegan diet right away is very unrealistic, which is why I favor the 80% percent vegan diet. For example, people who are smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, when trying to quick they decrease the amount they smoke a day. They would narrow it down to 5 a day, then 2 and so on. Doing such a drastic change when your use to doing something instantaneously is hard, and many times the person would fall unti a relasp period. When they make drastic changes such as going from smoking a pack a day down to none the next day the person is more likely to start smoking again. I agree, that a plant based diet is a better one, less expensive, more healthy, and helps the environment in various ways. For people who are 100% vegan, that's great more power to them. Like for instant I eat more fish, not alot of red meat and have switched to almond milk, I make changes here and there to protect myself and the planet. I do care about my health and the health of the earth which is why I continue to make changes to my diet. I feel this 80% percent vegan diet could be a good approach for all peopl, like the 100% vegan diet it requires dedication to keep "on tract" but it's gives you some potions and is not so strict, lets face it everyone loves options!

    By: Sheika B

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    1. Sheika B:

      I’m glad to hear that you’re making changes and considering how your food choices matter. You’re correct in saying that the incrementally working towards a fully vegan diet is the way to go for some people. Some become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. If you can't become vegan overnight, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan. Understanding the impact of the Standard American Diet on personal health, the lives of animals, the environment and global hunger, do you think you could make the transition, however gradually, to a fully vegan diet?

      Delete
    2. Hey demo:

      Yes I have tried to adopt a more vegan diet I'm down to eating meat twice a day. It's usually fish one day and meat another. I love almond milk and I have discovered so many great veggies and the power of stir fry, I always stir fry, its easy and the food always comes out great. I feel as time goes on trying to adopt a more vegan lifestyle becomes more easy, at first it was so hard. I do feel that over time I could make the transition and become fully vegan. Even with my daughter I have her eat less meat as well and she perfers the vegetables over the meat. So not only am I improving my life, my daughters, but my planet as well! Yay to me!

      By: Sheika Baksh

      Delete
    3. Hi Sheika:

      Here's a great source of information for anyone interested in the vegan lifestyle: www.vegankit.com

      And shoot me an email if you ever have a question. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

      Delete
  12. Being 100% began is too difficult for Americans to adapt to. If I had to go on a vegan diet, yes , I'd prefer to start off slowly and gradually get there on my own. I wouldn't be able to automatically convert myself. I honestly think that I eat healthy though. I always eat chicken, meat, fish with a side of vegetables. As Americans, our society has lived to love meat, chicken, fish, etc. we love cheese and yogurt and it's the taste that makes us happy. We don't think about the fact we are eating animals. Avoiding fast food like McDonald's can be possible but it would not harm us if we have it once in a while. I preferably like the way I eat. Eating meat and chicken with vegetables gives your body more variety of nutrition and vitamins.


    - Sunny C.

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    1. Sunny C:

      You say that Americans don’t think about the fact that they are eating animals, and that may be true, but what if you were to think about the fact that you’re consuming animals that value their lives? Animals, who from all we know about them, are just as sentient as the family cat or dog. Do you think you could make an ethical case to continue to eat them? Consider the fact that we can get all the nutrients we need from plant sources, a vegan diet is better for the planet, better for our health, and most importantly, is the ethically right thing to do.

      Delete
    2. This may sound ignorant but i do not consider pigs and cows the same as a dog or a cat. Dogs and cats are not meant to be eaten. Pigs and cows are food to us... Yes there are some people who have pigs as pets but in reality, they are not the typical family house pet. I sound mean when I say this but cows give us milk. Cows and pigs give us meat to eat and I won't ever think about their value of life because they were meant to be used for food.

      -Sunny C.

      Delete
    3. Hi Sunny:

      I understand the way you view dogs and cats and pigs and cow. Many people feel that some animals are for petting and other are for eating, but I'm asking that you rethink that belief and include all animals as part of the moral community. You do know that in some countries dogs and cats are considered food, right? My point is that regardless of whether an animal is lucky enough to be considered a companion or unlucky enough to be considered food, all sentient creatures value their lives, avoid pain and desire to live free from harm. It's not possible to make moral distinctions between different forms of exploitation and killing or between 'this' animal and not 'that' animal.

      Think of it in human terms. Slavery was once considered acceptable because blacks were thought to be inferior to whites. Women were once denied the right to vote because they were thought to be inferior to men. Simply put, all humans and animals suffer the same way. The Golden Rule states "Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself" Animals qualify as "other".

      And if animals were meant to be eaten, why is the consumption of their flesh killing us? Heart attacks, strokes, heart disease are all related to the consumption of animal protein. If you look at impoverished countries, they don't die from lack of nutrition. They die from hunger, malnutrition and dirty water. If you look at the wealthiest nation, what do they die of? Heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes etc. All stemming cholesterol, saturated fats, casein from animal protein consumption.

      Thank you for considering my views.

      Demo

      Delete
  13. I see what your saying by becoming 80% vegan and how it would be more efficient for you but I don't agree. I think it should be either all of nothing because I see it as if you aren't committing 100% there isn't a point in doing it. Like smoking for example, if someone says to themselves I'll stop smoking 80% of the week, people would probably think that's ridiculous. Sure it can help you and create many benefits if you are a vegan "80%" of the time but you still aren't committing fully. I also think that if people cut out meat and animal based products only some of the time, that will teach us as Americans that it's okay to do something partially that might benefit us and we can just get away with that. I do think its a great idea to try and adapt to a vegan lifestyle, and it definitely isn't for everyone, but if you are going to commit to it i think it should be 100%
    -Jenna G.

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    1. Jenna G:
      I respect that you’ve read the posts and recognize that half measures, or 80% measures in this case, are ethically inconsistent if we take the environment, our health, and the lives of animals seriously. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on whether you feel strongly enough about these issues to consider veganism.

      Delete
    2. Looking into veganism, I would be interested in trying it. There are plenty of foods that can substitute for the meats and dairy products that we eat everyday and the most amazing part is that they are much healthier. I have a strong love for animals and when i think about it there is no animal that should become a meal just because "it tastes good" to us. I think that if we all gave it a try we could definitely benefit from it and find other foods that taste just as good. I also think another problem is that people aren't fully educated on the topic of veganism. In high school, we maybe talked about the subject briefly but we never really went into detail. Considering all of the benefits that could arise from it we should be educating each other on such a strong subject.
      -Jenna G.

      Delete
    3. Hi Jenna:

      There is a plethora of information out there for those interested in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Please start here: www.vegankit.com. And if you ever have a question, don;t hesitate to shoot me an email. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view with such an open mind:

      Demo

      Delete
  14. I definitely think that becoming 100% vegan is much to hard for the average American to adopt. I agree with the 80% vegan diet because the majority of the time your eating much healthier than you would otherwise. I also agree on the fact that those four meals that aren't vegan are foods is a good way to not deprive yourself of some animal product here and there. My dad said that when he went to Greece for a month he was at it healthiest because all they would eat is mostly plant based foods and fish. If other countries can do it then I feel so can Americans. It for sure would not be an easy transition but like anything else you do, it becomes second nature once your used to doing it. Although I'm not a vegan,I am concerned with the health of my well being and would be willing to try and adopt a more vegan diet. Overall if it makes me look and feel better than I'm all for trying it out.
    -Alexandra P.

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    1. Alexandra:

      What would you say if I told you that 7.5 million Americans are vegan, or that the number of vegans has doubled since 2009? Would you still say it’s too hard to be vegan? Those numbers aren’t made up; they are the findings of a Harris poll completed in April 2011. Those of us choosing to become vegan aren’t “in on a secret” or privy to information unavailable to others. Anyone willing to consider the impact of his or her actions can become vegan. It’s a simple matter of aligning your actions with your ethics. If you believe that it’s wrong to harm animals unnecessarily, if you believe in taking your personal health seriously, if you believe in protecting the environment and eliminating world hunger, you already believe what it takes to be vegan. It may seem far out from what you’re used to, and that’s understandable, but you’re likely to find it to easier than you think. Please consider whether your pleasure, convenience, or comfort is worth someone's life. If you conclude that it's not, then it's easy to go vegan and stay vegan.

      Delete
    2. I do believe it is possible to be 100% vegan I just think for some people it would be hard to achieve at first. A person who tries to go all out vegan at first might relapse within two weeks or so and revert or cheat on the diet. I think after several attempts it is possible to maintain the diet but starting off "cold turkey" may be difficult, at least for me it would be. I think it would take me a lot of tries in order to become used to a total vegan diet.

      -Alexandra P.

      Delete
    3. Hi Alexandra:

      There's no doubt that for some going vegan all at once might be difficult, so eliminating one animal product at a time or at one meal at a time, or one day at a time might make more sense for you. Go at you're own pace. There's no right or wrong way to do it so long as you do. And yes, relapsing is not good for anyone. If you're willing to try it and need help, shoot me an email anytime. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view.

      Demo

      Delete
  15. Honestly become a 100% vegan will be diffucult for me because i am so used to eating meats, chickens and fish. I guess the 80% will be easier in relity I was not aware th eating so much meat was affecting our palnet so bad but if it will make it a better world then i am willimg to try it. After all we try so many diets and I follow them for 2-3 weeks then i forget but if eating so much meat will affect the world and my health then I agree to eat les meats but not give up at all because is good and at some point we need it in our diets.Therefore i will not become a vegan but I colud try to eat more vegatables and fruits some fruits are not so bad they actually taste good and are good for our health. OLGA AGU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olga:

      Veganism may seem way out from what you’re used to, and that’s understandable. I come from a Greek family, so announcing that I was giving up meat, dairy, fish, eggs, cheese was like announcing that I was giving up breathing. I came to some realizations, however. I realized that there were so many reasons why I should go vegan, and not one legitimate reason why I shouldn’t. I found out that, worldwide, billions of animals are slaughtered for food each year. Let’s talk numbers - each year approximately 65 billion land animals are killed for food in the world.

      Please consider whether your pleasure, convenience, or comfort is worth someone's life. If you conclude that it's not, then it's easy to go vegan and stay vegan. Start here: http://vegankit.com/

      Delete
    2. I somewhat see your point but is hard for us to stop eating waht we have eating for years but if it will keep me helathy i ll guess i could try with the 80% vegan first and then i ll said how i feel about it. Olga Aguilar

      Delete
    3. If you think it's hard to become vegan, think about how hard it is for the animals that you're not vegan. They pay with their lives, and all because of tradition, convenience, habit, and taste. All woefully poor reasons to take a sentient being's life. You may think it's hard, but you only need to live your ethics. If you believe that it's wrong to inflict unnecessary harm and death on an animal, but continue to consume animals, then the only way to resolve that contradiction is to become vegan.

      Thanks for considering my point of view.

      Demo

      Delete
  16. I believe that the 80% Vegan diet is a very smart approach to bringing a change. Like most new things being introduced to a general public it takes time to have people warm up to the idea. For example when the Iphone first came out all people talked about was the change from an actual keyboard to a touch screen. Most people could not imagine being an Iphone owner and switching their precious keyboard, but with time people slowly came around and now the Iphone is the most desirable phone out in the market place. I believe if we slowly introduce the idea of being a vegan by allowing some meals to have animal products this can actually go somewhere. I believe that in time people can actually see that they can too become a full vegan. Will all great things time is needed. I feel like this prevents people from going cold turkey and hating the idea of becoming a vegan. I myself could see how difficult it can be. I would be super hard to let go of my guilty pleasure chocolate. Of course i am willing to try the 80% vegan life because if its healthier for me why not? Small steps will do it for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine:


      You’re correct in saying that the incrementally working towards becoming fully vegan is the way to go for some people. Some become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. If you can't become vegan overnight, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan. Understanding the impact of the Standard American Diet on personal health, the lives of animals, the environment and global hunger, do you think you could make the transition, however gradually, to a fully vegan diet?

      Also, not only do you need not give up chocolate to be vegan (a google search for “vegan chocolate” turns up 31,900,000 results), but being vegan is not about giving up anything; it’s about not taking. It’s not about giving up meat, dairy and eggs; it’s about not taking someone else’s life and liberty. That, I submit to you, is the basis of veganism. Once you’ve accepted that, you realize that your conscience can be your compass.

      Delete
    2. I think that's actually a great idea to eliminate one thing at a time. Like I also said I believe smalls steps lead to big steps, so eliminating one animal product a day might work very well. I just think the becoming an 80% vegan would work well for me because I get to change slowly. I cannot say i will not be able to be a full vegan till I try it. I am pretty open to new things in my life. The fact that I will not have to give up chocolate also makes becoming a vegan more appealing. The only thing I dislike is thinking that i am taking someone else's life. If i am going to become a vegan I do not want to think in a negative way, rather in a positive way.

      Delete
    3. Hi Christine:

      I can attest to the fact that there is nothing more positive and rewarding than becoming fully vegan and not participating in the unnecessary exploitation and death of animals. We don't need to consume animals to survive. In fact, their consumption is what is killing us. Cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes are all related to the consumption of animal proteins, milk, cheese and dairy.

      Best of luck and shoot me an email if you ever have a question. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Delete
  17. When Mike states that the 80% vegan should only have about 3-4 meals a week containing little animal products I like the idea of this but what about all the products people already have that do come from animals or are animal testing (soaps, hair products, chap stick, lip gloss, cleaning solutions). I feel cutting down to 3-4 meals a week wouldn't just do the job were forgetting the PRODUCTS we use on ourselves. If I went to an 80% vegan diet which I have been given a lot of thought since I've never cared for meat all my life for some reason I would have to include the products i use. So for me, I would allow going all organic cleaning supplies/ solutions and allowing the average american to take up this 80%vegan style to only have 3 animals products. For me this would be hard....I would have to do my research b/c products today state “tested on animals" but what about the ingredients? So I declare if I was going 80% vegan i would do 3 meals a week containing little animal product and sticking to all organic cleaning supplies/ solutions and containing 3 or less products that contain some kind of animal products in it, but first have to state this wasn't tested on an animal.
    Now I know I could do this because I am pretty much 60% vegan and I could go to 80% but I would have to do more research on everyday supplies, food, etc. I do believe and hope to believe that going this route would benefit the world as well as people and animals. But I don’t believe this diet would be for the average American only because people nowadays are constantly in a rush and having to waste a couple of minutes or more looking at the ingredients of food etc. or actually making a plan to where to eat would go out the window when there’s a fast food joint in every mile or so. Having a little brother and watching him have meat and/or animal based products got me thinking how this 80%vegan diet MAY actually be possible when started at a young age.

    ANTOINETTE K

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    Replies
    1. Antoinette:

      Very good of you to recognize that changing one's diet alone does not account for the various other ways animals are unnecessarily exploited and harmed. Everyday products like soaps, shampoos, conditioners and cleaning products are all regularly tested on animals. Right now, millions of mice, rats, primates, rabbits, cats, dogs and other animals are in cages waiting to have painful tests and experiments conducted on their bodies. Many are forced to inhale toxic fumes, force-fed pesticides, and have corrosive chemicals rubbed onto their skin and eyes. If you're interested in finding products that have not been tested on animals visit: www.leapingbunny.org

      And if you're already almost vegan, why not become fully vegan? It's never been easier. Please start here: www.vegankit.com

      Delete
    2. Demos,
      Thank you for commenting on my post. I will take a further look and check out the websites you recommended.

      -Antoinette K

      Delete
    3. Shoot me an email if you ever have a question. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Demo

      Delete
  18. I would love to be vegan. It is a healthier lifestyle and would greatly benefit the other species on our planet. Our current American diet is causing many diseases and is killing many. However, I don’t have the time to commit to a new lifestyle. I also feel as though it would be extremely difficult to completely stop eating animal products. My entire up bringing was been on these foods it would be hard to give them up. I think it is more ideal for Americans to adopt an 80% vegan diet. I think that starting off 80% vegan is a good foundation into becoming a true vegan. This gradual start will make things easier for people. Changing a diet takes a lot of dedication. It truly is not an easy task.
    B Darby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. B Darby:

      Veganism may seem way out from what you’re used to, and that’s understandable. I come from a Greek family, so announcing that I was giving up meat, dairy, fish, eggs, cheese was like announcing that I was giving up breathing. I came to some realizations, however. I realized that there were so many reasons why I should go vegan, and not one legitimate reason why I shouldn’t. I found out that, worldwide, billions of animals are slaughtered for food each year. Let’s talk numbers - each year approximately 65 billion land animals are killed for food in the world.

      If we consider animals to be part of the moral community, it’s misleading and not ethically consistent to present not eating the flesh of animals at 80% of meals, but not 100% of meals. Think of it this way: Sure, you’re not having a hamburger today, but that’s little consolation to the chicken you’re eating on another day or the goat confined and impregnated to make your feta cheese on yet another day.

      Please consider whether your pleasure, convenience, or comfort is worth someone's life. If you conclude that it's not, then it's easy to go vegan and stay vegan. Start here: http://vegankit.com/

      Delete
  19. I believe that being a vegan is a good health choice to make. Personally I could not be a vegan. I am very picky eater. Becoming a vegan is a large lifestyle change. Becoming a 80% vegan seems much easier. I would be able to take that lifestyle. Being a college student and going out with friends would be hard as a vegan. Everyone wants to go to the local Applebee’s or chain restaurant because its close and everyone knows they will like something there. If I was to suggest going to a vegan restaurant I believe I would be questioned. Yes my friends should not judge me by where I want to eat but why should I say we go somewhere that the majority of my friends wouldn’t enjoy. Becoming 80% vegan is realistic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanna:

      Not only is becoming vegan a healthy choice, it is a moral imperative if you take the interests of animals seriously. Picky eaters, college students, etc can all be vegan if you desire to align your actions with your ethics. If you believe that taking the life of a sentient animal cannot be trumped by the desire for convenience and pleasure, then you believe what it takes to be vegan.

      Becoming vegan is no harder than anything else. A lot of things are a hassle. Finding a new job, a new relationship can both be considered hassles. It might take some time and effort to learn about vegan products, but any change in routine requires an adjustment period. And the reality is that the market for vegan foods has more than quadrupled
      from $646 million in 1998 to $28 billion in 2008. It’s gone from a niche market, to
      being very mainstream and accessible.

      Furthermore, it’s misleading and not ethically consistent to present not eating the flesh of animals at 80% of meals, but not 100% of meals. Think of it this way: Sure, you’re not having a hamburger today, but that’s little consolation to the chicken you’re eating on another day or the goat confined and impregnated to make your feta cheese on yet another day.

      Delete
  20. In my opinion after reading this, i do feel many are very used to the way they live which means the foods they eat and cutting out most of their food is a drastic change even though its a much healthier lifestyle for humans and even benefits the animals. the concept of 80 percent vegan lifestyle is a very smart idea and people would actually consider committing to it and having a healthier way of eating.

    Yelena M

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    Replies
    1. Yelena:

      Of course people are very used to the ways they've lived their lives. That can't be denied. But veganism is not as drastic as you might think. Veganism may seem way out from what you’re used to, and that’s understandable. However, you’re likely to find it to easier than you think. Here's a quote from John Robbins, author of "Diet for a New America" that I think crystalizes just which diet is drastic.

      "The standard diet of a meat-eater is blood, flesh, veins, muscles, tendons, cow secretions, hen periods and bee vomit. And once a year during a certain holiday in November, meat-eaters use the hollowed out rectum of a dead bird as a pressure cooker for stuffing. And people think vegans are weird because we eat tofu?"

      Also, I would argue that it’s misleading and not ethically consistent to present not eating the flesh of animals at 80% of meals, but not 100% of meals. Think of it this way: Sure, you’re not having a hamburger today, but that’s little consolation to the chicken you’re eating on another day or the goat confined and impregnated to make your feta cheese on yet another day.

      Delete
    2. Well now that you made it so very clear It made me feel guilty for eating the foods I do , however I still feel Even if I do start the vegan diet I myself won't make a change to the billions of animals being killed for us . I feel the only way there will be a changes if everyone begins to be vegan. And it is also hard because I would not know what foods to eat instead of what I normally eat its just a very hard decision to make.

      Yelena m

      Delete
    3. Hi Yelena:

      Just because one person can't change everything, doesn't mean that one person shouldn't change anything. Of course the more people that become vegan, the more animals that will be saved. It's estimated that more than 50 animals are spared a lifetime of misery by those becoming vegan. Multiply that over a lifetime and we are talking about thousands of lives spared by one person's actions. Combine that with the millions of other vegans in the world and the number of lives spared becomes hard to ignore. And the fact that more an more people are exploring veganism everyday means still more lives can be spared. Don't be discouraged. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” There are literally hundreds of products to look for as vegan alternatives to what most of us are brought up eating. See here: http://archives.quarrygirl.com/2011/03/12/vegan-round-up-natural-products-expo-west-2011/

      Best of luck, and thanks for considering my point of view.

      Demo

      Delete
  21. I think that starting off with 100% vegan diet is a little crazy. I think it would be a very hard change for myself to go from eating meat almost every day to stopping cold turkey. THe vegan diet is no doubt a better choice and a healthier way of living. It is also better for the environment. I think that I would be able to try it out and do it for a while but definitely not my whole life. Who knows maybe if I started off slow I would become use to it. I would definitely be willing to try it out a couple of days out of the week.

    Sam B.

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    1. Sam B:

      You're right. Becoming 100% vegan right away may not be the best way for some, but I can assure you that becoming 100% vegan is not at all crazy or as drastic as you might think. Some people become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. If you can't become vegan overnight, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan.

      And like you said, "Who knows... (you) might become used to it". It might take some time and effort to learn about vegan products, but any change in routine requires an adjustment period.

      There are so many reasons for one to become vegan, and not one legitimate reason why one shouldn't. The hundreds of billions of animals who are slaughtered every year for the trivial desire of convenience and pleasure is a good place to start. Animals, whose only crime is to have unfortunately been deemed food, but who are just as sentient as the family cat or dog.

      Delete
  22. I completely see where you're coming from and I believe is an excellent idea. They're many benefits that come out of being vegan like you said, looking better, helping the environment and saving animals etc. But on the other hand I find it very difficult to completely commit to being 100% vegan right away. Thats why I really believe with the 80% vegan idea, instead of going all out to avoiding all animal products, I feel as if it is better to take it slow and see if you like the idea and if you do..you can completely transform into a 100% vegan and preform a healthy life style. It takes a lot of dedication and it may be something that I would like to test out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alexandra:

      You're right. Becoming 100% vegan right away may not be the best way for some, but I can assure you that becoming 100% vegan is not at all crazy or as drastic as you might think. Some people become vegan gradually, while others do it all at once. If you can't become vegan overnight, you might find that you can eliminate one animal product at a time, or go vegan for one meal a day, or one day a week, and then expand until you are completely vegan.

      And you'll become accustomed to it. It might take some time and effort to learn about vegan products, but any change in routine requires an adjustment period. Here's a great place to start: www.vegankit.com

      Shoot me an email if you ever have a question. dmaratos(at)si(dot)molloy(dot)edu

      Thanks for considering my point of view:

      Demo

      Delete
  23. I have been doing exactly as you prescribe and funny enough, I've been also calling myself "80%" vegan. I feel that this eschews the added stress of trying to find a vegan meal at a friend's house or when eating out. It also allows me peace of mind regarding B12 and Omega 3 vitamins. The added stress that some 100% vegan's deal with is actually hurting their health. Those that say its all or nothing miss the point that every vegan meal helps contribute to better personal health, better planetary health, and fewer animals killed. Those who say you need to call yourself an omnivore miss the point that a real effort is still being made being 80% vegan and "omnivore" somehow connotes that you do not care or are not making an effort. Who really cares that much about what you call yourself as long as you are educated and aware of your food choices at every meal? I think that vegans that make it to 100% are awesome, but I also feel that many of them have a chip on their shoulder. If everyone could be a little more encouraging and simultaneously a little more flexible, we'd have healthier people, and a healthier planet in general. Encourage people to be vegan sometimes and they may get to 100% some day. A 50% vegan is excellent. A 70% vegan is fabulous. Make them feel like its a worthwhile endeavor to be any percentage of vegan, because it IS.

    ReplyDelete

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