17 thoughts on “There is no 50% …

  1. Ryan

    Seems a bit extreme and socialist. If you are trying to win converts, wouldn’t you want to not come across so harsh and close minded. Never have seen where being an absolutist carried a cause higher.

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  2. “I am vegan but at 6:15, I eat steak.”

    “You’re not vegan.”

    “I am vegan but I can’t give up cheese.”

    “You’re not vegan.”

    “I am vegan 50% of the time … the other 50%, I eat sushi. I can’t give up sushi.”

    “You’re not vegan.”

    Being vegan IS a commitment. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. You can’t “cheat” every now and then and call yourself vegan. At best, you’re a vegetarian who eats fish (or insert another animal like chicken … since it’s white meat and that somehow makes a difference).

    I’m not trying to win anyone. I am simply telling the story of my own journey. When I went vegan, I went 100%. From honey to new boots. It’s an all-in attitude that I feel veganism deserves. If someone wants to eat better food, or add more plant-based meals to their diet … then that’s FANTASTIC. I applaud them. It will make them feel better and it’s obviously better for the animals.

    For me, there is no 50%.

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    • unethical_vegan

      For me there is no 99.9%.

      If you drive a car, you are not vegan.
      If you feed your pet dead animals, you are not vegan.
      If you eat palm oil, you are not vegan.
      If you fly in an aeroplane, you are not vegan.
      If you live in a big house, you are not vegan.
      If you eat produce grown with blood meal, bone meal, or ground up endangered fish, you are not vegan.
      If you eat bone char sugar, you are not vegan.
      If you eat produce or fruit coated with shellac, you are not vegan.
      If you eat baked goods made with dough conditioners, you are not vegan.
      If you eat honey, you are not vegan.
      If you eat oysters, you are not vegan.
      If you use a splash of cream when there is no non-dairy milk available, you are not vegan.
      If you nibble on cheese very, very rarely, you are not vegan.
      If you contribute to the suffering of sentient non-vegans, you are not vegan.

      See what I did there?

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  3. I agree with you Eric.

    Using the term vegan insinuates that you are making every reasonable effort to eschew animal products. Frankly, it’s insulting when people say they are vegan but still happily consume the odd bit of meat or some eggs. I take issue here, not with the fact that these people chose to eat that way; they are free to do so, rather it’s branding themselves vegan when that’s not at all what they are. If you follow a mostly plant-based diet, then say that.

    Veganism isn’t about about being elitist. Some of the most impoverished people on the planet are vegan. However, the vast majority of vegans in the Western world eat this way out of a genuine concern for the environment and out of compassion towards other sentient beings. You could argue that the decision to become vegan comes from a place of privilege, but there are plenty of people who have the information and the means to be vegan, but who choose not to be.

    As a nutritionist, I applaud people who try and cut back on meat and add more plants to their diet. That doesn’t make them vegan.

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  4. juniperskitchen

    And ‘vegetarian’ means? these words are evolving with the people who use them (like so many words in our language). Vegetarian used to mean no killing – well todays dairy and egg industry leave no room to pretend that vegetarians don’t kill. But that’s the word we have and its the word we use and abuse.

    I think when someone says they are 50% or 95% vegan, they are already being honest about the fact that they are not 100% vegan. But it suits them to use that term to easily describe their diet and direction for the time being. And maybe it even puts them in a frame of mind to continue on that path by aligning themselves with more committed vegans. They need no further criticism from you or anyone else who wants to keep the term pure, but are somehow uninterested in encouraging others to go at their own pace (which really does cut down on complete about-faces). And hey, why not call yourself a ‘strict vegan’ as many vegans still mistakenly ingest or use animal products all the time. It’s nearly impossible in this world, so that kinda means you too. Nobody is 100%.

    Plant-powered is an awesome term, as is plant-based. But as long as the word ‘vegan’ is being used with such ferocity by folks like you, it will continue to be synonymous with ‘judgemental’. And that is a very sad thing for the animals, people and planet.

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    • Sandra

      Thank you! Let people describe their diet in their own words! I am eating a vegan diet but include eggs at times if they come from my own chickens as we had them already before turning vegan. How to describe this other than what I’ve just said? I’ve been put off my first attempt on being vegan by reading too many angry and picky posts. Why not be compassionate with humans too? Understanding and encouragement wins over a lot more in my opinion.

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  5. Meaty Vegan's Partner In Crime Fighting

    I eat a plant based diet before 6 PM after which I torture, mutilate, and slaughter animals (then eat them for my enjoyment) who have only known an unimaginable life of suffering. I’m vegan…before 6.

    I read this recently and believe it at its core: β€œIt may be possible to practice ethical behaviors without real compassion, but it is not possible to really feel compassion and not act ethically… It is because the grossest examples of cruelty take place behind closed doors that the public can stand to be economically complicit. The public’s participation in institutionalized systems of oppression is contingent upon their willingness to be kept in a state of denial about the details. People tell themselves the incidents of cruelty are somehow nonexistent, inconsequential, or worse yet, justified, and in doing so they are allowed to continue their lifestyles unaltered.” When I was a vegetarian and eating dairy and eggs, I actively chose to ignore the horrific conditions animals endure in factory farms. I chose to ignore the cruel and bloody byproduct of the meat industry by wearing leather. I chose to love my cat and dog, while simultaneously disrespecting in the harshest of ways animals we violently use and consume and torture and mutilate, all because there’s a demand for cheese and meat and eggs. We live in a postindustrial society where it is not necessary for our health, and even detrimental, to eat flesh or consume the byproducts of animals or use their skin for fashion. Ours is a society based on systems of oppression and we continually oppress sentient beings despite being β€œcivilized”. The more people choose to adapt a vegan lifestyle, the greater possibility of raising healthy generations that are not dependent on a broken health care system and the pharmaceutical industry. The greater possibility of saving our planet from environmental degradation and natural habitat destruction. The greater the possibility that we may feed the world’s hungry by growing plant based whole food rather than destroying rain forests for cattle grazing so we can have our burgers and steaks. Since becoming vegan, my understanding of the true interconnectedness of life has been most salient and life-altering for me. This profound paradigm shift never occurred during my almost four decades of eating a mostly vegetarian diet.

    Instead of co-opting the term vegan to refer to those who are “trying but still actually not vegan”, why don’t you all come up with your own term that describes your belief systems and dietary preferences? After all, this is exactly what the Vegan Society did in 1944 by coining the term “vegan” after breaking away from vegetarianism. Vegans aren’t being judgmental when we say, “um actually you’re not vegan if you eat meat after 6.” We’re just saying you’re not vegan because you’re not. Which is fine. Get your own term. Use it. Own it. Spread it. Love it.

    I recommend checking out NonViolenceUnited.org and watch their positive short video, β€œA Life Connected.”

    Vegan.
    Compassion.
    Non-Violence.
    For the People.
    For the Planet.
    For the Animals.

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  6. I have a lot of respect for veganism as a cause, as a lifestyle, and as a diet, but I can’t agree with anyone who says that Mark Bittman’s “VB6” plan (vegan before 6pm) isn’t a valid or reasonable choice for him. He’s not claiming to be vegan, and he’s not claiming there’s anything wrong with a purely vegan diet. He’s saying that for health reasons, he is following a vegan diet for most of the day, and because he doesn’t think he can do that 24/7, he’s following a non-vegan diet in the evening. He’s being honest about his needs and his limitations, and I have to think that this is an awfully good start.

    Who’s to say after a while doing this, he couldn’t become a full-time, “proper” vegan? Wouldn’t it make sense to support his movement in the right direction, and encourage him to evolve toward 100% veganism while educating his huge audience, rather than alienate him because he’s not choosing veganism to the same degree that you or others are?

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    • Mark,

      I respect your opinion and respect all of what Mark Bittman has done to promote good healthy lifestyles through eating (in fact, I had the pleasure of meeting him last month and told him so in person).

      My “issue,” is the choice of the word “vegan” as he uses it to outline his plan. Vegans don’t eat meat. They never will. No matter what time of the day it is. For his massive audience to be able to claim themselves vegan and then eat a steak after 6:00, is ridiculous. I see diners at restaurants looking at their watches and waiting for “chicken wing” hour.

      Vegetarian before 6:00.
      Plant-based before 6:00.
      No meat before 6:00.
      Fruits and Veggies before 6:00.

      Anything BUT vegan.

      It further implies that veganism is a diet, which it isn’t.

      I do hope that through Bittman’s writing and his New York Times audience, and through his amazing recipes and inspired words, that more people (including yourself) decide to cut down on meat, dairy, and egg consumption. It’s better for everyone.

      Thanks for commenting.

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      • I can certainly see your stance, but I’m not sure I agree (and clearly Bittman doesn’t) that “vegan” can’t be a diet. What he’s doing is a lot more than vegetarian before 6. Is it the full-time, all-the-way veganism that you’ve adopted? Nope. But I think it accurately describes what he’s doing… until 6. More importantly, I think this is a guy you want on your side, talking about your approach to life… even if he’s not all the way there yet.

        As for me, I’ve cut way down on commercial/industrial meat and egg consumption, and do my best to stick to and advocate local foods, which I think is both good for me and better for animals. Like Bittman, I don’t think I could be vegan, but I sure do enjoy taking advantage of this area’s huge variety of fruits and vegetables to cover as much of my diet as possible.

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      • I’ve been 100% vegan now for 18 months. 100% committed to a vegan diet and lifestyle. At 6:00 tonight I’m going to eat a sausage and pepperoni stuffed crust pizza.

        Am I still vegan?

        If we’re going to get called out on the tiniest details of what we are trying to accomplish in terms of being vegan, it seems truly unfair to allow Bittman’s “vegans” to eat whatever they want.

        After 6:00.

        PS – I am very pleased to know you’re watching what you eat! You should do an entire profile on 14850 and WVBR about the vegan options in Ithaca!

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      • I totally get what you are saying about the term vegan (and ideology) being confused with term plant-based (the diet). a fair correction. but words are words and folks will use them to best effect when marketing their wares. plant-based before 6 just doesn’t have the same ring PBB6 or VB6 – no contest πŸ˜‰

        and again, the word vegetarian used to mean no killing – but that has had to evolve. I think the word vegan does to. ‘ethical vegan’ vs generally accepted use of the word ‘vegan’ (to mean plant-based diet). and again, nobody is 100% vegan. not you or anyone. and folks who have only followed that ideology for less than 2 years should probably wait and see how well they fair in the long term before defining the movement for all. heaven knows the world is full of backsliding ex-vegans.

        myself, I quit all dairy products and land meat over 11 years ago. I only have fish and organic eggs on occasion. that means I am not vegan. but hey, a decade is a long time to never have the tiniest bit of cheese, so if I identify as ‘vegan’ for ease of labelling at food gatherings, well, I feel like that’s ok too. kind of like sexual preferences, just because you have had sex with someone of the opposite sex doesn’t mean you cant identify as being gay if that’s what you predominantly do. labels should not be so strict as to leave us unable to communicate effectively and encouragingly.

        and just because Bittmans diet says you can have meat and milk after 6pm doesn’t mean everyone heads straight to the chicken wings and fois gras at 6:01.. some folks will just have a bit of salmon or feta or eggs from quality sources and then continue on the path of enlightened eating without removing themselves from the mainstream completely. its a real world solution. and I applaud it. cant wait for ‘vegan’ to be properly trendy. think of the animal suffering, disease, and environmental damage that will be averted.

        or perhaps you would prefer to defend the term vegan because – ??? to be right? to be pedantic? to stand apart form others in righteousness?

        what would it hurt to misuse the term? really? what would it gain to make the term trendy?

        the word vegan is being used as an easy term to use that gets the point across, anyone who stops the bus to poop on the semantics is not doing the movement any favours.

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      • unethical_vegan

        “Vegans don’t eat meat. They never will.”

        any vegan who claims moral superiority to the rhys southans and tovar cerullis of the world based on this kind of absolutism is going to look very fanatical to non-vegans. the vast majority of vegans do eat meat. typically as dessicated contaminants. moreover, vegans directly contribute to the death of countless animals via their lifestyle choices. moreover, given how we produce and harvest plant products, they are not always the default “ethical” choice.

        if a vegan is convinced that eating animal products is the more ethical choice, it *IS* vegan to eat animal products. for example, when i get a “bean and no cheese burrito” with cheese i eat the damn thing.

        “It further implies that veganism is a diet, which it isn’t. ”

        if it’s not a diet then why are you so obsessed with what *other* people eat?

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