21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: September 2012 Kickstart Forum: can we ever be completely vegan?
Created on: 09/10/12 11:18 AM Views: 4734 Replies: 23
can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Trying to get some perspective and clarity on what exactly is a *vegan*.

Does it mean someone who follows the dietary principles (no meat, dairy) but still uses animal products or items like silk, wool?

Does it work the other way around..someone who eats eggs, not meat or dairy...but avoids all leather?

I get a bit confused with this.

One of the reasons I had such a hard time with veganism in the past was dealing with the 'higher than thou' vegans who would constantly make it known to the entire world they were vegan! I don't know how I feel about this...about 'bragging' or showing off that you are vegan. Yes, it's something to be proud of, but it's a facet of one's personality that exists alongside so many other elements!

I also question if we can be entirely vegan because..if the definition is to be strictly adhered to, how can I be 100% certain that something wasn't cooked in meat, for example when dining out? Many times also I hear about people ordering a soy latte at a cafe, only to be given dairy milk. It's the little things like this that can happen so unexpectedly...

Just some 'food' for thought, no pun intended Wink

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM

The Kickstart is about a vegan (no animal product) diet. But there certainly are plenty of people who follow vegan diets and also follow vegan lifestyles (no animal products in clothing, cosmetics, etc.).

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM

cuteddybears wrote:

Trying to get some perspective and clarity on what exactly is a *vegan*.

Does it mean someone who follows the dietary principles (no meat, dairy) but still uses animal products or items like silk, wool?

Does it work the other way around..someone who eats eggs, not meat or dairy...but avoids all leather?

I get a bit confused with this.

One of the reasons I had such a hard time with veganism in the past was dealing with the 'higher than thou' vegans who would constantly make it known to the entire world they were vegan! I don't know how I feel about this...about 'bragging' or showing off that you are vegan. Yes, it's something to be proud of, but it's a facet of one's personality that exists alongside so many other elements!

I also question if we can be entirely vegan because..if the definition is to be strictly adhered to, how can I be 100% certain that something wasn't cooked in meat, for example when dining out? Many times also I hear about people ordering a soy latte at a cafe, only to be given dairy milk. It's the little things like this that can happen so unexpectedly...

Just some 'food' for thought, no pun intended Wink


You do the best you can with what you've got, what you know. We're in this for the health/dietary aspects, hubby's not getting rid of his leather belt. We sometimes use honey. If you are at a restaurant, you ask LOTS of questions, and if you get something grilled (even if it's just grilled toast points or something), you can be pretty sure that the grill had some sort of meat on it at some time in the not too distant past. You do the best you can. Yes, you can be 100% vegan in what you eat - but that might mean changes you don't want to make (like NOT going to restaurants unless they are completely vegan restaurants). It's all about choices - do I take a sip of that not-soy latte and just say 'oh well, it's milk' and drink it or do I take a small sip and say "this is not right, and take it back" or do I pay close attention and flag the barrista down when they head toward the wrong milk so they don't make the error in the first place? Lots of options...
--DebR

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:48 AM

It is a good question, but unfortunately one which usually creates all kinds of conflict. I wonder why we can't consider the vegan lifestyle as an aspiration, based on principles which one strives to live by. If we start out for health, for animal welfare, for ecology, for spiritual values, what does it matter if we are on the same path.

The conflict is just a part of being human. We live, grow and learn, and judge everyone else by where we happen to be today, knowing that if we are not dead yet, we will continue to live, grow and learn, just like everyone else. I could start a serious argument in some circles by claiming that the only true vegan respects every other animal, including every other human, but I won't say that out loud anywhere.

Start with a vegan diet, if you like, study and learn, go as far as you are comfortable. Even if someone in a different place is "right", you can't go there until you agree.

madeline yakimchuk
Director: MEET IRENE - An Unlikely Vegan
GRYPHON media productions

www
RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM

This topic comes up frequently and is a hard one to answer.

Unless you live off grid and made everything you wear, use and eat, you will probably not be able to be 100% vegan.

Animal parts are used in gel capsules (gelatin is animal hides, hooves and skins boiled), 35 mm film, alcohol (wine etc),glue (think about how many items are GLUED!), not to mention apparel, makeup, resins, dyes, etc. Unless you harvest and produce from start to finish, you really don't know. Not to mention leather!Smile

Theodore has posted on this sort of thing (vegans fighting amongst themselves) and we have talked about this before in this forum.

OPINION WARNING ~ There are people out there who thrive on conflict and must have a "fight" to fight. It could be politics, religion, diet, you get the idea. They dig in, find what they believe to be true and FIGHT! grrrrr The trick is to remember, either they are just looking for a fight to fight, or they truly believe in what they are saying and are passionate about their beliefs.

Okay, here it the thing that helps me when I meet these people and I do meet them. I realize that for them to be so incredibly obnoxious they, most likely, are not happy. Sometimes I am not up for it, I listen politely refrain from further comments, and leave ASAP. Othertimes I engage gently, and tell them this is a journey I am on, and while I have come a long way, we all have things to learn. I wish them well and move on.

If they are just really passionate and trying to "enlighten" or educate those around them, remove yourself or let them vent and realize it is their opinion. Most of us when really excited about something want to share.

We all do the best with what we know, if we knew better, we would do better.

I have had a lot of experience in dealing with fighters. My stepfather loves to argue and will take any side of any topic just to get riled up! Soooo, now as an adult, I have moved beyond engaging with someone who wants to squabble (most of the time) to realizing if they want to argue absolutely nothing I say makes a differnce, so I don't. I move away, sometimes quite quickly! lol

Best wishes in this and remember it is your journey and only you know that is the right speed and what works in your life. I personally do everything I can to make sure my actions cause no harm. Period. That is my motto and long timers here have heard for a long time... do no harm.

Best wishes,

Kym

Always offer kindness and a soft word to the beings around you; You do not know their journey. Your words can be the hug they need or the shove that breaks them.

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 5:19 PM

The thing is, maybe some of the things we buy come from sweat-shops, or piracy. Or maybe the profit goes to an unethical person. So can we ever be 100% anything ?

And what if someone goes through life ordering dairy lattes but the barista accidentally serves them a soya latte every time, throughout their whole life. Are they vegan ?

What if their favourite foodie book is Chai Nashta, but every time they tell people they say it so fast that it sounds like "China Study". Does that make them vegan ? Honestly, I would say yes to this last one.

Wash your back

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Yes, the Kickstart is about getting healthy by eating a vegan diet. If you eat out, you're probably not 100% vegan unless you're sure of the ingredients used in the restaurant kitchen. (We try our best.) I know I will never eat meat again. I haven't thrown out my leather shoes but I have found some fashionable vegan shoes and handbags online. I have been enlightened about animal cruelty by reading the PCRM newsletters and other vegan websites but would rather not get into a heated discussion with someone who has a closed mind.

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 1:53 AM

can we ever be completely vegan?

For me personally, probably not, but thats ok. Im not going to beat myself up about it. Its about the journey, not the destinaton. I do the best I can but I have in the past and no doubt will in the future eat something with non vegan ingredients - usually diary. There may even be an occasion in my future where it would just be too rude not to eat something that was given to me and I would choose to eat it rather than make a huge fuss. Unless it was meat - just cant go there anymore.

The one time I ate some meat unknowingly after several years as a vegetarian (chicken in a dish that was supposed to have tofu) I felt ill for hours afterward. Im not the only one.
I work with someone who decided to go back to eating meat after years of being a vegetarian. After a week or two of misery she gave up again and will be a life long vegetarian. Her body could not adjust and she had alful digestion problems including abdominal discomfort/ pain and bad constipation. Stopped eating meat and it all cleared up again. A great illustration that humans are not natural meat eaters although our bodies adapt as much as they can for as long as they can before we get ill.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

Edited 09/15/12 2:15 AM
RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM

It's funny about being vegan.... I have experience who follow a strictly Kosher diet. In becoming/ being vegan, I find myself trying to follow the " keeping Kosher " rules.... Meat and dairy separate, not cooked in same pots and pans!!!!
I agree with a previous poster who talked about the idea that my veggie burger was cooked on the same griddle as the meat burger.
I guess only in cooking in your own kitchen or eating at a totally vegan restaurant , cn you be certain!
Fun to think about the Kosher rules though.... It was so ingrained in my brain!!!!

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

My path is one of progress, not perfection.

I eat 100% vegan at home. I did not sell my car with leather seats. I didn't throw away my leather handbag collection or leather shoes. I didn't divorce my omnivore husband, so there are animal products in my house. Some militant vegans jump on those items to point out that I am in fact NOT vegan. I really avoid using the term vegan because I don't want to be associated with them.

I eat a plant based diet. Period. To the best of my knowledge and ability no animal products cross my lips. I like the term Herbivore!

Vikki ~

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM

wow, this is so inspiring you guys. ( I had to say, Theodore you really do raise some interesting things I never even considered...what if someone really were 'accidentally' vegan without even realizing it, or it just happened that way? What if they are intolerant to all meat and dairy so they are forced to live a vegan lifestyle but they don't know or really think about the ethical side..is this still a vegan?)

I didn't realize how much was utilized that contains animal products...like the film, gel capsules, etc.

I have been trying to keep up with my research on companies that test on animals, and cruelty-free cleaning products and make-up. It's true...it takes more effort and we can't be 100% sure but I like what most of you have said in one way or another: its all about the journey, and we all do our best. Very Happy

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Wild4Stars wrote:

I like the term Herbivore!

I totally agree!

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Vegan is usually defined as a philosophy and a diet. For me, I'm about the diet, (no animal products) and very minimally about the philosophy. (I believe in organic farming and humane treatment of animals).

I'm more of a fan of what's being popularized as a "plant based diet," which I see as not just vegan, but about avoiding all fats and eating only whole grain and unprocessed fresh foods. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm trying to get there.

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Hi guys, just two questions that came to my mind and relate to this thread:

Is alcohol not vegan? I am not a drinker myself..but there is another foreign English teacher with me, here in Vietnam, and she is a vegan, has been for many years now. She loves her red wine for sure! And enjoys beer with her meals out. She told me it was vegan though?

Also, I admit at times I really want some flavour in my coffee/tea, and I'm not strong enough to drink it black. What are some ways to naturally flavour it, without using dairy milk? I am thinking coconut milk is a good one to try, I can't seem to find non-dairy creamer here (creamer doesn't seem to be used in general for coffee/tea.)

I've heard of making vegan milks out of nuts/legumes, I'd love to learn more about that! At least this way I know I'd be consuming milk that was indeed, non-dairy. Very Happy

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

You can Google different recipes for making your own nut or seed milk. It's very doable and inexpensive.

Secondly, vegan-ness of alcohol varies. There is a website that can help explain and point you to vegan and non-vegan brands - http://www.barnivore.com/.

Here is an excerpt:

Is your booze vegan?

It might seem weird at first, but your favourite drink might have more than just alcohol in it.

Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration.

When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things (including, in one case, a whole chicken dropped in the tank) are ingredients in the final recipe.

When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder,) gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives in use.

These ingredients don't usually show up on the label, so the only way to find out is to ask.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Hi there,

Alcohol can be vagan but not all alcohol is, so for those who drink it needs to be checked out.

For examle most wines are processed using milk, eggs or fish. The label may or may not say what is used and that traces remain. Here in New Zealand there are two wineries that produce organic vegan wines with no animal products used in the processing.

Beer can be the same - my understanding is that all German beers are ok because they have strict laws throughout the country on how beer can be made and what can/cannot be added. Not true for New Zealand and U.S. beers although again there are 2 beer brewers in New Zealand now each producing a speciality beer that fits vegan criteria due to customer demand to have something without a lot of additives. So shop around. Vegan alcohol is there but not as common.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

Edited 09/19/12 3:00 PM
RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Okay, so if you are a vegan for diet reasons more than for philosophical reasons, is there a particular reason to favor vegan alcoholic beverages over other alchoholic beverages?

Edited 09/19/12 4:50 PM
RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 2:20 AM

My opinion only but I think its personal choice over how strict you want to be as a vegan. Some choose to buy foods that have "processed in a factory that also makes xyz and traces may remain" on the label or "may contain xyz" and feel that this is vegan enough. Often the labeling is to cover the food companies in case of allergies or being sued and the chances of having this is the food is very low. Other vegans wouldnt buy these products at all.

I dont think either is right or wrong - again personal choice. I like to buy organic vegan wine and other healthy products when I can afford to (often more expensive) as I prefer that my dollars support healthy food companies rather than the big dont care companies producing chemical rubbish they call food (Frankenfoods). However, if I am out at a special occasion with friends or family and offered a glass of wine, I will have one knowing its possibly not vegan because of manufacturing processes.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 6:57 AM

I am a Vegan, not fallen of the wagon yet! I had taken it meal by meal,,, so many benefits..

I am so excited to had tried the 21 day kickstart diet.. last november...

Edith

RE: can we ever be completely vegan?
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Yes I believe it's possible to be "completely Vegan" in all respects. But for me the question is why do you want to use the term and what are your reasons for choosing this path. I personally don't use the word "Vegan" to describe my lifestyle. I used to use "Plant Based or Plant Based Diet" as I still wear leather shoes and own leather furniture which I purchased before going Plant Based. I also made this choice because of health reasons. I do understand the animal rights and environmental reasons and they are very compelling. Now that I have been Plant Based for awhile my shift is to a Plant Strong Lifestyle. I use this to describe myself because I want to demonstrate how exercise and eating Plant Based has strengthened my immune system and I have overcome Migraines, sinusitis, lost over 25 lbs, and have the highest energy levels of my life.
This link shows the different reasons for going Vegan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism


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