The vegan label conondrum


I just finished watching a Ted conference by Mark Bittman titled What’s wrong with what we eat, and it left me thinking.

I’m thinking about how I’m considering going ‘vegan’, and it hit me: Why are there even labels to classify the way we eat?

Because in our society, eating animal products is the “default setting”. Regular people  don’t call the host the day before the party and say “Is it ok if I bring a carnivore appetizer to share?”   The standard folk won’t walk into a restaurant and ask if they have carnivore options in their menu. Because meat and animal products are everywhere; they’re the default setting, and the assumption always is you eat them, too. You’re expected to.

It is clear to me now how conditioned we are from a young age by consequence of where we were born. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to start a rant against the government and society for the ills they’ve caused, that wouldn’t help much. This more like a step in the widening of my vision, my trying to understand why we do the things we do and believe the things we believe. I love to question things, and this matter is no different.


To watch the conference video, click here:

3 responses »

  1. I feel the same way about alcohol in that there is an assumption that at some point in early adulthood(if not before) everyone in the UK will take up drinking. I am not anti-alcohol but I choose to drink rarely and I don’t want either of my children, but particularly my son, to drift into making alcohol consumption a key aspect of their identities.

    Good luck with going vegan.

  2. Yeah, it’s a very loaded word that can mean a lot to different people. There are some snobs within the vegan community that think if you own a pair of leather shoes you can’t call yourself vegan. It’s a source of a lot of unneeded contention unfortunately.

    A lot of people are using the term “plant based diet”. It’s a little more logical, a vegan diet is a plants-only diet. That usually what I tell people when they ask me. In Texas, saying “I’m vegan” is often met with blank stares.

    I will tell you this, on the surface it may sound restrictive. Like eating vegan will just allow you to eat a small subset of the foods you used to eat. But it should not be that, if someone is approaching a plant based diet that way, they’re taking the wrong approach. A vegan diet should be a chance to embrace many new foods you would not normally eat before. A lot of vegans eat fruit for breakfast and I can tell you, the first time you sit down and eat an entire pineapple for breakfast, it is a wonderful experience.

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