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what is a vegan? what does being vegan mean to you?

what is a vegan? what does it mean to you?

to me, being a vegan is just as much about compassion and understanding as it is about a militant methodology of monitoring what you eat.

if one is to try and look at a vegan in a literal sense of the word, the answer would probably veer more towards the "militant" answer.  However, if one was to be more liberal, and interpret a perception of "letter of the law" - the compassionate/understanding may win out.

For me, i see living a vegan lifestyle as a combination.  The main focus of course is abstaining from all meat products (food/clothes/by-products) etc. but as with most things in life - that's not black and white, there's many shades of grey.  Are you vegan if you use regular camera film? are you vegan if you pay money to attend a sporting event where the main item in play (baseball, football, etc) is made of animal skin?  are you vegan if you wear leather shoes that you had since before becoming vegan, especially so if you really can't afford a new pair of shoes? are you vegan if you buy a loaf of bread from the store where the ingredients are seemingly vegan but...you haven't called the manufacturer to determine if some of the ingredients are animal or plant based? the list can go on and on really...

So, in my perception - being vegan is someone who strives not only for results but for ideals. In this, an example would be someone who even if *gasp* they consume
some "non vegan" product at some point - but they give compassion and love and don't judge others.  Think about it, part of what we're hoping to accomplish in a vegan lifestyle is that others will catch on and adopt a more humane lifestyle as well.  So who is more likely to serve as a positive influence to potentially persuade new people to examine a vegan lifestyle?  the vegan who is militant and judges people and turns people off and makes people think all vegans are nuts - or, the quiet, humble person who maybe doesn't follow 100% vegan diet but - through their actions - serves as a positive influence for others to then consider the same.

In that sense, would not almost - the person that serves as a greater power of persuasion almost then be considered more vegan?

Enquiring minds want to know.  8)

I think I burned out on this question in the Can of Worms Crossover thread, so in short summary:

Being vegan is doing the least amount of harm.  The end.

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Whenever I hear questions like this, I think of my Aunt Betty, and how I would have liked to play out our interaction 10 years ago differently.

I was early on in my veg*nism. She had specifically made a spinach/strawberry salad for a family gathering with me in mind. I drilled her on the ingredients, and when she mentioned "worcestishire sauce"  (sp?) I immediately told her I wouldn't eat it because of the anchovies. I could see that she was totally turned off by me and that she had lost interest in vegetarianism (minute as it may have been).

Knowing what I know now, I would have A) eaten some of the salad and told her how good it is, or B) pretended to eat some salad and tell her how good it is.

I think i did more harm than good that day. I should have sacrificed a little purity for the sake of Aunt Betty and her efforts to please me.

I'm sure others will disagree, but that's how I feel.

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thanks for your input L2A.  This is a great example, IMHO - of how "less" could actually equate to "more" - in the long run.

Back when i lived in NY, i took part in a walk-a-thon to support the "Farm Sanctuary" (they rescue cows and such).  It was a peaceful walk through upper Manhattan.  At one point however - a chant started throughout the crowd, something akin to "meat is murder" or "fur is murder" (i forget exactly...).  I thought that was really out of place.  While i can totally agree with the sentiment of the chant - in my opinion - we were supposed to be on a peaceful march, supporting a cause - so I saw the chant as being out of place.  I have to wonder, did that chant really make anyone walk by and a bulb click in their head and go "yanno what - you're right, meat is murder - by golly - i'll never eat meat again" or did it more perhaps make people think "oh - there's so crazy vegetarian/animal rights people again...".  I can't say the answer, because i highly doubt it's a black and white answer.  Further, the answer would change from crowd to crowd.  If nothing else - it's something to think about.

Here's another recent example.  Lately Shelley has had a disdain for eating meat - and she's a country girl, so she was a pretty big meat eater before.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring but for the present moment - she recently rid her fridge of all meat.  For me, it never mattered if she was vegetarian or not - i appreciate her for who she is.  But, had i been all militant and judgemental and tried to pressure her - i have to wonder if she would have reached the same spot where she is now (and if i wouldn't also have a big knot on my head because she'd prolly whack me over the head with a "meat" pan, no less...lmao...)

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I have a similar situation with dh.....I didn't really pressure him, but I edu-ma-cated him on some things when we were discussing if the kids should be veg or not. I was for it, of course, and he was on the fence,  I think. But after reading some things, he agreed that it would be a good thing to do.

Then one Xmas his gift to me was to be veg for a month, I don't really remember him eating meat since then!  Most recently, he gave up fish (about a year ago). He still does dairy, but not a ton. It has made life more pleasant for all of us-to all be in the same boat!

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Funny, in that - that was Shelley's reasoning also.  In the thoughts that if we have children in the future - it would be logical to have consistent values from both parents. 

At first she gave up pork (it's been, probably - over a month now...).  Seeing as how we've haven't decided 100% to have children or not, i asked her - does it make sense for her to go vegetarian right now - especially if we end up not having children.  She said that it still does make sense for her.

Anyhow, i took her to Outback Steakhouse last week for her b'day.  She had the steak, and finished it - but was reeeaaally turned off by it.  She said that's probably the last time she'll be going to Outback.  (I can still remember the last meat dish i had (umm, intentionally, that is - in light of the other thread) - ..it was lemon chicken...after that - i just knew it was my last meat dish).  She was surprised at how "unpleasant" the experience of eating the steak was (something that, in the past - she would have loved).  It was just this weekend that she did housecleaning and threw out all meat (not dairy) products.  Honestly, i never (ever) thought that she'd consider going vegetarian - funny how these things happen.

On an additional note, we were in an asian supermarket and there was a large tank with tons of big shrimp, pretty sad really because they were all crowded on top of one another (sorry for the visual).  She too then commented how sad it was, and then cursed me out for being the cause of her newfound sympathies - ha!  She said that in the past - instead of thinking about the suffering, she would have thought how tasty they looked.

In truthfulness, i didn't bring anything out from her.  It's just maybe her time to go a bit deeper in regards to dietary considerations - and being with a fellow vegetarian (i.e. "me") helpes to serve to bring out of her, that which has always existed to begin with.

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I agree with HH!  ;)b

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I pretty much agree that veganism is a lifestyle that involves doing the least harm to ourselves, other animals and the earth we live in.  Veganism encompasses more than just strict vegetarian eating.  It involves not only diet, but things we wear, personal hygeinic products, etc. 

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vegan is not consuming, wearing, using any animal/ insect products... it's about compassion for all living things... we do the best we can... but i personally wouldn't take it as extreme as ur suggesting like not going to baseball games, flying on planes, etc... i just refuse to consume or use animal products... and that's final... i don't mind refusing someones food.... this is my stand and i won't bend for anyone

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vegan is not consuming, wearing, using any animal/ insect products... it's about compassion for all living things... we do the best we can... but i personally wouldn't take it as extreme as ur suggesting like not going to baseball games, flying on planes, etc... i just refuse to consume or use animal products... and that's final... i don't mind refusing someones food.... this is my stand and i won't bend for anyone

not "suggesting",  but rather - asking in a rhetorical fashion :)

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What is a vegan?

I would say a vegan is a person who does not want to eat dressed up dead flesh period and for one of the many other reasons as well just because it's easy and it's available.

A vegan is a person who has ethics and most of all principles.

A vegan is also a person who does not live off the hide of something else.

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I'm not 100% vegan in lifestyle since I still have leather shoes that I wear for example (I'll be paying more attention when buying shoes from now on though, so hopefully I'll be able to phase them out over time). I also don't have a problem eating honey on occasion and will use products with honey, beeswax, or milk (such as goatsmilk soap), if from a source I trust. However, I do usually refer to myself a a vegan when talking about my dietary choices to avoid confusion. It's a lot easier to just say I'm a vegan rather than call myself simply a vegetarian and risk the assumption that I'll eat eggs or dairy.

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I'm not 100% vegan in lifestyle since I still have leather shoes that I wear for example (I'll be paying more attention when buying shoes from now on though, so hopefully I'll be able to phase them out over time). I also don't have a problem eating honey on occasion and will use products with honey, beeswax, or milk (such as goatsmilk soap), if from a source I trust. However, I do usually refer to myself a a vegan when talking about my dietary choices to avoid confusion. It's a lot easier to just say I'm a vegan rather than call myself simply a vegetarian and risk the assumption that I'll eat eggs or dairy.

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=31978

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being vegan to me means:

- being able to order 1 or 2 things off the menu and still having to make adjustments.
- starving when in the south.
- why the hell do they say "MAY" contain milk.  can i eat that?
- cooking a helluva lot more.
- looking at a picture of a cow and smiling.
- what do we do with our bab?.  wife says meat.  i say no meat.  meat in the middle?  (damn, i'm good)
- crying more often when i watch whale wars.

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I'm not 100% vegan in lifestyle since I still have leather shoes that I wear for example (I'll be paying more attention when buying shoes from now on though, so hopefully I'll be able to phase them out over time). I also don't have a problem eating honey on occasion and will use products with honey, beeswax, or milk (such as goatsmilk soap), if from a source I trust. However, I do usually refer to myself a a vegan when talking about my dietary choices to avoid confusion. It's a lot easier to just say I'm a vegan rather than call myself simply a vegetarian and risk the assumption that I'll eat eggs or dairy.

I'm not sure if HH was trying to pick on you for using the term "vegan," but if so I think they're being way too militant ;) I get what you're coming from. You say vegetarian and they think you eat fish. Particularly when it's a waitress you'll never see again, sometimes it's easier to call yourself something you're not. For instance, I've told waitresses I'm lactose intolerant when I was on a vegan diet to help allay confusion. I've told waitresses I'm vegan when I wasn't, because I couldn't make them understand that battery-cage chicken eggs were not cool. Etc. I think that's one thing. You can save the more concise explanations for your close friends and family who are actually scruitnizing what you eat and what type of soap you use. I don't think this leads to "vegan confusion," because that waitress is very unlikely to notice if three weeks later you ate a granola bar with a smidge of honey in it. She will never know, so she is left with the impression vegans do not eat meat, dairy, or eggs. No cause of disorder.

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Veganism is a lifestyle I've always known, so to me it's life itself. Growing up vegan, my parents never allowed me to eat meat, but I was offered it plenty of times at my friends' houses. I declined politely each time, and I'm proud of that. Being vegan not just affects my body and my life, it affects the life of other living beings more importantly. One thing I've learned while being vegan is this; we have the chance to educate others on our lifestyle choice, but we cannot force our message of compassion on them. I've seen some terrible PETA protests as a child. I saw how violently passionate people can get on BOTH sides of the argument. I was just a kid sandwiched between my parents, and being told I was a brainwashed motherf***er. I was eight years old! People who eat meat do not want us to chastise them for their decision, they want us to accept them for who they are. We want them to accept us for who we are.

Sometimes I berate myself for being so passive, but then I tell myself this; I am doing my part in being a voice for animals. I don't eat them, so I am one less factory farm or meat buyer. I don't wear them, so I am one less leather, wool, silk, etc... buyer. I don't use them, so I am one less beeswax, keratin, tallow, gelatin, etc... buyer. And I don't consume their tit juice or their food source, which makes me one less buyer of milk and honey. I really am making a difference. I may not be loud about it, but I am apart of it nonetheless. Whether you decide to be loud or go about it silently, we are all embodying what veganism stands for; giving animals their rights back just as we humans are privy to our own rights.

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I'm not sure if HH was trying to pick on you for using the term "vegan," but if so I think they're being way too militant ;)

I'd be surprised if you didn't assume that and think that.

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Veganism is a lifestyle I've always known, so to me it's life itself. Growing up vegan...

Hi.  I think you're the first vegan-since-birth person of whom I've known.

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Veganism is a lifestyle I've always known, so to me it's life itself. Growing up vegan...

Hi.  I think you're the first vegan-since-birth person of whom I've known.

which is insanely awesome!!! so jealous!

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I'm not sure if HH was trying to pick on you for using the term "vegan," but if so I think they're being way too militant ;)

I'd be surprised if you didn't assume that and think that.

Good gods, what is with you? You obviously feel like you have some moral obligation to uphold the use of "vegan" in its strictest, purest form. But that's not going to keep me from saying I think you could cut other people a little more slack before you start turning them off with your passive agressive commentary. Why does it seem like, to you, animals deserve more compassion and forgiveness than people? Couldn't that be interepreted as being speciest?

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