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The Practical Vegetarian

I know most of us would rather starve than compromise.  But perhaps for some people veg*nism isn't an all or nothing idea, and it's more attractive for them to be practical, rather than guilt-laden and judged,

Quote:
A Practical Vegetarian is someone who almost always eats plant-based food when that choice is available. And when that choice is not available she is open to eating whatever food is indeed available and does so with gratitude. The difference between being a strict vegetarian versus a practical vegetarian is the world of difference between easily following a kind diet and struggling to stick to a strict regimen.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gopi-kallayil/the-practical-vegetarian_b_715172.html

I'll preface this by saying that I think in black and white on these subjects.
It's not really a struggle unless YOU make it one. I think people make it way harder than it really is.
And I don't see someone who eats meat as a vegetarian, that doesn't make any sense. That's just someone who doesn't eat a lot of meat/eat meat everyday, it doesn't make you a vegetarian. It seems very lazy. I think it makes people feel like they're special or doing something good while not actually having to make any effort.

But that's just me.

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the only part where i can see where the author is coming from is when he talks about traveling overseas and only having non-veg food available (according to him).  when he talks about a turkey sandwich on an airplane as the only option i roll my eyes.  plan ahead and bring a clif bar..

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thats crap. if you eat meat, you're not a vegetarian. sorry. there's always an option available.

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I can see the benefit of this. I'm always happy to cook vegetarian food for my omni family because it's one less meat-based dish they're having. I think this follows from the same logic and I'm down with anything that gets people to eat more veggie food.

I don't think it's wildly appropriate to call oneself a vegetarian in that situation - someone in the comments suggested "semivegetarian" which I thought was quite good - but I'm not about to beat the guy up for making a healthy, reasoned choice the majority of the time. I'd rather congratulate him for doing as much as he feels works for him.

To PPC and veganhippie: I lived in Russia for a year and travelled extensively. Russians struggle with the concept of vegetarianism and often in the more far-flung places my "available option" was bread and tea. Had I been living in, rather than visiting, those far-flung places I may have had to adapt my diet along the lines of the author or go very hungry.

Don't assume that everyone has the conveniences that you enjoy.

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If you live there then it should be even easier for you. Fruits, vegetables and grains are all vegan and you can do a great deal with them. You don't always need the processed foods and fake meats that they sell in the stores. Once in a blue moon am I able to eat those because I don't have a lot of money so I usually just eat whole foods. If you are travelling then you should plan ahead. I see these as excuses to not make a real effort.

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If you live there then it should be even easier for you. Fruits, vegetables and grains are all vegan and you can do a great deal with them. You don't always need the processed foods and fake meats that they sell in the stores. Once in a blue moon am I able to eat those because I don't have a lot of money so I usually just eat whole foods. If you are travelling then you should plan ahead. I see these as excuses to not make a real effort.

You're making the assumption that processed foods and fake meats are a) a particularly a part of my - or the article author's - diet and b) available outside of the privileged West. You're also making the assumption that restaurants and cafes everywhere are forthcoming about the ingredients they use. You're assuming that planning is infallible, that vegetarian food sources are a constant, that the traveller has the facilities to cook and that hosts can always provide for you.

I would rather see more people eat mostly vegetarian and be as thoughtful about their diet as that author is, than have a huge, insurmountable, judgemental divide between "proper" vegans and vegetarians and "everyone else". The fact of the matter is that the author is flexible with his diet when he is in a place which does not practically allow him a suitable vegetarian diet, and it's entirely understandable. I don't truly know how much non-vegetarian food I consumed whilst living in Russia. I did my best, querying people on ingredients and translating unknown products as best I could, but I'm sure I wasn't infallible.

If you have an issue with him claiming the term "vegetarian" that's one thing, but to flat-out argue that anyone who doesn't eat 100% vegetarian or vegan is just being lazy, well, that's just small-minded. He offers several examples of times when eating vegetarian just wasn't a possibility for him. Perhaps in his place you would have insulted your host and conjured up a righteously vegan meal of grass, but he does the best that he can under the circumstances and I'm not about to slate him for it.

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I see these as excuses to not make a real effort.

Not everyone lives thinks in black and white terms like that.  Not everyone even wants to be a vegan but would like to be as close to vegan or vegetarian as possible.  Granted I will agree with you that they shouldn't call themselves "vegetarian".   However, they probably could do without your judgement.  Why would they join your lifestyle if you call them lazy?

For you, I and other people that call themselves vegan to go places unprepared might be lazy, I give you that.

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I'm not a world traveler but once American airlines did nothing with my request for vegan food...yes I did complain....and it was a 13 hour flight to Toykyo.....I wasn't vegan then, only requested vegan food as I ate 95% vegan at that time and compromised.

When I went to India I was vegan, I unexpectedly ended my trip early and it took 36 hours to go home.  When in a layover in Bumfuck India I had a choice to make regarding nonvegan food or not eat for approximately 8 hours until I got to the airport in Dehli.  

I always travel with Cliff bars and such.

People do sometimes find themselves in situations where the choice is to starve or eat.  Ethical radical vegans like most of us are on this board would starve and I admire that.  But people whom are 99% vegan who screw up every once in a while shouldn't be judged if they've tried.

Naturally this is my opinion and I respect everyones views.  

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Tweety - I regularly make the trip from the UK to Canada and my airline are very good about the food they provide. I was appalled flying from Calgary to Boston over the summer, there was so little choice of food and little of it vegetarian. I think my dinner ended up being the little bag of carrot sticks and Doritos - miserable!

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I think black and white thinking is obsolete. (is that a black and white statement?)
I think it can lead to a "your with us or your against us" kinda thing. That mentality is just damaging to everyone. I would have been vegan much sooner if someone approached me with ideas and options, rather then assaulted me with judgments. 
If someone is being lazy. applaud the areas where they aren't being lazy, and give them alternatives for when they are. 
living by labels and definitions doesn't help your cause.

but hey, that's just me rambling

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I wouldn't blatantly eat something i knew to be meat or dairy while traveling or whatever... I would just do the best I could in that situation... I probably wouldn't even stress over all the ingredients that "might" be in my food... Whatever, do your best and I don't see what the big deal is, but I really could give a rats ass if people get offended because I don't want to shove their animal food in my face... I find that to be against my values and ethics and to eat a turkey sandwich cause there's "nothing else" is kinda dumb... Plan ahead

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I don't like the term "practical vegetarian" because it implies that "strict" vegans/vegetarians are impractical. Also, I found the author a bit snobbish, like "I travel sooo much, so I need to be able to eat meat every once in a while."

I've traveled a lot, lots of vegans and vegetarians have, and you learn from your mistakes. You start to bring your own food for trips, scout out veg restaurants in your destination before even stepping foot on the plane, call the airline at least 3 times and at least 24 hours in advance to make sure your vegetarian meal is reserved (and asking again at the ticket counter!), tell your friends or family before you visit them that you're vegan/vegetarian now, etc. And if you have to go a day or two barely eating or fasting, you do it. There could be situations where you really don't have options for an extended period of time, that's understandable, but don't call yourself vegetarian when you aren't. I think if you keep your mindset of "I'm going back to my diet when I get home" you're more likely to stick to it, whereas if you tell yourself "I need to make exceptions," you'll be more likely to make exceptions at times when you don't really need to.

That being said, I'm like 95% vegan. I don't tell people that I'm vegan, or a "practical vegan," I just say that I'm vegetarian and get on with it. If I'm not willing to make the sacrifices then I don't think I deserve that title.

Yes being a "flexitarian" is better than nothing at all, but come on people, you don't deserve a title for your half-assedness.

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I didn't read it as Minke making the assumption that processed vegan food is widely available; rather, I read it as a general comment that it's easier to eat vegan or vegetarian if you live somewhere rather than if you're a pure traveler.  

The guy's flexitarian not vegetarian.  I accidentally ate animal product a while back and got immensely sick.  It seems very unlikely that someone who is vegetarian can eat meat and not get sick.  He eats meat frequently enough to not get sick, so I call his bluff.  He talks about going to restaurants and only being able to order one type of meat prepared one way.  I'm going to Ireland next spring and I plan to stop by the farmers' market or store to pick up some things I can eat so I don't have to rely solely on restaurants.  As a world traveler, you'd think he'd have figured out that option.

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I never ever eat meat but it's hard for me to stay vegan while traveling. 

A big part of it is because I have to avoid wheat and sugar for health reasons.

When you cut out wheat...that really cuts down on the foods you can eat.  It cuts down on the burritos and sandwiches and many other covenience vegetarian foods one finds when they travel.

So when I travel, I allow myself to eat cheese when my options are virtually impossible. But I never, ever eat meat. 

I think it's good that people are trying even though that can't be as strict as some of us.

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First I would like to say that working closer toward veganism or vegetarianism is a step in the right direction. Minimizing the intake of animal products is better than maximizing it. I myself gradually worked toward becoming vegan, first eliminating red meat, then poultry, then finally fish, egg, and dairy. So I understand the fundamentals and rationale of gradually eliminating meat to go vegetarian. With all that being said,  I think the "practical vegetarian" term is bullshit. Anyone who falls under that term is an omnivore that eats less meat than their omnivore brethren or a flexitarian at best. I'm not obsessed with labels but I call a spade a spade, it is what it is. I'm not saying they're evil because they haven't completely gave up meat or indulge in it at the slightest inconvenience, but they should use terms and words appropriately. Typically when a word is used out of context or incorrectly, there is confusion with the actual definition of the word. Anyone who knowingly eats meat and acknowledges that they'll eat it in the future on there next vacation is not a vegetarian, I don't care what prefix is thrown in front of it. There is also a difference in gradually moving toward the vegetarian line and attempting to jump back and forth across the line like double dutch. I myself am one of the vegans who would starve before eating any animal products, there is no compromise, death before dis-honor. The smell and presence of meat disgusts me and I believe my body would probably reject it even if I did try to eat it.  I come from a culture where fasting for a day or two is typical and I know people that do it weekly. You can survive a 12 hour flight with no food, on the flip side there's no way the animal that you're eating could have survived having the flesh you're chewing on ripped from their body. If someone is vegetarian for five years then eats one chicken nugget and then go back to their vegetarian diet and they're asked the next day, how long have you been vegetarian? The appropriate and only response should be 1 day, not five years, they forfeited their stripes with that 1 chicken nugget. If a practical vegetarian, I mean omnivore ever completely gives up meat, then and only then are they a vegetarian. Mafia Capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano had his hands cut off and was murdered for introducing Donnie Brascoe (Joseph Pistone) as a made guy to out of state mob bosses when Pistone was just an associate, an undercover FBI associate at that. My point is, titles exist for a reason and one should always say what they mean and mean what they say.

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What's sad is that the author of the article wants to be labled something. Everyone wants a label or category. I hate labels and categories. That being said, he should not be labeled a vegetarian. Done.

Sidenote: When I decided to stop eating meat..I stopped eating meat. I didn't fall off the veggiewagon..I took the reins and never looked back. I was in control as I am now. Done.

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xxxxxxxxx

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What's sad is that the author of the article wants to be labled something. Everyone wants a label or category. I hate labels and categories.

Pigeonholes are for pigeons. We're all on different points of different paths. I'm not interested in labelling other people, and I don't accept labels from others.

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There is no such thing as a "practical veg*n". You are or you aren't. If you eat animals, then you are not a vegetarian. It's very simple.

Not to say that trying to eat a mostly veg*n diet isn't a good thing, but trying and failing doesn't give you the right to claim the title. I'm very happy for people who thoughtfully choose non-animal sustenance over whatever happens to be available. But one is not a veg*n just from choosing soy milk over cow excretions for the morning coffee. I would forgive the person who hasn't eaten for at least 3 days due to no fault of their own and then accepts a glass of cow juice, otherwise forget it.

If anyone feels excluded because of my opinion then you should consider how I feel when I tell someone I'm vegan and they ask if I eat fish because their friend is a vegan but she eats fish. Of course I inform them that their friend is not vegan. But the point is that the word describes a very specific state of being and it should not be misused. I'm not sure why a person who eats animal flesh would even want to claim to be veg*n. I don't hate people who aren't veg*n, but I'm not so fond of liars.

On the other hand, I suppose I could start calling myself an astronaut every time I jump in the air...

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On the other hand, I suppose I could start calling myself an astronaut every time I jump in the air...

LMAO!

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