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Sugar coating our Veganism in order to gain mainstream acceptance?

The article (about vegans calling themselves vegetarian) is particularly funny because of the discussions we've had here (about vegetarians calling themselves vegans).

I dunno.  I'm not vegan to be part of a movement, but I agree with the author about it being a bad idea.  For me, words have meaning, so use the appropriate word and feed the doubters vegan cupcakes.  <- What I thought the article was going to be about, feeding omnis less healthy vegan sweets instead of healthful savories.

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I think there's a difference between saying things you don't mean (ie recommending 'vegetarian' instead of 'vegan') and leading by example... the religious analogy the author uses, i think, is a good one-- but not as he/she interprets it! Example: personally, i'm not offended to be called 'witch' or 'pagan' in a friendly way (and it's not inaccurate)... but i don't usually introduce myself as such-- b/c it's an inevitable/ immediate communication breakdown: what the average joe *hears*, b/c of preconceptions & biases that have nothing to do with me or my reality, is *completely* not what i mean, when *i* use those words... i'd rather leave it as 'not christian' (true, albeit truncated truth) and be judged by my actions in the world, rather than by misconceptions based on a word that we define differently. I think food stuff works the same way... i'd rather have coworkers notice over time that i never eat meat/dairy/ eggs, ask me about it after we've known each other a while; i think if i started out saying 'hi! i'm a vegan!' they'd imagine some stereotypical stuff that doesn't really apply-- based on their own preconceptions & biases-- & listen less to whatever i say after that... i think that's different than what the article is talking about, though, so maybe i'm just rambling... (shrug) oh well, surely not for the first or last time!  ;)

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I sort of flip flop.  

On the one hand, I understand that it kind of makes business sense if you have a vegan restaurant it might be better to advertise yourself as "vegetarian" because that might bring in more customers, such as flexitarians, or meat eaters that are open to vegetarian food every now and then, even when in fact you serve only vegan food.

Still, when I'm having conversations with people about myself, I want it known that I'm vegan.  When you say "I'm a vegetarian" people think you eat eggs, cheese, fish and chicken and I don't want that.  I had this conversation with a coworker when she over head me saying I don't eat meat to someone else in the room.  I politely said I was a vegan and explained what that meant.  She was very positive saying "I always wondered how you stayed so fit".  

Still, I'm not going to concerned about people's negative reactions to me and sugar coat it with "I'm a vegetarian" and leave it at that.  For some reason even though I've only been vegan a year, after many years of vegetarianism/flexitarianism it's important for me to convey what I am whether people like it or not, think I'm weird unhealthy or whatever or not.

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On the one hand, I understand that it kind of makes business sense if you have a vegan restaurant it might be better to advertise yourself as "vegetarian" because that might bring in more customers, such as flexitarians, or meat eaters that are open to vegetarian food every now and then, even when in fact you serve only vegan food.

There's a restaurant chain, Veggie Grill, that's vegan.  When I first went there, I super quizzed them on all of their ingredients because they kept saying everything was vegan, which didn't seem possible.  I agree that they likely get much more business being ambiguously "veggie".

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i thought the business owners view was kinda annoying... i loved the other bloggers response... why shy away from the heart and soul behind your business?! i mean ya be vegan but that doesn't mean you have to scream at omni's that walk into your restaurant... seriously...

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for the restaurant thing, i suppose it's a marketing strategy. most people are familiar with 'vegetarian,' and it's viewed as less extreme. for people who know what 'vegan' is may still envision vegan food to be solely soy-based substitutes and salad. using the name 'veggie' or not putting anything about veg*nism in the name is to get people in the door. after they eat the food, *then* they can be swayed that vegan food is tasty and worth their time.

also, if there are enough vegan restaurants, why name each of them Vegan Something? a given restaurant is no longer "the" vegan restaurant, and by naming themselves something not vegan-related makes them (& vegan food?) more normal, more standard.

that being said, it's extremely convenient when looking at places to eat at and finding Vegan Something Restaurant.

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You can avoid being confrontational without sugar-coating. And that goes for anything. One can be firm without being rude.

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I tend to sugar coat my stance because I have a tendancy to flip flop, which I am NOT proud of.  I love vegan food, the ideals, want to  help animals and the environment, but at the same time I like convienence and I want to fit in.  Right now I am vegan and proud of it.  I don't like hunters, don't agree with hunting, or killing animals period.  But, if I or my son was starving, yes, I would kill to feed us if I had to.  But that is just me.  Thankfully, I am not starving, neither is my son, nor are we even close.  My fridge and pantry is packed full of vegan food right now and I am happy about that.

But I am tired of the confrontation veganism brings.  Tired of omni's being so defensive.  Tired of the question "but where do you get your protein" or "I couldn't not LIVE without meat".  Tired of not being able to eat free lunches brought in by work because NOTHING is vegan here. 

What do you do?

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for people who know what 'vegan' is may still envision vegan food to be solely soy-based substitutes and salad.

;D  That's basically the Veggie Grill menu.  I ate there a few times, but I'd rather have whole foods.  In the OC, the Seabird is an organic, locally grown roach coach that serves vegan food.  I'd rather have their Jerk Jackfruit Taco than a Veggie Grill Bayou Chickin' sandwich.

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oh yeah, i've seen their menu. i keep meaning to go there, but am never quite in the area...

they have jackfruit carnitas at Pure Luck in the Hollywood-ish area, across from Scoops (has vegan ice cream! and non-vegan ice cream.). I like the 'carnitas,' but the rest of the food is kinda meh and soggy. =/

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This reminds me very much of an article on the PETA website about animal advocacy which I believe is called something like "Effective Advocacy Versus Personal Purity". I'm not entirely sure how it ended up on their site as they are verifiable nutjobs who have probably sizeably contributed to negative stereotypes of vegans but it's a good read.

It boils down to this: if you want to be an effective advocate, the bigger picture is more important than your personal "vegan points". A good illustration of this point is his assertion that if you're out and about campaigning for people to take up a vegan lifestyle, more people will listen to you if you look healthy and well-fed and are dressed smartly, than if you look pale and ill and wander around in a super-eco-vegan-friendly hemp smock.

The article linked in the original post takes a pretty hyperbolic shot at a blog post which is specifically designed to advise veg*n businesses on how to better get people through their doors. It's sound business advice: you can attract a broader range of customers if you market yourself as vegetarian rather than vegan, and probably pull in a section of clientele who would walk right past a vegan restaurant. Not everybody is going to catch the sweet smell of tempeh reuben and skip through the doors.

It's certainly been my experience in the UK that businesses which advertise themselves as vegetarian promote organic, local food and have a predominantly vegan menu with a broad range of gluten-free products too. My favourite local is probably 85% vegan, but that lighter touch on the marketing means that I see EVERYBODY stop by their deli counter for lunch. They're a hugely successful cooperatively-run business and that to me is infinitely preferable to a vegan restaurant so concerned with personal purity that they can't pull in customers.

On a personal level, you do what you're comfortable with and if potential confrontation is genuinely scarier to you than a cheese sandwich, call yourself vegetarian and be done with it. As you all know of me by now, I'd much rather get people enthusiastic about a meat-free or less meat-intensive diet than rage from the pulpit about How Vegans Are So Pure. Collective reduction of meat consumption beats out increasing polarisation between meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

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^^ Word up, oh Cat.  ;)b

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I usually call myself vegetarian and if someone inquires further, I tell them I'm vegan. If this upsets vegans and makes it more difficult for vegans to be accepted in the mainstream, GOOD. Grow a thicker skin, faggots.

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 A good illustration of this point is his assertion that if you're out and about campaigning for people to take up a vegan lifestyle, more people will listen to you if you look healthy and well-fed and are dressed smartly, than if you look pale and ill and wander around in a super-eco-vegan-friendly hemp smock...

I've often looked at Dr. Neal Bernard and his horrible skin and is dreadfully thin arms and wondered why anyone would listen to him because he looks so ill.

Not that I campaign for veganism, but I've often wondered why is it that I nearly 99% of the time get a good response from people and don't have any of the negativity I read about here and you've just told me.  I  glow with health and am far from skinny.  Not that I'm vain or anything.

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If it's someone I just met,  I usually say vegetarian. I feel like it's less threatening to say it than vegan. I don' t know why. But like SB, I will explain the veganism if the conversation continues.

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I almost feel lazy now that I just say vegan.  It might help that I categorically don't care what other people eat and that I like whole foods over analogues.  Someone is going to sound like an ass if they say, "OMG, you're eating MUSHROOMS!!!  Is that a BLACK BEAN?!?"

The interesting thing is how little produce omnis eat.  I have a meat centric coworker who likes my being vegan because I share my fruit with him, and my fully loaded salad when he forgets lunch.

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You can avoid being confrontational without sugar-coating. And that goes for anything. One can be firm without being rude.

Exactly. I used to be a hardcore omni (ala Nourishing Traditions/traditional foods)... now I am flextarian about to trial a vegan diet. PETA videos, arguing and negativity did nothing to change my mind. Positivity did. We have an awesome vegan restaurant here called Native Foods, which influenced me. While the chef is involved in PETA and has animal rights stuff around the restaurant, her focus is creating delicious vegan food that everyone will enjoy, including omnis. And it is wildly popular.

The other thing that put me over the edge is watching Food, Inc. Even though I already only ate humanely raised/pastured animal products I would occasionally indulge in factory farmed stuff. Confrontation couldn't convince me, because I was convinced otherwise. But SEEING how awful the factory farmed industry is not just for animal but for PEOPLE and the environment convinced this omni. So just encourage everyone to watch that  ;)b.

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SoCal Native Foods?  I've been to a couple of their locations and didn't dig it, but I could have ordered the duds.  What do you like there?

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SoCal Native Foods?  I've been to a couple of their locations and didn't dig it, but I could have ordered the duds.  What do you like there?

native foods is the bomb! i love all their food! especially the baha tempeh tacos and thee enslada azteca i believe... their desserts are pretty lackluster and come prepackaged tho :(

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I do try to say vegan, but not many people know what it means it seems. So I say, strict vegetarian. Then they understand. There have been a few instaces that I say I am really allergic to a certain animal product if they still don't get the message.

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