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vegan vs veggie

question?

is there anyone out there who may alternate between veganism and vegetarianism?  if so, have you encounter any problems with people saying 'pick one or the other?'  just curious,

veronica

I anticipate this problem.

I'm a very lackadaisical vegetarian anyway, relatively speaking.  This month, I'm vegan, and I feel SO good that I foresee an almost-entirely-vegan lifestyle for the rest of my life... but since it's mostly a wellness thing for me, I think I'm likely to indulge in not-vegan-but-vegetarian treats from time to time.  And my family has a hard time understanding that preferences may shift, although they can cope with rigid vows (not like them, not understand them, but they can accommodate that because they know what to expect).

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I think if you regularly switch between veganism and vegetarianism, from now on just say you're a vegetarian who sometimes abstains from dairy and eggs. You dont have to deal with people saying "pick one" because you aren't using a label that must be changed depending on how your diet changes, etc. In my opinion this is the best kind of vegetarian - the kind who lean towards veganism ;) ah yes there's a good one. "I'm a vegetarian who leans towards veganism." That could work for you. And people shouldn't give you a problem! Either way you are doing good by cutting animal products out of your diet to one degree or another..

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I fall under that category and I generally say I am vegetarian. For some reason fake vegans irritate me - there is no need to label yourself as something you are not. In general, most people don't know the difference between vegan, lacto-ovo, etc, they get the jist and that is usually all they care to know. Unless someone asks what I don't eat, (in which case I say meat, fish, and limited eggs and dairy, and I am a former vegan because I did it for a long period of time in my past) I stick to the simple term "vegetarian." I usually prefer to focus on the reasons for my choices in these kinds of discussions (teachable moments you might call them). If you are vegan for periods of more than a few weeks at a time, you could call yourself vegan and switch back when your diet changes. No one is keeping track anyway!  :D

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i had a hard time when i was transitioning to vegan. i didn't stop eating animal products one day but took some time as i learned about how to eat right on a vegan diet and try recipes out. i guess it would depend on why you were going back and forth, i.e. some will eat vegan at home but veggie outside the home or do veggie at home but eat some meat outside the home for whatever reasons. sometimes i think people's "problem" with veggies who move between diets is simular to the problems many have with vegitarians in general: they see veg*n diets as different or weird and the bothing you about what you are eating is just another way for them to feel better about themselves eating animals. if that makes sense...! :)

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I try to be unpretentious-- I mean, you all know it when I'm naughty.  ;)

I tell my family I'm vegetarian, and explain to the members who are curious about the particulars or who are preparing/selecting food for me what I prefer on a given day.  They also know I'm not "hardcore vegetarian"-- which is how they describe vegans-- even when I'm following that eating pattern, they have a hard time seeing me as that kind of vigilant dieter.  I think that the abstract concept of a vegan diet (and its practitioners) intimidates them and I don't, and that's why.  :D

The only reason I use the word "vegan" here is because I know you know what it means.  And I'm sure not trying to win any laurels-- I don't care what other people think about the moral rectitude of my habits, that's part of the point of exercising one's free will over one's diet IMO.

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i suppose another thing to consider when using labels is that some people consider vegan not only a diet but a lifestyle choice (doesn't use anything that comes from animals--no wool or leather, buys household items (shampoo, cleaners) that are free of animal ingredients and testing). here, if you do wear animal made items or use nonfood items with animal ingredients, they would argue you are a veggie with whole eats "strict veggie" once in a while.

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I go back and forth, but I describe myself like how Janeyboo said it-- a vegetarian leaning towards veganism. I don't make any pretenses to be vegan, but I do choose to eat vegan a good portion of the time. Just like my parents (meat eaters) choose to eat vegetarian-- and vegan, even!-- a good deal of the time for health, economic, and environmental reasons, I eat vegan when I can b/c I know it's good for me and the world in a multitude of reasons.

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i suppose another thing to consider when using labels is that some people consider vegan not only a diet but a lifestyle choice (doesn't use anything that comes from animals--no wool or leather, buys household items (shampoo, cleaners) that are free of animal ingredients and testing). here, if you do wear animal made items or use nonfood items with animal ingredients, they would argue you are a veggie with whole eats "strict veggie" once in a while.

Good point!

I DON'T actually use nonfood items with animal ingredients or wear animal-made items, though this is partially accidental: I don't like the smell of silk (or the concept, yuck), I'm allergic to wool, and I choose not to wear leather or fur, or to use products containing critters or tested on them.  This has been since before I chose a vegetarian diet; it just seemed unnecessary to use animals for any of that.  What was I then?  ;)

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Shortly after I went veg I read a book by Peta. It told of horrid, horrid acts against animals in almost every industry. I was shocked at how pervasive animal exploitation & cruelty are in our society. I knew about animal testing, but I didn't know about the cruelty of the wool industry, down, silk, etc. The plight of laying hens is heart wrenching. It was mind boggling. I immediately dropped eggs from my diet. I got rid of every leather shoe I had, all of my down & wool coats, my lovely silk blouse. We worked at weeding out cruel health & beauty products. But we still ate cheese.  ::)  It was years before we took cheese out of our diet.

I have always had more difficulty with corporate events than with friends & family. I finally work outside of the standard corporate environment, where if you're lucky, you have a company that offers veggie burgers & tofu dogs at the summer picnic, but even those items might not be vegan.  If I lunch with someone or a group at a restaurant, I always order the most vegan thing on the menu. Fortunately, I only find myself in these situations 2-3 a year, so it works for me.

However, it does make me mad at how few restaurants offer or can put together an appealing vegan meal. Soggy yellow squash is not an appetizing meal, especially at $8.  :P

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i suppose another thing to consider when using labels is that some people consider vegan not only a diet but a lifestyle choice (doesn't use anything that comes from animals--no wool or leather, buys household items (shampoo, cleaners) that are free of animal ingredients and testing). here, if you do wear animal made items or use nonfood items with animal ingredients, they would argue you are a veggie with whole eats "strict veggie" once in a while.

\
I think "pure vegetarian" sounds more attainable. Strict makes it sound so rigid. On a bit different note, my friends always laugh when I say I'm not a picky eater. Well when it comes to the plant kingdom I'm not picky!

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I'm also walking the line between veganism and vegetarianism. If you count veganism as a lifestyle choice, then I'd be vegetarian - I wear wool and silk and leather sometimes, and I can't get my Mom to stop buying the dish soap that has urea (pig urine - eew!) or the hand soap that has gelatin (eeew again!). Sadly, it's a whole lot cheaper.

I do, however, make a consious choice to avoid animal cruelty. When I buy animal-based clothing, I buy it second-hand and alter it. Not only is it cheaper, it's supporting Goodwill and such (not sure where everyone lives, but here Goodwill is very active in the community - supports afterschool centers, gives to the homeless, etc.), and not cruel industries. When I move out to college (I graduated high school early, so I took a year off before college), I'll start buying the products that don't have high "eww factor" ingredients.

As for food, I'm a vegan at home and usually socially, but I'll occasionally eat a milk-based product. Rarely, but I'm willing to compromise on dairy (not meat, and I try not to eat eggs either - I consider them meat). So yeah, that's my stance.

My friends don't really get the whole idea - they'll ask me when I'm joining a PeTA march (ummm, no? The stereotypical PeTA person would annoy me. Sorry if there's any PeTA people here who are actually nice.), then offer me cheese dip - but I guess they do respect my decision. Oddly enough the most persistant "thought you weren't doing anymore?" would be my parents.

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It's funny how the "Strict Vegan" thing can get you into trouble.

I have never called myself Vegan because I wear my red patent leather Danskos religiously and can't bring myself to let go of the leather diaper bag that has been passed down to me through three generations of women in my family.

However, when I say "I eat a vegan diet" I get all kinds of confused looks and questions, as if I can't eat vegan unless I live it too.  I suppose the confusion lies mainly in the fact that a vegan diet is still on the outskirts of what most people call 'normal', but when meat-eaters get in my face about my shoes I wonder sometimes how much of that is thier own baggage or thier need to make what I eat seem silly.

It's interesting how whether they are demanding you "pick one" or get rid of your leather the pushy meat-eaters I've met always seem to approach the conversation with an "I know better" kind of attitude yet they can't/won't listen to the realities of where their meals come from.

Anyone else notice that if you eat a vegan diet for ethical reasons, meat eaters will plug their ears and hum tunelessly rather than listen to the answer you give them as to why you eat that way???

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thanks guys,

i really appreciate all of your comments.  i think as someone suggested that i will 'label' myself as 'vegetarian leaning towards veganism' (thanks janeyboo)- esp since its not about just the diet, but the lifestyle.  thanks again.

ducklucky writing is definitely one of your callings.  you are quite expressive and eloquent in your responses.

p.s just a side thing- for anyone living in the midwest especailly chicago- i have been using a lot of the Organics brand from Dominicks food store because they are vegan.  chips, crackers, chocolate, beans, micro-wave popcorn, some soups, cereals, etc.  i wanted to thank them for carrying the brand so i emailed them.  their response was lovely saying that they supported organic farmers and
healthy animal free products.  it was really nice to read and wonderful that a chain store carried so many vegan products.)

one more thing- i too avesha have had many people 'plug their ears' when i state that i am vegan.  they will ummmm and look away rather than ask questions.  this makes me realize that they dont care about my lifestyle and for that reason, i prefer to not elaborate.  however, i must admit that being a 'minority' makes it kinda comical that some do feel that i am turning my back on a big part of my culrutral heritage.  how silly!

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ducklucky writing is definitely one of your callings.  you are quite expressive and eloquent in your responses.

Thanks so much Veronica-- I'm walking on air!  :D

I agree, the Domenick's organics are pretty good, and oh my goodness cheap!  For those of you on the west coast, Domenick's is Safeway there.

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I DON'T actually use nonfood items with animal ingredients or wear animal-made items, though this is partially accidental: I don't like the smell of silk (or the concept, yuck), I'm allergic to wool, and I choose not to wear leather or fur, or to use products containing critters or tested on them.  This has been since before I chose a vegetarian diet; it just seemed unnecessary to use animals for any of that.  What was I then?   ;)

You were nice.  :)

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oooooooh - thanks for the heads up on "Domenick's/Safeway" !!!  We have a FredMeyer with lots of good organic veggies, and a decent "health food" section - but there is a SafeWay around here somewhere too..... can be hard to find good veg choices up here in the winter ;D

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Hee, 7!  I hope so.

I guess I think of myself more as a conscientious consumer than as any dietary or lifestyle choice.  I've always found it hard to understand how people can identify so deeply with one aspect of their lives that they are willing to make it the first adjective they use when they introduce themselves... be it a sexual preference, a dietary choice, or a political party.  Not that I don't identify strongly through all these things; I suppose I just refuse to be defined along one axis only, no matter how much of a time or lifestyle commitment it is for me, because the other axes are important to me too.

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Don't worry about labels or other peoples opinions. Do what ever you want. You shouldn't have to justify your actions to anyone. I personally think both terms should be abolished and we should just say I don't eat animals or I'm against animal cruelty for the sake of my diet. A little bit more long winded but at least then we aren't pigeonholed. If a carnivor doesn't eat meat for a day then does that make him/her a veg?

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For me, though i label myself Vegan here ( cuz I know you guys know what that means) to the general public i simply say, I am a vegetarian who abstains from eggs and dairy. Less work lol. Though I do not buy anything containing animal products, anything tested on animal including household cleaning items, cosmetics, clothing etc. To me Veganism is a lifestyle not a diet, because of that I do not label myself as Vegan to others, simply because when i made my choice I did not run through and throw out all clothing/shoes etc made of leather, because I would be shoeless. Now when they wear out will i buy them again...NO. My friends and family know what I am and know how I feel. But I feel to call myself a Vegan while wearing my leather sandals sends a mixed message to the general public, which is something I am not willing to do, because let's face it, I have a friend who calls himself a vegetarian, but eats any and all fish/seafood etc, yet freaks out if his refried beans contain lard :o There are enough mixed messages out there, I have no desire to contribute. And to that I also say, to each his/her own. You do what makes YOU feel good about YOU. I am a firm believer in every little bit helps, no matter how big nor how small. One small act of humanity and kindness on one persons part is one step closer than we were yesterday in ending the unnecessary cruelty to animals.

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I just thought of an analogy. Say it's like a person who has given up smoking. You have quit but sometimes you slip.

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