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Thread: Ex-vegans

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    United States
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    Quote Originally Posted by meepster View Post
    Any kind of ethical dietary guideline draws an arbitrary distinction which, in some cases, makes no sense at all. I am currently, as I type, enjoying a salad composed of tomatoes, cucumbers, avocadoes, cauliflower, basil, and eggs (yum... but I digress). Let us focus on the last two ingredients - the basil and the egg. The basil leaves in my salad came from a living plant that needed those leaves to keep itself alive. The farmer who sold it to me cut it down, killing it. The plant died for my lunch. Did it suffer? I don't know. But I do know that it died.

    The egg in my salad is infertile. It came from a chicken that, presumably, did not incur any pain or suffering in producing it - chickens lay eggs naturally. Since the egg is infertile, there is no way that it could have developed into a living chicken.

    Why does the vegan diet allow the basil (which involves killing), but not the egg (which does not)?

    We are animals, and we are part of the food chain. It is far more mindful, I think, to recognize and respect that fact about our nature, and to make peace with it. We are part of the cycle of life. We can't exempt ourselves from it. There's no way you can eat without killing some other living thing, unless you depend on factory-processed food that kills a lot of living things and poisons you besides. It is better to make peace with our place in the food chain - we are predators - and to make sure we maintain a healthy ecosystem that will allow us to continue eating the way we are designed to. What matters is not the individual animal, but the ecosystem; each animal and each plant and each fungus and each bug and each human being have a role to play in maintaining that healthy ecosystem and keeping it functioning.

    I went to the farmer's market today, and bought a lamb heart (inspired by this site). I know that the sheep in question had a normal and happy life, running about in the hills, munching grass, playing with its sheep buddies, enjoying the sunshine. (I've seen pictures of the farm) I hope it was killed humanely and without excess cruelty - but that's all. It died so I could eat, same as the basil plant that died so I could eat.
    This is beautiful. Very well said.
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Surrey, UK
    Thanks all. Looks like making peace with/accepting it is the key. I wish it came as easily for me!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I agree very much with some of the beautiful though difficult ideas put forth. I spent my time in my 20's as a vegetarian, near vegan. I'm not entirely sure that the idea of "Primal" is in total conflict with vegetarianism, and taking it a few steps further past bugs and shrimp and fish, certainly not in conflict with the idea of avoiding the meat of mammals.

    I'd like to add one more spin to the conversation. I'm not even sure how much I myself believe it, because it has some violent and morally ambiguous elements to it.

    In any case, a not-so-beautiful and more violent and morally ambiguous observation or two follow, but I don't think they are less true.

    I own dogs that I train for retriever competitions. Yes, this involves dead birds. During the season, I have tried (and mostly failed) to hunt, but I will try again because they love it. For whatever reason, whether from God or from Sin (which is the creation of God), these are creatures who are programmed to hunt. I enjoy competing with them because the behaviors and interspecieas relationship of the teamwork of the faux hunt of competition--and the real hunt that is the source of the competition--is endlessly fascinating to me. It compels me. I feel that it brings me closer to nature, and sometimes--though not always--closer to an understanding of the forces of nature [perhaps red in tooth and claw--but also divine--and, far more often than not, (hunting involves waiting and observing) peaceful]. From a purely visceral standpoint, I sometimes even find it fun--and my dogs clearly see it as a primal joy. I think this is for a reason.

    I think perhaps those who are vegans and vegetarians are more good than myself, and in terms of the way the divine eventually intends the universe to be, more forward-thinking.

    But for myself, in the moment, eschewing meat--which seems to be beneficial to my physical and emotional and sometimes even spiritual well-being--seems to be denying a certain element of my destiny.

    This is perhaps ugly to some. To me, at this moment in my life (midway at least, I hope) it's just true.

    But when I'm a better person, I may be a vegetarian, so if that's what calls you, I hold you no grudge!
    Last edited by gottaluvalab; 07-11-2010 at 07:09 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #14
    If human flesh could be grown from stem cells for "food" would you eat it? In theory, human flesh would probably be the best meat for us to eat.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    balsam grove NC
    i basically went vegan to do the least harm. buddha style. but soon i realized that i was doing harm to myself. my body was suffering. it took awhile, but eventually i had to admit to myself that i had to eat meat in order to THRIVE. i became angry about everything. my life was about fixing the wrongs of this world, all of the injustices. it was a very lonely lifestyle. soon my hubby would offer me homemade mayo. he knew that if i tasted it there would be no turning back. he was right. one day i cracked. i indulged in a wonderful ham and mayo sandwich. of course i dropped the bread shortly after. it's kind of sad thinking of the animals but i make sure they lived the best life possible first. i honestly believe that you can still be a spiritual being and consume animal products. i've actually become a more peaceful person since. no diet will make someone better than the other, remember that.

  6. #16
    As a recovering vegan, I feel sound saying that veganism is a fear of death, nature, and the human being.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by vivilee View Post
    If human flesh could be grown from stem cells for "food" would you eat it? In theory, human flesh would probably be the best meat for us to eat.
    Ouchies. That's an icky one. Are you a philosophy student?

    While there is no LOGICAL reason not to eat it, I have to say that there are symbolic and emotional reasons which would make it off limits for me.

    I'm basically a rationalist, but I feel that emotion is also valid, even if illogical, up to a point. It's an idea I've been turning over for a while but I need to wrap a bit more thought around it really so I can't defend the position.

    Regarding eating animals: I agree with the fact that death is unavoidable and they kill kangaroos and birds to keep them off the grain and plants we eat anyway. I've got some vague ideas around the fact that being vegetarian somehow attempts to remove our status as omnivorous animals - a bit like the Victorians putting skirts on table-legs so they didn't arouse people, or the Elizabethan collars, the whole notion of separating our heads from our bodies, a refusal to be the animals that we are. Another idea that's a work in progress and probably won't stand up to scrutiny, but anyway.

    I'm an ex veggie. It gets easier. Possibly harder for vegans who do seem to really identify with their eating habits. Weird to be defined by what you will and won't put in your mouth.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by chronyx View Post
    All I've wanted was to do the right thing! Avoiding suffering, being compassionate and mindful.
    All I can say is that it's a huge ethical struggle for me. Huge. So I try not to think about it and busy my mind with the fact that when I was veg/vegan/raw, I ruined my health and suffered significantly. Then I move on to the next topic.

    It's hard. But I have to do it. *shrug*

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  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Lab-grown human flesh? My first reaction is "yuck", for reasons of a built-in cannibalism taboo - I think it is built-in, and that even the cultures that practice cannibalism treat it differently from everyday dinner - it is more ceremonial, there's a lot more ritual involved, and so forth. I lack the ceremony and ritual background, so I go "yuck".

    But my second reaction, after a bit of consideration, is also "yuck" - but to the words "lab-grown" rather than to the words "human flesh". I don't want to eat lab-grown anything. I want to eat real, living creatures that evolved on the same planet as I evolved on, that are part of the same ecosystem as I am part of, that function as part of the grand design of the cycle of life. I don't want to take myself out of the cycle.

    Never mind that said lab in which human flesh is grown from stem cells consumes energy (which comes from oil and pollutes the air) and requires space (taken away from the animals and plants that would have inhabited it otherwise).

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    One of the things that alwyays bothered me, an ex-vegan, with the official vegan cannon was the existence of tribal people (now and from the beginning of our species) and how it was sort of an unspoken rule that their way of life passed the high-handed morality test of suburban vegans. It is somehow acceptable for Native American tribes to hunt because they respected the spirit of the animal, thanked it for giving it's life so the tribe may survive and used every part of the animal but NOT for me to hunt or buy a free-range chicken. Once I had this little bit of cognitive dissonance rolling around in the back of my mind the majority of the other ethical, moral and nutritional aspects of veganism began to crumble the more I actually sat down and examined the lifestyle I had spent nearly 10 years devoted to.

    Its natural to have some apprehension about leaving the cult of vegan, but it sounds like you are accepting the "adult knowledge" about the circle of life, Wakan Tanka would approve.

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