Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:What's broken and dysfunctional about today's food culture?

There have been quite a few book written on the subject. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan addresses the subject a bit, and In Defense of Food by same is supposed to go more in depth as far as food culture (I own both but have yet to read through the latter).

My short answer, though, might be, what ISN'T broken about today's food culture? But then, I'd be talking about food culture in the United States. YMMV.
Zohar wrote:Vegetarianism is not a social movement, it's a diet.

It's pretty obviously both, whether or not not every vegetarian participates in both the social and dietary aspects of it.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby CueBall » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:My short answer, though, might be, what ISN'T broken about today's food culture? But then, I'd be talking about food culture in the United States. YMMV.
Zohar wrote:Vegetarianism is not a social movement, it's a diet.

It's pretty obviously both, whether or not not every vegetarian participates in both the social and dietary aspects of it.


That's a terrible answer. There's no way you can claim that the entirety of food culture in the united states is broken.

Yes, I agree that it's both, to a certain degree, but the social side is far, far smaller than the dietary aspects, IMPO. "You're obviously wrong" is also a terrible argument, and quite rude.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby voidPtr » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:13 am UTC

CueBall wrote:
Yes, I agree that it's both, to a certain degree, but the social side is far, far smaller than the dietary aspects, IMPO. "You're obviously wrong" is also a terrible argument, and quite rude.


It's a complicated subject and I'm afraid I've started a bit of a thread hijack, but , alas, it's an interesting subject, even if it's enough for you to lose your appetite. I mentoned individualistic vegetarianism is a symptom of "our" (mostly American but in many ways relative to much of North America and increasingly other parts of the world.) broken food culture. Poor nutrition and the obesity epidemic is another symptom. These are not outright separate phenomenoms.

Many ways it's broken:

- We rely on inexact, over-simplified and often opportunistic nutritional science as a guide how to eat rather than on culinary tradition or seasonal need.
- We have overwhelming selection of processed foods that come from shockingly few food sources. (i.e. in the US, corn).
- We have transformed our basic foods into something unrecognizabble and not as wholesome
- We have a centralised, non-transparent food supply system that we're out of touch with.
- We have unsubstainable resource-intensive farming practices (that includes "organic" fruits & veggies!).
- We have abhorent animal-rearing practices.
- We subsidize the "bad" foods, leaving the taxpayer, the healthcare system, and the envronment to pick up the rest of the tab.
- We are increasingly losing our own arable land to suburban development, and importing our food from foreign countries that have their own food (or lack thereof) issues.

In short, our over abundance of food -- a product of ubiquitous cheap energy -- and our weak culinary tradition has led to a culture where we do not RESPECT food. And we are not headed in the right direction unless, as a society, we make major changes sooner rather than later.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:03 am UTC

CueBall wrote:That's a terrible answer. There's no way you can claim that the entirety of food culture in the united states is broken.

Yes, I agree that it's both, to a certain degree, but the social side is far, far smaller than the dietary aspects, IMPO. "You're obviously wrong" is also a terrible argument, and quite rude.

Let me get this straight: You say there's "no way" I can claim that U.S. food culture is entirely broken, providing absolutely nothing to back up your "argument" (non sequitur might be more accurate, as clearly I have claimed exactly what you say I cannot), and then turn around and criticize me for saying that something is obvious. Oh, irony: what a sweet and succulent crab she is. But thank you for misrepresenting my tone and informing me that my post is twice terrible, that's not rude at all.

If my tone was somewhat critical (and it was), it's because I think one has to be a particularly ignorant meat-eater, or a downright insensible vegetarian, to claim that vegetarianism is not a social movement. Yes, I really do think it's that obvious, given the numerous books that have been written and vocal personalities that have spoken regarding vegetarianism, the movement. But hopefully Zohar has suffered my personality in these parts long enough to know that I think eh is a pretty cool guy even if I take a tone sometimes.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:10 am UTC

voidPtr wrote:- We have transformed our basic foods into something unrecognizabble and not as wholesome

Define "wholesome".

- We are increasingly losing our own arable land to suburban development

The United States has more arable and cultivated land than any other country on Earth, and accounts for a bit less than 10% of the world's cultivated land and a bit more than 10% of its arable land. We may not be using it as efficiently as we should (for example by using so much of it for corn and soy that we turn around and feed to livestock instead of to people, or worse yet that we turn into ethanol and then claim to be doing something good for the environment), but don't make it sound like we'll soon have none left.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:23 am UTC

Hey uh, can we open a "modern food culture" thread please?
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby dubsola » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:52 am UTC

Decker wrote:Yeah...I doubt that they just take the furs and throw the rest out. They would at least be used for SOMETHING. Animal feed or something like that. Why throw something away when someone will buy it?

Shark fin soup.

Bakemaster wrote:It's pretty obviously both, whether or not not every vegetarian participates in both the social and dietary aspects of it.

Haha, it would be pretty difficult for a vegetarian to not participate in the dietary aspect of it.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby bakadeshi » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:18 pm UTC

I remember trying to explain vegetarianism to some of my Tanzanian counterparts a while back and failing miserably. Apparently, without a religious basis for it, it seems to be a completely foreign concept to choose to abstain from eating meat in developing countries. It's also not practical since there really isn't a good replacement for protein.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Decker » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:38 pm UTC

dubsola wrote:
Decker wrote:Yeah...I doubt that they just take the furs and throw the rest out. They would at least be used for SOMETHING. Animal feed or something like that. Why throw something away when someone will buy it?

Shark fin soup.

And those people are stupid.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby voidPtr » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:14 pm UTC

Back on topic,

CHOW recently ran a story here on how to eat less meat. You may find some of that information useful.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby hermaj » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:51 am UTC

Interesting article! I liked the tips on making things taste meatier, because that is something I do find difficult with some vegetarian meals.

(Also, I love that one of the related recipes is for bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. :P)

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Zohar » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:03 am UTC

I bookmarked that article (actually I just added it to my Google Tasks, as I do lately instead of temporary bookmarks). It had some very interesting ideas.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby dubsola » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:22 am UTC

Halumi is a good cheese to fry up, it's nice and salty, like bacon.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby hdcrash » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:31 am UTC

Try to go full veg at once but remind yourself that it's ok to eat meat if you want but you have decided to do veg. Cut off any 'forbidden fruit' syndrome.
Coming from a hardcore meat eater whose gone mostly veg, here's some advice.
Eat out a bit, notice things on the veg only side of the menu. Chances are even common places like restaraunts you're used to, you've only really looked at the non-veg dishes. So right off the bat it's like there are whole new menu's of new food available to you.
Look into Indian dishes (they're really not all spicy) , specifically Gujrati or South Indian dishes. Quite delicious, dosa or idli can be very good and easy to make. Plus these places have been doing the veg thing for hundreds of years if not longer. Quite a lot of delicious food and different tastes that you can try out which will likely keep you away from meat.
You might notice that there's a flavour in all meat dishes that's missing from all veg dishes. Strange when you first notice it.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby arbivark » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:13 am UTC

http://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html
jamie oliver talking about teaching kids about food.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby dubsola » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:32 pm UTC

That was amazing!

(I remember seeing your posts a couple of years ago)


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