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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:31 pm UTC
by Enuja
Ulc wrote: As long as you are not choosing a meat free diet because of ethical or political issues, you might as well not go full vegan.
I disagree with this. As a (cheese loving) flexitarian, I eat what I like to eat. It happens that I don't like meat very much. If I didn't like the taste of diary and eggs, or didn't like how I felt and acted when I ate diary and eggs, it would make perfect sense for me to go vegan. I think finding foods that taste good and make you feel happy is an even better reason to have a specific diet than ethical or political issues. It's inherently flexible when it comes to emergencies: if not eating meat, diary and eggs makes you feel better, it's still true that eating makes you feel better than starving, so you can easily eat meat if necessary. (And, no, meatyochre, not eating meat for years doesn't mean that you can never eat meat again: you will probably have to go through a transition period while you get the appropriate gut flora going again, and it's best to start slow, with small amounts of meat, but it's absolutely do-able.)

Feeling healthy is about a lot more than just getting the "right" number of calories, nutrients, and exercise. If eating a vegan diet makes you feel happier about what you are eating, feel like you can do more and be more active, if food feels like a way to be healthy instead of way to overindulge, then going vegan is absolutely the way to go. Yes, you should make sure you're getting enough B-12 (which is actually insanely easy to do with our vitamin enriched food universe), and you should go to a doctor and check your health periodically, but I think that the best way to be healthy is to feel healthy and active. Because if you feel like an overweight slob, it's really hard to get out and do exercise and control your caloric intake, but if you feel healthy, it's really easy to do the same things, and become much healthier.

My spouse must count his calories to control his caloric intake (to not have days where he eats 5-7 thousand calories in a day). Counting your calories doesn't inherently make you any healthier, but it works for him. In the same way, being vegan doesn't inherently make you any healthier, but it might very well work for you. If it does, by all means, do it!

On the issue of eating out and being cooked for: that's not important for everyone. I hate eating at restaurants (but like eating with other people at their homes or my own), and my spouse hates eating with groups of people, period. My spouse and I eat completely separately diets (sometimes we eat them at meals together, sometimes we don't), and it works quite well. Yes, if you're going to be vegan, you're going to have to do a lot of your own cooking, but that might be an advantage, not a disadvantage for you. If it's just too easy to go to a fast food restaurant and eat 2,000 calories in a sitting, requiring yourself to cook for yourself, and bring healthy snacks and meals with you when you go out, might very well be the best thing you can do for your health and happiness. Going to restaurants will be problematic, but bringing your own food with you when you hang out with friends should not be at all problematic. And if socializing at restaurants is that important, you can usually find a vegan appetizer, at least, just to eat socially, and simply eat your meals at another time.

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:46 pm UTC
by Bakemaster

I really don't understand why people feel the need to give themselves a special name, or ascribe to a particular group, in order to indicate to people that they eat whatever the fuck they want and don't eat the rest.

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:09 pm UTC
by Cassi
Chai Kovsky wrote: Stir-fry is nice and easy (especially if you add Quorn, but tell your vegan friend it's fakemeat first or they'll freak out), for instance.

Just want to add in here, unless Quorn is different in the States, that it has egg white and so isn't vegan. (It is delicious, however.)

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:19 pm UTC
by Chai Kovsky
Good call!

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:23 pm UTC
by Nath
Chai Kovsky wrote:A vegan diet is an incredibly smart choice for people at risk of heart disease. It's a no-cholesterol diet. So I totally get doing it for health reasons.

Dietary cholesterol has little effect on serum cholesterol. The amount of saturated fat in animal products is probably the bigger issue.

Chai Kovsky wrote:one other needs to have a high-fat, high-carb diet.

Is this a typo? Protein is already a pretty small fraction of calorie intake for most people, so I'm confused by what it means for a diet to be both high-fat and high-carb.

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:04 am UTC
by Chai Kovsky
High-carb doesn't imply high-fat, high-fat could also suggest fatty protein, so I do mean both of them.

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:43 am UTC
by Nath
Chai Kovsky wrote:High-carb doesn't imply high-fat, high-fat could also suggest fatty protein, so I do mean both of them.

Sure, high-carb doesn't imply high-fat. It actually implies proportionally low fat, since fat and carbs are where most people get most of their calories. That's why I find it confusing to say 'high-carb AND high-fat'; for a given calorie intake, a diet cannot be both. A high carb diet is mostly carbs and protein; a high fat diet is mostly fat and protein.

(Sorry for dragging this off-topic. I am pedantic.)

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:40 am UTC
by Chai Kovsky
Perhaps better not to then. To PM, if you feel the need.

In other news, who else has a compelling reason to go/not go vegan? I'll throw in "availability of veg*n friendly foods in your area." It's a lot more fun to cook veg*n when you have access to things like tempeh, TVP, BocaBurgers, and the like (again, I love Quorn, but as someone else point out, it's not strictly vegan). But it's still perfectly possible to have a veg*n diet without these things. How strongly do factors like veg*n specialty foods affect your preferences for veg*n/not veg*n?

Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:51 am UTC
by GyRo567
I'm a vegetarian (a damn healthy one---my doctor went out of his way to compliment me on my blood work) living in the very vegan-friendly city of Austin, and I think it's silly for a person to be vegan. The level of dietary supplement required when you're not consuming eggs or dairy makes it considerably more expensive than vegetarianism.

The fact that so many vegetarians have vitamin deficiencies, a problem that only gets worse for vegans, should be enough to disillusion anyone of the idea that it's healthier than a diet with a little bit of meat. You can do it, of course, but usually only because science has given us raw nutrition to consume.

Economic & health considerations lead you back to vegetarianism as a minimum, if not a bit of meat to go with that, which leaves moral reasons and food allergies. If you simply can't consume dairy or meat without becoming terribly sick, the choice is made for you. (Or if most of your teeth don't quite make contact, making meat terribly difficult to chew; an odd problem of mine)

As for moral reasons, I would only caution that the typical motivation for being vegan, dedication to animal rights, is a conviction usually held on grounds more religious than rational. My inner Utilitarian would remind you that you're an animal too, and your own health should be taken into account as well. Vegetarianism seems to me the equilibrium point at present.