Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vegans and the "holier than thou" attitude

Maybe you have come across a vegan who keeps nagging at you to follow a vegan diet. Maybe you are a vegan who find your friends (omnivourous or vegetarian) backing off whenever you start telling them about a vegan diet.

Speaking from a vegan's point of view, I don't think vegans (in general) are trying to preach or condemn anyone who isn't one. Many vegans encourage vegetarians to follow their lifestyle because the dairy and egg industry are indirectly linked to the industries which vegetarians are avoiding. Dairy production is linked to the veal and beef industries while egg production is linked to chicken industry, as well as the killing of male chicks who are not much use in terms of profits. Killing is something most vegetarians are trying not to do, and vegans are just taking an extra step to further disassociate themselves from the "killing" industry.

I do not know much about why vegetarians decide to remain vegetarian. But when I was an omnivore, my vegan cousin told me about a milk farm in Australia and how the cows could feel pain. I was like "Huh? What?". This idea of giving up milk was something I find so wierd. With time, this idea slowly sank in and I turn vegetarian. While I was veg, one thing that pulled me back from taking the leap to a vegan lifestyle was the thought that I can't do it 100%. I would have to check the labels even more carefully etc. But then I learnt that you just have to try your best. It's impossible to be 100% vegan, there are hidden animal ingredients in lots of stuff, so you may end up eating some animal products ocassionally. Still, doing your best to avoid any animal/animal derived ingredients is good enough.

In front of my omnivorous friends, I sometimes try to avoid talking about the "vegetarian" issue. I admit it's not really a good way of promoting veg*nism. But then, people don't like it when others say their choice of lifestyle is wrong. It really takes skill to be able to encourage veg*nism, yet not appear as if you are trying to instill guilt and show "I am holier than thou, I don't eat meat (and animal products)". Of course, to my mum (who eats very little meat) I admit I used all kinds of methods to make her give it up :p.

Anyway, Dr. Stanley Sapon said in an article about the division among vegetarians due to this difference (vegan and non-vegan), this may significantly lessen the strength which we promote veg, I guess it's important to take note. Better aim for the similarities or risk a division.. You can read the article here

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Initially, I tried to be a vegan overnight. But it was quite difficult and troublesome, so I am a vegetarian now although I try to avoid dairy and eggs. But I still have cravings for ice-creams and sometimes just fried eggs. Since most vegetarian stalls sell eggs, it's quite hard to resist temptation. *embarrassed*

--jn

Anonymous said...

To some vegetarians, they themselve might not even know that consuming dairy product is at the expense of the animals, until they know how the process go.

To close the gap between vegan and non-vegan, vegan might need to be more understanding in a way. As not many can jump straight to become vegan.

The concept of vegetarianism is much easier to accept then veganism, as being vegan means, basically lots of food will be out of question, what can they eat, they will not even try to be vegetarian at all.

dreamy said...

wah.. Overnight! I took it the gradual way, I think I can't take it if I became one overnight too. But the final decision to totally wean off animal products still have to be an overnight decision.

Yes that's true there are quite a number of places which uses eggs, I think many of these places are opened by Tian Tao followers.

Agreed, there are also vegetarians who didn't know about rennet in cheese.. Going straight from omni to vegan is harder, although some ppl have done it. I wouldn't encourage a non-veg to become vegan too unless they have done much research on where to find substitutes.

Travegan said...

You stroke a topic that's really close to heart for me! Because I do have a tendency of seeing the lacto-ovo people in much the same way as meat-eaters. Perhaps that's because I never tried such a thing myself as it didn't make sense to me, it was just an "either you try to avoid animal products or you don't" type of a thing. I had a some months of "eating anything that's lived free", allowing for fish and game but not dairy or non-free-range eggs, between the omnivore and vegan phases.

But I do definitely understand those lacto-ovo vegetarians who don't know of the cruelty involved in dairy production. For many people it may be just lack of information, and therefore I'm much supportive of them. But even that is much the same as my attitude to meat-eaters who don't know of the cruelty.

People like jn above who try to avoid animal products but fail to temptations at times are nothing short of awesome, we're only humans and nobody's perfect, all anyone can do is to try. Hopefully the soya ice creams will become as common there as they are in Finland for instance, perhaps then jn could go completely vegan. :-) But if one knows about the cruelty of dairy and doesn't even try to avoid it... how is (s)he different from a meat-eater?

Jari (trying hard to become more understanding of vegetarians)

Anonymous said...

Yup, I tried overnight last July. I even resist eating the birthday cake my housemate bought for me. (Was vegan for abt a month). But thinking back, I kinda regret not accepting my housemate's cake which she bought it purposely for me because she wasn't aware that vegan don't eat eggs.

Yeah, i definitely know how eggs and milk are produced. Which is why I do feel guilty for failing to resist temptation. :P
Sigh.. i tried looking for vegan ice-cream but I'd never found them yet. I'd also love to find vegan cheese in SG. As for vegan margarine, I found them at Tanglin mall but it's just too far to go there to get them. So I'm now buying normal margarine from NTUC. Besides, the price is just 50% of the vegan margarine. *embarrassed*

P/S: I am vegan for abt 50% or more of the days each month. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to totally give up on eggs and dairy. :)

--jn

zlyrica said...

Hello Jn,

You can find vegan ice-cream aka soy-ice cream at most of the the Cold Storage(s) in town, or Marketplace @ RafflesCity. The brand is Rice Dream. Very nice but not cheap.

Some soy cheese that sell in Marketplace is not purely vegan, ingredients said casinate which is from milk, do check the ingredients. However, pure vegan cheese can be obtain at SuperNature @Orchard (http://www.supernature.com.sg/), then again they are not cheap, but definitely 100% guilt-free ;) You might want to call and them b4 u go down, in case they run out of stock la...

dreamy said...

You mean you go from an omnivore to free-range eater to vegan, Jari? I also used to think of either a person is vegan or (s)he's not, but then sometimes it's hard for ppl to go vegan, so cutting down and being somewhere between both ends is already quite good.

Hi jn, cold storage also has vegan margarine, again it's more ex. It's call nuttelex I think. The box is white and squarish.

Yes I saw rice dream at cold storage too.. a small tub for ard $7. But is it made of soy Zlyrica? I thought it was rice haha.. btw, do u know if Mr Bean offers vegan soy ice-cream?

zlyrica said...

Oh ya, haha, sorry, it might be made from rice... one can try sorbet too, sorbet is dairy-free, can get it at New Zealand's Natural ice-cream stalls...

Mr Bean's soy ice-cream is not vegan. VSS president had check with them b4, there's milk in it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks for all the tips..
I'll go and check them out soon.. :)

I made sorbet on my first week as a vegan but after that I found it too troublesome. Glad that I can get it from New Zealand's Natural now.

Oh yeah, is there any shopping guides from VSS for vegan foodstuff? It would be so convenient if there's one. :)

--jn

Travegan said...

Yes, it was omni to free-range to vegan for me... the last bit was actually easy as people already considered me "picky" and I was cooking my own foods anyway.

For Jn and others, I recently made this yummy dessert for a friend who's crazy about ice cream, it's super simple and according to her even better than real ice cream!

What you need:
- half a pack of soft tofu
- one banana
- half a muskmelon
- some maple syrup

All you need to do is get all the above to your blender and mash them up to a liquid. Then put that in the freezer for around an hour or so (the time you eat the main courses) so that it's a bit solidified but not frozen yet. And enjoy! :-)

Anonymous said...

oh, i'll try that this weekend. Hopefully it'll be good.

i once tried the scrambled "eggs" with tomatoes using silken tofu from a recipe I found and it was totally digusting.
--jn

dreamy said...

Sorbet.. I missed the mango sorbet my friend made last time.

I see, I am glad I didn't go try out Mr Bean's Ice-cream. A lot of things contains dairy :( Like the biscuits sold at NTUC, most of them contains dairy, except for oreo and ginger mcvites biscuits.

No I don't think there are any shopping guides, what products do are you looking for? It's a good suggestion, will let vss know.

Is the soft tofu usual soft tofu or silken tofu?

Silken may be too soft to make scramble "eggs" maybe you need the firmer type of tofus.

zlyrica said...

And i thot oreo has egg, no? Some NTUCs, like the one at Bishan has a section that sell australian products, in that section you can find a few eco & animal freindly products, and they have some vegan biscuit selections. You might want to check it out...

dreamy said...

Nope oreos don't have egg - at least for those that are sold here. Nor are there any dairy.

Thanks :) I will check it out if I pass that area.

Anonymous said...

The shopping guides should contain the location of shops, for vegan food, non-animal tested toiletries, vitamin supplements brands, clothing etc.. too many. I wonder why there isn't such shop here. or maybe there is and I don't know abt it?
--jn

dreamy said...

Hmm, I don't think theres a shop selling all vegan products. The non-animal products are found at different shops.

Anonymous said...

That's why it is very troublesome and difficult to be vegan in SG. Vegetarian is so much easier.

Even normal bread are made with milk or dairy which makes it non-vegan. :( Also, cereal products also put on a disclaimer that they may contain dairy products. There are only very few choices for non-dairy cereals.

--jn

Travegan said...

Ah, a shopping guide like the Animal Free Shopper in the UK? It's quite useful, hope one can be made for Singapore if it doesn't exist... there is a more modest version in Finland too.

That's sad if bread isn't normally vegan over there, it's the same thing in China, that's why one of my first purchases was a baking machine. As for the "may contain traces of dairy products", if that's what you refer to, it's in everything these days and I wouldn't pay much attention. They just process something that contains dairy in the same facility and the chances of there actually being anything dairy related in the end product are minuscule. It's much the same thing as ordering vegan food in a restaurant that's not all vegan...

Oh, I don't think it makes much difference what kind of tofu you use in the recipe since it's blended till it's liquid. I wouldn't recommend marinated tofu though, haha. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, so those cereal is still vegan???
--jn

Travegan said...

Well, everyone is entitled to their own view, but in my mind something that doesn't have any animal ingredients is vegan. It having been placed on a conveyor belt that also moved something with dairy doesn't really change it as you're not buying the thing with dairy... Of course a product that doesn't have to carry such a note is much preferred, but I wouldn't consider them non-vegan. I find it much more bothering to have a meal with non-vegan colleagues who help themselves to my vegan dishes with their chopsticks that they also use to pick meat with... yuck!

Anonymous said...

Oh, then I have more choices for cereals. *thumbs up*

Haha.. you should slap their hands when they try to get near your dishes with their dirty chopsticks! :P

--jn

dreamy said...

I usually avoid cereals that have a list of vitamins and minerals, because they may be animal derived - this is especially the case for Vit B12 and Vitamin D.

One kind of vegan cornflakes I buy at NTUC fairprice is by Harvest Fields .

At Sheng Shiong supermart, you can get the granola cereals I am not sure what's the brand, but it's a purple box which looks like a milk carton - it's really rich and good.

Yes, the bread here is mostly non-vegan, unless u buy at some speciality stores which I suppose is quite expensive. But I still eat those non-vegan bread that's most vegan...

dreamy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh, I never thought about how those vitamins are obtained before! Yikes!!!


"eat those non-vegan bread that's most vegan"
What does this mean? Is it that those that has the least milk content?

--jn

Travegan said...

Yeah, those vitamins are a pain... That's why I've been carrying vegan margarine here from my trips to Europe or North America, everything sold in China contains D3 if nothing else. Damn!

Travegan said...

Fortunately bread is super easy to bake if the things in shops aren't vegan. It's funny, in Europe it's difficult to find bread that wouldn't be vegan!

dreamy said...

Nope, meaning bread with no egg and dairy at least.

How many tubs of margarine did you bring that can last a few months?
That's nice vegan bread all ard! They don't use baker's yeast in their baking?

Anonymous said...

Erm...does usage of yeast meant that the bread isn't vegetarian?

Btw, travegan, won't your margarine melt during your trip from Finland to elsewhere? I noticed that margarine melts faster than butter.

--jn

dreamy said...

Interesting question you asked, nope, yeast by itself is classified as vegan. It's the enzymes etc in baker's yeast that aren't

Travegan said...

Enzymes in baker's yeast aren't vegan? I never heard of that, can you elaborate? The rye bread in Nordic countries often doesn't have yeast at all, otherwise they do use it... and presumably it would be baker's yeast although they only say "yeast".

As for margarine, how much do I bring depends on how much weight I can put in the bag, ie. how much other stuff I'm carrying. 3-4 tubs of 600g each would be usual. They haven't melted as I've put them to cool bags and straight to freezer when I arrive.

dreamy said...

The enzymes may be derived from animals...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © 2012 http://living-vegan.blogspot.com