Veggies unite!

TalkVegetarians and vegans

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Veggies unite!

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1AbbyR
Aug 2, 2006, 11:36am

Ever tried to survive as a vegetarian in the south, where chicken and catfish dinners are a weekly happening? I'm managing, but my survival hinges on a Tupperware lunch box and a Wizard of Oz lunchbox, as I have to eat two meals a day away from home.
I have lots of cookbooks that I really enjoy - I think my first one was the original The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas.
When I was still eating cheese, I loved The Horn of the Moon Cookbook.

2kcasada
Aug 2, 2006, 1:16pm

Can I sneak in here and just be very quiet? :-) I've been called a quasi-vegetarian . . . Abby, I live in the south, too, and have learned that at least most potlucks are heavy on potatoes, pasta, green beans, and jello! I eat like I do partly because I have a multitude of moderate-to-severe food allergies, and I've become grateful for my local natural foods/co-op store, but more and more stores seem to have expanded organic and ethnic food sections. By the way, you might be surprised at how many people want or need an option to the fried chicken/fish fests!

3AbbyR
Aug 2, 2006, 1:52pm

I started as a vegetarian because of allergies, too - I'm allergic to beef and pork, if you can believe that. I got tired of camping out in the emergency room and then giving myself shots, and I feel SO much better since I stopped meat and dairy completely.
Not only do I have all no more allergies, my arthritis is MUCH better and my blood pressure is better than normal.
Glad I like to eat my greens.

4kcasada
Aug 2, 2006, 2:02pm

Oh, I believe it. You'd laugh if I listed what all I have to avoid. And the ironic thing is, it all started about two-and-a-half years ago. Before that, I could eat about anything.

5suzecate
Aug 2, 2006, 6:08pm

Well, I did live in the South for 1.5 years, but I'm a native Midwesterner who now lives in SoCal. I've been a vegetarian since 1987 - most Midwesterners had never met a vegetarian, and the only ones they'd heard of were River Phoenix and the McCartneys. My family thinks of it as a "hippie" thing.

California is vegetarian heaven. I almost never have to wonder "is there anything I can eat there?" My favorite is a chic Indian restaurant where the food is organically-grown and 99% vegan, and if that weren't enough, there's live jazz music. Believe me though, after having survived in the Midwest for 11 years (without "cheating" once), I definitely don't take it for granted. A visit to see family once a year keeps things in perspective. The last time we ate out there, the only thing on the menu I could eat was a plain baked potato. :D

AbbyR & kcasada - I'm sorry to hear about your allergies. A friend of mine in high school was quite allergic to all meat and shellfish, but she ate it anyways once a week knowing she would turn red and throw up. Ouch. :(

6Eumenides
Aug 2, 2006, 7:43pm

Ah, vegetarian in the south! It's actually not so bad. I'm down in Texas, and my mom spent quite a bit of time living in Austin, so my family is very supportive. I strongly suspect my mother actually was vegetarian for time, since she's the one that gave me old, yellowed copies of the Vegetarian Epicure (one and two) and Laurel's Kitchen!

I consider myself vegetarian, but I don't eat eggs and eat dairy only rarely. Almost-but-not-quite vegan. I'm even allergic to dairy and eat it anyway, for I am weak and love cheese.

I was about to start a veggie group last night, but went to bed instead. I'm glad someone else thought of it too.

7kcasada
Aug 3, 2006, 11:54am

I get thundering migraines from sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, and (sigh) from TBHQ, which shows up in some baked goods. I also love cheese, but have a reaction to nearly all nuts. I WANT SOME NUT-FREE GRANOLA! All right, I'm through being off-topic now. I recently read a book where one woman said that anybody who wasn't a vegetarian for ethical reasons wasn't really one at all. Thoughts? That threw me, because I personally have ethical scruples that would PREVENT me from going totally vegetarian.

8Eumenides
Aug 3, 2006, 4:57pm

I don't know if I'd agree with that. I would say yes, you can't be vegan if it isn't for ethical reasons, since that implies an entire lifestyle shift and commitment to a different philosophy. But being vegetarian simply means that you don't eat animal flesh. People have all kinds of reasons for doing that. Now someone who is a vegetarian for ethical reasons, but isn't vegan, I would consider weak of will, for failing to fully commit to their moral beliefs. (I want you to know I include myself in that category.)

9selfnoise
Aug 3, 2006, 5:02pm

I'm not sure about that. I think it's possible to have a coherent ethical view that eating the non-destructive byproducts of animals is acceptable, while eating destructive byproducts (flesh, etc) is not.

10dodger First Message
Edited: Aug 11, 2006, 6:42am

I have a rather trivial issue regarding the group's name. Really, "vegans" should be capitalized in the title. Some grumpy, old English teacher may get on our cases, and say that the current way suggests that vegans are less important (which we know is untrue!), and we don't want that! Sorry to be so pedantic, what can I say? I have too much free time I guess.

11alicebook
Aug 11, 2006, 7:39am

California is vegetarian heaven. I almost never have to wonder "is there anything I can eat there?"

When I went to California in 2002 I actually found it really hard to find vegetarian food. There was sometimes a plain green salad or a very boring boring but expensive pasta. I suppose the problem partly that we were driving up the coast so it was all fish restaurants and also that my husband wanted meat so we weren't looking for spcifically vegetarian restaurants but I was surprised.

In Britain it is rare that I go into a restaurant and not find at least one vegetarian restaurant. This makes me awkward whenever I go away! However, I did find it great when I was in New York last week - loveley vegetarian food.

12Eumenides
Aug 12, 2006, 3:22am

In response to selfnoise....

(And I'm not trying to start trouble, just debate! I'm genuinely curious regarding the opinions of others, and I too eat cheese.)

I'm not sure about that. Most of the ethical bases I can think of for vegetarianism would preclude the use of any animal based products, even those that don't directly cause the death of the animal. Certainly the dairy and egg industries are directly tied to the meat production industries, etc, but on an even more theoretical level, isn't the point that people don't have the right to use other living beings? Even to make something as gloriously wonderful as cheesecake?

13kcasada
Aug 16, 2006, 10:08am

Even more theoretically don't we "use" (i.e., at least derive benefit from) other living beings all the time? Don't we _have_ to? I'm not trying to start trouble either--really! But I'd like to know what changes most ethical vegetarians/vegans would like to see in the world.

14Eumenides
Aug 16, 2006, 5:17pm

Every thing has to "use" other living creatures to a certain extent, but I try to abide by the precept of doing the least harm. That's where I have to make lesser evil kinds of moral judgments though. Yikes! I'm still trying to figure out why the death of a soybean is less important to me than milking a cow. j I have yet to come up with something fully rational, so I'm thinking about just claiming it to be some sort of revealed truth. ("No, no, I am a prophet. Don't question me!")

15jlparisi
Aug 19, 2006, 4:21pm

I have been a vegetarian for eleven years (almost half my life) and until 3 weeks ago, also lived in California my whole life. Most of that time was spent in the Bay Area, and a little time in the Central Valley. I have to say, that the availability of veggie food in Cali is wholly dependant upon where one lives. In the bay, I could usually find some sort of burger joint that served veggie burgers, but they were hardly ever Vegan... Often times, Boca Burgers were all that was offered, and as I do not like food that tastes like meat, I did not always have choices. Also, many veggies don't realize that most dressings and sauces at restaurants have some sort of animal- or fish-stock in them. As a server, I am appalled at how many other servers don't realize that they are serving their veggie guests meat (for example, almost every white sauce at every Italian restaurant has chicken-stock in it; Classico Sauce from the store is the only veg alfredo sauce I know of ). However, in cities such as Davis, where I spent a wonderful three years, veggie/vegan options abound. I have found that chains and franchises are much less likely to carry veggie options than ma & pa joints.
Now on the philosophical aspects of non-meat eating. I spent one proud year as a vegan, but I only stuck with it for the last three months so that I could call it an even year. While I did hold my beliefs dear, I was wholly unable to eat in public. Not only did few restaurants have truly vegan dishes, but no one who ever invited me over for dinner seemed to remember my dietary habits. Consequently, I always left meals hungry, and had to deal with being called ‘anorexic’ or some other condescending remarks because people never saw me eat. So although I do have dairy allergies- and do not buy animal products for consumption at home, I did make the decision to no longer turn down that home-made bruschetta because the cheese was too finely grated for me to pick off.
Finally, over the course of the last eleven years, my reasoning for being a veggie has drastically changed. Whereas I used to believe that the animal had as much a right to live as I, and the moment I gave up meat was eerily similar to the experience of Lisa Simpson, I now have problems with the way animals are treated, not that they are used as sustenance, and all of the other things society sees fit to do with animals. If I could afford it (and were not so scared of getting sick after all this time) I would eat free-range, organic meat, especially if no part of the animal was being wasted. As it is, I’ll stick to homemade pasta…

16MMcM
Aug 20, 2006, 1:43pm

I've seen uncertainty expressed elsewhere on the net as to whether Classico Alfredo is veggie. Heinz does indeed provide lists of vegan and lacto-ovo sauces and it's on the latter. But the label just says "enzymes" and absent additional information many take that to mean animal rennet, insisting on an explicit qualification like Amy's have.

Of course, one is free to declare certain by-products okay. (Someone mentioned Jello earlier.) It's not like there are rules other than one's own.

17alicebook
Aug 21, 2006, 12:24pm

As a server, I am appalled at how many other servers don't realize that they are serving their veggie guests meat (for example, almost every white sauce at every Italian restaurant has chicken-stock in it; Classico Sauce from the store is the only veg alfredo sauce I know of ). However, in cities such as Davis, where I spent a wonderful three years, veggie/vegan options abound. I have found that chains and franchises are much less likely to carry veggie options than ma & pa joints.

I always feel more reassured when menus have a 'v' sign next to vegetarian options.

18Katissima
Aug 31, 2006, 6:54pm

I am sneaking into this group even though I am not vegetarian. My fiance is vegetarian, and I have been an on-again-off-again vegetarian for some years, so it is something that I am interested in. I have to say that cheese is the hardest thing! For a long time, we didn't know about rennet. The whole rennet issue has been happening gradually in my house--for my fiance, of course. (Nothing short of some major allergies is going to make me give up cheese!) First it was, well, I am not going to worry about it. Then, it was, I will buy cheese with non-animal rennet, but won't worry about it at restaurants. Now, it is I am going to be pick the cheese off of the eggplant parmesan at our favorite Italian restaurant. He does not like to make a big deal out of being vegetarian. He doesn't tell people, doesn't like to ask questions at restaurants. The funny thing is that even at someplace like Whole Foods it is really hard to find cheeses without animal rennet. I've taken to emailing the store and saying how about carrying this cheese or that cheese, because he would never do it. One really shouldn't have to live without parmesan cheese unless one is serious about it :)

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