I'm in ur kitchenz, ruinin' ur grilled cheeze...

Someone recently asked me, "why? veganism" and "why isn't vegetarian good enough?" and "why are dairy and eggs a problem?" and a few other questions in that vein. I wasn't going to address it on the blog (because y'all are sick to death of it) but a recent revelation made me decide to put it up anyway. If you don't want your diet brought into question, stop here.

I have been a vegetarian off and on since 1986. Throughout those years, I have crossed over from omnivore to vegetarian to carnivore (stupid Atkins diet...) to vegan and back again. Each time I made those shifts, I became more and more convinced that removing meat and animal products from my diet was the right thing to do. Not just for my health, and not just for my own personal karma, but for the good of our species, and the good of this planet.

Lately, I have been straddling the line between vegan and vegetarian. I usually eat vegan, but when stressed, or pressed for time, I sometimes consume dairy and/or egg products. In fact, anytime I am in want of comfort food, dairy is my drug of choice, and cheese is my favorite hit.

When I unpacked that statement, I realize something pretty unpleasant about myself. I am in want of comfort foods mostly when I am exhausted, lonely, sick, or emotionally wrung out in some way. In other words, I eat dairy when I am suffering. Not unusual, really; a lot of people turn to fatty, salty foods when they want to be comforted.

It's when you look at what milk really is, how it comes to your refrigerator via the local arm tentacle of your godless corporate conglomerate, that it becomes clear that our comforts are pretty unsavory. The dairy industry is horrific (go here and check out the podcasts if you somehow missed that memo) and the gooey, stringy cheese that pats me on the head and tells me everything will be ok, is the product of that horror. Disappointing, that. The conclusion it leads to is quite depressing...

I counter my suffering by enjoying the suffering of other creatures.

I am hurting, so I lash out at others who have no connection to my pain. Looking only at the link immediately before us, and not considering the rest of the causal chain, allows us to perpetrate this violence upon innocents without remorse. We would never tolerate this kind of thoughtlessness in our personal relationships, but we are fine with it in the kitchen and on our plates.

I know no one wants to think about it, but I don't see how you can avoid it. You are all smart people, who know the misery and pain and torment that food animals go through. You all know what animal products do to your arteries, your intestines, and the environment. You also know that it does something even worse to your psyche - it makes you not care. It makes you put your pleasure ahead of their lives, and lets you salve your petty hurts with massive, fatal hurts visited upon them.

Think about your consumption habits. Start with dairy. Ask yourself if you really need to ingest all of the suffering and fear and death that went into making that slice of Provolone.

%(This is a great strategy! On the heels of a post about torture, I put up a bunch of guilt about dairy products. This should drive readership down to zero in no time!)%

7 comments:

Teh Dr. said...

I may have to disagree with vegetarianism and veganism on physiological grounds. It is nearly impossible to get enough of certain nutrients which we cannot create in our own bodies without the consumption of animal products. While it is true we can exist without those products they are necessary for the production and maintenance of several cellular processes, which cannot go on without them. I instead would promote a vast reduction of animal product consumption, not a cessation. Perhaps if our society made a shift to eating only what animal products we need to meet our physiological needs, as opposed to the amount we eat now, then the demand and necessary supply would be low enough. Low enough to make every cows life resemble the "Happy Cow" commercials. I find that solution much more appetizing.

His Sinfulness said...

I'm sorry Herr Doktor, but I must disagree. There are many studies which find otherwise. Veganism has been shown to be a completely sustainable lifestyle, both in the laboratory and in the field.

Mayren said...

eh, readership will remain because we luvs the Who that you are. That means taking you as a whole package Linus. I can't just cut out my favorite parts and give back the rest. Nope. Just doesn't work that way.
Besides, last i checked; this is still your personal blog that you can say what you want.
so i say YAY to voicing your opinions in a constructive way!

His Sinfulness said...

Thanks, Mayren. I can always count on you to be suppportive, even if you don't agree. That's a rare and wonderful trait in a friend. :)

fleur said...

@Teh Dr. and @His Sinfulness - the only nutrient that it has been proven that we can't get from a plant based diet is B12... which comes, if I am not mistaken, from the decomposition of meat and dairy - yummy I know, but we apparently need it quite a bit to be healthy... vegans can get it through supplements, but because of how it is created a vegan origin is very difficult and frequently not as effective as consuming it at the source - just like getting calcium from dairy is not as effective as getting it from plants that grow close to the ground... so while a fully healthy, completely vegan diet is very hard, arguably maybe impossible to achieve, we have evolved as omnivores after all, a consciousness about what you eat, where it comes from and what it does to your body, mind and spirit is not only possible, but I would say it is necessary...

fleur said...

And also, I have been think about this a lot lately, and so I have responded with some of my thoughts over on http://feeding-the-flock.com

His Sinfulness said...

Re: B12
Reliable vegan food sources for vitamin B12 are known. The one most commonly used at Flock Hall is nutritional yeast. A commercially available brand of nutritional yeast, Red Star T-6635+, has been tested and shown to contain active vitamin B12, and other brands often proclaim their b12 content on the label (but I haven't seen test results for them...).

The Adult RDA for B12 is really tiny - 2.4 micrograms daily - so a teaspoon of nutritional yeast in your cooking every few days is usually enough to satisfy it. (For the sake of comparison, the tofu scramble for which I am so famous around FlockHall has 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast in it.)

Nutritional yeast has the benefit of being tasty as well - it is often used to give vegan dishes a cheesy taste. :)

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