Posts from the ‘The Dirty V’ Category

Blurring the Line Between Taste and Ethics

Yesterday, an article titled “Some of my best friends are vegetarian” by The Blurred Line caught my attention. It was Freshly Pressed on WordPress, so it apparently caught more than a few peoples’ attention. I was reading with a grain of salt at the cheeky rant–dotted with references to gas, moral superiority, and hatred towards brussel sprouts–meant to stir the pot and drum up traffic.

It was all good…ok it was really all bad but fine and typical…until:

My first reaction being ‘Seriously?’ I blinked and reread. I wasn’t hallucinating.

Well boys and girls, the jig is up. That person with Celiac is secretly just putting on a show to get down to a size 2. As for me? Well, after more than 9 years as a vegetarian, I just have to admit I’m a failure; I’ve lost no weight. Hardly seems worth it now. Who’s up for some steak and McNuggets?

Screw the worthless animals, the degradation to our planet, and the risk of disease.

Oh, wait…that’s right…it’s about more than just personal taste for (or against) food.

I’m not huge on tofu and, despite the fad, I’m not on the kale cart, but that does not mean I’m going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and abandon my lifestyle. From piggies to puppies, animal abuse is rampant. As well, research has shown that “the farm animal sector is…contributing to many environmental problems…” (Koneswaran and Nierenberg, 2007).

Since TBL focused most on food consumption, though, let me do the same. The consumption of meat products is being linked with increases in heart disease and certain types of cancer.

  • “Increased consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer,” (Larsson, Orsini and Wolk, 2006).
  • “Many Americans have no idea that eating hot dogs and bacon raises their risk of this deadly disease. Even a few servings of processed meat a week can increase cancer danger,” said Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., nutrition education director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, (PCRM, 3/13/2012).
  • “The evidence that consuming high amounts of red and processed meats increases the risk of colon and rectal cancers is considered convincing,” said Marji McCullough, the American Cancer Society’s strategic director of nutritional epidemiology, (Chicago Tribune, 3/13/2012).

None of us will live forever, but it is the quality of the lives we live and the aggregate burden we leave for the future that matters most.

See more cartoons from Natural News.

UPDATE: Since initially publishing the post, The Blurred Line has expanded the content to include more myopic dribble, including a reference to “Islanic jihadists.” If you’d like to use your time more wisely, try checking out Stop Hitting Your Brother‘s run down of mock meats.

The Dirty V: Indoctrinate Me

“Last Friday night, yeah we were danced on tabletops and we took…” Oh, wait, no. Actually I was stuck at work late, but that’s good cause it culminated with two slices of vegan pizza at Vinnie’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Before that, though, it included a conversation with one of my coworkers. Discourse is important; no matter where the channels of communication lead, take the ride.

On her way out, she noticed my necklace.

“Is that a pig?”

“Yes, it says, ‘Friend Not Food’.”

“It’s cute. I don’t agree. But cute.”

Though commenting earlier in the day about wishing she could be a vegetarian, this comment made me realize her desire was different than mine was. The conversation continued, though, onto my mid-road veg*nism and limiting my dairy/egg consumption (which is not for ethical concerns against the use of non-slaughter animal by-products, but against factory farming and over-consumption).

As an example of the harsh conditions that lead to poor products (not to mention that whole animal suffering thing), I pulled out Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and read her a paragraph I’d underlined just that morning.

“Scientific studies and government records suggest that virtually all (upwards of 95 percent of) chickens become infected with E. coli (an indicator of fecal contamination) and between 39 and 75 percent of chickens in retail stores are still infected.”

Her face twisted. Even being a vegetarian, the idea still makes my stomach turn; my family eats that stuff…I ate that stuff.

As I explained that the book really dealt with his experiences with his family, she paused on the idea that Foer would be raising his son (plural now) vegan. She questioned, with a slight degree of exasperation, “Just because he’s vegan, he’s going to make his son be vegan.”

My response was something like, ‘If you’re Catholic, you’re going to raise you kids that way.’ I remembered reading about Foer claiming he wouldn’t be upset  if his son grew up to eat meat and offered that up as well. (I’ll have to dig up that link.)

What stayed with me was the intonation;  how it seemed to her like Foer was forcing this onto his son. All parents, though, assert an influence over their kids; the family is one of the greatest social forces shaping children’s personalities. Parents raise their children to do as they do. Pray as they pray. Eat as they eat. Parents who eat meat, feed their kids meat.

Even those contemplating a more plant-based diet for its health benefits, leer at the idea of forgoing meat altogether because it’s good for you.

From an early age, we learn what’s “good” for us. We believe our parents infallible; they have all the answers. ‘Eat your meat and drink your milk. It’s good for you.’ Well, how do they know that? Who told them so? We learn early on to differentiate the animals on our plates from the ones running around our yards. We learn.

The Dirty V: Feeling Sheepish

Just chilling at my friend’s apartment the other night, he comes out of his kitchen thoughtful. After a moment, he blurts out, “I think I’m going to start wearing wool.” He considers his words. I consider his words. Wool is not really all that textbook vegan.

This comes as I’m trying to find a non-wool/down/leather/fur winter coat. His logic: it’s cold and wool keeps you warm. “You gonna take a bite out of a cow next?” I joked…sort of.

There seems to be an all or nothing mystique surrounding veganism, though; a demand for a strict adherence to a codified list of restrictions (a reason I don’t consider myself vegan).

We headed out to Vegan Drinks where we met Tiffany, visiting from Kansas City. She was having the same predicament as myself. Luckily for her, she’d run into and had lunch with Victoria Moran who told her about Vaute Couture, a line of eco-conscious outwear designed by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart. (I’m a little jealous that Moran’s VC coat had a hood. They’re a big investment and if I ever made it, I’d want one with a hood.)

As I talk to more and more self-described “vegans,” I do realize the strive for perfection is bit of a fallacy or maybe a mistake of the outsider (myself). In Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer puts it something like, there are beliefs we go to sleep with and choices we make in the morning. There’s also the justifications for those choices, like ‘it’s cold and wool is warm’ or ‘I need leather boots for work.’

Hearing the justifications for the exceptions (internally, as well), I wonder if perfection is really possible at present…or ever. It’s not agreed upon. While I’ve encountered some who believe themselves to be 100% vegan, even PETA gives the 99% exception.

So why do I care about finding a coat without wool or down if I’m not actually vegan? Well, I’m stubborn. Really, it’s become a quest because I like to know if there’s a reasonable option out there for someone who doesn’t want to or even just can’t use a particular material.


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