Am I vegan enough?

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I will not intentionally purchase anything in the meat and dairy sections. Otherwise, I assume that it is vegan enough for me.

But, some of you guys know about every little thing that is not vegan. I call that integrity. But, I do not have the brains or time to figure out everything is vegan.
 

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Ingredients are listed on pretty much everything. Takes 5 seconds max, and if you can read this post you've got the brains to read ingredients.

Is it really your time and intelligence limiting you, or do you just not care that much? I bet that's not it either. Our behavior has a kind of inertia that can be hard to change. Take more time if you need but don't let yourself off the hook with weak excuses.
 
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nobody

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I will not intentionally purchase anything in the meat and dairy sections.
What about eggs, mayonnaise, frozen cheese pizza, nacho cheese tortilla chips, etc? You eat all that stuff?

Edt: there is also a lot of meat not in the meat section, such as canned soup, beef jerky etc.
 
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Thank you for the responses. I appreciate your help.

@Sax: I use my reading glasses to look at those labels when I buy something new after I get home. You have integrity. I fear that I do not have your level of integrity.

@nobody

"What about eggs, mayonnaise, frozen cheese pizza, nacho cheese tortilla chips, etc? You eat all that stuff?"
I would never eat that stuff. The nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips are too unhealthy to buy. Still, I would think in my head, "cheese flavored" is not the same thing as actual cheese. It is sort of like Cool-Aid. It might have a strawberry flavor. But, I am sure it does not have any strawberries.

"there is also a lot of meat not in the meat section, such as canned soup, beef jerky etc."
I do not buy that stuff too. The health issues with canned soup and beef jerky would keep me from even considering them in the first place.

I will use Strawberry Jello as an example. No where does it say made from animals.
Sugar - Probably from sugarcane.
Gelatin - I learned by accident that this comes from bone marrow.

All the rest of this stuff could come from animals.

Adipic Acid (For Tartness) -
Contains Less Than 2% Of Artificial Flavor
Disodium Phosphate
Sodium Citrate (Control Acidity)
Fumaric Acid (For Tartness), Red 40.)

Fortunately, Jello is unhealthy. Thus, thus I would not even need to consider Jello.

According to PETA, Veganism is something that I should have aspirations for. But, being vegan is impossible. If you buy organically grown food, then the farmer uses animal poop. If it is not organically grown, the farmer uses pesticides that kills off small animals. Thus, I try to think of the animal and not the purity.
 

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@Sax: I use my reading glasses to look at those labels when I buy something new after I get home. You have integrity. I fear that I do not have your level of integrity.
I use the magnifying app on my iPhone to read labels. Or. I take a picture of it and try to figure it out later. Or. I use the app IsItVegan?

The details of veganism are tricky to navigate. Which red dye is it that is made from beetle wings? How do you know if white cane sugar is not made with bone char? And how about that lecithin?

I really don't have any issues if a person chooses to get bogged down in the details. Or Not. By weight, or cost or some kind of utilitarian calculation, a person can be something like 99% vegan without worrying about the little stuff. And to paraphrase the sufficientarians, don't let perfection keep you from getting it done.

I don't think PETA has ever said that becoming vegan is impossible. But it is true that many vegans get hung up on "personal purity".
People who like to criticize vegans or people who know its better to be vegan but are too (Whatever) to try, sometimes use the concept that veganism is impossible. Perhaps being perfectly vegan is impossible. but it's not impossible to try. and if you are trying to be vegan - well, you are vegan. Or like Melanie Joy would say, vegan enough.

A number of the Vegan gurus actually warn about Personal Purity. Peter Singer is the most notable. My favorite vegan guru is Colleen Patrick Goudreau. She clarifies it with a discussion that Veganism is not the destination, but the journey. As soon as you decide you want to be a vegan, you are on the path, and the path is called veganism, the travelers on the path are vegans.

The other thing that should not be disregarded is that the definition of veganism is all about intent. Not results. And it's subjective. Two big words: Possible and Practical. It may not be practical for you to check out all the ingredients. It may not be possible for you to create a Veganic garden. But if in your mind you are doing as much as you can - You Are Vegan Enough.

We once had a pet peeve thread. I think I said that my pet peeve is when one vegan says to another vegan they are not vegan enough or a real vegan or something like that. There is no vegan police or judge or jury. It's really just a personal philosophy. There isn't even a rule book.
 
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I will not intentionally purchase anything in the meat and dairy sections. Otherwise, I assume that it is vegan enough for me.

But, some of you guys know about every little thing that is not vegan. I call that integrity. But, I do not have the brains or time to figure out everything is vegan.
Whilst it is important to try, it is also important to know about your subject and what I have read, you don't know and you are not trying.
Veganism isn't just what you eat (or try to avoid eating in your case) and it strikes me that what you eat could be improved with education - your view isn't even vegetarian(!), but at least you are trying I guess.

Without wanting to throw a major spanner in the works, not purchasing from the meat and dairy sections isn't enough. You need to be more concerned about the welfare of animals and exactly what happens to their bodies when they are slaughtered. Personally I don't give a toss if an animal has "pooped" on the food I eat - that's called nature. It happens in the wild and plants take advantage of it naturally.

What I care about right now is how animals/insects/fish/etc are treated for all the products I use or eat.

There are plenty of things that you need to consider, but just thinking about the supermarket, you need to concern yourself with the personal hygiene isles, the jams/jellies/anything spreadable isles, others have mentioned cans isles, packet soups is the same (don't bother replying I know you'll say they are too unhealthy but there are others who read replies and learn as well). the pasta isles, the oils isle, the rice isles, desserts whether frozen or not, the occasional treat or otherwise are also areas to consider, then there is the eggs isle, the bread isle, the.... do you get me? Every single isle in the supermarket needs consideration. Every single isle has potential pitfalls. Avoiding the obvious meat and dairy isles just isn't enough.

Lets explore :
personal hygiene.... take 1 aspect - soaps (anything with soap in any form in it, so liquid, solid, spray, you name it). Soap is typically made from animal fat. It is pretty much the last thing done with bones and skin and organs (intestines etcs) not used for pet food. Boil or render it down and extract the fat from it to make into hand soap/facial soap/shampoo...
sugar comes from 2 sources. Cane sugar and beet sugar. mentioned above That typically uses animal bones that have been burnt and ground up....
Honey - goes without saying. Vegetarian yes, vegan no.
Eggs - again goes without saying - vegetarian yes, vegan no.
Margarine - a massive amount has dairy in it - so not vegan
Bread - again, a massive amount has added ingredients from honey to dairy to supposedly make it taste better.
Alcohol - well anything that requires clarification (by which is mean removing fine matter from the liquid to make it clear) and that is typically done using fish bladders (or animal bones charred)…. wine in particular is one that needs checking.
Spirits are not an issue (pure spirits that is) - they are made using distillation, so no need for clarification (process of clearing as described above) but presumably you consider these to be too unhealthy.
As for the frozen isles - we all go there very occasionally. Chips (as in fries whether chunky, steak cut or shoelace, just not crisps (UK terminology) also need checking. I have found frozen chips with beef dripping, whey protein coatings, skimmed milk powder (I have a fatal allergy to dairy proteins so everything has to be double checked.... and please don't confuse this with lactose intolerance which at worst can make you exceptionally unwell, this is full on anaphylactic shock, dead in 3 minutes but that's not your concern, its mine.)
This is all basic vegetarianism, not even veganism.
So to answer your question are you vegan enough? I personally think you should be asking yourself if you are vegetarian enough? You haven't even covered that base yet imo
clothing? shoes? dyes? again all need consideration.
hope that helps to open your eyes.
 
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Nekodaiden

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Oh boy. I feel like there are a bunch of Talmud citing Jews telling you how to be Jewish in every minute detail, and on the other side there's Paul with his blinding light experience telling you "faith only" or something - to draw a comparison from our most recognizable western religions.

The most basic and binding definition of what Veganism is is that it is first and foremost an abstinence of all animal products in your diet. All other considerations are secondary and up to that person's own conscience.

If you buy much processed food, yep, you're going to need to pay attention to ingredients. This is only a chore when you come across an item you are unfamiliar with. Things like casein (from milk) and gelatin are an example of two things that are often not immediately recognized as animal products, same with lactose (again from milk). I once bought some chips that were flavored with Worcestershire sauce, which I was unsure about. When I found out Worcestershire sauce contains a small amount of anchovies, I stopped buying that particular product. If I want processed food,
there are plenty of other options.

If you can get all the animal products out of your diet - you are a vegan. I wouldn't listen to people who burden you with all the extras - you're likely to wind up frustrated and give up - or start siting "against personal purity" as an excuse to keep eating, well, whatever animal products the "anti-personal purity" people are eating in "trace amounts" (trace being a completely open adjective).

If, after you give up all the animal products you decide you want to further change your ways to suit your conscience on different matters, then that
is up to you - but in my view, anyone who willfully abstains from all animal products in their diet is a vegan, no matter what their motive or motives, or other things they do. The dietary step is the most difficult for most people - not only because they are changing oftentimes lifelong habits, but also because they are surrounded by persons in their lives who continue with those habits.
 
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Thank you for the responses. I had no idea that the responses would be so emotional.

I cook for a family of four. That means I need to keep all four people happy. I need to keep my wife, my autistic son, and my younger son happy. They all have different preferences. Feeding an autistic kid can be very hard. The boy would possibly starve if the food is not the right type for him.

@Connie & Nekodaiden I do not think I will ever be able to abstain to the level that you do. I am truly sorry if I have offended you.

PLEASE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER UNLESS YOU NEED A CURE FOR INSOMNIA.

We live in a world with international trade. The goods that we buy are inevitably exploitative of other people. I would like to think that I am against human rights abuses. But, am I willing to give up my laptop, my car, and my clothing.

My financial security is dependent on my investments in the stock market. I know that many of the companies that I invest in do some horrible things. But, I need those stocks to feed me and keep a roof over my head.

Before I retired, I did some really bad things to stay employed. Actually, everybody who ever worked at my school district did some pretty bad stuff.

Then I did some stuff for a certain minority population. I will not mention who that minority was. Sure enough I got accused of being racist by certain elements of that population.

Then there is an issue with what operating system do you use on your computer. If you use Microsoft, Apple, or Android, then you are supporting some nasty oppressive practices. (I use all three operating systems.) I could go pure GNU/Linux. It would be ethical. But, it would be a pain in the rear end.

As a teacher always nagged my students to study enough. I am not sure what enough is. But, I suppose it is a lot. Then there are some kids who understand the material and those who don't. And then there are the rare kids who knows more than the teacher. These are the most difficult group of kids.

Actually, I tutored my autistic son in math to make certain that he knew more than the teacher. Some teachers can admit that he knows math better than them, others cannot.

But, I make the mistake of calling my kid "autistic" when I should say, "my son with strong autistic perception." Some people say that I am insensitive because I do not use the politically correct terminology. Some people say I am extremely offensive. Some of these same people treat autistic people like dirt. Still, they are politically correct. So, I guess that makes it fine.

Many times I feel horrible because I am a misogynistic, racist, animal abusing, homophobic, capitalistic, sacrilegious kind of guy. I have been accused of all of those things. Some people would say that being vegan makes me racist. Others would say that going to church makes me homophobic. Still, other people say that my capitalistic opinions make me against animals.

If we take this to the logical extreme, then my capitalistic opinions means that I am not racist. If I am not racists, then I am not a vegan. If I am not homophobic I do not go to certain churches. If I do not go to certain churches, then I am a racist.

At the end of the day, I am lost in the tautological sauce because I am a little autistic.
 
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If you buy much processed food, yep, you're going to need to pay attention to ingredients.

Too true, but at least in the UK things are getting easier on that front in two ways:

Firstly the Vegan Society has a trademark consisting of the word “Vegan” with the V being formed by two leaves on the stem of a sunflower plant. This is licensed for certified products. The fee is not peanuts but the use of the logo is rapidly growing so companies must find it worthwhile.

Secondly there is a small but increasing number of food products that have the word VEGAN very prominently displayed.

One advantage to the producer is that vegans in a hurry will choose their product over one that is not promoted that way. Another is that many non-vegans associate veganism with a healthy diet and might well be tempted to buy.

Having said all that I do agree with Nekodaiden that checking ingredients is not a terrible bind because you only have to do the ones you are not sure of.

Roger.
 
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Thank you for the responses to my questions.

I think I need to work on making my lifestyle even more minimalist than it already is.

I have dreams about living on a plot of land in the middle of no place. I could dig my own outhouse. Hand pump water from the ground. I could grow my own garden and use my poop as fertilizer. I could get rid of my car and ride a bicycle into town. I would use a small solar panel to charge my cellphone. Otherwise, there would be no need for electricity.
 

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Secondly there is a small but increasing number of food products that have the word VEGAN very prominently displayed.

One advantage to the producer is that vegans in a hurry will choose their product over one that is not promoted that way. Another is that many non-vegans associate veganism with a healthy diet and might well be tempted to buy.
As far as vegan food in America goes, there is a range of love from the companies, from none, as in an accidentally vegan product that does not say vegan anywhere on the packaging, to the below example, which I believe represents the strongest effort to attract vegans ever, in terms of text on the packaging.

 
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Mom2vegan

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I am new to this and not nearly vegan enough but I'm proud of myself for making the progress I've made and I'll continue to take one baby step at a time. I haven't checked yet to see if my wine is vegan (Bota Box - does anybody know?) but when I do find a vegan wine that I like I'll take that step. I'll just get more vegan every year.......and hopefully stay healthy enough that I won't wind up in a nursing home when I get old, where it would definitely be impossible to remain vegan.

I think if you're making progress and, most importantly, passing that progress on to the next generation, who may pass it on to the next generation, you're very "vegan enough."

Also, I think we're all just a little nuts anyway. I mean....we're saving the lives of a few animals but that isn't even a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the number of insect lives we take every day. Do you have any clue how many insects have to be killed so we can eat vegetables? Billions and trillions.....and just because they're small, that doesn't mean insects aren't every bit as real as cows and pigs and chickens. Study ants.....they're amazing creatures.
 

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Do you have any clue how many insects have to be killed so we can eat vegetables? Billions and trillions.....and just because they're small, that doesn't mean insects aren't every bit as real as cows and pigs and chickens. Study ants.....they're amazing creatures.
Can't agree with you more.
One thing that I would like to point out is that livestock eat almost as much crops as people do. So by not eating livestock, you are also saving "billion and trillions" of insect lives. Try to buy organic and you will save even more insects.

BTW, Bota Box is not vegan.


You can use Barnivore, it's a website that really does a good job of figuring out vegan spirits. They don't have an official app but there are some apps that are listed on the Barnivore website. You can also just keep a list on your phone and keep updating it.

I don't drink much wine and so I haven't felt it necessary to invest time in researching it. Most of the wines at Trader Joe's seem to be vegan or vegan-friendly. Trader Joe's tries to buy only organic products so that probably helps too. If you go to TJs stock up on Charles Shaw (Two-buck-chuck). It's cheap and it's vegan.

Meanwhile, here is a good article on the subject

Oh, and also rest assured that even non-vegan wine does not contain any animal products. So this might just be one of the details that can rest on the back burner.
 

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Can't agree with you more.
One thing that I would like to point out is that livestock eat almost as much crops as people do. So by not eating livestock, you are also saving "billion and trillions" of insect lives. Try to buy organic and you will save even more insects.

BTW, Bota Box is not vegan.


You can use Barnivore, it's a website that really does a good job of figuring out vegan spirits. They don't have an official app but there are some apps that are listed on the Barnivore website. You can also just keep a list on your phone and keep updating it.

I don't drink much wine and so I haven't felt it necessary to invest time in researching it. Most of the wines at Trader Joe's seem to be vegan or vegan-friendly. Trader Joe's tries to buy only organic products so that probably helps too. If you go to TJs stock up on Charles Shaw (Two-buck-chuck). It's cheap and it's vegan.

Meanwhile, here is a good article on the subject

Oh, and also rest assured that even non-vegan wine does not contain any animal products. So this might just be one of the details that can rest on the back burner.
So.......if we don't eat livestock, then we save all the insects that are killed for the production of crops that livestock eat...... I know hay is not treated with insecticides so we can't count that, and the pastures the cows eat in are also not treated with insecticides. The cows don't hand pick the insects and kill them, but as they're eating the grass the insects just fly away. So only the grains they're fed are treated. What percentage of their diet is grain?. We need to look into it and see how much of what livestock eat is treated with insecticides, and calculate the # of insects that are killed in the production of livestock food, and then see if that's more or less than the # of insects killed in t he production of the vegetables that we eat.

And - I have an organic garden. Organic but not vegan because I share the garden with my father.....who puts non-vegan things in it to use as fertilizer and I can not convince him not to do this. Anyway it's organic....which means either I have to hand pick and murder many many many innocent insects, or we don't get enough produce to live on. I mean - it's not a big deal to us, because we can just go to the grocery store. Right? And we do. But all those grocery store items.....organic or not......either the insects were killed by hand picking, or they were killed by insecticides but they were still killed. You can't grow groceries without killing insects. That's just the way it is. The very sad way it is.

So my wine is not vegan. I've looked up vegan wines and don't recognize any of the names. I don't know if my liquor store carries them. Should I switch to beer then? I'd be happy to. I think it has more carbs than wine, but I guess carbs are OK now....Anytihg is fine except giving up alcohol!
 
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Lou

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So my wine is not vegan. I've looked up vegan wines and don't recognize any of the names. I don't know if my liquor store carries them. Should I switch to beer then? I'd be happy to. I think it has more carbs than wine, but I guess carbs are OK now....Anytihg is fine except giving up alcohol!
Some wines are vegan. Some beers are not.
I live in California and over here there are some wines (and beers) that are actually certified vegan. but you should just get used to using Barnivore. It will be a steep learning curve but like anything else you find something you like and then you don't give it a second thought.

In the meantime don't worry about it. Even nonvegan wine doesn't actually contain any animal products. Just let it simmer on the back burner.

As far as the livestock and insects thing goes, I doubt anyone has really figured out number or statistics.

but you can make some pretty good generalizations. The last time I checked, in the US, about 40% of the crops we grow go to feeding livestock. I imagine that organic meat must be fed organic crops (although I wouldn't put money on it). Also, figure in the inefficiency of converting plant matter into meat. I don't think any animal is more than 30% efficient. So for every pound of meat there was something like 3 pounds of plants. Then you get into all kinds of crazy calculations when it comes to cattle who all start off eating grass on range land but end up eating corn. Most chickens and pigs - all they eat are crops.

So it's pretty safe to say that a vegan diet kills fewer insects than a carnist's diet.

Also if you start worrying a lot about insects lives you will just go crazy. Or become a Jainist. You do what you can. No one can ask more.
 
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I learned a lot from this discussion.

My favorite part was that if we reduce meat consumption, then we reduce harm to insects because we grow fewer crops.

I live in an apartment in Tempe, Arizona. Before I went vegan, every insect and bug visited the apartment. The exterminator visited me every month. Please keep in mind that I keep a very clean kitchen. Then I stopped eating meat. The number of bugs went way down. Then I stopped eating dairy. The bugs disappeared. I have not had to call the exterminator.

I remember watching a Youtube video of a guy who lived a completely environmentally sustainable vegan lifestyle. He also lived off the grid and lived ultra cheap. He foraged his food. He composted his poop and used it to fertilize his garden. The guy looked so muscular and healthy. He did not use pesticides.
 

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I am new to this and not nearly vegan enough but I'm proud of myself for making the progress I've made and I'll continue to take one baby step at a time. I haven't checked yet to see if my wine is vegan (Bota Box - does anybody know?) but when I do find a vegan wine that I like I'll take that step. I'll just get more vegan every year.......and hopefully stay healthy enough that I won't wind up in a nursing home when I get old, where it would definitely be impossible to remain vegan.

I think if you're making progress and, most importantly, passing that progress on to the next generation, who may pass it on to the next generation, you're very "vegan enough."

Also, I think we're all just a little nuts anyway. I mean....we're saving the lives of a few animals but that isn't even a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the number of insect lives we take every day. Do you have any clue how many insects have to be killed so we can eat vegetables? Billions and trillions.....and just because they're small, that doesn't mean insects aren't every bit as real as cows and pigs and chickens. Study ants.....they're amazing creatures.

Hi Mom2Vegan, and welcome.

I would strongly suggest as you are new to (at least temporarily) tune out what I term the "vegan+" stuff. Vegan + is the stuff that people focus on outside of diet, such as philosophy, motivation, and other choices that can have an impact on animals, environment and so on.

I suggest this for this primary reason:

Changing often lifelong eating habits and resisting cravings from these can be very challenging. If you think you have to change a bunch of other habits as well, adopt the "most vegan philosophy" and have all the right motivations for everything, I dare say it will probably be overwhelming.

I also suggest visiting this thread and watching the videos (especially the 2nd) hosted therein:

https://www.veganforum.org/threads/youre-not-a-real-vegan-youre-not-vegan-enough.2785/
 
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