New Vegetarian FAQs

beancounter

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This thread is intended to answer common questions asked by new veg*ns.
Veteran veg*n will post a question and provide an answer

You may post a question that has not been addressed.

Q: What is a vegetarian. What are the different types of vegetarians?

A1: Generally speaking, a vegetarian is a person who will not eat the flesh (the meat) of animals. An animal is any being with a circulatory system. This includes (but is not limited to) fish, poultry, pigs and cows.

A2: There are four types of vegetarians.
- Laco-Ovo Vegetarian - a vegetarian who consumes dairy and eggs.
- Laco-Vegetarian - A vegetarian that consumes dairy.
- Ovo-Vegetarian - A vegetarian that consumes eggs
- Vegan - A person who does not consume any animal products whatsoever. This includes, no dairy, eggs or honey. Vegans will not use any product made or derived from, or tested on an animal.
- Strict Vegetarian - A veegetarian who does not consume animal flesh, dairy, eggs or honey, but who may use animal products (cloths, cosmetics, etc).

Q: What does veg*n mean?
A: Veg*n is an abbreviation for vegetarian or vegan.

Q: What are the different reasons for becoming a vegetarian?

A: There are generally four main reasons people chose to become vegetarian. Typically a person may support all reasons, but has a stronger preference for one of them.
- Animal rights (AR). An AR vegetarian believes that people should not harm or exploit animals in an way.
- Health - A Health vegetarian views a vegetarian diet as a healthy alternative to the typical western diet. The benefits include a significant reduction of fat and cholesterol, and often a reduction in sugars, refined or processed foods, and calories. In addition, the health vegetarian avoids the consumption of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals injected into feed animals.
- Environment - an environmental vegetarian views the meat industry as destructive to the environment. This includes such things as deforestation and the displacement/disruption of wildlife, contaminates in the water supply, air pollution, and soil destruction.
- Religious - A religious vegetarian is vegetarian because of their religious convictions. Some of religions that are or encourage vegetarianism include Hinduism, 7th day Adventist, and Sikhs.

Q: Where do vegetarians get their protein?
A: Vegetarians get protein from a variety of sources. They are beans, grains, nuts and seeds. You can also get protein from dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc) and eggs if you are not a vegan.

Q: Is protein combining necessary?
A: No it is not. If you consume enough calories, and have a varied diet, you will get a sufficient amount of complete protein without having to make an effort to combine certain foods.
 

Forster

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What type of a vegetarian is one who doesn't consume any animal products whatsoever but who doesn't qualify as a vegan?
 

Lord Snot

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Someone who doesn't *eat* any animal products but does use them in other areas of their life, e.g. clothes, coesmetics, usually calls themselves a strict vegetarian. If someone avoids animal products whenever possible but for some reason doesn't think they can be called a vegan would probably call themselves that too, if they need a label.
 

Lord Snot

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Q. Is fish vegetarian?

A. Most of us have come across someone who says they are a vegetarian who eats fish. Fish are animals, and by pretty much every definition of vegetarianism they are *not* vegetarian. The confusion probably originates from the Catholic church making a distinction between mammalian/bird flesh (meat) and fish flesh (fish). Both are the flesh of animals and so should not be included in a vegetarian diet.

Q. What about eggs?

A. Some cultures, especially people from India, do not consider eggs to be vegetarian. But usually in Western countries, eggs are considered vegetarian. As a general rule of thumb, vegetarians can eat the secretions of animals that do not require them to be killed - a hen can lay eggs without having to be slaughtered for it, so they are okay for vegetarians. Likewise honey, milk, and similar products are okay. The flesh of the animal or anything extracted after the animal has died (like rennet) is not vegetarian, because it requires the slaughter of the animal.

The reality is that at most commercial farms, all producing animals will be slaughtered long before their life would naturally end. But technically, the products are still vegetarian.
 
M

mlp

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Are there ethical reasons to not use silk even if one is vegetarian, but not vegan?

Yes.

Silk is produced by *harvesting* silkworm coccoons before the moths emerge. The pupae are killed by either dipping them in boiling water or by piercing them with a needle. This allows the coccoon to be unraveled in one long unbroken fiber.

It is possible to harvest coccoons after the moth emerges. Such silk is theoretically called tussah silk, but much of what is marketed as tussah still involves the killing of many, many silkworms. True tussah silk is labor intensive and much more expensive than regular silk, both in the collection of the coccoons and the spinning of the short fibers resulting from a coccoon that has been breached by the emerging moth. The likelihood is that anything you see marketed as tussah is not actually made from naturally discarded coccoons.
 

silva

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Lets not forget other insect products--
Shellac, carmine, silk protein (cosmetics, hair products), beeswax,
tons of things found in cosmetics and personal products--lanolin, musk,
 

Sevenseas

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Q: Can vegans kiss, engage in oral sex, breastfeed, send shipments of their nose hair in the mail, or otherwise exchange natural products from the bodies of human animals?

A: Yes. One reason to object to using animal products is not just the violence involved in their production but also the issue that non-human animals haven't clearly communicated an informed consent to having their products used, and this (in combination with how non-humans are seen in Western society) places the use of their products in a different context from something like consuming another human creature's saliva.



Q: Is yeast vegan?

A: Some people have raised concerns about the ethics of consuming yeast, because yeast does indeed consist of minuscule-sized West-European men who tirelessly stomp on your pizza dough to make it rise. However, these micro-men have been deemed to generally be really repulsive, due to their un-groomed appearance, their misogynistic jokes and their way oversized workman boots that look really stupid on their feet. For these reasons, vegans have deemed it appropriate to kill these yeast men whenever there is an opportunity to do so, and also there is the point th...

Stop asking stupid questions, yes yeast is vegan.
 

beancounter

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Everyone -

This is supposed to be a thread where newbies can go for factual information on vegetarianism/veganism.

Please refrain from parody post, and also try to avoid laguage intentionally used to incite an emotional response in the reader.
 

Indian Summer

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(A post from the owner and admin of this board.)

Silliness has a place on this board, but silliness wasn't beancounter's intention with this thread, quite the opposite, and I think we should honour his wishes on this point. It's just too much off-topic. A moderator will come and tidy up this thread (possibly split etc) later. In the meantime, helpful/useful posts are still welcome here.

Let's move along folks, nothing to see here.
 

Mel

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MOD POST

I've cleaned up this thread. If someone wants to start a new thread discussing the appropriateness on giving silly answers to questions, they can go ahead. As Indian Summer stated, this was not the OP's intention. Let's please respect that. Thanks.
 

Grayveggie

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I have a newbie question!!! I have given up meat and am slowly trying to give up dairy because of how the dairy cows are treated. I have also cut way back on eggs, but I just read the post that it was ok to eat eggs as long as the hen was not harmed in the process? Like I said I'm a NEWBIE, so I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but I thought that chickens are treated awful being crammed into tiny cages just so we can have their eggs, and that eggs really shouldn't be eaten? Or is it basically just my own personal preference? Some days I gag at the thought of eating them and once in a while I will have eggs if I'm out.
 

silva

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The way I look at eggs, or other products that don't need to cause harm, is to keep the bigger picture in mind. If you, or someone you know, has rescued hens that are cared for, and of course, leave eggs around, there is no harm to them if you pick them up and use for yourself. Chickens do consume some of their eggs, and certainly wild animals will eat them, but there is nothing that 'hurts' them if you use them.
Of course there is no need to use eggs, and by using eggs from any source really does promote the idea that eggs are a useful, desirable, food. Anything that is seen as desirable is going to encourage things like factory conditions. Not many people can afford truly ethical eggs, so they buy from factory raised hens, sometimes even spending extra money on misleading labels that make them feel as if the hens are getting humane conditions. There are very little difference in 'free range' and regular hen living conditions.
I compare the act of eating eggs to other moral decisions we make every day- that wouldn't actually cause suffering if we were to do them, but are part of our moral code. Like stealing from mentally challanged persons who probably would never know. We just don't.
There are so many ways to substitute eggs for cooking and baking. I've found many are actually better (except those darn vegan brownies!)
If you miss the taste of egg, get black salt! Kala namak, the Indian name. You can find it cheap at Indian grocers, or pay extra for shipping if you buy online. It tastes insanely like egg. You can add to scrambled tofu, or what I like, on toast with margarine and nutritional yeast. Add to mashed chickpeas and make just like egg salad, or mash tofu with it and add vegan mayo
 

silva

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BTW, I didn't really miss eggs at all, but I now use black salt a lot!
 

Grayveggie

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Wow I never even heard of black salt??! I will have to check that out.
 

Joe

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I have a newbie question!!! I have given up meat and am slowly trying to give up dairy because of how the dairy cows are treated. I have also cut way back on eggs, but I just read the post that it was ok to eat eggs as long as the hen was not harmed in the process? Like I said I'm a NEWBIE, so I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but I thought that chickens are treated awful being crammed into tiny cages just so we can have their eggs, and that eggs really shouldn't be eaten? Or is it basically just my own personal preference? Some days I gag at the thought of eating them and once in a while I will have eggs if I'm out.
I think there are a couple of issues you seem to be confusing.

The first issue is one of definition. As the term vegetarian is traditionally defined (by for example the International Vegetarian Union), the consumption of eggs and dairy are permitted.

Vegetarian: IVU defines vegetarianism as a diet of foods derived from plants, with or without dairy products, eggs and/or honey.
Definitions

A vegan is a special type of vegetarian.

Vegan: excludes any use of any animal products for any purpose, including animal flesh (meat, poultry, fish and seafood), animal products (eggs, dairy, honey); the wearing and use of animal products (leather, silk, wool, lanolin, gelatin); also excludes animal use in entertainment, sport, research etc.
Definitions

So, if you are going to eat eggs you cannot call yourself a vegan.

The second issue (other than definitions and the correct use of words) is whether eggs and egg production are cruel or similarly objectionable. Vegans tend to emphasize the type of egg production that goes on in commercial/factory farms.
Others might point to the situation of chickens raised in people's back yards. Perhaps these situations are substantially different. Or perhaps the same rules should govern all situations concerning the consumption of eggs. I think it is up to you to decide.
 
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Calliegirl

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Even humanely raised chickens on small family farms cause harm. No matter how well the females are treated, the males were still killed in horrible ways. And chances are, the females will be killed once their egg laying has slowed down or stopped.
 
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shyvas

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I was listening to a chat show on the radio the other day. The owner of a vegetarian restaurant in Paris calls herself a vegan and she eats oysters and eggs !:(
 

silva

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Apparently, the phrase "black salt" can mean two different things. I think the one you want to investigate is called Kala namak.

Kala namak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Good point, I'd forgotten that. The first time I looked for it was at a Whole Foods store and they had several with the name "black salt", so I didn't get any. I get it from an Indian store and it's labeled Kala Namak and black salt underneath. It's a pinkesh greyish powder, though you can also get it in it's rock form
 

Joe

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Good point, I'd forgotten that. The first time I looked for it was at a Whole Foods store and they had several with the name "black salt", so I didn't get any. I get it from an Indian store and it's labeled Kala Namak and black salt underneath. It's a pinkesh greyish powder, though you can also get it in it's rock form
According to the Wikipedia article, it is known as:

  1. Kala namak
  2. bire noon
  3. Himilayan black salt
  4. Sulemani namak
  5. bit lobon
  6. kala noon
  7. pala noon

So, print this list on an index card and take it with you when you go shopping. :)
 
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