2/8/11

Vegan Challenge Day Two- But What About the "Real' Vegans?

Controversy alert!

Today's post my contain a discussion that is considered somewhat controversial. My hope is that any discussion that ensues will be fair, respectful and informative. Let's keep it clean folks!

But first here's a look at some of my vegan eats for the day

Breakfast:




















I channelled my inner third-grader and munched on a toasted bagel with peanut butter and banana. Old school but it did the trick!


Lunch:





















Spinach salad with crumbled black bean burger, walnuts and almonds


Dinner:







































Black bean and corn salad with lime. I <3 this salad in a big bad way! (So did the Boyfriend and he's so NOT a salad person. In fact, his dinner was just as vegan as mine. Score!)


Question of the Day

After doing quite a bit of thinking I posed the follwoing question on Twitter this afternoon:







Clearly if anyone took "offense" to this it was my 12th grade English teacher but I digress...

There were varied responses to this question that got me thinking even further about whether non-vegans participating in a challenge of this sort could be perceived as offensive to those who live this lifestyle every single day.

I can imagine vegans being concerned that it might:

  • make veganism seem like the "thing to do" or the latest fad rather then a lifestyle choice based on ethics
  • make veganism seem like a diet or weight loss gimmick
  • make veganism seem like a flippant decision that you can easily commit to and then abandon
  • make veganism seem too hard (use of the word "challenge")

On the other hand I think we can all appreciate that the challenge:

  • highlights the lifestyle choice and the varied reasons for why one would become a vegan (ethics, health,etc)
  • sheds light on hot-button issues like factory farming and animal cruelty/exploitation
  • allows non-vegans to see this issue from a different perspective and have a more well rounded perspective about it
  • teaches non-vegans to read food labels and have a better understanding of what goes into their food
  • influences non-vegans and non-vegetarians to learn to cook and enjoy meat-free meals that they may continue to include in their regular meal plans
  • keeps its participants from eating animal products for 7 full days

Ultimately, I think (and hope) that the vast majority of participants in this particular challenge are doing it to better understand what it means to be a vegan and not because its the cool thing to do at the moment. And I sincerly hope that at the end of the challenge every single person will have learned enough to make educated decisions about their food and nutrition going forward (even if the first thing that they do is grab a big hunk of brie when the challenge is over!)

And at the end of the day, if Oprah made being vegan "cool" the end result is fewer animals harmed. I think we can all agree that that's a win no matter why it happened, right?

So tell me, what are your thoughts on temporary veganism?
Reactions:

22 comments:

  1. What a great question. I hadn't really thought of the vegan "challenge" in this way before, as I only seeing it as a positive thing. Of course, this is coming from someone who eats meat at least twice a day, so my opinion probably doesn't count :)

    I think that anyone who is making a change (even a temporary one) to make themselves healthier and provide a better life for animals should be taken seriously and be praised for their efforts. Small changes add up to big ones and trying a vegan lifestyle for a week is a great learning experience. Vegan may never be the way for me, but I appreciate and respect those who pursue it, as much as I'd appreciate the same respect for the way I eat (mostly Paleo).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a counter question for you . . .

    Do you think people that ate an Omnivore diet would be offended if I hosted an "introduce meat back into your life" week? My guess is probably not.

    But yet there is evidence of vegan's being offended by this lifestyle "testing" And I've also seen people with celiac disease speak out about the increase of people testing out gluten free food choices.

    There's some food for thought (pun intended)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like Morgan's comment - she made a great point!

    This challenge is really making me respect those who live a fully vegan lifestyle. It's not as easy as one would think and it's certainly a lot harder than being vegetarian. So many foods have animal products in them!!

    I also think that other vegan's should be happy that so many people are exploring this lifestyle. Sure, veganism isn't for everyone, and it certainly shouldn't be a diet, but I think that the idea of trying something for 7 days is A LOT less intimidating than actually changing your lifestyle. Besides, who knows how many challengers will go full-on vegan afterwards!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your bean and corn salad looks delicious! Tonight for dinner I had a bowl of rice, black beans, corn, and spinach. Delicious.

    I think testing out diets is fine-it opens our minds to new things, new ways to live a healthy life, etc... I don't like when people engage in fad diets just to get attention or be cool-that gets frustrating. But i can't imagine someone getting offended by engaging in a diet for a short amount of time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i think this is a great post! i love the 7 day challenge and everyone who wants to try veganism out.. i am not at all offended.. i think it brings attention to important issues and it might change the way people do buy animal products.. even if they decide not to stick with it.. they may try to cut down a little. every little bit helps!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting points/both sides of it. I think vegans can be offended by lots of things :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great though provoking post. I'm a fan of the 7 day vegan challenge because it promotes active thought about the food that goes into your body. I think anything that educates people about their food choices is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. your black bean and corn salad looks phenomenal. I could totally be vegan for dinner if I could eat that.
    I think you raise an interesting question... but overall I think if I were vegan I wouldn't mind people trying it for whatever their reason was. In the end, I think it makes people more conscious of their eating, which can never be a bad thing :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think going vegan for 7 days could only be a good thing for the true vegans. It is getting the word out about something that they are truly passionate about and if more people do it, the more animals that aren't harmed.

    Your black bean corn salad looks awesome, do you have a recipe?!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Having been a vegan before, I can say that I was introduced to SO many new foods and meals during that time, that they are still things I use six years later. Even though I eat meat now, I have no fear about preparing a vegetarian or vegan meal, and usually do on a weekly basis. If everyone from this challenge comes out feeling more confident about preparing more plant-based meals, and using less animal products, then I hope vegans will be happy that more people are on board. And that the consumption of animals has decreased, if only by a little bit :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am a vegan and I can't imagine being offended by a "vegan challenge". I think it's great. What offends me is when people think vegan cooking is going taste bad just because there isn't animal products in it. That offends me because I am a great cook, I make delicious meals, and they just so happen to be vegan. Just ask my omnivore husband. I think a vegan challenge will result in more people eating some meatless meals on a regular basis. Sounds good to me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really love this post - and I think you are right - somepeople might be offending. However, I do not think it is fair for non-vegans (and this goes for non-vegetarians too) to judge what it is like to be a vegan or vegetarian until you've "walked a day in their shoes." Being a vegan does imply an ethical commitment and goes beyond food - so doing it for one day or week is counter-intuitive from that perspective. However, the experience is what is important - not the title - so I hope no one is offended that a person (or a group of people) want to see how they live!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That black bean and corn salad looks AMAZ-ing. I wish I had the time and know-how to cook on the fly. I am such a microwave girl. I feel bad for my poor husband marrying into this.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When I saw your original tweet, I hadn't actually thought that it could be considered offensive. But I can understand your thinking and appreciate you opening up the discussion. I decided to take part in the challenge as a learning experience to see if I would like to officially go vegan one day. I had been reading quite a bit about vegetarianism and veganism before starting the challenge, but I love doing this challenge with others for the reason of this post... it really gets me thinking even more and leads to such a great discussion with so many different thoughts and ideas! I

    By the way, your food looks SOOO good!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You've posed a great question! My personal opinion is that no one should be that invested in another's eating habits that they would be offended by their choice to try a new lifestyle. Pre-vegan challenge I was a vegetarian--if anyone wanted to do a vegetarian challenge I would be all for it! Unfortunately, not everyone has a laid back attitude. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. It never crossed my mind to be offended by the 7day challenge. I can't imagine why any vegan would be. There's certainly only good that can come from people learning more about veganism and experiencing what it's like.

    You black bean and corn salad looks so so good - definitely right up my alley. Recipe?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Had to take a peek back at this discussion

    What a wonderfully fair group of readers you have Sam :) . . . way to open up a very interesting conversation

    ReplyDelete
  18. I agree with Caree, what a great way to introduce the world to veganism and debunk some common myths. I loved this post so much, I had to post about it too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think it's a good idea! If Oprah can do it, so can you ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a friend who was a little concerned at the concept. His defense was that for someone coming off of the Standard American Diet, they'll probably feel sick due to a detox, and blame it on the vegan foods. When in reality, it's their original diet causing the problems and the vegan diet provoking the clean-up. I see his point, but by the end of our discussion and by showing him tweets & blogs & discussions, he had changed his tune. It's cool to just see people expand their perception of the vegan lifestyle, and realize that it's not tree bark, tofu and wheatgrass. It's not only a nutritious way to live, but a delicious way to cook! His hope was that ultimately people would commit to doing a 30-day challenge, as that would truly provide some outstanding benefits. I agree!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Easily, the publish is really the greatest on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantastic lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Solid work and much success in your business enterprise!

      Delete