There’s one thing I don’t understand about Vegan diet…

I’m not making fun here, I genuinely don’t understand. If you want to be a vegetarian, however strict, that’s totally … I don’t care. Good. You’re literally harming nothing but plants, so why would I object?

I don’t even know the difference between “vegetarian” and “vegan” – I assume it’s a matter of degree but could be completely wrong. But here’s the deal…

I have a couple of vegan neighbors. I’ve eaten at their home. We had veggieburgers. And that’s the thing I don’t understand: If you’re against eating animal products on moral grounds, as I assume vegans and many vegetarians are, why disguise veggies as meat? Why disguise soya as cheese?

This comes to mind this gray and somber morning, when I have nothing else to write about, because of this article right here…

Pizza Hut Is Now Making Vegan Pies

The Hut’s mozzarella facsimile of choice is a so-called “mmm vegalicious” product made by Violife, a Greek producer of vegan dairy alternatives that introduced its line of “Just Like Mature Cheddar,” “Just Like Smoked Provolone,” and other fakes cheeses in America earlier this year, too.

Again, not criticizing. I’ve eaten a lot of TVP with pleasure, it doesn’t bother me. I’m just trying to understand. If you’re vegan and proud, why disguise your food as something you’re against?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to There’s one thing I don’t understand about Vegan diet…

  1. free.and.true says:

    Oh heavens, I hear you, Joel. I’ve tried the “raw vegan” thing a couple of times for health reasons, for instance, and that “raw lasagna” type copycat cuisine is just bleah.

    I suspect the copycat effort is a means of adaptation, an attempt to keep a foot in two worlds and to satiate cravings that are hard to eradicate. But I’d much rather enjoy a form of cuisine that enhances and highlights the raw or vegetarian ingredients instead.

    That said, pizza and hamburgers are tough to forsake!

    Vegan, by the way, means no animal products at all — not even butter, eggs, dairy, etc. So yes, it’s a whole other degree of limitation. But as you mentioned, even a vegan ends up taking the life of (presumably) innocent plants!

  2. MamaLiberty says:

    I always wondered the same thing, Joel. For many years, my husband worked at Loma Linda University, run by 7th Day Adventists. They were mostly vegetarian, but some were total vegans. Their store was full of terrific natural grains, fruits and other things, but I never did understand the fake hot dogs, cutlets, or other meat lookalikes they all ate. I thought they all tasted terrible too.

    What might surprise those who think that a vegan/vegetarian diet is automatically “healthy” was the fact that far, far too many of them were overweight, even obese. They ate mostly starch and sugar, far as I could see.

  3. Judy says:

    My guess is they are called the same because of the lack of words in the language to describe them. Kind of like the difference between who gave birth to you and who raised you, not always the same person. There needs to be different words for the different objects/functions.

    I, for the most part, don’t like fake foods. Find a new name for it. Fried chick pea balls are called falafel not intimation meatballs.

    And like Mama Liberty points out there are a lot of obese vegetarian/vegans. My daughter ask me one time why the cousin was slim and her SIL was obese, both were vegetarians. I pointed out the cousin was a whole-food vegetable-tarian and the SIL was a junk-food-no-animal-flesh-etarian.

  4. bmq215 says:

    Yeah, most vegans even avoid honey as it’s “taken from the bees”. Which is technically true, but given that they’re provided with a perfect hive in which to accumulate more than they need to seems like a fair trade. But what do I know…

    I’ve pondered the same thing and come up with two explanations:

    1) Disguising plants as meat makes it easier to convince less adventurous non-vegetarians/vegans to share the meal with you.
    2) For many, going veggie is a principled choice but as we’re all aware that logic and principles don’t override more basic cravings. So although they may believe in not slaughtering pigs enough to adopt a pork-free lifestyle, when dinnertime rolls around sometimes they’re still ravenous for some babyback ribs. Things like TVP “riblets” allows them to calm those more primal urges while still holding true to their ideals.

    Still seems strange to me though.

  5. Vegetarians tend to health-oriented (although often mistaken), vegans tend to make ISIS look like easy-going moderates. You haven’t seen zealots until you’ve hosted a paleo/low carb-high fat/primal/etc blog or discussion.

    ANY diet that gets people away from the SAD (Standard American Diet) full of empty carbs, lab-designed grains (especially wheat), processed industrial oils, chemical additives, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy, etc. is likely to improve health. Note that technically, and as referred to by the other commenters, many of these nasty foods are still vegetarian(!).

    But when someone says “I’m going to be vegetarian because I want to be healthy” they’re normally also selecting themselves into a group that avoids soda, processed foods, and other sins against our biology. Adventists’ superior health metrics are routinely held up by the veggie crowd advocates while trying to ignore the Mormons, who have almost the same lifestyle but are also meat eaters.

    Here’s a question — have you ever heard someone ask their butcher how they can get their steak to taste like tofu? Nuf said!

  6. Matt says:

    There was a time in my life I mostly ate ramen, carrots, onions and various beans and field greens. At no point did I consider myself vegan or vegetarian. I was just to poor to afford meat. I do like tofu, but it should look like tofu, not turkey. I also make good bean cakes and a mean falafel, both of which are better cooked in bacon grease.

  7. Mike says:

    I’ve grown up as a carnivore and at my age i have no intention of changing. Now having said that to those who wish to do the vegan, thing feel free to wallow in it. All I ask is don’t be like reformed smokers who always try to convert everybody they come across. Oh, and as for the Pizza Hut vegan pies; they may call their creations vegetarian pizza, I call them compost.

  8. David Johnson says:

    I ate almost entirely vegan (combined with low-carb and low-fat) for about 10 months to lose weight, and I still eat like that 6 days a week so I don’t gain it back. Meat and cheese are delicious. Fake meat and cheese aren’t, and according to the standards I’m using don’t qualify as healthy either.

  9. Ruth says:

    Vegetarian means they don’t eat meat, vegan means they don’t eat any sort of animal products at all including milk, eggs, and honey. There are folks who call themselves vegetarian, but who will eat fish or chicken, which I don’t consider to be vegetarian, but whatever floats your boat.

    I went to highschool with a bunch of 7th Day Adventists (it was that or the catholic school in town) and I’ve never understood the fake meat thing either. Fake bacon. Why bother?? Some of its quite tasty mind you, but why advertise it as fake meat?? Whatever…..

  10. Jean says:

    I have come to the conclusion, over time, that many vegetarians and vegans are really starchitarians.

  11. John says:

    Much ado about nothing. As modern academia has that there is no such thing as biological sex, so the distinction between animal and vegetable is silly as well. Gaia turns grass into dung, and dung beetles, and flies. Steak is a just a by-product. No biological difference. It’s all just grass. Everything.

  12. Goober says:

    Vegetarian = someone who does not eat the flesh of animals, but will eat animal products that do not require the death of an animal to obtain. For instance, dairy and eggs.

    Vegan = a person that will not eat any animal products at all, including dairy and eggs, because they see cruelty inherent in obtaining those food items as well.

  13. Goober says:

    To your other question, there are two things I can point out in response. I am not vegetarian or vegan, but I do follow an extremely strict ketogenic diet in an attempt to stave off a particularly nasty auto-immune disease that makes me grow heart tumors, apparently. …

    1.) Eating is an inherently social function. When you are forced to eat something different from everybody else, it is inconvenient and often times alienating. I would never have believed this until I started this diet myself, but you’ll just have to trust me. It absolutely is. So if you are at a function where everybody’s eating hamburgers, I can absolutely understand the urge to have a veggie burger so that you aren’t the odd man out eating a kale salad.

    2.) I have known several vegetarians in my life that have told me that they actually quite liked eating meat. It’s just that they could not eat it, because an animal had to die to get it, and that violated some conscious morality that they had in their head. So they make things that taste as close to me as possible because they really do miss eating meat they just don’t for moral reasons.

  14. jabrwok says:

    I’ve never been tempted by herbivorism (animals taste too good), and given the number of animals which die when crops are grown and harvested, I’ve never been terribly impressed by arguments that eating defenseless plants saves the lives of animals.

    Fortunately I’ve long since given up on expecting intellectual consistency from humans:-).

  15. Goober says:

    Jabrwok, as with many things human, there is no rationality to it. Many vegans and vegetarians will even admit that, in much the same way many defend capitalism: flawed, but better than anything else.

To the stake with the heretic!