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vegan lunch box
March 8, 2006 8:59 PM   Subscribe

vegan lunch box... In a meat eaters world, a stay at home mom's blog about packing school lunches for her vegan kid.
posted by trishthedish (255 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
trish made me twinkies from her site this evening, and it ruled.
posted by teishu at 9:03 PM on March 8, 2006


My six year old son announced yesterday that he was a vegetarian. "But I don't eat all my vegetables", he added quickly.

This is in contrast to my friend Greg's twins. Greg's a vegeterian and his wife's a meat eater. They decided the twins would be vegeterians until they were old enough to understand what eating meat was all about (about my son's age, in fact).

Greg decided that their first experience of meat should be as, um, 'real' as possible. So he took them to the duck pond in Finsbury Park and had them feed bread to the ducks. Then he went to the butchers and bought a duck, which he coooked.

That night, the roasted duck was unveiled and Greg, a sweet and kind man, explained that it was just like the ducks they had been feeding bread to, and they could choose whether they wanted to eat it or not.

He of course assumed his children would refuse, but to his chagrin, they fell on it, yelling "is this its beak?", "is this its leg?" as they devoured the whole thing.
posted by unSane at 9:08 PM on March 8, 2006 [3 favorites]


Amazing. Nice FPP trishthedish. I found this inspiring, heart warming. She obviously takes pride in her creations, also enjoying her son's preferences, going the extra mile to make things to please him lovingly.
posted by nickyskye at 9:10 PM on March 8, 2006


its kind of a bummer cause i don't like people eating meat, but that is an amazingly funny story.
posted by teishu at 9:10 PM on March 8, 2006


Her kid's not going to be able to trade that stuff for *anything* good.
posted by smackfu at 9:11 PM on March 8, 2006


he said, "I'm tired of the people in my lunch group. They eat meat every day in their lunch, and when I see it I think, 'there's one less animal in the world'."

She must be laying it on pretty thick to get that out of a first-grader.
posted by smackfu at 9:13 PM on March 8, 2006


Hmmm....vegan lunches + little notes from mom + mom's blog referring to her "schmoo." If I tried really, really hard I don't think I could come up with a combination that would result in more classmate harassment (if not outright beatings).
posted by mullacc at 9:14 PM on March 8, 2006


After reading this I'm now under the impression that my Mom didn't love me...
posted by sourwookie at 9:37 PM on March 8, 2006


It's too bad that 4 pizzas photo is on the top of that particular page, because the color is somewhat washed out and the kale seems to have too much green cooked out of it, providing a classic visual Bland Vegan Food moment. But a lot of the other foods actually look pretty appetizing.

Anyway, thanks for the link, ms dish.
posted by soyjoy at 9:39 PM on March 8, 2006


i find it very interesting to hear stories of children that are raised as vegans/vegetarians. they have a completely different outlook on their diet than people that are not. i plan to raise my children as vegans but i dont want to do it in such a way that isolates them from other children when the are young.

i think more than anything i will be relieved to know that my children arent turning their brains into mush by living on the junk that schools feed children these days.
posted by trishthedish at 9:44 PM on March 8, 2006


I feel like raising children vegan would be a terrible idea. There are trace nutrients in animal products that people never really bother to/can't supplement for, aren't there? Secondly, unlike regular vegetarianism, I feel like veganism is something that you're indoctrinated into. Those kids are going to grow up to be a little off.

Kind of like religion.
posted by borkingchikapa at 9:49 PM on March 8, 2006


There are trace nutrients in animal products that people never really bother to/can't supplement for, aren't there?

I probably should have added "that would be instrumental to the development of a child"
posted by borkingchikapa at 9:50 PM on March 8, 2006


Personally, I think it's kind of crazy to raise kids as vegans but, hey, it's her kid. And damn, that kid's got it made. I hope he appreciates how good he's got it. Though being a damn kid he probably doesn't. Once he gets to college and he's eating week old tofu he found between his bunk and the wall then he'll really understand why packed lunches are the #13 greatest thing in the universe.
posted by nixerman at 9:51 PM on March 8, 2006


Why didn't you link to the site's front page? Better pix there.

trish made me twinkies from her site this evening

That filling sounds nasty. (Screw that shortening and margerine nonsense. *shiver*.) I'd fill it with this instead:

Ingredients
=========

1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or more
1 cup coconut meat
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut butter (depending on how thick you want it to be)
2 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 extra tsp extract)
1/4 tsp salt

Do this
=====

Put 'em in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Transfer to fridge and chill to set, 2 hours or more. Recipe from this book


She must be laying it on pretty thick to get that out of a first-grader.

I completely disagree. I was like that when I was a kid and I lived in a meat-eating house.
posted by dobbs at 10:25 PM on March 8, 2006


I would have liked this a lot more if she didn't call her kid "schmoo." I don't know why but that drove me batty. I think it would have been much more palatable if she called him "the boy."
posted by Falconetti at 10:30 PM on March 8, 2006


Hurray for indoctrination. If only cats would teach their kittens the same values.
posted by cellphone at 10:40 PM on March 8, 2006


Hmmm....vegan lunches + little notes from mom + mom's blog referring to her "schmoo." If I tried really, really hard I don't think I could come up with a combination that would result in more classmate harassment (if not outright beatings).
mullacc, i feel bad for saying this (as a vegan), but i thought the same thing when i first stumbled upon the blog.

i think it's great that the mom's so involved with her kid and being so kind to pack him amazing lunches. the kid eats way better than i do. i remember when i was in first grade, my mom showed me where the peanut butter was and said, "you're on your own." i guess i still have the emotional scars. anyhow... i think this is way more about the mom and less about the kid, and i'm sure that kid would be annoying to hang around.
posted by kendrak at 10:49 PM on March 8, 2006


you know, the term "vegan activist" being used by this woman to describe herself sends red flags off in my head.

I mean, I'm all for raising your kids by your own moral standards and all, but I have to wonder what would happen if/when the kid says he wants to eat meat, or that he doesn't appreciate being told that he mustn't eat meat.

kids often don't want to disappoint their parents despite their own preferences. when they do finally speak for themselves, it's usually from bottled up frustration and comes out as something like a temper tantrum or simple screaming fit. I wonder if that would simply be dismissed as juvenile rebellion by these parents or if it would be taken seriously.

there are plenty of omnivorous families who don't take their children seriously when they decide to be vegetarians or vegans, and that's a shame. I hope this isn't the same thing in reverse.

if it isn't, then hey! great site. very interesting.
posted by shmegegge at 10:58 PM on March 8, 2006


i'm sure that kid would be annoying to hang around.

I wanted to say this, but I was waiting for a vegan to say it first so I wouldn't be accused of meatism. (actually I am a vegetarian, so I could never be accused of meatism)
posted by Falconetti at 11:33 PM on March 8, 2006


Raising your kids vegan is very much like raising your kids Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Catholic, Thereveda Buddhist, or any other belief system that requires its adherents to forego eating certain foods for ideological/dogmatic reasons. If they buy it, they buy it. If they don't, well, you did what you thought was right, and hopefully you weren't an asshole about it.
posted by kosem at 11:35 PM on March 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


That's not pizza. Pizza has cheese on it. Cheese made from milk.

I'm actually pretty disgusted reading that page with how much she has processed substitutes instead of food that's just what it is.

I saw:

Fake cheese. (ingredients include "Dairy Free American Cheese Flavor.")

Fake pepperoni.

"Vegenaise." (Soy protein! Rice syrup!)

Fake yoghurt. (More soy!)

Tofurkey.

Fake hamburger. (Textured soy flour, dried yeast, yeast extract.)

Fake meatballs. (Apparently just lentils and rice, so nothing actually bad here, but why not just call them "lentil and rice balls".)

Breadsticks with "cheesy tasting nutritional yeast."

Finally, a "vegan pepperoni and mozzarella sandwich." (At least the bread is actually bread...)

Meanwhile the things she made that weren't fake substitutes with crap ingredients looked fine.

It really seems like she doesn't care much about the quality of the food, as long as it doesn't contain animal products. The ingredients in these things sound like they should be in the slop they eat in The Matrix.

Is there really such a dearth of things to make in Vegan cuisine that aren't using crap processed ingredients to pretend to be something else?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:11 AM on March 9, 2006


Raising your kids vegan is very much like raising your kids Jewish, Muslim...

So there.

And I agree. What I can't get into is how much time this woman must devote to making food. If her blog is an honest representation of her interests and activities, she's Mrs Cleaver but in color. She must spend more time planning, preparing, packing, and blogging these colorful little fetish lunches than I do on pretty much anything. How many time a week would it take to make five lunches like this? "A thermos filled with piping hot vegan fondue today..." -- yeah, right. How about a cheese sandwich, kid?

My rule is that a meal should take less time to make than it takes to eat. And something like this -- "Little shmoo and Papa shmoo both went crazy over these breadsticks. I made 36 last night, and they're all gone!" -- would just convince me that it wasn't worth my time. Shit, I spent all that time making those things and then the locusts swarm the kitchen and devour them all.

But I am not a SAHM, so I guess our clocks run at different speeds for things like this.
posted by pracowity at 12:49 AM on March 9, 2006


cuuuuuuuute. :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:53 AM on March 9, 2006


When civilization falls, the industrial food machine collapses, and we're down to cannibalism, that kid's gonna be good eatin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:04 AM on March 9, 2006


Anyone making such healthy and delicious lunches for their kid deserves a loftier title than "stay-at-home mom."

How about "amateur vegan chef?"

This mom rocks. Haters can eat my meat.
posted by scarabic at 1:20 AM on March 9, 2006


you know, the term "vegan activist" being used by this woman to describe herself sends red flags off in my head.

I mean, I'm all for raising your kids by your own moral standards and all


I'd just like the meat-eaters in the thread to acknowledge that raising your kid with meat in his/her diet is ALSO "raising them by your moral standards." It's not like veganism is some kind of "moral philosophy" but eating meat is not. Either way you're communicating values to your kid. Perhaps those values are "taste is more important than the environment" or "the lousy conditions animals are raised in don't matter."

This is why people always react so strongly, often negatively, to vegans: the vegan lifestyle just emphasizes that what you eat is a moral choice, and most folks want to pretend it isn't (because they know deep down they can't defend their diet on moral grounds).

To anyone who earnestly hopes that the parent is willing to let the kid eat meat if he wants to, I ask: have you presented your child with the option to go vegetarian/vegan? Would you be prepared to accomodate them if they declared such a desire themselves? If the answer to either question is "no," then I think pointing the finger at a vegan partent for ramming their values down the kid's throat is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

The average vegan has put 100x as much thought into the morals of their diet than the average omnivore, so I always find it pathetic when meat-eaters attempt to lecture them.
posted by scarabic at 1:28 AM on March 9, 2006


Is there really such a dearth of things to make in Vegan cuisine that aren't using crap processed ingredients to pretend to be something else?

I don't know about the processed ingredients, but I think the problem with pretending to be (or really substituting for) something else is that we have a lot of familiar, convenient shorthand for non-veggie meals. A hamburger is a particular kind of sandwich we've all seen and most of us have eaten: a piece of cattle meat that has been ground up, rolled into a ball, flattened into a circular "patty," cooked, put on a particular kind of roll that fits the shape of the patty, covered with various optional toppings, and served hot. Instead of describing all that but specifying a meat substitute, it's easier for cooks and consumers to talk about a veggie burger -- it gets the point across in a fairly unambiguous way. If you order one, you expect to get whatever you'd get with a regular hamburger except the meat, which will be replaced by a vegetarian simulation (hot, moist, tasty, nutritious patty of vegetable matter) of that part of the sandwich.
posted by pracowity at 1:31 AM on March 9, 2006


indeed, pracowity. Plus, this is a SIX YEAR OLD. Children love processed crap food, as we all know.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:34 AM on March 9, 2006


All the people I know who tried going vegan became unhealthy and weak. They lose a lot compared to vegetarians.
posted by johndog at 2:08 AM on March 9, 2006


March 9, 2006

I had a soy-cheese sandwich for lunch today.
posted by rory at 2:15 AM on March 9, 2006



It's not like veganism is some kind of "moral philosophy" but eating meat is not


Meat eating is not a "moral philosophy", it's something that we've been doing for thousands of years. We are Omnivores. Simple fact. If you have a moral problem with eating meat fine. Doesn't mean meat eaters are amoral. Now, people who munch on Whale or other endangered species just for the hell of it... that's wrong in my eyes. Unless of course they were starving.
posted by twistedonion at 2:22 AM on March 9, 2006


damn you twistedonion you beat me to it.

There are lots of vegans/vegetarians on my campus handing out PETA pamphlets, and mini vegan cook books. I always enjoy looking down and saying, hey are those leather Doc Martins / Birkenstocks / etc... Of course if they're not, and they're sneakers then I get to ask why it's better to have child labor than caged cattle...

At any rate, vegans definitely take a holier than thou attitude to meat that is not comparable to a meat eaters attitude about vegans/vegetarians. You will not find that many meat eaters who demand that you give them time to hear about how bad your protein deficient diet is for you. For what it's worth though i'm trying to eat less meat. Too many wasted resources are tied up in having cheap burgers, and i feel like crap after a steak.
posted by sourbrew at 2:37 AM on March 9, 2006




we have one of these in our family (sigh)...the mother is so blindly absorbed wtih her child, and so concerned about raising her correctly, that she home-schooled her and instituted a vegan diet at birth. but at some point in th daughter's developement, the vegan diet robbed her of very essential protiens and elements, that she grew-up sickly and weak. the supplements just weren't enough. her mother was basically starving her to death without knowing that she was causing harm. which was exacerbated by the daughter assuming that her mother was doing the right thing for her diet, so she never questioned it. when the daughter hit puberty, they realized that there was something very wrong, and started working meat slowly into her diet.

when they speak about it now in past tense, the daughter jokingly refers to it as 'when i was starving'... and the mother assuming a 'mea culpa' attitute. i could imagine that the mother was such a control freak to institute such a strict diet, that she couldnt see past her own frenetic preparations, and her own boredom and her own self-important moral righeousness.

anyway, im not sure what the moral of the story is, but once we fattened the daughter up, she is actually now the most compassionate, aware and sweet girl i've met. adversely, she's pretty annoying and self-righteous, and has a really hard time making friends. ehhh....

personallly,i think it's negligent and irresponsible to raise a child vegetarian, as proof has shown me it doesnt really work. but even worse is when people decide to make their cats and dogs vegetarian. that's pretty lame.
posted by naxosaxur at 2:41 AM on March 9, 2006


sourbrew, you've probably never been on the receiving end of one of Idiot Meatman's anti-vegan diatribes (the opposite of Pasty-Faced Vegan Dude's righteous leafletting).

Genuine arguments against veganism that I have heard:

"If we weren't supposed to eat animals, they wouldn't be made of meat." (Humans are made of meat.)
"If we weren't supposed to eat animals, they wouldn't be in the fields." (If I put people in the field, can I eat them? I don't know if it's important, but this dude thought that ghosts were real and that the pyramids were made by aliens.
"If we didn't eat animals, then like, they'd overpower us..." (Opposable thumbs, my man. Cattle have little interest in PS2s.)
"If we didn't eat meat there would be too many animals. It's like war. If there weren't wars the planet would be overpopulated." (The Good Ol' Malthusian Argument in Favour of Eating Meat.)
"You don't eat meat? You must be a fucking gay then!" (Crushing logic.)

I'm as much against Pasty-Faced Vegan Dude's approach as I am Idiot Meatman's. If it were Bill Pearl handing our leaflets, you might think differently.
posted by xpermanentx at 2:55 AM on March 9, 2006


Any vegan should know that you can't make a cat vegan. Dogs can be fed vegan food, however, with no ill effects. Most dog food has little meat in it in the first place.

And scarabic was responding to some "oh noes! vegans!" comments so wtf-ever.
posted by beerbajay at 3:04 AM on March 9, 2006


A few thoughts while reading some of that blog and this thread:

1. Heck, if I had someone to spend hours a day planning and preparing my vegan meals, I might well be a vegan, too. I totally dig veggie dishes when they're prepared well.

2. The amount of time spent in preparing these meals seems to hearken back to an era when the "stay-at-home mom" didn't actually feel like she was being oppressed (per some feminist framing), but indeed found joy in the role. The idea of "locusts swarming the kitchen" is something that, for me, would also be a complete discouragement to pouring all the time and effort into food preparation. Not so for some, who probably find that affirming to the skill of their craft and to the service (to their loved ones) provided by it. The kind of worldview that June Cleaver embodied.

3. I'm not a meat-eater because of any real moral choice I've made, really. And I have considered the moral issues. I simply eat meat because I'm evolved to do it, it suits my physiology, and it's by far the more convenient way (lowest cost in resources of time, effort and money) to get the nutrients my body needs. I suppose you could make the argument that I've morally decided that convenience/cost is more important than an animal's suffering. But if so:

I've also made a moral choice that the comfort of sleeping on cotton sheets (as opposed to curling up in a nest of grass I've harvested from my back yard) justifies the pollution that it took to grow, harvest and process cotton,

I've made a moral choice that having a computer is more important than the pollution of mining, processing and fabrication,

I've made a moral choice that spending time to make a comment on this thread is a better use of my time than spending the same few minutes going out and volunteering in a homeless shelter.

I guess all of that makes me an amoral person? I guess my point is that anyone with an agenda can frame just about any activity one is engaged in as a moral choice. Ultimately, though, what good does that do? I eat meat occasionally. If vegans want to believe I'm doing it because of bad judgment and bad moral choices, that seems a little bit of a non sequitur.
posted by darkstar at 3:05 AM on March 9, 2006


Oh, and actually, many of my meals are vegetarian - we grew up that way in the South. I still likes me some cornbread and black-eyed peas, y'all!
posted by darkstar at 3:10 AM on March 9, 2006


I envy this kid. I wish somebody would send me off each days with such lovingly prepared meals. All my mother ever made was Kraft dinner.
posted by missbossy at 3:27 AM on March 9, 2006


Heck, if I had someone to spend hours a day planning and preparing my vegan meals, I might well be a vegan, too.

I suspect that convenience and price are the main factors in whether many people will become partially or fully vegetarian. Give people low-cost veggie food in the grocery and tasty veggie fast food drive-through restaurants and so on and you will have lots of people trying it, enjoying it, getting used to it, and eventually switching to it. Relatively few people like to kill animals, but we eat them because meat meals are normal and easy and everywhere (and because we don't have to see the animals die).

But there's too much emphasis on being 100 percent vegetarian -- instead of working for absolute conversion, vegetarian activists would do more good by gently encouraging people to reduce their consumption of meat. If eating meat is bad (for animals, for people, for the environment in general), there would be much good done by halving meat consumption, even if everyone continued to be a meat consumer but at a reduced level. If you think meat is murder, then yes, any consumption of meat is still murder and any consumer of meat is still a murderer, but if you can get a lot of mass murderers to kill 50 people each instead of 100 each, you have halved the evil. Meanwhile, by increasing demand for vegetarian food and decreasing demand for meat-based meals, they will slowly shift the balance (in terms of price and convenience and selection) in favor of vegetarianism. Maybe eventually there would be a (choose your favorite term) threshold, critical mass, tipping point, beyond which it would be easier to be vegetarian than to be a meat eater.
posted by pracowity at 4:00 AM on March 9, 2006


Hmmm....vegan lunches + little notes from mom + mom's blog referring to her "schmoo." If I tried really, really hard I don't think I could come up with a combination that would result in more classmate harassment (if not outright beatings).

"Vegan lunch box" = First Aid Kit + Lettuce
posted by techgnollogic at 4:01 AM on March 9, 2006


LOL, techgno!
posted by darkstar at 4:04 AM on March 9, 2006


I always find it pathetic when meat-eaters attempt to lecture them.

if that diatribe is specifically aimed at me, then I'd like to point out that I specifically acknowledged that it's okay to raise a kid as vegan in my post, and didn't attempt to lecture or point fingers at anyone. I was really very clear about the fact that the idea of a "vegan activist" raising a kid is what caused my concerns. I also specifically pointed out that it's not okay when meat-eating parents don't allow their kids the freedom to choose vegetarianism/veganism.

even if it's not specifically aimed at me, you need to get off your soap box, as has been stated above.
posted by shmegegge at 4:24 AM on March 9, 2006


> I'd just like the meat-eaters in the thread to acknowledge that raising your kid with
> meat in his/her diet is ALSO "raising them by your moral standards." It's not like
> veganism is some kind of "moral philosophy" but eating meat is not.

To rise to the standard of a "moral philosophy" a practice must involve, at a minimum, thought and conscious committment. It's much more likely that veganism is a moral philosophy where meat-eating is not, because it's so very easy to be a meat-eater thoughtlessly and without moral committment, just by drifting with the culture. Whereas it's pretty much impossible to swim against the culture thoughtlessly and without conscious committment. Dead fish go with the flow; only live 'uns swim upstream.

Under different life circumstances it would be easy to be a vegan or near-vegan thoughtlessly. I am persuaded that the healthiest diet for people is what we were evolved to eat before we invented cooperative hunting, agriculture, and food processing in general--that is, mostly roots 'n' berries supplemented by the occasional bit of animal protein (grasshopper, worm, snake, baby bird.) Basically what chimps and baboons eat to this day. I do not eat this way myself, but I won't complain if you do.

My favorite mefi comment re. the morality of eating animals:

The problem with the Francione link that soyjoy posted is that it isn't a critique of human carnivority, it's a critique of heterotrophism. I still can't fathom why a moo-cow has a right-oid not to be tortured and eaten by me, but not a right-oid against torture and consumption by, say, badgers. If eating meat is wrong for us, it must simply be wrong, and our duty is to protect animals (at the very least) against predation, and to modify predators so that they are no longer dependent upon immoral food sources. If predatory animals are unable to make moral choices, like small children, then we as their guardians must make them for them.
(posted by ROU_Xenophobe)

...and my favorite overall gloss on the whole subject:

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent. - Epictetus
(posted by rebeccablood)

posted by jfuller at 4:49 AM on March 9, 2006


I always find it pathetic when meat-eaters attempt to lecture them.

The thing I always find ridiculous is when they start going on and on about how you're wearing a leather belt. Or leather shoes.

The cows have been killed because of their eating habits. Once the animals are already dead, might as well not let the rest of them go to waste.
posted by LeLiLo at 4:49 AM on March 9, 2006


Is there really such a dearth of things to make in Vegan cuisine that aren't using crap processed ingredients to pretend to be something else?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:11 AM PST on March 9 [!]


The stuff you list, pepperoni, cheese, mayonnaise, and other meat bits....the cheese is likely to have been from bGHed cows, much of the mayonnaise isn't 'oil and egg whites', and the meat has nitrates, preservatives and the critters mostlikely were raised on feedlots using antibiotics in 'preventative' amounts (vs Oh, the animal is sick, let us heal him/her antibiotics). Oh, and add high fructose coin sugar.

So how would the animal-based versions not ALSO be filled with crap processed ingredients if bought from the normal food-chain?

(and when was the last time one saw 'organic pepperoni'?)
posted by rough ashlar at 4:51 AM on March 9, 2006


Perhaps those values are "taste is more important than the environment" or "the lousy conditions animals are raised in don't matter."

Keep your lectures to yourself scarabic. You look fucking stupid on that high horse.
posted by bouncebounce at 1:39 AM PST on March 9 [!]


Why? Is Scarabic wrong about the effects on the environment and lousy conditions of the animals that are raised for mass marketed meat?

If Scarabic is wrong, debate the topic.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:01 AM on March 9, 2006


Another vote for "this is just as bad as religion." At least I snapped out of it and started eating pork at a young age. A lot of kids just get trapped, it seems.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:03 AM on March 9, 2006


Oh, and Scarabic wins. I often feel dismay at the way in which mainstream US culture has marignalized the appreciation of traditional food culture, leading to obesity and junkfoodism and all that crap. As far as I'm concerned, most US-style vegetarianism is a part of this phenomenon.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:06 AM on March 9, 2006


Nicely said scarabic.
posted by nickyskye at 5:25 AM on March 9, 2006


I was never a big fan of the vegan options, but some of the tastiest meals I had were in the breakroom at the editorial offices of Vegetarian Times, prepared in a test kitchen by the magazine's food editor. Among other things, I was a contributing writer and editor. I was also one of several non-vegetarians on the staff, including the editor at the time (which certainly was not how she portrayed herself to the magazine's readers). I knew I could never go whole-hog, but while I worked there I decided to commit to at least one or two strictly vegetarian meals a week.
posted by emelenjr at 5:29 AM on March 9, 2006


most US-style vegetarianism is a part of this phenomenon

Can you explain how US-style vegetarianism leads to obesity and eating junk food? I am a little perplexed by that statement since most vegetarians and vegans have to go out of their way to find what they want to eat while meat eaters practically have crap food shoved down their throat.

Note that I'm not a vegetarian.
posted by melt away at 5:29 AM on March 9, 2006


"P.S. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and shmoo's class will be sharing a simple meal of rice to welcome in the Lenten "fasting" season. So no lunch box, and I'll be fretting all day over his emptyish tummy. But I'll be making him a big breakfast and afterschool snack!"

Private school, I hope.

Scarabic doesn't win because you catch more flies with honey. Anyone can regurgitate a diatribe; how about coming up with something that welcomes meat-eaters to at least temporarily share your point of view?

I've got my NY state bowhunter's license. I haven't had the chance yet, but me and Ted Nugent are going to go out, kill a deer and eat it. No hormones or mistreatment to worry about there. Just natural selection and venison steak.

I don't think I could ever go vegan because I can't eat beans/soy/tofu/lentil. I'm fairly allergic to all beans (no coffee, either!) and legumes. I did vegetarian for about a month once without really even thinking about it (being too poor for anything but salad helped). Would I ever go full-out vegetarian? No, because I don't see the point in it.

And yes, I'm that kid who on the liberal college campus ordered a veggie burger with bacon as a goof (I was an even bigger ass back in the day). The veggie burger was unpalatable. I stripped off the bacon and ate that, dumping the veggie patty after trying to choke it down (what I really hate is wasting food; I don't care what it is you eat). I secretly wanted to try it, and even like it, but I couldn't. Vegetarianism was fashionable (and veganism by comparison was like the Cult of Prada handbag owners) but it's a fashion I grew out of. Even my vegetarian ex is now a "flexitarian" because hey, bacon tastes good. In all things moderation. Dietary obsession included, because what good is tacking a few years onto your life if they're filled with worrying about your food intake?

I hope this doesn't read too preachy. I just wanted to present my (much considered) point of view.
posted by Eideteker at 5:40 AM on March 9, 2006


Animal crackers, btw? Totally vegan. And delicious.
posted by Eideteker at 5:42 AM on March 9, 2006


This woman needs a job. All of the kids I knew whose moms were so doting are self absorbed assholes One even turned into a very cynical republican. Largely, I'm convinced, because his mother taught him that other people were pretty much just ignorant shadows who weren't as special as he is.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:43 AM on March 9, 2006


Also, vegans are crazy extremists who make the rest of the world's vegetarians look bad by association and the need to shut up.

Sincerely,

A life-long strict vegetarian
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:47 AM on March 9, 2006


Vegan lunch mom has just put feminism back by about 30 years.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:52 AM on March 9, 2006


I can't imagine anything worse than a duck cooked be a vegetarian out of spite.
posted by jon_kill at 5:55 AM on March 9, 2006


melt away, it goes something like this:

  • Duh, instead of nurturing the development of an authentically US food tradition, let's just mass-market total crap that doesn't taste very good but doesn't require any cooking
  • That stuff is gross
  • No it's not, now eat your oxidized hamburger that's sitting on a little diaper and wrapped in plastic
  • Man, meat is really just gross, I can't believe we killed a cow just for that diapered hamburger meat... I'll just stop eating it, because it's repugnant and unnecessary

    If we (meaning the people and the corporations) had been encouraging appreciation for the use/eating of the whole animal (as you see in nearly everywhere else in the world), we wouldn't have created millions of people who think of processed boring supermarket meat when they think of meat, thus turning them off to the whole idea of eating meat entirely.

    Food culture in the US is mostly one where people are afraid of their food, I'd say. Lots of stuff is "gross" i.e. organ meats, funky cheeses, and a lot of stuff that's kept at room temperature in other countries, but refrigerated in plastic wrap in the US. See also: food poisoning phobia.

    I'm not saying this is the reason everyone is vegetarian, but I believe it causes quite a few people to become vegetarian in the US. If your only contact with meat is with something that's sterile, unpleasant, and a symbol of unpleasant consumerism, you're not gonna appreciate eating meat and everything else.

  • posted by rxrfrx at 5:58 AM on March 9, 2006


    I envy this kid. I wish somebody would send me off each days with such lovingly prepared meals.
    posted by missbossy at 6:27 AM EST on March 9 [!]


    Me too. I'm not a vegetarian, but those lunches looked damned tasty. She clearly puts a great deal of effort into them and I find that very endearing.

    By contrast, when I was in grade school, my parents would buy the expired bread from the bread outlet store and a pack of bologna (mmm...beef lips). They would make my lunches for the week all in advance and then stick them in the freezer. In the morning they would stick my frozen lunch brick in my Scooby Doo lunchbox and send me off to school. By lunch time, my sandwich would only be partially defrosted. I tell you, there's nothing like a partially frozen stale bread bologna sandwich to crush a young boy's spirit. And my parents wonder why I turned out the way I did.
    posted by Otis at 5:59 AM on March 9, 2006


    And, to answer you more directly, the "I am vegetarian because meat is an unpleasant thing to create and to eat" mentality is in this way generated by the same system that encourages us to eat unhealthily in general, thus the correlation between becoming vegetarian and consuming too much junk food. It all boils down to a loss of respect for omnivorism.
    posted by rxrfrx at 6:02 AM on March 9, 2006


    Spot on, rxrfrx.
    posted by kosem at 6:08 AM on March 9, 2006


    I tend to agree that raising a child in such a manner looks more like indoctrination.
    To be a vegan or vegetarian, or not, requires some choice by the child. At such a young age I don't think you understand enough to make such a decision. All the child probably understand is "mommy says eating meat is bad" or something along those lines. And the child most likely just wants to please the mother.

    As for unsanes story; that father tried to guilt his children into being vegetarians, which is pretty lame.

    I think if you want your children to be vegan/vegetarian, it should be a choice they make when they are old enough to understand the decision presented to them. Probably in their teenage years for most kids.
    posted by a3matrix at 6:16 AM on March 9, 2006


    Like Otis above ("By lunch time, my sandwich would only be partially defrosted") I was a grumpy victim of freezer catering as a kid.
    But it did mean I was ecstatically appreciative when - very occasionally - there was something special thrown in with the usual dull fare - say, a treat left over from a birthday party or my working mother had done a rare spot of baking.
    I can't help thinking Vegan Mom's Little Schmoo is being taught to equate love with a display of recidivist domestic servitude. (Plus there's a certain hysteria in the way Mom precisely inspects how many bits of corn niblets he has failed to eat at the end of the day...).

    Heaven help his future girlfriends.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:56 AM on March 9, 2006


    I used to steal other kids' lunches in elementary school because my parents didn't allow me to eat meat. I was weird.
    posted by Debaser626 at 7:04 AM on March 9, 2006


    Why? Is Scarabic wrong about the effects on the environment and lousy conditions of the animals that are raised for mass marketed meat?

    If Scarabic is wrong, debate the topic.
    posted by rough ashlar at 1:01 PM GMT on March 9 [!]

    Look, I don’t give a shit what you or anyone else eats, really. And I don’t care why you eat it. I just object to vegans lecturing me about how much better they are than me because they are convinced they’ve given more thought to their lifestyle than I have.

    Here’s the deal, I eat meat and I enjoy it. I eat red meat once a week and white meat 3 times a week, but I mostly eat fish. I get all my meat, eggs etc. from local farm shops and it tastes fucking great. I’m lucky to have them around me and I’m lucky to be able to afford it. If I could fish worth a damn, I’d eat what I caught.

    Some people aren’t so lucky and they need to make their income support/family tax credits or whatever (this is in the UK) stretch far enough to feed a family. So you get down to the supermarket on a Saturday morning and tell the parents that they shouldn’t be buying those nasty chickens etc. because they are treated badly (which, I agree, they are) and they’ll (politely I’m sure) point out to you that what with the bills they’re paying off, clothing and per diem expenses they just have to go with the cheaper option.

    Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you censure their life(style). Getting in their faces about it will end in you getting a sore mouth because one time, you’ll pick the wrong person to lecture.

    Wouldn’t it be great if animals were treated better? I completely agree but until the economic landscape changes this is never going to happen. Pick your fights carefully and you get better results.
    posted by bouncebounce at 7:12 AM on March 9, 2006


    As for the Vegan duck cooker? All he has done is punish his children for not thinking the same way as he does. What a small fucking man.
    posted by bouncebounce at 7:13 AM on March 9, 2006


    there's nothing like a partially frozen stale bread bologna sandwich to crush a young boy's spirit. And my parents wonder why I turned out the way I did.

    :)
    posted by caddis at 7:18 AM on March 9, 2006


    i really hate the overly preachy vegans who advocate a complete halt on meat consumption- you know free the cows and all that. it's a nice idea but total fantasy, and it wins no friends. i became a vegan for somewhat moralistic reasons (do no harm), but i understand that it's a personal choice and should be left up for the person to choose.

    it's that element of choice that worries me about lunchbox mom- is she even giving little schmoo the option to choose? in a less extreme case, my mom was a total health food nut and fed us all sorts of weird hippy food when i was a kid. by the time i entered kindergarten, i'd never had refined sugar, real chocolate, or white bread. my mom eased off the hippy food and never made it an issue what i ate at school. she always offered good healthy food at home, but also understood that my brother and i wouldn't eat at home exclusively.

    i know if i had kids i'd want them to know why i chose to be vegan, but i want them to be able to not feel totally bound to my choice. if my parents bought them a hamburger, it'd be good to see if the kid liked it- they just won't get it at home.
    posted by kendrak at 7:22 AM on March 9, 2006


    Just natural selection and venison steak.

    Actually, the way that hunting regulations foolishly mandate the thinning of the healthiest members of the deer population, the trophy bucks, it's more unnatural selection promoting the chronic wasting epidemic we see today in North America.
    posted by Pollomacho at 7:24 AM on March 9, 2006


    i think more than anything i will be relieved to know that my children aren't turning their brains into mush by living on the junk that schools feed children these days.

    The blood brain barrier prevents any food source except for simple sugar (glucose) from entering.
    posted by delmoi at 7:25 AM on March 9, 2006


    "Vegenaise." (Soy protein! Rice syrup!)

    Fake yoghurt. (More soy!)"

    Uh, isn't soy good for you?
    posted by agregoli at 7:30 AM on March 9, 2006


    I read this article this morning before I left for work. I re-read it again -at- work.

    I still want to be this lady's kid. Had my folks put half this effort into my lunches, I'd have had far fewer days with plain cheese or peanut butter sandwiches, wondering why the heck I didn't get snacks like everyone else.

    EVERY parent indoctrinates their kids. Mine are Catholic - I got fish on Fridays during Lent, had to go to Catholic school, and lost every Sunday morning from age 0 to age 18 to the 9:30 Family Mass.

    Just because this women picked eating vegan as her cause doesn't mean her kid's going to turn out any more or less messed up than anyone else. We all get to a point in our teens where we evaluate our parents' beliefs and decide for ourselves whether or not we agree.

    This kid will be no different.

    And 'schmoo' is an adorable nickname. For a little kid. Which this kid is. I myself, was 'pumpkin', my sister was 'peanut'. My niece is occasionally 'lumpy'. My roommate was 'monkeybutt'.

    But only while we were in single-digit ages. After that, the cute went away.
    posted by FritoKAL at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2006


    Put a child on the floor with a carrot and a bunny.

    If the child eats the bunny and plays with the carrot, I will give you a million dollars.
    posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2006


    I went vegetarian about the same time a friend of mine went vegan, and she suggested I join some of the vegan communities on livejournal and at least try the lifestyle for a month.

    Vegan food is not that expensive. What is expensive is the shampoos, shoes, etc that cannot be found unless I order them over the internet or travel out of my way to shop in stores like Whole Food or Trader Joes. Those vegan cheese slices packaged like Kraft slices for time saving? I could find them in my regular stores, but they cost more than the Kraft.

    It was hard to keep it up, I was the only vegan in a house of meat eaters. So we were paying for the normal stuff for them, and then the vegan stuff for me. Stretching pennies was a big concern there.

    But then when I turned to the communities for support, what I got back was a zealot attitude that rivaled bible thumpers holding a tent revival in the deep south. Everyone seemed to be locked in a game of more-vegan-than-thou, and if you mentioned using a product that you thought was vegan and were mistaken, you faced a pile-on of viciousness.

    I gave it more than the month. I lived this way for three months, and then shit on this.

    The experience was such a turn off, I remained a veggie for only a year after that. Then I split some chicken nuggets with my son, only costing a dollar, and decided I really didn't feel bad that an animal had to die for me. At least I didn't have to hear another spiel about how good I would feel if I only lived off the bushes on my front lawn.
    posted by FunkyHelix at 7:38 AM on March 9, 2006


    As for the Vegan duck cooker? All he has done is punish his children for not thinking the same way as he does. What a small fucking man.


    I don't know, sounds like he gave them a really cool treat... unintentionally of course. "Is this the beak?!" Love that.
    posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:53 AM on March 9, 2006


    The recipes in this other vegan blog are often yummy-sounding, and don't seem to feature as much "fake meat". The Vegan Lunchbox meals that include less-processed foods (like March 6th) don't seem to include much protein.

    My experience with a notes-in-the-lunchbox mom was pretty frightening too, but I'll save that for another thread.
    posted by olecranon at 7:55 AM on March 9, 2006


    Relatively few people like to kill animals, but we eat them because meat meals are normal and easy and everywhere (and because we don't have to see the animals die).

    Eh, I don't think many people mind killing animals for food.

    The thing I always find ridiculous is when they start going on and on about how you're wearing a leather belt. Or leather shoes.

    The cows have been killed because of their eating habits. Once the animals are already dead, might as well not let the rest of them go to waste.


    That's ridiculous. You could use that excuse to consume any animal product, including meat. How is it OK to eat their meat, but not their skin?
    posted by delmoi at 7:56 AM on March 9, 2006


    A vegan diet can be good for you. You can eat it even if you don't buy into all the animal protection hype.
    posted by caddis at 7:59 AM on March 9, 2006


    veganism is a luxury of the upper class.

    that said, you guys who are decrying this mother for:

    a) being a stay at home mom or
    b) preparing perfectly healthy food for her kids that she personally feels morally compelled to prepare them

    are assholes.
    posted by glenwood at 7:59 AM on March 9, 2006


    Today's lunch is macaroni & peas with a basil-flecked nutritional yeast sauce,

    They are attractive little lunches and I applaud her for making them so appealing. Her son is very lucky, because most adults would be turned off by the phrase "nutritional yeast sauce" but shmoo had the chance to try it before developing pre-conceived notions. Still, I would be curious to see how the other kids in his class view his lunches.

    I myself am a big proponent of slow cooking and regularly spend 2 hours making a dinner consumed in less than an hour. However I use butter, cream, and cheese in my cooking and I'm a little squicked out by her use of soy-based alternatives (as no doubt she would be squicked out by my use of meat and dairy products.) The good news is that the older I get (like so many other ladies of my age) the more I enjoy my vegetables. Three for four days a week, I eat no meat at all-- but my husband is still "a meat a meal" man.

    The tiresome thing about vegans is that (much like devout Christians) there is this constant pressure that if only you "saw the light" or "examined your conscience" you would convert to veganism (or Christianity.) There is a moral superiority that is stifling to communication.
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:01 AM on March 9, 2006


    As much as I respect a vegan diet and vegans' choice to not eat meat, or even to not harm animals, we must acknowledge an opposing point of view:


    posted by caddis at 8:04 AM on March 9, 2006


    I'd like to ask those who believe they are saving animals' lives by not eating them what they think farmers are going to do with their animals if they don't sell them for meat?

    Are farmers going to absorb the high expense of caring for these animals into old age and allow them to live out natural lives or are they going to become organic fertilizer for soy bean fields?
    posted by Pollomacho at 8:07 AM on March 9, 2006


    Is there really such a dearth of things to make in Vegan cuisine that aren't using crap processed ingredients to pretend to be something else?

    No. The problem, such as it is, is that the mom is insisting on making either copies of nonvegan meals or froo-froo meals.

    A vegan lunchbox is dead fucking easy.

    (1) Open can of vegetarian vegetable soup.
    (2) Heat up soup. Put in thermos.
    (3) Add peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
    (4) Add fruit.

    Or just

    (1) Put vegetable soup in *big* thermos
    (2) There is no (2)
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2006


    After spending a little too much time reading that blog, I'm a little surprised to see here, attacks based on her using processed soy products.

    It looked to me like the great majority of foods she prepared did not, in fact, make use of such products. There were a few here and there, but by and large, most of her meals looked very well prepared with a lot of thought and effort.
    posted by lyam at 8:13 AM on March 9, 2006


    Put a child on the floor with a carrot and a bunny.

    If the child eats the bunny and plays with the carrot, I will give you a million dollars.
    posted by WinnipegDragon

    Put a child on the floor with the plays of Shakespeare and a heap of refined sugar.

    If the child looks at you like you're stupid, it wasn't a terrific test.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:15 AM on March 9, 2006


    Just out of genuine curiosity, no snark intended, but where does the calcium and protein come from in your lunchbox, particularly number version two, ROU? How does a growing child get the nutrients they need from canned vegan vegetable soup?

    Also, genuine curiosity here, but do vegans (who also impose veganism on their kids) breast feed their children?
    posted by Pollomacho at 8:18 AM on March 9, 2006


    Vegetarianism works fine for me and for a number of my close friends. But the extremist attitudes that sometimes (often?) accompany veganism totally alienate me, and I do think such attitudes can hurt the vegetarian cause by association (by making non-vegetarians think "oh, that's radical PETA stuff, that's not for me.") When someone goes way out of their way to avoid soaps and medicines (because of gelatin capsules) etc. (and you do really have to go out of your way to live the vegan lifestyle) the whole thing starts seeming less like an admirable ethical choice ...and more like a fetish.
    [Plus, I don't understand how or why anyone could give up real cheese.] I wouldn't say the mom in the post advanced these attitudes, I'm speaking in general.

    Corollary: Someone I love is a dedicated A.A.'er. He has been completely sober for several years. He now avoids ingesting anything with even a trace of alcohol in it--even inert alcohol sources where intoxication is impossible (normal mouthwash use, any cooked sauces with sherry or wine, port-wine cheese, rum raisin ice cream (!)...it's a longer list then you might imagine.) I respect his desires here, and I help him out. But some of the contortions I watch him make to avoid alcohol makes it appear as if, in a small way, alcohol still controls him.
    posted by applemeat at 8:18 AM on March 9, 2006


    In response to Scarabic's early post, some of us meat-eaters do teach our children about the animals and how they should be treated. We want our children to know that meat comes from an animal and not some styrofoam package in the market. We teach our children about both domestic and wild sources of meat.

    In our house, we gladly eat meat of all kinds. Some of it comes from the grocery store around the corner. Some of it comes from the farm down the road. Some was given to us by a neighbor who had killed the elk himself. Our son knows that the pig he lovingly feeds raisins to at the farm we visit may end up on our plates. The calf he pats at a cousin's house will assuredly provide us with milk or meat.

    Does he always eat meat? No. If he doesn't want it, he doesn't eat it. We don't push the issue. He's asked about our dogs and we have explained that dogs are a food source for many people but that we choose to keep these two as pets.

    We don't want the animals to suffer. Death should be as quick, peaceful and as painless as possible. We do believe in and support responsible farming and resource management. However, we're also not interested in abandoning the use or animal products. We just don't view the animals as being on the same level (morally, ethically, whatever) as humans. Yes, I know we're animals too.

    So, in trying to raise a child with good morals and ethics, we participate in a CSA farm where we go weekly to pick some of our food and interact with the animals. We expose our son to all kinds of food and explain where it comes from and why it is good to eat. This is not a mindless decision on our part. Nor is it a judgement against those who choose to be vegans or those who just prefer to pick up a tray of ground beef on the way home.
    posted by onhazier at 8:21 AM on March 9, 2006


    Well, this is turning into another rerun of previous Mefi threads (with the added spice of a mom who is doting "in the extreme"). All the "vegans are too righteous" and "I knew someone who went vegan and they got all sickly" stuff checking in on schedule. I will only address one thing I haven't seen any one else deal with:

    I feel like raising children vegan would be a terrible idea. There are trace nutrients in animal products that people never really bother to/can't supplement for, aren't there?

    No, there aren't.

    If you're talking about B12 - which is abundant in organic, non-depleted soil, and which we now don't obtain that way because of rigorous washing of our food - this is easily obtainable via a daily multivitamin. And if your point is that while it might be easy to get, some vegans don't, which is true, it's worth noting that around 10 percent of the US population is probably B12-deficient, and around 40 percent is getting "marginal" levels of B12. So the "problem" of that nutrient has little to nothing to do with veganism (at last count, vegans make up around 1 percent of the US population).

    There is, however, a pervasive mainstream myth that there must be some key nutrients in meat that makes it essential to a truly "healthy" diet, and the fact that you seem to have bought into this myth undercuts your next assertion, that "veganism is something that you're indoctrinated into." Yes, it is, and so is blind conformity to mainstream culture. All parents make choices, conscious or not, about what values from the culture at large they will let through or downplay for their children; at least veganism involves, as a central value, educating oneself about the origin of one's food, something our meat-friendly government is trying mightily to dissuade us from doing.

    And, on preview:

    [I don't understand how or why anyone could give up real cheese]

    I hear you, I really do. When I decided to go vegan I gave myself a full year to wean myself off of cheese. I also could not conceive of living without such a delicious food. I was surprised that after cutting down on it for a month, I no longer felt that way and it was easy to eliminate well before year's end. Now I honestly have no desire for it. There are plenty of other delicious foods I was ignoring that I now enjoy.
    posted by soyjoy at 8:26 AM on March 9, 2006


    The tiresome thing about vegans is that (much like devout Christians) there is this constant pressure that if only you "saw the light" or "examined your conscience" you would convert to veganism (or Christianity.)

    Sorry, Gravy, but I gotta disagree. I've been veg for 15 years and I could give a shit what anyone else puts in their mouth. This is true for pretty much every vegan and vegetarian I've ever met. (Exceptions for those who just became veg or vegan, however, as, like anyone who makes any drastic change in their life, they're apt to talk about it.) However, I have been preached to (and on and under and over) by so many fucking meat eaters, it's ridiculous.

    I eat a lot of raw food and have for several months. I've "cooked" a lot of meals for many different people (most of them meat eaters). I just don't bother to tell them it's raw and they never figure it out. When I have mentioned it, it's the meat eaters who feel the need to politicize the conversation, as if not telling them prior was my way of insulting them.
    posted by dobbs at 8:29 AM on March 9, 2006


    You are murdering bastards! I generate energy via photosynthesis. It took years of training and yoga, but hey I now have a helluva tan too!
    posted by ozomatli at 8:37 AM on March 9, 2006



    Can you explain how US-style vegetarianism leads to obesity and eating junk food? I am a little perplexed by that statement since most vegetarians and vegans have to go out of their way to find what they want to eat while meat eaters practically have crap food shoved down their throat.

    Note that I'm not a vegetarian.
    posted by melt away at 7:29 AM CST on March 9 [!]


    My vegetarian friends have trouble eating right during times when their schedules are hectic (frequent problem) or they are travelling. Often "lunch" will be french fries or a cheese sandwich. Or when on the road, McDonald's -- again fries, soda and a burger without the meat (cheese sandwich).

    Sure some forethought would take care of this problem, but it still goes to show that being vegetarian does not automatically result in healthy eating or a particularly heightened awareness of what is going into one's body. Sometimes people will put a lot of junk into their bodies because they are so focused on what is not going in.
    posted by Jesse H Christ at 8:38 AM on March 9, 2006


    I'd like to ask those who believe they are saving animals' lives by not eating them what they think farmers are going to do with their animals if they don't sell them for meat?

    Whatever happens to the current generation of animals -- presumably slaughter no matter what -- there will be fewer such animals raised in the next generation if demand is lower. Each animal not raised and killed for burgers is another life saved from the slaughterhouse.

    My vegetarian friends have trouble eating right...

    Because there aren't enough options in town and on the highway. That will change as more and more people become vegetarian.
    posted by pracowity at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2006


    Sometimes people will put a lot of junk into their bodies because they are so focused on what is not going in.

    Good point, and I've known plenty of overweight vegetarians-- If you take an unhealthy American diet (high fat, junk food, fast food, fried food) and subtract the meat, it's still unhealthy.
    posted by applemeat at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2006


    OK, so it is just me then. I guess the vegans I know are just pushy that way. It does become a big problem if you are planning on sharing a meal-- Christmas or Thanksgiving. Not only do you get grilled on the ingredients, you get the big lecture on how it is inappropriate "to celebrate" by slaughtering a helpless animal.

    Soyjoy: There is, however, a pervasive mainstream myth that there must be some key nutrients in meat that makes it essential to a truly "healthy" diet
    I wouldn't completely rule that out. After all, we are constantly being informed of newly discovered micro-nutrients in vegetables that have only recently been discovered.

    I will say on a positive note, that I love this blog, and love her creativity and effort. Do I think this boy is going to have an extremely difficult time finding a mate who lives up to mom's standards? Hoo Boy! But that shouldn't mean mom should lower her standards, surely?

    If I was still packing school lunches, I could get a great deal of inspiration from this blog. I would have never thought of sending fondue!
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2006


    I respect vegans and vegetarians, but I expect them to respect me too. My culture has always eaten meat and you know what by condemning what I choose to eat you also condemn my culture and many other people's as well.
    posted by ozomatli at 8:45 AM on March 9, 2006


    veganism is a luxury of the upper class.
    veganism can be one of the cheapest diest out there- you can't spend oodles of money on the processed soy stuff. when i'm broke i usually resort to eating lots of bean and lentils with rice. it's tasty, cheap, and healthy. i think it's because people think that all vegans want to spend $5 for an organic head of lettuce, i don't care that much.

    dobbs, i agree that a lot of people are immediately turned off by the idea of eating "vegan" food when in fact they eat it every day. my soon-to-be-ex-sis-in-law bitched and moaned that i made a vegan salad one time, and another time was shocked that vegan roast veggies tasted good. true, she is moronic.

    the kid's eating like a king, the mom scares me and probably always will.
    posted by kendrak at 8:46 AM on March 9, 2006


    to the people talking about how being vegan is for the "wealthy", you have clearly never looked at the price of things at the grocery store.

    yes, the frozen prepackaged stuff is a little pricey, but you can't compare that to regular meat, you have to compare it to frozen prepackaged meat dinners.

    compare the price of meat to the price of tofu or beans and you'll see that eating vegan is a lot less expensive than eating meat, unless you start adding "convience" items that are certainly not a necessary part of the concept of eating vegan.

    also, healthier, before people make assumptions about what nutrients you can and can't get from a vegan diet, you ought to do a little research on the topic. if you did you'd find that there is nothing that the body needs that you cannot get from plant based sources. and you'd also find that american's eat a staggering amount of meat, well beyond what the rest of the world does, and incredibly far beyond what "primitive man" ate (for those arguments of "we're made to eat meat"). it has been proven time and again that eating the amount of meat that the average american does is unhealthy.

    and far beyond the moral aspects of if its right or wrong to kill an animal for food, look into the environmental, economic, and world hunger impact of the meat industry. you'll find that the factory farm production of meat is horrible for the environment, tons of money is spent by governments to subsidize the meat industry because it cannot support itself, and that there are many counties where we send food aid in the form of grain, where up to 85% is used to feed livestock that will then be sold back to the US, when that same amount of grain could be used to feed every single hungry person in the country.

    look at what goes into the production of meat, the hormones, the antibiotics, the processing chemicals. you can debate all you want about if eating meat in and of itself can be part of a healthy diet, but there is no way around the fact that all the garbage that is added into "regular" meat is terrible for consumption.

    eating or not eating meat, in the current factory farming system, goes far beyond the issue of the morality of killing an animal for food.
    posted by teishu at 8:47 AM on March 9, 2006


    Some of the bitter, caustic attitudes towards this mom and her child are just *disgusting*.

    This is a woman who lovingly prepares excellent meals for her child, and some of you are shitting all over her, for variously "indoctrination", "[teaching] to equate love with a display of recidivist domestic servitude", "put[ting] feminism back by about 30 years", "[being a] crazy extremist", and so on.

    One demented poster even went so far as to bring the kid into this with "heaven help his future girlfriends."

    What...the FUCK?

    Do you have pictures of that first grader throwing bombs at a slaughterhouse? No? Then deploy whatever miniscule sense of fucking decency your snark-palsied, crabbed, whinging mockery of a personality you have left and suppress that clinically pathological urge to score poison points on the manhood of a fucking six year old boy.

    The woman loves her son. She put cute pictures of lunches on the internet. The story is interesting and the lunches are, relatively speaking, well designed and healthy.

    Attacking veganism and vegetarianism: fine, it's your opinion. Attacking the mom because you don't like veganism: unwarranted and ignorant. Abusively attacking the child: there really aren't any words for it. Seek the advice of a mental health professional immediately. Nauseating.
    posted by felix at 8:49 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


    I respect vegans and vegetarians...

    Yeah, right, dude, which is why your previous post was:

    You are murdering bastards! I generate energy via photosynthesis. It took years of training and yoga, but hey I now have a helluva tan too!
    posted by dobbs at 8:51 AM on March 9, 2006


    Is it against the law to joke around here now? Sheesh, lighten up...
    posted by ozomatli at 8:54 AM on March 9, 2006


    By the way, I was not putting down vegetarianism, only saying that it's really easy to fall into high-fat processed foods while trying to avoid meat.

    I think a beautiful absolutely commendable idea is MODERATION! As so often is the case, people advocate extremes. Vegetarianism is great, but proselytizing it is not. If presented with the all-or-nothing proposition that vegetarian/vegan's put forth, meat-eaters will choose nothing (and continue consuming meat, entrenched in the idea that it is the only way).

    If presented with the option of choosing meat-free once in a while as a way to make a difference, I would imagine a greater net change will occur.

    I speak from personal experience. I rejected vegetarianism for a long time and was annoyed by a veggie friend who preached the harm of a meat diet. But after considering that I enjoyed many meat-free options, I began to choose tofu or vegetables unless I really felt like some meat in which case I gave myself what I wanted. Now I get a lot more pleasure from meat and I'm Changing the World.
    posted by Jesse H Christ at 8:54 AM on March 9, 2006


    I respect vegans and vegetarians, but I expect them to respect me too. My culture has always eaten meat and you know what by condemning what I choose to eat you also condemn my culture and many other people's as well.

    ok, thats just stupid. cultural relativism can only go so far. nazis? cannibals? honor killing? apartide? really, recognize that just because its a "cultural" practice, does not give it any more moral defense of what the action is in the larger context of society as a whole.
    posted by teishu at 8:55 AM on March 9, 2006


    first off, as far as the posts about veganism being unhealthy for a child, hop over to india where a great many people in their culture never eat any meat or dairy and are incredibly healthy. the problem with the culture here in the states is that weve been brought up to eat CRAP. almost everything in the grocery store is processed. almost every single item found there is made with sugar.. so i expect no different when it comes to vegan processed food that is found in grocery stores.

    yes i do occasionally eat that crap, but i also make alot of things from scratch that are delicious and healthy... and dont take alot of time. i have a full time job and the last thing i want to do is come home and stand in the kitchen for hours.

    as far as raising your children vegan... the main problem most vegan parents run into is not breast feeding.. a child needs those nutrients from HUMAN milk to help grow at that age. cow milk is not good for you, i dont care what argument you give.. its not. beyond that some vegans just eat junk, and feed their children junk. this has nothing to do with being vegan.. my mother fed me crap my entire childhood, fried meats and potatoes.. and lots of processed foods full of sugar. i am now 26 years old and a severe hypoglycemic. i stopped eating meat and most crap 8 years ago. my doctors have always been impressed by how much it helped my health. they have also been impressed to find out that i still get too much protein, and all of my nutrients save B12 which sometimes is a little low if i dont spend much time in the sun.

    im also pretty damn poor and i do more than fine. but maybe thats because i dont think that i have to eat premade vegan meals that cost alot of money. if a meat eater did that it would be expensive too.

    im not one of those high horse vegans and most vegan activists disgust me, but thats with anything that gets blown up enough that idiots know about it. i mean honestly.. i look at the activists that throw paint on people wearing fur coats and think 'just great, now they are going to go kill another animal to make a new coat'.

    soy is good for you. the only known problem with soy is that it can break down thyroid function in rare cases. i find that much easier to swallow then eating any meat or dairy found in the grocery store that has been injected with antibodies to make it look pretty.

    morally i think that whatever you decide to teach your children they will take what they want or dont. just like was mentioned before with religion. i will be happy to know that at least in the young years my children will be eating healthy food and not consuming pounds upon pounds of sugar.. and if it means i have to wake up earlier in the morning to make cute little lunch boxes then great... i dont want my kids eating that school lunch crap that is being proven to break down mental function in kids anyhow.

    i think its awesome that this woman chooses to stay home and be a full time mom. i wish most kids had this opportunity.. its not against feminism for a woman to make this choice instead of working. the teachers that i know that are in elementary schools can only remark in disgust that every year the kids get more stupid... they have no social skills, eat complete junk food, cant tell you anything if it wasnt on TV, can barely read or say their ABCs in the first grade, worst of all they have NO imagination. what a waste of being a kid!!!

    maybe if they had an awesome mom packing them school lunches in the morning and devoting her time to them they wouldnt be so deprived of the skills needed in our society. there are ALOT worse things than getting picked on by your fellow students because you have a cool lunch. most kids at that age dont know one way or the other about veganism and only see that this kid has some cool stuff when they just have a meal ticket.
    posted by trishthedish at 8:57 AM on March 9, 2006


    oh my. that was kinda long. :)
    posted by trishthedish at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2006


    I will say on a positive note, that I love this blog, and love her creativity and effort. Do I think this boy is going to have an extremely difficult time finding a mate who lives up to mom's standards? Hoo Boy!

    Gravy, I completely agree. Her elaborate lunches are delightful to look at, and she seems to treat that son like a prince. ...But yikes! I wouldn't want to be his future mate either...shudder.
    posted by applemeat at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2006


    ok, thats just stupid. cultural relativism can only go so far. nazis? cannibals? honor killing? apartide? really, recognize that just because its a "cultural" practice, does not give it any more moral defense of what the action is in the larger context of society as a whole.
    posted by teishu at 10:55 AM CST on March 9 [!]


    If cultural relativism can only go so far and eating meat is barbaric then tell me what the acceptable cultures in the world are. If you belive eating meat is evil, that is your perrogative. I can tell you this though: I am not an evil person, nor is ant of my immediate family. The old Okinowan man eating smoked eel is probably not either, or the African bushman, or the eskimos, or the Jewish couple having some brisket. Its funny how some of the most "liberal" people in the world can be some judgemental about somthing they don't like.
    posted by ozomatli at 9:07 AM on March 9, 2006


    My culture has always eaten meat and you know what by condemning what I choose to eat you also condemn my culture and many other people's as well.

    I hope this is another joke. Because if it's not, you must be exhausted!
    posted by applemeat at 9:07 AM on March 9, 2006


    You've got to admire this mom for the effort she puts into her son's lunches. I doubt you could say a single bad thing about that. (Only now that I'm living on my own am I appreciating my mom's efforts...)

    As for her raising her son vegan, that's totally her (and partner's) call. That's what they get to do if they have a kid. Nutritionally, veganism can be done successfully if she pays attention to what a growing child needs. Some vitamins and amino acids are difficult/impossible to obtain from plants alone, so I hope she has talked to the pediatrician about this. Hopefully she has, and the kid grows up strong, healthy, and happy.

    About the vegan/meatism debate: shouldn't people just be happy to eat what they like, and not get upset at other people for doing the same? (I mean unless someone is gnawing at your arm, you probabaly should respect everyone's dietary choices). Of course I don't think it makes sense to be vegan for animal rights sake (I mean we are designed to be omnivores), but that doesn't mean I don't respect my vegan friends. It's their call, and as long as they are not miserable being vegan (and none of them are), I'm happy for them.

    My only worry about this kid (other than nutrition) is that he seems to be kind of judgemental about meat-eating kids. At one point, Mom says "Then a while later (still scoring) he said, "I'm tired of the people in my lunch group. They eat meat every day in their lunch, and when I see it I think, 'there's one less animal in the world'." I mean I'm not one to tell other folks how to raise their kids, but since I'm sure she'd like other kids to respect her son's dietary choices, shouldn't she teach her son to respect the meat-eaters?

    (And how much do you want to bet, this little kid is trading half his food for HotPockets, SnackPacks, Froot-by-the-Foot, Gushers, Soda, HoHos, Twinkies, and any one of a million kid-targetted products that find their way into lunchrooms?)
    posted by ruwan at 9:08 AM on March 9, 2006


    (And how much do you want to bet, this little kid is trading half his food for HotPockets, SnackPacks, Froot-by-the-Foot, Gushers, Soda, HoHos, Twinkies, and any one of a million kid-targetted products that find their way into lunchrooms?)
    posted by ruwan at 11:08 AM CST on March 9 [!]


    How much do you want to bet he's NOT! How many kids are going to give up a Twinkie and soda for vegan pizza and sparkling cider?
    posted by Jesse H Christ at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2006


    you'll find that the factory farm production of meat is horrible for the environment, tons of money is spent by governments to subsidize the meat industry because it cannot support itself

    Ah, yes, because a cattle farm is far worse than an ADM run soy bean farm.

    first off, as far as the posts about veganism being unhealthy for a child, hop over to india where a great many people in their culture never eat any meat or dairy and are incredibly healthy.

    Uh, no. Vegetarianism, yes, vegan, no. Only the Jains are strictly vegan and even then only a minority of them. Most food, even vegetarian, is cooked in ghee, clarified butter.

    the problem with the culture here in the states is that weve been brought up to eat CRAP.

    I don't understand, why if you aren't a vegan you automatically eat nothing but crap and vegans, of course, eat nothing but the purest non-crap out there. A) there is more than just crap on the market. B) there is plenty of vegan crap food.
    posted by Pollomacho at 9:20 AM on March 9, 2006


    Put a child on the floor with a carrot and a bunny.

    If the child eats the bunny and plays with the carrot, I will give you a million dollars.


    You let your children eat off the floor? What the fuck?

    No. Sit them at the table with utensils a plate of cooked rabbit and a plate of cooked carrots. Which will the child eat? Both, perhaps? I realize you're just trolling, but a lot of people buy in to this crap.

    Taking things from what rxrfrx said, are there any 'thoughtful omnivore' sites or organizations?

    Another amusing anecdote: I live in Ithaca, NY; last outpost of the East Coast hippie communes. We've got a thriving cooperative market downtown. One of the employees there refused to sell a certain product to a customer because she was a vegan. Which is really a great service to provide to the members of the cooperative who are relying on you to sell their locally-grown butter, cheeses, etc. Examine your belief system before you come to work in the morning, or let someone else have the job. Veganism does get a bit cultish at times, and some of it smacks of upper-class half-hearted rebellion and a sense of entitlement re: self-determination that extends into the oppression of opposing viewpoints and those who hold them. So no matter your particular experience, dobbs, there are still those who perpetuate the stereotype of the militant, which people find objective.

    ON PREVIEW: Well said, Pollomacho.
    posted by Eideteker at 9:25 AM on March 9, 2006


    My culture has always eaten meat and you know what by condemning what I choose to eat you also condemn my culture and many other people's as well.

    I hope this is another joke. Because if it's not, you must be exhausted!
    posted by applemeat at 11:07 AM CST on March 9 [!]



    Well while I am not really joking, I am not angry or anything either. Food is a central part to any culture.
    posted by ozomatli at 9:29 AM on March 9, 2006


    Just out of genuine curiosity, no snark intended, but where does the calcium and protein come from in your lunchbox, particularly number version two, ROU?

    There's calcium and protein in beans, which I assume are in most kinds of vegetable soup.

    I am not a nutritional anthropologist. Is there some pressing reason that lunch needs to be particularly well-balanced? That is, is there a reason that any deficiencies in lunch can't be made up for by an appopriate breakfast and supper?

    If I had a point, I guess it's just that vegan lunches aren't necessarily anything weird. This mom seems to be going out of her way to make a wide variety of semi-oddball lunches when she need not do so. The most classic school lunch of all -- PB&J and soup and a bit o' fruit -- is vegan already, or can be made vegan by simply substituting a different can of soup.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 AM on March 9, 2006


    If the child eats the bunny and plays with the carrot, I will give you a million dollars.

    If you leave them both there long enough, eventually either the rabbit will eat the baby or vice versa.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 AM on March 9, 2006


    Oddball? They look pretty cool to me! The issues I have with making and taking my lunch to work is the lack of originality and variety. I get tired of the same kinds of things every day. Every lunch for this kid is an adventire.
    posted by lyam at 9:38 AM on March 9, 2006


    *adventure

    sigh.
    posted by lyam at 9:39 AM on March 9, 2006


    I will continue to shoot this down as it pops up:

    Some vitamins and amino acids are difficult/impossible to obtain from plants alone

    No. They're not.

    There is one vitamin, B12, that you might call "difficult" to obtain, but I would not - and if it is indeed difficult to obtain from plants alone, it also seems to be difficult to obtain from an ominvorous diet. Nothing we need is "impossbile to obtain from plants alone." Among amino acids, vegans should be aware of the importance of Omega-3s and include flax, hempseed, walnuts or other foods rich in these fatty acids. But that's a far cry from "difficult/impossible." What you're doing is regurgitating a myth.

    I wouldn't completely rule that out. After all, we are constantly being informed of newly discovered micro-nutrients in vegetables that have only recently been discovered.

    Well, of course there's always the possiblity that some new unforeseen scientific discovery is going to overturn decades of nutritional science, so while not ruling it out "completely," I think a 99.8% ruling out is warranted.

    After all, it's no coincidence that the powerful micronutrients are being identified in plant foods. That's where they come from. That's where the animals that we call meat get them. It would be exceedingly strange for animals to spontaneously generate nutrtionally positive elements without getting them from the fuel they're consuming. What we can be certain that their bodies do, however, is concentrate the environmental toxins now present in low levels in all plant foods, such that ounce-for-ounce their flesh is astronomically more toxic than its plant-based counterparts. This alone would be a credible reason to raise a child vegan - again with the caveat that any parent going against the mainstream food culture should be educated about real nutrition.

    Of course I don't think it makes sense to be vegan for animal rights sake (I mean we are designed to be omnivores)

    Not that it's a big deal, but this is nonsensical. Whether or not we are actually designed to be omnivores, a truly open question I won't start re-debating here, that argument is completely unrelated to animal-rights concerns. AR people don't make decisions based on what our bodies are "designed" for, they make them based on moral issues.
    posted by soyjoy at 9:46 AM on March 9, 2006


    Be honest--How many here feel kind of envious that this kid's got such an adoring mom? I admit it...I sort of do. (Although as some have said, she may be doing him some disservice in the long run.)

    I have to laugh when I think about my own no-frills bag lunches in school. Like many "latchkey kids" of the era, I'd usually pack my own. But if my mom happened to do it, it was sure to be a hurried...and gently antagonistic...affair. I remember the pudding cup very well. The tin container of rice pudding that Mom would throw into my bag. And I would never eat this thing-- I would bring it back home in the afternoon complaining I didn't like that, and she would throw it in the bag next time...etc. etc. Finally a friend of mine threw that pudding cup as far as he could into the woods, and that was that.
    posted by applemeat at 9:48 AM on March 9, 2006


    That's true but I would like the same kind of care from mom AND meat. Personally.
    posted by smackfu at 9:57 AM on March 9, 2006


    (And how much do you want to bet, this little kid is trading half his food for HotPockets, SnackPacks, Froot-by-the-Foot, Gushers, Soda, HoHos, Twinkies

    You did note that he got oreos, right?

    The most classic school lunch of all -- PB&J and soup and a bit o' fruit -- is vegan already, or can be made vegan by simply substituting a different can of soup.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:33 PM

    That is exactly what I was thinking. My mom (on her microscopic food budget) sent a vegan lunch everyday: Peanut butter and jelly sandwhich with fruit and an occasional homemade cookie (using margarine.) I thought Bologna sandwhiches were only for rich kids!
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:09 AM on March 9, 2006


    One demented poster even went so far as to bring the kid into this with "heaven help his future girlfriends."


    Oh calm down, Felix. The mainly lighthearted comments people (myself included) have made about the kid had nothing to do with the vegetarianism aspect. People did, however, question whether any child raised with that degree of minute attention being paid to him on a daily basis by mom might find life as an adult ...rather disappointing.
    posted by applemeat at 10:13 AM on March 9, 2006


    soyjoy: i retract my statement about things being impossible to obtain on a vegetarian diet. but i definitely stand by the statement where things may be difficult to obtain. a growning child on a vegan diet can become deficient in certain things. they often require dietary supplementation, thus i hoped the mom was taking care of this with vitamins and physician supervision.

    Proof: I don't know if you have access to PubMed, but if you're near a unversity or library, here's the source: Laurie Dunham MS, RD, LD and Linda M. Kollar RN, MSN Journal of Pediatric Health Care Volume 20, Issue 1, January-February 2006, Pages 27-34

    Basically it states that a vegitarian diet is a-okay. But one needs to be careful about what their kids may lack with such a diet and needs to provide the proper vegetarian sources (or supplements).

    as for the animal rights thing: those are my personal feelings, not facts. i hope our differing opinions treat us both well.
    posted by ruwan at 10:18 AM on March 9, 2006


    I don't understand, why if you aren't a vegan you automatically eat nothing but crap and vegans, of course, eat nothing but the purest non-crap out there. A) there is more than just crap on the market. B) there is plenty of vegan crap food.

    and plenty of vegans eat it too! i met a vegan who pretty much lived on orange juice and sweet tarts- not very healthy is it? i personally love the crap. i would die without fried potato products and pie. it's always funny when somebody sees me eating plain potato chips and is astonished that they're vegan. (potatos, oil, salt? no animals there!)

    the only animals i want to see slaughtered are high horses.
    posted by kendrak at 10:25 AM on March 9, 2006


    Most of that food does look awesome. I can't wait to try to make some of it (i'm a vegetarian). Thanks for posting this blog!

    Also, I'm liking all of these intelligent comments from vegetarians and vegans here too. Keep it up.
    posted by lowest.common.denominator at 10:30 AM on March 9, 2006


    For all the talk from meat eaters about how vegans treat you, you all sure have negative attitudes toward vegans. What? Eye for an eye? Really? "They act all superior so I will too"? If meat-eaters were so much better than vegans, they'd support us. Apparently, you are just as rude and mean as those you despise.

    What I'd like is one vegetarian/vegan discussion on MeFi not suddenly find people talking about how much they hate those who don't eat meat, or how not eating meat is BAD. If they want to raise their children vegan, or be vegan themselves, its more meat for you so shut it!

    Vegan for 8 years, vegetarian for 16 here. It's not bad for you, it's not unhealthy, and like any other diet, you get out what you put into it. Just leave your snarky mean comments to yourselves...and I'm saying that to EVERYONE.

    Love is the answer.
    posted by Dantien at 10:34 AM on March 9, 2006


    The blood brain barrier prevents any food source except for simple sugar (glucose) from entering.
    posted by delmoi at 10:25 AM EST on March 9 [!]


    We're not talking about "food sources," we're talking about all the small molecules that make processed foods have long shelf life and pretty colors.
    posted by rxrfrx at 10:43 AM on March 9, 2006


    Love is the answer.posted by Dantien.

    Unfortunately, when I unwittingly served love to a vegan at a dinner party, she poked it with her skinny finger and asked suspiciously: "But what sort of love is it?"
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:45 AM on March 9, 2006


    People did, however, question whether any child raised with that degree of minute attention being paid to him on a daily basis by mom might find life as an adult ...rather disappointing.

    Baffling. I'm not sure which is worse -- the original attacks on the manhood of a 6 year old child, which were not, as you politely try to gloss, people performing the act of questioning in a reasonable and considered manner -- or this new excuse you're making up, which is itself an inscrutable attack on, well, the nature of parenting.

    If the kid grows up to find life disappointing, I wager it'll be because he runs across a macabre gloating cult of people who sneer at positive human emotion and tenderness between mother and child as if they were unnatural acts deserving of lunchroom beatdowns. Thankfully in my 36 years of experience the number of real people like that is smaller than that represented in this thread, and most of them are, as they should be, kept in mental wards.
    posted by felix at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2006


    ruwan - I don't dispute that a vegan diet, improperly implemented, can indeed be deficient. It's worth pointing out, though, that the "standard American diet" most Westerners are eating right now is also deficient and/or sub-par in key nutrients. Education is key for both veggie and non-veggie eaters.

    The thing about AR vs. body design, though, is just a simple logic matter. Whatever our respective opinions about either of those two issues, they're just not related to each other in any logical way.
    posted by soyjoy at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2006


    felix, I'm 100% percent behind this mom and her choices, but come on. The doting, the "schmoo," the attention to bean-counting, is all a little much. There's no harm in pointing that out. You're coming off as a wee bit hysterical.
    posted by soyjoy at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2006


    I don't understand, why if you aren't a vegan you automatically eat nothing but crap and vegans, of course, eat nothing but the purest non-crap out there. A) there is more than just crap on the market. B) there is plenty of vegan crap food.



    i think you missed the fact that my point was that alot of the reason vegans eat so poorly has nothing to do with being vegan. it has alot more to do with the fact that the society in the states eats poorly. cooking from scratch is ALWAYS better for you no matter what you eat... but we as a society are lazy so we go to the store and pick up frozen dinners.. vegan, vegetarian or neither, which are all filled with tons of sodium, sugar, and many long chemical sounding ingredients that noone knows what is. i.e. - crap.
    posted by trishthedish at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2006


    Doting. Pet names. Bean counting.

    "indoctrination", "[teaching] to equate love with a display of recidivist domestic servitude", "put[ting] feminism back by about 30 years", "[being a] crazy extremist".

    And, a shiv for the kid: "heaven help his future girlfriends."

    It's not hysterical to say that that sort of shit is beyond the pale.
    posted by felix at 11:12 AM on March 9, 2006


    (And how much do you want to bet, this little kid is trading half his food for HotPockets, SnackPacks, Froot-by-the-Foot, Gushers, Soda, HoHos, Twinkies


    actually she makes him vegan twinkies. i made them last night.. pretty tasty.
    posted by trishthedish at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2006


    Vegan for 8 years, vegetarian for 16 here. It's not bad for you, it's not unhealthy, and like any other diet, you get out what you put into it. Just leave your snarky mean comments to yourselves...and I'm saying that to EVERYONE.

    ****

    unfortunately we arent very understanding of differences or change as a whole. thats the real problem.
    posted by trishthedish at 11:17 AM on March 9, 2006


    You are murdering bastards! I generate energy via photosynthesis. It took years of training and yoga, but hey I now have a helluva tan too!
    posted by ozomatli at 11:37 AM EST on March 9 [!]


    It's not easy being Green (video).
    posted by caddis at 11:17 AM on March 9, 2006


    Taking things from what rxrfrx said, are there any 'thoughtful omnivore' sites or organizations?

    That seems to be the entire philosophy driving Slow Food, and they have chapters most everywhere these days. Getting on my local group's mailing list was well worth it, since they are very much in support of local farmers, in-season foods, organic everything, etc.

    (Other than that, I'm staying the hell away from this subject. If someone ever manages to start a thread incorporating vegetarianism, obesity, abortion and Macintosh, I'm pretty sure the universe will turn on itself and utterly implode.)
    posted by Vervain at 11:23 AM on March 9, 2006


    Felix, you're offended about how you feel people here are attacking the woman and her son. Yet this is how you have attacked others here. These are your exact words, harvested from one email alone:

    *************

    bitter, caustic

    just *disgusting*.

    demented

    What...the FUCK?

    deploy whatever miniscule sense of fucking decency your snark-palsied, crabbed, whinging mockery of a personality you have

    clinically pathological

    ignorant.

    Seek the advice of a mental health professional immediately.

    Nauseating.

    ************

    Don't you think that's maybe just a little bit hysterical?
    posted by applemeat at 11:29 AM on March 9, 2006


    I meant harvested from one of your posts (not an email)
    posted by applemeat at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2006


    I've been outside gardening and oddly enough kept thinking about this:

    as far as raising your children vegan... the main problem most vegan parents run into is not breast feeding

    Vegans, is that true?
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:42 AM on March 9, 2006


    A quick thought regarding the "bean-counting:" she most likely makes note of what her son doesn't finish, whether because he didn't like it or because he was too full, so as not to waste food the next time around. I have one of those lunchboxes, and this suggestion is made in the little book that came along with it. It's really not weird or obsessive, as people are making it out to be.
    posted by purplemonkie at 11:58 AM on March 9, 2006


    cooking from scratch is ALWAYS better for you no matter what you eat...

    Well now I know that's not true. I could cook something from scratch waaaaaaaaaaay unhealthier than anything you could buy.
    posted by ozomatli at 12:02 PM on March 9, 2006


    My Mom made me school lunches this obsessively healthy at primary school, inevitably involving mung beans, though not vegan, and not so pointlessley elaborate. As a direct result, for which I thank her, I grew up to guzzle at the trough of excess, feasting on foie gras, snacking on bone marrow, gobbling veal and wilfully obscure cuts of meat, and the choicest offal, and the squirmiest molluscs, and the most pungeunt of cheeses, and I am utterly incapable of cooking a meal without butter and cream (don't worry, the chain-smoking keeps me thin). I bet this kid ends up a sybarite too, and good luck to him.
    posted by jack_mo at 12:07 PM on March 9, 2006


    (Purplemonkie, Do the containers inside the lunchbox have separate lids? Or is the outer top part the top for everything? Can't tell from the picture, but it would be useful if it cut down on "Tupper-clutter.")
    posted by applemeat at 12:18 PM on March 9, 2006


    "...Don't you think that's maybe just a little bit hysterical?"
    posted by applemeat

    Thank you, applemeat (and soyjoy previously) for beating me to the same point.

    Felix: It's as though you've never encountered a thread with strong opinions about parenting and food before.

    I also haven't the faintest idea where you get the idea I'm insulting her child's "manhood" by expressing cheeky dismay about how his future girlfriends will measure up to Mom's jewel-like lunch offerings!

    One of the reasons for this FPP is that Vegan Mom's daily edible dioramas are extraordinary.

    They'd be pretty damn extraordinary even in the 1960s when housewives were starting to discover a tunnel out of the kitchen - and learning not to feel guilty for offering "convenience" food!

    Of course it's Vegan Mom's perfect right to invest as much as she does of herself into these midday miracles for Junior Vegan. That doesn't mean those of us with different priortities can't robustly comment.

    I accept you've let hyperbole get the better of you on this one - but you do come across as cracked.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:19 PM on March 9, 2006


    Applemeat, one of the large containers has a separate lid, and the small dip/dressing container has a separate lid. I put dry foods and fruits/vegetables in the open containers with no problem, though I do need to wipe the inside lid of the main box afterward, especially if I accidentally leave it sitting upside down.

    I freakin' love that lunchbox, even though I don't have an Activist Vegan Mom to pack it for me. It's so much easier than trying to figure out how to efficiently fit a bunch of randomly-shaped tupperware containers into a little paper bag, not to mention more environmentally friendly (and less likely to result in squished food) than using disposable baggies.

    /Laptop Lunches advertisement
    posted by purplemonkie at 12:41 PM on March 9, 2006


    Sigh. This thread started off so well, too.
    posted by kyrademon at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2006


    Wow, these [onigiri] are more filling than I thought; we ate one each and were stuffed. I even tried a bit of umeboshi in mine, and boy howdy that's an aquired taste

    lol
    posted by rxrfrx at 1:14 PM on March 9, 2006


    Vegan lunch mom has just put feminism back by about 30 years.

    Jody Tresidder

    I think that because she's a vegan she is probably pretty well versed in feminism, or at least has a working knowledge of it. I think its pretty ridiculous that you would attack her for setting back feminism just because its a choice you would not make. I would be perfectly willing to stay at home and do similar things for my children, (I'm a man), if my wife could make enough money to support the family. Would this mean I was setting back man hood?

    A large problem with American's these days is the lack of interaction between parents and children. Sure shmoo is probably being emotionally handicapped by her level of involvement. However, if its a venue that is open to her its wrong to accuse her of debasing feminism. As far as i can tell feminism has never been about abolishing the family, its been about freeing the woman to do things she wants. This woman seems to truly enjoy her lifestyle, and your attack seems to stem from your own prejudices towards it.
    posted by sourbrew at 1:24 PM on March 9, 2006


    Meat eating is not a "moral philosophy", it's something that we've been doing for thousands of years.

    We've been religious for thousands of years, too. So that's not a moral philosophy either?
    posted by rafter at 2:02 PM on March 9, 2006


    This thread needs some more comedy.

    Just today I was driving w/ my daughter past a factory where there was a truck driving in with a LOT of live chickens. I pointed them out because my kids are animal freaks and then I had to explain what they were going to be used for. Her response (as a 4-year old) was that we couldn't eat the chickens, because they'd run away. She finally decided that the live chickens were REAL chickens and the chicken meat we eat is REGULAR chicken.

    More on topic: I love these websites of lunchboxes. I have a great admiration for traditional bento lunches. I suppose there's a way to make them that's not time-consuming, but I have yet to have a child old enough to see. But vegan or not, kids do deserve at least the thought to make a lunch healthy.
    posted by artifarce at 2:03 PM on March 9, 2006


    Secret Life of Gravy: "the main problem most vegan parents run into is not breast feeding

    Vegans, is that true?
    "


    No, and the notion seems so ridiculous (to me) that I suspect that Trish mistyped.

    From my experience, vegans, if anything, seem to be more inclined to breast feed (more in touch with health issues, mother-child bonding, back to nature, all of that).

    It seems that Pollomacho's question (though it's a common snarky joke) was earnest, so I'll answer it briefly — most vegans avoid animal products because they believe that animal products are inhumane procured and/or unnatural for human consumption. Breast feeding, being wholly voluntary on the part of the mother and the most natural thing imaginable, is exactly in line with these values. It's not like they're just terrified about anything that comes out of a living being or something.
    posted by rafter at 2:17 PM on March 9, 2006


    "As far as i can tell feminism has never been about abolishing the family, its been about freeing the woman to do things she wants."

    Sourbrew,
    You ruined a perfectly good point - that I was comically overstating the Stepford Wife case against Vegan Mom - by your own overstatement.

    I never remotely even implied feminism was about abolishing the family!

    But feminism sure as hell has little to do with fetishizing your son's lunchbox either.

    I think there's a tendency to romanticize homemaking skills (involving a fair amount of condescension too) as if they are wholly endearing or laudable or crucial - and as if there was never a reason they drove many women mad in the first place.

    You also say "This woman seems to truly enjoy her lifestyle" - and I agree. Good for her 100%. But not for me.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:19 PM on March 9, 2006


    But feminism sure as hell has little to do with fetishizing your son's lunchbox either.

    Yes, they have little to do with one another. That's why, I think, we're not sure about your 'set feminism back 30 years' snark. Would she be a better feminist if she sent her child to school hungry? Is my girlfriend a worse feminist when she volunteers to do the dishes?
    posted by rafter at 2:25 PM on March 9, 2006


    Sorry, I also meant to address that "vegans, is that true?" question and forgot. Depending on whose statistics you go for, vegans in the US apparently breastfeed at a rate somewhere around four times that of the general population.
    posted by soyjoy at 2:29 PM on March 9, 2006


    Rafter,
    I simply meant that making a meal out of making one's son's meals shouldn't be hailed as an achievement of feminism. In fact, rather the opposite.

    I should think your girlfriend might have a feminism problem if she blogged about how pleased you were with the way she did the dishes:)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:23 PM on March 9, 2006


    A couple points:

    Vegan Mom's husband is a meat eater.

    The recipes she posts about she is developing for a vegan cookbook she intends on publishing.

    Emotional issues? My Mom lovingly prepared meals for my siblings and I and none of us have the issues some of y'all are putting on a kid.

    As for worrying about his future girlfriend, who says his mate will be a girl? Or that he won't be doing the cooking? There are a lot of assumptions in this thread of a little kid.
    posted by SuzySmith at 3:40 PM on March 9, 2006


    To be fair to me, SuzySmith, I did check around her blog (for obvious reasons to do with her family's health) and I don't think some of my speculative assumptions are so wide of the mark.

    I wish her luck with her recipe ambitions - but I hope she doesn't intend to publish her knitting ideas too:)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:05 PM on March 9, 2006


    I read through Vegan Mom's Blog(s) today too. She seems perfectly charming and intelligent, and I thought the blogs were fascinating....and also kind of creepy. (The baby talk, the fussy details, the perfectionism..) I'm with Jody here--That child is fawned all over...it's not just the artsy lunches. I think it's a fair speculation that this kid may be in for a shock when he leaves the nest.

    But then, what do I know? My mother basically ignored me, and I have all kiiiiinds of issues. ;-)
    posted by applemeat at 4:48 PM on March 9, 2006


    Hey, Jody Tresidder, good luck on your comment ambitions - i hope you dont intend to publish them too:)
    posted by lowest.common.denominator at 5:06 PM on March 9, 2006


    The vegan diet is unhealthy for small children. They need more protein than they can get from just plant matter.
    posted by danl at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2006


    Wow, what a fucked up thread.
    posted by melt away at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2006


    naxosaxur writes "personallly,i think it's negligent and irresponsible to raise a child vegetarian, as proof has shown me it doesnt really work"

    I think hundreds of millions of Indians would disagree.
    posted by krinklyfig at 6:16 PM on March 9, 2006


    Hey felix, how about this one:
    Oh, man, what a cute kid - he's gonna be a real heart-breaker someday!

    I'm such a disgusting bastard, aren't I?
    posted by mullacc at 6:55 PM on March 9, 2006


    Alright, with some smacking around, I got the kid to eat the bunny. Well most of it. Does he have to finish it for me to get the million? Oh, and he played with the carrot for a little bit but then got bored.

    BTW - Animal crackers may not be considered vegan because sugar is sometimes bleached using bone meal. That's why you'll see evaporated cane juice instead of sugar on some ingredient labels.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 6:56 PM on March 9, 2006


    Jody Tresidder: Vegan lunch mom has just put feminism back by about 30 years.

    And later: I simply meant that making a meal out of making one's son's meals shouldn't be hailed as an achievement of feminism. In fact, rather the opposite.

    I really, really don't get it. How in the world is feminism being hurt, threatened, or even so much as looked askance at by one mother's manner of feeding her son? Does this woman dislike her life? Does she feel unappreciated and unfulfilled? Has her husband forbidden her from getting a job outside the house? Is she lobbying for some sort of legislation that would force other women to quit their jobs and stay home baking vegan Twinkies all day instead? 'Cause if any of the above is true, I sure missed that blog entry. From the reading I've done on her sites I can only conclude that she is perfectly sane, intelligent, and content, if a bit obsessive.

    You seem to feel that every incidence of a woman taking on a traditionally 'feminine' role or performing a traditionally 'feminine' task (and god forbid she actually enjoy it!) is essentially anti-feminist. I think that's utter bullshit. The feminist movement was and is in large part a fight for all women's right to self-determine. It is not about freeing them from one rigidly prescribed set of roles only to wedge them into a whole 'new and improved' rigidly prescribed set of roles. While I am well aware that such roles have been and still are used to oppress women, oppression has about as much to do with Jennifer's particular situation as sharecropping has to do with the fact that I like to pick vegetables in my garden.

    I feel strongly that the denigration of tasks and skills traditionally done by women is anti-feminist, and it's infuriating when women who like to think of themselves as 'enlightened' do this. Personally, I love to cook, knit, and sew, I enjoy taking care of children, and I would even go so far as to say that on occasion I actually have fun cleaning. I am good at these things, I am unequivocally proud of the skills involved -- well, not so much the cleaning, I suppose -- and if I ever updated my website anymore these days, I might just blog about it. Which can only mean... oh noes, I'm anti-feminist! But wait: I also like lifting weights and I'm getting a PhD in the sciences. Gosh, I'm so confused! Am I hurting feminism or not? Jody, please help me! (Note: help not actually required)

    There are all kinds of women in the world, with all kinds of personalities, philosophies, needs, enjoyments, ambitions, skills, talents, and life situations. This necessitates that individual women -- including yourself, and including Vegan Mom -- determine for themselves the things which help them feel happy and fulfilled, and try to make those things happen. Allowing them to do so -- without accusing those who make choices different from yours of 'hurting the cause' -- is feminist.

    And one more thing:

    I should think your girlfriend might have a feminism problem if she blogged about how pleased you were with the way she did the dishes:)

    You honestly see no difference between pride in one's ability to suds up some pots and pride in one's ability to lovingly prepare healthy, well-planned, nutritious lunches for one's child? Ye gods.
    posted by purplemonkie at 7:09 PM on March 9, 2006


    Sorry, danl, but that's some truly pathetic trolling.

    Next time try interjecting your counterfactual nonsense within the first 12 hours of the thread. Good luck!

    posted by soyjoy at 7:21 PM on March 9, 2006


    Yeah, I saw that gem on preview and thought about saying something but it just didn't seem worth it.
    posted by purplemonkie at 7:24 PM on March 9, 2006


    Trish, congratulations on your first fpp. I would say it was very successful. Who knew that veganism was Metafilter's red button?
    posted by splatta at 7:25 PM on March 9, 2006


    The recipes in this other vegan blog are often yummy-sounding, and don't seem to feature as much "fake meat". The Vegan Lunchbox meals that include less-processed foods (like March 6th) don't seem to include much protein.

    Getting sufficient protein and calcium is extremely difficult on a vegan diet unless you eat an enormous amount of food daily. My militantly vegan neighbor ("Ugh, flesh in your fridge, I think I'm going to vomit"), was told by her doctor that her tiny daughter was suffering from malnutrition. And this is a stay at home, make your own baby food from only organic food, etc. type of mom. So, after 3 other doctors told her the same thing, she started sneaking cheese to her daughter behind the back of her equally militant vegan husband. The husband, who would freak if his daughter had evil, evil cheese, smokes pot like a fiend around the kids because, apparently, that's actually good for your lungs. Cultish food obsessive types, like other cultish and obsessive types, are just weird and often at the expense of their children.
    posted by onegreeneye at 8:56 PM on March 9, 2006


    I eat meat, incidentally. I just see veganism as a way of life, which isn't mine, yet has many fine qualities and is admirable.

    Let me respond only to the most easily swatted reply, because I am tired:

    Meat eating is not a "moral philosophy"


    Oh yes it is. Unless you're an ignorant fool living an unexamined life, there are moral choices implicit in most things you do. There are moral choices involved in what you eat. Whether it's okay to raise animals in densely compacted pens, douse them with antibiotics, and declaw/defang them so they don't kill each other in the hell we've created for them. Whether we are responsible for our impact on the environment - if it's okay or just plain ridiculous to eat meat three times a day in a world where most people live on $2 a day. If it's okay to kill for food when you don't really have to anymore.

    it's something that we've been doing for thousands of years.

    We've also been killing and raping each other for thousands of years and dying at around 30 on average. Is all of that equally well-established-and-wonderfully-perfect to you? Or just the parts that taste good?

    We are Omnivores. Simple fact.

    Meat is not a huge part of most peoples' diets, for the simple reason that they cannot afford it. We are ABLE to eat meat, vegetables, grains, etc, but that does not imply that we always have eaten meat or are required to now. If you find something morally justified because cavemen did it, then all I can do is congratulate you on your caveman morals and move on.

    If you have a moral problem with eating meat fine. Doesn't mean meat eaters are amoral.


    I never said they were amoral. In fact I said their actions had moral implications, which means the opposite. If you think it's cool to kill and eat animals, fine. My only problem is with people who think they haven't made a moral choice of any kind. If you've thougt it through and are really and truly satisfied with the entire food chain that ends at your mouth, cool.

    But if you like to spout a bunch of "it's always been this way" crap, I'm going to call you on it and ask you to think. As I said above, I eat meat. But since being exposed to veganism as a philosophy, I better understand the implications of eating meat. I eat less of it now. I know some new recipes. And I have a better balance of taking responsibility for my actions which informs my day to day choices.

    I'm no angel. Just a little less bullshit in my daily diet now.
    posted by scarabic at 9:39 PM on March 9, 2006


    No, and the notion seems so ridiculous (to me) that I suspect that Trish mistyped.

    after rereading that sentence i can see where it was confusing. what i meant was that breast feeding is incredibly important to the healthy development of babies.. ive known a couple mothers that were raising their children to be vegan but were unable to breast feed and their children in turn were not getting those important nutrients and got very sick, because the parents were not replacing the loss of breast milk with an equivalent.
    posted by trishthedish at 10:20 PM on March 9, 2006


    Cute link, thanks trish.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 11:01 PM on March 9, 2006


    i could never be truly vegan because... i love honey. and bread.

    honey=animal by-product.
    yeast=ANIMAL.

    obviously there are many different levels of veganism, same as with vegetarianism - vegans eating honey and yeast! yeah and - i know a lot of people who say they're vegetarian, but they eat fish and chicken...

    the first 7 years of my life, my folks raised my sister and me as vegetarians. my mother was actually attempting a macrobiotic diet - which was hecka hard since it was the 60's, and even in hippie los angeles it wasn't easy to find a diverse supply of non-meat, "yang" foods.

    luckily, in addition to being kooky, cultish bohemian-types, my parents were total foodies and often broke the "brown rice, carrots and beans" rule. we ate really well. i give them credit for my love of eggplant, roquefort cheese, tomatoes and exotic greens. a lot of friends my age didn't eat any of those foods until they were adults.

    after the age of seven, i moved with my family to an extremely rural area of farms and ranches. i've seen animals slaughtered. i've eaten good fresh meat. i've enjoyed blood sausage (waste not want not! i like to say.) i've had incredibly fresh produce that my current farmer's markets can barely match in quality. i grew up to be a happy omnivore, and a very cognizant eater.

    anyway, this isn't all about me - i recount my experience as it leads me to believe this kid will grow up to appreciate good food; he'll probably have more thought invested in what he eats, and how it effects his body and the earth, than most of his peers. and he will know the pleasure of eating. he's a lucky kid. even if his mom seems a little OCD.

    several of my veggie friends hate vegetables - too slimy! too tangy! too... healthy! a friend has a great term for 'em: ick-atarians. so - they don't want to eat meat; but they had little diversity in their meals when they were little, and now they've got limited palates. it's all french fries, spaghetti and PB&J (on white bread).

    oh well, hail, vegans! if it brings you pleasure. but i'll be damned if i'm giving up my bread. or honey. or yummy greek yogurt. or barbequed shrimp. or that parmesan cheese - the really good stuff that has tiny chunks of crystallized salty goodness nestled in its pungent richness... or deviled eggs. with a little sprinkle of paprika!
    posted by lapolla at 1:04 AM on March 10, 2006


    it's something that we've been doing for thousands of years.

    Thanks, Scarablic, for pointing out the crazy flaw of this logic! "Custom"--and ancient custom at that--would have we humans doing all kinds of nasty things that most everyone can now agree we were wise to progress beyond. It's a silly argument. People didn't used to use toilet paper or wash their hands, either.
    posted by applemeat at 5:23 AM on March 10, 2006


    scarabic: Meat eating is not a "moral philosophy"...Oh yes it is. Unless you're an ignorant fool living an unexamined life, there are moral choices implicit in most things you do...I never said they were amoral. In fact I said their actions had moral implications, which means the opposite.

    Sure. As I said above, anyone with an agenda can infer moral choice from virtually anything we do. Do you sleep on cotton sheets? Do you own a computer? Do you bathe/shower more frequently than once every couple of weeks? Oh noes!! You're making moral choices! Unless you are one of the "ignorant fools" who hasn't considered the moral implications of taking shower more frequently than you actually need to, or of using a product that required fossil fuels to cultivate, harvest, transport, process and market.

    So. We're not "amoral", we're actually the opposite? According to your worldview, that makes people that eat meat...what, exactly? Moral? Immoral? My eating meat doesn't actually require me to judge you, so why does your life choice have in it an inherent need to judge people who eat meat?

    Tell me, is self-righteousness as good a seasoning for your black-eyed peas as hamhock is for mine?
    posted by darkstar at 5:27 AM on March 10, 2006


    Getting sufficient protein and calcium is extremely difficult on a vegan diet unless you eat an enormous amount of food daily.

    Again, this is false.

    What you may mean is that it is difficult to get as much as most Americans/Westerners do, which is probably true. It's well-documented that Westerners eat vastly more protein than is necessary, specifically animal protein. In addition to being linked with cancer, heart disease and other ailments, excess animal protein interferes with the retention of calcium, which is why the US RDA for calcium is so much higher than that recommended by the World Health Organization.

    If you're going to make a sweeping statement about nutrition such as that, please back it up with credible dietary citations and/or links.

    We can all throw in all the anecdotes we want about eccentric and/or clueless vegans we've known, or about responsible, healthy vegan parents and children we've known. I suspect I know many more of the latter than you know of the former, but anecdotes prove nothing. Let's see some science on the "extreme difficulty" of getting adequate amounts of protein and calcium from plant-based foods.

    Tell me, is self-righteousness as good a seasoning for your black-eyed peas as hamhock is for mine?

    So, since scarabic eats meat, you're saying meat-eaters are self-righteous? OK, whatever.
    posted by soyjoy at 7:08 AM on March 10, 2006


    Thanks, Soyjoy and Trish for clearing that up for me-- my mind boggled at the idea that vegans would not breast feed-- it actually makes more sense that vegans would tend to breast feed more than non-vegans.

    I really, really don't get it. How in the world is feminism being hurt, threatened, or even so much as looked askance at by one mother's manner of feeding her son?

    As someone who was alive in the 60's, I would like to answer that.

    Feminism first arose as a movement to unchain women from their stoves and their typewriters and allow them the possibility of seeing a different lifestyle than as "Mom" or "Secretary." Feminism proposed that women could be CEOs, politicians, blue collar laborers, or anything else they wanted to be as long as they had the skills required. In other words, having a vagina should not be the one criteria that kept a woman from being a firefighter if she wanted to be a firefighter.

    Feminists did and do have to remind themselves that some women don't want to be firefighters- they want to be traditional stay at home moms. The struggle for equality was never about allowing moms to be moms-- it was always a struggle to allow moms to be more. So if from time to time feminists seem to disapprove or turn their backs on women who opt to be traditional, it is understandable. Not right, but understandable.

    In this particular case, there is a sense that this woman caters excessively to her menfolk. That sets a standard that feels threatening to other women. If a male is raised by a mom whose life revolves around pleasing him, there is the possibility that he will feel this is the way things should be. There is the possibility he will find any other lifestyle inferior. There is the possibility that he will require his future mate's lifestyle to revolve around him.

    Subconsciously I suppose, this feels threatening to women who do not chose sublimate their life to their menfolk. How can a woman with ambitions outside the home compete with that?
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:38 AM on March 10, 2006


    I'm a woman. And having read much of Vegan Mom's blogs, she does not (to my mind anyway) stand out as a feminist. It's not any one thing, really. It's not that she's chosen to be a stay at home mom, it's not the fancy lunches, it's not her (perhaps OCD-tinged) love of sewing and cooking (I also love cooking for my husband). It's stuff like this entry from her Blog:

    *********

    Sunday, October 03, 2004
    Hubby's been extra-special busy for the last few weeks. ....I was trying to think of ways to be supportive and give him some extra time. Since I already do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, you name it, the only thing I could come up with was more yard work.

    "Will you teach me how to use the lawn mower?" I asked at breakfast.

    Hubby frowned. "Mmmm. The lawn mower is a powerful piece of equipment. I don't think I want you using it."

    "You don't think I could handle a lawn mower?"

    "I wouldn't want you to get hurt. Besides, I know every inch of this lawn. It's a man's job." he said.

    I went back and forth between feeling insulted and thinking I ought to feel thankful that it was one job I wouldn't have to do.


    ********

    Does Vegan Mom "set feminism back 30 years"? I dunno. But passages like that above just strike me as....a little too 1950's.
    posted by applemeat at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2006


    SLoG and applemeat, I understand and agree with what the two of you are saying. (And for the record, I never implied that Vegan Mom herself is a feminist; I just didn't, and still don't, see how her existence is anti-feminist or actually hurts feminism, as Jody Tresidder claimed.)
    posted by purplemonkie at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2006


    Heee, good catch on the lawnmower story, Applemeat!

    Around here, my husband once confided that he resented having to mow the lawn as a teenager because he was the boy. He and his sister split all other chores (such as washing dishes) but his parents told him repeatedly that sister didn't have to mow the lawn "because she is a girl."

    So, even though mowing our third acre in the middle of a North Carolina summer can be a very onerous task, and my husband is 11 years younger and in much better physical condition, I make sure he knows I'll take my turn. He doesn't have to be in sole charge of mowing the lawn just because he has a penis.
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:47 AM on March 10, 2006


    There's one hidden ingredient here that we're missing because it's so obvious we don't even notice it: She's blogging.

    We read entries like the above cringe-worthy one about lawn-mowing and have a reaction to it. If a teenage girl reads it she may be put on the alert to watch out for this dynamic. If a man my age reads it it may cause us not just to shake our heads but to wonder if there's any of that still in our attitude.

    My point is, none of that would have been possible back when Betty Friedan was writing The Feminine Mystique. What made that book so powerful was that it was exposing something that all those women were suffering in silence. Take away the silence and you take away a lot of the victimizing power of cultural norms (or, hopefully, previous cultural norms).

    Now, you could also say that someone reading this will think this is the norm for married women. Here's where her being a kooky vegan mom is actually helpful, because her out-of-the-ordinariness is apparent, and I don't think there's too much danger in any girls, vegan or non, thinking that they must follow this example of domestic bliss, because they're tossing this in with a ton of other sources of information they're getting, both cultural and countercultural.

    In short, while it's pretty obvious she's not much of a feminist, I think any effect the blog might have on feminism (even if everyone in the country somehow stumbled across it) is negligible.
    posted by soyjoy at 8:55 AM on March 10, 2006


    I see what you mean, soyjoy. And I also have to remind myself of the introspective, diary-like nature of blogging, otherwise I come away from reading one thinking "Wow, it's just me, me, me with these egomaniacal navelgazers!" ...Kind of the nature of a blog.

    I am also relieved that Vegan Mom is too "out there" (i.e. too left-wing) to ever be a useful poster girl for anti-feminists. But I think people here went after Jody's comment ("Puts feminism back 30 years") as if Jody was basing this only on Vegan Mom's veganism and elaborate lunches, when there's additional fodder in the blogs to raise questions about how this woman views herself, and womanhood, in relation to men.
    posted by applemeat at 10:15 AM on March 10, 2006


    Purplemonkie,
    It's literally true - if a bit dull to say so - that no private individual woman's "lifestyle" hurts feminism all by itself, or rolls a mass movement back about 30 years, as I wrote.

    I was going for snippy brevity with that crack.

    Ira Levin, after all, called his book The Stepford Wives - not wife - for good reason!

    My immediate startled reaction to Vegan Mom's blog was how it read as a blissful celebration of the female persishable domestic arts - without a quiver of the irony or awareness we might expect in 2006.

    It was an aspiration-inducing account of mother's kitchen busywork as a crucial and fulfilling support system for male mouths - their preferences carefully noted and catalogued, along with the themed napkins.

    Forget the vegan theme - though its central to Vegan Mom's philosophy - for a moment. Her blog actually reads exactly like dinosaur women's magazines. The anti-feminist message being - basically - that you will damage your menfolk and your marriage if you cut corners serving food, fail to delight their eyes and tummies or - heavens - lose your own figure! (Vegan Mom apologizes for not wearing make up for one picture. Yes, it's endearing. But she is modelling a self-knitted "shrug" at the time, and the apology on top of the shrug is, um, quaint).

    I take soyjoy's point - that Vegan Mom's "out-of-the-ordinariness is apparent". That's important. And it chimes with yours that "her" existence - by itself - won't turn back the tide.

    I would, however, be very, very worried if I landed in a town of "Vegan Moms"!

    Side note: my parents co-edited what was at the time a saucily pioneering - and commercially successful -"feminist" women's magazine in the late 1960s/early 1970s. It was intended as alternative to the usual "knit-your-own-abortion-the-royal-family-way" stuff in existing magazines.

    Yet it still couldn't shake off some of the old rules - and reading "Vegan Mom" was exactly like going through a time warp.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:17 AM on March 10, 2006


    My eating meat doesn't actually require me to judge you, so why does your life choice have in it an inherent need to judge people who eat meat?

    well from an animal rights perspective, your eating meat is the same as your transgressing against a human. i think we can both agree that people are and should be judged by their choices about whether or not they murder other humans for pleasure. Eating meat in our current society is aggressively taking the life of another sentient creature for the singular reason that it is a preferred taste. Its pretty simple logic for those of us without our heads in our highly defensive asses.

    the point is that every decision you make is a moral choice once you come to understand the ramifications of said choice, if you choose to eat meat in our current society, you are clearly setting a moral precedent for yourself. as you clearly have an opinion on the subject, you have made a decision that taste is more important than a number of other things. you should at least learn to take responsibility for your actions and accept that fact.

    no one is debating the moral implications of caveman activity, this is about the here and now and the fact that meat is not at all needed in any way besides for personal pleasure.

    nothing bugs me more than people who do questionable things, but then try to dodge responsibility with rhetorical bullshit about how "they aren't making a real decision". make your decisions and stand behind them and what the implications are.
    posted by teishu at 10:34 AM on March 10, 2006


    Its pretty simple logic for those of us without our heads in our highly defensive asses.

    No, you definitely don't have your head up your highly defensive ass. Not even a little.
    posted by kosem at 11:08 AM on March 10, 2006


    See, now, I knew that line wouldn't go over well for some reason.
    posted by soyjoy at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2006


    its totally not vegan to have your head up your ass, so no.

    and yeah, i am well aware of my being snarky with that line, but attitudes like that just get me so angry (about many different subjects, not just what one eats). knee jerk anger at someone elses jerky posts... at least i'll cop to it though.
    posted by teishu at 11:30 AM on March 10, 2006


    teishu writes "well from an animal rights perspective, your eating meat is the same as your transgressing against a human."

    I can't speak for others in this thread, but this is where you lose me. My decision to eat meat is only a moral decision indirectly - it is not a moral decision in respect to the animal. I've come to the conclusion that animals lack moral agency and I judge actions harming or helping an animal based on their ramifications to other humans. I wouldn't kill my neighbor's dog because that would be a moral transgression against my neighbor who has had an object of his affection harmed. I wouldn't act cruely to wild animals because it seems capricious and violent - it shows that I have a capacity for that type of behaivor and may be predictive of my behavior towards fellow humans. But when animals suffer while raised for eventual slaugher, well, it doesn't bother me much since it is being done out of sight and is separated from the act of dining (if conditions result in tainted meat, that's an entirely different matter). Having the conditions of veal, for example, described to me is just as effective as a picture of an aborted fetus shown to me by an abortion protestor - I've already decided that fetuses have no moral standing and that the mother's choice is paramount, so the gruesomeness of the procedure is irrelevant.

    For me, an argument about the morality of eating meat is just as productive as a debate between a true believer and a staunch athiest. For the believer, faith is the foundation of their religion - empirical evidence is besides the point. And, likewise, the athiest just doesn't feel the faith in their gut so the arguments of the believer seem silly and illogical.
    posted by mullacc at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2006


    Speaking of how vegans are so easy to anger and so forth, here's a cute little video that Vegan Mom turned me onto.

    But when animals suffer while raised for eventual slaugher, well, it doesn't bother me much since it is being done out of sight

    Yep. That about says it all.
    posted by soyjoy at 11:41 AM on March 10, 2006


    "knit-your-own-abortion-the-royal-family-way"

    I'm stealing this line! Sounds like John Waters has fallen onto hard times and is freelancing for Family Circle.
    posted by applemeat at 11:53 AM on March 10, 2006


    soyjoy writes "Yep. That about says it all."

    You say that like it's some sort of moral condemnation. If it is, it's just about as powerful as a Christian fundamentalist telling me I'm going to hell for premarital sex (which is, of course, not powerful at all).
    posted by mullacc at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2006


    But I think people here went after Jody's comment ("Puts feminism back 30 years") as if Jody was basing this only on Vegan Mom's veganism and elaborate lunches

    Yes, this is what I thought. Point taken. That lawnmower post is terrifying.

    I wouldn't act cruely to wild animals because it seems capricious and violent - it shows that I have a capacity for that type of behaivor and may be predictive of my behavior towards fellow humans.

    And yet this is even more terrifying, meat or no meat. Really, the only thing keeping you from animal cruelty is some sort of psychological slippery slope? I'm not even sure how you think it would be predictive of your behavior towards humans — sure, I would be scared if you killed woodland creatures for fun, but don't you know that you wouldn't kill anyone?

    I've lost my nerve and swatted at a fly. Never in my life did that make me think I'd swat at a dog, or a person.
    posted by rafter at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2006


    You say that like it's some sort of moral condemnation. If it is, it's just about as powerful as a Christian fundamentalist telling me I'm going to hell for premarital sex (which is, of course, not powerful at all).

    You're exactly right. It's also just as powerful as someone telling telling Jeffrey Dahmer that he's a jerk for eating a person (which is, of course, not powerful at all).

    Whether you are swayed by moral condemnation has nothing whatsoever to do with whether your actions are moral.
    posted by rafter at 12:59 PM on March 10, 2006


    So, let me synthesize:

    Animals are equal to humans, thus eating an animal is the moral equivalent of eating a human.

    Thus, rejecting exhortations to not have a ham sammich is the equivalent to a recidivist, psycopathic homicidal cannibalism rejecting arguments that his behavior is wrong.

    Wow...methinks the rhetoric is getting pretty strained.
    posted by darkstar at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2006


    cannibalism --> cannibal

    and

    pretty strained --> beyond ridiculous
    posted by darkstar at 1:19 PM on March 10, 2006


    I think my reasoning for rejecting the moral standing of animals is better than Dahmer's argument for the moral justification of eating people. Did Dahmer even contend that his actions were moral, or at least not immoral?
    posted by mullacc at 1:42 PM on March 10, 2006


    I think my reasoning for rejecting the moral standing of animals is better than Dahmer's argument for the moral justification of eating people. Did Dahmer even contend that his actions were moral, or at least not immoral?

    Honestly, I'm no expert on Dahmer. But it's meant to be a thought experiment — so let's assume "Jeffrey Dahmer" to stand for "a murderer who has decided that other human life is not worthy of moral consideration." Surely this is not too great a leap.

    The point is that he could use many of your arguments to defend his own stance. That would not make him right and that would certainly not make you wrong. But imagine how you would perceive and react to such a person — that's where soyjoy is coming from.

    By the way, I have no idea whether soyjoy believes that "meat is murder" and such a comparison is not the point of my post. The point is that not all moral condemnation is worthless just because the target of the condemnation believes himself to have reasonable moral judgement.
    posted by rafter at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2006


    rafter writes "'a murderer who has decided that other human life is not worthy of moral consideration.'"

    But that's absurd. If "other human life" is not worthy of moral consideration, then you might as well discard the entire notion of morality. My stance on the moral status of animals isn't absurd - it may be wrong ultimately but it isn't sociopathic (I hope not anyway). But to prove me wrong, you'd have to show that animals have emotional and intellectual capacity similar to humans, or at least above some level that qualifies animals for moral consideration. I don't think that argument can be made convincingly - but there are obviously many that do think that argument can be made. This where I say moral condemnation of meat eaters is worthless - two sides assert reasonable moral arguments that the other does not accept but cannot wholly refute.
    posted by mullacc at 2:44 PM on March 10, 2006


    yeast=ANIMAL


    i just wanted to point out that yeast is not animal. its in the fungi family, a plant. :)
    posted by trishthedish at 6:51 PM on March 10, 2006


    Be honest--How many here feel kind of envious that this kid's got such an adoring mom? I admit it...I sort of do. (Although as some have said, she may be doing him some disservice in the long run.)

    There are plenty of moms out there making nutritional lunches for their kids every day, (along with breakfast, dinner, snacks and team treats for soccer, baseball, swimming and football!), and I doubt there are many who don't do various seemingly cutesy things that simply evidence a close relationship with children we feel lucky to be momming. My youngest likes his pancakes made in animal shapes, the crusts cut off his sandwiches, and notes in his lunch box. My eldest likes great quantities of hot food, necessitating several thermoses, and goofy text messages from his mom to his new, and thus really cool, cell phone. Plenty of moms are as psyched about their kids, and conscientious about providing healthy food choices, but just don't blog about it. Or blog about anything else, for that matter. If I sat still that long after meals, play time, sports and homework, I'd fall fast asleep.
    posted by onegreeneye at 7:53 PM on March 10, 2006


    its in the fungi family, a plant. :)

    Just to clear this up, fungi is not a plant, it's its own kingdom. We need to be eating more kingdoms!
    posted by artifarce at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2006


    Animals are equal to humans, thus eating an animal is the moral equivalent of eating a human.

    well my point was being made from an animal rights perspective on why one whouldn't eat animals (as i made clear at the beginning), so yes, you are starting to get it. have you actually ever read any serious writing on the "morality" of using animals for food or testing etc?

    peter singer frames the issue of "equality" quite nicely, in that it is not a matter of equality in anything but consideration. there is an almost endless supply of emperical scientific evidence that animals (generally speaking, arguments can be made about things like worms etc, but this would certainly include all animals currently raised for food in the US) do feel pain, and make every effort to prolong their own lives and do not desire death. thus what on what moral grounds can we rest the idea that killing them for pleasure is alright?

    if you want to try and make some educated well thought out points, i suggest you go read some Carl Cohen essays on the topic so you can at least put up something of a fight.



    and to mullacc, your point about acting cruelly to animals predisposing you to act cruelly to humans was made about 300 years ago by Kant and its since been shown how hypocritical that line of reasoning is in trying to explain why its ok to eat animals, but not ok to randomly murder them.

    "If it is, in itself, perfectly all right to do anything at all to animals for any reason whatsoever, then provided a person realizes the clear line between animals and persons and keeps it in mind as he acts, why should killing animals tend to brutalize him and make him more likely to harm or kill persons? Do butchers commit more murders? (Than other persons who have knives around?) If I enjoy hitting a baseball squarely with a bat, does this significantly increase the danger of my doing the same to someone's head? Am I not capable of understanding that people differ from baseballs, and doesn't this understanding stop the spillover? “ -Robert Nozick

    clearly you believe that animals DO have some level of whatever it is that you have decided makes them human enough to not warrent "cruel" treatment so what makes it Ok for you to have someone else "do the deed" for your future pleasure? what is any less "capricious and violent" about what goes on out of your sight but in your interest? do you think its alright to hire hitmen because its not you actually pulling the trigger?

    also, mullac sorry if i come off nastier than i ment to, for some reason i have a hard time not typing that way so i don't mean to be a dick.
    posted by teishu at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2006


    You say that like it's some sort of moral condemnation.

    I think what you meant is that you heard it like it was some sort of moral condemnation. It was nothing of the sort, though I don't completely disagree with rafter's extrapolation.

    Read the sentence I said "says it all." It's that slaughter doesn't bother you because it's done out of sight. Of course it's not out of sight for the poor souls who are forced to take this dangerous, nauseating and soul-numbing job, usually because they're in the country illegally. And there's no problem with their situation either, because it's kept out of sight.

    In short, I'm not "morally condemning" you, simply pointing out how your system of morals, i.e. the mainstream system, works: It's easy to blithely dismiss animals from moral consideration as long as you're not faced with what's actually happening to them, right? That's essentially what you just said above, paraphrased. You've assured yourself that animals "lack moral agency" and therefore you and everyone else are morally free to do anything you want to an animal, considering only the effects on other humans (we'll ignore the effects on slaughterhouse workers, of course, as that would complicate this simple equation).

    But the fact is that sentient animals - animals that think, feel and suffer - are being cruelly killed in massive numbers for no defensible reason, and to some of us that's something worth fighting. If it's helpful for you to equate this elemental moral question with fundamentalist sermons about sex and hell, great. Whatever gets you through the night.
    posted by soyjoy at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2006


    Hey, that was a fun last line, but I see it made me sound completely snarkier and more dismissive than intended.

    I do want to acknowledge your candor in bringing up the "out of sight" business.

    But I want to make clear I was not judging you morally or theologically, just pointing out how that part of your argument exemplifies the mainstream attitude about meat & morals.
    posted by soyjoy at 9:38 PM on March 10, 2006


    Jody Tresidder: It's literally true - if a bit dull to say so - that no private individual woman's "lifestyle" hurts feminism all by itself, or rolls a mass movement back about 30 years, as I wrote.

    Yes, and it's rather disingenuous of you to reduce my entire 5-paragraph post to one point, then proceed to call it dull. There was a bit more to what I said than that.

    Anyway, I've read the archives of Vegan Mom's lunchbox blog and poked around a good deal on her personal blog as well, and I simply don't see what you are seeing. The closest I've gotten is the lawn mower entry applemeat mentioned above, and that says more about her husband than it does about her. Perhaps the evidence is in there somewhere, but if that is the case I haven't found it yet.

    The anti-feminist message being - basically - that you will damage your menfolk and your marriage if you cut corners serving food, fail to delight their eyes and tummies or - heavens - lose your own figure!

    This is nothing more than a summary of YOUR assumptions about what the mindset of a woman who takes on a 'traditional' role in the household simply must be. While I'm sure some of them do feel that way, I don't see much indication of such thinking from this particular woman. Why lump all women who make choices different from yours into one big heap of robotic 50's throwback Stepford Wives? It's not a reflection of reality.

    It appears that you have a great deal of disdain for homemakers and stay-at-home moms of any stripe, and are reading every word of Vegan Mom's writing through that lens. Take the "lose your figure" thing, for example. Sure, some of her blog entries mention working out. But where do you get the idea that she does so because she's afraid of damaging her marriage? Has it ever occured to you that she might enjoy exercise? That she might feel good about taking care of her body? Not all women who work out do it solely for their "menfolk." I sure as hell don't. And she did not, contrary to your assertion, actually apologize being makeupless in the picture you reference. She wrote the following: "Note adorable cable winding up sleeves. Do not note glaring lack of makeup and need for a haircut." You think it's a Stepford Wife thing, I think it's a posting-a-less-than-stellar-picture-of-yourself-on-the-internet thing. People, both men and women, make such disclaimers all the time. Your own preconceptions are what's making it sound so insidious in this case.

    What it boils down to for me is this: I think the world would be a much better place if women would cut each other some slack and give one another the benefit of the doubt a little more often. Many of us are much too quick to condemn, judge, and condescend the moment we encounter someone who does not conform to our personal conception of feminine strength and enlightenment, and it saddens me to see us treating each other with such lack of empathy.
    posted by purplemonkie at 5:06 AM on March 11, 2006


    Purplemonkie,
    What are we going to do, then? Slice Vegan Mom in half and debate which bits of her blog mission statement fit our duelling personal perceptions?

    YOU ask: "Does this woman dislike her life? Does she feel unappreciated and unfulfilled? Has her husband forbidden her from getting a job outside the house? Is she lobbying for some sort of legislation that would force other women to quit their jobs and stay home baking vegan Twinkies all day instead?".

    I imagine - the answer is no, at the moment - otherwise Vegan Mom wouldn't be blogging about her lifestyle choices in such daintily rapturous terms, would she?. And I guess she might have mentioned the vegan Twinkie legislation somewhere in passing too.

    (But aren't you making self-serving assumptions about the depth and endurance of her fulfilment just as I make assumptions when I question the justification for it?).

    You mentioned in your earlier post exasperation with the denigration of traditional female domestic skills. I think there is enormous danger for women in measuring their worth in terms of these skills.

    We are both, of course, risking breaking the butterfly of Vegan Mom on the wheel here. Never mind.

    Massive generalization alert: all mothers reinvent the parenting wheel at some stage, doing cute-as-a-june-bug things for our kids to display our enormous love - as our own mothers/mothers-in-law look on wryly or approvingly. We also all tend to be very stung by criticism. Fair enough?

    My personal taste in Mommy Blogs are those which show an appreciation for the darker side of the domestic arts. I did find precious little with which to empathize in "Vegan Mom".

    YOU say the lawn mower entry in her blog said more about her husband than Vegan Mom: ("Hubby's been extra-special busy for the last few weeks. ....I was trying to think of ways to be supportive and give him some extra time. Since I already do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, you name it, the only thing I could come up with was more yard work.")

    I read that and reply: are you kidding?

    My main point - and I'm not being dismissive of what you wrote at all - is that "Vegan Mom" appears to be completely unaware of her Stepfordisms. Feminism - in my book - has never been about patting women on the head and endorsing every single choice. It's not a one-size-fits all apricot comfort blankie.

    It's meant to make you think, as well as bake.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:31 AM on March 11, 2006


    am i too late to start arguing about feminism? the vegan stuff seems to have died down and i do have a minor in womens studies...
    posted by teishu at 8:18 AM on March 11, 2006


    Oooh, I bet you're the funniest guy in Sig Chi!
    posted by applemeat at 9:38 AM on March 11, 2006


    Jody Tresidder: But aren't you making self-serving assumptions about the depth and endurance of her fulfilment just as I make assumptions when I question the justification for it?

    Perhaps, but if that is the case I'd much rather take the word of the woman herself, who in her writing sounds quite content (if occasionally overwhelmed), than to assume that I know better and that she's actually a miserable tool of the patriarchy, unless I have more evidence. Obviously, neither of us knows this person and it's a little difficult to judge the true nature of her fulfillment or lack thereof from a blog. I just prefer to err on the side of assuming that the life choices she's made have been right for her.

    You mentioned in your earlier post exasperation with the denigration of traditional female domestic skills. I think there is enormous danger for women in measuring their worth in terms of these skills.

    I think there is enormous danger for anyone in measuring their worth solely in terms of their skills and have never suggested otherwise.

    YOU say the lawn mower entry in her blog said more about her husband than Vegan Mom.... I read that and reply: are you kidding?

    No, I'm not kidding. You seem to have conveniently left off the part where her husband tells her that mowing the lawn is "a man's job" and she feels offended, which sort of makes me look like a moron. Thanks.

    Look, I never said the woman was a feminist, I never said I'd want to live my life the way she lives hers, I never said her blog was a beacon of female liberationist thought. I just don't see why you are so quick to assume that you know exactly what's going on in this person's head. I believe it's possible for some women to consciously and freely choose a traditional role, and to enjoy it. You don't. Fine. We are obviously not going to change each other's minds on this, and should probably just drop it.

    Incidentally, I find it odd that you say you're not being dismissive of what I write, only to immediately follow that statement with one implying that I think of feminism as a head-patting apricot-colored comfort blankie.
    posted by purplemonkie at 9:46 AM on March 11, 2006


    Purplemonkie,
    Earlier you wrote: "The feminist movement was and is in large part a fight for all women's right to self-determine."

    So how is that NOT a "one-size-fits-all" definition?
    You do seem to want to make feminism a big cosy mass-validating embrace - with ecumenical gold stars for everyone.

    You also wrote: "While I am well aware that such roles [i.e. rigidly defining roles] have been and still are used to oppress women, oppression has about as much to do with Jennifer's particular situation as sharecropping has to do with the fact that I like to pick vegetables in my garden."

    Then you try to turn her unexpurgated lawn mowing comment into a partial confession that she is at least aware that her husband's attitude (it's "a man's job") smacks of oppression! Hurrumph!

    True, as you point out, I am quick to criticize.
    This is metafilter, after all, and not real life and I am far kinder to my soggier sisters face to face. I hope.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:54 AM on March 11, 2006


    Oooh, I bet you're the funniest guy in Sig Chi!

    someones certainly scraping the barrel for insults.

    and for the record i wasn't even trying to really be "funny", i am just interested in both of the discussions/arguments that have sprung from this thread, but i was only taking part in one so i neglected the other that i found equally interesting. so i made a silly joke about it. maybe you'd like it better if my jokes were vaguely insulting to six year olds?
    posted by teishu at 11:20 AM on March 11, 2006


    soyjoy: I did hear it like a moral condemnation - if snark is what I expect on MeFi, so snark is what I hear! Apologies for taking your words in the wrong context.

    "If it's helpful for you to equate this elemental moral question with fundamentalist sermons about sex and hell, great. Whatever gets you through the night."

    The content of that analogy was poorly chosen, but I just meant that we differ so much on the basic ideas behind our actions that your "sermon" to me (or my "sermon" to you) is futile.
    posted by mullacc at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2006


    To refer to the woman as "Stepford" is a bit judgmental, no? Why assume the "woman = victim" view, which only allows for one interpretation of the story? Sure, she notes that she cooks, cleans, etc., etc., all the endless tasks the stay-at-home parent of a small child does. However, she notes that her husband has been very busy. That could mean many things. Now, if you take out her cutesy poo form of speech (annoying to many), and just read what she said, there's plenty you could read in to it, or not read in to it. To assume Stepfordism, which speaks volumes towards what one thinks of this woman for staying at home to raise her child, negates the possibility that her husband may be working just as hard and that she knows that. When my kids were babies my husband, just out of his teaching masters, worked 3 jobs (bus driver at 5am, van driver at 11am, courrier until 8pm) for absolute crap wages while trying to secure a job with the school districts teaching English to 7th graders in a town where English majors were, at that time, a dime a dozen. I was doing the momming during the day, going to school 3 nights a week, and doing paperwork for a local business, at home on my kitchen table, to try to make ends meet. When he got home at night, he took over the babies. We both worked hard, and I think folks jump to fail to credit dads these days in their part of the family-making/survival. Cutesy as Vegan Mom's prose may be (making her sound a bit odd to the more caustic among us), she may not be describing the one-sided servitude folks with a chip on the shoulder about stay-at-home moms seem to invent for them. When I stayed home, it was other women who were least supportive and most critical. Usually women who had no idea how hard it really was, and that few moms do nothing but momming (a job in itself) at home.
    posted by onegreeneye at 12:16 PM on March 11, 2006


    your point about acting cruelly to animals predisposing you to act cruelly to humans was made about 300 years ago by Kant

    Yep, I got it from a Kant professor. As much as I wish it to be the case, I'm not very familiar with the current state of thought on Kant so I shouldn't continue to argue this line of reasoning - but this is the internet and it's what expected of me.

    what is any less "capricious and violent" about what goes on out of your sight but in your interest? do you think its alright to hire hitmen because its not you actually pulling the trigger?

    The process by which animals are processed for consumption does not strike me as capricious and violent. It is gross and I prefer it be done out of my sight, but I think a distinction can be drawn between the butcher and a person who, for example, tortures stray cats for fun. The torturer is not providing a service like the butcher is, the torturer isn't a part of a profession like the butcher is. The extent to which the butcher makes an animal suffer is a function of natural and logistical requirements - someone who torturers an animal does so because he enjoys the suffering it causes. The things that make the animal torturer different from the butcher are the things that make me think his behavior towards humans will be less than optimal.

    And, of course, you'd hire a hitman to kill a human, so it doesn't matter if it's done out of sight or not.
    posted by mullacc at 12:26 PM on March 11, 2006


    If the kid grows up to find life disappointing, I wager it'll be because he runs across a macabre gloating cult of people who sneer at positive human emotion and tenderness between mother and child as if they were unnatural acts deserving of lunchroom beatdowns.

    He'll probably start referring to his mother by the honorific "Sister" to inflate her illusion of youth somewhere along the line. Then maybe one day he'll meet a slightly unhinged woman who will claim to be his secret half-sister. Knowing this kid, he'll hatch a cockamamie plot to pretend to live with her as husband and wife for the sake of her honor and the memory of his father, but this will require him to break off an engagement with the girl he truly loves (incidentally allowing a somewhat despicable cousin to move in on her). It will break his mother's heart, she'll disown and disinherit him, he'll run away to New York City, try to jumpstart a career as a writer on the strength of a few terrible poems he wrote as an even more callow youth, find out that it's entirely possible that the girl in fact isn't his half-sister after all, and eventually everyone will die.

    That's what this level of mother/son interaction leads to. Mark my words.
    posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:39 PM on March 11, 2006


    Teishu: If you want to enter the discussion then do it. Your comment was a snark.
    posted by applemeat at 1:03 PM on March 11, 2006


    Jody Tresidder: So how is that NOT a "one-size-fits-all" definition?

    I said "in large part." As in, not all, but a big piece. I actually struggled with how to phrase that thought because I did not mean to imply that self-determination is the end-all and be-all of feminism. I do, however, believe it is important. You apparently don't.

    You do seem to want to make feminism a big cosy mass-validating embrace - with ecumenical gold stars for everyone.

    So because I think it's possible for some women to choose and be fulfilled by traditional roles, I want feminism to be "a big cosy mass-validating embrace?" Right. Is there any middle ground in your worldview?

    I'm honestly not sure what you're getting at with your comments regarding the lawn-mowing thing. I do find her husband's attitude about that situation sexist and laughable. I do not, however, believe the incident proves her entire existence to be oppressive.

    You clearly have nothing but contempt for stay-at-home moms regardless of their particular life situation. Can we just agree to that and be done with this?
    posted by purplemonkie at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2006


    With the greatest respect, onegreeneye, what's the point of getting all anecdotal on my ass? (To misquote Pulp Fiction!)

    All you're doing is a version of the classic metafilter shuffle, i.e. "don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes."

    I wouldn't dream of judging you - and I could flip you a pretty similar personal babies 'n struggle story myself (the usual strenuous/rewarding/sweat and tears stuff).

    Of course we could also both spend forever inventing back stories for Vegan Mom to put her cheery musings in our chosen contexts.

    As for assuming "Stepfordism" - which indeed I did: perhaps I am totally wrong. I can only go on what's there and I detect a strong whiff of man-pleasing mothballs...

    Maybe I have a suspiciously sensitive nose!

    (I am suddenly incapable of writing another word...I keep imagining blameless "Vegan Mom" discovering this thread - and PinkStainlessTail's most recent comment - and doing something violent involving vegan "not dogs" and "nayonnaise"...)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:07 PM on March 11, 2006


    "You clearly have nothing but contempt for stay-at-home moms regardless of their particular life situation".

    Purplemonkie: that's just rude, scolding, absurd and completely OTT. Of course I won't agree to that statement.
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2006


    I apologize if that is an incorrect characterization of how you feel about women who decide to be homemakers, but that is honestly how you've come across in this thread to me. I've tried to make space for the possibility that some women can be content in such a role, and in response you've condescendingly accused me of espousing some ineffectual, fuzzheaded version of quasi-feminism and dispensing head pats. I don't think it's all that absurd to say you've appeared to have a chip on your shoulder regarding stay-at-home moms during this discussion, and I'm quite sure I'm not the only one who's gotten that impression.
    posted by purplemonkie at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2006


    Oh, fine.

    By patiently and politely repeating and amplifying my position I end up being accused of having "a chip on my shoulder".

    I shall now take enormous temporary umbrage
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:27 PM on March 11, 2006


    Just to clear this up, fungi is not a plant, it's its own kingdom. We need to be eating more kingdoms!


    hahah oops. i vaguely remember learning that in science class as a kid, but im not too fond of the fungus kingdom so i dont know much about it other than yeast belongs there with some gross stuff. thanks for the heads up!
    posted by trishthedish at 6:15 PM on March 11, 2006


    Jody Tresidder, you have an interesting defintion of "polite." Enjoy the umbrage.
    posted by purplemonkie at 7:11 PM on March 11, 2006


    Now, don't be a fungus hata, y'all!
    posted by darkstar at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2006


    Teishu: If you want to enter the discussion then do it. Your comment was a snark.

    what exactly was "snarky" about it? the veganism discussion seemed to have died down, the one that i loosely defined as about "feminism" was still going, as i already said i'm interested in both topics, but i was not following one of them as closely due to my taking active part in the other. what is "snarky" about my jokingly saying that i feel too late to really actively join in?


    The process by which animals are processed for consumption does not strike me as capricious and violent. It is gross and I prefer it be done out of my sight,

    Mullacc - two things about this, first, its clear that in whatever conception you have of how animals are processed for food, you see it as a negative thing that you do not wish to take any part in. i see that as something of a cop out in that i wouldn't want anyone to do something on my behalf that i myself wouldn't do if nessisty dictated (ie: i am not a garbage man nor do i wish to be, yet if for whatever reason i needed to collect the trash, then i would feel fine doing it).

    second, and this is really more of a question, just how much do you actually know about the process of factory farming? i ask because i can think of no more accurate term for the manner in which these animals are raised and slaughtered than "capricious and violent". personally i think its still reprehensible to kill animals for food even if its done in the most peaceful way and the animals have the most perfect life up until that point, but realistically the vast majority of meat production is so far from this that i cannot even fathom how treatment like this even exists.


    also the so called "function of natural and logistical requirements" of making an animal suffer for consumption is no less for pleasurable purposes than the animal torturer in that the only reason for eating meat (in current "modern first world" society) is personal pleasure. i certianly do make a distinction between the two due to the fact that the person deriving pleasure from eating meat is not directly deriving their pleasure from the death/suffering of the animal. however, i think that once one is cognizent of the facts surrounding the production of said pleasure (the meat), all that went into the production then does rest on the consumers shoulders morally speaking. having someone kill an animal for your pleasure is still your moral responisbility.
    posted by teishu at 10:58 AM on March 12, 2006


    Jody: I was indeed typing from personal experience as I think that's as valid as quoting a bunch of stuff I've googled about how strangers might feel. If that's not proper form here - where I'm a bit new and still a bit baffled by both the protocol and the crabbiness - well shame, shame on me. I do believe (without links to prove that I believe this) that often women are much more the adversary of other women than men could ever hope to be, and much more critical as well, and the Stepford comment got me going on that train of thought. I also think the knee jerk reaction to attack men, and other women, gets tiresome but worse, paints us all with the bitchy, humorless, manhater stereotype.
    Had my comments been directed towards you specifically, I'd have said "Yo, Jody" or something equally direct. Instead the train of thought was inspired by several comments. As to your judging me, I didn't think that because, as far as I know, we've never conversed.
    posted by onegreeneye at 11:23 AM on March 12, 2006


    (I am suddenly incapable of writing another word...I keep imagining blameless "Vegan Mom" discovering this thread - and PinkStainlessTail's most recent comment - and doing something violent involving vegan "not dogs" and "nayonnaise"...)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:07 PM PST on March 11 [!]


    That was very, very funny.
    posted by onegreeneye at 11:27 AM on March 12, 2006


    all that went into the production then does rest on the consumers shoulders morally speaking.

    Do you use __________? (insert anything you find in your home, here*)

    How can you sleep at night, knowing that you willfully to accept the consequences of using that product, for your own pleasure?

    *Some suggestions: cotton sheets, asphalt shingles, regular bathing, televisions, computers, electric lights, air conditioning...
    posted by darkstar at 11:46 AM on March 12, 2006


    onegreeneye, it's certainly not improper form to speak from personal experience here. I appreciated your thoughts, and stories such as yours are one reason I get so upset with knee-jerk judgment of women who work in the home, especially when it's other women doing the judging. I wish we were more kind to each other.
    posted by purplemonkie at 12:20 PM on March 12, 2006


    onegreeneye, reading back - I came down on you with an excessive thud. Apologies. I can see what I thought I was forestalling, and I was unfair.


    (When people go out on a bouncy limb with their opinions - as I felt I was doing - there's a risk of getting way too crabby. So you did the right thing - answering back crisply - and there was nothing off-protocol in your original comment anyway.)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:30 PM on March 12, 2006


    Do you use __________? (insert anything you find in your home, here*)

    How can you sleep at night, knowing that you willfully to accept the consequences of using that product, for your own pleasure?

    *Some suggestions: cotton sheets, asphalt shingles, regular bathing, televisions, computers, electric lights, air conditioning...


    well first off, stop trying to list things that you "assume" i use or would be found in MY home. the only one you can be sure of is a computer since i wouldn't be able to post without it.

    but much more importantly, yes, i do use a lot of things, and yes, i think about the consequences of pretty much everything that i consume. thats exactly my point. you choose to willfully ignore that which you might have moral qualms with because you just want to "go with the flow" or whatever bullshit justification you have made up for yourself so that you can go on selfishly ignoring the realities of what cost is paid for your comfort and pleasure. i accept and take responsibility for what my consumption entails and continually strive to improve myself in this regard. you just want to put your head in the sand and not take any responsibility for your actions.

    its pretty telling of how you think that you seem to have all this seething guilt about the products you use lying just under the surface of what you'll allow yourself to "believe". and also the fact that you seem to think entire classes of products have to be produced through something morally objectionable.
    posted by teishu at 6:28 PM on March 12, 2006


    1. To clarify, I'm not assuming anything about what you use or own. I offered some suggestions that might apply to you. You surely might not use any of the ones I mentioned. You probably could find something to fill in the blanks with, though.

    2. "...or whatever bullshit justification you have made up for yourself so that you can go on selfishly ignoring the realities of what cost is paid for your comfort and pleasure."

    Nice.

    3. "...you just want to put your head in the sand and not take any responsibility for your actions..."

    So, what you're saying is that you're assuming a complete lack of any moral conviction on my part. Great.

    4. ...its pretty telling of how you think that you seem to have all this seething guilt about the products you use lying just under the surface of what you'll allow yourself to "believe"...

    Well, it's only "pretty telling" because you're not really getting what I've written. Because I personally don't have any sense of "guilt", seething or otherwise, at all about sleeping on cotton sheets or using a computer, etc.

    5. "...and also the fact that you seem to think entire classes of products have to be produced through something morally objectionable."

    Have to be? Nope. But I'll bet that for 9 out of 10 products you use in your home, I could find some way in which a moral argument could be made against it. It's not all that hard to do. One simply starts by assuming a position of moral superiority and things just seem to flow naturally from there.


    Now: I have shown you common respect by not insulting you. However, you have repeatedly insulted me in your last comment. I therefore must confess I am puzzled by your assuming a position of moral superiority, as it seems strangely dissonant with your behavior.
    posted by darkstar at 7:26 PM on March 12, 2006


    My eating meat doesn't actually require me to judge you, so why does your life choice have in it an inherent need to judge people who eat meat

    I have no need to judge you, darkstar. My point is that you have a need to judge yourself, as does everyone. Yes, you need to be aware of the implications of your choices and be responsible for them. Does this mean I consider everyone who is not living the perfect organic monk's life some kind of immoral worm? No. We're all human. The point is to be aware and make informed choices. This does tend to have a positive impact if undertaken in good faith by people of any moral fiber. Progress is all you can hope for, and I do find the steady march of history encouraging.

    What do you want? To be relieved of ever thinking through the consequences of your actions? Sorry. But in any case, my suggestion that ordinary actions imply moral choices is not me judging you. Whatever your standards are, judge yourself. Just don't skip the entire exercise.
    posted by scarabic at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2006


    Incidentally, people always react this way to vegans. All they do is decide to be vegan and suddenly people are on the defensive.

    OH YEAH? THINK YOU'RE SO HIGH AND MIGHTY? WELL, DO YOU USE COTTON???? HA! I THOUGHT SO!

    Some vegans judge and proselytize, but even the ones who don't get this reaction all the time.

    Eventually the defensive party gets stirred up into a disgusting frenzy of defending all their own behaviors and trying to make everyone in the room look qually compromised.

    My only interpretation of this is that veganism makes people feel guilty. When someone does something and you do nothing, all you can resort to is accusing them of not doing everything they should. It's incredibly weak, and reveals all kinds of insecurity and guilt.
    posted by scarabic at 8:55 AM on March 14, 2006


    trying to make everyone in the room look equally compromised
    posted by scarabic at 8:57 AM on March 14, 2006


    Incidentally, people always react this way to vegans. All they do is decide to be vegan and suddenly people are on the defensive.

    Hahaha! Well, you might notice that it's the vegans in this thread that are being the most defensive, judgmental and insulting. But whatever.

    And if you will re-read my note about cotton sheets, you'll note that I'm not using it as a hammer to hit anyone with. I'm using it as an example of how you can turn anything into a judgmental morality exercise, if you're so inclined. Personally, I'm not so inclined.

    My only interpretation of this is that veganism makes people feel guilty.

    You're entitled your interpretation, but your cognitive bias is preventing you from noticing that the insecurity and guilt that are being expressed in this thread is predominately coming from the vegan evangelists. For some strange reason, you HAVE to imagine I feel GUILTY about my dietary choices. Or, like teishu, I must be morally bankrupt. That's remarkable. I don't see where I've made similar judgments about vegans.

    But, eh, to each his own. I'll continue to eat meat, you continue to not do so. I don't judge you for your dietary choices because, frankly, it neither threatens me nor concerns me. You evidently can't say the same, though.
    posted by darkstar at 9:44 AM on March 14, 2006


    Jody and Purplemonkie: Thanks for your kind words. Cheers.
    posted by onegreeneye at 9:52 AM on March 14, 2006


    in all my years of being a vegan/vegetarian i have gotten about 95% negative comments from people. and i DONT flaunt it around, people are incredibly judgemental if they see you eat something that isnt considered normal in their everyday lives. ive had so many people approach me and give me their piece of mind. so yes, i do believe people feel threatened by anything they dont understand. this thread is a perfect example of that... and to the comments about the vegans being the most defensive... how do you think you would react after numerous years of slandering on something you believe to be very important? after awhile it makes you sick to your stomach to hear someone start about 'how much protein you should eat' or how 'animals were put on this earth to be eaten'. that is where the defensiveness comes from. i myself for the most part can brush it off but not everyone that is vegan or a person that believes in something else can take the assault without getting a little uppity.

    and you know what i think? they have every right to be defensive when someone is trying to belittle them for their beliefs.. its no different than people that question your religion. im not religious but i RESPECT peoples right to be even though i dont agree with it, i would EXPECT some defensiveness if i got in someones face about their religion.

    but apparently respect and understanding are a rarity in this society.
    posted by trishthedish at 10:34 AM on March 14, 2006


    darkstar, i am not ASSUMING anything about your moral convictions, you have plainly stated that you do not make at least certain decisions with any morality in mind. my point that i made clearly (as has scarbic), and you continue to ignore, is that every decision we make has moral implications, and that needs to be recognized, for good or for bad. my supposed "holier than thou" attitude stems from the fact that i think it IS totally amoral to blindly refuse to recognize the fact that what you do impacts more than just yourself and that consideration must be made for said impact. weather or not you decide what i have decided is a whole different argument. (one that has been taking place somewhat in this thread with other people)

    I'm not a meat-eater because of any real moral choice I've made, really. And I have considered the moral issues. I simply eat meat because I'm evolved to do it, it suits my physiology, and it's by far the more convenient way (lowest cost in resources of time, effort and money) to get the nutrients my body needs.


    this is the synthesis of your entire argument. that you don't belive that eating meat is a moral decision. your only argument given thus far to support this idea is
    I suppose you could make the argument that I've morally decided that convenience/cost is more important than an animal's suffering. But if so:

    I've also made a moral choice that the comfort of sleeping on cotton sheets (as opposed to curling up in a nest of grass I've harvested from my back yard) justifies the pollution that it took to grow, harvest and process cotton,

    I've made a moral choice that having a computer is more important than the pollution of mining, processing and fabrication,

    I've made a moral choice that spending time to make a comment on this thread is a better use of my time than spending the same few minutes going out and volunteering in a homeless shelter.


    i agree with this 100%. you are trying to make a sarcastic point, but to me you are just showing how ignorant of the idea of morality you seem to be. EVERYTHING YOU DO IS A MORAL DECISION whether YOU WANT IT TO BE OR NOT.

    and for the record, i have not once attacked you personally, everything i said was about the idea that you are espousing, which to me is either totally ignorant, or absolutely disgusting. the attitude you are displaying is the ideological path that allows the most horrible things to be justified.

    But I'll bet that for 9 out of 10 products you use in your home, I could find some way in which a moral argument could be made against it. It's not all that hard to do.

    i'd only say that your wrong because i belive that it is in fact 10 out of 10.
    posted by teishu at 10:45 AM on March 14, 2006


    and to the comments about the vegans being the most defensive... how do you think you would react after numerous years of slandering on something you believe to be very important?

    trish, I'm appreciate that you are willing to admit to a degree of defensiveness about this. Personally, I'd never slander someone for eating meat, any more than I'd slander them for their religion. As long as people don't presume to tell me that I'm immoral or suppressing some inner seething guilt because I happen to not share their worldview, I'm happy to live and let live.

    I celebrate your choice to not eat meat, respect your right to do so, and understand the rationale given for it.
    posted by darkstar at 10:48 AM on March 14, 2006


    also

    But, eh, to each his own. I'll continue to eat meat, you continue to not do so. I don't judge you for your dietary choices because, frankly, it neither threatens me nor concerns me. You evidently can't say the same, though.

    your dietary choices DO concern me, because they are directly contributing to a number of things that directly affect me as well as concern me for my personal belief that it is wrong to kill animals for pleasure.

    would you make the same argument to someone who is concerned with say the genocide in darfur? that its none of their business because its not really affecting them personally?
    posted by teishu at 10:49 AM on March 14, 2006


    and for the record, i have not once attacked you personally, everything i said was about the idea that you are espousing, which to me is either totally ignorant, or absolutely disgusting.

    cf with:

    "...or whatever bullshit justification you have made up for yourself so that you can go on selfishly ignoring the realities of what cost is paid for your comfort and pleasure."

    "...you just want to put your head in the sand and not take any responsibility for your actions..."

    Pardon me for saying so, but you have a lot of room for growth in your understanding of things if you think that those two statements are not personally insulting.

    Well, it seems that, at the ripe age of 24, you have achieved such a firm grip on what morality is all about. Just imagine how much easier the rest of your life will be now that you can lecture others on the subject authoritatively.
    posted by darkstar at 10:55 AM on March 14, 2006


    teishu writes "in whatever conception you have of how animals are processed for food, you see it as a negative thing that you do not wish to take any part in. i see that as something of a cop out in that i wouldn't want anyone to do something on my behalf that i myself wouldn't do if nessisty dictated (ie: i am not a garbage man nor do i wish to be, yet if for whatever reason i needed to collect the trash, then i would feel fine doing it). "

    I'd feel fine killing an animal for meat myself if there was no way to avoid it. And you asked if I knew much about factory farming - the truth is I do not know much of the details. I've been to a pig farm (but the tour didn't include the slaughterhouse) and I thought it was very disgusting - but it was my senses that were disgusted, not my conscience.

    having someone kill an animal for your pleasure is still your moral responisbility.

    Agreed. I just don't consider the act immoral.

    trishthedish writes "in all my years of being a vegan/vegetarian i have gotten about 95% negative comments from people."

    I hope the comments I've made haven't been seen as negative toward vegans/vegetarians. I disagree with the philosophy and I felt compelled to reply in this thread only because the idea was floated that meat-eaters did not take their morality of their actions seriously. But my disagreement is passive - I wouldn't try to convince anyone not to take on veganism.
    posted by mullacc at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2006


    Just imagine how much easier the rest of your life will be now that you can lecture others on the subject authoritatively.

    Well, at any rate, more authoritatively than you can, as you've assumed and decided that scarbic doesn't eat meat, and told him to continue not eating meat. You added, "I don't judge you for your dietary choices because, frankly, it neither threatens me nor concerns me. You evidently can't say the same, though."

    In fact, of course, scarabic can say the same, whereas you apparently cannot: The threat/concern of pro-vegan arguments has obscured for you scarabic's own declaration on this thread that he does in fact eat meat, as well as my own pointing this very fact out to you.

    Wow, talk about cognitive dissonance!

    Of course this boner doesn't directly impact on the validity of your central argument (which as far as I can tell is "don't bother making choices based on moral consequences, because everything has moral consequences" - in short, grade-school-level moral relativism), but it does give us some insight into your ability to judge the "guilt" and "defensiveness" of other commenters, given that you've clearly shown you prefer your own story about them to facts that are clearly and repeatedly stated for you.
    posted by soyjoy at 11:51 AM on March 14, 2006


    Of course this boner doesn't directly impact on the validity of your central argument

    As you say, indeed, it doesn't. It merely illustrates that it's sometimes hard to keep everyone straight in a thread where a comment made to one person is responded to by someone else, entirely.

    but it does give us some insight into your ability to judge the "guilt" and "defensiveness" of other commenters

    Perhaps it does, if you shoehorn your foregone conclusion that I'm somehow morally bankrupt into the narrow gap left by a simple error in attribution on my part.

    But just so it's crystal clear: soyjoy, scarabic teishu and others, please continue to engage in whatever your dietary practices are (which I confess I am not expending great effort to keep straight in my mind, because I'm not really all that concerned by them). I respect your decisions to eat what you want and your right to make those decisions without being labeled immoral, amoral or whatever.

    I'd also ask kindly for the same degree of respect.

    (I honestly have difficulty understanding how that kind of position makes me guilty, defensive, judgmental or otherwise morally weak. But there's a lot I still have to learn about morality in this world...)
    posted by darkstar at 12:27 PM on March 14, 2006


    It merely illustrates that it's sometimes hard to keep everyone straight in a thread where a comment made to one person is responded to by someone else, entirely.

    Ummm... I'm not sure how to put this, but... you have used the Internet before, right?

    > but it does give us some insight into your ability to judge the "guilt" and "defensiveness" of other commenters

    Perhaps it does, if you shoehorn your foregone conclusion that I'm somehow morally bankrupt into the narrow gap left by a simple error in attribution on my part.


    Right - OR even if I don't, since a) this callout had zip to do with moral bankruptcy and nowhere in what I said can you find any such language, and b) the fact that you can't keep the commenters straight, even after your error has been explicitly pointed out to you, is very tightly related to your supposed grasp of where people are coming from in making their arguments.

    If you want to make this about being labeled "immoral, amoral or whatever," you're perfectly free to, but you seem to be the one most concerned with doing the labeling.
    posted by soyjoy at 1:42 PM on March 14, 2006


    from the "insults" you have quoted me with, its clear that i am talking about you solely reguarding your adoption of the ideology that you are not making moral decisions with what you do in your life. i haven't lurked your other posts, your personal life or anything else about you as a person. i have responded to arguments you have made in this thread that clearly state your lack of moral concern with (at least some of) your actions. i don't think its personally insulting to rephrase things that you yourself have said about yourself. personally insulting would be for me to say you are a moron or to make fun of who you are(ohhh i'm 24 BURN!) or say that because you live in AZ you can't make any points because who the fuck cares what people in AZ have to say.

    no one has said you are amoral or immoral, just that you have a pick and choose mentality when it comes to moral issues. yet you seem inclined to attack other people for pointing out how faulty that logic is, with attacks aimed at their personal moral decisions to try and "catch them". as if finding some flaw in their personal moral structure would somehow make the flaws in your own logic nonexistent.

    also, about my being 24. what does that have to do with anything? you know nothing about my education or background, just as i know nothing about yours. there are lots of people many years younger than me who know a lot more about certain areas of study than most people, no matter their age. so out of curiosity, just how many college courses on morality have you taken? how many books on the subject have you read? what degrees do you hold? what life experiences do you have dealing with issues of morality? are you an ethics professor that wants to show us whats what? personally i don't care, but once again, try a little self reflection before you go casting stones.


    i could very easily have just completely dismissed your absurdly basic understanding of the issues involved here, but instead i have continued to treat you with a level of intellectual equality and addressed the points you made with counterpoints of my own. now that your stubborn logic seems to have run its course and you can't just keep making the same tired point over and over again, you are resorting to personal attacks on my credibility because i'm GASP 24! if i was 5 and mentally handicapped, it wouldn't make YOUR points any better.

    i don't feel like i have "lectured" anyone. i feel that in every other case, there has been a discussion. clearly i've disagreed with a number of other people on this thread and even made some snarky comments to them, but the whole point of this is to share your thoughts, and then get feedback and continue the back and forth. if you feel like you are being lectured to, perhaps its because you've really got nothing to say and the "back and forth" doesn't work when i'm just repeating myself to you because you keep making the same point.


    mullacc: although i strongly disagree about the morality of animals for food, at least you are aware of what you're doing. i would suggest you check out some of the information out there on the factory farming industry. at the very least i think it might make you look for differently processed meats (free range, hormone free, etc). when i first started to look into it i would have never believed it to be the way it is. i don't know if you're familiar with it (a lot of history classes teach it) but things haven't changed much since the days of Sinclair's the jungle, and in many cases have just gotten worse due to technology. i'd also look into dairy simply for health reasons alone. the shit that goes in "regular" production milk is disgusting and dangerous.
    posted by teishu at 2:19 PM on March 14, 2006


    this callout had zip to do with moral bankruptcy and nowhere in what I said can you find any such language

    I'm sorry...I seem to recall you making this specific comment: "grade-school-level moral relativism". When I read that, I thought you intended to make a qualitative statement about my morality. In fact, you kinda did, didn't you?

    Regardless, look, I misattributed one comment in a thread of over 200. I admitted it. You yourself said it didn't actually undermine my central argument. So, get over it, already.

    As for my central argument, notwithstanding your dismissal of it as grade-school, I'll say it again:

    1. I've repeatedly said that I'm not judging you or anybody in this thread for your dietary choices.

    2. I've repeatedly said that I celebrate your right to make your choices and don't ascribe any sense of morality or immorality or whatever to them.

    3. I've only asked for similar respect.

    I'm not sure how I could be any LESS defensive or guilt-ridden or judgmental about this.

    It seems that this really isn't making it through your grid, though. So please forgive me for drawing my participation in this discussion to a respectful close.
    posted by darkstar at 2:24 PM on March 14, 2006


    As for teishu's comment, yes, you have been lecturing all of us. I'm sorry if you don't like being told that, but it's true.

    As for your being 24, sure, it's a personal note. It seems to have struck a real nerve and I apologize. I was probably unwise of me. It wasn't intended to be a criticism, so much as it was intended for you to realize that maybe you don't know everything in the world yet. I mean, when I was 24, I had a great deal of moral certitude about a number of things that, since I've grown older (and I hope wiser), I've realized was based on incomplete understanding.

    In fact, I'm sure you know much more about me on some things. But you're speaking with the moral certitude of a 90-year old tulku on this topic. I just thought it might be helpful to remind you that you, like the rest of us, have a lot of learning to do.

    As for knowing about your background, you're right. I don't know all that much about you. I only know what you've written about yourself at some length, including your education level, your pastimes and so forth, on your websites. (By the way, I think the Christmas lights thing was awesome.) I think you'd be a cool guy to get to know, as long as you weren't preaching to me about veganism. :)

    So, you disagree with my views. That's fine, I can handle that - I've lived through worse. You see our disagreement as stating something about my weak moral processes. I don't ascribe the same flaw to you.

    With that said, allow me also to close my discussion with you, too, on a note of respectful peace.
    posted by darkstar at 2:39 PM on March 14, 2006


    Now that that dead horse has been properly flogged, may we eat it, or mourn it, whichever our equally valid life/dietary choice may be?
    posted by onegreeneye at 2:55 PM on March 14, 2006


    I'm sorry...I seem to recall you making this specific comment: "grade-school-level moral relativism". When I read that, I thought you intended to make a qualitative statement about my morality. In fact, you kinda did, didn't you?

    In fact, no. Not even kinda.

    Calling your logical argument, which I only mentioned parenthetically, "grade-school-level moral relativism" has nothing to do with making any statement about your morality. It has only to do with judging the sophistication or validity, or lack thereof, of your argument. The fact that you confuse the two indicates once more that you perceive everything said to you as an attack on your own morality.

    I have no idea what your own morality is. For all I know you could be a vegan taking apart vegan arguments, just as scarabic is a meat-eater taking apart anti-vegan arguments. That's why I don't address your morality or charge you with "moral bankruptcy" or anything of the sort; I only referred to your argument, offhand, by a well-known term that describes it.

    And since you apparently wish to stop debating the whole moral-relativism angle, I will again give you a pass on that. But as to your "misattribution," you're still denying what actually happened: Not once, as you claim, but multiple times in at least two separate comments as part of an ongoing debate with him, you dismissed scarabic's arguments as coming from a non-meat-eater - even continuing after this error was already brought to your attention!

    "Misattributed"? This isn't like saying "teishu" when you meant "trishthedish," or swiping and pasting a line from one person's comment and then crediting someone else; it relates directly to your claim to be able to see "cognitive bias" in other commenters. It's abundantly clear that the cognitive bias was on your side. As soon as you admit to that, I'll gladly "get over it."
    posted by soyjoy at 7:25 AM on March 15, 2006


    so i think my first post went relatively well. haha.
    posted by trishthedish at 11:32 AM on March 15, 2006


    It was a terrific first link Trish. This was the most fun (well maybe "fun" is not exactly the word) thread I've ever enjoyed on MetaFilter.
    posted by applemeat at 8:34 AM on March 18, 2006


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