Saturday, August 01, 2009

Part-Time Veganism

The Times Online featured an article on dieting today. Sounding to this vegan's ears like something straight out of The Onion, the article blesses (shh!) Mark Bittman with the honour of having added fuel to the fire igniting the recent popular interest in something it calls 'veganism'. It focuses primarily on society's ongoing obsession with weight-loss, bringing up the recent popularity of the Barnouin/Freedman book Skinny Bitch, stating that "for many, the authors’ total abhorrence of animal products was hard to swallow", thus kick-starting "part-time veganism" (or "agnostic veganism") and providing Bittman with incentive to cash in.

How's it working for some? The article claims that "the pleasure principle is intrinsic to the success of part time veganism". For instance, one fan reports:

“I’m vegan 70% of the time. I have irritable bowel syndrome, so cutting out dairy eases my stomach pains. But for the other 30%, I let myself eat cheese, fish and meat, either because I’m craving it, or for convenience. I want to be healthy, but I also want to enjoy life. If I’m having dinner at a friend’s and say I’m vegan, they panic. if I’m holidaying somewhere like France, my options are too restricted. When you deprive yourself, you feel resentful, which defeats the purpose of a healthy diet. I want to be good to my body and mind.”
Another states:
“The tipping point came when I couldn’t fit into a size-18 dress in Primark. I was a meat-and-potato kind of girl before that, but the promise of weight loss drew me in. I cut out all meat and dairy, but found it incredibly tough. There’s milk powder in so many things, and I began to crave chocolate. So I loosened up and allowed myself to go partially vegan. I now eat eggs, and try to substitute dairy with soy products where possible. I’ve gone from 13st to 10st, and am a size 12.”
The slippery-sloping of vegetarianism, I've come to terms with, since I now know that there is more suffering endured to produce a glass of dairy milk than there is to produce a single hamburger. I really do hope to eventually stop rolling my eyes at this, though. In the meantime... Veganism: Coming soon to a butcher shop near you!


Canberra vegan said...

Surveys show that in Australia the average person gets about 30% of their energy from meat & dairy. So even the average omnivore can claim to be "70% vegan". It's not a very impressive achievement!

wchanley said...

Sigh. Please, just call it "flexitarian" or something else. Please? Part-time "veganism" is not veganism. One isn't a part-time liberal or conservative, or opposed to racism "part-time."

Just please - PLEASE - call it something else.

M said...

It's getting to the point where the mere act of eating an apple could be labeled by the mainstream media as being some variation of veganism.