What Vegans Do Right #1: Thinking About Food

In an attempt to not seem overly anti-vegan (some of the most important people in my life are vegan) and in acknowledgement of how veganism improved my life for the better I present another series of posts I will write.

Vegans think a lot about food. They have to do so. All those sneaky animal parts that arrive in food must be excised from the body.

Then to replace the animal pieces they have to learn, at minimum, the basics of nutrition.

Often they begin learning about different foods from around the world. The vegan plate is rarely the meat and potatoes sans meat that most omnivores seem to envision.

Before I first went vegan I didn’t know how to cook. I didn’t know what I was putting in my body. Now I do.

Now I think about food constantly. Where does it come from? Whatzits flavor profile? Can I use it to make a vegan eggs benedict? What cultural importance does it have? And on and on.

Veganism is good great for that.

I may fault veganism for being obsessed with consumption, but thinking about consumption is still important. Everyone should be critical of what they put past their lips.

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6 Responses to What Vegans Do Right #1: Thinking About Food

  1. LiseyDuck says:

    I don’t get the impression that vegans are obsessed with food consumption. Sure, we have to think about it, because we can’t just walk into any cafe and pick up a sandwich. Neither can those of us on low incomes live on ready meals like our meat-eating counterparts have the option to. This means we need to plan what we eat, in order to make healthy food from scratch with the same time and money constraints as anyone else. Also, personally, I’ve had to think a lot more about it in the light of cohabiting with a non-vegan who is used to eating a lot of frozen food – this is largely due to having to explain things at pretty much every meal in the early stages…

    • Royce says:

      I wouldn’t say obsessed. But certainly in a culture where foods are simply objects to be placed in the mouth vegans spend more time thinking about. I’d say most non-vegans in this culture I know (especially my current house mates) seem to think about food only for the three minutes it’s in the microwave.

      Veganism has the virtue of making food something to think about.

      • adam says:

        I disagree. My entire experience of and philosophy about food has changed since practicing veganism. I no longer see it as an object or commodity. In fact, my whole philosophy revolves around questions concerning cultures of food and justice.

        I think it is useful to make a distinction between “someone practicing veganism” (as in anti-oppressive praxis) verses someone who is “a vegan” (an identity based on consumption/abstention). This is something I’ve been really thinking through lately. You’d probably like this post I wrote:
        http://eco-health.blogspot.com/2010/08/deconstructing-veganism-commodity.html

      • Royce says:

        That’s what I meant to say in my comment: “But in a culture where foods are simply objects to be placed in the mouth vegans spend more time thinking about [it].

        Though I think thinking about foods as objects does not necessarily mean that one sees them only as commodities. After all how can you think about cultures of food, without the artifacts of the culture.

  2. Sue says:

    Omnivores that are concered with health spend a lot of time thinking about food.

    • Royce says:

      They do. And epicureans, foodies, and other omnis do as well. But the vegan perspective seems to add a little something extra: a dash of the political, the ethical, and a sprinkle of elitism to make the food thinking just right.

      Though I have to say often health conscious folks, vegan, omni, carnists, and vegetarians bore me with their food talk. It seems to reduce food to just fuel, and I’m more interested in cultures, ethics, and metaphysics.

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