Quote of the Day: Vegetarian Philosophy

 

“But here’s my question. Why do the companies that sell ‘not meat’ — Frankenfoods made from plant cells and/or vegetable cocktails — spend millions of dollars to make it look exactly like meat? Wouldn’t that be a contradiction in vegetarian philosophy? ‘I’ve decided to chew leaves the rest of my life, but I want all the leaves to look like hot dogs.'” – Joe Bob Briggs

I am a vegan this week – and next. Voluntarily, although I hate it. Why? Because I believe God expects it from me. I am an Orthodox Christian. As @skipsul can explain, Orthodox are in the middle of the two-week Dormition Fast, observing the death of Mary, mother of Jesus. It is one of four fast periods for the devout Orthodox observer, where we forgo meat and dairy (and usually fish).

It is not fun, especially for me. It is not intended to be fun. Fasts are intend to make those participating focus on God. To remind us of Him and to remind those fasting that ultimately we return to Him. It is kind of a day-long poking at you.

What makes it worse (at least for me) is that it is voluntary. I could have that cheeseburger if I want to. And yet, despite desperately wanting to, I abstain. Why? Because I was asked to. According to the teachings of my church, because God has asked me to. I guess I cannot turn down a polite request like that.

Yet, I generally avoid the Frankenfoods Joe Bob Briggs calls out. Sure, I will order a veggieburger when I travel and cannot find another substitute. At home, I generally have food that is vegetarian – beans, tofu, soup, pasta with tomato sauce and textured-vegetable protein. Except near the end of a fast I try to avoid meat-tasting stuff. It never tastes very good. (It makes me appreciate meat more when I go back to it.)

I suspect the intermittent veganism is good for me. I definitely lose weight during fasts (mainly because I like the food I eat a whole lot less than during non-fast periods). It keeps me away from too much meat and dairy. But I see no particular virtue in avoiding meat and dairy for the sake of avoiding meat and dairy. (Or forcing others to. If I have guests over for meals during fast periods I generally have meat and dairy on hand for them.)

In fact, most fasts are preceded and followed by a fast-free week where meat and dairy can be eaten every day. According to Orthodox tradition, these weeks serve as a foretaste of heaven. If meat is good enough for the table in heaven, it has to be here as well.

And yet Briggs is right. Many secular vegetarians crave meat-tasting stuff. I wonder why that is?

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There are 46 comments.

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  1. Vance Richards Member

    Seawriter: Frankenfoods made from plant cells and/or vegetable cocktails—spend millions of dollars to make it look exactly like meat? Wouldn’t that be a contradiction in vegetarian philosophy?

    Yeah, meat is murder, so we want simulated murder? I wondered about that myself years ago . . . 

    • #1
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. EODmom Coolidge

    I understand and endorse the theology behind this fast for you and I will pray for you during this time. You’ve also made me think about how humans are made and how they lived before the very modern era: that is, it seems likely that periodic fasts were normal because food wasn’t always available. And largely a “fast”was not injurious. I’m really sure we aren’t meant to be eating with the abandon many of us do. I’ve never had trouble with weight but I’ll think more about eating habits now. Thank you for this note. 

    • #2
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    I know at secondhand a vegetarian who apparently is fine with others eating meat as long as they get it themselves. I’m not sure if he applies it to everything; I also don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to plant life.

    • #3
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. SkipSul Moderator

    Joe Bob Briggs is a gold mine for chicken  nuggets like this.

    Jonah Goldberg had a column about this subject too, some 20 years ago now. It is very curious why so many seek to fake it to make it when it comes to veganism.

    If it is that difficult to find good food, and you have to keep hearkening back to meatish stuff, then, well, yer doing it wrong.

    • #4
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Jonah Goldberg had a column about this subject too, some 20 years ago now. It is very curious why so many seek to fake it to make it when it comes to veganism.

    I’m guessing the same reason that causes atheists to try to use Bible verses to win debates with Christians.

    • #5
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Seawriter: And yet Briggs is right.

    Numero uno, one should always question the wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs, but numero two-o, upon reflection, he usually has a point.

    • #6
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Manny Member

    God bless Seawriter. That’s so hard to do. We Catholics only have single days where we have to fast from meat. I do try as a personal discipline to fast from meat every Friday but that’s a personal decision and still only a single day at a time. I love how the Orthodox honor the Blessed Mother. Not that we Catholics don’t honor her, but a two week period of sacrifice leading to her Assumption Day is way more than our single day.

    • #7
    • August 10, 2019, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Seawriter: Many secular vegetarians crave meat-tasting stuff. I wonder why that is?

    Biology . . .

    • #8
    • August 10, 2019, at 10:38 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. USAhafan Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Joe Bob Briggs is a gold mine for chicken nuggets like this.

    Jonah Goldberg had a column about this subject too, some 20 years ago now. It is very curious why so many seek to fake it to make it when it comes to veganism.

    If it is that difficult to find good food, and you have to keep hearkening back to meatish stuff, then, well, yer doing it wrong.

    Latter-Day Saints aren’t generally vegans or vegetarians. We tend to consume obscene amounts of meat and potatoes. However, our health code, the Word of Wisdom, tells us to eat meat sparingly and eat fruit and vegetables in their seasons. 

    We also fast once a month. It helps us to come closer to God through exercising control over our physical appetites. During these times, we fast for specific people, answers to prayer, people who are suffering, etc. It’s not uncommon to occasionally fast, as a church, for areas in the world where natural disasters have occurred.

    Fasting is personal. Since last December, when my husband lost his job, both of our families have fasted for us. We have seen miracles because of prayer and fasting.

    God bless you! 

    • #9
    • August 10, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. SkipSul Moderator

    Manny (View Comment):

    God bless Seawriter. That’s so hard to do. We Catholics only have single days where we have to fast from meat. I do try as a personal discipline to fast from meat every Friday but that’s a personal decision and still only a single day at a time. I love how the Orthodox honor the Blessed Mother. Not that we Catholics don’t honor her, but a two week period of sacrifice leading to her Assumption Day is way more than our single day.

    It actually wasn’t that long ago when the Catholics still kept the old fasting regimen, which included not just the major periods of The Nativity, Lent, The Apostles Fast, and The Dormition, but also nearly every Wednesday and Friday. “Fish on Fridays” is still within the living memories of many Catholics, and Wednesday / Friday fasting was still the norm for many devout Irishmen in late 1800s, even after Vatican I relaxed the rules, because maintaining “the old ways” was something of a sign of rebellion against the English.

    • #10
    • August 10, 2019, at 11:33 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    My usual response to people who declare themselves vegan in the often self-righteous way is to point out that God made us omnivores for a reason, and the vegan lifestyle is against nature. 

    This is the first time I have heard of this Orthodox practice. Thanks to @seawriter for the explanation.

    • #11
    • August 10, 2019, at 11:36 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. SkipSul Moderator

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    Latter-Day Saints aren’t generally vegans or vegetarians.

    Just as an explanation for the silliness of the picture above, it wasn’t aimed at LDS, but at the way vegans have the tendency to announce their veganism to everyone around. 

     

    • #12
    • August 10, 2019, at 11:36 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  13. Gary McVey Contributor

    Joe Bob is just flat out dead wrong. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve known plenty over the years. Not one, not ever bought stuff that looked like meat. They don’t crave meat. If they did, they’d eat meat. They usually laugh at that stuff, which I’d guess is aimed at people who normally eat meat but are trying to cut down. 

    I don’t understand why this is an eternal imaginary punching bag for some conservatives.

     

    • #13
    • August 10, 2019, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. USAhafan Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    Latter-Day Saints aren’t generally vegans or vegetarians.

    Just as an explanation for the silliness of the picture above, it wasn’t aimed at LDS, but at the way vegans have the tendency to announce their veganism to everyone around.

     

    I know. I think it’s funny and spot on. I also thought I would take advantage of it to explain our beliefs.

    Vegans can be obnoxious.

    • #14
    • August 10, 2019, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Seawriter Member
    Seawriter Post author

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    Vegans can be obnoxious.

    It’s the not eating meat and dairy. I know I get more obnoxious and cranky during fasts. I have to watch myself lest the innocent suffer. (I think that is part of the reason for it.)

    • #15
    • August 10, 2019, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Joe Bob Briggs is a gold mine for chicken nuggets like this.

    Jonah Goldberg had a column about this subject too, some 20 years ago now. It is very curious why so many seek to fake it to make it when it comes to veganism.

    If it is that difficult to find good food, and you have to keep hearkening back to meatish stuff, then, well, yer doing it wrong.

    They’re Mormons? All these years I thought they were bicycle salesmen . . .

    • #16
    • August 10, 2019, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Stad Thatcher

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    I know I get more obnoxious and cranky during fasts.

    Which is why I don’t fast.

    • #17
    • August 10, 2019, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    I’m new to Orthodoxy and am doing my first Dormition Fast. My go-to “cheats” are bean burritos and PB&J’s, but I’m experimenting with various vegan dishes. Like you, I avoid the fake cheese or fake meat options; I fear they’ll only make me crave the genuine article even more.

    Saturday is our family’s night to dine-out so I’m gonna be rockin’ the falafels at a local Mediterranean joint.

    • #18
    • August 10, 2019, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Joe Bob is just flat out dead wrong. I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve known plenty over the years. Not one, not ever bought stuff that looked like meat. They don’t crave meat. If they did, they’d eat meat. They usually laugh at that stuff, which I’d guess is aimed at people who normally eat meat but are trying to cut down. 

    I’m pretty sure we and they are on the same page then. Although I have read some articles about how drinking can make vegetarians forget themselves and eat meat, so perhaps the craving is not so far gone as they might suspect.

    • #19
    • August 10, 2019, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Seawriter Member
    Seawriter Post author

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    Saturday is our family’s night to dine-out so I’m gonna be rockin’ the falafels at a local Mediterranean joint.

    I’ll eat falafels on non-fast days. Love them. Normally do one Sunday dinner with falafels during fasts.

    • #20
    • August 10, 2019, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Seawriter: And yet Briggs is right.

    Numero uno, one should always question the wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs, but numero two-o, upon reflection, he usually has a point.

    From what I remember about the very amusing Joe Bob Briggs, it’s that he’d probably go totally vegan if the food was shaped like boobs.

    • #21
    • August 10, 2019, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    For some reason, when I fast, I am obsessed with the idea of eating hot dogs. Or grilled bratwursts.

    This is so weird, as I normally don’t care for hot dogs.

    Anyway, Seawriter, I hope the fast increases your faith in yourself and has you feeling closer to God. (As well as helping your clothes fit more loosely.)

    • #22
    • August 10, 2019, at 5:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. SkipSul Moderator

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Seawriter: And yet Briggs is right.

    Numero uno, one should always question the wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs, but numero two-o, upon reflection, he usually has a point.

    From what I remember about the very amusing Joe Bob Briggs, it’s that he’d probably go totally vegan if the food was shaped like boobs.

    Or dead bodies and car chases.

    • #23
    • August 10, 2019, at 5:59 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Had a nice Philly cheesesteak today. 

    Not so much into denial of meat. I don’t think God is asking that of me. In fact, best I can tell, God told me to love others as much as myself. That is much, much harder. I do that.

    Not, of course, that it results in any great outcomes for me, other than I can live with myself.

    • #24
    • August 10, 2019, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. SkipSul Moderator

    If you like to cook, then it’s quite possible to make quite a number of very tasty meat free dishes. Tonight I made a rice and lentil stew that was quite hearty. Take 2-3 cups of dry lentils and toss them into about 2 qts of boiling water, along with an entire onion (diced and caramelized), 3-4 chopped carrots, and 20 or so new potatoes (whole). The rest is in the seasonings, in my case those being turmeric, cumin, celery seed, mustard powder, paprika, minced garlic, chopped parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Let cook up for an hour or so, adjusting the seasonings to taste as you go. I also added already-cooked basmati rice near the end. It’s cheap, filling, and has a very complex flavor about it.

    • #25
    • August 10, 2019, at 7:10 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. USAhafan Member

    I’m hypoglycemic so I observe the fast in different ways. Fasting also triggers migraine episodes so I have to be careful. I’m also anorexic so it’s not advisable.

    • #26
    • August 10, 2019, at 9:04 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. SkipSul Moderator

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):

    I’m hypoglycemic so I observe the fast in different ways. Fasting also triggers migraine episodes so I have to be careful. I’m also anorexic so it’s not advisable.

    There are all sorts of exceptions in the practice for health, travel, and sundry other things. 

    • #27
    • August 10, 2019, at 9:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. thelonious Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    For some reason, when I fast, I am obsessed with the idea of eating hot dogs. Or grilled bratwursts.

    This is so weird, as I normally don’t care for hot dogs.

    Anyway, Seawriter, I hope the fast increases your faith in yourself and has you feeling closer to God. (As well as helping your clothes fit more loosely.)

    Nothing quite as satisfying as the forbidden fruit of a meat stick made of lips and a$$es. I think most of us are still wired like a 3 year old child. A child can quickly become bored of a toy but when another kid starts playing with the toy the child all the sudden covets the toy. Once something becomes unavailable even though you hardly use it or eat it you start to crave it. I remember being in Europe and being bummed out they didn’t have a 7-11 even though I hardly ever go into 7-11’s.

    • #28
    • August 11, 2019, at 12:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Amy Schley Moderator

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    If you like to cook, then it’s quite possible to make quite a number of very tasty meat free dishes. Tonight I made a rice and lentil stew that was quite hearty. Take 2-3 cups of dry lentils and toss them into about 2 qts of boiling water, along with an entire onion (diced and caramelized), 3-4 chopped carrots, and 20 or so new potatoes (whole). The rest is in the seasonings, in my case those being turmeric, cumin, celery seed, mustard powder, paprika, minced garlic, chopped parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Let cook up for an hour or so, adjusting the seasonings to taste as you go. I also added already-cooked basmati rice near the end. It’s cheap, filling, and has a very complex flavor about it.

    I’ve done the Orthodox fasts for Lent and Advent. My solution: Asian food. The dish never had meat, so you don’t feel like something is missing.

    Seawriter: (It makes me appreciate meat more when I go back to it.)

    I find that I don’t really miss the meat. It’s the butter and the eggs that generally cause me to break down at least once during the six weeks. Which is part of why my pre-fast feasting doesn’t involve traditional Mardi Gras foods like pancakes, but egg drop soup, cheesecake, and brioche.

    • #29
    • August 11, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    PB&J’s

    Don’t you mean PBRs?

    • #30
    • August 11, 2019, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
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