Friday, December 4, 2009

My First Dirty Look

Last night at a bar while looking for my friend I was thrust into a brief conversation with a couple of women merely by proximity in a very crowded place.

During the Christmas Season the bars in NYC are packed, and nothing sticks out more than a 6'4" 275 lb guy drinking a pint of seltzer water through a straw! It was noticed and I was queried by this woman. Not really in the mood for a full conversation as I scanned the room for my friend, I briefly noted that I was off the sauce. Incredulous, this woman pressed on. "It's part of my diet, and I am also going vegan." Wow! The look on her face was pity, shock, and scorn. A brief comment made minutes earlier led me to believe that her look of stifled disgust was coming from a political angle. Before the question about leather belt and shoes came tumbling out I explained that my veganism is for dietary purposes only.

You do not find the anti-veganism from a political bent in NYC too often, but it is there. Trust me, I was one of them. A few weeks ago I met up with a very old dear friend of mine who spent the better part of his career in politics, including an impressive stint in the West Wing. He too grilled me on the political ramifications of this new vegan lifestyle. Lastly, another great friend called me a "communist" because of my new dietary choice and threatened an intervention.

Veganism is such a new element in my life that I am taking nothing I hear from others as gospel. I have numerous books that I am scouring to become better informed on veganism as a diet (and the myriad of other books on dieting that contradict veganism, and themselves) so I am more educated on what I am doing and why. Additionally, I am also investigating the most un-biased sources of information on the social and environmental impact of veganism. Currently, the cacophony of opinions on environmental issues I hear fall somewhere between baby seal clubbers, and hemp-clothes wearing construction site arsonists. I've got some learnin' to do.


Marisa said...

Check out The Food Revolution by John Robbins

Terrence said...

Thanks Marisa. I appreciate your suggestion, and I thank you for starting a conversation that I have been meaning to have.

I have read some excerpts of The Food Revolution, and listened to the interview of John Robbins by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I have also read some political and sociological things that John Robbins wrote that were not pertaining to food or diet at all.

Here is my challenge. I need to investigate the issues of diet, and food cultivation, and consumption without, and I strongly stress without, political infusion by many propagating a plant based, or strict vegan diet. There is a ton of great info to be learned in books like The Food Revolution, but unfortunately, many of these authors are like great trial attorneys. They drive the point home forcefully and effectively which also includes a political slant that could be offensive to half of the population.

I am not interested in finding the “bad guys” in the debate on food growing, cultivation, and preparation, nor am I interested in someone’s black and white overview about the food industry. I am searching for the truth about nutrition. Since economics, environmental issues, and ethics are not absolutes, and each person has their own varying opinions on each, I would rather get my knowledge about “food” without political posturing. I do not see mutual exclusivity in responsible stewardship of the environment, entrepreneurial capitalism, and nutrient-dense dietary practices. Often, in these books, these issues are presented as stark absolutes, and different practices of each are allied against each other.

Although I never even thought about these issues when I started this vegan quest, I am more interested than ever to discovering the truth – unbiased and void of politics – about nutrition, and food

hebba said...

Isn't it crazy, how angry people get if you choose not to eat meat? (much less any animal products?) I've had people go on rants about what hypocrites PETA are if I get a veggie burrito!

I still love your blog. I still think of it as "supersize me in reverse".

Terrence said...

"Supersize me in reverse." I do like that - it's pretty accurate. But, remember, don't call me Jared!

Dave said...

"drinking a pint of seltzer water through a straw!"

Are you trying to draw attention to yourself since your not on the booze?

I'm just saying

Terrence said...

I tried the seltzer in a rocks glass, but do you realize how few ounces of liquid actually fit in there? Two sips and I am done!

annabella said...

Interesting - I find that men are much more judgmental than women about my dietary choices, but perhaps that's only been my experience.

I just did a quick search online and it's hard to find evidence about the social and environmental effects of veganism, or eliminating factory farming, that don't come from the pro-vegan spectrum, the same way a few of the "meat/dairy is good for you" studies that I've read are sponsored by those affiliated with that industry. I'm curious, so please share whatever you find!

Terrence said...

That's the question - I read about the evils of factory farming, but what about small organic farms? Also, there are reports about livestock degrading land, contributing to the greenhouse effect, polluting water resources, and destroying biodiversity. I'd like to read about the other side.

I would like to read all info on that subject. Do we do away with cows, and chickens?

My goal is to find an academic and dispassionate debate about these issues.