Celebrate The Part-Time Vegans

Two sources, Ecorazzi and This Dish is Veg, are reporting that Lance Armstrong is eating a flexitarian diet that consists of at least two vegan meals per day. He’s doing the Engine 2 program, which is a low fat vegan dietary lifestyle. “My energy level has never been this consistent, and not just consistent, but high,” Armstrong said in a Huffington Post interview. He’s still eating nonveg dinners, however.

Miami New Times Blog reports that Ben Franklin was also a part-time vegetarian. “Franklin mentions in this book that he was drawn to the diet for ethical reasons, but, as a man who valued frugality and strove for temperance in both his eating and drinking habits as part of an overall mission of constant self-improvement, he also enjoyed the expense spared by eating vegetable foods instead of meat.” It seems as though Franklin swayed back and forth from vegetarian to non depending on his social scene and the food offered to him.

In a TED talk in 2010, the creator of the TreeHugger website, Graham Hill, discussed his “weekday vegetarianism”:

Hill says he eats vegetarian during the weekdays and then eats nonveg during the weekends. He says this plan is easier to follow than a true vegetarian diet yet it has nearly the same impact.

Some people do vegetarianism very very very part-time while others do it most of the time. They’ll try it for a few weeks each year during Lent or they’ll eat veg when dining with vegetarians or vegans and eat nonveg when alone or with omnis. There are the people who do Meatless Mondays and there are the people who only eat animals during holiday feasts. Even many people who call themselves vegetarians or vegans “cheat” every now and then. Across the omni-veg spectrum there are all kinds of eaters who deliberately reduce their consumption of animal products but do not entirely eliminate it.

Whatever the reason, any reduction in animal product consumption is good for animals, the planet, and human health. Let’s celebrate the part-time veg*ns!

11 Responses to Celebrate The Part-Time Vegans

  1. Let’s celebrate part-time ethics? No thanks.

    Having two separate sets of ethics is much more convenient. Too bad it’s just not rationally possible to do that. It only bolsters speciesist perspectives and perpetuates animal exploitation. Ethics and justice have become such empty words. Apologists for animal oppressors run rampant. Please abide by your own Discussion Policy.

  2. @Mae: I think you’re being a bit harsh. The reality is that not everyone is going to become a full-time vegan, so unless or until there’s a dramatic conversion rate (we’re still at a very low 1-5% of the population), it’s the reduction of animal consumption by part-timers that may end up having the bigger impact.

  3. > he reality is that not everyone is going to become a full-time vegan

    The plain truth is that they’ll just have to, if we want to see slaughterhouses abolished. And one very strong factor for that reality is that vegans keep “celebrating” them.

  4. A step away from a carnistic diet a step in the right direction and whether we want to see slaughterhouses abolished or not, the average person doesn’t really care.

    You have a couple options when it comes to handling “part-time” vegans: you can celebrate the steps they are taking (and help make veganism more accessible to the average person) or you can condemn them for not seeing the ethical issues as clearly as we do (and make vegans everywhere look like a bunch of self-righteous jerks).

    As much as I would like to see everyone become a full-time vegan, I’m not about to discourage anyone from taking small steps in that direction. That being said, I would also take advantage of those small steps taken to nudge them toward completing the journey.

  5. Mae, I respect your position but disagree. And the post above certainly does not violate the discussion policy because it’s not pro-meat, pro-dairy, or pro-eggs; it’s pro reduction of animal product consumption.

    That said, if you’d like to formulate a three paragraph rebuttal there’s a good chance I’ll publish it. See the about page for submission details.

  6. @Bryan: Well, I don’t assume the same either/or premise you do. I also don’t assume the average person is a clod who doesn’t care.

    @Eccentric Vegan: What would the celebration look like if we were talking about human enslavement, child porn or other forms of human oppression? Would you have us applaud a guy who cuts down 90% of his child porn consumption? You’re right, 90% is a quite a lot. Let’s keep our eyes on the 90%. Who’s with me? C’mon, cut the guy slack for that little 10%. Exactly. We’re speaking about human children. But if we’re talking about “veal”, even a puny 40% reduction in consumption would not only be acceptable but highly commended. Because in the eyes of a speciesist, which most of us certainly are, baby cows are not individuals; they’re food products.

  7. Eating less animals is good.

    Part-time ethics is bad.

    But these people are eating less animals not because of ethics, but because they think (correctly) that it’s healthier. We have to find better ways of showing the atrocity of the kill. People’s eyes are still closed, but as one whose eyes were closed for many years, I keep reminding myself not to condemn and scream obscenities, which I’d honestly like to, only it wouldn’t awaken anyone. Gotta think & act more strategically, for the animals’ sake, not my own.

  8. I’m sure the animals are celebrating these lame half-measures.

  9. what Megan said. there is a serious disconnect here.

    But these people are eating less animals not because of ethics, but because they think (correctly) that it’s healthier. We have to find better ways of showing the atrocity of the kill. People’s eyes are still closed, but as one whose eyes were closed for many years, I keep reminding myself not to condemn and scream obscenities, which I’d honestly like to, only it wouldn’t awaken anyone. Gotta think & act more strategically, for the animals’ sake, not my own.

    i agree completely. these individuals totally misunderstand or don’t get the ethics position and the anti-cruelty factor.

    there is nothing to celebrate about people who don’t take veganism and the animal rights viewpoints seriously.

  10. Some people don’t become vegan or a vegetarian for ethical reasons, some people see the benefits in health rather than it being a break from animal death.

    Therefore they are not mixing morals. They are using their intelligence to suss out the better diet. I can applaud that and anyone who is vegan or a vege part time is making intelligent choices part time.

    The ethics may come later, but for now any reduction in the meat industry, the disgusting egg and milk industries is a good thing. If its from ethics or from informed food choices–i don’t care–its still a reduction.

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