[personal profile] the_fantastic_ms_fox
While while intentioned and needed, and largely accurate, I think authour is making the common culture war mistake of equating "vegan" with "hippies who buy $10 asparagus water at Whole Foods" - mistaking an ethical principle for the common depiction of those with the media access to advocate for it and those to whom it is marketed as a luxury - rather than what the term actually means.

Regular vegan food can be whatever the heck else one would be eating with a few substitutions or subtractions. By substitutions, I'm not talking about making everything out of emulsified whatever mixed with tapioca starch and moonlight - I mean, for example, beans for beef: healthier, more ethical, cheaper and, since the beans are just fine canned or dried, less prone to spoilage even without refrigeration (and also not buoyed up by inequitable meat subsidies) Likewise: baking with applesauce (tinned or blendered out of second-rate apples) instead of eggs; veg oil and table salt instead of butter; lentil soup for chicken noodle; nutritional yeast for KD cheese powder. Fresh (organic? local?) produce is nice, but it's not the same thing as vegan, just like organic alligator liver isn't the same thing as "omnivorous." And instead of starches - well those were already vegan in the first place. Sure have to add some B12 now and then, but that's still much cheaper than eggs, cheese, milk or fish.

This is noting new. In many (most? all?) agrarian cultures, for a long time, eating meat has been a sign of wealth - this is a natural extension of entropy: it simply takes more nutrients, labour and energy to farm a calorie of animal than of plant. Since entropy is still a thing, this hasn't changed.

I can think of four exceptions to this: (1) because of restrictions on time, health, housing or ability, you are living on fast food, where for some bullshit reason (likely tied into marketing ideas from the first paragraph) a veggie burger costs thrice what a basic burger, or (2) you are not exchanging money for food, instead living from shelters, donations, prisons, barracks, dumpsters or food banks that don't have don't know or don't care about veg nutrition, or (3) your grocery supply is extremely limited and unreliable, or (4) you live somewhere where at times it's easier to hunt or fish than grow things. In these cases, vegan food is impractical and, one could argue, has less of an ethical imperative behind it. Otherwise however, even with ethical considerations aside, it's cheaper, easier, and less likely to give you food poisoning. It's viable, and it's a shame that we don't push it harder as a tool in the fight against food scarcity.

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the_fantastic_ms_fox

March 2017

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