FAQ Regarding Going Veg

Trying vegan foods has never been easier! :-) Check out these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers. Please contact us if you have a question that isn't addressed here and we will be more than happy to answer it and also add it to this page :-D

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How do you eat vegan on a budget? 

If you’re interested in trying to eat more vegan foods- CVC can help! We can hop on a 60 min Zoom call where we learn what your budget is, how often/how you prefer to cook/get foods, and we can make a customized plan. Just email us to schedule a call!

Additional Online Resources:

https://thestingyvegan.com/vegan-on-a-budget/

https://www.thecheaplazyvegan.com/category/college-student-recipes/

https://www.emilieeats.com/healthy-vegan-college-plus-grocery-list/ 


What if I Love the Way Meat Tastes? 

There are lots of delicious vegan foods, and foods that imitate animal products are getting more and more realistic every day. Going vegan doesn’t mean using your will power to endure a diet of kale and ice chips. Rather, going vegan means discovering your new favorite plant based foods and learning to cook new delicious dishes. 

 

What about Protein? 

Protein deficiency is essentially nonexistent among those eating enough calories. Most vegetables have enough protein to meet your RDI for protein if you eat 2000 calories of them. For example, 2000 calories of brown rice and broccoli will meet your needs for protein. Same goes for cucumbers. On average, even vegans get 70% more protein than they actually need. It’s also a myth that vegans need to worry about protein because plant proteins don’t contain all the essential amino acids. It’s very easy to get all the essential amino acids you need. Good vegan sources of protein include legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts), grains (rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, etc.), nuts and seeds, soy products, and seitan. Any diet that includes grains plus one more good source of plant protein is guaranteed to have all the essential amino acids in it. 



What if I’m an athlete?

See above for good sources of protein. Dave Carter is a vegan defensive lineman in the NFL. Several ultra-endurance and ironman top athletes are vegan such as Rich Roll. The winner of Germany’s “strongest man” competition, Patrick Baboumian, is vegan. The only American to quality for the 2016 Olympics for weight lifting, Kendrick Farris, is vegan. 

 

Is a Vegan Diet Healthy? 

 According to the American Dietetic Association, the largest association of dietitians in America, vegan diets are healthy and may help prevent various degenerative diseases. Scientific evidence shows that you can prevent and reverse heart disease, the number 1 killer in the U.S, with a vegan diet. The world health organization classifies processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, ham, pepperoni, etc.) as level 1 carcinogens, the same category as smoking and asbestos. The world health organization also classifies red meat as a level 2 “probable” carcinogen. 



What about B12? 

Vegans should supplement with vitamin B12, which is a vitamin made by bacteria and found in dirt. The reason vegans and many omnivores as well should supplement with vitmain B12 is that our hyper sanitized modern world has removed the bacteria that make this vitamin from our plant foods and water supply. B12 supplements are cheap and provide all the B12 that you need. You can also pick up B12 fortified foods, many plant based milks are fortified with vitamin B12. 



Aren’t we omnivores? Isn’t eating meat natural?

Just because we can eat animal products doesn’t mean that we should. (Similarly: just because something is natural doesn’t mean we should do it. For example, it seems like violence is pretty “natural” to human beings and other animals but that doesn’t mean we should be violent). Also, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom get 97% of their calories from plants (and the rest from insects). Moreover, scientists think that for the vast majority of human history that meat has been a luxury item eaten rarely.



What about Lions? 

 We are not lions, and we typically don’t look to lions as moral exemplars or role models. 

Unlike lions, we don’t have to eat meat to be happy and healthy.



Don’t Plants Have Feelings Too? 

Plants don’t have nervous systems. All our available scientific evidence suggests that the capacity to feel pain depends on having a nervous system. Even if plants do have feelings, it is highly unlikely that plant agriculture makes plants suffer in the way animal agriculture makes animals suffer. Also, in order to meet the demand for animal products we have to feed animals in animal agriculture plant crops. Thus, even if plants have feelings too, we still reduce our contribution to suffering by just eating plants.



What About the Field Mice That Get Killed in Plant Agriculture? 

Please see the answer to "Don't Plants Have Feelings Too" above. Animals in animal agriculture get fed plant crops, thus more animal products consumed means more field mice getting killed in plant agriculture. We minimize our contribution to suffering by eating plants.



Can I Really Make a Difference?

  By reducing our consumption of animal products we decrease economic demand for animal foods. More and more people are going veg, and by going veg you help normalize veg diets. This in turn will make other people more likely to go veg which has a ripple effect resulting in more and more people going veg. And we’re already making a difference. In 2014 compared to 2007 400 million fewer animals were raised and slaughtered for food.



Don’t Farm Animals Only Exist Because We Eat Them?

  This does not justify the suffering that animals experience on factory farms. Just as it would be wrong to bring a human into existence just to torture and slaughter them, it is wrong to bring an animal into existence only to torture and slaughter them.



Isn’t the Problem Really Industrial Capitalism?  

We currently live under capitalism, and under capitalism the best thing we can do to ease animal suffering is to go vegan.



Won't Eating Vegan Put Farmers Out of Business?

Farmers can transition to growing plant crops. Cattle and pig farmers have been transitioning to growing soy, corn, and wheat. Elmhurst Dairy, a dairy company which has been in business for 90 years, recently switched to producing 100% plant based milks.



What’ll we do With all the Animals When we all go Vegan? 

A vegan world won’t happen overnight, it will be a transition. As fewer animal products are demanded in the market, fewer animals will be brought into the world only to be slaughtered.



Do you have resources that discuss the connection of veganism and religion

Buddhism & Veganism lecture hosted by CVC
Judaism & Animals: The Untold Story (lecture) hosted by CVC
(Judaism & Animals was very well received by Christian vegans as well as it dives into scripture from both the Old and New Testament)


Related Organizations:
Christian Veg (their booklet CVC can provide to you is here)
Jewish Veg
Dharma Voices for Animals




Isn't Soy Bad For Humans? What About the Estrogen In Soy?

This is a myth, soy doesn’t actually contain estrogen or any chemical that has the effect of estrogen on the body. This myth derives from the fact that soy contains chemicals that look similar to estrogen, but research has shown that these chemicals do not affect the body like estrogen. Soy is actually correlated with a decrease in risk for breast cancer (which is linked to high estrogen levels). In contrast, dairy products contain actual mammalian sex hormones. 



Don't Cows Need to Be Milked?

Cows don’t produce milk unless they have a child. Cows only need to be milked because we artificially impregnate them with a highly invasive procedure (which involves a farmhand putting their whole arm into the Cow’s anus to manipulate the uterus) and then separate them from their children. The bond between mother and child is the strongest bond there is and mothers will cry for their children for days. Male offspring in the dairy industry are raised for veal which involves restricting their motion and feeding them a purposely iron deficient diet so that they’re flesh has the “pale grey” look that veal consumers want. Once a cow’s milk production starts declining they are slaughtered for low-grade meat. Dairy is the cruelest industry.



What About Organic Meat?

The organic label does not require higher welfare standards. In fact, welfare conditions on organic farms ARE WORSE because animals aren’t given antibiotics. Given that conditions are ripe for disease on factory farms (cramped, stressed animals) this results in large numbers of sick animals on organic farms.



What About Local Meat?

Local does not mean humane, factory farms are typically “family owned.” Even “small” farms practicing “traditional agriculture” typically engage in many cruel practices such as castrating pigs without pain killers, separating babies from mothers soon after birth, and restricting the movement of veal calves.



What About "Free Range" and "Grass Fed" Meat?

The USDA does not regulate the use of the phrase “free range” with respect to any animals except poultry raised for meat. Since there is no legal definition of free range with respect to eggs, the label is essentially meaningless. In order to count as “free range” according to the USDA farmers only need to provide chickens “access” to the “outdoors.” There are no requirements for the length of time the outdoors are available, or the quality of the land they have access to (may be dirt or gravel). There is no legal definition of “grass fed.”



What About Humane Meat?

There is no legal definition of “humane” enforced by the USDA. Deceptive labeling practices are the norm in the industry. Our best estimate based on USDA Agricultural Census data is that 99% of animal products come from CAFO’s (confined animal feeding operations) where humane treatment is effectively impossible and abuse is the norm.



What About the People Who Cannot Go Vegan (e.g the Inuit, those living in food deserts etc.)? 

It is not the position of the CVC that everyone in the world should go vegan. Rather, only those who can go vegan should go vegan. That includes many of us reading this.



How do you feel about Indigenous use of animals?

Kaylyn and Evan have no problem with the ways in which Indigenous people relate to animals which is really totally different from raising animals for slaughter especially as is done in factory farms. Some vegans disagree with Kaylyn and Evan, but the overwhelming majority of vegans would agree that energy should be focused on ending factory farming and that it is counterproductive and racist to be focusing energy on criticizing Indigenous animal use. 



Why should we care about animals when humans are already suffering (1 of 2)?

Being vegan doesn’t detract from caring about other issues. Most people would agree that there isn’t any “zero sum” competition between being anti-racist, feminist, environmentalist, pro economic justice, etc. There also isn’t a “zero sum” competition between being vegan and caring about social justice issues. CVC advocates for consistent anti-oppression which means actively working to uplift any group that is suffering. CVC members are heavily involved in local anti-racist activism, mutual aid, and CVC is currently working with COHAN to prevent evictions in Franklin County.



Why should we care about animals when humans are already suffering (2 of 2)?

It is critical that vegans prioritize initiatives including:

    • Healthcare for all, Housing for all, Universal Basic Income,
    • Affordable childcare, living wages,
    • Food justice (ending food apartheid)

It is unfair, unrealistic, and ethically inconsistent to ask people to think about changing what they eat when their basic needs are unmet. It is necessary for vegans to have compassion for human animals, just as we have for non-human animals and CVC strives to cultivate that.

Left Politics & Veganism is a lecture Evan created that talks more about the importance of vegans & human rights joining together to end suffering for humans and non-humans



Isn’t it ableist to compare humans with cognitive disabilities to animals? (1 of 2)

Kaylyn and Evan agree that, especially because of our deeply speciesist culture, we shouldn’t compare humans with cognitive disabilities to animals. It is important to note that the argument CVC presents doesn’t compare humans with animals. There’s a difference between comparing humans with animals and comparing the justifications for speciesism and ableism. As is discussed by vegan disability activists, there are important ideological overlaps between the justification of speciesism and ableism. Historically, the primary way in which speciesism has been justified is by saying that animals matter less because they lack certain abilities and that very same justification has been applied to humans with cognitive disabilities by ableists. We’re not comparing the groups, we’re noticing that the same logic is used to justify both oppressions.



Isn’t it ableist to compare humans with cognitive disabilities to animals? (2 of 2)

CVC draws our ideas about ableism & speciesism from disability activists including Sunaura Taylor who wrote Beasts of Burden. 

We highly recommend checking out Beasts of Burden for a deeper explanation and CVC is able to provide the entire book to you to borrow, or select chapters via PDF. CVC also has regular Zoom discussions about ableism and speciesism and the best way to stand in solidarity with disability activists and we would love to chat with you on Zoom (either 1-on-1 or we can bring in a group) about disability, ableism, speciesism, and veganism- just shoot us an email so we make a plan to virtually meet :-)

If you aren’t interested in reading the book, additional options include:

    • Searching for podcasts that interview Sunaura Taylor and listen to those
    • Watching YouTube videos featuring Sunaura Taylor


What will happen to the farmed animals if we go vegan? (1 of 2)

Most livestock are bred through artificial insemination. So, as more and more people go vegan or mostly plant-based, this will result in fewer animals being bred into existence in the first place. In a future world in which almost everybody is vegan and/or consuming so-called cultured or cell-based meat any remaining animals could live on sanctuaries or potentially be re-wilded. Cows in particular can survive on their own very easily, and many types of pigs could also easily adapt to living in the wild. Additionally, some animals may be able to go to existing animal sanctuaries, and more sanctuaries may be built.



What will happen to the farmed animals if we go vegan? (2 of 2)

Ohio vegan-run sanctuaries to check out that take in animals:

A documentary that discusses the journey of a pig farmer who chose to stop farming animals and what happened to those animals is: The Last Pig (reach out if you want to borrow a DVD of it!)



What is your opinion on trophy hunting?

Unlike Indigenous hunting, Kaylyn and Evan do have a problem with trophy hunting when done by white people. But, Kaylyn and Evan also don’t focus their energy on hunting since factory farming is a way bigger problem. If Evan and Kaylyn had an opportunity to speak with hunters they would be happy to have a conversation and explain their perspective but they wouldn’t try to make the hunter feel bad. Chances are the hunter would agree with Kaylyn and Evan that factory farming is bad and they would have shared ground on that issue. 



Opinions on GMO’s, especially in vegan foods?

We haven’t done a lot of research on this topic, but we definitely think that there are problems with plant-based agriculture. However animal agriculture relies on feeding animals crops so any problems with plant-based agriculture are also present in animal agriculture. We think that it’s worth thinking about the drawbacks of plant-based agriculture and trying to improve the way plants are grown in this country. But we think that those problems are smaller than the problems with animal agriculture.



How do you stay vegan while traveling? Especially to northern regions?

A great tool for finding vegan options when traveling is the Happy Cow app (which costs a few bucks) or their website (which is free). Kaylyn and Evan use the Happy Cow website when we travel around the country to easily find vegan restaurants or options.

Eating a plant-based diet might become unrealistic in very northern places. But this is also where the definition of veganism becomes important. Veganism is about doing what is possible and practical to end animal exploitation. So, if it’s not practical to eat a plant based diet in the far north that doesn’t actually mean that you’re any less vegan. 



Aren’t heavily processed vegan foods bad for the environment?

The most environmentally-friendly diet is going to be based on whole plant foods that are locally produced including: fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts and seeds, grains. Vegan processed foods will typically have a greater environmental impact than local produce but are still better than animal agriculture. A recent study that goes over this is here: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987



What’s the hardest thing about being vegan? (1 of 2)

Kaylyn and Evan agree that after an initial transition period eating a vegan diet is not very hard for us, at some point animal-based foods are just no longer appetizing and you have lots of vegan food that you like. The hardest part is navigating social interactions in a way that is similar to a feminist navigating sexist jokes or to an environmentalist trying to talk to their friends about decreasing the use of single-use plastics. One way to ease this difficulty is by finding people that share your values so that even though you’ll have some frustrating interactions with people who make fun of your values- you also have a group of supportive people to spend time with and talk about those difficult moments with.



What’s the hardest thing about being vegan? (2 of 2)

If you’re interested in trying out veganism and are concerned about the difficult conversations Kaylyn & Evan are always available to chat with you.

An additional resource is:

“Response Cheat Sheet for Hard Conversations about Veganism” by Val the Vegan Therapist


How do you navigate the stereotype created by the angry minority of vegans that are rude and aggressive?

We try to lead by example. Most vegans aren’t “in your face” about veganism with meat eaters. Veganism is like many other social movements that are diverse and include a variety of perspectives, approaches to activism, and temperaments. For example, there is a stereotype of an “angry man-hating feminist” but not all feminists are aggressive, angry, or hate men. Every social movement has some people that are more aggressive or even rude and some people that are less aggressive and rude. Here at CVC we definitely think that treating meat-eaters with kindness and respect is the best strategy for vegan activism and we strive to cultivate a community of like minded people who share similar values.



Why are vegan processed foods more expensive? 

Whole plant foods like beans and rice are the cheapest foods on the planet. It is true that some of the processed vegan alternative foods are more expensive. This largely because these options are new and the companies haven’t yet accomplished what economists call “economy of scale.” As more and more people purchase vegan options companies will scale up and become more efficient and prices will fall. Meat and dairy prices are also kept artificially low through government subsidies and because they aren’t forced to pay for what economists call “externalities” that they create such as air and water pollution and human rights abuses. 



How do we know that vegan processed foods won’t be linked to cancer in the future?

We can’t rule that out. But at the current time we know that processed meat causes cancer for sure, so some people might prefer to go with the option that at least might not cause cancer given what we know (plant-based processed meat). It’s also worth noting that things like soy, tofu and seitan have been around for a long time and despite popular misconceptions are not linked to any increased risk to cancer. In fact, there is some evidence that soy consumption is linked to a decreased risk for breast cancer



How do you eat vegan on a budget?

If you’re interested in trying to eat more vegan foods- CVC can help!  We can hop on a 60 min Zoom call where we learn what your budget is, how often/how you prefer to cook/get foods, and we can make a  customized plan. Just email us to schedule a call!

Additional Online Resources:


Which milks are the most environmentally friendly? (1 of 2)

Every plant-milk is more environmentally friendly compared to cow’s milk (which takes much more land and fresh water than plant milk, and also takes up food).  Please don’t be hard on yourself if you like almond milk! It’s still so much better for the planet and animals than cows milk.

See the BBC’s discussion of a recent study out of Oxford here: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46654042 



How do you suggest approaching veganism in a family that is not supportive?

Here Are 5 Tips for Talking With Your Parents About Your Vegan Diet (short article by Mercy For Animals)
Communicating with Friends and Family (page from Vegan Outreach)

We also recommend proposing to your loved one that you cook a meal together. Most of the time a loved one’s desire to spend quality time with you will override their negative ideas about veganism. Shop for ingredients together, prepare the vegan meal together, and help your loved one start to form positive associations with vegan foods. Similarly, you could cook a meal as a gesture of love for your family and that can have a similar effect. If you’d like to talk about your specific situation and want to Zoom with CVC to talk details please reach out to us to schedule a call!



I’ve been reading Animal Bodies, Colonial Subjects: (Re)Locating Animality in Decolonial Thought by Billy-Ray Belcourt and I am wondering how can we integrate non-human animals into our world without reinforcing colonial systems?

Aph & Syl Ko specifically talk about decolonial theory and animals

Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters book by Aph Ko and Syl Ko

Racism as Zoological Witchcraft: A Guide to Getting Out book by Aph Ko



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