Vegan 101


Greetings, readers. I’m glad that you all rekindled the love for raw zucchini hummus: that one never gets old. For those who asked, the reasons it’s not green (as it has been in other photos) is because I peeled the zucchini this time. It’s absolutely not necessary, but I wanted to make it look similar to the “real thing” for the skeptics. You can peel or not peel, depending on your fancy.

In my recent Blogging 101 post, I mentioned my decision—about a year ago now—to start talking about vegan ethics and animal rights on my blog. It was one of my more difficult decisions as a blogger, not only because I knew that it would offend or alienate some of my readers, but also because I was new to the ethics of veganism myself, and feared that I couldn’t yet do them justice in writing.

I quickly got over the former concern—the readers I write for will stick with me, even when I express a point of view that’s controversial. But I still haven’t gotten over the latter anxiety, which is that I’m too much of a novice to animal rights thinking to write about it with credibility. For this reason, I hesitated when my friend JL—a blogger for whom I’d usually guest post in an instant—asked me to contribute to her wonderful Vegan 101 series with a post on the ethics of veganism. I took some time to ponder my own potential inadequacy, and then I said yes. Why? Because many of my readers and hers are new to vegan ethics too, and perhaps a novice’s freshness and honesty will mean as much to them as a veteran’s expertise.

Head over to JL Goes Vegan today and check out my post on the ethics of vegan eating. It’s not a comprehensive philosophical argument for veganism—in fact, it’s not meant to be comprehensive at all. It’s simply a snapshot of the core issues that I associate with vegan ethics, useful to beginners and those who are curious. Enjoy Smile

And now, forgive the brevity, but I have a long day of calculus studying and bus riding ahead, but I also have some fun blogger meetup recaps to share with you tomorrow. See you back here!


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  1. I’ve just read your post on JL goes vegan and it really grabbed my interest! I allready now quite some things about the ethical side of a vegan lifestyle, but your post introduced me to some new things as well. I’m really glad you took your chance and wrote about it 🙂

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write your guest post, Gena. Just last night I was discussing vegetarian vs. vegan lifestyles with a friend and I found your post so great and informative. Can’t wait for your blogger meetup posts! Online turned real life friends is pretty much one of the biggest highlights of the blogosphere 🙂

  3. That was a great guest post, thanks! Looking forward to the blogger meetup recaps.

  4. Environmental policy was my course of study in college 20 years ago. I actually went to Cornell (think T. Colin Campbell) and practically failed my nutrition class. LOL. Science just wasn’t my forte! So I stuck with policy and ethics classes. And they had a MAJOR impact on how I lived my life from that moment forward. I immediately became a vegetarian (not vegan) and stayed that way for 10 years. It wasn’t until my own health became an issue that Veganism became a viable option. That’s why I think this movement is so alive right now–it’s not just about the animals (and I do care deeply about the suffering of animals) but about our own health. It’s a magical combination for change.

  5. Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, eco-friendliness, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

  6. I’m not a vegan, as you know, but I’m in a kind of ongoing dialogue with veganism. Because I’m aware of the vegan arguments (some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t), I find myself, when making a non-vegan purchase, having to have a more compelling argument for the purchase than the vegan argument agains the purchase, and it’s a not bad thing. I try to consume mindfully; sometimes I’ll conclude for one or another reason that the non-vegan choice is the more ethical or environmentally friendly and sometimes, I’ll admit, especially in the case of down, I’m just rationalizing a selfish choice. I don’t see that changing; nevertheless, I do feel a need to defend my non-vegan choices, and that’s thanks to outspoken vegans like you.

  7. Have a fun bus ride!!! Gena, not to be nosy but why are you taking calc? When I applied in 2009 very, very few schools required it (and not that many even had it on their recommended list). JMHO, but you could definitely skip 2nd semester if you were planning on taking it. You won’t need it for the MCAT or med school. 🙂

  8. thank you! This is especially helpful for me as I began my transition into veganism. I need to be able to have a sophisticated response to all the questions I’ll get!

  9. What a great and informative post! Best of luck w/ calculus — I know how that is!

  10. I am so excited to read this. I literally woke up this morning wishing I could have a good conversation about the basics with a knowledgeable vegan, so this is wonderfully timely (is it creepy that I thought of you?). Thank you!

    And good luck with calculus…. I shudder at the thought, and salute you for tackling it! 😉

  11. Such a beautifully articulated post! I couldn’t agree more with your statement that everybody’s journey to veganism is different, and they’re all just as “right”.

  12. Thanks for sharing. I think the ethical treatment of food animals is extremely important and something that people should start educating themselves on rather than remaining ignorant solely for the purposes of satisfying their taste buds guilt-free.

  13. I think we all know that Gena and inadequacy are two words that simply don’t make sense in conjunction with each other 😉

  14. Good for you to take the first step to getting your beliefs on veganism out into the world. Blogging is staying true to who you are, and I believe we as bloggers have every right to express our opinions and share our true thoughts in the blogging world.

    Good luck on the Calculus today!

  15. Off to check out the post now!

    And I want to hear about the blogger meetups! Yay for meetups, I just had one on Tuesday and it was the highlight of my month 🙂

    I remember when you announced you were going to post about the ethical/animals rights side of veganism..has it been a year already?! Wow! time flies!

  16. what a thoughtful post–i so appreciate your honesty and the humility with which you express your perspectives!

  17. Gena, thank you so much for writing such an informative, and important, post on the ethics of veganism for my Vegan 101 series. You have given me so much to think about as I continue on my vegan journey! I am grateful.