Friday, February 4, 2011

Fun with Yahoo! Answers Part II

See the background here. Continuing off-the-cuff answers to all kinds of questions on the subject of vegetarianism and veganism on Yahoo! Answers.

Q: My so likes tomato bacon soup. I want to be a vegetarian. Is there a substitute for the bacon that I can use?
He isn't happy that I am choosing to be vegetarian. He said can't you just take out the bacon and eat the soup, but I said no, it permeates the tomato. I am more than happy to make this soup for him with the bacon because being a vegetarian is my choice and I won't tell anyone how to eat, but is there a substitute for the bacon that I can use in the future. I'll make a separate tomato soup without the bacon for myself. Btw-I am very happy deciding to be a vegetarian.
A:  Of course make sure you are making it for him freely and not out of obligation. If you feel any resentment whatsoever kindly ask him to make his own tomato bacon soup! My SO is vegetarian and doesn't usually cook meat for me, but doesn't mind if I do so for myself.

It sounds like he needs reassurance that you are not trying to "convert" him. That said there are plenty of fake bacon products out there (not as good as the real thing IMO! ;)

I do think toasted sesame, sunflower, or pine nuts give a nice crunchy texture and flavor that I can say is enjoyed by this bacon-lover.
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Q: Can people with blood group A eat eggs?
i want to start the blood group diet and i just want to know what types of foods i can eat, and any ideas on a daily meal plan.
A: Yes. (at least I can)

The blood group diet idea is at best controversial. But if it works for you, go for it!

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Q: What's the difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan?

A: Veganism is a subset of vegetarianism. Both strive to minimize suffering of animals, mostly through dietary restrictions. Both also claim their practices to be healthier for the practitioners and the environment, but these claims are more arguable. The main difference is that vegetarians avoid parts of dead animals, while vegans add to this anything that is produced by an animal for its own purposes, such as eggs, milk, honey, and beeswax.

The earliest use of the term "vegetarian" in English is from the 1800's. The term "vegan" is more recent (from wikipedia article:)

The British Vegan Society was founded on November 1, 1944 by Donald Watson and Elsie Shrigley to organize vegetarians who did not consume dairy or other animal products. Watson created the term "vegan"—pronounced "veegun" (/ˈviːɡən/), with the stress on the first syllable—by combining the first three and last two letters of vegetarian, which he saw as "the beginning and end of vegetarian."
In common usage, many people identify themselves as "vegetarian" even if they eat shellfish, fish, or even poultry. The broadest consensus seems to be that if you eat the flesh of ungulates (beef, veal, pork, lamb, etc., aka "red meat") you are definitely not a vegetarian!

IMO neither identity gives one the excuse to be self-righteous, unpleasant, or disrespectful of others' choices.

Jim (definitely not a vegetarian)

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Q: How much protein do I need a day as a vegetarian and what food groups would I obtain that from?

A: Protein deficiency is extremely rare in developed societies. The USDA says 45-55 grams, which is more than enough, and is easily met in a vegetarian diet that includes a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables and sufficient calories. Throw in modest amounts of eggs and/or dairy and you have nothing to worry about.

This is also an average daily recommendation, so it's okay if some days are low and others higher. Your body closely regulates blood amino acid levels. Unless your muscle mass is already very low, you would notice muscle loss over the course of weeks if your average protein was too low. You also need some fat and vitamins A & D to absorb protein (and calcium), which is why whole foods of all kinds are better than skimmed, refined, separated, or defatted foods.

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Q: How to gently persuade your man to eat healthier?
All my research has shown me that a vegetarian who consumes moderate to small amounts of fresh caught fish is the healthiest diet possible. I've been this way for over 2 years. I used to be a heavy meat eater until I was sick of feeling like crap and starting reading about nutrition, how are eating habits effect the environment, and the meat industry's treatment of animals. The guy I am with is heavy into lifting and eats terrible. He looks healthy, but his insides must be awful. His energy could be so much more and I am tempted to tell him his eating habits will drive him to impotency. Suggestions please...
A: You say "all your research," but don't take it for granted. People heading down a vegetarian path often only see what confirms their beliefs. There is actually some robust dissent over what is the healthiest balanced diet, and humans are actually pretty adaptable. If you look at what traditional people eat all over the world you see a lot of whole foods including meats and vegetables. Processed refined crap that is the by-product of industrial society may be more of a factor than the popular meat/fat/cholesterol boogie-man.

In other words, if he's eating meat and also eating balanced whole foods, he may be just fine. OTOH, if he's eating a lot of refined and junk food, encourage him to change that without an emphasis on the meat, and maybe have him look into ethically and naturally raised meat.
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Q: If vegetarians love animals so much,why do they eat their food?

A: It might seem like a frivolous question, but everything we do, especially the way we produce food, displaces wildlife. In many cases a well-managed pasture is better for the environment, wild animals, and biodiversity, than a crop field bathed in poisons and fertilizers.

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