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Joanne Donovan


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Are the western vegetarian and vegan movements food fetishes for the rich?

'LET THEM EAT CAKE'. These words, attributed to Marie Antoinette just prior to her execution, enraged the struggling masses during the French Revolution. To people who had few daily food choices, most subsisted on low grade bread and little else, these words seemed so callous, and so bereft of compassion.

Why do we, in today's wealthy western countries, place such a high degree of importance over our individual diet? Is it just selfishness and ego born out of having too many choices each day? Do we claim self esteem and identity this way? Are we detached from the real meaning of food and nutrition, of survival?


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  • Apr 26 2012: Something to consider, I believe people generally have a great deal of difficulty being objective regarding diet. It is strongly conditioned from early childhood and culturally constrained as in "tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are" . Many of the pro meat posters present as angry or defensive. Unless you are willing to experiment at the individual level with your diet you probably have little to contribute to others. This is a touchstone issue and indicator of neophobe/neophile orientation. Personally I became a vegetarian thirty years ago as a runner because it allowed me shorter intervals between eating and training but the precept of causing no UNNECESSARY suffering has bolstered the diet over time and has worked well for me. It's worth reading Liere Keith's bookThe Vegetarian Myth if you want a concise compilation of the anti-vegitarian talking points espoused by Gerald O. and others.

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