Proposal: Veganism & Vegetarianism

Does this community have an interest in offering health advice, recipes, etc to encourage reduced meat diets such as pescetarian?

Would these diets be considered a part of the Vegetarian community?

  • If you intended this question to be an example question, you can't post it as the site is in the Commitment phase. This site is designed to discuss this proposal to create a new site.
    – Rathony
    Oct 4 '16 at 10:31
  • 2
    It's moreso a query into the scope of the proposed site.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 4 '16 at 10:34
  • Please edit the question.
    – Rathony
    Oct 4 '16 at 10:35
  • @Robert Cartaino Thank you for the edit to this question. Area 51 can be a confusing place, and I always see you coming along and helping people sort things out. I also appreciate your gentle demeanor. To help understand this type of question, I feel that either a site-definition or proposal-scope tag could be helpful. If you agree, would you kindly add one? Thank you for your consideration. Jan 26 '17 at 20:40

The proposal was originally just for Veganism (not just the diet aspect), but after discussion we decided to expand to include Vegetarianism due to many (but not all) overlapping aspects.

If we included non-Vegetarian diets such as Pescetarianism, we may as well include all other diets like Paleo etc. It would be too broad, so the line is drawn and Vegetarianism.

Pescetarians are of course welcome to join and ask questions relevant to the scope of the site.

  • 6
    I agree, especially about the "not just the diet" aspect. Apart from the dietary challenges, vegan/vegetarianism is a way of life and I suspect that questions about "occasional abstention" would be somewhat off-putting to a large portion of the community. Oct 4 '16 at 12:18
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    I'd anticipate a lot of questions from those new to it or considering beginning a meat-free or reduced-meat diet/lifestyle. I understand that there are other aspects of the lifestyle that some vegans wish to talk about but that doesn't preclude being a welcoming community and giving advice to newcomers / outsiders. Bear in mind that non-vegetarians do vastly outnumber us and we want to encourage their interest in vegetarianism rather than making them feel unwelcome.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 4 '16 at 18:52
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    @TomKelly There aren't any "outsiders" - everyone is welcome to join and contribute regardless of lifestyle or diet. People who want to go Vegetarian one day a week and would like to know a veggie version of Chicken for example, is fine. If someone asks how to cook a fish, it's going to be off topic however - that's what Seasoned Advice is for.
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 4 '16 at 19:37
  • Ok, that's precisely what I had in mind. That they would be asking about the vegetarian aspects of their lifestyle, e.g., their health concerns or advice for meal substitutes on the days they went Vege. Just curious whether considering adding Eggs or Fish to vegan diet as I did would be an acceptable suggestion (or if it would start a flame war), as I did when couldn't stay vegan due to my health issues.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:34
  • Perhaps I should add that I am a health researcher interested in giving advice on it but it will be coming from that perspective and it's one that's not appropriate to a strictly vegan community as ethics is not my focus.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:37
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    @TomKelly Ovo-lacto Vegetarianism is common in the Western world at least, so Eggs would be fine. Fish are Animals so they wouldn't fit in with the scope of either Vegetarianism or Veganism
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:39
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    @TomKelly Health-related questions are fine as long as they are backed up with solid evidence - Vegetarian and Vegan communities tend to be very informed with regard to this subject so it'll make for an interesting topic.
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:47
  • @TomKelly I know what you're trying to say, though. However there are fish/egg alternatives which are lacto-Vegetarian or Vegan that address any health issues in the same way, so I presume most people on this site would suggest those instead. If there is a super rare case where someone isn't in a location (or some other extreme external factor) where they can get a hold of any of those products, I'm sure someone would just recommend eating fish. I just doubt a case like that would pop up, but I'm sure if it did no one would start a flame war.
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 4 '16 at 21:24
  • Everyone's health, culture, and financial situation is different. Particularly since some of these substitutes are costly or not available here in New Zealand of where I've travelled. I'm comfortable with my choices (being on a student-budget and travelling in Asia, I've had to make some compromises) as my Vegetarianism was based on health rather than ethical reasons. Nevertheless, I'm willing to respect the different dietary preferences under the Vegetarian umbrella and share my health expertise if it is sought after, even if I am no longer strictly practicing as a Vegetarian per se.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 4 '16 at 22:34
  • 2
    @TomKelly New Zealand is actually one of the easier countries to be Vegetarian/Vegan - the rare exceptions I were talking about were places like Mongolia or Siberia. Also the vegetarian diet being more expensive is again a common myth (mainly among Westerners) and I'm sure we'll have many users giving advice to people concerned about this. Not sure why you seem to be trying to defend your own personal choices as that's your choice - as long as someone isnt planning on posting answers telling people to eat bacon/fish etc (which would be considered trolling), advice from anyone is welcome
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 5 '16 at 20:28
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    @TomKelly it would be like going on to Christianity and posting verses of the Quran and suggesting they convert. It's going to upset people (plus unlike Religion there are actually facts to back up dietary questions). Hopefully you get what I mean and still feel you'd be welcome to contribute. Personally I'd rather convince 20 people to go meat-free one day a week Vs one person to go Vegan - but I'm thinking of what would be best for the community (don't want people to feel ostracised/angry and this would most likely cause that)
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:07
  • I tend to recommend cooking recipes intended to be Vegetarian, rather than replacing meat for precisely this reason. Meat-substitutes are unnecessarily expensive and probably the source of this myth. However, I will admit I don't like the taste/texture of meat so I personally have no desire to emulate it.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 5 '16 at 21:55
  • I understand that, unsolicited suggestions for fish/eggs/milk products would be unhelpful if the OP is vegan. However, the case I had in mind was if a newcomer (non-veg) comes to the site and asks about switching, particularly if it were for health reasons, I'd suggest trying Meat-free Mondays, Pescetarian or Ovo-lacto-Veg rather than full Vegan to start with. These diets also raise less need to keep an eye on Iron, B12, etc. I agree that encouraging more people to reduce their meat intake would make a real different and is preferable to me than converting a few.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 5 '16 at 22:00
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    @TomKelly Again, no one is suggesting "hassling" anyone to become a Vegan and I'm not sure you've understood what I've written. Pescartarianism has nothing to do with Vegetarianism and asking about Fish on this site is obviously not okay. The other recommendations of meat-free days or ovo-lacto is fine. Side note that Bi is not actually a stepping stone to anything and Is a complete orientation within itself.
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 6 '16 at 6:55
  • 1
    @TomKelly I'd like to end the discussion there if that's okay - I respect your diet/decisions and would welcome your input to the site but I don't want people recommending meats/fish on a site for Vegans/Vegetarians and those considering to navigate towards to. Hopefully you respect and understand why it needs to be like this. Thanks for the discussion
    – dsgriffin
    Oct 6 '16 at 7:04

We will need some openness to questions regarding reduced meat diets.

  • Overlapping values with reduced meat diets (even paleo, which is not a reduced meat diet, emphasizes vertical farming which makes some veg*ns happy anyway)
  • Many people want or need to take smaller steps toward veg*nism and this community generally promotes that
  • Many people elect veg*nism for environmental impact, and these stakeholders in our community will likely be interested in, say, encouraging fish eaters to follow sustainability guidelines (obviously this is far from vegan by definition, but IMO the fact that it corresponds to the interest in veganism is quite significant).

Now the question "Where the line?" is difficult, but I would rather we ask the difficult question.

Because these questions are very important and on topic:

  • "How can I encourage my family to make vegetable-forward meals so I can eat dinner with them, even if they eat meat?"
  • "I have allergy and protein deficiency problems. If I had to add one animal protein to my diet which is best?"
  • "Which is better for animal welfare, giving up eggs or milk?"

"Dietary questions related to reducing meat consumption or improving the ethical or environmental value of one's diet are generally on topic." is about right IMO.

This may violate some veg*ns' vision for this SE as a safe space away from the topic of meat eating but that is a poor vision. StackExchanges center around promoting quality information, which certainly may include information violating an individual user's own sense of ethics.

  • You make some good points but I'm not sure about emphasis on environmental aspects. I'm not sure there are people keen to discuss them but a lot of people become vegetarian for health reasons too, of course this raises the similar concern of whether to include other health-related diets. In general, I think advise on any diet reducing meat consumption would be appropriate, encouraging veg*n options but respecting that it is not always a "stepping stone" diet.
    – Tom Kelly
    Jan 9 '17 at 0:14
  • Sorry, I don't agree with you that the Paleo diet fit here. However I will disclose that I don't take this "fad diet" seriously. Whatever it happens to achieve accidentally, the rationale behind it is not supported by the scientific consensus of evolutionary biologists or anthropology. It is neither what our ancestors ate, nor is it healthy to eat what they did. It's a personal choice, people can do what they want but from a health perspective I wouldn't encourage a Paleo diet/lifestyle particularly if they go so far as to participate in "blood letting" and the like.
    – Tom Kelly
    Jan 9 '17 at 0:18
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    It has not much do do with this being a "safe space" but with this being a sub-forum of SE where such topics such as pescetarianism and reduced-meat diets are not on topic. There are other forums where that is relevant such as Health and Physical Fitness. Veg*ns want you to stop eating animals, not to only eat them on sundays. Would you advise someone to only kill people once per month as a stepping stone to not killing anyone? This forum will need a bit more ethical coherence if it wants to survive even if not everyone is here for the same reasons.
    – ecc
    Jan 10 '17 at 12:41
  • @ecc Two points: firstly, and this is basically what I'm trying to assert, I disagree that what one or several veg*ns want should have any bearing on a question another person may answer on any Stack at all. There are plenty of kinds of coherence a Stack may have. "Reduced meat diet" is perfectly coherent. I personally think we can go even broader: reduced impact to animals or animal ecosystem diets. Defining "impact" precisely is a perfectly valid thing to do over the course of actual Qs and As because it is an actual substantive and broad question.
    – djechlin
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:51
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    @ecc Secondly, I know you asked the question rhetorically but the answer is really obvious. If someone is killing people 3 times a day, and gets away with this because it is legal and acceptable, and is weighing knocking it down to 1 killing per month, then it is absolutely ethically coherent to encourage them to do exactly that. And I personally, as a vegan, would far rather people knock factory eggs from their diet than fish, which is a very ethically sound stance. But you can never get to important questions like that if you can't ask them.
    – djechlin
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:55
  • @ecc IOW: "how can I reduce impact to animals?" is more ethically coherent than stopping eating animals. "I am a vegan, how can I encourage my family to make vegetable forward meals so I can eat with them (even if they have meat themselves)?" is on topic. "Which is better for animal welfare, giving up eggs or milk?" is on topic. "I have both allergy and protein deficiency problems, if I had to add one animal protein to my diet, what should it be?" is on topic.
    – djechlin
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:56
  • "legal and acceptable" is exactly what we're trying to say killing of animals should not be.
    – ecc
    Jan 10 '17 at 13:59
  • @ecc That's not what I'm trying to say, even Peter Singer has acquiesced on the oysters point, that view will exclude too many important questions, and that narrow view will have no chance of producing a healthy stack because you eliminate pretty passionate vegans like me out of discussion pretty much right away. It's too mercurial. It doesn't work.
    – djechlin
    Jan 10 '17 at 14:00
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    @ecc and "fitness" discussions can be pretty bad places to ask questions about veganism. The fitness community looks pretty down on even thinking of interfering with your protein consumption in any way whatsoever. I rock climb, I lift, I run, I'm vegan, things are going perfectly swell. But I'm dreaming if I ever think I'm getting nutrition help on fitness.SE. Which is a very good reason to lobby for this community to be more open where those are more closed.
    – djechlin
    Jan 10 '17 at 14:05

I feel that generally speaking it doesn't make much sense to ask questions connected with meat on a site for vegetarians and vegans.

However, there may be questions that are still relevant and worth keeping.

  • The short answer is it depends on the purpose of the forum. I suppose the question could be reframed as "Is this forum to inform new Veg*ns or for existing ones to discuss amongst themselves?".
    – Tom Kelly
    Nov 15 '16 at 8:30
  • 1
    "I'm looking to help my friends gradually shift to a vegan diet. What can we use to replace [various non-veg food item] to support this shift?" is a question clearly connected with meat (or eggs, or fish, or milk, or...) and yet seems perfectly sensible to have on a site for veg(etari)ans.
    – Nij
    Jan 8 '17 at 9:28
  • Sure, perhaps it could be better phrased to appeal to a veg*n audience, well more specific for them to answer it. E.g., "Hey, I'm cutting meat/fish/eggs from my diet, what are recommended Protein / Iron sources do vegns use instead?" Similarly vegan substitutes for eggs or cheese
    – Tom Kelly
    Jan 9 '17 at 0:40

As far as I know diets don't have communities . . . but pescetarianism is not vegetarian because it contains meat.

If you want to break down a diet into meals then you can ask for advice regarding meals that do not contain seafood (or any other kind of meat).

If you are a pescetarian for moral reasons then you can also ask questions that aren't about food, such as how to avoid land and sky animal-derived oils and dyes in common household products.

It's my understanding that this site is not exclusively for vegetarians and vegans, and if you have a question favoring the interest of avoiding meat in any aspect of your life for any reason, and if you've already tried to find the answer yourself (preferably on this site) then you can ask your question here.

The word "recipe" seems like a red flag to me though. I think if new users see questions with the word "recipe" they might think that they can ask for ideas for recipes, or criticisms of recipes, and so on (such as: I've tried store-bought imitation chicken before and hated it. How can I make good tasting imitation chicken from scratch?).

There are too many ways to answer that question, everyone who makes there own kind of imitation chicken will have there own answer and there can be no objective best way. That's a question for forums.

However a question like "I like x brand imitation chicken but find it's to costly, how does x brand replicate the taste of real chicken so I can make my own?" only has one correct answer so it fits on this site. It's not asking for A "recipe" for imitation chicken, it's asking for THE recipe.

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