Friday, 15 September 2017

The Folly of Food

A couple of years ago my friends and I were forced to abandon a small game of soccer in Albert Park due to the rain. Since it was around lunchtime, we wandered back to Auckland Uni's campus with the intention of eating. I suggested a vegan lunch, which I had then tried just the one time. Is it any good they asked? I liked it I answered. Low key sort of thing.

So, we decided to fork out $5 each (or not) and sat down somewhere it wasn't really raining. They spent the bulk of the meal suggesting it needed meat. Seriously guys? Grow up.

Vegetarian and vegan food is, by and large, tasty. Certainly, meat is often not required to make a meal. Fairly often, for instance, we eat meatless meals, but not with the same regularity that was once the case and generally with minimal balance (e.g. essentially all staple). I think a fairly good way of approaching a week's eating is three or four meat days and the remainder not meat (for dinner anyway, leftovers incorporated in the next meal's days). However, that is as far as I would go. I am not interested in a vegan or a vegetarian diet.

The problem with what my friends were doing is that it is completely ordinary to not be eating meat and the vegan lunches on sale on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays do not require meat at all. In fact, they're good value meals. They're nice and they're filling. They even come with pudding. My friends were missing the point of the meal for no good reason.

This brings me to the notion of planning to hijack a vegan event by eating "steak and eggs" lunches nearby. The hell? What are those people trying to accomplish? What is the purpose of doing that? Dudebro humour? Who knows?

Sure, there are some vegans and vegetarians who like to act as though ethical veganism is a thing. It's not. There is nothing unethical about eating meat. (Half the arguments that say so believe in overpopulation and the other half mistake poor management for inherent evil.) All dietary choices are arbitrary and whimsical. All of them. There is nothing morally superior about adding meat, nuts, honey or excluding any of the same. People who use these arguments to support any position are in the wrong. We should point that out. But they're never everyone. There will be arbitrary vegans in that crowd. There will be people like me who like the cuisine. Hence, my conclusion is very simple. Grow up and let people be.

I'm not saying that we should just let our stomachs wander through life free of all restraint and decision nor that there is no reason to condemn certain diets as unhealthy. What I am saying is that macrodietary choice is amoral... except when you're not a vegan and you're eating the function's vegan choices before you can tell if the vegans have eaten their fill: that is unethical.

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