What Does 95% Vegan Mean?

CarpeVegan is a website that, like me, is trying to foster a new idea of what it means to be vegan (or veganish). One of CV’s more controversial ideas is that we, as vegans, should consider that someone being 95% vegan is good enough. I am definitely largely on board with this idea, but I’m still left wondering exactly how we should calculate what 95% means. Now, I’m not trying to say that we should elaborate what 95% means so that we can then “enforce” such a standard. No, that would be antithetical to the overall idea that they’re trying to put forth, as far as I’m concerned. I have just as little interest in policing the idea of who qualifies as “veganish” as I do in policing the idea of who is a “real vegan.” These things are silly.

But I still would like to explore this idea, and what it really means. If we’re going to throw it out there as an idea to be taken seriously, I think we should take some pains to elaborate what it means and give some real world examples of what a “95 percenter” lifestyle would look like.

CV’s reasoning for/vision of the 95% figure seems to be motivated largely by an effort to make veganism easier in a social sense. They say “All Birthday Cake and Alcohol is Vegan.” I think their point is that we, as vegans, shouldn’t have to fret about whether something is vegan before partaking in the food and drink that often accompanies festive social occasions.

They ask “what is the real difference between someone who eats 100% vegan vs someone whose dietary intake is 95% vegan? Does the difference really mean less animal suffering? Depends, but if the difference is just lots of misc ingredients in various meals during a given year, that is probably not the case.” Well, I’m trying to suss out what “the real difference” is so that we can talk about it. Now that I’ve actually looked into this a bit, I think they might be surprised by how much non-vegan food is “allowed” under the 95% rule.

I’m also going to frame the discussion differently from them. I want to explore the idea of what it would mean for a person that isn’t aiming for 95% just because of all the birthday cake, Guinness and “oopsies” in life. I’m interested in seeing what this 95% approach would look like for someone that didn’t even really WANT to be 100% vegan. There are many reasons someone might want to do this, but the scenarios that come to my mind are: health concerns, social/family concerns, unavailability of vegan fats and proteins (for people that try to eat local), or simply people that just enjoy non-vegan food and wouldn’t be willing to give it up entirely.

I’m interested to see what other vegans think of this. It’s one thing to say that 95% vegan is pretty good. At first blush, I think that it’s so close to 100% that it’s basically just as good. But now that I look at the numbers, I’m not quite so sure.

So, without further ado, here is what I came up with. Sorry that the tables are pretty crude, but I didn’t feel like taking the time to download the plugin that would enable me to make pretty tables. To make sense of it, look at the red lines (calories per day, week, month, year). The lines below these red lines are just to give real-world examples of what would be “allowed” with the given number of calories for that length of time.

1 typical caloric intake per day
2 0.05 1500 2000 2500 3000
3 kcal/day 75 100 125 150
4 egg, large (46 g) 0.83 1.11 1.39 1.67
5 Tbsp butter 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50
6 oz. mozza 1.06 1.41 1.76 2.11
7 cups yogurt 0.36 0.48 0.60 0.72
8 oz. gr. beef (75% lean) 0.91 1.22 1.52 1.83
9 oz. chicken breast 1.56 2.08 2.60 3.13
10 kcal/week 525 700 875 1050
11 egg, large (46 g) 5.83 7.78 9.72 11.67
12 Tbsp butter 5.25 7.00 8.75 10.50
13 oz. mozza 7.39 9.86 12.32 14.79
14 cups yogurt 2.52 3.37 4.21 5.05
15 oz. gr. beef (75% lean) 6.40 8.54 10.67 12.80
16 oz. chicken breast 10.94 14.58 18.23 21.88
17 kcal/month 2275 3033 3792 4550
18 egg, large (46 g) 25.28 33.70 42.13 50.56
19 Tbsp butter 22.75 30.33 37.92 45.50
20 oz. mozza 32.04 42.72 53.40 64.08
21 cups yogurt 10.94 14.58 18.23 21.88
22 oz. gr. beef (75% lean) 27.74 36.99 46.24 55.49
23 oz. chicken breast 47.40 63.19 78.99 94.79
24 kcal/year 27375 36500 45625 54750
25 500 kcal meals (100% NV) 54.75 73.00 91.25 109.50
26 500 kcal meals (50% NV) 109.50 146.00 182.50 219.00
27 500 kcal meals (25% NV) 219.00 292.00 365.00 438.00
28 # 100% NV meals/week 1.05 1.40 1.75 2.11
29 # 50% NV meals/week 2.11 2.81 3.51 4.21
30 # 25% NV meals/week 4.21 5.62 7.02 8.4

The top part should be pretty self-explanatory. At line 5: a person on a 1,500 calorie-per-day diet could eat .75 tablespoons of butter every day and still be 95% vegan. Rows 25-30 probably need a little bit of explanation. When calculating the number of meals “allowed’ per year and per week, I just assumed that all meals are 500 calories. It’s a fairly average-sized meal for most people. So, row 25 just means a person on a 1,500 calorie-per-day diet could eat 54.75 fully non-vegan (500 calorie) meals per year.

But this math is a little too crude, because it assumes that the person in question is gorging themselves on 100% non-vegan food, like they’re sitting around eating slabs of bacon cooked in butter topped with cheese and sour cream (with a side of deviled eggs). More realistically, the meal would probably be anywhere between 25-50% non-vegan food, so these assumptions are reflected in rows 26 and 27. The same info from rows 25-27 is given in per-week figures in rows 28-30.

Also, one small point: the figures given for yogurt are actually low because I did not subtract out the calories from sugar. In reality, one could actually eat quite a bit more than what is given above.

Discussion

After compiling this info, I was surprised to see how much non-vegan food would actually be “allowed” for a “95 percenter.” If I were to follow such a diet, I could eat as many as 7 non-vegan meals per week (but probably more like 4 or 5), or 3/4 pound of mozzarella, or 8 or 9 large eggs. I could eat three dozen eggs per month, or three pounds of mozzarella. I could eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 large slices of Chicago Style Pizza every year. If I wanted to eat meat, I could eat around a pound of chicken breast every week!

This seems like a lot to me. In fact, if someone made a conscious attempt to eat this way, and they really tried to fit in as much non-vegan food as the “rules” would allow, I really don’t see how this is a meaningful distinction from vegetarianism. But then again, I think we’ve all met some vegetarians that eat dairy or eggs with pretty much every meal, so when you compare it against a diet like that, it actually is a pretty meaningful difference.

But I’m approaching this as someone that hasn’t eaten much in the way of non-vegan food for over four years, when I probably should be at least trying to approach it from the perspective of the hypothetical person that would be considering such a diet. If that person is omnivore or vegetarian, this way of eating would be a huge change, and the amount of non-vegan food “allowed” would probably seem pretty restrictive.

But let’s try to consider this more from how I interpret CarpeVegan’s take on it: as a way to allow people to be “veganish” but still lead a pretty normal social life. I think from that perspective, it actually fares pretty well.  After all, one could eat, at a minimum, 54 non-vegan meals per year. Realistically, one could probably eat over 100. I’d say that pretty easily covers every holiday, office potluck, birthday party and barbecue at your boss’s house. And you wouldn’t have to worry if the beer or wine someone offered you was refined with casein, gelatin, albumin, isinglass or blood. If one were to take the “vegan at home” approach, they could probably eat non-vegan the majority of the time they go out and still be above 95% vegan.

One of the big questions that sticks out to me is this: does the 95% rule leave room for the possibility of eating meat? Or does the 5% really just allow for vegetarian exceptions? Could you go home and have some turkey with your family on Thanksgiving? I know Anthony Bourdain would recommend that you do. I’m sure most of us here are aware of the Francione quote that “there is no moral difference between meat and dairy. There is as much suffering in a glass of milk [as] in a pound of steak.” I don’t agree with this entirely, but I see his point. There is certainly less of a difference than the average vegetarian thinks there is. So would a little meat here and there really “break the bank” as far as the 95% thing goes?

Okay, so now that I’ve raised a bunch of provocative issues, I just want to point out that I’m not necessarily advocating an approach like this as “the best way.” I’m still vegan (with freegan exceptions) and I don’t have any plans to change that. I don’t find veganism to be that hard or limiting. But, like I said, I think someone being 95% vegan is a pretty laudable goal. If other people agree with the 95% thing in theory, I think it’s important that they be able to defend what it looks like in practice.

If there are people out there that think they could do something like this, but that they could just never go fully vegan, then maybe an approach like this could work for them. I think the biggest challenge would be getting people to “go veganish” with this understanding from day one.

So, if you think you’re okay with “95% vegan” in theory, this is a glimpse of what that might look like in practice. If you’re vegan, does this change your mind about it? If you’re not vegan, does this kind of approach appeal to you more than veganism does?

I look forward to hearing people’s reactions.

– – thanks for reading – –

SV

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23 Responses to What Does 95% Vegan Mean?

  1. Hi there. As a newbie vegan (only since this past May) I’d have to agree with 95% vegan being a good thing, although my reasoning has nothing to do with alcohol and cake 😉 For me, I do the best I can as far as reading labels and trying to be conscientious of the products I use/wear; I do not (knowingly) eat any meat, eggs, or dairy, and I do not (knowingly) use/wear anything where an animal has been caused to suffer. That being said, I do NOT consider bees/insects as part of the animals aforementioned, and I also don’t see a problem with using/wearing things that come from an animal, as long as the animal isn’t harmed in the process (i.e., wool).

    Then again, I am new to this whole lifestyle so I’m still learning. My whole reason for the lifestyle change was (is) because of the horrendous treatment of farm animals, so everything I do stems from that. I look forward to reading what other comments you get here (and perhaps learning a few things myself)…

    • Hi, Laura. Thanks for the comment.

      You bring up a good point about vegans unknowingly eating non-vegan food. If someone were going to try this 95% thing, they might want to aim for more like 96% to allow for all the non-vegan stuff they would eat without knowing it. Over the course of a year, 1% amounts to 5,475 – 10,950 calories. I doubt any observant vegan accidentally eats more than that. That would be like “accidentally” eating 7 tablespoons of butter each month. I guess it’s possible, but you’d have to be pretty careless to let that happen. Maybe just to be extra safe (assuming they actually care about staying above 95%), they might want to shoot for 97%.

      Also, there are some things you should know about wool. This is one that a lot of people don’t understand simply because they have no knowledge of how sheep are raised and sheared. I didn’t know until after I became vegan either, so it’s understandable. Some people will say that the video and article represent the extreme cases. I don’t know if that’s true or not (but it’s a PeTA video, so…). Ultimately, regardless of how well or how poorly sheep are treated in life, sheep are killed for meat eventually. I find wool problematic for that reason alone.

      • LiseyDuck says:

        Then there’s the stuff you have in the fridge/cupboard to use up in the first place, leather and wool that happens to be in the wardrobe and will probably get worn some more before replacing, medication that you have to take that – even ignoring how it was tested – has lactose in. (Not to mention the scenario that some of the meat-eaters I know see as inevitable for every vegan, of being trapped on a desert island with a suicidal cow) I’d say go for 100% vegan in what you consume intentionally and through complete choice, and that’ll add up to 95-99% in any given year…

        • I don’t think that “stuff you have in the fridge/cupboard to use up in the first place, leather and wool that happens to be in the wardrobe” should count against you. If you bought these things before you went vegan, how is it decreasing your “veganicity” after the day you stop buying animal products?

          I don’t disagree with shooting for 100%. It’s what I do (aside from freegan exceptions, but I wouldn’t count those calories, for reasons that should be obvious by now to anyone reading this).

          For me, someone that eats around 2,250 calories per day, 1% of my yearly total caloric intake is 8,212 calories. Given the situations you describe, can you really see those things adding up to that much? A little lactose in a pill, a little bit of whey or milk solids in some bread that you assumed was vegan. All of these situations describe animal product consumption which is essentially imperceptible. The amounts are so small that you don’t even know you’re doing it. I don’t see how that can add up to all that many calories. If you ate something that was obviously made with butter, you would know it, right?

          Now, admittedly, overall caloric intake is probably not THE best way to discuss such a thing, but it should at least give us some idea of what all these little “oopsies” amount to. My feeling is that they really do not amount to much if you’re shooting for 100% vegan.

          What I was trying to do is get reactions to what people would think of it if someone actually TRIED to do this, like if they consciously TRIED to be 95% vegan. The obvious comment (that will occur to most vegans) is that this would then not be a vegan diet. Fair enough. But aside from that, I’d like to know what people think of it.

  2. Thanks for the link about wool. I have to admit I had no idea about mulesing and the whole fly striking business 😦 That’s just plain terrible. I guess I was picturing sheep shearing as I’ve seen it in those sort of “Family Channel” types of movies, if you know what I mean.

    And as for what my reaction would be to someone attempting to be 95% vegan, I suppose it would depend if they were going to use the other 5% to PURPOSEFULLY do/eat things that a vegan would not do. That would cause me to have a problem with it. But on the other hand, it would probably also make me a hypocrite since I’m still on the fence about bees/honey (and insects in general).

    • I do know what you mean by ““Family Channel” types of movies.” I had no idea about this stuff four years ago either.

      I understand what you’re saying about eating non-vegan food purposely. I get that it makes one not vegan.

      But what about the person that can’t or won’t commit to 100% vegan, but would consider 95% vegan? Doesn’t this approach have some merit, then?

      • Well I would say that of course 95% is better than nothing! I also commend those who are just easing themselves in by doing nothing more than Meatless Monday. Any step taken towards a cruelty-free lifestyle deserves a thumbs up 🙂

  3. rhys says:

    This entry cracked me up. It makes me think that my vegan percent is probably pretty high.

    I wonder if the CarpeVegan guys meant for the 95 percent idea to be more general. Like maybe being vegan 95 percent of the time means that you couldn’t call yourself a totally obedient vegan for 5 percent of the year. So if you ate birthday cake at an office party, that would be one of your non-vegan days. With the 95 percent goal, you could have about 18 days like that in a year.

    Of course, if you wanted, you could try to take extra advantage of those free days by eating nothing but straight animal product on them. But then those days would really suck.

    • I tried for a few jokes here and there, but I didn’t think it was overly funny. I guess sometimes you get “freebies.” I actually do want to try to make a more serious attempt at including more humor in my posts, but I probably already spend too much time on this as it is, so maybe I should just stick with what I’m doing.

      So, how do you think you stack up, Rhys? Assuming that meat is “allowed,” of course. 90%?

      I do think the guys at CV probably meant it to be more general. But I still thought that it was an interesting idea for a post and a good conversation starter. And now that I see how much non-vegan food is actually “allowed” (only a vegan would think 5 eggs and 4.8 ounces of mozza per week is “a lot”), I’m giving serious thought to whether it might actually be something to pitch to omnivores and vegetarians (post on that coming soon).

      I also started with the “18 days per year” approach when I first started writing this post, but abandoned it in favor of the calorie-based analysis once I realized I could really “Excel” with that approach. Plus, I don’t know how useful the “18 day” approach is. Like, if you have a small slice of birthday cake (which probably contains no more than 150 non-vegan calories – and that’s even high for most types of cake – lots of flour, sugar and oil) at the birthday party of your co-worker (that you hate), did you just burn a day right there? That doesn’t seem “fair.” Ha.

      Yes, an all non-vegan day would suck. Or, more likely, the day after 😉

      • rhys says:

        Even though you weren’t trying to be funny with this post, it was exactly my sort of humor. I loved that you took an idea more seriously than it was meant to be taken and then showed how the consequences were not at all like the people proposing the idea would have intended. That’s what cracked me up.

        • Ahhh, I see.

          That wasn’t my intent exactly, but I see what you mean. I definitely was NOT doing it to show that the guys at CV were misguided or anything like that. I was truly curious what 95% really looked like and since they didn’t do it, I did it myself.

          Even though I was surprised by how “unvegan” 95% turned out to be (the way I defined it and analyzed it), I’m still in the camp that says it’s WAY better than being an indiscriminate omnivore, so I can support it in that sense. Some people will not want to support such a thing because they only have enough love in their hearts for one thing (100% vegan!), but that’s not how I see it. I can get behind any diet that gets people eating more vegan as long as it doesn’t involve dishonest arguments. Therefore, I could get behind someone eating this way, even if they tried to fit in all the eggs and cheese that they can!

          I’m also working on a slightly different way of defining 95% that would ultimately end up being more restrictive. I’ve been taking people’s comments into consideration and I should hopefully have another post that incorporates a few new things fairly soon.

  4. I would argue that a statistic that isn’t precisely defined can’t be precisely understood either. So I’d say 95% vegan can only mean that somebody’s diet is pretty close to a vegan diet in some ill-determined sense. Having some gray area is an inevitable consequence of throwing around terms like “95% vegan” without defining them more precisely. (I’d also venture to guess that the authers of the credo didn’t put much thought into why the cutoff should be 95% instead of, say 94% or 96%, but I’m willing to be contradicted on this point by anybody in the know.)

    For what it’s worth, I think the CarpeVegan credo is a vast improvement over kicking people out of the club for eating an eighth of a teaspoon of baking powder from a company that donated to a university that did animal testing. But it still focuses on identity more than I would like; it’s about allowing people to call themselves vegan. I guess I agree with the Pythagorean Crank that the word “vegan” is mostly useful for deciding what to eat for lunch.

    • My purpose in posting this was to give an idea of what 95% vegan might look like. Granted, mine is only one way. For me, since I went vegan because of my concern about the real world effects of my diet, it made sense to focus on actual consumption, not symbolism and and intention. I know that some people will say “if you knowingly consume animal products when you don’t have to, then that is not vegan.” I hear that, and they’re probably right, but I’ve stated multiple times that I really have no interest in conversations about what a “real vegan” is. My concern is about the real-world effects of diet. Also, this analysis I’ve set up is far from perfect. For one thing, it treats all calories as equal, even though we know they’re not. Producing 75 calories of butter does not have the same effect on animals and the environment as producing 75 calories of eggs, or cheese, or meat.

      I think the guys at CV just picked 95% because it’s obviously really close to 100 and they didn’t want to pick something like 98 because that sounds specific and prescriptive.

      I agree about not focusing on identity, especially not worrying about identifying as vegan (side note – I’m thinking of removing the “Vegan” tattoo from my neck). They respond to this by embracing a more inclusive term – veganish. I’m pretty cool with that, but I also hear others when they say that we just shouldn’t care about those labels. The world just demands labels in a lot of ways, though. Hmmmm…

      One thing that I guess I’m kind of confused by, though, is how people of the latter stance (we just shouldn’t care about labels) feel about things like 95% vegan as I’ve laid it out (or 90, 96, 97, 98, whatever). If they reject vegan as an identity, but they still promote essentially exactly what vegans promote and eat a vegan diet, well… if the shoe fits. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t understand the point of rejecting the vegan identity while remaining vegan and recommending/promoting a diet free of animal products. Do you get what I’m asking?

      • Maybe the best way to define 95% vegan is eating vegan meals (or snacks, etc) 95% of the time and then eating typical omnivorous fare (and I don’t see why that should exclude meat) the rest of the time. That will tend to mean that more than 95% of calories come from plant sources.

        In principle, I don’t mind labeling people vegan. The problem is that veganism sometimes turns into this exclusive club with legions of self-appointed gatekeepers, and membership in that club eclipses sparing animals as the main goal. “Veganishism” makes the club less exclusive, which is good, but I think some of the same pitfalls are likely to apply.

        • Colinski says:

          This is exactly what I was going to say. I think it makes way more sense, and fits better with what I understood CV’s point to be, for 95%ers to eat whole meals/snacks that are animal-free 95% of the time.

          • I’m interested in hearing why you (or Adam) find this to be an important distinction to make. Adam thinks that this “will tend to mean that more than 95% of calories come from plant sources,” so assuming this is true, what is the difference? Is it just a convenience thing? Do you just think it would be easier to keep track of?

            Or do you think that this method would result in less consumption of animal products? If so, I think you’re probably right. If 95% of meals are fully vegan and 5% of meals are some mix of vegan and non-vegan, then the overall % of calories consumed from vegan sources goes up to like 97% or 98% or something (it all just depends on how much non-vegan food you’re eating in the 5% of meals). If someone finds this approach to be better because it’s easier, I can understand that.

            But if they’re just saying it because it gets people closer to 100% vegan, then why not just set the bar higher, like 98% or something? That still leaves you 22 non-vegan meals per year, which should be more than enough leeway for someone who “wants” to be vegan to deal with holidays, social situations, dining out etc. If someone prefers this method because it gets people closer to 100% vegan, I don’t really understand why they would be toying with/supporting the 95% approach at all (or why they don’t advocate for a higher percentage). We all know that it’s possible to be essentially “fully vegan,” so why not just continue down that road? Or why not just say that you’re for trying to be as close to 100% as you can be, but you’re “understanding” of people that want to have a piece of birthday cake for social reasons?

            I guess I’m just not clear why each of you is saying this. What is the motivation? Convenience? Or achieving something closer to 100% vegan?

  5. My instinct is to celebrate any version of veganism that encourages people who might have otherwised disregarded it. So I say yay to the 95% lark. But I think the point you make about meat eaters not eating a diet of 100% meat is an important one…so if you look at it in terms of a meat eater cutting down on animal product consumption by 95% then I think it’s a fabulous idea, how can it not be. But not in terms of “I will make sure that 5% of my diet is fleshy”, then not so much because that’s actually a shit load. But from the cutting down perspective I like it.

    • Yeah, I think my feelings are pretty similar to yours. When considered from the perspective of non-vegans reducing their consumption of animal products, it would be hard not to welcome that as a good thing. But when I consider someone (especially someone who theoretically might be willing to be “full vegan”) consciously trying to get 5% of their calories from non-vegan food, it really does kind of seem like a lot, probably too much.

      But I think they’re both valid ways to look at the issue, so I guess which way makes more sense depends on the person in question and what their ‘alternative” diet would look like. If someone tried 95% vegan because it sounded workable to them (but 100% did not), I say that’s an overall win for animals. If a vegan decided to start eating 5% of her calories from non-vegan food after having been “full vegan,” then that is a net loss for animals (albeit way smaller of a loss than the first situation is a gain). So, I think based on this analysis, I’m back to where I was: I’m cool with the 95% thing, even if the amount of non-vegan food it entails seems like a lot to me.

      I hope that wasn’t too confusing.

  6. P.s. would like to learn more about your freeganish eats…what animal products do you eat this way? I’ve mentioned before that it’s not an option for me because meat just evokes too many emotions for me now, but I’m really intruiged as to how you feel when you eat it after being ‘awakened’ to the truth. What does it feel like? Do you enjoy the taste? My sister says she just ‘dosn’t think about it’ but that reminds me too much of my in denial days of carnivory!

    • I will answer this question, but I think I’ll just make a post of it. I’ve been planning on doing that for a while, because I bet some people are curious.

      But short answer: I haven’t eaten meat yet. Basically just cheese and butter.

  7. you'remom says:

    Interesting….I’m really surprised on the stats. Off the top of my head, I was considering myself to be 33-50% vegan. Now I’m second guessing. Given these numbers, and the amount of calories I consume, I’d say I’m much closer to 95% than I thought. I would guess between 80-85%, maybe higher since I never drink milk and rarely eat butter.

    I agree with Adam, though. I don’t really like the idea of calling it 95% vegan. First of all, it’s making you feel like you’re not good enough right from the start. “What’s wrong? Can’t give it a 100% buddy? Suck it up!” Second, it’s relating to a term that I have grown uncomfortable with. Even if I was 100% vegan, I don’t know if I would call myself that. I think it needs to be presented in an entirely new light. Educating people on what they are really eating and what/who they are affecting when they eat can be presented without a “percent rule” and still be very effective. I imagine it would be eye-opening enough for most omnis to make a change right away, and hopefully that change will continue to grow. 100% from a few has a lot less impact then 50% from many.

    • Re: your first paragraph – I too was surprised by how similar 95% vegan (as I analyzed it) is to a lot of vegetarian diets. I figured out that I could eat 5 large eggs and just under 5 ounces of mozzarella per week and still be at 95% vegan. If a vegetarian made an effort to avoid those things that they don’t really mind giving up (like you, when I was vegetarian, I rarely ate butter or drank milk – they were just easy things for me to give up), I would think eating 95% vegan would not be all that hard for a lot of people that are currently vegetarian. In any case, it’s was less of a difference than I would have guessed off the top of my head.

      As for your second paragraph, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m still at a loss as to what to call it that is any better. 95% vegan is descriptive, even if it does have some cultural baggage that plenty of people would like to avoid. 95% plant-based is definitely more neutral in that regard, so that could be better. And I hear you about the whole “not good enough” thing, but I think the idea of no one striving for utter perfection is built right into the idea, so I’m not sure everyone would see it like you do. I mean, most people realize that they could try to be as close to 100% vegan if they wanted to, and they get that shooting for 95% would be, in itself, a way to strive for an ideal without beating yourself up for not reaching it.

      I also agree that there doesn’t need to be a percent “rule.” Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have no interest in policing the idea of who qualifies as “veganish.” But policing is not the same as putting something out there to strive for. When it comes down to it, the idea of limiting intake of certain foods is just a part of this idea. I would like to have a language or framework that gives people some sort of idea of what is a “good” goal and what basically amounts to not trying at all. After all, even the majority of people that eat tons of meat, dairy and eggs are SOME “percent vegan,” maybe 40% or something. I think it’s important that the 95% thing be framed in the context of how similar it is to indiscriminate omnivorism, different types of vegetarianism, and strict veganism.

      Really, 95% vegan is pretty much just “conscientious vegetarianism” more than anything. But I really don’t like how “conscientious omnivore/carnivore” is so vaguely defined that anyone who occasionally buys grass-fed beef can claim to be one. I think it would be helpful to have some kind of standards or benchmarks for people to be able to use when talking about where they fit in the spectrum, but not with the intent of enabling people to police each other (let’s leave that to the vegans – they’re so good at it already). But just so that we can talk about it in a meaningful way with examples of what different types of diets might actually look like in practice.

  8. TaVe says:

    2-4 meals a week seems a little high for anything but a transitional period or if for some strange circumstances. I’m not saying you have to be 100%, nor that I do not support people who do it- I support anyone who shows some effort.

    People should be willing to have less strict rules. And in some cases they are fairly good about it- rarely do I see people complaining about labeling Oreo’s vegan because 25% of the sugar is processed with bone-char. I choose to try to avoid it, but if someone asks me if they are vegan, I say yes. At a lock-in earlier this month I had some peppermints, without looking up if the company uses bone-char to purify their sugar, but I doubt that there is any vegan who would criticize that (at least not any who are able to live their daily life in our society, trying to be avoid all the hidden animals products, process, etc.)

    Anyways, another benefit is people can use important medicines without guilt. Such as me stealing my brother’s prescription lotion (no clue what the ingredients are, but has almost certainly been tested on animals) when my eczema gets to the point where it hurts and it becomes difficult to walk.

holler!

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