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vegetarians/vegans in debate

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This thread caught my eye because my daughter (17 y/o) has struggled with anorexia for 8 years now, and one of the "red flags" (things that signal we're headed into a rough patch) is when she starts talking about becoming vegetarian or vegan. She uses it as a roadblock to eating what we are trying to get her to eat for her meal plan. Both times she has been in resident treatment facilities, virtually every girl there has acknowledged that she has/had used vegetarianism for the same purpose.

 

Certainly there are many non-eating disorder reasons why one could make that choice, and I have no problem there. But when I look around at most tournaments, I see more than a few very very thin young women (and young men). And as the father of an anorexic AND a debate coach for 31 years, I know that the psychological & behavioral characteristics that crank out good debaters and those that can lead to an eating disorder are remarkably similar.

 

Be well, kids!

 

Very true- but I have found that on a vegeterian diet it is VERY EASY to GAIN weight rather then loose it.

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Very true- but I have found that on a vegeterian diet it is VERY EASY to GAIN weight rather then loose it.

word, when you don't have animal products like meat to curb your appetite, it can be very hard not to stuff your face with simple carbs and things like that.

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I've been debating for three years and will be going to my college novice year. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, though I think it can be a pretty healthy lifestyle (and have considered taking it up).

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I was a vegan for a year, but I went back to drinking skim milk. I am still a vegetarian, and I don't eat cheese, chocolate, eggs, etc. I started drinking milk again because I was a little concerned about my own health. Vegetarianism is, and always has been, very prevalent. As far as I know, historically, there have not been that many vegans. I read somewhere that they have only existed in an isolated region in Northern Iran.

 

It is unfortunate that milk producers force feed cattle growth hormones and steroids to produce milk. Dairy cows are then used for meat later. I am not sure how drinking milk is directly related to the killing of a cow, however.

 

It is still up in the air for me, but I did notice certain things like my nails weren't growing (almost entirely) when I was a vegan. I am up in the air about how healthy a vegan lifestyle is. Certainly, supplements are required for vitamin B12, among other things.

 

As far as what type of arguments I like? I still prefer policy - hell I am a Republican.

 

Yes, that's right, I am a vegetarian Republican.

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It is still up in the air for me, but I did notice certain things like my nails weren't growing (almost entirely) when I was a vegan. I am up in the air about how healthy a vegan lifestyle is. Certainly, supplements are required for vitamin B12, among other things.

nails weren't growing? that's odd, my nails definitely grow. i don't think there's anything inherently unhealthy about a vegan diet, it's just that vegans have to be especially smart compared to people who consume animal products about getting all of their essentials. there are a lot of ways to get B12 too, and although it is essential and very important, you don't have to consume huge amounts to satisfy your health; you just need a little bit regularly.

 

edit: and i wouldn't go as far to say supplements are "required," just a good idea; at least in the sense that many products a vegan would consume anyway are fortified with b12.

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I have a partner who is a vegitarian by choice, vegan by allergies to dairy...so we often have various fruits and vegetables in the bin thats not all the way full.

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I've been a vegetarian for about 6 years, its been good - always healthy - no problems.

(I eat dairy and eggs, but no fish or any other meat - thats cheating)

 

Yes, that's right, I am a vegetarian Republican.

 

Proof we have diversity in vegetarian-world, We have republicans and communists and anything in between...

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"Now don't get me wrong, I love animals, but I like eatin' 'em more... fun to pet, better to chew." - Jim Gaffigan

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This thread caught my eye because my daughter (17 y/o) has struggled with anorexia for 8 years now, and one of the "red flags" (things that signal we're headed into a rough patch) is when she starts talking about becoming vegetarian or vegan. She uses it as a roadblock to eating what we are trying to get her to eat for her meal plan. Both times she has been in resident treatment facilities, virtually every girl there has acknowledged that she has/had used vegetarianism for the same purpose.

 

Certainly there are many non-eating disorder reasons why one could make that choice, and I have no problem there. But when I look around at most tournaments, I see more than a few very very thin young women (and young men). And as the father of an anorexic AND a debate coach for 31 years, I know that the psychological & behavioral characteristics that crank out good debaters and those that can lead to an eating disorder are remarkably similar.

 

Be well, kids!

 

I know that it is considered a red flag, and I have problems with that. Let me articulate a bit more on this.

On the level of food I think we as a culture are absolutely pursing a remarkable policy of suicide. We have on the one hand a culture that is producing a wide ranging amount of eating disorders.

On the other hand we have an entire industry and culture of food that is causing massive health problems at astronomical rates (themes taken up in books like Fast Food Nation, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and documentaries like Super Size Me). And that is not taking into account the myriad environmental destructions that the food industry is heavily responsible for, and the terrible labor conditions of many people working in the food industry. Nor taking into account the quality and quantity of lives of animals.

 

Vegetarianism and Veganism represent ways that people try to take back their health, their environment, and perhaps establish a new ethical relationship with the world and with animals. These are laudable goals. Being Vegetarian or Vegan is a way we have to change our relationship to food and eating, and in our increasingly dangerous and ignorant relationship to food and health, we need to make eating into something we think about.

 

So on the one hand it makes a lot of sense that people with eating disorders become vegetarians or vegans. They are specifically trying to change their relationship to food (in ways that are of course terribly self-destructive). Also, we live in a society that is terribly intolerant of being a vegetarian/vegan (though it has gotten substantially better in the nearly a decade I have been vegetarian/vegan), because of this people with eating disorders are able to hide behind these eating strategies (which if we lived in a different society, wouldn't be possible at all. If vegetarians/vegans were common and had regular options of food, it would be obvious that someone was choosing not to eat rather than having no options for eating).

There is no causal relationship between being vegetarian/vegan and having an eating disorder.

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I think the relationship between vegetarianism/veganism and eating disorders (both anorexia and overeating) is a very complex and a very interesting one, but I ultimately believe that Scu is right, and vegetarianism/veganism can represent a transformation of our relationship with food (generally in a positive manner).

 

Personally, I fell more towards the fast-food, overconsumption end of the spectrum prior to becoming a vegetarian. I never gave a whole lot of thought to why I chose to eat why I ate, except to think about weight. Concerns about being "fat" or consequently ugly ultimately lead me to that tried-and-true, demonstratably harmful approach to eating that afflicts many an American woman: fad dieting and the binge-and-starve approach. I wasn't anorexic or bulimic, but my relationship with food was decidedly unhealthy, and I rarely ate anything beyond the staple (nutrient-poor) American foods (hamburgers, fries, steak, fried chicken, ice cream, etc.). Additionally, I hardly thought about what into making my food, or what happened to the animals I thoughtlessly consumed.

 

Vegetarianism changed that. Once I started thinking about where food came from, I began to see how food was intertwined with many other sectors of society. Food is a crucial aspect of the economy and how our businesses behave, physical health, mental health, and even societal understandings of things like gender (fad dieting, body image) and poverty (obesity is associated with poverty, and part of the stigma of being obese). I also began to chose what I ate with greater care, and with the intent of nourishing my body, rather than just eating what tastes good or what makes me less hungry, or whatever was there, etc.

 

Alternatively, another of my friends did struggle with borderline anorexia, and in her pursuit of ways to explain away her strange food choices, she looked to veganism as an outlet. She continued her unhealthy relationship with food through veganism, but in the end veganism lead her back out of her struggle with eating disorders. When she began researching what she could eat, she decided to plan out her nutrients, and with time what was originally a regulatory mechanism to avoid eating became one to ensure health. She's still not completely free of it, but she's become a lot healthier since becoming a vegan (not to mention that she somewhat inadvertantly made the world a little bit better place, imo). Now, the opposite of this may be true for others, but I don't think we should write off veganism as harmful in situations of (at least borderline) cases of eating disorders.

 

On the other hand you have cases such as DeCoach's daughter.

 

So, interesting. Complicated, and interesting.

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I'm not a vegetarian, but I am a (sort of...when I can) slow-foodist. I have very strong roots with the culinary traditions of my ancestral country (Egypt), as my parents are both good cooks (very good cooks), and beyond that, they have very eclectic taste in food. However, we do try to buy our produce organic and/or local and get our meat from reputable butchers (never the grocery store), putting me (and my family) in the "traditional-food" movement...it's been a long time since I ate something prepared outside the home while I was at home or at school.

 

Of course, all this will have to change at college...oh, well.

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I think the relationship between vegetarianism/veganism and eating disorders (both anorexia and overeating) is a very complex and a very interesting one, but I ultimately believe that Scu is right, and vegetarianism/veganism can represent a transformation of our relationship with food (generally in a positive manner).

 

.

 

 

I probably didn't describe the situation all that well; I never meant to imply a link (certainly not a causal link) between eating disorders and veganism/vegetarianism...only that many young people who already are suffering from such a disorder will use vegetarianism as a "dodge" to avoid what their families or nutritionists are trying to get them to eat. It's one of many such dodges....I'm tired now, I'll eat later, I don't like _____ (an ingredient in the meal being offered), or they pretend to eat & "hide" the food, etc. If she can convince people that she won't eat meat, it ncessitates "exchanges" of other foods that (in the anorexic's mind) will be less fattening.

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I was a vegetarian for a year and a few months before becoming a vegan these past seven months. I completed my first year of debate in colorado, which is weird as far as novice/varsity. I would say that I'm a policy debater more than anything else.

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i have been vegetarian for 11 years, vegan six months (quit eggs and honey, allergic to milk--i'm chiki's partner), debated two years (this is my third). freshman year i did ld. this year i started policy, now varsity. i like kritikal debate but see nothing wrong with counterplan/da type debate either.

 

hephaestus: you said you were unsure how milk was related to the killing of a cow. there are two primary ways (as with eggs and the killing of chickens). one, cows have to give birth to offspring before they can lactate. if these offspring are female, the dairy farm will keep them for future stock. if they happen to be male, the vast majority is castrated and sent to veal or generic cattle farms, where they are later killed for beef or leather. this is true even of "humane" farms--what use do they have for male calfs? two, like human beings, milk cows eventually reach menopause and can no longer lactate. at this point they become liabilities for the farm, since they still eat but don't produce. most of these cows are killed and used in producing soap etc.

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OK - But does this mean that the production of milk causes the killing of the cow. You mentioned that once milk can no longer be created, the cow gets sent to slaughter....

 

Does this mean that if everyone simultaneously stopped drinking milk, huge amounts of cows would get sent to slaughter sooner rather than later?

 

Also - I spoke with a beekeeper about honey, and her position was that many species of bees would not exist if it were not for the honey industry.

 

The vegan position is that partaking in milk helps to perpetuate the cattle industry - a very good point.

 

It seems to me that having a symbiotic relationship with other species is something that should happen if it can. It seems that it would be good for both cow and man if we were to peaceably partake of the animals milk.

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Your beekeeper friend is right about the honey industry and bee species. The most well known incident of this is the attempted cross-breeding of honeybees from Europe and South Africa by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, which resulted in the Africanized bee (aka killer bee) after he accidentally released 26 Tanzanian queen bees near Rio Claro in Brazil.

 

I don't know about other people, but the problem I have with the harvesting of honey is the method of drugging the bees with smoke, and then harvesting the honey, crushing some of the confused bees in the process.

 

And yes, I believe that if everyone stopped drinking milk, but still ate steak, then the only limit on how fast cows would be killed would be the consumers' demand for beef or how fast the cows could reproduce. Such is capitalism.

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There is no causal relationship between being vegetarian/vegan and having an eating disorder.
I'm not sure "causal relationship" is the relevant standard here. Meanwhile:
A study from the University of Minnesota found teen vegetarians are more likely to have eating disorders than non-vegetarians. In this study, vegetarians were more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide, and vegetarian males were noted as an especially high risk group for unhealthy weight control practices. The research indicated that teens who were already susceptible to emotional difficulties were drawn to vegetarianism as a means to lose weight and fit in, but that vegetarianism itself had no correlation with emotional difficulties. In another study, conducted at California State University-Northridge, researchers found college women who claimed to be vegetarians had a significantly greater risk of developing eating disorders than their meat-eating peers. The overlap between eating disorders and vegetarianism occurs because vegetarianism is a way for men and women to openly control their food choices, without attracting negative attention to their behaviour. Also, many believe that restricting meat from their diet will lead to weight loss, believes Michelle Morand, founder of The CEDRIC Centre, an eating disorder counselling centre in Victoria, B.C.
There's a lot more data where the Minnesota and Cal-Northridge studies came from, too...

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I'm not sure "causal relationship" is the relevant standard here.

 

If not, then what is?

 

A study from the University of Minnesota found teen vegetarians are more likely to have eating disorders than non-vegetarians. In this study, vegetarians were more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide, and vegetarian males were noted as an especially high risk group for unhealthy weight control practices. The research indicated that teens who were already susceptible to emotional difficulties were drawn to vegetarianism as a means to lose weight and fit in, but that vegetarianism itself had no correlation with emotional difficulties. In another study, conducted at California State University-Northridge, researchers found college women who claimed to be vegetarians had a significantly greater risk of developing eating disorders than their meat-eating peers. The overlap between eating disorders and vegetarianism occurs because vegetarianism is a way for men and women to openly control their food choices, without attracting negative attention to their behaviour. Also, many believe that restricting meat from their diet will lead to weight loss, believes Michelle Morand, founder of The CEDRIC Centre, an eating disorder counselling centre in Victoria, B.C.

 

The results of this study are already answered by the posts above. What new warrants does this study bring to this debate?

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If not, then what is?
For my own part, whether a student's vegan/vegetarian profession is reason for concern. There appears to be some justification for that, based on the evidence...
The results of this study are already answered by the posts above. What new warrants does this study bring to this debate?
What "debate" would that be? Scu's position is that there is no cause/effect relationship. I don't dispute that. My position is that there is enough correlative evidence to justify some concern...

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Shu...the research you found meshes with our experiences with the veggie-culture & eating disorders. I called it a "red flag" for parents and indeed that's exactly what it is. Anorexics are not JUST afraid of gaining weight (in fact, in Hannah's first experiences with it, ages 9-10, it was he opposite; she knew she was losing weight & that terrified her); they tend to develop a fear of food itself (quantities & perceived quantities...we never serve her meals on a full-size dinner plate anymore, and when we eat out we usually ask the server to bring 1/2 her order to her & box up the other half), and often particular types of food. Thus the rejection of meat or animal products can be a manifestation of those fears.

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Your beekeeper friend is right about the honey industry and bee species. The most well known incident of this is the attempted cross-breeding of honeybees from Europe and South Africa by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, which resulted in the Africanized bee (aka killer bee) after he accidentally released 26 Tanzanian queen bees near Rio Claro in Brazil.

 

I don't know about other people, but the problem I have with the harvesting of honey is the method of drugging the bees with smoke, and then harvesting the honey, crushing some of the confused bees in the process.

 

And yes, I believe that if everyone stopped drinking milk, but still ate steak, then the only limit on how fast cows would be killed would be the consumers' demand for beef or how fast the cows could reproduce. Such is capitalism.[/Quote]

 

So are you saying that it is permissible to drink milk, but not permissible to eat honey?

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