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Two issues: Prejudice against vegetarians and the pervasiveness of gelatin in food products

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posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 12:30 AM
The topic of vegetarianism has been discussed several times before on this site, but I want to address a couple issues that bother me - sort of my pet peeves as a vegetarian, but with large enough implications to warrant discussion here.

Firstly, in my experience I have noticed a general prejudice toward vegetarians from meat eaters. Combing through vegetarian-themed threads on this site from ages past, I saw an overwhelming amount of pro-meat, anti-vegetarian sentiments. I understand that vegetarians/vegans are a minority at present, and I also understand that like any other ideology or lifestyle, there are vocal and preachy adherents who spark resentment and defensiveness from those who do not agree with them. But these are a minority within a minority. On the internet and in life, whenever the topic arises, I have observed fairly consistent patterns: Vegetarians make a case for not eating meat, whether based on moral/ethical, health, environmental, economic, etc. arguments, while meat eaters often grow defensive of their carnivorous diets and portray vegetarians as weak, unnatural, self-righteous, etc.

In all fairness, both sides can be equally aggressive and vocal about their dietary preferences, but since vegetarians are a minority, the general negativity toward us feels more oppressive. Personally, I'm not in the position where I would tell a person how they should or should not eat. I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and while I cannot deny that I believe eating animal flesh is "wrong," I recognize that morality is subjective. I just find it somewhat offensive that a healthy concern and compassion for animal life or an expression of enthusiasm for a flesh-free diet is so often attacked and derided by a surprising number of people. For example, I was verbally insulted by a woman recently for insisting upon transporting a harmless spider outside of a building instead of squashing it. She called me a "PETA freak."

Do I just have bad luck in seeing this pattern, or does anyone else, vegetarian or otherwise notice it as well? What does it say? Is it an expression of machismo? Pure defensiveness to overcome subconscious guilt? Or simply popular prejudice? Something else?

The second pet peeve of mine is the pervasiveness of gelatin as a food additive. Gelatin, as most know, is created by boiling the bones and connective tissue of animals. It is a byproduct of the meat industry, and therefore cheap. I believe it is (primarily) for this reason that the food industry throws it into everything that requires a gelling agent, despite the existence of alternatives such as carrageenan, agar, pectin, various gums, or simply creative recipes which use combinations of ingredients in such a way as to make the addition of gelatin pointless.

This would not bother me as much were it not so prevalent in American foods. Obviously, we could talk all day about how horrible the food industry is, and how sick it is making us. This is a popular topic even in mainstream circles. But my point here is to talk specifically about gelatin. It is aggravating to see it listed as an ingredient on so many labels when it is completely unnecessary. You find it in locations one would never think to look unless they were concerned about its presence. Some popular examples: Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal, Skittles, Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, most refrigerated chip dips, and Tropicana Omega-3 Orange Juice. Of course you will find it in marshmallows or most anything marketed as "gummy," (with the exception of special vegetarian alternatives). It is annoying, time-consuming, and costly to avoid gelatin if one desires certain types of foods.

Again, I know I am operating from a minority perspective, and this is one issue with the food industry among many. It just annoys me in the way that the presence of high fructose corn syrup in everything annoys others.

Does anyone else care to weigh in on both or either of these topics?

[edit on 28-7-2009 by CrowServo]

posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 12:55 AM
Well I will say that your post is well put together and thought out, reasonable. That's a good sign of your own attitudes, and that's a very good place to be.

Unfortunately, you did kinda hit it in one of the last sentences. You're presently in a minority when it comes to food, and there's not going to be a lot you can do about it, unless and until your minority gains more members, selling power, etc.

Just how the system works, and it's unfortunate.

I myself am not a vegetarian, and tend to just use veggies to add color to the plate lol
But I am not against people who want to live that lifestyle. As with everything, each person is different, and their needs, including diet, is going to be different. Fortunately, we're all human and can communicate and connect on a level with love and respect.

Anyhow. I do understand your concerns. I think, to be honest, more companies will be coming out soon to cater to "your kind" (lol not meant badly there lol), and you'll see a lot more options. Seems it's getting there a little more every day.

In the meantime, I'd just say keep up your spirits, and whatever works for you will work out in the end.

Maybe you could speak to investors about starting up a company that COULD be catering to that kind of things? Show them the statistics of the growing trends, etc.

Oh, by the way, as to your thing with the spider and such. On a personal level, I tend to run to the spiritual, and see the connections in everything and everyone. Including our "animal kingdom". I try to do the same things, if not needed, I won't kill intentionally. If they "bug me", I'll bug them, but.. lol

posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 01:08 AM
I think a lot of the problem is that most of the visible vegetarians and vegans are quite outspoken and rather abrasive. Now unfortunately people tend to paint a group based on it's most outspoken members. I have no issue at all with people who choose not to eat meat for health or ethical reasons. I just have no desire for those who choose not to eat meat to tell me that i'm evil for enjoying the occasional steak. Tolerance is a wonderful thing. It should be applied to all aspects, such as religion, sexual orientation and food preference.

posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 01:45 AM
Hey I am not anti-veggi

I want the vegetarians to stay that way!

Leaves more meat for me

And about food additives. I hate having a bunch of crap in my food. It is disgusting and definitely not healthy at all!

There are a few rare cases where an additive is safe and beneficial, but those are few and far between.

I still have not found a point in food colorings yet. I see no benefit at all from those, personally. I could care less what color it is! But I do care when they can potentially cause sickness.

posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 01:47 AM
I don't believe that there are really any overt anti-vegetarians out there, just regular omnivorous people that find overt vegetarians rather annoying.

I have absolutely no interest in what you eat and even less interest in hearing about how the eating habits which my species, and presumably yours, which have evolved for millions of years are now suddenly wrong because you visited a slaughter house this one time and had an epiphany.

You make it sound as if belittling vegetarianism is on par with social issues regarding sexual orientation, gender or race; it's not, it's a conscious choice to subvert nature.

I don't believe anyone should aggressively demean your choice to avoid meat but as I said, I don't believe anyone ever has. Perhaps you confuse people disagreeing and dismissing your point of view when you bring it up, with prejudice. I can dismiss your point of view as entirely foolish all day long, it doesn't demonstrate prejudice.

To be prejudice towards someone is to pass an irrationally formed judgment upon them without first knowing anything of their position. I'm well aware of the position vegetarians take regarding the "moral", nutritional and environmental issues and I still think it's foolish. That doesn't mean I'm prejudice, it means I've seen your argument, evaluated it based upon my knowledge of diet, nutrition and health and judged you to be wrong.

Edit for illiteracy

[edit on 7/28/2009 by ZombieOctopus]

posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 03:00 AM
reply to post by CrowServo

I've known quite a few vegetarians in my life. I have no problems with their choices. But it seems most of them have a problem with my choices in foods.

I have never met anyone who tried to force their ideas of food down another person's belief system, except vegetarians.

My daughter is a vegetarian and she cooks some great vegetarian meals. And it's all good in these tough economic times. We grow vegetables, not animal stock, so we eat lots of vegies. But, from time to time, she will buy some chicken, just for me and my wife and fry it up reallly good. Heh. We put up with her lectures, heh, and she fries our chicken, lol. Its all good.

Yeah, there's comments from both sides to people on the other side of the debate. The hate I see seems to come from the vegies and vegans, not from the other side, unless the meaties are attacked for their tastes.

And to add, because I see it all as a new wave thing, an environmental thing, too, that comes from, well, younger people, duh. That's where change usually comes from. I have a friend who has a son. He refuses to sit on the couch because it is, gasp, a leather couch. Oh, but wait I have the flu. I am tired and I am sick and I am bored and.............well, okay........I will lay on the couch and watch TV upon this leather couch which I hate. Or, as the youngster who was walking home one day, it was hot, and he saw mommy, and she had her car, which the boy detested, but, uh, well, uh, mommy, can you give me a ride home? Heh. On the way home, junior lectured mommy for driving her terrible gas burning car when she could have walked. Duh. So, junior, why are you riding in the car? When I posed this question to him, since his mommy couldn't bring herself to ask this, he said, well, gee, she was going my way, LOL.

When all the environmenatlists and vegans truly give up everything they consider disgusting, then I will listen to them. Until that time, I will basically ignore them and hope they do the same to me.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 07:36 PM
reply to post by CrowServo

There is a prejudice, and it's obvious in many of the replies here. If you transpose references to vegetarians and meat-eaters in each post (and imagine this on a vegetarian forum), it's a little easier to see.

I only eat meat a few times a year, and only then because it's so ingrained in society and I don't want to be pedantic. I turned against meat 3 years ago, and I typically hide it from people. In not eating meat you pay a social price, and that can mean lost friendships, promotions, or dates. Ultimately it's a choice, and if you aren't willing to pay that price, you can just eat meat. I wish it weren't that way, but it is. There are so many excellent reasons to reduce your consumption of meat.

When people make jokes, it's totally unnecessary and just reinforces their own prejudice. Ultimately, we must recognize what we don't understand, and that is -- We can never understand the prejudices experienced by a minority we are not a member of. All we can do is listen.

There was a South Park episode that made this point, where Stan says to Token something along the lines of: "I get it Token, I just don't get it."

So, in answer to your question, it's not that people are prejudiced as much as they just don't know and never will.

Also, I hate how gelatin is in everything too... it's hard to avoid, and totally unnecessary.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 07:48 PM

Originally posted by kyred
reply to post by CrowServo

I've known quite a few vegetarians in my life. I have no problems with their choices. But it seems most of them have a problem with my choices in foods.

I have never met anyone who tried to force their ideas of food down another person's belief system, except vegetarians.

I find this comment fascinating. As a 10 year vegetarian, I NEVER force my beliefs on anyone else, including my husband who will be a true carnivore until the day he dies. I have, however, noticed that my being a vegetarian is an "inconvenience" to him when I have to special order my meals when we are out. He'll often tell me that I need to "come back to the dark side" which sometimes hurts my feelings. I accept him fully for what he is, but he'll often hint that he wishes I ate meat with him.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 07:49 PM
reply to post by borrowedname

The one thing i find uniquely annoying about vegetarians, at least the ones i have known, is that they approach their diet with an elitist mentality. I have actually heard vegetarians use the argument that "humanity will not evolve as long as we eat meat.". Who was it that said that... ahh yes, Jeff Rense! A great spokesman for vegetarians worldwide!

Back to the topic at hand, how do you get your B-12? That's pretty important stuff.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 07:53 PM

Originally posted by borrowedname
reply to post by CrowServo

I only eat meat a few times a year, and only then because it's so ingrained in society and I don't want to be pedantic. I turned against meat 3 years ago, and I typically hide it from people. In not eating meat you pay a social price, and that can mean lost friendships, promotions, or dates. Ultimately it's a choice, and if you aren't willing to pay that price, you can just eat meat. I wish it weren't that way, but it is.

I have to agree witih you, my friend. I definitely get "looks" when I ask for food modifications. When I'm at parties and I turn down an appetizer I sometimes get a hurt look, but when I say I don't eat meat I get a sneer. Is it better to let someone think you don't like their food or to be honest and expect repercussions?

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:05 PM
reply to post by CrowServo

And to the OP, I definitely agree. Gelatin, meat powder, dairy, there are products all over the place that have unnecessary meat additives.

Why in god's name do yogurt, jello, starburst candies, and marshmallows have to have gelatin?

Why do many store-bought TOMATO soups have beef broth? Just buying soups is a mine field. Even "vegetable" soups have beef broth. Split pea is often made with bacon or ham.

I won't even go into the rennet in cheese!

I've definitely found that if your into vegetarianism, you're in pretty deep because you have to watch everything that goes into your mouth. But at least it does make you more aware of the food around you.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:08 PM
reply to post by CrowServo

I don't have anything against vegetarians personally. Although you will find me making jokes about them rarely.

Actually I've tried to become vegetarian, but it was too difficult.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:13 PM
As a meat eater I have no problem with vegetarians. I do have a problem with all the processed foods out there. I don't eat anything if I can't tell what's in it by looking at it. (well, except for candy, I am a sucker for that deadly artificial strawberry flavoring.)
My problem is the likes of a former college professor of mine that took it to the extreme. She even advocated that the people who had left a bomb in a local Mc.Donalds was in the right. I was pregnant at the time, and she harassed me over my choice to breastfeed saying I was promoting cannibalism in my children. All our class work revolved around PETA. Obviously I dropped that class. Those are the people most meat eaters have a problem with. The extremists.

As far as gelatin goes, would you rather if an animal is going to lose their life that there be no waste? I know its difficult for those who are trying to avoid all animal products, but I believe in waste not want not. I do think it would be fair if the FDA mandated a warning label on all foods made with animal products.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:23 PM
reply to post by hungrydirt

For Vegans B12 can be obtained from many everyday food items that are fortified such as veggie burger and sausage mixes, yeast extracts, vegetables stocks, margarines, breakfast cereals and soya milks.
Also dairy products for vegetarians.

When I first became a vegetarian in 1979 I was looked upon as a bit of an oddity, nowadays every other person I meet either is one or knows someone who is. In my experience it has become an acceptable life style here in the UK also more people are turning to free range meat because of ethical reasons.

I would never preach to anyone, my only concern is that people are often unaware of the cruelty in intensive farming, if everyone gave up meat one or two days a week animals would have a better life before they ended up on the dinner plate. But rather than force people or get on my high horse I hope it will happen as part of a greater awareness and more respect for the planet and all that lives on it.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:24 PM
I have no issues with Vegetarians or vegans. To tell the truth I haven't eaten any YET...

Seriously I agree with most of the posters. I don't know anybody that eats meat who goes out of their way to criticize vegetarians/vegans however there are plenty of them who go out of their way to bring up the fact that they are vegetarians/vegans and that eating meat is evil yadda yadda blah blah blah.

This thread is a prime example of this situation.


Pass me A1 Steak sauce and the salad.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:47 PM
I am a casual vegetarian.
I still eat fish, eggs, cheese, and the occasional bit of chicken.
Once a month or so , I will have a hamburger or a bit of bacon.

My wife is a bit more strict about it.
She still eats fish/eggs/dairy, but no red meat or chicken at all.

We augment our protein needs with nuts and seeds.
The remainder of our diet consists of fruits, veggies, roots, greens, and whole grains

My own personal belief based on what I have read is that we are meant to be omnivorous, but we don't digest large quantities of meat too well, so to me we are not meant to eat too much of it.

We are not meant to consume large amounts or grains or starches either.
The tend to form dough balls in our gut and later on become plaque inside our intestines.

This would lead me to think that we are supposed to vary our diet greatly, which brings me to my next point. Survival.
We are survivors, and it's in our nature.
We can and should eat some of everything.

I could go on all day about this, but I digress.

In the mainstream, there is an entire segment of the market based on transitional/Vegan foods.
These foods are not cheap, not that tasty, and not that great.
It's more or less, fast food marketed as vegan/healthy.
Veggie, cheese, hamburgers, chik'n, and mushrooms this or that.
They all suck and are geared towards the uneducated consumer.
That's my opinion though.

The point is, that any so called vegan worth their salt is going to invest a lot of research and time into finding the sources of nutrients that their body needs, and they are not going to rely on that fast food crap.

That is perhaps why a lot of conflict arises from interactions between some less informed meat consumers and some vegans.

To each, their own.


[Edited in retrospect]

Gelatin is one acceptation to our diets. We both eat it and enjoy it.
The fact that it is in everything though is rather disturbing.
I have seen many so called vegan products containing animal based as opposed to plant based gelatin.

The reasoning behind that is that the plant based gelatin is a lot harder to acquire than that of the animal based variety. It's a cost cutting measure, no doubt but that doesn't excuse the fact that it's still in there.

[edit on 9/29/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 08:47 PM
Since the dawn of time.......

The lumbering vegetarians have fallen prey to the voracious meat eaters.

Ok, maybe not that dramatic....I had this really weird thought the other day.

I don't mind people eating whatever they like...but I have experienced an elitist attitude each way...'oh, what'sa matter with you, freak? you don't eat meat? what are you some kinda nancy boy?'

'oh no...I don't kill things to're such a barbarian.'

I think something that gets overlooked is that it is absolutely impossible to eat anything in this world without killing something. We make such an effort to compartmentalize...meat eaters OR vegetarians...or's great to make a conscious decision to eat healthier, but when you wear your diet like a badge of honor, it's usually just slightly misguided, in my opinion.

Meat eaters justify eating cows or deer, or other animals in many ways, ...the V's do the same thing with our cellulose friends..

'Meat is Murder!'

uh, yeah....was that broccoli alive at one time?
Some would say that ALL life, even that of plants is sacred and important...some would kill a person before allowing a tree to be cut down. We grasp at our straws and make up whatever we need to justify what we kill and what we eat.

The CHOICE of what you eat is yours and like most other things, should not have a bearing on how you are treated by your fellow troglodytes, I mean humans....but then there is reality.

The gelatin thing is just gross. I used to like slurping up a little bone juice with my peaches and rack of lamb. Thanks for spoiling it.

Seriously, thoughtful and well written thread, my fiend. I think we are all at least slightly better of for having been exposed to it.

[edit on 29-9-2009 by KSPigpen]

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