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From: David
Sent on: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:00 AM
Thanks for your comments Jeff.
As a member of the plant based food world  and the Albany Vegetarian Network, I can especially sympathize with your feelings of not wanting to deal with aggressive or rude types of personalities. For me the rude and offensive approach is all around. Look at television commercials, restaurants, clothing stores, food stores (groceries shopping). Every day I am out in the world I feel offended by the things I see, the comments made by people. What especially hurts me is knowing in my heart that eating plant based food is the healthiest for people, the environment, and of course for the animals. I believe this based on scientific facts as documented for many years. I know not all people feel the same or see things eye to eye. Please be cognoscente that people like me who eat plant based deal with negativity all the time. I, often times feel ostracized by family, friends, acquaintances. Even our every day language is filled with sad or disparaging references to animals like "eat like a pig, crazy as a loon, walk around like a chicken with its head cut off, fleshed out,".  These things however do not deter me from surrounding myself with all kinds of people and sharing my message. I hope you will continue on your own path but remain receptive to others as well.
Jeff, please check out
This is a very good DVD that explains why we eat the way we do, and how eating healthy is best for all of us (cause and effect).
I don't expect you would change  based on a DVD I just hope you would check it out and try to understand why some people feel so strongly about it and that they too are feeling offended, ostracized by the general public. This DVD does not show any distasteful pics.
I for one appreciate your honesty and open candor towards the subject and hope to meet you at future events vegetarian or otherwise.
PS, I do not portray to speak for others in the group. I only speak for myself and my beliefs.

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Jeff
Sent: Monday, May 25,[masked]:49 PM
To: [address removed]

I had chosen not to respond to this thread until I saw how it fleshed (unintentional pun) itself out.  Now that I have let me share my observations. 

Some folks responded with a kind and understanding tone, explaining that veggies can eat vegan but not the other way around, hence the request for vegan fare at the picnic.  To those people, Dave for instance, I thank you for being level headed and open minded.  Your statements are true, and well presented.

Some folks agreed with me, stating they too felt ostracized for the same reason I set forth.  To those people, I wish you the best of luck...and thank you for seconding my emotion.

The last group I will address here is the self-righteous, holier than thou, misinformed, aggressive @$$hole.  This group seems to be headed by Francesco, but there is another name or two I would add to this list.  In response to my initial inquiry Francesco chose to respond with:

Suit yourself.  A vegetarian is somebody that does NOT eat any
animal products at all.  Hence the term comes from vegetation which are all
plants.  If you eat any animal products (eggs and dairy) you are NOT vegetarian.

Let's consider all the ways this is wrong.
first of all, you begin with "suit yourself."  Clearly no room for discussion with this 'gentleman'.  He knows all and those who don't agree with him are better off going away.
Then he goes on to define vegetarianism...incorrectly.  Ask any other knowledgable person and they will define a vegetarian as one who abstains from eating animals, but DOES eat animal products.  How dare you tell me I'm not vegetarian?!?!  I am not in competition with you, you small minded, egotist.  I have followed a strict vegetarian diet since 1992.  I am happy with the lifestyle I lead and the choices I make, and I make no excuses for it.
i just chose to check out your profile on the meetup, which was created in 2007 and reads "I'm trying to go fully vegetarian, but need help cooking. :)"  Eff you!  In 1992, when you were still hanging off your mom's teet, I declared myself vegetarian, received the Moosewood Cookbook for my birthday from my older sister, and have eaten no meat since.  Your, i'll say it again, HOLIER THAN THOU attitude is precisely why people have a hard time relating to vegetarians.  i have had many non-vegetarians explain this to me over the years.  No one wants to feel as if they're being judged.  No one has any right to judge, least of all you, you overnight militant vegan.

To the organizers of this group I do suggest you take a long hard look at the tone presented by the group, and most particularly by some of its members.  I had hoped to be an active member of your group, but that clearly is not in the cards.  I wish you all the best of luck and hope for success in spreading the gospel, I just hope it is done in a fashion that doesn't alienate others. 

Thanks for your efforts.

Be well,

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