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Post Info TOPIC: The Vegan Transition


Mookish Deity Most High

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The Vegan Transition


Bugger it, no one's that interested in my eating habits.



-- Edited by _cinnamonstars on Wednesday 1st of May 2013 10:47:59 PM

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Honoured Mook

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I would be.
I gather that you want to become vegan? I have been vegan for a year and a few months and I'd like to give you any advice you want.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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If you re-edit the post I'll reply when I'm sober!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I actually just came back to post! I can't be much help with the actual advice, but we're in surprisingly similar situations (vegetarian, partners who are now enthusiastically vegetarian, similar ethical concerns). I suppose anyone who is a lacto-ovo vegetarian for ethical reasons has to draw the line somewhere (I won't eat gelatine, but will drink ales or eat parmesan cheese) and that's ever-apparent in the egg and dairy industries as they currently stand, leading to all sorts of pockets of hypocrisy. I personally haven't gone vegan not because I would struggle with dairy, or even hugely with eggs, but because I've only been veggie for a about two years, Fable has only been veg for maybe 6 months, our parents still haven't accepted it and we like pubs and restaurants, and I don't want to commit to something only to back out a few weeks or months later. Perhaps this wouldn't be a problem if I didn't see it in such a black and white way and only bought "ethical" eggs and dairy, then slowly cut down over a year or something, but I think I'm selectively ignoring that as a possibility. Quite simply, I don't have the personal motivation, even though the reasoning is there. Best of luck, I'm jealous that you have the drive I'm lacking.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I was going to ask if you would be ok with eggs, cheese etc from sources where you know the animals have been well cared for. My in-laws keep chickens so I can see them and know they are very well cared for (and the eggs taste awesome). So basically supporting small local famers if your ideal is animal welfare rather than from the point of view that using anything from an animal is exploitation...eggs are basically laid then ignored if they arent fertilised so it actually makes sense to eat them cos the chicken would lay them anyway,.

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Booky Mooky (mod)

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Annis, you know as well as I do that people are busy and not everyone is going to be online to answer questions. People are interested and there are always going to be people on the forum who are in a similar situation to you and Mike, such as Charlie, and are waiting for the more knowledgeable/vegan mooks to post.

Please can you edit your post again so people can answer it more fully.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Sorry guys, I wasn't being a dick. I just wrote a really long post that I realised, once it had been there for a while, was basically impossible to answer; I was rambling about the ethical decisions we were trying to weigh up but it wasn't really clear what I was asking, and I'm not really sure what my point was. Vic, you know I'm not the type to post things then get offended if they don't get enough replies, and if you don't know then I'm a bit upset!

You probably all think I'm a massive tool now. I'm sorry.

 

Basic gist, because I don't have the text any more: we've been veggie for ages and are making the step to vegan as we feel it's the most responsible way to live whilst trying to uphold an often conflicting set of values. We've had some really interesting conversations about our reasons for doing this; we've discussed environmental and ethical concerns, how upholding one or both of these can be at the expense of other concerns such as food waste, food miles, knowing where what we eat comes from etc, and have concluded that going vegan is a logical way forward, but that our desire to prevent waste in some ways surpasses our ethical leanings. Given our lines of work, wool and beer are non-negotiable for the moment, and we're both going to struggle to give up cheese so are phasing it out slowly, but I definitely feel we're doing a good thing.

 

Yesterday's musings were even less coherent so I really didn't expect anyone to form a reasonable response around them. My other questions, though, were around going vegan; have people found it hard, were there things you didn't expect about making the transition, are there things you can recommend having in the cupboard/things you can recommend adding to our diets having made the switch? And so on. Advice and experiences are really welcome, as we know plenty of vegetarians but hardly any vegans :)

 

Spikey, you raise an interesting point. If we could be completely self-sufficient, I'd probably feel different about some things. I don't think I could ever kill an animal, and I do think (preach preach) it's a little hypocritical to eat an animal if you couldn't kill it, because it demonstrates a level of emotional and intellectual removal from the industry and the process that I don't think I could cope with. Unfertilised eggs and milk I'd feel much less bad about if I knew the animals were enjoying a reasonable quality of life, but I'd have to think about milk a bit more since supply for humans diverts milk from its intended purpose, i.e. feeding the babies, and I don't like the idea of another creature suffering at the expense of my enjoyment.



-- Edited by _cinnamonstars on Thursday 2nd of May 2013 10:11:48 AM

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Booky Mooky (mod)

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^^^Annis lovely, I know you aren't that type, it's just that you didn't say why you had edited everything so we were all a bit confused! You aren't a massive tool and we love you muchos.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Annis I read your post before you deleted it. I think it was really good because it highlighted the fact that not everyone easily makes the transition to vegan. There are a lot of questions that go along with it, ones that maybe don't have answers or that the answers change over time.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^ Oops, that wasn't actually the most clear, was it?! Sorry guys! I've edited my above post with a shortened version of what I posted before since I don't have the original text; I still don't think it's very clear though!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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When I did a poll on this on the forum about 5-7% of the forum is vegan, so I suppose it'd take time before anyone had more useful insight on the actual transition. Piglet I know is a vegan and has been for a long time, and Tahlia more recently transitioned to being vegan and has had a more turbulent journey, and I think shares you view on wasting food as she is also mostly freegan, so perhaps message them?

Do you think you could ever phase out beer? Wool is less of an issue, seeing as you could both easily still knit using other kinds of yarns, but you both are such ale enthusiasts I can't imagine personally giving up such a central point in your lives. There was a post somewhere on the forum about a really good vegan cheese alternative, but I can't find it. Have you tried nutritional yeast? I know I bang on about it a bit on the veggie bits of the forum and most people have never heard of it, but it gives a real savoury lift to meals in a similar way to cheese and is good for you (a lot of vegan recipes ask for it as a cheese substitute, but I think those people may have just forgotten what cheese is like). Maybe try buying your cheese from the deli counter in the supermarket and buying only £1-2 worth of it, which is a healthier serving size over the week and it means you don't get sucked in to the £5 buy-one-get-one-free deals on the massive blocks of cheese, which are better value but it means you're eating two big blocks of cheese and have to find ways to use it- if there's less cheese around you can probably only have it once or twice a week. Gosh, I'm rambling on!

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High Mookish Shaman

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Hi Annis!

I've been vegan for five years now and, in all honesty, I didn't find the transition difficult. Initially I didn't like soya milk very much, but I got used to it quite quickly and now the only thing I really miss is fish. Of course, there are fish substitutes (I recommend Vegi Deli fish fingers, and also their tuna pate), and there's also a nice vege./vegan cafe near my hoose that make awesome vegan fish and chips. In fact, I may have to insist that you come back to see me soon...I'd love to see you, and it'd be nice to go to that place for some food!

There are substitutes for pretty much everything non-vegan that you might want to eat. You can even buy this stuff called Cheezly, which is a vegan cheese...it doesn't melt in heat, but it does soften when you add water so it's easy to make sauces with it and whatnot. I can't tell you whether or not it's tasty, because I've never tried it (I don't like cheese, so it seemed pointless to buy a substitute for something I didn't eat!), but my non-vegan upstairs neighbour has tried it on pizza and said it wasn't bad.

It's often difficult to know whether alcohol is vegan friendly as it's not always listed on the label (although Weston's vintage cider is vegan, and delicious). There's a website called Barnivore that gives lots of information about what you can drink, though, so that might be worth a peek.

If you're trying to give up animal produce, it can be difficult to wade through all of the different brands to find substitutes that you like (some are really not nice), so I'm going to list a few of my favourites in the hope that it helps:

Yoghurt : Sojade, Alpro

Milk : Provamel, Alpro. So Good has a vanilla taste, which I don't really like, but you might. I prefer unsweetened milk, but you'll have to try that out for yourself. Supermarket's own brands are usually alright, but I don't shop in supermarkets any more...Provamel is the current favourite.

Fish: Veggie Deli

Sausages: Fry's, Vegi Deli (not Vegetarian's Choice...cheaper, but not good), Linda McCartney's are alright, but not my favourite.

Sliced meat (ham, chicken roll, turkey roll etc.): I don't like any, but the best have been Vegi Deli too.

Butter: Vitalite, Pure, Suma (Suma make olive spread as well as soya and sunflower, but the latter tastes better and doesn't taint the taste of baked goods)

Bacon: Cheatin'

Ice Cream: Swedish Glace (Raspberry not recommended as it's ridiculously sweet. Tofutti also not recommended, because it's horrible).

Bean burgers: Good Life (check out their full range, actually - I'm yet to buy any Good life products that are not delicious).

Chocolate: Plamil

I find most of these things at the little grocery near my house, but I think a lot of it is also available in Holland and Barratt, so it'd be a good idea to have a good look in there...

...I'm trying to think of what else you might miss when you make the transition into veganism, but if you think of anything, let me know and I'll tell you whether or not I've found a decent substitute for it!

xxx Eve


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Lush Guru

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Obviously you know I'm not vegan, but I have access to the Lush vegan empire, so if you want any info from that lot just ask. I do know that Holland & Barrett do a very nice vegan mozzerella-style cheese, which even I (cheesefiend) found delish. I also know that Sainsburys are very good at labelling their wines as vegan (or not). Bitchin'.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Sam Smith brewery is ok for vegans.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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You are all awesome, thank you so much.

Piglet, you said a lot of things ever so eloquently which I've been really struggling to phrase. What you said about self-control being a reason for a black-and-white cutoff was interesting, and something I'd not really thought of; it might actually be harder to give something up in the long run if I keep reminding myself of the taste of it. That's something I'll have to think about.

I think we could debate ethics until the cows come home (hurrhurr), really, and given the state of being a modern consumer I don't think it's really possible that I could ever live a lifestyle that's truly cruelty-free. I make my own sweaters but they're made of wool; my budget prevents me from buying all my clothes from People Tree so I accept, reluctantly, that unethical labour is probably involved. I think that 'trying to cause the least harm possible' is an acceptable blanket term, but also a subjective one: I can be a vegan but my feelings on food wastage surpass my feelings on animal autonomy, and that's cool; you can be a vegan and make no exceptions and that's also cool; but somewhere down the line someone will probably think that my calling myself a vegan is not acceptable (that shouldn't matter, but it probably will a bit). But you're right: I think blanketing my dietary preferences under 'vegan' still makes a lot more sense than being a vegetarian 'except for bacon'. It's not one value I'm trying to address through this; it's a whole range of values.

I don't think being vegan is going to have massive knock-on effects to our diets apart from having to assuage the odd craving. We eat fucktonnes of vegetables as it is; even a fortnight ago I didn't think I'd get over the taste of soy milk and spread but I barely notice them already; what we don't spend on cheese (which is really fucking expensive!) and eggs we can spend on treatsome things like nuts and avocados; vegan baking is exciting new territory.

Eve, your list of substitutes is brilliant! Since we don't eat a great deal of veggie substitutes anyway I doubt we'll have a great need for that many, but it's nice to know there are things to try when the cravings stack up. We were discussing pizza the other day, so I'm really happy to discover vegan mozzarella exists! Plus, any excuse to come and visit you is a good one :p

Guys, your input and suggestions have been brilliant. Thank you so very much, and please keep them coming if there are more.

(PS- want to know what beer is also vegan? Our homebrew :D)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Annis, my chap is vegan and I'll ask him if he has any tips when I talk to him tomorrow but I just wanted to say that you are the best.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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I do not really have much advice to give, I just want to show my support. I tried to quit cheese recently, had no idea how hard that would be and failed spectacularly. Will try again after my exams are done. I imagine that it might be easier to do in late summer, when there is lots of yummy vegetables in my garden. Personally, I think I wouldn't have been eating much else than vegetables anyway if the stuff in the supermarket wasn't so tasteless and "watery".

But I'm ranting. Good, ethical (and free) food that are in season now: Nettles! ohm nom nom.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I'm quite late to the party here and lots and lots of good things have been said. I'd suggest following a few *decent* vegan blogs on Tumblr, as they're chock-full of great ideas, and getting a nice recipe book or two. I had one really excellent one years ago that had tonnes of fab suggestions in regards to nutrition and substitutes in particular, but I've forgotten the name... Vegan with a Vegence is fun and lovely, though. Also I'd suggest writing to one of the vegan societies knocking about, some of them send out information packs and things - I've links on my blog, I'll copy a few in here in a bit if you like.

There's lots of fab brands that do assorted lovely vegans things - Eve has mentioned lots of them! I'm also going to point out Tofutti cream cheese, which is steep but beautiful (I was also enormously disappointed with their ice-cream, Eve!) Taifun flavoured tofu products, Cauldron for delicious plain tofu, Cheatin' for "ham style" stuff (it's all mediocre as far as I'm concerned, grand in a sandwich or whatever), Rice Dream for gorgeous rice milk, Oatly for sexy sexy oat cream, Clive's for the most lovely pies you'll ever have (not all vegan so just check first), Floratin for lovely bio-organic pre-made meals... I could go on all day. Also, Green and Black chocs aren't advertised a vegan anymore because they haven't got a dediated vegan choccie line, but they milk traces are absolutely minimal - good enough for me! Choices chocolate is beautiful too.

I am aware that British H&Bs do tend to be better stocked with food, but their priority lies with suppliments, so I'd recommend hunting down a shop advertised specifcally as "health food" or similar as well for choice - we have lots of good ones here, mostly small businesses, which is great.

The other thing to bear in mind is that if you have the time, you can make most of your own of the stuff I mentioned above. Raw vegan cream cheese in particular is very simple, as is rice milk and the likes - you just have to be willing to experiment a bit! That's where blogs come in very handy indeed :)

Also, watch your B12 levels - you may need a suppliment, unless you're growing all your own veggies.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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I believe that this might make the transition more fun:

Vegan Black Metal Chef



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Professor Mook (mod)

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I only drink soy milk (for a whole host of reasons) and whilst one of the excellent side effects of this is that I know I'm not funding the dairy industry with that particular purchase, I do know that a lot of soya plantations and harvesting can be really unethical in terms of deforestation and unethical labour. So it's definitely a conflicting feeling. I think that having these conversations is ultimately a good thing, because there are plenty of people who will give up all animal products and then assume that that's their "bit" done. They can rest easy, the world is a better place because they eat tofu instead of sheep. Food miles, deforestation and unethical labour are all things that worry me a lot.

I try to buy all my veg from the local grocer who knows the guy who grows them, but that guy IS in Turkey, so my capsicums are coming a long way to get to my plate! I console myself for the moment, that the very fact that I am AWARE of these issues is going to be affecting the way I consume, and that's a good thing. When I am more financially stable, when we have a kitchen with space to be ambitious again, I am going to have to think a lot harder about it too.

With regards to cheese, I've made a good "cheesy" sauce from blended cashews, mustard, nutritional yeast, garlic, and other bits and bobs. It's tasty as fuck and totes vegan.


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I don't want to be a vegan. No particular reason. It just is not me. But for various ethical reasons regarding the way products are prepared I am thinking of choosing where I buy meat, eggs, cheese and milk from more ethical sources. I must admit I know nothing about this subject and finances are a concern because I am a student. Anyone have any advice??



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Mookish Deity Most High

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JessicaNG wrote:

I don't want to be a vegan. No particular reason. It just is not me. But for various ethical reasons regarding the way products are prepared I am thinking of choosing where I buy meat, eggs, cheese and milk from more ethical sources. I must admit I know nothing about this subject and finances are a concern because I am a student. Anyone have any advice??


 Unfortunately, financial concerns and ethical concerns tend to clash, and you might have to accept that buying ethically means buying less and more expensively. Buying from independent retailers (speciaility hippy supermarkers, cheese mongers, butchers etc.) is almost always better than purchasing from a supermarket in that you are 1. supporting smaller retailers 2. farmers are generally paid more from smaller reatailers 3. animal welfare is generally much higher. Look for things which are organic, free range and local, and maybe read up on what the standards of living are legally defined as for each label.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Candy, it's possible to make some ethical choices with your soy milk: Alpro don't grow their stuff in the rainforest and make active stands against deforestation, carbon use etc., and by and large the growth of soy for human consumption is a pretty tiny part of the soy industry, so it's better than it could be :) I do take your point, though; life as a modern consumer is essentially a long series of ethical trade-offs and it can be hard to decide what is the best course of action.

Jess, Charlie has covered pretty much anything I could say, but I've also read that from an environmental (and therefore ethical by association?) standpoint, it's best to try and buy your fresh produce in this order of importance: 1) seasonal, 2) local, 3) organic. Seasonal food is often cheaper because growers don't have to create artificial growing conditions for their produce. Stuff that's been grown locally has far fewer food miles attached to it so doesn't have nearly such a massive carbon footprint, and stuff that's organic, while often more expensive, is often a lot better for the environment that it's grown in because of the decreased use of strong chemicals.

We've been having fun with trying cashew-based sauces and the like, but they do tend to get quite expensive and, since we're both on a fairly tight budget, they'll have to be an occasional treat rather than a regular thing. Tonight we're going to make a beast of a cottage pie (with nutritional yeast, Charlie! :p) and it's going to be ever so exciting.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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*bows to the wise words of Candy* You raise some very important points. When trying to be an ethical consumer things are often not in black and white, and there will always be more one can do to make the world better!

Also, discussion is indeed good. I've personally always found the dairy industry (at least in Norway) to be the lesser evil by far compared to the soy industry, but I wasn't aware of Alpro. Still, I feel more comfortable eating the local moose meat than vegan meat substitutes imported from far away.... There are so many factors to consider it sometimes does my head in trying to figure out what to do. I'd probably go bonkers if I didn't have my own garden.

@Jess: Charlie have some good advice. I'd like to add that sourcing some of your food yourself is a good way to consume ethically and save money. Depending on where you live, you can get free veg from freeganism, growing your own/guerilla gardening and foraging. All of which are also nice hobbies. And I believe there are useful UK sites with lots of info about them too.



-- Edited by Irilar on Monday 6th of May 2013 06:06:33 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Exciting stuff! You'll have to swing by Eighth Day Co-Op next time you're in Manchester. They have all kinds of thrilling vegany bits and pieces. Also I would recommend Chinese supermarkets for reasonably priced tofu. If you can find this stuff, you're golden. You can add it to stir fries, fajitas, noodle broth etc to bulk it out a bit.

Regarding the "minismising harm" maxim, you could also be more of a flexitarian than "vegan" as such. We knew a guy who owned a vegetarian restaurant but wasn't veggie himself. He generally lived vegan, but if it was in the interest of minimising wastage or it was eggs from his mate's chickens etc he'd eat them. I'm excited to see what you guys come up with food wise, you're both such creative cooks anyway, I'm sure you'll inspire me to try a few new things. We've been a bit shit recently and eaten lots of takeways. :( 



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Regular Crew

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I used to be ideologically pro-veganism, but I've come to consider death preferable to a great many things, especially most of the things other animals go through, even outside of captivity. In order to rectify the utilitarian conundrum of prolonged suffering and it's objective implications, I believe it need be paramount to relegate the prospect of its ultimate attenuation or extirpation to a chronologically macroscopic perspective.

...

animals suffer even more than we do, especially most of the ones we kill, and it sucks, but I don't think we're gonna fix it without fixing the rest of society (see: blah blah blah the Singularity blah blah). I'm a broke-ass American, and I can't even afford meat that I don't find revolting, but if someone gives me something to eat that ain't poison, I'm probably gonna eat it at some point, even if it I end up freezing it for a few months beforehand.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^ That's great and all, but your opinions on veganism aren't really related to the dietery transition that this thread was set up to discuss. You've not provided any helpful thoughts or new information, except for your own feelings about assorted food-related bollocks. Musings are always good but the thing is, there was no point in digging up an old post just so you could announce how you feel about food.

Have you read the newbie threads? We're always a little dubious about necroposting here. There's nothing really wrong with it, but it generally benefits the forum if you don't go digging up a load of old shit at once - ESPECIALLY when you've no new info to add, aside from your opinions (unless it's a purely opinion-based topic, or a discussion or something). Make yourself a hello thread or something and stick it all in there, yeah?

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Regular Crew

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crap yeah, you're right; comprehended everything but the thread title.

EDIT: also, all the threads I posted in are on the front page. are they not in plainly chronological order?



-- Edited by Lucas Prassas on Monday 16th of September 2013 03:52:19 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^Some popular threads are made "sticky" so they appear up the top of the page so that they can be found easily. These may be old, old threads, but because they've been made "sticky" they will still appear up the top. Apart from that threads appear in chronological order, yeah. If you're concerned about the date, just click into the thread and look at the date of the last post in that thread.

Generally we don't mind people digging up old threads on here if they have something meaningful they'd like to add - like if they want to discuss or debate something. If it's just to say something like "LOL yeah I totes agree" then that's annoying for everybody, haha.



-- Edited by Indigo Empress on Monday 16th of September 2013 04:08:03 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^They are in chronological order, it's just that some sections don't get that new threads created too often so the front page can be a little dated by the time you scroll to the bottom. Generally speaking people are okay with threads being resurrected as long as something new is being brought up, or a new discussion is being opened, rather than what sometimes happens, whereby people just post reiterating what's already been said.

EDIT: Whoops Becky got there first, so I've basically just said exactly the same thing.



-- Edited by Inky on Monday 16th of September 2013 04:12:12 PM

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