Veganism

So, on February 16th, I decided to give up meat. I thought, initially, that I would just be a vegetarian. The thing is, I’ve given up everything. I haven’t touched anything that has breathed, and that includes eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. (It’s a good thing I’ve always loved tofu! And I have always preferred Boca burgers to beef burgers.) And I don’t miss meat, either.

Breakfast: Bran flakes with soy milk, orange, soy yogurt (which I make myself with silken tofu and frozen berries – cheap)
Lunch: Black beans, rice, tofu, and salsa or a tofu wrap with lettuce, tomato, veggie cheese, and taco sauce.
Dinner: Grilled vegetables, tofu, potatoes – or just a plain ole Boca burger.

Seriously, it’s so much easier than I thought it would be, and I actually enjoy it because I am a cook and I love the idea of challenging recipes.

My question though: Can I be a vegan if I still buy running shoes made of leather? I suppose not, but I mean, can you actually buy good running shoes that don’t contain leather? I still have all the other crap I have had for years – leather jackets and such. I’m not going to throw them out because I suddenly have a conscience, but I’m not going to buy leather anymore, except for the running shoes.

I’m conflicted. Can I actually buy good running shoes that don’t contain leather? Preferably Asics? I don’t think you can. I can’t find ’em. And honestly, running shoes are the only thing I am actually concerned about!






101 replies
  1. 1
    Rarely Posts says:

    Don’t you know Hitler was a vegan?

    Seriously, I don’t know the answer to your question, but if you’ve never tried grilled portobello mushrooms, first marinated in olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, you haven’t lived as a vegan.

    I’m an omnivore myself but my daughter is a vegetarian trying to become a vegan with me resisting all the way.

  2. 2
    Michael D. says:

    I absolutely, 100%, think grilled portobellos are the awesome.

  3. 3
    Gus says:

    If god had meant for us not to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat. Good for you for not eating animals. I’ve recently made the commitment to eat only animals that have been treated humanely and aren’t factory farmed. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go. Humans have canine teeth for a reason.

  4. 4
    Cernig says:

    You do know Vegans aren’t allowed oral sex either, right? It came from something that breathed…

    ;-)

    Regards, C

  5. 5
    Cernig says:

    The logical follow-on to Gus above is…

    “If god had meant for us not to be cannibals, he wouldn’t have made them humans of meat.”

    A whole new meaning for baby back ribs…

  6. 6
    Stooleo says:

    Micheal, although I respect your decision to go vegan, please don’t become preachy. Humans are omnivores. I would also assert that animals like cows, chickens, pigs and other animals that we humans like to eat would become extinct, if we humans were not around to ensure their meaty goodness.

  7. 7
    Chris O. says:

    I’d recommend Googling vegan shoes. And no, I don’t think you can take a moral high ground if you put animals on your feet instead of in your mouth.

  8. 8
    tBone says:

    Can I be a vegan if I still buy running shoes made of leather?

    Even if you buy running shoes that don’t contain leather, you’re still going to be running on roads that very likely contain animal fat. Meat Jogging is murder.

  9. 9
    Svensker says:

    I have no problem with vegetarianism. But veganism is a whole different kettle of soy chips. No poor person can be a vegan — it is a choice only available to rich people who live in highly developed areas. Poor people who farm need animals to provide the organic manures to improve the soil, as well as animals to provide the muscle to pull the plows, etc. Rich farmers can use oil for these purposes. Poor farmers can’t.

    How are the soy beans you are consuming produced? Probably with huge amounts of oil based fertilizers and biodiversity killing monoculture. If you want organic soy beans, they’re not going to be vegan, because they will have been fertilized with animal manures, harvested from domesticated animals.

    So, really, think about your choice of being a vegan and what it entails in the real world.

  10. 10
    Nylund says:

    I found a forum where someone wrote New Balance regarding vegan shoes. This was NB’s response:

    “Thank you for contacting NB Web Express via the Internet.

    In order to make your search as easy as possible we do list the materials the shoes are made of under out “features and benefits” page.
    If the materials are listed as synthetic/mesh upper this means there is not any leather or other animal products in the shoes. The leather shoes will also state “leather upper” to refer to the materials the shoes were made of.”

    The shoe site zappos.com has a vegetarian/vegan search category, and these NB‘s show up, and based on the quote above, they might just be animal-free.

    From the same site, I also found some Vegan sneaks called Earth Rocket, but I know nothing about them.

    Another forum mentioned something about Vegan Nike running shoes, but I can’t find proof that they really exist.

  11. 11
    gsp says:

    I thought most running shoes now were synthetic leather???? I would be surprised if there were many leather runners period now. Have I been mistaken the last number of years?

    The last Asics I had was the 2080 (an excellent shoe but quite expensive) and I am pretty sure the guy at the running store said it was synthetic leather.

    As for Stooleo’s comment about preachy, where do you read preachy in that post?

    If all else fails call your local running store.

    Good luck.

  12. 12
    empty says:

    Shoes are a pain. I am not a runner so I can’t say anything about running shoes but Moo Shoes have been around forever and seem to be popular. I got earth shoes through Zappos and I am pretty happy with them. A bit OT but one of the things you missed out on was Delicious Choices Vegan Cheesecakes – much better than the ordinary kind. They closed shop but if you can find their recipes try them. Really.

  13. 13
    RSA says:

    I guess everyone draws a line somewhere. Me, I don’t buy gas from Exxon because of the Valdez spill. Does it do any good? Not a chance. I think McDonald’s is a pox on humanity, and so I never go there. Also a useless gesture. Go, vegans.

  14. 14
    Katie says:

    There are a lot of good online vegan shops, not just for shoes. Check out MooShoes, for one. I’m not a runner, so I can’t speak for shoe quality, but I know that shoes are at least available.

    I’ve only looked at girly shoes on Zappos but I know they have a decent selection there, so that may be another good option.

    And as far as the comments about being a vegan in the real world–if you actually cook, rather than relying on prepackaged meat substitutes, a vegan diet can be very cheap and healthful. Just watch your soy sources!

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    i don’t see a bit of leather on my Asics.

  16. 16
    lampwick says:

    Do you EAT your shoes?

    If not, then don’t worry about it.

  17. 17
    MNPundit says:

    Wait, don’t plants breathe CO2?

    I’ve never understood how Vegans can be Vegans. I mean I suppose you could wear all nylon clothes or something but 90% of what we wear/consume is made from other living things. Even plastics (which come partially from oil, which comes from decayed organic matter) were alive at some point.

  18. 18
    joe says:

    Svenseker sez:

    So, really, think about your choice of being a vegan and what it entails in the real world.

    Which is a fairf point. Butg Michael D. isn’t a Cambodian rice farmer. He isn’t going to be living a life that is equivalent to how they use resources regardless of his veganism. He’s going to be living a First World life, regardless of how he answers this question.

    So, the question seems to be, is veganism a more socially responsible lifestyle than other first world lifestyles?

  19. 19
    Zuzu says:

    Michael –

    Best of luck on your veganism!

    I was a vegan for about ten years, but started eating eggs and dairy again about five years ago, because I wasn’t getting enough protein – my fault for being lazy.

    Anyway, I try to avoid buying leather products when possible. I’ve been able to find non-leather work shoes, hiking shoes, and running shoes with only a fair amount of effort invested.

    I don’t know if you have a Fleet Feet where you live, but I got a great pair of custom-fitted Sauconys there. Totally synthetic.

  20. 20
    joe says:

    And also, typos.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    I’ve recently made the commitment to eat only animals that have been treated humanely and aren’t factory farmed.

    I’ve always committed myself to only eat animals that taste good.

    I’m conflicted. Can I actually buy good running shoes that don’t contain leather?

    I asked a couple of people I commute with who are serious runners. Their answer was, “probably not.” Doing well by your feet may create a conflict with your decision to be a vegan.

    As an aside, there may be a value in being a sneaker freak ( Always buying sneakers? It’s the sign of a leader: poll):

    Got a passion for buying sneakers? It could be a good sign, with a poll finding that people who buy three pairs of sneakers or more a year are far more likely to be a leadership type that other people.

    Mindset Media, a media company that examines personality traits of different consumers, found that people who buy more than three pairs of sneakers a year are 61 percent more likely to have the qualities of a modern leader.

    These qualities were defined as having ideas and vision, and a style with others that is both inclusive and decisive.

    The survey of 7,500 people, using market research group Nielsen’s online panel, found multi-sneaker buyers were 50 percent more likely to be very assertive and 47 percent more likely to be spontaneous.

    Lauren Arvonio, a spokeswoman for Mindset Media, said sneaker buyers were more likely to fly by the seat of their pants.

  22. 22
    GVN says:

    To MNPundit: The answer is actually contained in your question – the key phrase from your question is “living things”. Yes, vegans don’t worry much about “things” (living or non-living), but they care more about “sentient beings”. We know for a fact that animals are sentient creatures capable of feeling pain, and suffering, since they, like humans, possess a central nervous system. And, as far as possible, I don’t want to contribute to that pain and suffering.

  23. 23
    ron says:

    “I’ve never understood how Vegans can be Vegans”

    judging by your comment, its because you have no idea what a vegan is. its not using animal products.

    anyway, lots of vegans wear the new balance shoes mentioned above and I believe those models are also made in the USA. but i think no one raises animals for the leather that goes into shoes. its basically waste left over from the meat industry that would just go into landfills or something.

    I went vegetarian about 15 years and the reason was that I wished to have a healthier diet and not support the environmentally destructive meat industry. if you claim to care about the environment you have to be vegetarian at some level or only buy free range organic meat or hunt it yourself. only recently have i started caring more about the animal welfare side mainly through michael vick and dog fighting and realizing far worse happens on a much larger scale in the meat factories. but people only care about dogs.

  24. 24
    dd says:

    Did you know that plants breathe? Fungus too, I think, so there goes the mushroom burgers.

  25. 25
    Delia says:

    I can’t even consider going vegetarian. It turns out the majority of vegetable proteins are migraine triggers, which is a major problem for me. I can only eat them in very small quantities, and some of them not at all. So I look for meats from ethically raised animals and wild fish. I also get really irritated with moralistic vegans who insist everyone should be like them or they’re terrible people.

    As for shoes: synthetics are fine for athletic shoes, but for more formal occasions they really won’t cut it. If the animal hide is available, i.e., it’s not being killed specifically for it’s skin, then I don’t see a problem with wearing leather shoes. Oil-derived products have their own set of issues.

  26. 26
    Zuzu says:

    but for more formal occasions they really won’t cut it

    Well, it does take some effort, but I’ve been able to find nonleather shoes for every occasion. Heck, Stella McCartney does all-vegan shoes, and you can’t get much fancier than that.

  27. 27
    merrinc says:

    I was a vegan for about ten years, but started eating eggs and dairy again about five years ago, because I wasn’t getting enough protein – my fault for being lazy.

    One word: quinoa. It’s a complete protein and as you found, vegans and vegetarians cannot live by tofu alone. My favorite quick meal: quinoa with Ro-tel, black beans, corn.

  28. 28
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Homo edarum omnina

    (Feel free to correct, it’s been nearly 14 years since latin class…)

  29. 29
    Andrew says:

    Most light weight running shoes do not contain leather these days. Mostly mesh and synthetics.

  30. 30
    Chasm says:

    The two things that I never worried about were leather shoes and belts. There simply are no good, non-leather shoes and cloth belts are gay (not necessarily in a homosexual way, they just suck balls).

    Oh, and the best way to answer the question, “Does it bother you if I eat this steak in front of you?” is “I really don’t care what YOU eat.” Say it right and they’ll at least be thinking of going veg by the end of the meal. I’ve also found bi-monthly peanut butter binges to be pretty good way to maintain proteans.

  31. 31
    Studly Pantload says:

    As indicated above, you may well be able to find quality running shoes with a little online diligence. Hell, I ran for 3 or so years in a cheap little pair of leather-free runners from Payless, about 3 miles a time 3 – 5 days a week, so I figure if I could find an OK pair of cheapies, someone out there has gotta be making an even better vegan pair.

    Of course, my shoes were probably made by Chinese orphans under the whip of Mr. Bumble. Which is to say, it’s hard to lead a totally “clean” life, as it were. I consider veganism as a part of a continuum, whereas many think of it as one side of a highly limited range of stark options. Even vegan guru John Robbins in “Diet for a New America” suggests that good can be done simply by focusing on making one dinner a week meat free. Every little bit one can do is a step in a positive direction.

    So, can you claim to live the vegan lifestyle if you buy leather running shoes? Probably not. But if you weren’t able to find a good pair of all-synthetic shoes and so buy the leather, at least you can say you’re doing your best.

    For the record, I’ve been vegetarian (leaning vegan, but not quite able to go there and stay put – get some booze in me, and I can be a sucker for rennet-free cheese) since the mid 90s, and yet last year I broke down and bought a pair of high-end headphones with a leather headband. We all have our weaknesses.

  32. 32
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    As long as people like me keept eating cows (like I did for lunch today) there will be leather for people like you.

  33. 33
    A1 says:

    Stick those leather shoes in your bong hole hippy and go back to singing kumbaya!

  34. 34
    rachel says:

    My question though: Can I be a vegan if I still buy running shoes made of leather? I suppose not, but I mean, can you actually buy good running shoes that don’t contain leather? I still have all the other crap I have had for years – leather jackets and such. I’m not going to throw them out because I suddenly have a conscience, but I’m not going to buy leather anymore, except for the running shoes.

    I’m conflicted. Can I actually buy good running shoes that don’t contain leather? Preferably Asics? I don’t think you can. I can’t find ‘em. And honestly, running shoes are the only thing I am actually concerned about!

    I think it depends on why you became a vegan. If you did it because you just don’t like meat, then I don’t see why leather goods would be a problem. However, if you’re a vegan because you think the way that animals are raised and slaughtered for food (and leather) is cruel and un-natural, then I don’t see how you can buy commercial leather goods and not be a hypocrite. Fortunately, there is a solution to this: roadkill. Nobody needs to feel guilty because some deer or whatever decided that today it wanted to play in traffic and got itself squooshed, and leaving the carcass by the side of the road there is just wasteful. Of course it will cost more to have the hide tanned and the shoes custom-made, but one dead largish critter should get you several pair.

  35. 35
    Darkness says:

    How about this… as a vegan are you willing to use or do you approve of using manure on your garden or a farm? I mean, very green right? Well manure is a byproduct of meat and milk production. We slaughter 200,000 cows every day in the is country, and the byproducts of this have to go somewhere. One of the byproducts of meat production is jello, those leftover hooves have to go somewhere too… and guess what? all those hides need disposal as well.

    No cow in the u.s. died for its hide anymore than it died for its manure or hooves, it is just a waste-not,want-not industrial byproduct that should be put to SOME use. I mean, what do you want them to do, burn them all when it is such a flexible, breathable material for footwear?

  36. 36
    Darkness says:

    I was a vegetarian for 15 years. Then I had megloblastic anemia from a b-12 shortage, and extreme abdominal distress that took 2 years to work out as a soy intolerance. I used to eat soy 4-5 servings a day. Now if soy sauce slips into the meal (people forget what teriyaki is made of…) I end up doubled over with stomach cramps. The abdominal issue was the problem with the b-12, not so much lack of intake, because I was still eating eggs and cheese. B-12 has the most complicated pathway to absorption you can imagine so any digestion/intestine issue will block it. I live on sublingual methylcobalamin now and have my life back. Eff up your b-12 and you are really really screwed (immune system, memory, nervous system, red blood cell production, energy level, yada yada). Note: cyanocobalamin, what you will find at the drug store, is bonded to cyanide, which doesn’t seem like a joy to o.d. on, so you might want to mail order the good stuff.

  37. 37
    Ninerdave says:

    seriously?

    Kill yourself now.

  38. 38
    TenguPhule says:

    Considering how animals are killed and eaten in nature, I consider Vegans who worry about ‘animal pain’ to be very silly.

    If it tastes good, eat it.

  39. 39
    Nick says:

    You can definitely find shoes that are close. I never tried them, but Whole Foods actually had some good looking running shoes not too long ago. Not made of Hemp ugly pieces of crap, but good looking solid shoes. But like I said, didn’t try them, and I have no idea if you have one of those near you, or something similar.

  40. 40
    Michael D. says:

    please don’t become preachy

    A $20 iTunes gift certificate to anyone who can find a place in this post where I was preachy! :-)

  41. 41
    Michael D. says:

    I thought most running shoes now were synthetic leather????

    You know? I just checked the shoes I wear and they are synthetic leather. All I had to do was check the tag on the tongue. I had automatically just assumed it was real leather. So I feel better now.

    Not that it would have mattered. I’d have bought the damned things anyway.

  42. 42
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Vegans must, by necessity, be pro-life.

  43. 43
    Nancy Irving says:

    Eggs and milk don’t breathe. I don’t know about yogurt.

  44. 44
    Vika says:

    Just in case you’ll need more info on vegan running shoes at some point, try http://www.veganfitness.net/forum/ – it may be a good source of information.

    For all non-running vegan shoes feel free to check out our website

    Welcome to vegan world! ;)

  45. 45
    Dayv says:

    Seriously, there’s nothing to make me hate meat eaters like reading their arrogant self-righteous comments in response to any blog post about vegetarianism/veganism.

  46. 46
    Tiga says:

    Careful, sounds like you’re going overboard with the diet. Veganism, how dull. Milk and eggs every once in a while are good for you and add variety.

    Oh, and get rid of the leather. Vinyl’s coming back, I hear.

  47. 47
    DM says:

    Seriously, there’s nothing to make me hate meat eaters like reading their arrogant self-righteous comments in response to any blog post about vegetarianism/veganism.

    I could say the same about vegans who, by the very nature of their “lifestyle” are absolute elitists. You want to feel good about yourself, pretend humans aren’t omnivores and waste your money on a vegan meal plan? Go right ahead, but realize not all of us are going to say “good job” and pat you on the back.

    Just like people who rant against nuclear power without understanding the damage their rhetoric causes you’re welcome to your irrational beliefs, just don’t expect everyone to agree with you.

  48. 48
    Tiga says:

    I forgot to add that if you became a vegan because of the awful way farm animals are treated, then you had better look for a shampoo that doesn’t contain slaughterhouse remains, as they commonly do.

    Note of interest for those who give up meat voluntarily: Twelve years ago I became deathly allergic (anaphylaxis) to the flesh of all animals that have hooves (cow, pig, goat, lamb, buffalo, deer, etc.). I’m not kidding. It was a blessing, really.

  49. 49
    Zuzu says:

    One word: quinoa. It’s a complete protein and as you found, vegans and vegetarians cannot live by tofu alone. My favorite quick meal: quinoa with Ro-tel, black beans, corn.

    Yes, I’ve discovered quinoa…good stuff.

    I rarely eat eggs or dairy, and when I buy I go organic etc. … but I do occasionally go that route.

  50. 50
    Michael D. says:

    Seriously, there’s nothing to make me hate meat eaters like reading their arrogant self-righteous comments in response to any blog post about vegetarianism/veganism.

    Agreed. Especially when the object of the post was not to solicit “pats on the backs” but, rather, to ask people about running shoes.

    But just so people like DM will have something to complain about:

    Perhaps humans are omnivores. I certainly couldn’t care less. But don’t ask me to say “go you” when you’re eating meat from animals who suffered cruel lives so you could do it. How wonderful for you that you don’t have to go out and shoot yourself a wild cow. You get to stalk and find your prey the lazy way – on of a nice clean grocery store shelf where the entire environment is staged so you never have to see or think about what it had to go through to get there.

    Enjoy, you brave omnivore, you!!

  51. 51
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Denis Leary sez it all for me:

    I love to smoke. I love to smoke and I love to eat red meat. I love to eat raw fucking red meat. Nothing I like better than sucking down a hot steaming cheese burger and a butt at the same time. I love to smoke. I love to eat red meat. I’ll only eat red meat that comes from cows who smoke, ok!? Special cows they grow in Virginia with voice boxes in their necks.

    I tried eating vegetarian. I feel like a wimp going into a restaurant. “What do you want to eat sir? Broccoli?” Broccoli’s a side dish, folks. Always was, always will be, ok? When they ask me what I want, I say, “What do you think I want!? This is America. I want a bowl of raw red meat right now. Forget about that. Bring me a live cow over to the table. I’ll carve off what I want and ride the rest home!”

    :D

  52. 52
    Lisa says:

    I think the vegan lifestyle is cool. I hope that so many people who can afford it become vegans that it is not so expensive and inaccessible to the masses who don’t have the money and time to pursue it.

    Eating a diet of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains is without a doubt the best diet a human can thrive on. But, for reasons I cannot understand, eating delicious, healthy, unprocessed food is expensive. People who can afford (in both time and money) to pick up a few fresh items every few days from Whole Foods tend to have way more money and free time than the slobs with 3 kids and 3 jobs who have to squeeze in a couple of hours every other Saturday to load up the mini-van with inexpensive crap that will “keep” until next time they have the time and money to do it again.

    It kind of reminds me of the movie Soylent Green, where the elite ate yummies like strawberry jam, while the rest of the slobs ate each other, pâté style.

    I am not being defensive or knocking people who eat beautifully and healthy (I am not vegetarian, but I eat unprocessed and free range – because I have the time and income to be able to do so). That is how it SHOULD be. But humans will be better off when EVERYONE can have access to healthy, unprocessed, free-range foods.

  53. 53
    DM says:

    How wonderful for you that you don’t have to go out and shoot yourself a wild cow. You get to stalk and find your prey the lazy way – on of a nice clean grocery store shelf where the entire environment is staged so you never have to see or think about what it had to go through to get there.

    Enjoy, you brave omnivore, you!!

    My freezer is stocked with beef, pork, lamb, elk, and chicken either from my farm or hunting so don’t give me this condescending BS. You don’t have a clue about my eating habits or where I get my food and, quite frankly, you couldn’t have been more off if you’d tried.

    See, this is exactly the attitude that throws people off of Vegans: their high-minded “moral authority”. You want to go meatless go right ahead buddy, just don’t get preachy.

  54. 54
    Michael D. says:

    I hope that so many people who can afford it become vegans that it is not so expensive and inaccessible to the masses who don’t have the money and time to pursue it.

    I haven’t noticed a difference in my grocery bill at all. For the price of a steak or, for that matter, the price of a couple pounds of ground beef, I can buy half a week’s worth of vegetables.

    “Vegetarian = expensive” is a myth, at least in my experience.

  55. 55
    Michael D. says:

    just don’t get preachy

    I wasn’t. At least not until you called me an elitist for asking about running shoes.

  56. 56
    Matt says:

    Why do omnivores think only rich people can be vegan? Is it because they assume that vegans only shop at Whole Foods? The vegans I know (myself included) almost never shop there. I hate quinoa, though.

  57. 57
    Tim C says:

    Shoes. A vegan co-worker gets his from someplace called Moo Shoes. I don’t think they hold up very well and he admits they don’t hold a shine like leather. I think they may be made out of chocolate pudding skin. I was just looking at my Asics running shoes and I don’t think they have any leather in them.

  58. 58
    Lisa says:

    Interesting how nasty people can get when confronted with someone who is doing something that is quite admirable that they can’t or won’t do. It is always the same. A friend of mine decided to spend a couple of years in Lesotho (she just finished nursing school and saw a documentary about the country and decided to go for it). She was not expecting a pat on the back or an “attagirl”. But many of our circle of friends were really defensive when they heard about it and picked fights with her, dismissing her as a “stupid, earnest white girl wanting to lord it over some darkies to make herself feel better”. OMG!!! I was floored by the hostility.

    This is not on the same level as going off to a small African country to help people dying of AIDS, but it is doing something DECENT and good for your health and the health of a bunch of furry or feathered critters. And it is garnering the same type of defensive hostility. Fascinating.

    Anyway, I am glad that you found out your favorite running shoes are animal free.

  59. 59
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Heck, I got nothing against anyone for eating whatever they want to, within reason. No eating kittens or puppies, but cat and dog are fine if they are your regional cuisine. ;)

    Vegans/vegetarians are fine with me because if they eat less meat, that means more for me…lol! I like my veggies but I love my meat.

    Get your mind out of the gutter.

  60. 60
    joe says:

    I was a vegetarian for a couple of years, and I was surprised how common the “DM” response was.

    A certain segment of the population takes it as a personal affront if you don’t eat meat. They become uber-defensive, as if you were berating them, even if THEY are the ones who bring up the subject first.

    Anyway, I stopped being a vegetarian, because it dawned on me that I really don’t care if animals die so I can eat them. Animals have no conception of mortality, so how can it be a violation of their rights?

    On the other hand, they can certainly understand fear and pain and misery, so while I now eat meat, I don’t give my money to factory farms. Just free range, ideally organic, meat and dairy and eggs.

    I also think it would be good to allow the commercial sale of hunted deer. Talk about your free range, organic, low-resource meat! Heck, there are massive overpopulations of deer in many areas – ever drive I-80 through Pennsylvania? It’s like a scene out the Inferno with the carcasses all over the road. If everyone replaced 10 pounds of factory farm beef in their diets per year with 10 pounds of wild venison, it would do away with a lot of cruelty and be an environmental boon.

  61. 61
    janefinch says:

    Running shoes made of leather is your big vegan ethical concern? Well, if you want to be a MURDERER I suppose they’re ok…actually, this post is a natural for “What White People Like”.

  62. 62
    rachel says:

    A certain segment of the population takes it as a personal affront if you don’t eat meat. They become uber-defensive, as if you were berating them, even if THEY are the ones who bring up the subject first.

    Weird, isn’t it?

  63. 63
    Patrick says:

    Why are you becoming vegan? If you answer that you will be able to answer your shoe question. There are three reasons people eat vegan:

    1. don’t want to kill animals
    2. for better health
    3. to reduce their environmental footprint

    Since you asked about leather shoes, I think you are going with #1 (not that you can’t be into all three reasons). However, #1 is a fantasy and to think that you can live without killing animals is a delusion.

    True, eating vegan will save many domestic animals from slaughter; it will do nothing to prevent wild animals from being killed. The fact is that if deer are not hunted in large numbers by humans, there could be no agriculture. This is especially true for organic agriculture where the farmers are not allowed to use pesticides and chemical deterrants. The plain fact is that you cannot have organic farming without deer control and you cannot control deer (and feral pigs, rabbits, groundhogs, etc.) without hunting.

    So enjoy your better blood profile, your reduced weight, and your lower environmental footprint. But stop with the urban fantasy that humans can survive without killing animals.

    Further, since the farming you are now reliant on requires the hunting of at least whitetail deer, you should augment your vegan lifestyle with deer hunting. Or at least add wild venison and wild pig to your diet somehow. These animals have to be killed to grow your soybeans and it would be unethical not to utilize their meat.

  64. 64
    merrinc says:

    For the price of a steak or, for that matter, the price of a couple pounds of ground beef

    TVP is far less expensive than ground cow and I make a mean chili with it. In fact, my carnivore spouse hasn’t even figured out that I’ve been feeding him vegetarian chili for the last couple of years.

    I don’t recommend using TVP in tacos, though. Tried it once and my family fled the dinner table in horror.

  65. 65
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    If environmental concerns are an issue, I’d be a lot more worried about the cost of producing synthetic-materials shoes than leather.. that nylon mesh is trouble for some third world sinkhole where the shoes are produced.
    My winter parka came with fur hood trim from – I kid you not – recycled animals. Road kill and pest animals killed by farmers. I don’t wear it (allergy reasons, and trying not to offend my fur-hating wife) but I wonder if leather from non-exploitive sources is an option for vegans?

  66. 66
    Kynn says:

    Ah, another Michael D post.

    *snicker*

  67. 67
    Mark Gisleson says:

    Speaking as a former Iowa farm boy who grew up working in a family livestock operation, I really don’t have any problem with Veganism. My school chum from down the road who became a butcher sells a lot of tofu at his meat locker. In fact, most meat zealots usually seem to be pretty far reduced from the actual production process (ranchers too big and successful to work with actual livestock, for instance).

    But serious veganism is only possible if you live a monastic lifestyle. Virtually everything you consume is the product of our meat-eating culture. If your Veganism is based in respect for animals, not only can you not use leather products but you should also avoid any conspicuous consumption as it’s all tied to exploitation of animals in one way or another.

    Even the production of soybeans are, in a limited sense, tied to livestock production. Every soybean field in this country is rotated with corn for soil replenishment purposes, and a good share of the corn in this country is used to feed livestock. It all ties together even if that’s not obvious when you’re shopping at your co-op.

  68. 68
    rachel says:

    My winter parka came with fur hood trim from – I kid you not – recycled animals. Road kill and pest animals killed by farmers. I don’t wear it (allergy reasons, and trying not to offend my fur-hating wife) but I wonder if leather from non-exploitive sources is an option for vegans?

    See? I’m not the only one with the roadkill idea.

  69. 69
    Evinfuilt says:

    Vegetarian lifestyle, good and healthy.

    Vegan isn’t a health choice, its a cult. Its simply about trying to out-vegan another person, it is dangerous and the only winner is the dead. Let me give you some examples.

    1. No eggs, milk (you know.) Just because animals were used against their will.
    2. No leather goods (so let those cows rot good damn it!)
    3. Oh, no cars. They use oil and also the tires were produced from oil products. Did I mention oil is against Vegan policy. We’re using decomposed animal matter against its will (yes, its really decomposed ferns, but you’ll hear from many Vegans that oil-products are against Vegan.)
    4. Be careful when shopping. You better make sure your shoes are all hemp, because cotton grown in this country usually effects the wildlife. Its even better if hand-knit your own clothes from human hair.
    5. No sugar!! ever, that is the most un-vegan food you can ever eat (due to the burning of cane which effects all the rodents in the fields.)
    6. No wine! Poor yeast were used against their will! (amongst other ludicrous things i’ve heard.)

    Please don’t make me go on. Veganism is a competition, its nothing to be proud of.

    Vegetarianism is good for you, Veganism leads to you getting high off your own farts!

    Personally, I recommend a high vegetable/fruit diet, supplemented with leans meats, fish and plenty eggs and legumes.

  70. 70
    Evinfuilt says:

    Oh, you can’t use anything shipped by mass-transit, only by foot (definitely not by horse-back.)

    Your house must be made of mud-brick formed by hand (you can heat it with dead tree limbs, but make sure you remove the grubs before setting it fire.)

    Veganism is ridiculous, its impossible, and you have to know that before you embrace it. The idea of doing no harm to animals, to not using animals against their will. Its impossible.

    Oh, and if you’re a diabetic, you have to give up your medication if you’re vegan! Plus when you go to the doctor tell them you want treatment that had never had a single animal involved. They’ll just point you to hospice care.

    Don’t be the ultimate hypocrite, don’t be a vegan.

  71. 71
    Guav says:

    I’ve been vegan for 17 years (since I turned 18) and running shoes are the EASIEST synthetic shoes to find—I’d wager there are more synthetic running shoes than leather ones.

    As someone else pointed out, it’s pretty much impossible to be literally, technically vegan—there are animal ingredients in things you never even though of—but that’s not an excuse to not try to cut out as much as possible.

    That being said, you decide your own level of involvement. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s considered “vegan” to wear secondhand leather, for example, because ultimately the label itself is irrelevant. Just do what you can do, or what you wish to do. What you call it doesn’t matter.

    Oh, and just a heads-up: “Preachy” is what you will be called when people ask you why you’re vegan and you answer them. When people attack or mock your personal choices and you defend yourself, that is considered “preaching.”

  72. 72
    rachel says:

    Wow. Food fascists. Who knew?

  73. 73
    Andrew says:

    1. No eggs, milk (you know.) Just because animals were used against their will.

    Ethically speaking, there’s a good case to be made that eating beef (especially well cared for grass fed, free range) is far less bad than drinking milk. One word: veal.

  74. 74
    Matt says:

    Even though Evinfuilt is just being an incredible dick, I have to respond to this:

    1. No eggs, milk

    Chickens used in egg production and dairy cows are confined to very small spaces and typically die of stress related illnesses prematurely. I’ve heard the argument that of all the animals in factory farms, the egg laying chickens endure the most suffering.

    Evinfuilt makes all the classic asshole arguments against veganism, based on sitting around with other meat eaters and laughing at how vegans are unintelligent hypocrites.

  75. 75
    Michael D. says:

    1. No eggs, milk

    Male offspring of dairy cattle go straight to the veal boxes.

    Anyway, I didn’t start this to go on about veganism. I just decided I liked it and wanted to know about shoes. Had I known my shoes were made of synthetic leather, I wouldn’t have even posted.

  76. 76
    Guav says:

    Evinfuilt :

    Vegan isn’t a health choice, its a cult.

    Oh, you’re a goofball. No matter what we’re talking about, be it a musical genre, a presidential candidate, a diet, or a soft drink, there will always be people who elevate it to a cult status. Whoop-de-doo. Veganism is a diet and/or lifestyle choice, period. While the people you’re describing exist, most vegans just go quietly about their business.

    You’re saying Michael shouldn’t pursue a particular diet because it will magically transform him into a cult member who is in constant competition with—who, all the other people in his life who are vegan? Isn’t it entirely up to Michael how he conducts himself?

    Most vegans don’t eat eggs or milk for the same reasons that they stopped eating meat—ethical, environmental or health. No leather goods often for the same reasons that they stopped eating meat—ethical & environmental. The rest of your “points” are absurdist straw men. I have never in 18 years of veganism ever heard anyone say that they don’t east yeast. You either made it up, or you managed to somehow find the one moron on the planet who thinks yeast are animals and not a fungus.

  77. 77
    SF Runner says:

    Back to the original question: as others said, your real problem will be finding non-leather dress/casual shoes and belts. Mid to high end running shoes are all synthetic materials these days. Synthetic is lighter than leather and breathes better. Sure, it doesn’t last as long, but most runners wear out the EVA and outsoles long before the uppers start falling apart.

  78. 78
    Sarcastro says:

    Ethical? Pffft! I’m sawing off my thumbs and moving back to the trees.

  79. 79
    Lisa says:

    I think the same people who are deriding this guy for eating well/eating what he likes – are the same people who would happily call some unfortunate person who is an ounce heavier than Ann Coulter a “fatass”.

    People seem awfully comfortable barking about what people are eating or not eating. The snotty foodists berate the less cultured as losers who don’t know good wine or what kind of cheese to have with it. Others knock people for being vegetarians, or meat eaters, or not eating enough, or eating too much. Here is an idea: Eat what you want and shut up about what other people are eating.

  80. 80
    Guav says:

    Michael, I hope you have learned your lesson. Keep your veganism to yourself, or you will be attacked and mocked by people who sincerely give a shit about what you eat, while arguing that vegans are too judgmental.

  81. 81
    capelza says:

    I’m a meat eater, the elk that was hunted with a clean kill, and the fish we and our friends catch as a bonus for what we do for a living, commercial fish.

    I try my best to buy locally everything else (love my olives, rice and pom jiuce though, not “locally available”). Our cheese and Dairy are from the next county, the wheat from the PNW, etc… though we are lucky in the PNW to have an abundance of good local food.

    But when I hear people say that it’s too expensive to be vegetarian, that’s really a load of bollocks. I was looking for a steak for my husband, a rib eye, for a special occassion, and started looking at the cost of meat and burger. Jesus H. Christ!

    As someone who worked full time and had kids in the house at the same time, it is much cheaper and just about the same amount of time to cook a fresh, vegetable heavy meal than it is to pop open a box of Hamberger Helper. And frozen vegetables are available, though granted not as good as fresh, but still…to say it’s not cheaper to eat healthy is just wrong.

    Though educating people is another thing. Seeing folks here, who I assume are not living hand to mouth or were not taught skills for healthy eating say some of the stuff I’ve seen…anything that comes in a package isn’t neccessarily cheaper, it just seems more convienient.

  82. 82
    what says:

    Thread, condensed:

    “You’re going vegan? Don’t try to force your ways on me! You must eat meat or you’re violating God’s wishes! Goddamned preachy vegans.”

  83. 83
    Evinfuilt says:

    I eat Fois Gras, so now you can really hate me.

    A tube is stuff down the gooses gullet and I eat its overstuffed liver.

    Mind you, in the wild, its mother buts its entire beak down the throat and also fattens up the liver (thats how we found out about how good it tastes.)

    Don’t treat animals like humans, they’re not the same. And don’t tell me its not a cult. Every Vegan I’ve met goes on about their superiority, then the next one shames the first one for some mistake.

    Its bullshit, use common sense.

    Want to give up leather and meat. Go for it. I have no problem there.

    But you want to not effect any animals (sentient if you want to define it that way) then you better be willing to just shoot yourself in the head. Everything you do everyday effects other animals, and in poor ways.

    Balance your ethics, but don’t go telling me what to do. Veganism is ridiculous. I hope I’m pissing you all off. Because Vegans piss me off with their superiority and selfishness, amongst their rampant hypocrisy.

    You can eat meat without being cruel. You can get eggs from a local rancher, where they’re treated properly. You can get chickens that weren’t raised in a factory.

    You can get cattle that’s raised outside on grass instead of forced grain.

    And if you want to be vegetarian, go for it, I don’t mind.

    Look at this, tell me its not what Vegans are about.
    http://www.vegan.org/going_veg.....index.html

    Forcing carnivorous animals to eat veggies, that’s against nature, its stupid.

    Mankinds first meal was probably bone marrow, as a scavenger it was common and nutrient rich. When was the last time you had that?

    Here you go with sugar, as I said the insanity never ends.
    http://www.vegfamily.com/articles/sugar.htm

    You can not in any way live a Vegan lifestyle on this planet. If you want to eat healthy as a vegetarian, and even skip out on eggs and milk, go for it. But don’t go around saying you’re doing it for the betterment of mankind.

    If you don’t mind me saying. Vegans can go fuck themselves. I have never found a group of people so full of themselves, and found them so full of shit.

  84. 84
    capelza says:

    Evinfuilt..that rage (and the Foie Gras.. :) ) are going cause those vessels to burst.

    Lordy, I have had a Vegan come to my door trying to convert me or get me to vote one way or another.

    Like I said, I am certainly not a Vegan, but you do exaggerate a bit. And every person that does eat less meat.poultry (as most people DO get their meat from battery farms and stockyards) is actually “helping”. You know, it takes more grain to raise one beef than feed (I forget the number) people with the same grain…

    That doesn’t mean you have to or that I am siggesting, but when a Vegan does point that out, they ain’t lying. But again, I’m surrounded by Vegans, not one has ever tried to convert me.

  85. 85
    Jeremy C. says:

    I worked for Nike for 5 years as a product specialist. You are A-OK with about 90% of the running shoes you will find on the market. Most “training” shoes, the heavier ones with big air units and all the gizmos, are all synthetic leather. Those are the type you’d want to be wearing on your regular runs for exercise because they offer the most impact protection. Most super-light “race day” or “marathon” models will be a mesh or neuroprene upper that is free of any leather-like material.

    Training models will likely have oil-based materials in the soles for durability. Nike’s training models (Air Max, Shox, Triax) mostly use a proprietary rubber compound called ‘BRS 1000’. BRS = Blue Ribbon Sports, Phil Knight’s original name (in honor of his favorite beer) for his company and 1000 = “twice the durability of the tires used in the Indy 500”.

    And kudos for not throwing stuff away just to replace it. The NY Times had a piece a while back (can’t find it for the life of me) about how ridiculous it is the way people will throw away their whole wardrobe to “Go Green” and how much energy is wasted to make all that new stuff that you didn’t need to buy in the first place.

  86. 86
    Gilmore says:

    I am now convinced that “Michael D” is a parody troll. Oh John Cole, you crazy jokester. You had me goin’.

  87. 87
    Damned at Random says:

    If you are a vegan out of health concerns, leather isn’t an issue. If you are an animal rights vegan, that is a different story. My daughter is an animal rights vegan -and I nag her constantly that that is not a choice she can make on behalf of her cat, an obligate carnivore. I bring a big sack of science diet whenever I visit her.

    If you are an animal rights vegan and want to rationalize leather, try this- we don’t raise and slaughter cattle for leather, we raise and slaughter them by the millions for meat. Leather is a byproduct, not the cause of the slaughter. Until we breed milk, beef and leather strains of cattle, don’t let your conscious bother you.

  88. 88
    Dayv says:

    Evinfuilt said:

    Vegans piss me off with their superiority

    … so you go around telling them that you’re better than they are?

    Seriously, could you give a more textbook example of projection?

  89. 89
    frankdawg81 says:

    back in the olden days I was on a vegan listserv (look it up sonny). I was there mostly for the recipies. Not eating meat has never been a religion to me only a healthy and wise option.

    Anyway fights would break out over this topic every few weeks & always end badly. There are sources for non-leather shoes, belts and just about anything else you can imagine. They tend to be hard to find, cost more & of poorer quality (not always but often).

    The best view I picked up from the not religiously insane vegans is that the cow is never killed for his hide. You might just as well get the running shoes you like because that skin came from a cow that was raised for meat. The leather is actually a wise use of what would otherwise be waste.

    This seems like a sensable rationalization to me, you may feel differently & thats ok too. To give you an idea of exactly what I meant to ‘ended badly’ the typical response to someone posting what I just said about leather would be:
    “So it would be OK to use soap made in the death camps because the Jews were going to be killed anyway.”

    It gave me lots of experience to debate the neo-clowns of todays right wing.

  90. 90
    frankdawg81 says:

    As far as eating living things & plants being living things & going as far out on the scale as possible:

    I once read a very serious post from a very serious woman that decried the hypocracy of a person that would “nurture one plant in the living room and murder another in the kitchen”.

    She refused to eat anything the plant did not give up voluntarily, basically seeds and fruit.

    the whole thing makes mmy head hurt after a bit

  91. 91
    Dayv says:

    The best view I picked up from the not religiously insane vegans is that the cow is never killed for his hide.

    Does anyone have a reputable source to prove (for some value of the word “prove”) that this is the case?

    I’m not saying I don’t believe it, but it would be nice to see it as something other than just peer reassurance for a change.

  92. 92
    HyperIon says:

    Read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Real Food”.
    The first has a good discussion of the ethics of meat-eating. The second is by a former vegan who switched back to omnivorism.

  93. 93
    Guav says:

    Shorter Evinfuilt: “If you want to be vegetarian, go for it, I don’t mind. But if you want to be vegan, you’re an asshole and it really pisses me off and you’re stupid and full of shit and superior and should just go fuck yourself and then commit suicide.”

  94. 94
    Guav says:

    Damned at Random Says: If you are an animal rights vegan and want to rationalize leather, try this—we don’t raise and slaughter cattle for leather, we raise and slaughter them by the millions for meat. Leather is a byproduct, not the cause of the slaughter.

    If you’re vegan because of ethical/animal rights concerns, the point is to not support the industry. You’re correct that the majority of the value of a cow is in it’s beef, but part of how the industry profits is by finding a use for all of the byproducts of the slaughter. If you buy leather, you are still supporting the meat industry—you might as well argue that an animal rights vegan can eat hot dogs, since the cow parts that go into most hot dogs are also just byproducts. Obviously, that makes no sense.

  95. 95
    Uncle Kvetch says:

    Michael, I hope you have learned your lesson. Keep your veganism to yourself, or you will be attacked and mocked by people who sincerely give a shit about what you eat, while arguing that vegans are too judgmental.

    Heh…ain’t it the truth. As a former ovo-lacto-veg, the weird defensiveness that Michael’s perfectly reasonable post has provoked.

    The other thing that always amused me was the instant assumption among these types that if you said “I’m a vegetarian,” not only were you automatically implying “and I’m morally superior to you”–you were also saying that you found something utterly repulsive about the very thought of meat. (Some vegetarians do, I know, but in my experience most don’t.) So then you get another pattern we see right here on this thread: “Oh yeah? Well I like bloody steak! The bloodier the better! I love the feel of warm blood dribbling down my chin BOOGA-BOOGA!”

    It’s times like these that you must remember: You’re the obnoxious one, Mr. High & Mighty Superior Guy.

  96. 96
    Studly Pantload says:

    Funny how internet chats like these almost always devolve into insult hurling. Here’s what I’ve surmised:

    Some vegetarians/vegans are assholes, and like to be annoyingly preachy to omnivores.

    Some omnivores are assholes, and like to be annoyingly preachy to vegetarians/vegans.

    Same goes for some Obama supporters and some Hillary supporters.

    Or some Democrats and some Republicans.

    Or some sneetches, and some star-bellied sneetches.

    The rest of us are adults.

    ::shrug::

  97. 97

    Good luck on your veganism!

    I’ve been vegan for well over 5 years now and it’s been remarkably easy for me, too.

    As for shoes, a lot of comments have already made all the important points, but I’ll just take this opportunity to gush on New Balance shoes–a good selection of vegan shoes and they’re the most comfortable things in the world.

  98. 98
    Chris Johnson says:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    shut up!

    Holy shit man. The Yoo memos coming out, insane primary campaign madness, and Michael is all “can I be a vegan if I still want leather running shoes?”

    ONLY if you wear them while drinking and driving :D

  99. 99
    Michelle says:

    Thank you Jeremey C for the info on Nike products I found it very helpful. However Nike disapoints me in the sense that most products are made in China.

    Also my though is being vegan isnt about being better than anyone or perfect, its about doing the best you can to not cause suffering.

    I know what my truth is and I will continue to live it regardless of what anyone thinks.

    Read Diet for a New America, educate yourself on the meat industry.

  100. 100
    Studly Pantload says:

    Read Diet for a New America, educate yourself on the meat industry.

    What Michelle said. John Robbins apparently walked away from a lucrative career as heir to the Baskin-Robbins fortune to spread the gospel of living a more cruelty-free lifestyle. His book is factual without at all being preachy (OK, maybe it’s a little Kumbaya-ish, but only a smidge).

    Another fantastic eye-opener is Fast Food Nation. Schlosser seems to have no agenda other than to educate, which he does in style.

  101. 101
    Evinfuilt says:

    Shorter Evinfuilt: “If you want to be vegetarian, go for it, I don’t mind. But if you want to be vegan, you’re an asshole and it really pisses me off and you’re stupid and full of shit and superior and should just go fuck yourself and then commit suicide.”

    Yes…

    But, I’ve had the pain in the ass Vegans attack perfectly respectable industry techniques under the claim to prevent cruelty. When it was simply to shut down and stop meat from being eaten.

    Factory farming bad, okay? Doesn’t mean I can’t eat meat produced cruelty free (or as free as possible.) Its usually Vegan groups that attack fellow scientists for animal research which actually saves lives.

    That’s why I get pissed off by them. Yes, unhealthy anger you could say, but they know not the damage they cause.

    There’s the sane way for better welfare for animals. Then there’s PETA and the Vegan way.

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