Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Submissions and Opinions

First, I want to put out a quick THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in submissions. I've got over a hundred fabulous, inspiring photographs and emails so far -- you guys rock! Please don't be sad if you don't see your submission posted right away -- there are a lot to get through. I'm having a great time going through all the contributions, so please, please keep 'em coming!

Secondly, two questions have arisen in my mind regarding some of the submissions, and I want your help deciding the direction the blog will be going.

1. Some submissions include white rice. My first instinct is to shy away from white rice, as it isn't a whole grain. But except for the fact that white rice is used, these photographs are quite lovely and inspirational. Do you want to see them, knowing that you can substitute brown rice if you make the dish, or should we stick to brown rice only?



2. Some submissions are including small amounts of dairy. A sprinkle of cheese here, a bit of nonfat yogurt there ... what are your thoughts? For some people a plant-based meal with a sprinkle of cheese is surely a step in the right direction, and it might be nice to encourage them in that direction. But dairy isn't health food, and from a vegan standpoint, it's a bit hard to see, isn't it? Should the blog stay vegan, or should we allow predominantly plant-based dishes with an added bit of dairy?



These polls are going to end in exactly one week, so please vote.

26 comments:

Kate said...

There are plenty of strictly vegan or macrobiotic blogs out there for those who want it. I saw the purpose of this blog as more to promote the fun variety of healthy foods and activities that are underadvertised in our society. I would argue that dishes featuring a great variety of produce and whole grains, even involving white rice or some dairy, can benefit from more exposure, and promise to defend you in the comments if purists get on your case!

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks, Kate! That was my idea when I started the blog, but I wanted to check in with the audience and see if that's how they feel, too. If they say "no way", I will respect that. So far, it looks like they're agreeing with you!

Personally I find cheese repulsive (I've never, ever liked it), but I can still see past it and appreciate the rest of the dish.

Sanja said...

There are plenty of non-vegan food blogs that focus on healthy food & living, not so much vegan ones...

I also think that not-vegan-eating people would not be offended to not see dairy, whereas vegan people could be.

Also, wasn't vegan in the 'mission statement' of this site? And why draw the line at dairy, why not feature meat and fish as well then?

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I also think that not-vegan-eating people would not be offended to not see dairy, whereas vegan people could be.

Yes, I agree with that as well.

>>wasn't vegan in the 'mission statement' of this site?

No, the submission page states "We welcome submissions from vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, flexitarians, and omnivores, but we ask that your submissions emphasize plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds."

The pictures I'm referring to do emphasize plant foods, but there is a little animal product in there, too.

See, I'm torn, because I want to welcome everyone, but at the same time I struggle with the fact that animal foods are morally reprehensible to vegans and troubling from an ethical standpoint. (From a strictly health standpoint, I believe it is possible to add a very small amount of animal products to your diet without impacting your overall health; Dr. Fuhrman's work has informed me on that point.)

So, since I see both sides and have good friends on both sides, I'm leaving it to you, the audience! :-)

>>And why draw the line at dairy, why not feature meat and fish as well then?

If you all vote to keep it strictly vegan I'll have my answer to that question, too. If not, that will have to be my next poll, if any submissions like that come in.

Gina said...

Well, I think that the point of this blog is to promote a healthy, well balanced lifestyle. While I don't consider white rice to be healthy, I do think that it can be included once in awhile in a well-balanced diet (although I personally don't understand *why* you would choose white over brown).

As for the dairy...I think its fine. Personally, I don't eat dairy, but again, I think the whole blog is about being balanced and I don't think that you need to adhere to being vegan. Do I think being dairy-free is healthier? Sure, but I don't think this necessarily has to be the place to push those views on others.

Our Red House said...

I have no problem with dairy or even lean meat being included, so long as the blog encourages whole foods. Let's face it, there are very healthy, slim omnivores, and very unhealthy vegans out there.

However, it's your call, so you might like to create guidelines that you are happy with.

Kate

Al Fox said...

Would it be too time consuming to mention vegan alternatives in the caption for the post? Like "Skip the cheese for a truly delicious vegan treat!"

If you welcome submissions from omnivores, then I guess you are opening the possibility of healthy-ish animal based options ...

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Would it be too time consuming to mention vegan alternatives in the caption for the post? Like "Skip the cheese for a truly delicious vegan treat!"

No, that wouldn't be too time consuming -- that's a good idea! And I could mention choosing brown rice in the white rice posts, too.

aleta meadowlark said...

Hey, omnivores want to be thin too! The second it becomes just another vegan blog is the moment you alienate a lot of people who really like the idea you've got going here!

Jamie Wilcox said...

I'm okay with it not being strictly vegan, there are vegan substitutions!
And I want all the tasty photos I can get!

beth b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beth b said...

omnivore/flexitarian here. If everything was vegan,it wouldn't stop me from visiting here. However, if the purpose is to show that a well balanced life is beautiful - A little dairy or white rice isn't going to change that. I guess the question is - who is your audience? The converted or those that are searching?

Tamara said...

Cheese totally grosses me out. However, I think that, as you said, as long as it's a small component in an otherwise healthful, plant-based meal, it should still be included, with the goal of making the blog inclusive. Personally, when I see these photos, I'll just be thinking to myself, "mmm... looks like some yummy soy cheese on that dish!" :-) The non-dairy alternatives are becoming so much better lately, they look and taste more and more like the real thing, so I'll just pretend that's what it is.

Zucchini Breath said...

In my opinion, it should be vegan and whole foods ONLY!!

But I will look no matter. I will just be very sad if I see another health blog that advocates eating meat. We all know that meat is not healthy.

Cheers!

denise said...

I completely agree with Zucchini Breath.

I recently went through my Bloglines and deleted all of the blogs that don't 100% support me on my quest for whole food veganism. I also let my Vegetarian Times expire. There are too many cheese/egg dishes to waste my time and make me feel like I'm missing out on something. (when only a fraction of the recipes pertain to me)

I came to this blog through your vegan blog and my new found interest in Eat to Live (thanks to you!), but I don't believe eggs and dairy are healthy and I don't want to look at pictures of them. Sorry!

Sasha said...

I like to look at this blog to see pictures of healthy food - the more pictures, the better. :) I have no problem if dairy is included and it doesn't matter to me if something easily substitutable like white rice is included.

It might be nice if there was a way to mark things that were vegan/not vegan so that people who were offended could filter them out - maybe it would be possible to do that with labels? I'm not very familiar with blogger, but I know wordpress will even generate rss feeds based on categories.

Katie said...

Even vegans have to draw the line somewhere. If you think you go about your day without hurting an animal, you should probably think again and realize that we do what we can with what we have to live a more healthful, compassionate life.

The beauty of the internet is that you don't have to look at things you don't want to see. But if you're seriously offended by a bit of cheese...How do you open your eyes on a daily basis?

If you're going to keep the blog strictly vegan then make sure there isn't any plastic in the pictures either. Plastic is made with animal fat. And no one can have driven anywhere to get the ingredients or exercise. Even if you walk to the farmer's market you probably step on a bug or too...

Joselle said...

You've already conflated being thin with being healthy. Why not continue the offensive inaccuracies by adding dairy to the mix?

marleah said...

I'm vegan, and I probably wouldn't mind a little bit of dairy if it's there, although I am totally ethically opposed to it.

The minute lean meat or fish shows up though, I'm out of here.

Honestly, the number of vegan blogs doesn't even compare to the number of "regular-foodie" blogs - so I'm really rooting for the underdog here. I unsubscribed to one of my favorite design/diy blogs because bacon (and photos) was featured way too prominently.

steveb said...

I agree with Zucchini Breath, Marleah, and Joselle (although I would consider it more disappointing than offensive if animal-derived products appear).

The pictures are fabulous. You have a fantastic idea going. However, having to filter the pictures through my own vision of what I believe is truly healthy is not what I would want to do with a site like this. It would be like reading a restaurant menu and having to discern which dishes are or could be vegan. That takes energy and ultimately feels very confining. How liberating it feels to simply go to a vegan-friendly restaurant and enjoy the prospect of every offering. That's why I love your other blog, and that's why I am prepared to love this blog.

White rice would be fine with me because it's still vegan, although we avoid it.

As Marleah says, SAD blogs are omnipresent and vegan blogs are few. I follow blogs for positive support for my chosen lifestyle. I too would unsubscribe if I had to see meat or dairy.

Mikah said...

Please keep it vegan! I want to look at an ideal. That's the whole point of this blog, right? Beautiful pictures that make people want to eat in that beautiful way. I don't see why that can't be done WITHOUT white rice and dairy.

rose said...

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but why not white rice? I'm from South East Asia and grew up eating white rice every day. Many of us are skinny minnies and are pretty healthy. As long as you're not eating two bowls in one sitting I'm not really sure what the issue is..?

Steph said...

I'm rather surprised that some people have taken the passive-aggressive route over this. I love this blog (and Vegan Lunchbox) because they're welcoming to vegans and non-vegans alike. There are very healthy omnis and very unhealthy junk-food-and-soda vegans out there. I would think that displaying a small amount of dairy/white rice could really inspire omnis looking to change their diet without totally alienating vegan readers.

I think this blog is a very beautiful celebration of healthy choices, and I would hate to see bickering affect it. There have been a few suggestions that I think would allow strict vegans to avoid any dairy-related images, such as tags/filters and RSS feeds.

Amara said...

I would prefer not to see any dairy. Thanks.

Wanderlusting said...

I love dairy, I love white rice and I love meat and I am as fit and healthy as a fiddle.

I agree with many posters above, the minute this becomes a vegan blog, you are losing a lot of submissions and readers.

The problem with most vegans is that they are usually very self-righteous and believe that they are the healthiest beings out there - not true. You can eat meat, dairy and rice (or pasta) and just be as healthy.

This isn't a competition - I think you should have this blog open to as many people as possible and not narrow it down to appeal only to the vegans - just because they believe only healthy living applies to them. I applaud their strict efforts but you can always make recipes vegan friendly as a substitute.

Anyway, my two cents.

Wanderlusting said...

Anyway, it seems like a lot of purists here would leave if you posted pics of dairy or fish or whatever. Seems like you're gonna lose readers either way but I'm pretty sure the original point of this blog wasn't to pander to the vegans. It was to show healthy food correct?

If you change the blog to suit the vegans out there, that furthers the stereotype that vegan-living is the "only" health way to eat and we all know that's not true.