Everything In Moderation Right?…..WRONG!

Let's have some complexity from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 futureatlas.com, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wyli

‘But Karen…don’t you think we should just eat everything in moderation?’

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard this.

It used to drive me CRAYZEEE and I didn’t have the counter-argument at my fingertips, so I got frustrated every time I heard it.

I had no answers other than ‘but what about heroin or cocaine, surely they’re not good in moderation?’

But this argument never felt sufficient. Someone would always say ‘er…no….they’re not food, we mean all foods in moderation.’

It didn’t help my frustration levels that the person saying it always thought they’d just KILLED ME with common sense, and that there was NO WAY I couldn’t now see things from their point of view.

And after all, it’s not one of the more aggressive things that get said to vegans. It sounds quite innocuous. Strangely, I prefer the stupider, more aggressive, defensive comments ‘cos they’re… well, just plain silly and quite easy to respond to.

But this one really does sound like common sense. Perhaps in another context, on another planet, it WOULD be common sense, but not in the way we use it today.

Now that I’ve given it some thought, I’m clearer on why the ‘moderation’ defence is poppycock; tosh; balderdash and bunkum.

There are really four elements to it, and they are:

1. What is moderation?

My definition of moderation is different to yours: yours is different to your auntie’s; hers is different to Donald Trump’s (not sure why I picked him, ew). This word has SUCH an ambiguous, indefinable meaning.

Everyone nods in agreement when someone says they ‘eat everything in moderation,’ yet none of them have the same idea of what moderation is.

And do they REALLY eat animal products in (any definition of) moderation? We all like to think we eat certain less-than-healthy foodstuffs ‘in moderation,’ but when it comes down to it, we just don’t.

Me? I like to believe I eat dark chocolate in moderation. I have it JUST on the weekends so I MUST do right? But when I really think about it honestly, I probably eat way more than is healthy for a two day period. I probably don’t eat it in moderation at all.

How many times have I had non-vegans say to me ‘Oh, you’re vegan? Well you know I hardly eat ANY meat or dairy.’ In actuality, they eat a lot more than they like to think of themselves eating. If all the people who said this were speaking the truth; half the livestock industry would’ve shut down by now! People don’t know how much they eat of anything until they stop eating it.

And ‘moderation’ is such a positive word; we all want to be associated with it. It’s the opposite of radical, fanatical and fundamentalist – all of which none of us want to be. We all want to believe we eat everything in moderation, but the truth is that lots of our meal choices are more animal product-heavy than we realise.

Just consider – do you eat chicken in moderation? Beef? Steak? Eggs? Cheese? Fish? Lamb? Pork? Yoghurt? Butter? Most of these? Weeeellll – that’s a heck of a lot of animal products to be eating ‘in moderation.’ If you eat each of these foods in moderation – you’re not leaving much room for plant foods!

2. What is everything?

Do the people who use this phrase really eat EVERYTHING?

I consider myself to eat a wide variety of foods from all over the globe, but I certainly don’t eat everything. I’ve yet to try durian, turnip greens and natto; plus hundreds of other plant-foods I’m sure.

I’m assuming the ‘moderation’ crowd don’t eat monkey’s brains, or frog’s legs, or shark meat. Some of the ‘moderation’ folk I know don’t even eat avocado, or sweet potato for the love of all things holy. And some I know eat chicken and potatoes in some form for pretty much every meal. Maybe they have Weetabix for breakfast.

Their concept of ‘everything’ is narrower than any fair definition of the word oughtta be!

The ‘everything’ they are referring to is the very small group of foods they stick to on a daily basis.

This is not what ‘everything’ means.

3. It’s not cool to eat ANY things in moderation (or otherwise) that have suffered and been brutally slaughtered when we have absolutely no need to do so.

Uh, that’s it.

4. It’s not cool to eat ANY things in moderation (or otherwise) that have a destructive impact on our planet (habitat destruction, global warming, topsoil loss, air/water pollution, desertification and rainforest decimating etc), when we have absolutely no need to do so.

Yep. That’s it for that one too.

3 thoughts on “Everything In Moderation Right?…..WRONG!”

  1. I’ve had this argument with a friend – I try to live sustainably without eating dairy etc but eggs from free range hens, fish from a aquaponics system which runs our vegetable garden (at 1/10th water requirements) etc etc…. my understanding of moderation should apply to veganism as well. I find in this case the vegan is strongly against use of animal products, and I understand do side with her, but on the other side she is highly commercialized, investing in an aesthetic house rather than downscaling and investing in a eco solutions, not being aware of were her food sources come from… you know its not just of the shelf wrapped in some pretty plastic, its come from around the world most of the time… in my opinion, and I ask this as a question, is that type of ignorance not hypocritical? I refer to you point 4. below. Does this mean that as a vegan, there is absolutely no room for compromise?

    4. It’s not cool to eat ANY things in moderation (or otherwise) that have a destructive impact on our planet (habitat destruction, global warming, topsoil loss, air/water pollution, desertification and rainforest decimating etc), when we have absolutely no need to do so.

    1. Hi Indigo, thanks so much for your interest and your comment.

      Firstly, as veganism is at core an ethical stance about not exploiting other sentient beings, then it really isn’t ok to exploit them ‘in moderation,’ in the same way that it isn’t ok to harm any living being ‘in moderation.’

      I hear what you are saying about your friend, but the impact of animal agriculture on the environment is SO negative, that a vegan driving a Humvee or flying a plane is actually being more environmentally sound than a meat-eater who rides a bike.

      Getting plant-based food from around the world is STILL less negatively impactful environmentally than eating local meat.

      I strongly recommend you watch the documentary Cowspiracy (you’ll like it, it’s very watchable), and maybe dip into the work of Dr Richard Oppenlander. These guys just use independent, peer-reviewed science.

      Also, see my most recent blog post on flexitarianism (just click on the ‘blog’ page at the top and it should be there).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *