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Medieval Mindsets - 'vegans' in the middle ages -

For centuries the history of vegetarianism in the West was of a practice of "mortification", of attempting to subjugate the desires of the body to some supposed reward in an afterlife, rather than as a protection and celebration of life. I think this history still casts a shadow on vegetarianism today. At, John Davis looks at Medieval Mindsets - 'vegans' in the middle ages:

There were people who didn’t eat meat in Medieval Europe, and in Asia, but mostly for very different reasons to what we associate with veganism today.

In the western world the time after the fall of the Roman Empire - ‘the dark ages’, or Middle Ages or Medieval period, usually defined as about 500-1500CE. - was dominated by religion in both Europe and Asia, and many of those religions demanded various levels of abstinence and self-denial, even self-punishment.

Noteworthy is a Syrian poet, Al-Ma’arri (973-1057CE):

Thou art diseased in understanding and religion. Come to me, that thou mayst hear the tidings of sound truth.
Do not unjustly eat what the water has given up, [i.e. fish] and do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
Or the white (milk) of mothers who intended its pure draught for their young, not noble ladies.
And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking their eggs; for injustice is the worst of crimes.


The vagaries of vegan dating (BBC News)

BBC News discusses an issue near and dear to my heart: The vagaries of vegan dating

Whatever health benefits may come from not eating meat, milk, fish or eggs, veganism is still a minority pursuit, which means that vegans looking for vegan dates sometimes have a hard time.

While I certainly date women who aren't vegan, if I was going to get serious about someone they'd have to at least be vegetarian. I won't have the flesh of dead animals in the house. But it's interesting that, in my experience, women are often more willing to compromise on this; I wonder if it's part of the way our culture socializes women, that they're expected to yield to men. As the article notes,

According to Masters, the numbers ought to favour heterosexual men, as vegan women outnumber them by about three to one. But in practice it doesn't work out like that, he says. Vegan women, it seems, are more willing to tolerate a non-vegan partner.

"When I get together with my male vegan friends, we do sometimes grumble a bit about all the vegan women with non-vegan men," he says.


Interview with John Robbins About His Latest Book "No Happy Cows" presents an interview with activist and best-selling author John Robbins about his latest book, "No Happy Cows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Food Revolution."

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