Gregory's Blog

Bivalvegans – it’s getting divisive

Have you heard of bivalvegans yet? When I created the VegeBurger in 1982 there were basically ‘normal’ eaters, vegetarians and the odd vegan. It was simple. All of them were omnivores, able to eat a wide range of vegetable and animal foods, whether they chose to or not.

Now as we splinter into factions it is starting to look like dietary groups may overtake the expanding initialism that began with LGB in the mid 1980’s and is now up to LGBTTQQIAAP. Will we soon need an expanding set of guidelines on menus, depicting new diet categories as well as specifics such as gluten-free?

On the food front we already have:

– Full-spectrum omnivores who eat according to their choices without firm borders.

– Carnivores who will eat nothing but flesh – avoiding all vegetable, grain, etc. Not being a moral stance, occasionally they lapse.

– Flexitarians who eat a plant-based diet with occasional inclusion of meat or fish

– Pescatarians – plant-based foods with inclusion of  fish

– Vegetarians – vegetable foods with eggs and dairy

– Bivalvegans – Vegans who include oysters, clams, and other bivalves without a nervous system to convey pain. Obviously contentious to straight-up vegans.

– Vegans – no animal products at all. No dairy, egg, honey, leather, wool, fur or presumably feathers.

– Fruitarians – Sub-category of vegan. At least 4 different interpretations with carrots and lettuce in none of them and seeds of all forms in some (grains, beans, nuts +),

– Veganarbs soon? – see below

As veganism grows, will we see it breaking into factions as did Christianity? It already has the trappings of a new religion, with the potential for heated argument and falling-out over details as numbers grow. For instance:

– Some vegans believe honey is ethical if the bees are well kept, since no bees are killed to produce it.

– I know two vegans who are happy to wear second-hand fur coats. Would similar logic apply to vegans who eat bacon discarded when past its sell by date?

– There are purely ethical vegans who regard meat as murder. Some may show little regard for the soil’s vitality or their own diverse gut flora, eating any old crap as long as there is no animal in it. Successful ‘Vegan Junk Food’ stalls do events and festivals.

– There are environmental vegans concerned mainly with greenhouse gases and the planet’s health. They will shun palm oil, avocados, almonds and food miles. As their prime concern is the planet they may in some circumstances lapse a little.

– There are self-interested vegans, who shun consumption of animal products primarily for their own health and that of our host planet. They are likely to be eating organically, and less strict with wool, leather and silk. Occasional dips into flexitarianism.

– And, of course, there are combinations of all the above, and raw food devotees.

– Now we know of the socially aware wood wide web, will a new class of vegans be avoiding wood products? Might they be veganarbs? How do we compare the life of a 100-year-old oak tree to that of a chicken or sardine? What is life like for a factory-farmed tree planted in neat rows on a once diversified hillside?

Who can tell whether the field will be further fragmented, or united, when lab-grown meat is affordable, grown with cells descended from an original living animal. If somebody developed cigarettes with no adverse health effects, would smoking in restaurants and buses become acceptable? Vaping is having a difficult time.

What’s my point? We have enough divisiveness in the world and it is not healthy for anyone, apart from politicians and arms makers. We are starting to see attacks by the meaty brigade on the environmental downside of plant-based eaters because they include almonds and avocados in their diet. Though vegetarians have traditionally been tolerant of meat-eaters, vegans tend towards intolerance. By not eating eggs and dairy they cannot be accused of hypocrisy for taking the moral high ground – just of fanaticism, at times.

Ethical vegans are likely to regard meat as murder, highlighted by the recent case of a young bride’s non-vegan family members banned from her wedding as she did not want murderers attending the special event. Of course, were the entire world to join this young lady in her holier-than-thou veganism it would spell disaster for the world’s chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and cattle. Some might be cherished as house pets or kept in zoos but the species would face disaster. Perhaps it is better never to have lived than to live an unhappy life, ended prematurely and brutally.

There are alternatives to the horrific factory farm – ‘ethical’ organic producers whose animals live a better life – but still get killed before their time, we hope humanely without pain or panic (for which there are methods). In a vegan world many human mammals in the Arctic Circle would starve while the other mammals would do well living off the fish and each other.

Factory farms are an abomination and future generations will look back in as much horror at them as we hope they will look back at a culture that celebrated conflict of the armed variety. The organised slaughter of human beings in military operations has even less validity than the mechanised mass slaughter of cows, which at least provide food for an omnivore. Yet we are conditioned to think both are normal. Are the two connected? I would suggest that they are supportive, at the least.

Vegans should remember that we are omnivores and have long included animal products and flesh in our diet – and that it is the horrors of the factory farm that are beyond the pale. We could live perfectly healthily on a 100% plant-based diet, unlike those domesticated animals who would largely perish if not part of our food chain. That’s absolutely fine if they go, and good news for badgers and otters, elephants and rainforests. There are countless benefits to being vegan, but kindness to cows, pigs and sheep is not one of them. The growth in vegetarians, vegans and ethical omnivores can put the factory farm out of business, dependent as it is on mass consumption and taxpayer-funded state subsidies. It’s changing.

We reap the harvest we deserve from the foods we choose to turn into ourselves. Leave it at that, which changes people when they ‘get’ it. Some of us got that 50 years ago, some 5 years ago, and some may not get it for years to come. We have enough hatred and division in our lives already without taking stands over what people eat. Lighten up, loosen up, and if others are offending your sense of morality, enjoy your own life and let karma deal with them. When we change what we eat we change the system and that is a powerful tool enough.

There is a chapter titled “Meat Of The Issue” my book The State Is Out Of Date. Brief summary here:


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11 thoughts on “Bivalvegans – it’s getting divisive”

  1. Every diet influences our gut biome, so after about 6 months a vegan has only the bacteria etc. in the guts that deal with their food. But do they realize that what we (or our billions of gut biome friends) digests influences our moods and thoughts? Vegans become like plants in their brains, just like meat eaters become like animals. For vegans this means nice, very social, a bit like we see the millennials now, not much ambition, expecting to be taken care of, spoiled some say. This affects the social sphere too, so vegans transform their world, their culture towards the floral. The baby boomers, most of them keen on meat, are different, they have ambition, want to move, hunt, deal with problems, they are doers and could be called agressive.
    Just compare the general culture and attitude of the Muslim population and the Hindu in India.

    1. What about herbivour mammals? Do you think they are more like plants? How about plenty of vegan professional athletes with outstanding perfomance (moving isn’t their strength?), world famous actors and other public figuers? Do they lack ambition? What about vegan activists, often “hard core ones” who cant help but feel agression towards.. violence? What of activists doing all they can to protect and take care of oppressed?

  2. The pigs and cows would be able to survive in the wild. Pigs already survive pretty easily. The cows food source is virtually everywhere, and a bull would project the mom and calf from predators.
    Chickens- probably not unless we let them on some tropical island without predators.

    1. Pigs would survive in what wild is left, especially in land denuded of people by nuclear power plant meltdowns, but their numbers would be cut to a tiny percentage of todays. Feral goats would survive in the right habitats too. Not sure where cows would wander freely in Europe.

  3. Yes. I’m very uncomfortable with the growing amounts of products for sale that give NO indication of what is in them. Vegan burgers, Vegan nuggets, Vegan Pate ( in days of old: Veggie burger, tofu nuggets, mushroom pate etc…) Is this because people don’t want to know what type of plant protein is contained within? It’s messed up- In most cases they are extremely processed and lack any nutritional value. Vegans are blindly buying into weird laboratory created products that could be full of all kinds of nasties!! I hope this passes and the ‘’meat is murder’ vegans get conscious on the health elements of their dietary choice too. Xx

    1. Could not agree more. I am flabbergasted by how many vegans have never looked at the ingredient label to see what is in the products they buy – only concerned with what is not in them. If only they gave more thought to the billions of friendly flora living in their guts.
      BTW, totally bonkers programme on extreme vegans and extreme ex-vegans eating nothing but raw flesh last night. Most entertaining –

  4. You are what you eat, if true, means if you only eat cabbage you are a cabbage, if you eat just nuts you will be nuts and if you only eat animals screaming as they are roughly slaughtered in terrifying conditions you will be absorbing and expressing that horror too.

  5. What we are desperate for now are plasticarians. I believe it’s feasible to clone a new type of mammal that is a hybrid between a Bombardier Beetle and a dolphin. Many insects, such as ants and the beetle mentioned carry extremely effective acids in the stomachs without harm to themselves.
    A successful creature may be one that can actually digest plastic waste and recycle it internally. With the right enzymes in the stomach juices I believe we can solve the problem of the floating plastic island, now 4 times the size of France! I’m not sure what form its defections might take – hell, I’m not a scientist.
    I know many forward thinking people may urge caution as a great number of small pleasure vessels are made from plastic based fibre-glass. Knowing the inherent intelligence of the dolphin I can understand how a shoal (herd?) might take a boat hostage. I’m not saying I know every solution but we have to try – damn it. As I said, I’m not a scientist!

    1. Hey Alan, just caught this message and good to hear from you and to see that you’re still bubbling up with innovative solutions. You should have been studying genetic engineering on that one instead of wasting your time managing wholefood warehouses.
      Peace & Love
      ps = hope you caught my latest blog!

      1. Hi Greg, I never miss your blogs. I’m a fan of your way of thinking even when it stretches me.
        I never regret working for you and Craig. You taught me a lot about how people are important and that managing is all about giving people what they need to be happy and productive. My background in British management was that it was about bullying and fear. I met a guy recently who was wearing a fancy tie with lots of emblems on it and I asked what it represented. When he said proudly, ‘It’s the association of British managers’ I asked him if he wasn’t embarrassed to wear it. He wandered off to talk to someone else oddly enough.
        Some people, seeing the Earth cleaning itself, are suggesting that covid 19 is the planet’s anti-virus agent cleaning itself of people. I guess we always knew where things would head if we didn’t do something to stop our overpopulation. I remember Spike Milligan talking about it in the 60s and saying it was the great elephant in the room.
        Anyway, I hope you are keeping safe in these weird times. And I will continue reading your brilliant blogs. Love Al.

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