Are You An ‘Ethical Vegan’?

How do you feel about the idea of being vegan, but only 95 percent ofthe time?

Authors of The 95% Vegan Diet Dr. Jamie Noll and Caitlin Herndon believe that youcan be a successful vegan by only following the lifestyle only themajority of the time. This is in direct conflict with the traditionalvegan mindset which is more of an all-or-nothing view, creating twofactions of vegans, dietary and ethical.

On their website, the authors differentiate between dietary vegans andethical vegans. They say their diet plan is for dietary vegans,therefore does not have to adhere to the stricter guidelines followedby ethical vegans. “Many people would like to ‘go vegan’, but theydon’t even try because they feel they could never give up certainfoods forever,” Dr. Noll said. “As you know, in science we allow afive percent variance before we consider the data to be significantlydifferent…In fact, there are no 100 percent vegan cultures in theworld.”

The creators of the 95 percent vegan diet and its followers are dietaryvegans, sticking to a mostly vegan lifestyle for the nutritional andhealth benefits, though the ethical reasons may have played some partin their decision. According to Dr. Noll in a post on the 95 percent veganblog, ethical vegans follow that lifestyle because of theirconvictions first, and health benefits second. Dietary veganism is controversial because those who follow a veganlifestyle completely feel that the 95 percent vegan diet is amisrepresentation of vegan culture.

“Based on the feedback of those who live a fully vegan lifestyle(ethical vegans), the title of the book was changed from 95 percent Vegan toThe 95 percent Vegan Diet – just to make clear the focus of ‘going vegan’ isbased primarily on health concerns,” Dr. Noll said. “The vegan diet is100 percent plant-based. The 95 percent vegan diet is 95 percent plant-based.No offense was ever intended. ‘Going vegan’ in the public vernaculargenerally refers to diet.”


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Image credit: Isaac Wedin, used underCreative Commons license.


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Caili W.
A. Cailia W.3 years ago

(con't).... while this particular vegan so readily jumped to erroneous conclusions, she was completely unaware that I had given up all new animal related products, and those tested on animals, years ago. I am also very much against the use of animals for entertainment purposes and am actively involved in a number of animal welfare and environmental protection causes. Sadly, people tend to learn very little when their eyes, ears and/or minds are closed.

3 years ago

Caili...good luck to you as you try the vegan diet.
Sorry to learn that you were even attacked by a vegan for making your choice based on your own criteria. That just illustrates how some people who call themselves vegan are really out of touch with reality.
Fortunately, there are many who are wonderful people.

Just do yourself a favour and have your blood checked at 6 month intervals...and monitor your health and any changes carefully.
I got sick on it, and had to resume eating some small portions of meat (local organic fish and some occasional chicken and a bit of local beef 2 or 3 times a year), but the damage it caused my immune system is permanent.
All but one vegan (a new convert) in my acquaintance have abandoned the vegan diet for a more moderate vegetarian/pescatarian/Mediterranean diet...some after 20 years, some after a few months and many in between. They either got sick or just didn't feel well or energetic anymore.
Just because I had to resume eating a nutritionally balanced diet doesn't mean I love animals any less or do any less in my fight against factory farming or that I raise less money for our local animal shelter.

Some of the people who call themselves vegan and profess to be so compassionate are really very hateful toward humans...and that is not a problem that can be resolved by eating a vegan diet. That requires professional help....and a lot of introspection.

Best of luck to you! I hope it works out well for you!

Caili W.
A. Cailia W.3 years ago

Rosemary, I so agree with you! I've seen it get rather heated on a few vegan groups I'm on and it's really rather saddening. I don't think belittling or browbeating others who have a different point of view is ever helpful, regardless of which side of the fence you are on. Getting defensive over the "misuse of the word vegan" also does little to foster understanding or encourage others to live a cleaner, healthier, more cruelty-free lifestyle, either. I also see some meat eaters actively troll because they find being offensive to vegans enjoyable. Neither scenario promotes understanding or tolerance, and neither will foster change.

Related to that...

I made the decision over the weekend to go completely vegan. That choice, as I said before, was based on both health considerations and ethical considerations (animal welfare and to benefit the environment), alike. I had another vegan rip into me because my health and concern over the environment were a part of the decision making process for me as I made the transition from meat eater to pescatarian to vegan. I was told that I was not a vegan unless my only motivation was animal welfare! In fact, she went so far as to accuse me of not caring about animals and of using animal derived clothing, cosmetics, etc., which I actually do not. Some people are so determined to push their views, that they fail to listen and jump to erroneous conclusions about those they don't know.

While this particular vegan so readily jumped to

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H.3 years ago

It feels so good to read polite, considered, posts from people of different viewpoints! If only discussing this subject was always as civilised as this!

Caili W.
A. Cailia W.3 years ago

I gave up meat and poultry over 2 1/2 years ago, primarily for dietary reasons, and secondarily because I loathed factory farming practices, as well as the impact of the meat industry on the environment. It is true that not everyone makes the decision to go on a plant-based diet, whether vegan or not, for the same reasons and I think it is important that others understand this. My diet is 95% or more vegan, although I don't generally refer to myself as a vegan. It is also dairy-free, GMO-free, gluten-free (due to gluten sensitivity) and mostly organic. I eat cage-free, organic eggs and sustainable, wild-caught fish 2-3 times per month, although that frequency is continuing to decline. I may well give up the sustainable fish soon, since it comes from the Pacific and there are increasing concerns over the effect of radiation from the Fukushima power plant on Pacific caught fish. My dietary choices have been based on health first, personal beliefs/ethics second. I believe both reasons are equally valid, whether they align with that of traditional vegans or not.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H.3 years ago

Hi Dale,

I'm not sure that it was me who said anything about supplements, but I agree with what you are saying, and of course I agree with your comments on the words used to abuse thoughtful omnivores like us.

To judge from what I read here, America is full of unhealthily reared cattle, causing havoc in the environment, and fattening up Americans. And there's seldom any mention of the grass-fed animals that are the norm where I live. I see lots of horses whom I am sure are happy in their fields, and the food animals in the fields next door look just as happy!

Are they miserable because they won't live as long as the horses? If they were wild, they would all be prey animals. I am quite sure that any awareness of future death to feed a predator doesn't cloud the contentment of a prey animal whose present needs are met, because animals live in the present.

3 years ago

Yes, Schnee, I has had a hand in making many animals extinct, and it's very sad, but it's also reality. Also keep in mind that man is taking many measures and having much success in saving many other species from extinction due to uncontrolled predators other than mankind. Not all humans are bad.

No one knows for sure why dinorsaurs became extinct, but it wasn't likely because of humans.
Sometimes the natural balance of life changes because the natural balance of the planet changes. For good or bad, REALITY happens.

As I got older, I found that many of my ideals and ideas got rounder corners and softer edges as I gained a wider perspective of life and nurtured my sense of tolerance and acceptance of those who are different than myself and live THEIR lives governed by their own requirements and beliefs.

Thanks for your input and civility in sharing your points of view! I wish you the best!

Schnee S.
Viky S.3 years ago

MarilynBusy W., it’s OK, thank you for understanding. I’m not a supporter of breeding new animals, too, esp. when millions need loving families. (as well as abandoned children.) It’s just terrible.
‘. . . even if humans can be destructive, we have also accomplished great things that give life and save lives...and animals don't’. I’m not denying that. On the other hand, please don’t forget how many species have become extinct because humans annihilated them. There are good and bad sides of humanity, of everything

As I’ve said recently, I would never ever let anyone live on inappropriate diet that would damage their life. My point is that many people actually can survive on veggies, or at least reduce killing of animals to min.

You're right, It’s too bad that we cannot know a person by their comments on a web site. This fact should keep us from being judgmental or impatient. We might even not know people well enough when talking to them in person...

You know, I have time to think about myself and my attitude towards events, life, and how surprisingly little my mind changed through years. My ‘problem’ is that I don’t believe in half-measures. IMO people have wasted too much time and lives.

Well, this conversation could go on forever, but thanks again for making it civil, for sharing your thoughts and hearing out mine.

3 years ago

Some of our greatest inventions have been abused and/or turned into weapons, and that's wrong, but that's a fact of life. There is the negative to balance the in good vs evil. Both exist, and that's just a reality that we all have to accept or go crazy trying to deny it.

You yourself believe in 'in vitro'! A human discovered that, and if (s)he had been left to die on a diet that didn't suit his/her needs, it might not exist. I personally do not believe in 'IV' because there are so many unwanted children in need of adoptive homes. I feel the same way about breeding pure bred animals. I think it's wrong when there are so many already born who need loving homes. Overpopulation is already a big enough problem.

I truly want to make it clear that I am not arguing with you so much as just sharing a different point of view. It's hard to get the intended sincerity of 'feelings' from a comment that is typed on a page. I'm not trying to convert you or change you and I respect that you are, what seems to be, a very strong person, because I respect strength of will and character.