Should we eat only fruits?

Submitted by sudo in Vegan

This thought occurred to me the other day. When you eat a vegetable, you have killed the entire plant (with a few exceptions). Whereas, when you eat a fruit, you haven't killed the original plant - you have only prevented it from reproducing. It's kind of like performing a plant-abortion. So, if our goal as vegans is to subsist without being cruel to other lifeforms, and killing them is being cruel, should we eat only fruits in order to avoid killing any plants?

Let's ignore the health effects of eating only fruit for the moment, and focus only on the ethical side. What are your thoughts on this?

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existential1 wrote (edited )

This is a false premise. Other than root vegetables, you can harvest veggies without killing the entire plant.

For cruciferous vegetables, you can harvest nearly all (or all in some cases) of the plant (except the root) and it will grow right back as if nothing happened. I actually just harvested some kale last week that grew from a stub (I harvested kale seeds from the plant, cut it down to about an inch above the ground, and it grew fresh kale a couple months later surprisingly even though it had already gone to seed). In fact, you can harvest beet greens a few times in the beet's lifetime before harvesting the beet.

For nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc, it is actually no different than fruit from a tree. You are harvesting the fruit of a plant. Doesn't harm the plant at all.

For squash, it is the same as nightshades. The plant "itself" is the root and stem while the squash is the fruit.

I'm thinking that you may have not ever grown veggies before :) One of the nice things about growing your own food is you learn a lot about how dope nature is and how "ethical" you can be without even trying that hard.

EDIT: Spelling

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ziq wrote (edited )

Yup. I have collards and kales growing for years that still haven't gone to seed. I feed the leaves to my rabbit and ducks everyday and they grow new ones on the stalk after a week (some of the stalks are as big as small trees). And I have a cut and come again lettuce / mustard / rocket bed for me where I use scissors to harvest everything once a week and eventually let it go to seed.

For nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc, it is actually no different than fruit from a tree. You are harvesting the fruit of a plant. Doesn't harm the plant at all.

I would call those fruits.

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sudo OP wrote

That's good to know. I was thinking of root vegetables at the time I wrote this. I suppose I should rephrase my question as: should we avoid eating plants that we need to kill in order to consume?

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existential1 wrote

For the "new" question...I would still not consider an issue. Mostly for the same reason that i think veganism has contextual limits as well (even though I'm vegan). Some root vegetables, like potatoes, are prolific spreaders. If you happen to have them growing in an open area, they can quite easily start to disrupt other systems you have going. So as a base case, I don't think it's an issue in certain contexts.

That being said, I really don't have an issue with eating root vegetables at all. You can grow more than you could ever plant with the seeds of a few plants (one plant for prolific seeders), and some things don't last through the seasons anyway. Also, though I have very strong opinions about grafting trees, I don't in general view the caloric consumption of vegetables to be all that controversial.

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ziq wrote (edited )

I ate nothing but fruit and lettuce for 10 [EDIT: 12] years, AMA I guess. Lettuce grows back after you cut it btw.

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

how were your poos?

weren't you hungry all the time?

did you eat seeds? nuts?

why did you stop?

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ziq wrote (edited )

how were your poos?

Regular and soft.

weren't you hungry all the time?

I was never hungry but I ate all the time.

did you eat seeds? nuts?

Pecans and almonds in the winter. But I eat tahini (sesame seed) everyday, which was very important in keeping me in peak health. And avocado from my trees, which is high in fat.

why did you stop?

Couple months ago I was dead broke so I had to start eating rice, sweetcorn, taro, zucchini aka courgette and eggplant aka aubergine. Decided to keep doing it to save money (more flexibility to pick and choose whatever is cheapest that week). I also added rice noodles to the mix the other day. Still eat mostly fruit though.

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

The concept of having an avocado tree is so cool! Congrats!

were you also "raw" or did you cook?

what are your favorite fruit recipes? or at least the most unusual?

what fruits do you eat the most? how much do you grow yourself?

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ziq wrote (edited )

yea completely raw, no point in cooking fruit.

what are your favorite fruit recipes? or at least the most unusual?

I mostly just eat whole fruit. Every time I got a blender for smoothies it broke really fast so I gave up. Sometimes I make sorbet with this sorbet maker I have. Just push frozen banana / grapes / mango in it and out comes sorbet. I also ate iceburg lettuce wraps everyday. I posted the recipe on f/vegkitchen once.

what fruits do you eat the most? how much do you grow yourself?

Nowadays almost all the fruit I eat I grow myself. In December I only have citrus, pitaya, passionfruit, avocado, peppers and myrtle to pick (and nuts). My staple food was always tomato. I ate tomatoes everyday in wraps and salads, plus whatever tree/vine fruit was in season. Grapes are my fave fruit, and watermelon and pitanga.

EDIT: Now that I'm eating cooked stuff, I buy several bags of cheap eggplant or zuccini and freeze it. Haven't grown those myself yet but if I decide to keep eating cooked food I'll grow them in spring. I can't grow tomatoes any more because of blight / climate change so have to buy them and they're my staple food and the price fluctuates a lot - in the summer they got really expensive and I had emergencies that drained me of cash so I had to eat rice with tomato paste instead. They're cheap again now that it cooled down tho.

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

I have no ethical problem with killing plants, especially for food. Plants are non-sentient and dont give a fuck if I kill them.

Also you're not the first to follow this logic haha

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EmeraldShark wrote (edited )

No, you need all the nutrition.
Iron, Phosphorus, Minerals, Calcium, Calories, Fat, Sodium, Niacin, Thiamin, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, etc, otherwise you will develop nutritional deficiency, which will then result in disease.

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Pop wrote

if our goal as vegans is to subsist without being cruel to other lifeforms

I'm interested to know who has this goal and who thinks you can be cruel to a plant, and whether just killing them would constitute cruelty

I have multiple separate but interrelated goals re veganism;

  • to not participate in the capitalist consumption chain of animal products as much as possible
  • to be minimally mediated from the things that I affect
  • to cause as little suffering as possible

Also I think an ethics that doesn't take into consideration everything (in this case health) is not an ethics, just some kind of morality

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ziq wrote

I don't have that goal but I understand the reluctance of some (religious) people to eat root crops since you harvest the crop before it has a chance to complete its lifecycle; killing it before it fulfils its goal of reproduction. Most plants are renewable and can be harvested repeatedly without killing the plant.

But even with some root crops, potatoes / sweet potatoes for example, the plant makes lots of tubers in the ground, so harvesting some of them and leaving others doesn't kill the plant since it grows back from a single tiny tuber even if you kill all the leafy growth.

I avoid eating carrots mainly because they're hard to digest, but I rarely grow them because it doesn't feel right somehow to kill a plant in order to eat it. I like to let my plants go to seed after they've fed me so they can come back on their own the next season.

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yaaqov wrote (edited )

I tried to pursue something like this goal, but I could not arrive at any solution besides like, not eating anything.

I mean, there’s a huge amount of evidence that tons of plants use a variety of defense mechanisms to prevent their ingestion. It’s incredible actually. They release toxins. They move, if slowly (but not always). They call for help from wasps using chemical signals. Lettuce sends news of its damage to its neighbors. Countless food plants poke and prickle you. The very taste that we love about garlic is its chemical response to damage. Isn’t that fucked up? We’re like that evil clown from It, who scares kids before eating them because it likes the taste of adrenaline.

And I don’t know about “pain”, or “sentience”, but christ. I can’t chop vegetables anymore without cringing a little. Even eating fruit, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s akin to r*pe, in some sense; just because something has genitals doesn’t mean they are ours to use.

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RedA wrote

killing is literally a cruel action in-that it's painful for the one-dying. i think a killer's behavior though, is identifiable as cruel only should they demonstrate a "callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering" . i'd tend to wary for the slippery slope between calling-out Cruelty and the kneejerk reaction to labelling death as suffering and pain as unpleasant, that we don't impose moralistic virtue constructions around others' preferences in this way.

slavery is cruel. rape is cruel. bullying is cruel. i want to defend against these oppressions, ruthlessly deferent to the commonality of strife and beauty. for me, pain, suffering and death necessarily play a critical part of a whole living, joyous experience. to neglect this truth would -i feel- be an authoritarian corruption of wild-relativity, removing me to some isolate Sanitary control-environment or institutional safety-bubble.

i'm not a Vegan so perhaps my talking about this is intrusive/unwelcome, excpet that i have a passionate interest in radical inter-special communication, anti-oppression solidarity organization and movement, returning myself to the folio-frugivore roots of our humane being. and #destroy civ. i find it tragic, an absurd moral claim; that one should be labelled Cruel for eating an oyster or a deer or a cricket or your grandma's sandwich; that they should be ashamed !

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NAB wrote

Plants dont have feelings... wtf is this

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