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Author Topic: Is veganism manageable?  (Read 7256 times)

Offline alpinelad

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Is veganism manageable?
« on: March 28, 2017, 08:45:46 PM »
Hi all. I am sure this is a topic which already has tons of threads but I would really like some fresh input. I am (very likely) coming to teach in South Korea starting in August. For health reasons more than anything, I trying to mostly maintain a vegan wholefood diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and try to maintain lower levels of added oils and sugar. I am not a purist and I am not perfect about it. I probably do eat meat once every 6 weeks or so, but generally I like to stick to veganism.

My question is how manageable is veganism in South Korea as compared to the US (where I am from) or other western countries? Maybe you could highlight experiences of shopping and cooking for yourself (which is always easier I guess) as well as dining out.

I am also curious about how Koreans feel about veganism. I have been told already they find it odd and rather unacceptable. Is there a way you present it that would be deemed acceptable?

I appreciate any and all insights in regards to living vegan in South Korea that you might have.

P.S. I am not really looking for comments about the dietary necessity or harmlessness of consuming meat, eggs and milk products, even if you are well meaning. Thanks. 

Offline ljrobs

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 09:07:02 PM »
I have been vegan in Korea for the last 15 months. Yes it is manageable, but wont be anywhere near as convenient as what you're used to in the US. You can easily adapt. There is a decent vegan community here and also some really great vegan restaurants in Seoul and other big cities. Also a few vegan youtubers that live in Korea that you could look into. All the best.

PS join the Vegan Korea fb group.

Offline kriztee

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 08:10:42 AM »
Depends what kind of vegetarian you are and what city you end up in. Do you still eat fish? If so you'll be mainly fine, the only thing to look out for are broths really. You can ask if something has meat in it and people will tell you no because they're not thinking "this was boiled in beef broth". I was vegetarian before coming here but I didn't eat fish (still don't really but thats cuz I hate seafood) but if you do you'll have an easy time. So much seafood here. If not then it's still doable just don't trust people when they say there's no meat in it, it probably had meat contact in some stage of the food prep process :P

Also, bigger cities will probably have some kind of veggie restaurants. If you're in the middle of nowhere you'll have less options.

Offline paigekenzie

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 08:23:12 AM »
Hi there! I've been vegan for over 7 years now, and I've been living in Seoul for almost a year. Being vegan in Seoul is TOTALLY manageable! In fact, in many ways, I find being vegan in Seoul easier than in the States. If you're not going to be living in Seoul, disregard my post because I have no idea what it's like to be vegan elsewhere -- sorry!

Here's some tips on how I live my veggie life in Seoul:

1. Be wary of eating out. While it's 100% possible, and there are even many restaurants that are completely vegan, you can't eat out just anywhere. Most vegan or advertised vegan-friendly restaurants are in Hongdae and Itaewon. However, there's more options than in those two places. Try to find mexican restaurants (always easy to veganize) or go for traditional Korean spots that serve bimimbap or kimbap. Even if something says it's vegetarian or vegetable something or other, it likely has fish paste or something in it.

-When ordering bibimbap, simply tell them to leave out meat and egg. (Kyeran, gogi bae jusaeyo. [sorry, my romanization sucks])
-When ordering kimbap, tell them you want veggie kimbap (yachae kimbap) and tell them to leave out ham, crab meat, mayo, and egg (Haem, masal, mayo, kyeran bbae, jusaeyo). To be safe, you can say "Yachae man," or only vegetables.

Ordering this way, I've never starved when eating out. If they don't understand, learn the korean words for vegetarian or say you have allergies, also.

2. Pack your own lunch if you teach. Schools almost never have veggie options unless you want to eat only rice and fruit.

3. Buy produce at smaller markets. Produce can be expensive here, but at the smaller markets, it's totally manageable.

4. Buy specialty vegan items (e.g. hemp seed, peanut butter) at the bigger department stores, like Lotte. Oftentimes, they even have a large sale section that mostly consists of foreign goods that are sometimes vegan.

5. Know your options when you're desperate. If you're out and starving, there's always a few options at the local C.U. or other store. There's pre-packaged bimibap (like in those little ramen cups), bananas, sometimes Nature Valley bars, soymilk, and more.

6. If you don't already know how to read Korean, learn! At least learn to look for the little square of allergens on the back of foods. This usually lists allergens that also happen to not be vegan (meat, shellfish, milk, etc.) You can save lots of time and energy by honing in on this little box before you read through all of the ingredients to see if the product is veggie.

7. Use Coupang. There are lots of vegan options for fairly cheap on Coupang! I order my vegan protein, vitamins, etc. on there for pretty cheap. Plus, it ships super fast. It's all in Korean, so if you don't know Korean, you may need to have a friend help you set up your account and shipping the first order. After that, it's pretty straightforward.

If you have any other questions, I'd love to support anyone trying to go vegan. You can PM me.




Offline Pecan

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 10:13:13 AM »
In many ways, I find being vegan in Seoul easier than in the States.
Very curious...

How so?

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 11:26:31 AM »
Quote
kristee i just want to say there is only one type of vegan and vegetarians do not eat fish as they are animals

How about mussels? Or jelly fish? Or sea urchins?

Offline paigekenzie

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 11:33:39 AM »
Quote
kristee i just want to say there is only one type of vegan and vegetarians do not eat fish as they are animals

How about mussels? Or jelly fish? Or sea urchins?

Vegans do not eat any animals or the products they create. Fish, mussles, etc. are animals!

Offline paigekenzie

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2017, 11:36:09 AM »

4. Buy specialty vegan items (e.g. hemp seed, peanut butter) at the bigger department stores, like Lotte. Oftentimes, they even have a large sale section that mostly consists of foreign goods that are sometimes vegan.



I'm vegan living in Korea for 2.5 years, Vegan for almost 2 of them. Paige's post is really great but I totally disagree with point 4.

These items are overpriced at bigger deparment stores. They are slightly cheaper at markets and smaller stores (surprisingly) but they are going to still be expensive unless you order them online. I recommend coupang for these items as well.

I'd like to add some tips in addition to Paige's great ones~

1. Start experimenting with local products. At the market there might be a lot of things you're not familiar with that you often haven't encountered in Korean restaurants even but are really delicious. Shopping at local markets gives you the best food and best price. It's WAYYY cheaper and fresher. My food from the market lasts at least twice as long as anything from a store and usually costs about 30-50% less depending on the product.

2. Practice cooking your favorite things first
Learn to cook the things you already enjoy. Tacos, pastas, etc. These things can easily be made with local ingredients (except a few spices) Once you get comfortable and have a selection of vegan food you know you like and can enjoy, you can start branching out and experimenting with more exotic things.

3. Eating out
If there is not bibimbap option I usually just eat banchan and rice. If its a proper korean restaurant (the type frequented by most schools for dinners) there should be at least 3 or 4 banchan that you can eat. You can also sometimes ask for other ones too. As long as you're in a big group that's earning them money, you could probably get away with ordering some unlisted banchan like tofu etc.

4. Bring over those expensive hard to find things or things you really enjoy
I just reread and realized you aren't here yet.

5. Don't be scared or disheartened by others
Remember that you're doing the right thing for everyone. Don't let others discourage you. This affects bothers some people more than others. The Koreans are likely not going to even understand it enough to give you a hard time about it. Remember that veganism is about so much more than your health!

I agree with all of the above! And I agree Coupang is still the cheapest place to get these items. What I meant was that at place like Lotte, items like peanut butter (not a huge thing in for Koreans), tortillas, sriracha, etc., I've found that they're much cheaper than at smaller markets. However, that just might be for my specific area!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 11:39:04 AM by paigekenzie »

Online CO2

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 11:47:15 AM »
The word y'all are looking for is pescatarian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pescetarianism

Offline Dave Stepz

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 11:49:22 AM »
Bypassing the obvious gripe that vegetarians and vegans shouldn't ever eat meat or fish, and dairy for vegans.  I used to know a girl who said she was a vegetarian to look 'cool', but ate chicken.   :evil:

Pescatarian is a fish-eating person, but no meat. 

In Korea, it is not normal thing to be vegan or vegetarian.  They just don't get why you shouldn't be stuffing your face with delicious 'samgyeopsal' or chowing down on all sorts of stuff you look at, that was once alive, but now is sitting lifeless on your plate, but you are not entirely sure what it was when it was alive. 

You will need to be REALLY careful when reading things in bakeries.  You will see a 'vegetable croquette' and look at the ingredients, 'potato, carrots, flour and sweetcorn'.  You can even check at the checkout and get a, 'no meat' reply.  When you get outside and pull it in half and see it is filled with ham too.  Ham is sneaked into everything.

Also the broths are always meat or fish.  Some places you can ask them to make with just water and they will refuse because it will have a 'strange taste'.  There is no customer is right thing here. 

There is a vegan restaurant chain called 'Loving Hut', which I used to go to in Shinchon, but it closed but there is a lot of other ones, elsewhere.  Here is the site:

http://lovinghut.kr/kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=restaurants_kr_en&lang=_en

At this restaurant chain and occasionally in some supermarkets is a vegan brand of bean meat and other vegetarian food.  (This bit is in Korean)  So you can stock up when you need to.  That is what I do.

http://www.lovinghut.co.kr/product/list.html?cate_no=60

With regard to your working life, it will just be easier to make yourself a packed lunch and sit with the rest of the teachers when you eat it.  They will be curious about it and ask questions, but on the whole Koreans (or the ones I know) seem accepting of people with this kind of diet.  They may joke a bit, but it is harmless. 

Vegan and vegetarian is doable here, but you always have to be on your guard. 

Offline defenderoftherealm

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 01:00:49 PM »
I would be weary of living in smaller cities if I were you.  I went to an area of Gangwha island.  I went into a very small supermarket.  They had oranges only but no bars made of nuts and etc.  I am sure this was market was one of the few that had a limited selection of products but I would live in a bigger city to be safe if I were you.  This was bumfuck nowhere.  I am sure you will be fine per what the people on this thread said.

I wanted to put a thought in your head.  I once heard of a lady.  She was a vegetarian of some sort.  She didn't consume meat for 5 years.  One day she was at a barbeque and decided to eat a cheeseburger out of the blue.  Later she had to go to the hospital because she couldn't pass it.  It had been so long that her body no longer had the ability to digest the cheeseburger.  She should have slowly built her way up to eating cheeseburgers again.  I just wanted to encourage you to eat a meat product of some sort every once in a blue moon in case there is an end of the world scenario or emergency wilderness survival scenario and you are forced to eat that can of potted meat or that Spam like product.


Offline DMZabductee

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 01:12:33 PM »
If anyone asks just say you're a Buddhist.  :laugh:

Seriously though it's easier than explaining any moral/health issues and they'll understand right away what your diet is.

Offline paigekenzie

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2017, 01:14:03 PM »
veganism is not a viable long-term diet, period.

http://butternutrition.com/10-vegan-diet-dangers/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3303707/Former-vegan-warns-dangers-obsessing-healthy-eating-admits-raw-diet-left-weak-hair-fall-stopped-period.html

Lol ah, yes, thank you for guiding me via Butternutrition.com and a Daily Mail article. I'm sure this advice will suit me better than talking to doctors or nutritionists. I will now change my vegan diet after 7 years!

Offline kriztee

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2017, 01:45:37 PM »

4. Buy specialty vegan items (e.g. hemp seed, peanut butter) at the bigger department stores, like Lotte. Oftentimes, they even have a large sale section that mostly consists of foreign goods that are sometimes vegan.


I'm vegan living in Korea for 2.5 years, Vegan for almost 2 of them. Paige's post is really great but I totally disagree with point 4.

These items are overpriced at bigger deparment stores. They are slightly cheaper at markets and smaller stores (surprisingly) but they are going to still be expensive unless you order them online. I recommend coupang for these items as well.

I'd like to add some tips in addition to Paige's great ones~

1. Start experimenting with local products. At the market there might be a lot of things you're not familiar with that you often haven't encountered in Korean restaurants even but are really delicious. Shopping at local markets gives you the best food and best price. It's WAYYY cheaper and fresher. My food from the market lasts at least twice as long as anything from a store and usually costs about 30-50% less depending on the product.

2. Practice cooking your favorite things first
Learn to cook the things you already enjoy. Tacos, pastas, etc. These things can easily be made with local ingredients (except a few spices) Once you get comfortable and have a selection of vegan food you know you like and can enjoy, you can start branching out and experimenting with more exotic things.

3. Eating out
If there is not bibimbap option I usually just eat banchan and rice. If its a proper korean restaurant (the type frequented by most schools for dinners) there should be at least 3 or 4 banchan that you can eat. You can also sometimes ask for other ones too. As long as you're in a big group that's earning them money, you could probably get away with ordering some unlisted banchan like tofu etc.

4. Bring over those expensive hard to find things or things you really enjoy
I just reread and realized you aren't here yet.

5. Don't be scared or disheartened by others
Remember that you're doing the right thing for everyone. Don't let others discourage you. This affects bothers some people more than others. The Koreans are likely not going to even understand it enough to give you a hard time about it. Remember that veganism is about so much more than your health!


Depends what kind of vegetarian you are and what city you end up in. Do you still eat fish? If so you'll be mainly fine, the only thing to look out for are broths really. You can ask if something has meat in it and people will tell you no because they're not thinking "this was boiled in beef broth". I was vegetarian before coming here but I didn't eat fish (still don't really but thats cuz I hate seafood) but if you do you'll have an easy time. So much seafood here. If not then it's still doable just don't trust people when they say there's no meat in it, it probably had meat contact in some stage of the food prep process :P

Also, bigger cities will probably have some kind of veggie restaurants. If you're in the middle of nowhere you'll have less options.

kristee i just want to say there is only one type of vegan and vegetarians do not eat fish as they are animals.

Totally glanced over the title and read it as vegetarianism. I assumed they meant vegetarian because they mentioned that they're not strict and still eat meat. There are different forms of vegetarian. I was Lacto-ovo for about 9 years. Meaning I still had eggs and milk products. People generally call themselves vegetarian when they mean pescetarian (similar to lacto-ovo while still eating fish).

Offline kobayashi

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 01:54:24 PM »
veganism is not a viable long-term diet, period.

http://butternutrition.com/10-vegan-diet-dangers/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3303707/Former-vegan-warns-dangers-obsessing-healthy-eating-admits-raw-diet-left-weak-hair-fall-stopped-period.html

Lol ah, yes, thank you for guiding me via Butternutrition.com and a Daily Mail article. I'm sure this advice will suit me better than talking to doctors or nutritionists. I will now change my vegan diet after 7 years!

because all of the blogs by vegan 'experts' out there are so much better?

good choice on changing your vegan diet  ;D

Quote
A 10 year vegan shares her story:

I remember over the years when people would go vegan and then stop because they didn’t feel well on it, I used to think to myself, “Well, they’re simply not doing it right.” Some people complained of lack of libido, lack of iron, lack of energy, etc. I now realize, quite humbled, that many of those problems may have been valid, even if they were doing a vegan diet “right.” Perhaps it took longer for the vegan diet to take a toll on my health than others. More likely I just couldn’t admit it to myself because my beliefs were so strong, constantly reaffirmed by my full-time immersion in the understandably self-reinforcing vegan culture. –Kristen of Kristen’s Raw

this is some of the moronic stuff vegans do:

Quote
On July 2 in Milan, Italy, a 14-month old baby was rushed to the hospital by his grandparents. Severely malnourished from being kept on a strict vegan diet by his parents, the baby was extremely underweight and suffering from various nutrient deficiencies, including a critical calcium deficiency, which doctors say exacerbated an underlying congenital heart condition. Now recovering from emergency heart surgery, the baby has been taken away from the parents. A children's court will decide whether the grandparents will be given full custody.
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/dangerous-side-of-vegan-diets/
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 02:02:09 PM by kobayashi »

Online kyndo

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 02:12:16 PM »
The word y'all are looking for is pescatarian.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pescetarianism
Which, while sounding very similar, is *not* the same as Pastafarianism.
And good lord let me tell you: that workshop was just full of disappointment.  :sad:

Offline ESL6

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2017, 02:33:45 PM »
http://modernfarmer.com/2014/10/plants-can-tell-theyre-eaten/

Plants know when they are being eaten. Do vegans even care?

Offline kobayashi

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 03:22:33 PM »
some of the stupid shit omnis do
Quote
Heart Disease in the United States. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that's 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

completely disingenuous comment. an unhealthy diet contributes to heart disease, not an 'omni' diet. a well-balanced omnivorous diet is THE healthiest diet for humans. not a vegan diet.  and an unbalanced, unsupplemented vegan diet can be as unhealthy or even more so than an omnivorous diet.

Offline kmon12

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Re: Is veganism manageable?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 03:27:32 PM »
I'm a super lazy cook here in Korea, so I order some meals from Sprout for work.  http://www.nutritionmission.ca/  They deliver all over.   I just told my school I'm allergic to dairy which made life a lot easier than trying to explain veganism.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 03:32:40 PM by kmon12 »