Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stinky carcass breath

Fresh leavesThe New York Times Magazine had a variety of rather odd little tidbits in it this past Sunday. And, since the last two posts were a bit heavy, here's something for your sillier side.

One of the stories was regarding Vegansexuality. It turns out that in a study of vegans and vegetarians, some of the respondents seemed to be leaning towards "cruelty-free sex" in addition to their dining preferences.

For example, one vegan woman claimed that she "couldn't think of kissing lips that allow dead animal pieces to pass between them." Another woman exclaimed that meat eaters "are, after all, literally sustained through carcasses - the murdered flesh of others."

Even Ingrid Newkirk, the president and founder of PETA believes that vegans smell fresher. Is that true Chile? How about you Laura? Has your dating picked up now that you have been a vegan for a year and are now, ostensibly, fresher? Will I grow big knockers like Pamela Anderson with all the phytoestrogens in that soy?

Now, I've had my own dalliances with being both a vegan and a vegetarian, but I can't say that I would hold another person to such moral highground. Unless, of course, it really affects the relationship. Which is what seems to be happening for these people.

What do you think? If you are a vegan or vegetarian, is meat-eating a deal-breaker for you? If you are a meat-eater, are vegans too much work?

Now's your chance to blow that sweet-smelling hot air or stinky rotten corpse breath on the subject.


DC said...

I’d never really considered before whether being vegetarian has boosted my appearance. To scientifically determine whether this is the case, I asked my wife this morning, “Do you think I look more like Pamela Anderson – a slightly balding one I mean – since I stopped eating meat?” She just laughed, so I’m not sure what to think. I guess I’ll have to let you all decide. Here’s my before and after photos (I hope this works - I am html challenged):

Carnivore me:


Herbivore me:


Anonymous said...

I am vegetarian and we eat vegan 3-4 days a week. I would like to go completely vegan, but so far can't seem to bring myself to give up cheese and the substitutes are nasty. My husband and two youngest children are also vegetarian, but the other two are not. We chose to become vegetarian/vegan as a rational response to the cruelty issue. Sadly, since it was an intellectual rather than an emotional choice, I never developed that "Eww, how can you eat that dead flesh" mentality, so I suffer cruelly at the smell of barbeque.

I don't eat meat, but I don't think I have the right to impose that on others, and certainly not as a relationship litmus test. Having said that, I can attest that there *is* a difference in the smell of both breath and sweat between the carnivores and the vegi family members. So maybe it's just like those non-smoking folks that won't date someone with cigarette breath.

Greenpa said...

I do find that some vegans, at least, exude a pervasive odor of rancid righteousness- which is hard to stomach at close quarters......

Anonymous said...

I used to work for a guy in fairly close quarters who had a foul smell in many ways: breath, body odor and well, bathroom . I told my husband that it reminded me of the rotting roadkill carcass that fills your air vent as you speed over it on the highway. I'm not sure if giving up meat would have helped the poor fellow, but I always wanted to suggest a good cleanse. There was something rotten in Denmark in that man's gut. I quit the job instead.

Anonymous said...

LOL! DC, I think you do look a bit slimmer on the "herbivore" photo. Perhaps it is the glow of world domination though. That always takes off ten lbs.

However, I do agree with Greenpa. (as usual!)

And although I eat lots of veggies I don't look like Pamela Anderson. Nor do I act like her, which in my book, is a Good Thing. (How does one swim in a cabbage bikini anyway?)

Anonymous said...

I'm vegetarian and my partner is a meat-eater. He smells fine (and hopefully I do, too.)

I've made 2 observations though, one about diet and smells, one about the process of "quitting" a habit that others enjoy. First, I've noticed that eating sugar effects BO. There is a direct relationship there. On weeks where my diet is very healthy (no processed foods, no sugars, no white flours) I smell like *roses*. It's the best. The day that I eat a bunch of sweet stuff again -- bam, back to needing super-strength deodorant.

And second observation -- people who quit things for reasons that they haven't really integrated yet -- or who still have a secret attraction to the forbidden substance -- tend to go overboard with imaginative tricks of mind to emphasize (or create) their repulsion. Such as thinking of meat-eaters as rotten corpse-lovers. I remember when I quit smoking how much I hated and ridiculed smokers. Now that smoking is no longer a temptation, I don't hate smokers as much. (Though I don't know how I'd fare dating a smoker...)

Olive said...

well said greenpa! the more passionate vegans i know honestly are total snobs towards those who are not at least on the issue of diet. utter superiority - which is a load of dookie

Jennifer said...

I am a vegetarian, and have been for 17 years. My husband is NOT, but we eat vegetarian at home and at restaurants, and he rarely eats meat. In fact, the only times he does is when it's more convenient to, like we are at a fancy plated dinner with no veggie option or his parents are cooking (they can't cook vegetables). I suffer through.

So anyway, there are 10 to 15 times a year he actually eats meat. I can ALWAYS tell by the smell of his breath, even if he has brushed his teeth and flossed and used mouthwash. There are times I will forget that he ate meat, crawl into bed, smell his breath and cringe. It smells sort of dead and "old man"-ish.

The rest of the time, by contrast, he has nice normal sweet breath. Not dead. :)

I don't notice a body odor difference... maybe I will have to track that one on purpose.

I have no comparison for veganism, as we eat milk and eggs.

Oh, and as a disclaimer, I eat veggie, but I don't care at all that my husband doesn't all the time, so my views on breath stink aren't "tainted" by a wish he wouldn't eat meat.

Green Bean said...

I'm a lifelong vegetarian and did go through a stint where I didn't want to kiss any one with meat on their breath. Even when I was first married, I wouldn't want to kiss my husband if he'd recently eaten meat. Now, with two little guys, I'm too tired to think about it.

I tried to raise my two kids vegetarian but both ended up having gluten intolerance and lots of other food issues so I was forced to introduce meat. Now, we mostly eat vegetarian (me always) but the kids and my husband eat it once or twice a week.

I tried going vegan but just couldn't do it. I still eat lots of vegan meals but probably eat some animal protein during each day.

Chile said...

To answer your question posed to me, yes, it is true. See Dr. McDougall's article on this. He also has a new book on the entire digestive tract. Great illustrations in it.

Regarding Greenpa's comment, I agree that some vegans get to be pretty darn self-righteous. I am not a 'militant' vegan, perhaps because I choose to eat this way for my health rather than strictly for ethical reasons. The holier-than-thou types in any endeavor are annoying and harm their cause more than they help it!

Anna Banana said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I choose to eat vegetarian and vegan as much as possible, because animal agriculture is full of cruel practices and contributes a lot to global warming. I spend a lot of time figuring out how to entice my family with as many vegetarian meals as possible. I wish more people would give vegetarian food a try. When I give someone my vegan recipe, I don't say, This is a vegan recipe. Instead I say, This recipe makes wonderful cookies. Even Peter Singer points out that if 2 people go half vegetarian, it's the equivalent of one person going all vegetarian. I know this is not what you asked, but it's what came out of my fingers!

ruchi said...

I used to be a vegetarian, and interestingly enough, I'm not sure I could marry a vegetarian at this point. I don't eat meat all the time- maybe 2-3 times a week, but the amount I eat, I like eating. I love going out to sushi and Korean barbecue, and yes, the occasional In 'N Out Burger. Like I said, I'm concerned about the effects of global warming, so I do try to be as "anna banana" says, a half-vegetarian, but what meat I eat, I love.

Anonymous said...

I am a low-meat-consumption-person: not fully vegetarian because I just enjoy meat, but uncomfortable enough with industrial farming and methane emissions that I try to keep it down to once per week or once per two weeks (and preferably humanely raised). I'm not always successful. When people ask, "are you vegetarian?", I have to say no, so they dish out non-organic, non-free-range meat. Argh.

Alright, that said: I notice my own "methane emissions" when I've eaten meat. It's not nice, and it seems to be about 100% correlated. It takes a few days for all the meat and its "results" to leave my system, too. A year ago, I spent two months in Russia with a Russian host family. It was no good being a married adult with a household and cooking habits of my own: I had to eat what they ate. I ate meat twice a day, and in huge quantities. I gained more in 8 weeks than I would have been permitted to gain during that much time spent pregnant (it evened out to 2lbs per week). When I returned to the US, it took about 4 weeks for my gut not to feel like a rock was in there. It took another 10 months to loose the weight.

Talk about reasons to go vegetarian! It definitely "boosted" my appearance!

Rechelle said...

We have a new vegan family member in our family - and he is a real cool dude. I have noticed however that his high falutin vegan value system melts into mist whenever I pass a buttery egg filled brownie under his nose. I have never seen a brownie disappear so fast.

Melinda said...

Mmm, Crunchy, nothing like reading that headline as I eat my morning breakfast. Ick.

I'm vegetarian, have been for 18 years - wow, I just realized that's exactly half my life! I've tried vegan twice, but I just love cheese, and trying a diet free of milk, eggs, and butter can be incredibly difficult. But putting food into one's body is such a personal thing, I don't understand people who preach about it one way or another.

When I met my husband he was an all-out meat eater - and a smoker. But I fell in love anyway :). About three months after we met, he went cold tofurkey - he became vegan (and stopped smoking). I went vegan with him, and we lasted about 6 months that way, before deciding that careful vegetarianism was fine with us.

We joke now that he was a closeted vegetarian - he was so adamantly opposed to not eating meat that I think he was a bit scared at how people might see him as a vegetarian.

Anyway, to your point: I've definitely noticed a difference in BO between meat eaters and non-meat eaters. The former is a bit sweet smelling, and the latter is a bit more tart. And definitely sometimes breath is different, and er - farts. Can definitely tell there. Mmm, yep, breakfast is still on my plate!

One last thought: I think what makes the most difference in body scents is whether or not someone eats wholesome foods or a lot of processed stuff. And whether or not they're drinking enough water to flush it out of their system. How's that for insane talk? But there you have it from my hyper-sensitive nose.

Now back to breakfast.

Trina said...

I'm a meat eater, and I don't think all vegans are too much trouble. I feel generally the same about my food as I do my religion. You do what you want, I do what I want...if we can coexist, great. If not, it wasn't meant to be. I ate over 90% vegetarian over the summer and I didn't notice any difference in my looks or smell. But man oh man, DC sure looks better as an herbivore, so there's your proof. lol.

Anonymous said...

I have been a vegetarian for 6 years and my boyfriend has been a vegan for 14 years. Both of us have dated meat-eaters in the past. I have not noticed any significant bodily scent difference. It seems that showering/not showering can override the effects that diet can have on one's smell! :)

As for wantng or not wanting to date a meat-eater: I don't imagine me dating dead carcasses when I'm with a meat eater. That's silly. But I am a vegetarian primarily for the ecological aspects of it. (Although, some/most slaughter facilities are cruel in their practices, I don't generally think that it's cruel to find sustenance from another animal--it's the way the world works!)

Dating another vegetarian isn't, for me, about "diet discrimination". I just think that it's more likely that I be attracted to and want to share my life with someone that has the same values as me, including dietary ones. I know people who will only think about marrying someone in the same religion. It's a similar (but less strict) thing. Most of my close friends are vegetarians or 'responsible' meat-eaters.

I know many righteous people, but I have not seen a strong correlation between veganism and righteousness among vegans I know. There seems only to be this correlation on the internet/blogoshere or among vegans quoted in ridiculous articles. Maybe people are more willing to be righteous anonymously? I just want to say that because I find people slandering vegans all over the internet (which is easy to do with Peta around), and I think that it's an exercise in generalizing and stereotyping.

Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...

I am a vegetarian. My husband is a vegetarian. It's easier that way. One less thing to disagree on. Ha. (Just kidding....Mostly :))

I met him before I was a vegetarian, and the fact that he was one immediately drew me to him. It's sexy that a man can give up meat for the environment! I know many more men than women that choose to eat less meat.

As far as appearance. Meh. Don't think so. It helps us not gain weight, but so does staying active!

Smell...I actually had a friend who told me he flactuated (is that a word?!) MORE when he stopped eating meat. I think we both smell fine, although I'd love to try and see if Stephanie's experience works for me. But not yet...I'll wait to eat less refined sugars until AFTER Christmas. :) It's only realistic!

Tara said...

I was a vegetarian for many years and recently began eating organic, local chicken in limited amounts. I actually have noticed a tiny shift in personal odors. The biggest change in that department came around when I stopped eating preservatives and drastically reduced the sugar in my diet. I found I could skip deoderant for a day and it wouldn't matter. And when I did work up a sweat it smelled differently.

Anonymous said...

We vegetarians can have stinky breath, too! (and sadly, BO, as Stephanie said)

I didn't ask my husband to become vegetarian, but he slowly became vegetarian on his own, and I'm glad. It just makes meals simpler. I had a vegetarian mom, and I personally don't like the smell, texture, or greasiness of meat. However, I do believe that there is a sustainable and respectful way to raise animals that may be eaten. I also think that moderate and respectful meat eating is environmentally better than eating some soy-based products wrestled around to look like meat.

Sometimes people apologize for eating meat in front of me, and I feel embarassed that they think I'm judging them.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago I went on an elimantion diet (prescribed by my wonderful integrative medicine doc) due to multiple food sensitivities. After around six months of "almost vegan" my husband said that my smell had completely changed and no longer had BO.

Greenpa said...

Chile- bless you for seeing I had no intention of bad-nosing all vegans, and I'm totally with you on the damage from the self-righteous of all persuasions. :-)

Ok guys, you aren't going to believe this- but the entire area of human pheromones, olfaction and subliminal communication is actually something I'm deeply familiar with. Lots of study there for me.

The truth is, humans are just wildly variable on both sides; both in how much we stink, why we stink, and how much we're able to smell others. It strikes me as quite likely that EVERYBODY'S reported experiences here can be totally valid.

Unknown said...

Wow. I am super famous now, gettin' a shout out on your site, Dee! Thanks!

I fully agree that vegans can be self-righteous sometimes. But it's not my fault if all of you omnivores are wrong.

Haha! I kid!

I became a vegan only after dating a vegan so I don't really have an answer for this. I haven't yet dated anyone new but I don't think I would have a problem kissing an omnivore. (Let's face it, I wouldn't have a problem kissing anyone at this point, IT'S BEEN AWHILE.)

I wasn't a vegan when I met my vegan boyfriend and the best part about our relationship was him showing me his lifestyle and teaching the principles of veganism to me. (Along with environmental awareness, etc. etc.) I think I would enjoy reciprocating that knowledge on a new meat-eating boyfriend but only if he was open to learning and not because I view it as my mission to veganize the world.

It would be nice to meet someone who shared my values and eating choices since it makes life a lot easier. But I wouldn't say it's mandatory since I don't like to rule out anyone when it comes to the dating pool.

I must also say that this post comes at a good time since I just posted this post about how passing gas has changed dramatically since being a vegan.

I'm not sure I have less of an odor or anything but man, is it wayyyy too easy to let one rip sometimes.

Is that the answer you wanted, Deanna? :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Well, Laura, even if you are indeed fresher, the serious increase in flatulence (and the volume therewith) will surely outweigh things. So, I suspect the whole dating thing hasn't really improved then.

But do you have enormous knockers like Pamela (and/or Debbie) yet? This is the most important part. Well, for wholesome, law-abiding Americans, at least.

I'm pretty sure you look better than Dick Cheney, though.

Can you tell this poor child is related to me?

Unknown said...

I have to say that I am way hotter than Dick Cheney but alas, do not have Pam's knockers.

Those went to Deb.

Go figure.

She's 4'11 and I can squash her like a bug and yet SHE GETS THE HUGE BOOBS?

For the record, to piss her boyfriend off, Deb has recently become vegetarian. Although, she totally had the knockers before making this decision.

Anonymous said...

This is all very amusing - thank you. I was vegetarian for 10 years and gradually my husband and daughter won me back to meat-eating (OK, it was the canker sores and pregnancy hormones). We eat a little meat.

When I met my husband, I was a vegetarian and he was a meat-eater, and I could definitely tell from his smell. It wasn't a bad smell or BO, but it was much more ... uh ... earthy.

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