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Dear Alex Jamieson

You and I have met a couple of times, though not terribly recently. I first want to thank you for the work you’ve done on behalf of other animals, who need strong human voices as much as ever. I next want to respond to your recent essay, titled “I’m not vegan anymore.”

I believe that, as animals, we all—humans and non-humans—have a right to consume what we must in order to preserve our own lives and, by extension, to preserve the environment that gives us all life.

That said, we humans have a moral obligation, because we have the capacity, to assess those standards logically and in complete good faith. Certain statements you have made here lead me to believe that, in this case, that obligation hasn’t been met.

You wrote: “I began to see my cravings for animal foods from a different angle. It wasn’t immoral or wrong. It just was. In fact, I came to believe that trusting your body, living your truth, whether it be vegan, part-time vegan, flexitarian or carnivore is all inherently good.”

You’ve stated here that something’s feeling right makes it morally right. But that isn’t morality; that’s a license to do whatever you say you want to do. As a moral principle, that’s a license for any of us, if it just feels right, to kill, rape, steal (etc.)—incidentally, the violent acts at the crux of meat production. This is a principle you would never accept in application to human-only interactions.

That’s not enlightenment; it’s just species-ism. Moreover, it removes the victim of an act from the moral equation of the act, which is contrary to what moral assessment is all about.

Additionally, I don’t see how “orthorexia” applies any better to your previous desire to eat plant-based foods for health-focused reasons than it does to your new desire to eat animal-based foods for health-focused reasons. Indeed, eating animals is far more harmful to others and to the environment than eating plants; it takes a deeper mental pathology to rationalize the greater moral costs of eating animals.

More than anything, you’ve made it clear that feelings of guilt and shame are driving your eating decisions now. I can relate, having tremendous feelings of guilt and shame myself about the unenlightened and eminently harmful life I used to lead, the one in which I ate pounds and pounds of animals each week.

But I think it’s a terrible mistake to respond to your own mental suffering by helping others rationalize the infliction of much graver sufferings than yours or mine upon other sensitive animals.

Sincerely,
Dan Mims

Rob Bigwood will pump. you. up.

Rob Bigwood (on your right) is one of the top professional arm wrestlers in the United States. Currently ranked 8th in his division in the U.S., he’s won 40 state tournaments all around the country, and, in 2006, he won the left-handed world championship. 

He’s also a vegan. [Cue this.]

The most phenomenal thing about watching him at work is that he wears a PETA shirt as he graciously fucks up his meat-eating opponents. (See the video at the end of this post.) Seriously, he’s an incredibly nice guy, which is probably why he agreed to do this interview. Read on for Rob’s tips on how to get fitter, in the American and the British sense of the word.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a beginner who wants to start lifting weights?
The single most important piece of advice I can offer is to not worry about how much weight you are lifting. Focus on performing the exercise right. The gains will come much more quickly that way.

What’s your favorite supplement while training? Why?
The only supplements I take are vegan protein shakes. Otherwise, my diet consists of organic fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, tofu and seitan.

What’s your pre-workout meal?
I eat some fruit, usually apples, with organic peanut butter and some almonds. Also some orange juice for  simple sugars. 

Post-workout meal?
Vega and Sun Warrior protein shakes are a must! I mix them with flax seeds and almond milk.

How do you avoid injury?
For others who are not arm wrestlers, I would say this is the other side of my earlier advice to focus on form and not the amount of weight. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, not to what the guy next to you is lifting.

For me as an arm wrestler, it’s hard to avoid. This sport pretty much entails injuries! I’ve had elbow surgery where they had to completely move my Ulnar nerve, cut out 6 bone spurs and a large junk of my tricep. My right arm hasn’t been as strong ever since.

I’ll remember to stick to your right if we ever get into a fight.
[laughs] Nooo! I shouldn’t have told you.

If you could only do one exercise during your workout, what would it be and why?
I love training my back. I could do pullups all day, not to mention it’s great training for arm wrestling!

What foods should men who want to slim down avoid? What about men who want to bulk up?
For slimming down, avoid eating too many carbohydrates. This includes beer! And avoid eating “empty” calories. For bulking up, eat more calories and proteins – plant-based ones, of course, like soy and spirulina.

If you went vegan after you started weight training, what (if any) differences did you notice regarding performance, physique, and overall health?
I lost excess weight and my endurance went through the roof. I did lose a bit of strength in the beginning but quickly got it back after a few months. Meanwhile, my bloodwork reports after doctors’ visits started coming back crazy-positive. Just crazy good!

Cllctv ("collective")

Hey folks, I’ve been spending a lot of time on another project, and it’s ready to soft-launch for those in the know. The project is a New York City-based media platform called Cllctv (“collective”). The goal, simply put, is to help good people lead richer lives.

Instead of giving you a full-on explanation of what the site is about, why not head over and see for yourself? We just published our first real article, focusing on a topic followers of this blog can probably appreciate: eco-luxe menswear designer John Bartlett’s presentation of his first vegan collection during New York Fashion Week.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

New York Times covers vegan bodybuilding

While ethical men know that muscles aren’t a particularly good (let alone the best) measure of a man, many conventional thinkers seem to believe otherwise. So it’s great to see this piece in the New York Times about vegan bodybuilding. Kudos to the Times and to vegan bodybuilders like Robert Cheeke, founder of veganbodybuilding.com, who prove that moral and physical strength are not mutually exclusive.

(h/t Matt M.)

Will Travel For Vegan Food grills Dan

(See what I did there?)

Perhaps not accidentally also known as WTF Vegan Food, Will Travel For Vegan Food (comprised of Kristin Lajeunesse and Ethan Dussault) is on a road-tripping mission to eat at every vegan restaurant across the land. Along the way, Kristin and Ethan catch up with the locals, like they did with me during their recent swing through New York City. It was a fun interview, even without the great outtakes at the end. Enjoy (and be sure to head over to their website to show them some love):

New store arrivals, just in time for the holidays

Shopping for men – especially ethical men – can be really hard. For a little over a year now, The Ethical Man has tried to make it easier, and we aren’t stopping now. For one thing, we’ve got some new original wrist braces to share with you, but first, we’re pleased to announce that a new, long-awaited winter coat has arrived:

The Williams by Vaute Couture
For many ethical men in seasonal climes, winter still means jerry-rigging a thin fall or spring coat with an extra under-layer (or three) just to try to keep warm. The impact of this situation on one’s style alone – considerations of inconvenience and discomfort aside – is unacceptable. Fortunately, we’ve got a brand-new addition to the store that’s masculine, versatile, stylish, and deeply ethical, all while solving that pesky winter coat problem: The Williams by Vaute Couture.

The Williams, available at The Ethical Man

All photographs by Jasmine Wilson. Above, model Joey Leo.

The Brace Yourself 1, 2, and 3
The original 
Brace Yourself (now called The Brace Yourself 1) has been so popular that we decided to make two new versions (creatively named 2 and 3). Each of the three sports a different combination of gray or brown faux suede strap, knotted ivory faux leather, shined black accent wire, charcoal-colored bead cord, and raw brass chain and hook:


Best of all, each brace positions however you need it to. Just wrap until you find a satisfying fit and look. Highly recommended for the confident man who likes to break away from the ordinary, or, you know, anyone who just wants to look great.

That’s it for this round of announcements, but stay tuned for more coming next week. Plus, later today, we’ll have a press round-up including an interview with Dan from our good friends at Will Travel for Vegan Food and a nice gift guide write-up from online mag Pomp & Circumstance.

Until then,
Dan 

The Ghosts In Our Machine (teaser trailer)

Have you heard about The Ghosts In Our Machine? It’s a new film scheduled for production in 2012. Like the film’s name, the teaser trailer is quietly staggering, suffused with uncommon intellectual clarity, emotional honesty, and (I dare say) cinematographic genius.

Watch:

Keep up with The Ghosts In Our Machine on their websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Reader Question: How should I wear my awesome vegan boots?

On the heels of our Fall 2011 Men’s Boot Review, TEM reader Matt L. had a follow-up question:

Ok Dan. I bought the Vintage Boot from Vegetarian Shoes, in grey. Being my first dive into boots, how do I wear them exactly, as far as the base of the pants or jeans? Tucked in, hanging over, or rolled? 

How you wear pants with boots is subject to a case-by-case assessment. For one thing, you might find that your new boots go really well with some pairs of pants and not with others. Or you might find that they go really with X pants rolled up, and really well with Y pants tucked into the boot. Or you might have workplace considerations that preclude the edgier look of tucking your pants into your boots. Whatever your determinations on these and other matters, they will be so mostly according to your own peculiar tastes and contexts.

Still, I think I can offer some help from afar. If the boot is grey (as your new pair is), it can go with any color pant; if brown, you should usually avoid black pants, and if black, you should usually avoid brown pants. If the cut of the pant is very tapered – i.e. it hugs your ankle well – you’ll likely find that you can pull anything off (assuming the pant isn’t so tapered that it can’t fit easily over your boot). If the pant is straight or slightly tapered, it’s probably your most versatile option; you’ll have enough breathing room that the pants will look comfortable (but not sloppy) in any manner of wearing. Finally, if the pant flares out below the knee (the common version of this being the “boot cut”), then you’ll likely find that it’s tough to tuck it into the boot without creating a large number of folds just above the boot. However, that can work too, as long as it jibes with the rest of your look.

Here are some examples of what I mean (WARNING: these photos may feature non-vegan items purely for the sake of illustration):

Really, your compass here should be that which speaks to you. Try every combination and identify the looks that make you feel handsome and confident. It helps to have an honest and style-conscious friend present to give you feedback. That way you have the reassurance (if something looks good) or the forewarning (if something looks bad) of a second opinion. Soon enough, though, you won’t need it anymore because you’ll have firmer ideas about how you want to present yourself in those handsome new boots.

Happy trekking,
Dan

Fall 2011 Men’s Boot Review

The Ethical Man store doesn’t yet offer footwear, but, of course, an ethical man still needs it. With autumn well underway and winter just around the corner, “footwear” means boots. And for the first time, I think we ethical men have a real range of great vegan boot options. No longer must we sacrifice at least one of the following: style, quality, function, or the ability to afford decent groceries this month. Which is all very nice when you’re sloshing through frigid puddles on your way to a cocktail potluck, for instance.

Considering a diverse set of needs and aesthetic tastes, these are my five favorite vegan boots, available right now, to get you through another tough winter this year:

The Vintage Boot by Vegetarian Shoes

Model/Brand: The Vintage Boot by Vegetarian Shoes
Look: Ruggedly Handsome
Available Styles: Black, Grey
Manufacured in: Portugal
Defining Details: “Raw” faux leather finish, gun-metal eyelets
Buy:
MooShoes ($135), Vegetarian Shoes (£74.95)

The Dapper Commuter Boot by State Street

Model/Brand: The Dapper Commuter Zip Boot by Dexter
Look: Modern Urbane
Available Styles: Black
Manufactured in: China
Defining Details: Zip-up (no laces), faux furry inner lining, waterproof
Buy: Payless ($49.99)

Brogue Boot by NoHarm

Model/Brand: Brogue Boot by NoHarm
Look: Über Dressy
Available Styles: Black, Brown
Manufactured In: Italy
Defining Details: Ornate brogue patterning, Oxford-style lace-up
Note: When it’s cold out, wear thick socks.
Buy:
Amazon ($329.99)

The Vegan 1460 by Dr. Martens

Model/Brand: The Vegan 1460 by Dr. Martens
Look: Industrial
Available Styles: Black, Cherry Red
Manufactured in: China
Defining Details: High-friction sole, which is sewn (not glued) to the upper
Buy: MooShoes ($125), Dr. Martens ($125)

The Player Plain Toe Boot by State Street

Model/Brand: The Player Plain Toe Boot by State Street
Look: Urban Clean
Available Styles: Tan, Charcoal
Manufactured in: China
Defining Details: Casual but striking style, high-friction sole
Buy: Payless ($39.99)

That’s it – those are my five favorites. If you’ve got some of your own that aren’t listed here, let me know!

Best,
Dan

And we’re back.

I haven’t posted much lately for a number of reasons, but somehow the time just feels right to get back into the swing of things with the high-quality style advice and information that TEM readers have come to expect.

Still, it wouldn’t seem right to just say, “Oh hey, I’m back!” without some substantial updates to report, which I now submit for your browsing pleasure:

  • The header of the website has been redesigned to be simpler, stronger, more open, and better integrated with the rest of the site.
  • We now carry some beautiful slim cotton ties.
  • Gift certificates are now available, just in time for the holiday season.
  • The New Yorker wallet now comes in a very nice nautical blue, with new pictures including all three available colors now featured on the purchase page.


That’s it for now, but there are more shop additions on the way and, of course, more essential-reading articles on style, grooming, and life as an ethical man.

Best,
Dan 

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