Old 06-21-2002, 06:32 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 19,294
Can you be a vegetarian in the military?

I'm not actually interested in joining the military, mind you, and at 30 I'm probably too old anyway. But every once in a while if I see a movie with basic training in it or whatever.... I wonder if it is possible to be a vegetarian, or if they make you eat what everyone else is eating.

And what about Kosher and other special diets?
Old 06-21-2002, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 3,200
Yes, you can be a vegetarian in the military, but only for religious or health reasons. You can not be a vegetarian for moral objections or personal preference. AFAIK, you can not be a vegan in the military and expect to eat MREs. There are Kosher MREs. They accommodate based on health needs (your body can't process meat, but you're healthy otherwise) and religious needs, but no other.

If you didn't have this, you'd have people saying "I can't eat this, it has carrots in it, and I don't like carrots." It would cause a huge problem, when you just need to eat what you can in battle and move on.

Of course, most of the time when you're not deployed or in the field for training, you just eat at home, so you can eat whatever you want.

Old 06-21-2002, 07:05 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 19,294
Well my vegetarianism fits in with my religious beliefs, but not everyone who is my religion is a vegetarian... would that count?
Old 06-21-2002, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 187
A variety of MRE's are vegetarian, and so labeled. In the few field environments (I was in the Navy) I was in, I never had a problem geting them when I wanted. In fact most of the time they asked us who wanted them ahead of time, with no questions about why.

But then again, I wasn't eating them everyday for months at a time. Thank god.

The bulk of your food in training comes from the chow-hall or galley and they have as many vegetarian options (garden burgers, mac and cheese, PB&J etc.) as any other place it seems. After training/field cycles you usually live on your own and buy your own food.

In boot camp you may suffer. There you might try to make it a point that you are vegetarian for a very specific reason. Or you could just not eat the meat products. Prepare to catch hell for it, but you will survive and they probably won't push the issue if you tell them you're a vegetarian.

You cannot be a full-time vegan in the military. You will wear leather shoes/boots, they'll put honey, milk, eggs, cheese in all sorts of places and you will not know if it's in there.
Old 06-21-2002, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Way down in Deep 13
Posts: 2,928
Now I know not all vegetarians are animal-rights vegetarians, but why would someone opposed to killing animals join an organization dedicated to killing people?
Old 06-21-2002, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 187
Good point, sort-of, but it happens.

Some people, while in, decide to try and become vegan, probably having just learned of it, and being at an age of lifestyle sampling.

I'm pretty convinced that groups like PETA rank animal rights above human rights, or at least equal to. So...perhaps there are some who would kill a man before an animal, or say they would.

Never a choice I'd have problem with, especially if the animal is a yummy Black Angus.
Old 06-21-2002, 02:20 PM
bup bup is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: glenview,il,usa
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Maybe some vegans would kill animals in self-defense, or if a bunch of cows invaded, or something.
Old 06-21-2002, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Plano, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,987
The military is NOT "dedicated to killing people". It is dedicated to protecting this nation, its citizens, its allies, and its ineterests. Sometimes that involves killing. Sometimes it involves evacuating flood victims in Bangladesh or dropping food to refugees in Africa. Or building schools in Cosa Rica. Or risking their lives trying to rescue stranded hikers on Mt Hood and barely surviving a helicopter crash in the process...
Old 06-22-2002, 12:01 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 19,294
Well I personally would never join the military. Just not my cuppa. My question was purely hypothetical.
Old 06-22-2002, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: East of Lake Wobegone
Posts: 4,514
Kilt-wearin' man - agreed.

I spent the first two weeks of bootcamp surviving off of large salads and PB&J. Sometimes soup. Not cos I was ever a vegetarian, but because some of the food in that line freakin' SCARED me
Old 06-22-2002, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 3,200
Thank you Kilt Wearing Man. I'd hate to think that people thought of my profession as "professional killer." I'm a transporter...and I'm very proud of what I do.

Old 06-22-2002, 07:29 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 19,294
I've sometimes thought that they should have something similar to boot camp for civilians... as a way to get in shape. I've seen people come back from boot camp as a totally different (physically) person.

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