The Vegan Option - Vegetarianism: The Story So Far

39 EpisodesProduced by Ian McDonaldWebsite

In 2016-7, Ian McDonald tells one epic tale - the backstory to today's vegetarian and vegan movements. From the Ganges delta to the hills of New England, from the iron age to the present day, voices challenge the idea that other animals exist soley for humans. Discover philosopher kings, rebel poets… read more

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VegHist Ep 15: Liberation. Veganism, hippies, and the animal rights movement. With Sam Calvert and Maneka Gandhi; at London, Cambridge, and Bangalore

September 13th, 2017

How has western vegetarianism risen, within living memory, from fringe to mainstream choice? And how has veganism gone from nowhere to everywhere?

Episode 15: Liberation

This final episode recounts the growth of …

VegHist Ep 14: Diet Reform. On consumerism, lebensreform, and Gandhi; with Ramachandra Guha; at Sabarmati Ashram, India

June 29th, 2017

In the nineteenth century, in America and Germany, new forms of vegetarianism emerge – from the individualistic consumer vegetarianism of America, to the back-to-nature European “life reform” movement.

Episode 14: Diet …

VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London

May 16th, 2017

In the late nineteenth century, the new vegetarian movement is intertwined with other struggles – including Victorian reformers, the Indian reaction …

VegHist Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics. Bible Christians, Grahamites, and Transcendentalists; with Adam Shprintzen and Derek Antrobus; at Deerfields, Fruitlands, and Salford

April 28th, 2017

In the 1800s, overlapping circles of utopians, mystics, and romantics in both Europe and America develop arguments against meat until “vegetarianism” finally becomes a real movement. 

Episode 12: Radicals & …

VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility; with Tristram Stuart and Anita Guerrini; at the Ahmedabad Panjrapole

January 3rd, 2017

When printing lets ordinary people access a world of ideas, including Indian vegetarianism, some European radicals and diet gurus begin to oppose …

VegHist Ep 9: Renaissance. Descartes, Montaigne, Gassendi, and the “sparing diet”; with Jean-Charles Darmon, Deepak Kumar, and Justin Begley; in Paris, France

December 8th, 2016

Ancient philosophers inspire Renaissance thinkers to challenge the old hierarchy of man over beast. 

Episode 9: Renaissance

Old medieval certainties …

VegHist Ep 8: Contacts. Indian Sufism, Bhakti, Akbar, Portuguese Christianity, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism; with Sanjukta Gupta; in Agra, Delhi, and London

October 6th, 2016

When conquerors who profess Islam or Christianity rule over Indian vegetarians, the conversations about food ethics go both ways.

Episode …

VegHist Ep 7: Heresies. On Chinese Buddhists, Cathars, Bogomils, Islam, and Manichaeans; with Vincent Gooseart, John Arnold, Jason BeDuhn, and Ven. Chueh Yun; at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, in London

September 6th, 2016

In the Middle Ages, three very different monastic orders spread from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, surrounding themselves with lay believers and challenging the norm of meat-eating.

Episode 7: Heresies

VegHist Ep 6: Hinduism. On Indian Vegetarianism, Vaishnavism, Satvik, and Mahayana Buddhism; with Sanjukta Gupta, Deepak Anand, and Ranjan Garavu; at Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Bhubaneswar and Nalanda Mahavihara

July 5th, 2016

In the first millennium CE, Indian vegetarianism advances from an ascetic fringe to a mainstream high-status lifestyle.

Episode 6: Hinduism

How did vegetarianism permeate Indian society? Ian tracks the changes in …

Vegan Politicians: Kerry McCarthy MP on Brexit

June 11th, 2016

As the British public make their biggest decision in a generation, Ian asks Kerry McCarthy MP about the potential impact of Brexit on animals.

Vegan MP on EU Referendum

In this special short extra edition of the Vegan …

VegHist Ep 5: Flesh and Spirit. On Egyptian monasticism, Early Christianity, Plutarch, Neoplatonism, and Manicheansim; with David Grummet, Nicholas Baker-Brian, Michael Beer, and Fr. Abouna Yostas St. Athanasius

June 7th, 2016

In the eastern Roman Empire, several faiths and philosophies agree on one thing; that you need to eschew flesh to live a life of the spirit.

Episode 5: Flesh & Spirit

Not all Romans celebrated pagan sacrifices or …

VegHist Ep 4: Ashoka. On India’s animal advocate Buddhist king and the spread of the śramanas; with Bharati Pal and Suchandra Ghosh; at the Kalinga rock edict, India

May 3rd, 2016

In the largest ancient Indian empire, at the height of its power, its Buddhist king advocates for animals in his edicts, and tries to change India for good.

Episode 4: Ashoka

In the fourth century BCE, the śramaṇa …

VegHist Ep 3: Pythagoreans. On the Cults of Orpheus and Pythagoras in Ancient Greece; with Hugh Bowden, Michael Beer, John Wilkins, and Armand D’Angour

April 5th, 2016

In Ancient Greece, vegetarianism belongs to a secretive subculture – amongst the mystery religions of Orpheus and the musical mathematical cult of …

VegHist Ep 2: The Middle Path. On Siddharta Gautama, and Buddhism; with Rev Varasambodhi Thera, Peter Flugel, and Richard Gombrich; at Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India

March 1st, 2016

Ian travels to the tree where the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, and explores the paradox of his early followers’ attitudes to …

VegHist Ep 1: Ahimsa. Mahavir, the Jains, and other śramaṇas; with DN Jha, James Serpell, Richard Gombrich, & GC Tripathi; at Veerayatan, Rajgir, India

January 22nd, 2016

In the Ganges plain in Northen India in the middle of the first millennium BCE, the idea of “ahimsa” – non violence – emerges.

Episode 1: Ahimsa

Ian …

Digital Vegans: Picking up the Tab, with Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream

February 2nd, 2014

Digital Vegans: The Tab

As the internet transforms the media landscape, how can vegan organisations and businesses survive and thrive? In the midst of the crowdfunding campaign for Vegetarianism: The Story So Far, Ian …

Palm Oil: with Catherine Laurence, Eric Lambin, Orangutan rescuer Daniek Hendarto, RSPO SG Darrel Webber

September 13th, 2013

Palm Oil

Palm oil is everywhere – from cooking oil to soap to vegan margarine. Equatorial rainforest and peatland are cleared and replaced with serried ranks of oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis).  The biodiversity of …

Science Fiction and Animals: from Jonathan Swift and HG Wells to Star Trek and Doctor Who; with Sherryl Vint, Robert McKay, and Tara Lomax

July 5th, 2013

Science Fiction and Animals

From Jonathan Swift’s talking horses to Star Trek’s Vulcans, from HG Wells to the Wachowskis, science fiction tackles the …

Cats: Can they be vegan? With vets Lorelei Wakefield, Andrew Knight, and Jean Hofve; and special guest Erin Red

February 1st, 2013

Cats: Can they be vegan?

Three experienced veterinarians with experience of vegan cats say whether and why they think cats can thrive on a vegan diet.

Jean Hofve argues – out of bitter experience – that cats need meat.

Extended interviews on iTunes, starting with Dr Julia Minson

January 8th, 2013

If you’re like most of our listeners, you get The Vegan Option show via the podcast feed – an automatic index of shows that’s read by iTunes, Stitcher and other “podcatchers”. (If you haven’t heard any of the shows – …

South East Asia: Finding Vegan Food in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia

November 28th, 2012

Travelling Vegan in SE Asia

In 2009, I travelled through South East Asia from equatorial island to the far north of Thailand, discovering the vegetarian threads running through the region. Hear Diana and I banter about …

Judgemental: with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Dr Julia Minson, and Marla Rose

October 6th, 2012

Judgemental!

Those judgemental vegans. A charge you’ve probably heard (or perhaps even uttered).

But what is “judgement”? How does it really affect the relationships between vegans and others? What can scientists say …

London Olympics: Closing Update with Vx, Animals in the Opening Ceremony, and Vegan Food

August 13th, 2012

London Olympics: Closing Update

As the athletes celebrate their victories and defeats, and the Spice Girls rock the closing ceremony, we look back over the Olympics and update you on the vegan stories behind the games.

London Olympics: interview with Kara Lang, vegan Olympian, Canada soccer team

August 9th, 2012

Kara Lang, Vegan Olympian

Kara Lang  holds the record as the youngest woman ever to score a goal in international soccer – but her passions also …

London Olympics

July 27th, 2012

London Olympics

Athletes from across the world are coming to East London – where we produce the show – but what are the vegan perspectives on the …

Vegan Cheese: Casein, Casomorphins, and the Daiya Redwoods Vegusto Taste Test

July 4th, 2012

Vegan Cheese

What is the secret of making cheese without dairy that stretches and melts?

Is there a cheese addiction?

What’s the past, present, and future of vegan cheese?

And if you brought together the leading vegan …

Born Vegan at Vegfest UK, with Ruby Roth, Mair Perkins, and a studio audience

May 31st, 2012

Born Vegan: The Parents’ Turn

We took the show on the road to VegfestUK to find out how parents met the challenges of raising children vegan in a non-vegan world. What do they tell their children about how the rest of …

Born Vegan: from 1976 UK TV to the Hebrew Israelites, three very different vegan childhoods

May 1st, 2012

Born Vegan

What is it like to grow up vegan in a non-vegan world? We hear three stories of vegan childhood:

  • Rosemary- appeared as a baby on a BBC …

Lab Meat: Can in vitro meat save the animals? With Nicholas Genovese, David Pearce, and Jordi Casamitjana

April 3rd, 2012

(23 min) Play or download (13 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Lab Meat

A future with cheap lab meat could be drastically different – for humans …

Rebel Poet: Benjamin Zephaniah discusses the life of Abul ʿala Al-Maʿarri (أبو العلاء المعري), the medieval Arab vegan philosopher poet

March 6th, 2012

(24 min) Play or download (22 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Rebel Poet: The Life of Al-Ma’arri

A thousand years ago, Al-Ma’arri was writing Arabic poems of extreme complexity, promoting a rational ideal and most …

Digital Vegans: with Happy Cow founder, iPhone apps, London Vegans, and Kerry McCarthy MP

January 30th, 2012

(19 min) Play or download (17 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Digital Vegans

How has the digital revolution changed being vegan? We talk to …

Peace on Earth: will we ever have it? With Peter Singer and Gary Francione discussing Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”

December 20th, 2011

(20 min) Play or download (18MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Peace on Earth?

This season of peace and goodwill, in our special Christmas show, we ask whether there will ever be peace on Earth.  Steven Pinker, …

Veganism in Politics: The British Parliament Debates World Vegan Day

December 13th, 2011

(20 min) Play or download (18MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Veganism in Politics 3: The Debate

At the end of our last episode, Kerry McCarthy …

The Pledge: the London Vegan Campaigns challenge to go vegan for a month

October 11th, 2011

(33 min) Play or download (30MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

The Pledge

We start our show at the beginning – when folk choose the vegan option. …

A very small sneak peek.

October 11th, 2011

This is a small introductory snippet to let folk who get our podcast in iTunes or other podcast readers check that it’s working – and the first hint …

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