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Why do vegans attract such hatred?

London (CNN)Ever since Greggs announced its new vegan sausage roll on January 2, the Internet has been ablaze with opposing opinions. Many have been delighted, with many outlets of the UK fast-food chain selling out of the new arrival by lunchtime. Others however, haven’t been so thrilled.

Now, any discussion of veganism online tends to be an absolute minefield. But for all the associated aggro, plant-based eating seems to be on the rise. One 2016 survey found that more than 540,000 people described themselves as vegan — a nearly fourfold increase in 10 years. More than 2,000 books are available at Waterstones with the word “vegan” in the title, Google searches have multiplied in the space of a few years, and in 2017, Just Eat saw a 987% increase in demand for vegetarian takeaways.
Reducing consumption of animal products is demonstrably good for the environment and our health, and the new Greggs roll was developed in response to a petition signed by 20,000 people. The idea that there is no interest in or market for a vegan sausage roll is evidently ridiculous. So why claim so?
    Virtue-signalling is a now-stale phrase born in 2015, which describes people who publicly highlight their support for good causes, but care more about you noticing how worthy they are than the cause itself. Recently, an opposing phenomenon has also gained traction.
    Performative contempt for anything unfamiliar is a tried and tested means of getting attention for a certain kind of commenter. They pick a target whose actually-harmless behavior appears to threaten some notion of their “core values,” and wring it out endlessly, mocking anyone who defends it. A favorite touchpoint of 2018, and 2019 too, if the last few days are anything to go by, is vegans.
    In October, the editor of Waitrose Magazine, William Sitwell, resigned after a bizarre email rant to a freelance journalist who had pitched a series of articles on “healthy, eco-friendly meals.” He replied within 10 minutes, saying “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat?”
    Just a few months earlier, Waitrose had launched vegan sections in more than 130 stores, after increasing its vegan and vegetarian product range by 60%. In insulting vegans, Sitwell was rubbishing a huge — and growing — portion of his customer base. (Having resigned from Waitrose Magazine following that scandal, Sitwell has now joined the Telegraph as a food writer)
    The public outrage against Greggs meanwhile appears to have emboldened some. On the evening of January 2, Steve Charmley, the deputy leader of Shropshire Council, tweeted a protest against bus adverts for “Veganuary,” saying they were “being used to promote the fake news of vegangalists!” The tweet was swiftly picked up by many who pointed out that animal agriculture in its current form is unsustainable, and that it was a disgrace to use his platform to pressure a company to change its advertising.
    Perhaps one of the reasons that Greggs’ introduction of the vegan sausage roll has caused such a furore — besides stellar PR — is that Greggs doesn’t occupy what people might imagine is a traditionally “vegan” space. Veganism tends to be associated in public consciousness with a particular kind of well-off, Waitrose shopping, yoga practising, Guardian reading bourgeoise.
    This probably explains Morgan’s lazy reference to “PC-ravaged clowns,” which makes no actual sense, but seems designed to appeal to a certain idea of a “wronged” everyman.

    Myth of veganism

    But why shouldn’t veganism be more accessible? Much is made of the notion that eating plant-based meals, which is associated with a longer lifespan and less disease, is automatically more expensive — despite the fact that beans are considerably cheaper than say, steak. And while it is possible to be a vegan incredibly cheaply.
    I don’t follow a particular diet, but there have been times in my life when I’ve defaulted to veganism without really intending to, because I couldn’t afford much besides veg, rice and legumes — many of the fun “extras” which liven up the diet can be pricier. The introduction of more options for people who are interested in embracing or already enjoying a less meat-dependent lifestyle, but don’t have a ton of spare cash, is nothing but democratic.
    Veganism is also a restrictive diet — in the sense that it eliminates certain foods, as opposed to the now almost, ubiquitous interpretation of “diet” as “eating less.” This means that for people with eating disorder tendencies, it can be used as a cover for orthorexic restriction. But it is perfectly possible to eat a vegan diet comprised entirely of Oreos and deep-fried seitan, or — probably advisable — maintain a balanced, relaxed approach to food within its parameters.
    Perpetuating the myth that all veganism is synonymous with anxious salad-crunching is a useful tool for trolls like Piers Morgan, who can write off the opinions of vegans as “hanger,” and their advocacy for the diet as the outbursts of “virtue-signalling.” “gruel-eating” snowflakes. Incidentally, the Greggs vegan sausage roll has 3 grams more protein than its meat equivalent.
      The latest backlash against veganism is inherently hypocritical. Those calling for a free-market approach to food production are ignoring the fact that this is exactly what Greggs is. What is being painted as an elitist fringe movement is now mainstream, and Piers Morgan et al seem determined that its advocates are simultaneously malnourished waifs, and extremely threatening.
      Perhaps the performative contempt for veganism is less about veganism itself than the wish to unite like-minded people, for whom a hatred of vegans signals other common values. “An enemy of vegans is a friend of mine.”

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      This was YouTube’s most viral video of 2018

      Image: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

      These days, it’s hard to avoid the web. PCs, tablets, smartphones — even our coffee makers — can wirelessly connect to the internet at the push of a button. Devices buzz with emails, notifications, and status updates at all hours of the day, making it hard to concentrate.

      This may sound like an easily avoidable problem, but it’s hard to imagine life without your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Google Pixel 3 blowing up all day. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid some of these small irritations and make your day just a little bit calmer. Namaste.

      1. Disable bloatware apps

      Here are some facts that should be completely unrelated: 1) AT&T is my wireless carrier. 2) AT&T owns DirecTV. 3) I am not a DirectTV subscriber. However, a DirecTV remote app came pre-installed on my phone. And I can’t delete it. Welcome to the world of bloatware.

      Bloatware is a blanket term used to describe pre-installed apps that take up space and resources on your phone. These apps—many of which you’ll never use—come courtesy of your phone’s manufacturer, carrier, and Google itself (plus a few licensed third-party apps thrown in for good measure). If you look through the apps on your phone, you’ll almost certainly find a bunch of apps you never downloaded and will never use. While bloatware is not unique to mobile devices, it’s most insidious on phones because of the limited computational resources, compared to those on your home PC.

      Though most bloatware can be deleted, there are some apps that can’t go anywhere. By getting rid of what you can, they won’t tap into your phone’s background resources anymore. Long-press on the app icon to prompt the disable option. Alternatively, you can access individual app options by going to Settings > Apps and tapping on the app.

      2. Turn off auto brightness

      Have you ever noticed your screen suddenly dimming or brightening all by itself? That’s auto brightness at work. This feature automatically adjusts your screen’s brightness depending on its environment. Basically, your phone screen will dim to complement the luminescence of a fancy candlelit dinner, but will brighten way up if you’re outside picnicking on a sunny day.

      Want to see it in action? If it’s on your device, cover up the light sensor on your phone for a few seconds (it’s usually on the top of the front-facing side of your device) and your screen should compensate accordingly.

      In theory, the feature is great. If you primarily use your phone in similarly lit indoor environments, then you might not even realize you have it. However, it tends to overcompensate a bit too much (and too suddenly) in either direction.

      Auto brightness is on by default on most Android systems. If you don’t have any problems with it, then let it be. However, if you’ve found it to be a bit jarring, you can turn it off by going to Settings > Display. In some versions of Android, this screen-brightness setting will be available in the pull-down shade (but more on that later). With auto brightness turned off, you can choose a static lighting setting to your liking and manually move as necessary (but keep in mind that a brighter screen burns up more juice).

      3. Enable Do Not Disturb

      Your phone is sure to notify you when someone comments on your latest Facebook post, likes your tweet, or emails you spam, but some information you don’t necessarily need waking you from your slumber at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday.

      Fortunately, Android provides a way out of this: Do Not Disturb. You can schedule Do Not Disturb via Settings > Sounds and vibration > Do not disturb. Here, you can tell your phone to forgo all notifications during a specific time, even phone calls.

      Of course, there will be notifications you’ll want at all hours of the day. Instead of flipping the switch, tap directly on Do not disturb to enter the feature’s settings menu. Here you can set up a recurring schedule for this mode, and you can even allow exceptions. In the Exceptions setting, you can always allows calls and messages from particular contacts (say, all those designated as “Favorites”), from “priority” apps, or even from callers who have repeatedly tried to reach you (the type of calls you get in an emergency situation).

      4. Manage your notifications

      If some apps are sending too many notifications, shut them off for that app. Maybe you’re getting annoying messages from social media services, or perhaps those games you downloaded to your phone are a little too needy.

      Go to Settings > Notifications and you can toggle all app notifications on/off or individually. Tap on a listed app to choose whether you want an entire notification card to pop up on your phone or not.

      5. Rearrange pull-down buttons

      One of the best features on an Android phone is the pull-down shade (or notification shade). Simply slide your finger from the top of your screen down and you’ll find oft-used settings in nifty one-touch button form (i.e. WiFi, Bluetooth, location).

      And Android is nice enough to allow you to choose which icons are included in the shade for easy access. Perhaps you don’t really use things like WiFi calling or NFC, but like having the ability to quickly set your phone to vibrate, toggle Location on/off, or access the flashlight—all with a single tap. You can rearrange which buttons appear in the shade by tapping the hamburger icon in the top-right corner of the shade and tap the edit button. You can then move the buttons around to your liking.

      6. Customize your lock screen

      Your Android phone offers several ways to protect your device. Requiring a password, fingerprint, or some other form of biometric authentication adds a small barrier between you and your digital world, but it’s worth it. Still, security and convenience don’t have to be enemies—for example, you can set your phone to not require a login for a set amount of time after it goes to sleep. 

      Find the lock time that works for your lifestyle. Go to Settings > Lock screen and Security > Secure lock settings > Secured lock time and choose the time that works for you. Alternatively, your phone may have a “Smart Lock” setting (nested under “Secure lock settings”), which keeps your phone unlocked when it registers you are in a “trusted” location (i.e. it can tell when it’s at your home via location services, or if it’s connected to a trusted device like your car via Bluetooth). In this instance, you’ll also just have to trust the users around you.

      7. Never use the in-app camera

      Like to post selfies to Instagram or Snapchat? Sure, we all like to show off our fabulous new ‘dos or that time we met that celebrity at that thing. You might have noticed that the in-app camera on these apps are kinda… lacking? If you’re not happy with the in-app camera your apps offer you, there is a very simple workaround. Take photos with you phone’s stock (and probably superior) phone app and upload to social networks after the fact.

      8. Use widgets already!

      If you’re an Android user and you’re not taking advantage of widgets, you’re doing it wrong. Widgets are live app windows you can keep open on an individual home screen page. Many of the apps you’ll download also come with a widget that works in tandem with the program.

      If there’s information you check often — email, weather, music, podcasts — you can just create a widget and fill up a portion of your home screen with it. Widgets make it a lot easier to access information — no need to open an app and swipe around for the info you’re looking for, because now it’s just always right there.

      To create a widget, long-press anywhere on any home screen page to prompt a series of options. Here, you’ll find the widgets link — tap that and you can swipe through a list of apps that have available widgets (not all apps do). Tap on any app widget and drag it into an open sector. Some widgets will come in different sizes and shapes to allow you options when fitting it onto your home screen.

      9. Get an external Bluetooth speaker

      This tip is applicable to all mobile phone users: Get an external Bluetooth speaker. Some phones boast impressive speakers, but smartphone speakers (even top-of-the-line ones) can only achieve so much volume and bass. If you really want to fill a room, you’re going to need an external speaker. There are many high-quality Bluetooth speakers you can connect to your phone to listen to music, streaming radio, or podcasts while you perform other tasks around the house.

      This article originally published at PCMag here

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