“10 Reasons why I’m Vegan and You’re Wrong.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 24, 2012
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NSFW language: not for children.

I’m vegan, but I don’t love self-righteousness, pre-judgment, or aggression, or evangelicalism, even in fellow vegans. It hurts our cause, if anything. ~ Waylon

1. I’m vegan ’cause I’m nice and you’re a selfish asshole and you know it.

I’m vegan ’cause I can eat a healthy diet with lots of protein and have a ton of energy without killing animals. I don’t like killing animals, even if they taste good (sorry, bacon and sausage, I miss you).

2. I’m vegan ’cause I like being a pain in the ass in restaurants.

I’m vegan despite the fact that I don’t like noisy righteous mean vegans, I don’t like calling myself vegan, I don’t like describing myself as vegan in restaurants (I don’t like being a picky pain, generally) and I like to eat out a lot, and that means being vegan all I can ever eat out is, like, salad or a bowl of, um…fruit.

3. I’m vegan ’cause I want to live longer than you.

I’m vegan because meat isn’t healthy, actually. Fish is so bad for all of us that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat it in all 50 states, now. And meat is, you know, flesh, and animals eat all kinds of crazy things and are fed crap diets and, speaking of crap, living in little cages and are tortured and separated from friends and family and walk around in their own sh*t their whole life. And then you eat them. That’s kinda gross.

4. I’m vegan ’cause meat is basically just cut up burned flesh from tortured animals that’s then frozen and shipped around in plastic and you buy it in groceries, so unless you hunt there’s nothing macho or tough about eating it, and you’re a fat loser.

I’m vegan ’cause those who work in the meat industry are generally those who are the most horrified by the notion of eating hot dogs. I was hanging with a meat-packing-plant-working college kid the other day that said he still loved burgers, but that a lot of the meat that he worked with was disgusting, and if you eat hot dogs, you’re an idiot. This was coming from a guy who looked like he was a pale version of Jersey Shore’s Situation.

Okay, speed round.

5. I’m vegan ’cause I’m better than you are.

6. I’m vegan ’cause chicks dig compassionate guys.

7. I’m vegan ’cause I’m smart and educated and you’re not.

8. I’m vegan ’cause coconut ice cream is good, though it’s a total rip off.

9. I’m vegan ’cause I didn’t want that delicious amazing hand-rolled goldent buttery croissant with my Americano for Sunday brunch.

10. I’m vegan ’cause I don’t like having fun delicious barbeques with my friends.

Fuck…I’m giving up this vegan bullshit.


PS: on a serious note, whether we’re vegan or not, boycott conventional meat that hails from factory farms. That shit ain’t cool, clean, healthy, kind. It’s bad karma, broooo.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


119 Responses to ““10 Reasons why I’m Vegan and You’re Wrong.””

  1. Diary is horrible for you.

  2. karlsaliter says:

    Lorin, I like your post. Your link leads me back to the top of this post.

  3. karlsaliter says:

    Lorin is right, tearing each other down does not serve us. But discourse does. I'm looking for feedback on how vegans should best approach meat eaters on the ethics of eating meat today. Please comment here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/smarting-o

    Because this conversation matters. And how meat eaters feel about being approached will help vegans find practices that work. Nobody wants to keep doing it wrong.

  4. karlsaliter says:

    Suri I think that first one is an excellent question, and the answers are going to vary with the individual. Most people get more protein than they need, and most bodies can assimilate nutrients from a wide array of sources. Funny educational video on that here http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/likeable-v
    Nutrition is a dodgy science at best. I do not have any scientific evidence for you.

    Having kids is a huge burden on the planet. It is a separate issue. But the value of your question is that it points to an interesting tendency. People often counter the vegan argument by underlining some unrelated aspect where the vegan is not a saint. Why do you think that is?

  5. karlsaliter says:

    Amanda this is a perspective I can truly respect.
    Thanks for leading with your heart and trying it out.
    Also, you remind me to have compassion, and to understand
    that being able to do well on plants is a gift. I should be grateful.
    Aaaand, not pushy.

  6. Did you ever think of being vegetarian and not vegan? I was vegan for about two years and couldn't swing it. I missed cheese, damnit. But now I'm vegetarian, five years strong. I hate telling people I am a vegetarian. I'm sometimes tempted to tell waiters/waitresses that I am allergic to meat (and fish) so that they do not judge me. Is that weird? Sometimes I will order things and realize after the fact that there is a beef or fish base to it!! This happens a lot with thai, indian & chinese cuisine. Sigh.

    xo lauren

  7. Johnny says:

    Studies have shown that pretty well all places where people regularly live to be a hundred (Tibet, Greek islands, villages in Bulgarian and Russia, etc.) have a couple of things in common: they're peasants and farmers, strong family relations, lots of manual labour, yoghurt, and sex, lots and lots of sex.

  8. Greg Eckard says:

    Very funny and candid! I enjoyed the picture.

  9. Clare says:

    Hilarious! And true..it is very difficult to phrase one's veganess, and the question is usually posed by someone sitting next to you, eating meat. I will have to try the pinwheels though.

  10. suri says:

    Ok, correct me if i am wrong , the two main concerns of vegans are environmental and about causing unnecessary suffering right? Although veganism and overpopulation are separate issues they are related in the sense that overpopulation is also an environmental issue …now if you are literate about environmental issues – like most vegans claim to be- you know that the effects of overpopulation cause a lot of animal and human suffering as well -from habitat loss to over exploitation of natural resources – and everything that is in between .
    Also population and industrial production of food are not only interrelated , they auto-catalize each other in an ever growing feedback loop , the bigger the population the more mechanized brutal ways of production are needed… In the next decades demand for vegetables , cereals and meat products will continue to rise as we reach the 9 to possibly 12 billion people mark in 2050 . Organic and local is great but usually to expensive or unavailable for the majority of the population (a liter of soy milk is 4 dollars where i live and imported from the US)
    Do you still think this are completely separate issues? If you are concerned about the environment and consider yourself a compassionate person is it right to turn a blind eye on the population issue? If you are one of those who like walking the talk isnt having many children inconsistent?
    In asking questions of right and wrong , is having many kids in this day and age right?
    Is killing animals the way we do it right? Definitely not.

  11. SoylentGreen says:

    the only thing you will lose by meeting with "(veg)Ann" is your mind. She is the reason people think vegans are crazy. RUN!

  12. SoloVegan says:

    The hardest thing about being vegan is dealing with the non-vegan world. They are convinced you are nutso because you choose to live a life most of the rest of the people in the world consider different, but that is in reality a much more compassionate and healthy way to live.

    The second hardest thing about being a vegan is dealing with the fact that veganism has been given such a bad name by a few crazy people out there who also call themselves vegan. Case in point, (veg)Ann. I know her personally. It is frightening how off the charts crazy she is once you get to see who she really is under the sweet, gray haired, grandma disguise she uses to lure new, innocent vegans into her web of paranoia. Be warned, if you get too close to (veg)Ann you will get burned. Many, many, many people before you have. Don't think you are any different!

  13. TotallyVegan says:

    Oh please everyone. Don't take (Veg)Ann to heart. I have known her for years and she is the most narcissistic, self-centered, self-righteous person I have ever met. She thinks she is so kind, but she is lies and hurts other people to make herself feel good. She ALWAYS thinks she is right even in the face of overwhelming evidence. She is the most damaging person to the vegan community I have ever met and most people are starting to see this. So, please don't think all, most, or even a significant portion of vegans are like her.

    On the flip side of that, I have met Waylon and he is exactly like her. Totally narcissistic and is incapable of doing anything unless he gets publicity and attention from it. He doesn't care about the environment, he just fakes it for the attention.

  14. VeganNutritionist says:


    Did you know that 100 calories of broccoli has more protein than 100 calories of beef? You don't ever have to worry about protein and it is a huge myth. If you ate nothing more than fruit and vegetables, you would get well more protein than your body needs. You don't need any beans or nuts at all.


    I can help you if you are interested. Most of the information on the vegan diet is not healthy. You can be very unhealthy on a vegan diet. Also, anytime you change your diet to one with less calories and less toxins, you will not feel well while your body detoxes and gets used to less dopamine. I highly recommend Dr. Joel Furhmans book "Eat to Live". I have read dozens of books on plant-based nutrition, and his is the most thorough.

  15. VeganNutritionist says:

    A religion is based in dogma. Veganism is based in science. It is a fact that farm animal suffer. It is a fact that animal agriculture is the most harmful industry on the planet. It is a fact that grain grown in third world countries with thousands of starving people is being exported to feed beef and dairy cows. It is a fact that animal protein is linked to dozens of diseases. It is a fact that plants contain protective qualities not found in meat.

    Now, it takes an awful lot of dogma to ignore these facts and keep on eating animal products while people starve, animals suffer, and the environment gets trashed. Isn't it your lifestyle shoving these global problems down our necks?

  16. Suri says:

    Sorry but you are wrong , 250 grams of brocoli have 6 grams of protein , whereas 100 grams of meat have 26 grams of protein . In order to get the same amount of protein from brocoli you would need to eat about 1 kilo . Also if you think you can get all the necessary nutrients just from fruits and veggies includuding aminoacids you are terribly misinformed. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people who try a vegan diet-myself included- fail so miserably , because there is a lot of bogus , unscientific information out there.

  17. VeganNutritionist says:


    I said calories, not grams. 250 grams of broccoli is around 85 calories. 100 grams of ground beef is around 305 calories. 100 calories of broccoli gets you around 9 grams of protein, and 100 calories of ground beef gets you around 8.6 grams of protein. The beauty of it is that the broccoli is much more food and you will fill fuller faster and be consuming tens of thousands of micronutrients not found in meat.

    A baby in its first two years of life will grow 350%. At no time in a humans life will it grow faster. The best food during this growth is its mothers milk which contains around 4.5% protein by calories. Adult humans need much less and the WHO determined that around 95% of the population is fine with 2.5% protein. The other 5% might have problems absorbing protein efficiency. So, they double it to 5% and that covers 99% of the population. Then they doubled it again just to be sure. 10% of protein by calories is what the WHO recommends and if you eat nothing but fruit and vegetables, you would find it quite difficult to get less than 6% protein by calories. More than enough for 99% of the population. A focus on more green leafy vegetables would easily put one over the 10% mark.

    Most people have trouble changing to a whole-foods plant-based diet for a few reasons. One is that is can take several months for their bodies to detox and eliminate the addictions to the rich foods they are eating. Another is that they might be consuming a lot of processed foods which may contain less micronutrients than the animal products they were consuming. Pasta, white rice, breads, crackers, oils, faux meats, etc. are all stripped of most of their micronutrients and left with empty calories. This doesn't give the body what it needs to detox successfully. Another reason is that they are stuck in "The Pleasure Trap" as explain by Doug Lisle. It is hard to argue that a smoker who quits smoking is doing something good for their health. But even though they are doing something healthy for themselves, they will feel horrible until the body detoxes. Same goes with highly toxic foods.

    Here is a test you can try. Stop eating for 48 hours and consume only water. If you experience headaches, nausea, weakness, back pain, stomach pain, etc., then your body is badly in need of a detox. A high raw diet for several months followed by a medically supervised fast will significantly eliminate most of the toxins in your body. Fasting should give you a sense of lightness and euphoria. After you detox, you will have more energy when you fast, not less.

    There is a lot of bogus information. I can show you studies that show olive oil is better for ones health. However, if one looks at the participants, it shows a very homogenous sampling. All the participants consumed a Standard American Diet loaded with saturated fat. When olive oil was substituted in place of butter, the level of saturated fat was lowered and their health markers showed improvement. However, if a person who eats a whole-foods plant-based diet were to consume the same amount of olive oil, their health markers would show a decline in health. This means that olive oil is not healthy, but it is less un healthy than butter and other saturated fats.

    I read dozens of studies a weak and most use such pseudo-science to reach a predetermined conclusion. The studies are created from the conclusion forward and the use of a homogenous sampling of participants gave the data they were seeking. Of course the data is still valid, but when you combine the data with dozens of other studies, you see that the conclusion has no basis in science. Anyone who makes a determination of fact based on a single study, or even a small number of studies simply does not understand science and the proper method to reach conclusion with high probabilities. I can tell you for a fact that 100% of people with belly buttons will die. Does that mean if you remove your belly button you will live forever? This type of univariate correlation is used all the time to reach conclusions about nutrition and is at best pseudo-science, and at worst fraudulent.

  18. robertwolf681 says:

    I'm on a vegan diet. I only eat vegans.

  19. […] people’s anger, sadness, grief or unease was my problem, especially if I was seemingly the cause. Overwhelming […]

  20. (veg)Ann says:

    Those who bother to volunteer their time to contribute to a community, even those who stick their necks out to defend those who can’t defend themselves, are easy targets of cowardly pariah bullies, who hide behind fake names to commit slander.  Unfortunately, even the vegan community has their share of pariahs.

    “Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  –Elie Wiesel

  21. Ilana says:

    when I get home from teaching at night I bake cookies do the next day I have something to give to the many people I encounter on a daily basis asking for help. what about you?

  22. hulya Johnson says:

    I am a Vegan because I don't eat flesh or cause any harm to my friends..
    Being Vegan is the single best thing we can do for the Planet ,our Health and for the planet.
    Until we have a understanding about whats right and wrong there will not be a peace in the world or withing us.
    Being Vegan is the not only best choice but doing right by all Animals.
    Wake up and what you eat affects other living beings and the Universe we share.

  23. Jean says:

    Ok…I’m a yoga instructor and I can still giggle when people make fun of us…why is it so hard for vegans to giggle at satire about vegans? It wasn’t as if you were seriously suggesting you were going to stop being a vegan…I took it as a little tongue in cheek and ability to lighten up. And I love animals and don’t think we should eat processed anything…but I can still appreciate a little humor about it!

  24. AhimsaYogi says:

    Where the heck are you eating out that you only get to eat salads and fruit? I'm vegan and eat out a lot…more than I should (twice today)…and I rarely get stuck with "just a salad"

  25. […] Step 5: Remind everyone that you’re vegan every few minutes and sulk in the corner with a carrot. […]

  26. ArtSem says:

    Don't kid yourself into believing that plants are not living creatures too. The brutal fact of life is that it lives on itself. Life lives on life. There is no way to avoid it, no matter how Vegan we all become. Admittedly, it may be healthier, though.

  27. Rachel Ryan says:

    Sorry but this article was poorly written and poorly edited. How is any reader supposed to digest such nonsense?

  28. @Charlie43 says:

    I am in total agreement with this. I recently buried a 96 year old friend that frank 2 pints of Kessler's a day – one the first thing in the morning, the other in the evening watching television. He was as healthy as a horse right up until he died of old age. Raised chickens, kept a large garden and canned and smoked his own food. I believe it is true that it depends on the individual and their system. I am 68, smoke 2 packs of non-filter cigarettes a day and drink a half-fifth of Captain Morgan's every night, and smoke weed along with this for arthritis pain. I am fairly healthy outside of the usual aches and pains of an old man that has lived his entire life in the fast lane. If it takes me out tomorrow, I will just slide up to graveside on a bad-assed Harley with a good looking redhead with big boobs on the bitch pad, and say "What a ride!"

  29. Cheryl says:

    I'm not quite sure that the tongue in cheek sarcasm was picked up here, but it totally made the points that it was written to make. Thanks!

  30. guest says:

    Same here. I'm a nutritionist and I would dearly love to be vegan because of the environmental and emotional components of the diet. However, after three months of a very careful and balanced vegan diet I became sick and anemic. I'm gluten and dairy sensitive so it makes even a vegetarian diet too tricky for balanced nutrition. Since eating meat I have tons more energy. I make sure I source organic free range as well treated as possible meat sources, I thank the animal for giving its life for mine, and I'm ok with it. One day I will be worm food so I am part of the cycle of life.

  31. […] conscious culinaire. These eleven items will make your life easier, your meals tastier, and your non-vegan guests happier while keeping your conscience crystal […]

  32. Christopher Dailey says:

    The Dalai Lama eats meat as do most Tibetans, i guess you are better than they are as well, your vanity is your down fall, enjoy your many more times on the wheel of reincarnation, may the blessings be.

  33. Tara says:

    Well written, thanks for saying it, as it is.

  34. Ms Mermaid says:

    OMG! Lighten up people… There is so much angst in the world…. eat meat or don't eat meat… Just leave it a personal choice! Bitch about something else like Chemtrails, or the BP OIL Spill, or the fact that Monsanto is a bug huge creepy company that is killing us all….. Geez……

  35. Eilan Wilder says:

    Lots of great commentary….far more interesting than the original article. Wow., I want to say that my meat eating (and hunting because he despises buying meat in a store grass fed in Whole Foods or anywhere, not because of the plastic, saran wrap and all the other multitude of basic intelligent reasons but because he can not stomache that some one else had to do the dirty work of the killing for him) husband just went on a 30 day cleans. He has lost 17 pounds, is completely glowing and this cleanse has changed his energy (now abundant) his mind (so much happier and cracking jokes all day long) and he is truly glowing! Meat does not look the same to him as before but he says he will still occasionally eat some if he hears the call. I have always preferred a veggie lifestyle and do not eat mammals. The occasional wild salmon and some fowl here and there. Mostly to be polite at other peoples houses. As some one who has nursed my young I feel that the conscious connection that it creates must be in animals too. I do not judge anyone who choses to eat animals but like most of us who read this type of publication likely do too. Back to being polite. This is where I would like to make my point. In a perfect world hundreds and thousands of years ago I might have eaten similarly to how I do now. I wish i could say the same about most westerners. Unfortunately the processed/gmo/animal cruelty/SAD diet is everywhere. Let's keep fighting for all the better and more humane ways to improve our degradation of the human diet! I have raised my 4 children to believe the McDonalds is a dirty word. They know that on all the levels that it is. Raised in Boulder Colorado they are also unfortunately in some respects exposed to and have a little bit taken on some food snobbery. We talk about this and a major part of our parenting has been focused on manners. Manners in this world are here for extremely important reasons. The main one is to make others feel comfortable. I tell my kids that good manners will open far many more doors to them in life than good grades. Here's the point… I know what a strict diet can create. One one side it can improve ones health when needed, it can lessen certain impacts on our earth (eating locally etc…) but on the other side it can be isolating, rigid, hard on the mind, and it can pose awkward social situations. Manners plays in this comment because if myself or my children were to travel outside our immediate word (out of Boulder and into the "unreal" food world) and if we were rigid and food snobs and heavily limited to what we will or will not eat, we could make other people feel bad. Imagine traveling to a third world country and being invited into some extremely poor persons home/shack/tent/ and out of their extraordinary kindness were offered some yak milk/dried beef/bread/weird looking seafood etc…I would never want to be so attached to my "special" diet to refuse an incredible offering and insult someone! My children are trained to never be so arrogant to do that either! And let me say this, I have Celiacs disease but I would rather eat a bite or two of gluten than make someone feel uncomfortable in their own home. My tummy ache will pass in a few days and it will be worth it because my heart will be at peace. Guess what? We are all eating each other! Ask any pregnant woman how it feel to give so much life force and nourishment to grow a baby, even giving them the calcium from your teeth. Look at soil,made from bacteria, organisms, animals, humans all decomposing so that another many have it's turn to thrive. Rigid concepts are the problem here. Fundamentalism about food, religion, education, politics, any of it is imbalanced and we all should do what we can and what we would ideally like most of the time but leave a little room to break your own rules in any given situation so that you can move through this world in grace, kindness and love, and have others feel good. I wish we did not all eat each other but that seem to be how it is. I think our attitudes and thoughts are more powerful here than all the concepts and some times we just have to transcend our selves.

  36. annabel says:

    THANK YOU!!!

    It’s so important to get these conversations going!!!

    Love your work waylon.

    Cheers from Sydney

  37. Noelle says:

    Thanks Waylon! we all need to make fun of ourselves. In my personal experience as a vegan, working with and hanging out with a lot of vegans I have found that we can be a bit uptight amongst other things and some times that scares people off

    Check this out–I think you'll enjoy it http://www.carpevegan.com/?page_id=352

    Keep up the good fight–you're awesome!

  38. Fishwig says:

    Are you kidding me? First, you are not funny. Second, you are a hypocritical evangelical ass……! Way to get people on your "side"……

  39. veggiefitness says:

    A vegan diet can not even come remotely close to doing the damage and destruction a meat eating diet does. You bring up a bunch of junk that most of us cannot even control, then throw it in our faces as if we don't know this. Do you not think that we don't wish we could all grow our own food? I mean come on, your really grasping for straws here plus most of forest destruction is done to home COWS and other animals that you will all eventually eat or to plant to corn which your food must also eat. Check your facts before you try to fact check US. Not to mention the farm animals destroy the land, which leaves the ground so eroded that we cannot even farm it once you kill them and move to the net plot of destruction.
    Vegans/Vegetarians DO CHANGE what they can CONTROL, unlike meat eaters who show absolutely no self control or care for anything or anyone but themselves. Don't throw the Earths destruction at us baby, cuz you know its the other way around. Now go jump in your Prius and eat that steak.

  40. […] “Eating is an act of nourishing my body and soul,” he said. “I choose to do no harm.” […]

  41. Nicole says:

    Since when did fish stop being animals?
    You're a pescatarian… fish are animals. Vegetarians do not eat animals.

  42. Andreas says:

    So are you saying that non-vegans all hurt their friends? Please say no, because wacky statements like that is what gives all vegans and vegetarians a bad name.

  43. Not funny and thought better of Elephant Journal especially inappropriate as it is World Vegan Day and especially since even Bill Gates now has said with going towards 9 billion on the planet we will all have to be mostly vegan one day. Add climate change into the debate right after superstorm Sandy and this is doubly stupid. Further for all the "humane meat" fans, and there is nothing more inhumane than factory farming, humane meat actually costs more resources than factory farming and killing is killing. So why support it? Our world consciousness takes on the pain of each killed animal and wars will only continue if killing is accepted as normal Get a life don't take one!

  44. BldrGrrrl says:

    Thank you for your sensible response. People tend to forget individual needs and assume, like you pointed out, that if they can do something, everyone can. Allergies, absorption problems and other health issues can affect the kind of diet a person needs. I wish everyone could be as open minded as you, Amanda.

  45. kemibe says:

    "I like to eat out a lot, and that means being vegan all I can ever eat out is, like, salad or a bowl of, um…fruit."

    Really? Where exactly in the rural South do you live?

    "I’m vegan because meat isn’t healthy, actually."

    I think you mean "healthful" and I respectfully disagree. Heme iron from lean beef is a virtual necessity for those of us with an unusually high iron turnover.

    "Fish is so bad for all of us that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat it in all 50 states, now."

    Really? Is there a federal law now? Seriously, where do you get this from? And you do realize not all aquatic life is created equal, right?

    "And meat is, you know, flesh, and animals eat all kinds of crazy things and are fed crap diets and, speaking of crap, living in little cages and are tortured and separated from friends and family and walk around in their own sh*t their whole life. And then you eat them. That’s kinda gross."

    Here you have not-so-artfully segued from health concerns into ethical concerns, and conflating the two represents poor argumentation. That aside, you cannot make blanket claims about what animals are fed, any more than you can claim that all human livers are equally choked with environmental and dietary toxins. I'd sooner eat a Buddhist monk from the Tibetian plain than a crackhead from the U.S. industrial belt, for example.

    "I’m vegan ’cause those who work in the meat industry are generally those who are the most horrified by the notion of eating hot dogs."

    Come on — hot dogs are to meat what Dane Cook is to comedy.

  46. Lynda says:

    I'm vegan and I don't care what anyone puts in their body. If you want to eat cancer and support animal cruelty, that has nothing to do with me. Satire, anyone?

  47. onlyonelikethis says:

    I'm so tired of this vegan bashing I don't even want to look at EJ anymore except as a last resort when I'm really bored.