Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Slippery Slope of Nutritional Surveillance




Something new has taken hold of the vegan movement. It’s what everybody seems to be talking about these days. Perhaps you’ve noticed it, too? 

There are vegans who are taking a stand against oil. 
(“Oil will kill you, it will destroy you, even the teensiest little drop. It is artery-clogging, liquid death.”)

There are vegans who are blowing the whistle on dietary fat.
(“No, not just oil: all fat. I just tossed out my flaxseeds. I wish I could take back those sunflower seeds I ate last week.”)

There are vegans who are shedding light on the dark side of carbs.
(“Um, carbs are the real problem, not fat. Potatoes, rice, fruit, it doesn’t matter: carbs are the enemy and they will make you obese.”)

There are vegans who are exposing the world to the dangers of gluten.
(“Not all carbs are the devil. It’s just gluten that will destroy your gut, the foundation of your health. The rest is fine.”)

There are vegans who are pulling the curtains back on sodium.
(“Why is no one bringing up sodium?!”)

There are vegans who are leading the charge against sugar.
(“Oh, come on. Sodium? It’s sugar that is the real problem. Just a few granules and you will become instantly toxic.”)

There are vegans who are educating the world about acidic foods.
(“What you really need to be concerned about is alkaline versus acidic. That’s it. You cannot die if your blood is more alkaline. It’s a known fact. Acidic environments equal death.”)

There are vegans who are teaching the masses about the hazards of cooked foods.
(“Oh, please! Why are we all dancing around the truth? It’s all about enzymes: heating food over 104 degrees destroys the enzymes and then it is nutritionally void. End of story.”)

It used to be that vegans concerned ourselves with social justice and digging at the roots of unjust privileges. We worked at changing how society conceptualizes other animals, at getting people to finally see the unnecessary, systemic violence that is so pervasive and ingrained, it’s nearly invisible. We thought that we had a lot of work to do but it turns out that we’d been badly neglecting a whole sphere that deserved our attention: nutritional one-upmanship. No longer, though. Now it seems that so many vegans are consumed with policing each other and the world at large over carbs versus fat intake, the satanic properties of salt versus the sinister underbelly of sweeteners, that the real compelling message of compassionate living is lost in the swirling miasma of paranoia and disordered thinking.
 
I believe that this creeping demonization of our food landscape - the environment of shaming and judgement, posturing and rancor over nutrition - deeply undermines and restricts our efforts at building a culture of compassionate, dynamic veganism. 

Unless there is something radically and uncommonly wrong with one’s body, that person has serious allergies or addictions, no, a little oil, a little sugar or some carbs won’t likely kill anyone. It just won’t. This is absolutist and fear-based thinking that is not rooted in science or fact. Scaremongering does sell a lot of books, though. It is a hard sell for celebrity doctors and wellness gurus to build a base without demonizing something(s) - fat, carbs, cooked food - and they need a solid hook to be heard above the clatter of all the other competing celebrity doctors and wellness experts seeking their piece of the (low glycemic index, gluten-free, raw) pie. They realize, too, that the buying public needs a plan to rally around, one that’s easy to understand, to stay motivated. 

I have seen vegans become downright vicious as they slam others in defense of the specific dietary and health beliefs they hold to be true; I have seen vegans publicly attack each other in a cruelly personal, bullying manner, the likes of which I had not seen since middle school, over nutritional minutiae and body size as if their adversary were an animal abuser instead of, um, someone who occasionally eats rice. I have no doubt that our country eats too much protein, too much fat, too many processed foods, and that this is not health-promoting for anyone. I also have no doubt that the health experts have helped many who were at death’s door by exposing them to a healthier way to live. I am not disputing that and I have so much gratitude to those who have turned people away from meat and animal products to give them a new lease on life. I remain skeptical, though, that a little “this or that” is deadly or even injurious for most people. Followers make these assertions as though they were facts but passionate beliefs about something do not make it a fact. Instead, it becomes a form of zealotry and, because we are still a small minority of the population, this then becomes associated with veganism to the public at large, which already considers how we live to be extreme and requiring the discipline of a mountain-top dwelling monk as it is.  

The repercussions here are pernicious: the conflation of veganism - which has its core foundation rooted in convictions about nonviolence, equality and justice - with random diet plans that happen to be promoted by various vegan doctors or weight loss gurus. Veganism has nothing to do with being gluten-free, fat-free or raw and we need to be mindful about not intertwining it with whatever diet we consider to be optimal. Years ago, when raw foods was becoming The Big Thing, I heard a lot of confusion from the public due to this intertwining: Wait, so vegans don’t eat anything cooked? Is that right? I am starting to hear the same general confusion about vegans being gluten-free. Now are we to also believe that people are somehow “less vegan” if they are not oil-free? What does sautéing broccoli in a little olive oil have to do with the exploitation of animals? What does anyone’s Body Mass Index have to do with the institutionalized cruelty we inflict on animals? That’s right: absolutely nothing.  

We should be doing everything we can to remove the barriers to compassionate living, not putting up more arbitrary and personal hurdles that have nothing to do with it. There are already huge cultural and personal leaps that many people find overwhelming and intimidating: why would we make it harder by making veganism even that much less attainable? If people want this to be a personal purity club that revolves around restriction, dietary absolutism and body shaming, then that is what it is, but it is not helping the animals. It’s disordered thinking (no doubt fostered by our sick society) that has gotten wrapped around veganism and I have seen the shame, anxiety, confusion and isolation it engenders. For veganism to thrive and grow, it needs to be expansive and accessible, not the opposite. As time goes on, I’m more and more certain that being mindful and smart with our messaging has got to be our priority as effective advocates. When we use the same kind of righteous indignation for potatoes or olive oil that we do for violence against animals and the planet, something has gone haywire with our priorities. When we abandon the ethical argument - the one that we basically own - because we'd rather publicly berate each other over perceived nutritional shortcomings, we have taken an axe to our own foundation. 

69 comments:

Gary said...

"The dose makes the poison." Below some threshold, the joy from chocolate chip cookies outweighs any health hazards.

Mylène said...

^What he said! :-)

Nicely said, Marla. I agree with you wholeheartedly!

Anonymous said...

great article Marla. veganism is about the suffering of animals first and foremost and the side issue of health is a secondary and often selfish concern. as Isaac Bashevis Singer said "I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens."

Anonymous said...

Great post, Marla, as always! You've articulated an issue that I have been increasingly concerned about - the unspoken demand that we, as vegans, offer the world a glowing role model of health, physical strength and perfection. As an admittedly overweight vegan who has always struggled with her weight (from omni to vegan via vegetarian) I feel the pressure to conform and to present the best face of veganism to those I meet by being an 'ambassador'. Unfortunately, of course, my obese body is not what folks want to associate with a plant-based diet and I frequently worry that admitting my veganism might turn others off the idea.

I am noticing more and more how the luminaries of our movement, the media darlings, are folks whose bodies conform to a specific social and cultural ideal. Doubtless their actions also propel them skywards in their careers as activists too, but I feel that it is their image that garners them the attention and the following to begin with. And I also know of many dedicated, tireless, passionate and compassionate individuals whose work on behalf of the animals is nothing short of stellar but whose 'imperfect' frames seem to keep them out of the spotlight. And I think it's a shame that our movement has shifted from being one that focused outwards on the needs of the voiceless and the powerless to one that focuses inwards on our own ego and self-image.

Being healthy and fit as a vegan is great but I hate that there is such an emphasis on it almost to the exclusion of other, less self-centered, issues. The fact is that I didn't become vegan for my health or to reduce my body size. I did it for the animals, for their health and their bodies. And that's why I continue to live this way, despite occasionally missing some food I used to eat, or the convenience of casual social dining out with friends, or the carefree visits with family who must now skirt around me being 'the vegan in the room'. Yes, I miss these things, but no, none of them are worth the pain and suffering they cause the animals who would otherwise pay the price for my convenience. And, for me, that's what veganism is all about.

Sayward Rebhal said...

Holy moly I heart you with the fire of a thousand suns!

Bea Elliott said...

I too am tired of the dietary vegans... After the animals are free we'll have plenty of time for the self-absorbing critic of which plant based food makes us lose weight, keeps us young, clears our skin, flattens our tummies, makes us virile, etc.

As always the best food choices are made from compassion. Tweaking those options for personal gain is NOT what being vegan is all about.

Thank you Marla - It had to be said!

Melissa Sutton-Navarro said...

i agree and disagree. i guess personal events shape my opinion. i am vegan for ethical reasons, but have to eliminate many different products (food sensitivities). hmm ... i guess i just proved one of your points (i'm self-involved) ;). but even if i weren't dealing with health issues, i would still support nutrition because it helps sustain and too many of us are dealing with disorders that relate to environment.

i haven't seen the inner attacks you mention, but i believe they exist. i think a lot of people feel comfortable behind a computer and use it as an opportunity to be obnoxious and cruel.

it's difficult being a healthy vegan sometimes because you're stuck in between two circles: health & AR. i don't know what would fix the gap, but i don't think either side should be compromised to do it. unfortunately, veganism becomes skewed for the mass because a plant based diet is a component of a vegan lifestyle. it definitely puts pressure on abolitionists to correct the misinformed.

people do go overboard with certain diets and sometimes they become fads. everything in moderation, unless it is a warranted health problem. but still ... there has to be a way to clarify nutrition without hindering the vegan movement.

Hardy Party said...

I'm so behind you here. I have stopped following some vegan communities/facebook pages/boards, because of the judgmental attitude being displayed because of food choices. If you are vegetarian you are the devil. If you are vegan you are not good enough because you are not eating raw, gf, sugar free... and the list goes on. It is just tiring. Acting superior because of food is the new snobbishness.

Desdemona said...

Well said; thank you!

Nico Kutie said...

Yes there is a diet called plant based, then there is veganism. i never get the two confused. one is about me me me me. the other is about them them them. personally, eat whatever you want as long as it didn't have a mother, father, heartbeat or face. I really get annoyed with "vegans" who go on and on about food. This is a holocaust not jenny craig ugghhh so annoying. the only oil that i care deeply about is palm because that is not a vegan product. so i educate other then that eat chips and whatever other cruelty free foods you enjoy.

Allison Rivers Samson said...

Totally agree you, Marla (and with Gary)!
"Unless there is something radically and uncommonly wrong with one’s body, that person has serious allergies or addictions, no, a little oil, a little sugar or some carbs won’t likely kill anyone. It just won’t."
YES! I think we tend to apply generally, advice intended for distinct scenarios where people have specific, chronic illnesses. Guess what? No matter WHAT we do, we are all going to die. Some day. Yep, it's true! Every scientific study backs it too.

I believe that we each need to make the best decisions for ourselves: I am vegan for *every* reason: the animals, my health AND the planet. Why choose when one solution achieves so many needs?!
If what I'm doing inspires someone, I'm happy to share it; I'm not about to say never eat sugar, salt or oil. In my book, those three ingredients comprise the Magic Triangle of Palatial Satisfaction! For me, I follow the 95/5 ratio: 95% of what I eat is uber-healthy, organic, whole-foods, green juice etc. and 5% is something sweet, here and there. Of course, I choose the best, highest quality, organic, etc and once in a very blue moon I have a bite of something I would call vegan junk food, even deep-fried! That won't be the thing that kills me; judgement, projection, rigid thinking and feeling will.
And really, there's no need to be excessive or gluttonous to enjoy some of my favorite rewards of being vegan: all the amazing food we get to eat and share and the privilege of connecting purely with animals sans the barrier of guilt.
Thank you, Marla!

Marla said...

Well said, Gary! (Unless there are allergies or something but you get my point.) :D

Marla said...

Thank you, Myléne!

Marla said...

I love that Bashevis quote, Anonymous. Thank you!

Marla said...

I think that you spoke for a lot of people there, Anonymous. We live in a very judgmental and increasingly rigid culture. It is the world's loss if you feel uncomfortable speaking because of a fear of not meeting some ridiculous, arbitrary standard. The more we can show the world our confident, well-spoken and, yes, imperfect selves, the more well-adjusted the world will be. Thank you for your wise and thoughtful words and thanks for all that you do to make the world a more compassionate place.

Marla said...

Same back at you, Sayward! That is a lot of fire. :)

Marla said...

Thank you, beautiful Bea!

Rebecca Stucki said...

I couldn't care less what someone else puts in their body, as long as it's not animal. I've been told (by omnivores AND vegans) that if I lost weight I would be a better spokesperson for veganism. Truth is, I went vegan BELIEVING it might harm my health, and I did it anyway (and found out the opposite was true). For myself, I try to stay away from processed foods with lots of chemicals, salt, sugar and oil, but what pisses me off is the food industry devilishly concocting irresistable "treats" that people do NOT enjoy in "moderation" and which make them sick. (Luckily, most of those products are not vegan, so we don't have to worry too much.) Enjoyed your post, Marla, which I washed down with not-too-hideous Way Better tortilla chips and guacamole :-)

Marla said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Melissa. The interesting thing is that I am a gluten-free vegan for health reasons: I do not respond to wheat well at all. I share your feelings about people who downplay sensitivities like we are making it up out of thin air. I have experienced that many times and it is very unfair. We need to be in the driver's seat of our health: it is not selfish to care about feeling our best! (If it is "selfish", then so be it.) I just don't think we have to choose either/or: either you are pursuing your health or you are selfless and altruistic. Can't we be both? I definitely did not want to imply that we shouldn't care about our health because if we don't have that, we don't have anything. It's the dietary policing that gets to me, and the idea that one size fits all. It doesn't! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Marla said...

"Acting superior because of food is the new snobbishness." Well said, Hardy Party! Thank you.

Marla said...

Thanks, Desdemona!

Marla said...

Thank you, Nico!

Marla said...

Wait, Allison. (Sniff) Everyone is going to DIE?! And now you tell me????

:D

"For me, I follow the 95/5 ratio: 95% of what I eat is uber-healthy, organic, whole-foods, green juice etc. and 5% is something sweet, here and there. Of course, I choose the best, highest quality, organic, etc and once in a very blue moon I have a bite of something I would call vegan junk food, even deep-fried!" That sounds frighteningly reasonable, Allison. You would never make it as a wellness guru. An amazing chocolatier and baker, perhaps. :) Thanks for your kind and smart words, Allison.

Marla said...

Thanks, Rebecca, you adorable woman, you!

Vanilla Rose said...

Too right! I accept that some people need to be gluten-free, but that doesn't mean everyone should be. And the body downright needs fat, carbs and salt in order to function! It's science.

I also read somewhere that an advantage of cooked food is that it makes bits of certain plants much easier to digest. (I will concede that beans and things can be sprouted, of course.)

Marla said...

Sing it, Vanilla Rose!

Vanilla Rose said...

Anonymous II, I wonder if you have yet encountered the blog Fat Girl Posing? It is written by Heather, who is overweight and vegan and who has a lot to say about how most diets don't work and a lot of conventional advice on weight loss is inaccurate anyway. The url is http://fatgirlposing.blogspot.co.uk. There is a disclaimer about how it may be unsuitable for under-18s. Heather also does a regular Make-up Free Monday feature.

Vanilla Rose said...

Sing? Um, maybe!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's noticed this. Just the other day I had to stand up to several vegan policewomen on a very popular vegan page. They were talking meanly about vegans who either put on weight or are just overweight, saying they have to be eating candy bars & soda because THEY never saw an overweight vegan who eats "right". The only admin for the page led the tirade. I told them that they were acting like mean girl schoolyard bullies & negative assumptions & hostility did not speak well of the true vegan life. Another page the admin came down hard on someone innocently trying to transition to vegan & read her the riot act about what a failure she is. Wow.

Anonymous said...

@Marla,

Remember the good ol days when the Vegan Police were just about non-vegan ingredients? :)

Feeling the way you do, I would advise you to stay away from vegsource.com :)

I'm posting anonymously cuz Jeff Nelson has a history of going after people who say less than perfectly nice things about his site.

He has set lawyers against people and even cost one person his job.

Steve

Marla said...

Anonymous, I am so sorry to read that about the bullying and body-shaming but I am not surprised. That has become business as usual, I'm afraid. We have a lot of people who have been very scarred by the judgmental lens we view each other through and do a lot of projecting because of it. Sad to hear.

Marla said...

Yep, I remember the old "Vegan Police", Anonymous! They seem pretty mild in comparison. :D

Rhea Parsons said...

Oh, this is a topic that hits so close to home for me, it's actually living with me.

I went vegan for the animals and happened to get a ton of health benefits as a bonus. Lost weight, got off medications, etc. - that's what's supposed to happen, right? But now I'm seriously ill and I have to keep reminding myself that this does NOT make me a failure as a vegan. Even though I feel as if I lost my "right" to be a good role model for veganism. And that's wrong.

I know I'm vegan for the animals and not for my health so why do I feel like I've somehow failed the cause? Because of all the things you wrote about and more. Because even though we know there is a difference between veganism and a plant-based diet, so much of what I read about is veganism being pushed as the "prevent-all, cure-all" answer. That's not only untrue, it's irresponsible.

People post pictures of obese people online and mock them and make assumptions about what they eat because surely, no vegan could EVER be obese...or unhealthy...or anything but perfect and like you wrote, if they are not, then they aren't doing veganism the right way.

It saddens me when a person joins a vegan FB group, is new to the whole thing, wants to lose weight, get healthier and the members descend on the person with stringent regimens of juicing or sprouting or going raw. What? You buy non-dairy milk? Wrong! Make your own! What? You don't only buy organic produce? Wrong! You're supporting GMOs. It never ends.

Vegan companies sell t-shirts in sizes that would only fit an emaciated child and call it an XL. Are you kidding? So only underweight people can promote veganism because we don't want fat people giving omnis the impression that being vegan means something other than being hot. It's ridiculous and it's harmful.

Veganism is about non-violence and compassion. Not beauty, not size, not health. It's great if you get those side dishes but that's not what it's all about. Non-violence and compassion: for the animals, for ourselves and for each other.

Thanks for the wonderful post, Marla.

Jess Parsons said...

1. Vegans will happily argue with
each other about animal rights issues too. Yes, we will, and you
know it. We are a deeply caring
bunch, and it's hard not to answer
back.

2. If you think it is OK to tell
other people to avoid all animal
products for compassionate
reasons, how is it objectionable
to tell other people what food to
eat if you strongly believe there
is a health impact? Is it not OK
to take care of ourselves as well
as the animals?


3. All these arguments within our camp are what is hurting us.
Spread your message, and let
other people spread their message
without torpedoing them, or you
just give the mainstream extra
torpedoes.

They might be just as knowledgeable as you are, but in a different area.

"http://minimalistmum.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/the-real-reason-not-to-eat-animals-is.html"

Laura Bruzas said...

For me personally, I want my food to be all three: good for my body*, environmentally-friendly and kind to the animals. I do not believe they are mutually-exclusive,

*real, minimally processed if processed at all, organic when possible, free of artificial colors and flavors, made with complex carbs vs simple carbs, etc.

I strive to have my diet reflect my ideals at least 80% of the time. Always working on moving the percentage up the continuum though.

Marla said...

Rhea, it breaks my heart that someone who has done as much as you have to bring the vegan consciousness to people has to deal with the implication that you're somehow "hurting" the movement because you are not in perfect health. There is a lot of the blaming the victim mentality here, which is so sad to see. I have also seen the pile-on you've described on FB pages, where someone is just getting started and gets jumped on for being imperfect in another person's eyes. It's like as a movement, we are tone-deaf at times. I think it also speaks to the absolutist culture we are living in, one that is quick to judge and slam each other. It's really too bad. We need to be above this. Thank you for being honest and speaking your truth, Rhea. I appreciate you. (Even if you are killing the movement.) (Kidding.)

Marla said...

Hi, Jess - I will just repost what I wrote to this same post you wrote on FB. :)

I think people have every right to talk about their diets as vegans, Jessica, but when one's particular dietary convictions become grounds for making mean-spirited, body-shaming and irrational attacks on others - both vegans and potential vegans - it is a problem. I do not eat gluten as I have wheat digestion problems. Am I going to wrap this up in my veganism, though, to shame people who eat seitan? Heck no. It's not my business and it's counter-productive. Eating animals hurts them and our planet so THAT is my business. I remain unconvinced that in a vegan diet, a small bit of oil or sugar is that disastrous. Vegan MDs will fight over the fat vs. carbs debate and come up with information that contradicts one another's information. I am speaking out because I believe that slamming people who are transitioning or maybe simply following a different vegan diet plan turns off the very people we need to attract. I don't apologize for that.

Marla said...

Thanks for sharing, Laura...

Rebecca Stucki said...

Jess, in response to your #2: It's ok to tell someone to stop eating animals, because you are protecting a victim (the animal). Although SHARING knowledge (or what passes for knowledge) is fine with regard to other food issues, you can't DEMAND that someone stops eating this or that, because the only overt victim is the person doing the eating.

Karen from Collins said...

Ooooh Marla, how I love you - thou speskest truth. As a veg/vegan ever aspiring to do better, sooooo very imperfect but on the path - for both the animals and a health scare, I freak out in my head, heart and soul at judgement and extremeisn, it's, I'm sorry, dead wrong and what's wrong with today's oh-so-HARSH world. When you even have to write this...when our DEAR Rhea feels GUILT...that SHERO?? Massive fail, society, massive fail, I think. Thank HEAVENS there are waaaay more kind, compassionate (TO EACH OTHER, not just the animals) people like you and your supporters here. SCHMOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Emily said...

Very well said! I too have noticed this disturbing trend. Unfortunately I think to some extent this is "growing pains" of the vegan movement, and was inevitable as more people learn about veganism and grow interested in it for reasons other than animal rights. I am glad to see other people have noticed this nutritional obsession though and are speaking up about it.

Ginny Messina said...

Love you, Marla, and love this post. Thank you!!

Kate said...

I LOVE THIS! I came to veganism through Alicia Silverstone, who's book teaches us compassion and the health benefits of veganism without broaching the subjects related to specifics. When I first discovered PCRM and McDougall, I was horrified- I lost nearly 20lbs (on my 100lb frame...) abstaining from fats, and even following his recommendations of eating avocado, nuts, and seeds, I just couldn't gain the weight back! Finally I decided it was INSANITY and just ate what I thought was healthy for me- as a vegan- and I found a healthy middle ground. The reality? Gluten isn't good for me because I'm a Celiac, but animal abuse isn't good for ANYONE.

Kenny T. said...

I couldn't agree with this post more, Marla. Thanks for writing it.

urban vegan said...

Amen! Food is our friend, and it's becoming the enemy.

The Hill said...

Although I've been vegetarian for as long as I remember, I only became fully vegan about a year and a half ago. I found the transition quite difficult because so much seemingly innocent food I get from the supermarket has whey powder or beeswax in it and when I make stuff from raw ingredients I always put cheese in to give it flavour. And I don't have any close vegan friends (being vegetarian has always been a struggle as my parents and siblings never supported me and going vegan just made them act like I'm totally crazy) so I didn't have anyone to encourage me. And I'd just started a new job where a really nice lady in my team was always making cakes and bringing them in and went on and on about how terrible it must be for me not being able to eat eggs and therefore anything nice like cake.

This was irritating because as I repeatedly tried to explain, knowing I'm not hurting an animal is a far more satisfying and lasting feeling than eating a cake. And since then I have got several vegan cookbooks so now I know I can make and eat all sorts of things including lots and lots of cake if I so wish.

But at that moment in time, I felt very alone and really quite hungry too and it was hard to stand up for my new life choice. And then this man I had never spoken to before came over from a different desk in the office and told me he was vegan. The computer system had just crashed, so he asked if it would be helpful if he shared some vegan information with me while we waited to get back to work.

This sounded great to me, just what I needed. And so I spent TWO HOURS being lectured by this complete stranger - lectured, because only twice did he allow me to give one word of input. He gave me about a hundred sheets of paper on eating healthily. He told me that I should only eat raw food and that if I eat pasta all my insides will get glued togather and that if Elvis has been vegan, he wouldn't have died.

But not once did he give or suggest any recipes, which is what I had been hoping for, and he was openly scathing towards animals and people who don't want to harm animals. He was vegan for health reasons, which is fine, but I'm vegan for animal rights reasons and he had no sympathy for this at all. In the end, I felt just as small being lectured by a health-vegan as by the eggs-cake lady.

So I do think there should be different words for people who don't eat animal products because of primarily animal life reasons and who don't eat them for primarily personal health reasons.

Marla said...

Beautifully - and so expressively - said, Karen!

Marla said...

Thank you, Emily. I think you have a great point.

Marla said...

Thank you, Ginny! That means a lot coming from you. Love you, too!

Marla said...

Thank you, Ginny! That means a lot coming from you. Love you, too!

Marla said...

Thank you, Kate. Well said. I am gluten-free as well but that has nothing to do with veganism. All of our bodies are different but our needs can all be met from within a vegan framework.

Marla said...

Thank you, Kenny!

Marla said...

Thanks, Kenny! I appreciate it!

Marla said...

Thank you, Urban Vegan. I couldn't agree more.

Marla said...

Thanks, The Hill. That sounds like a really negative experience. No one really likes being lectured: it is so ineffective and so demeaning. I'm glad that you stuck with it despite that bad experience. The first time I met a vegan, he screamed at me for being a vegetarian and it took me a long time to get over that.

The Hill said...

Oh dear! I always felt a bit embarrassed talking to vegans when I was vegetarian. 'Hey, great to meet you; we're all comrades together! I love animals so much-OOH cheese omelette!... oh yeah, sorry about that.'

bekindnokill said...

Argument #1: ok so my body CRAVED for this chocolate dessert even though my intelligence tells me i should workout to lose weight. therefore, screw exercise, get me tht muffin - it must be right because my body CRAVES for it . #megafail1
Argument #2: veganism is one of the ways to lose weight. therefore if vegans question u abt meat eating, it MUST be because you are fat and ugly. and by tht logic, anyone who judges a person for their weight must be vegan. so if i am a non-vegan, i necessarily non-judgmental, therefore im "good". but nothing is good or bad, it just is. #megafail2

FoodandLoathing said...

A-freakin'-men! I recently saw something on a vegan group where they were talking about how they don't approve of juicing! HUH? Juice, smoothie, eat stuff raw, eat it cooked, sprout, probiotics, WHATEVER. Point is, eat plants, not animals and their excretions, and not highly processed foods because duh.

Marla said...

Megafails indeed, Bekindnokill...

Marla said...

A-freaking-men, Food and Loathing!

Romina said...

This post and all the lovely comments make me so freaking happy!!!

Dazzle59 said...

Terrific post, Marla. Thank you.

VeganGMO said...

Please include GMOs on this list of scaremongering. Too many vegans cast a negative light upon this technology for no good reason. If barriers to entry affect animal lives then GMO should not be so flippantly vilified.

paganb said...

as a nutritional researcher so much of the misinformation out there makes me shake my head, it is more about emotion than logic. Militant veganism, such as you are describing, sounds more like disordered eating and about control than it does about health.

Gena said...

God, this is fantastic. I'm sorry I didn't find this post sooner. I came here through Ginny's blog, and am very glad that I did.

Dipti said...

hey thanks for sharing the information...
nutritional rice

Anonymous said...

Good for you, good for you, good for you , veganism is a humanitarian issue not one of weight loss. Please tell people to"google factory farming videos" love you, bye

Lizz Clements said...

Thank you for speaking up! I've thought about doing the same but just haven't. I try to eat healthier but I'm no food Nazi. Could never live without sugar or fat. But I've got a high metabolism and I love to bake so it's a match made in heaven. I don't have any health problems and I eat a variety of grains, greens, fruits, and other veggies, etc. and I don't appreciate anyone thinking that I'm some sort of food police. I actually got asked the other day if vegans eat carbs from a coworker so I see what you're saying. Seems like the country is taking the health issues to the extreme but leaving the animal rights and consciousness stuff by the wayside. Anyway, good read. Thanks.

Imogen Michel said...

Such a great post! Thanks for sharing.