Why I Blew A Fuse (Or Three) Last Week…

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, AAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGHHHH, RWOOOOOOAARR! BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCHHHHHH!

I am angry. Can you tell?

Apologies in advance for the ranty post.

What’s the problem you ask?

HA!

First this Huffington Post UK article last week, and then this one in Salon.com.

Lets tackle the shameless ass-hattery (that would be hilarious if it weren’t so damaging) of the Huffpost UK article first.

It starts by mentioning that there are around 150,000 vegans in the UK (several UK articles on veganism recently have begun the same way).  I’d love to know WHO COUNTED THEM AND HOW? NO-ONE ASKED ME OR MY PARTNER IF WE WERE VEGANS, EVER. And it wasn’t a question on the census as far as I can recall. So, there’s that questionable fact that just keeps on being spewed out. (The fewer vegans there are reported to be, the more ‘niche’ it looks, and the happier the meat and dairy industries are, so it’s not like there’s no agenda for this BS).

The ””’writer””’ says she tried to be vegan for a week based on the fact that some high profile, famous people are vegan or have recently tried it. Now I have NO problem with people going vegan’ish’, or trying vegan temporarily to see how it feels (any reduction in animal product consumption is, of course, to be encouraged), but this has to be the most capricious, superficial reason ever  – it was clear at the outset she wasn’t exactly going to throw her heart and mind into it.

With ZILCH research into the lifestyle, she embarked on it by ordering in all her vegan meals for the week (does she do this even when not vegan? Or does she only enter the kitchen if animals are to be cooked?).

Buying your own food IS difficult if you’ve given it as little thought as she did, but to say that vegan chocolate is expensive at £5 a bar is wrong and offensive. I JUST ATE A STARBUCKS BAR OF DARK CHOCOLATE THAT COST ME £1. And for those of you in the UK, M&S do a dark chocolate bar for 65p. Asda and Sainsburys (in their ‘free from’ sections, do vegan chocolate buttons and chocolate bars for around 45p. I know I’ve bought chocolate in the US – even from expensive Whole Foods – for way less than £5. See what she could’ve found out if she’d researched a tad?

And aren’t we beyond the protein question by now? Don’t we all now know that protein is in practically all plant-based foods and that it’s extremely rare in developed countries to be protein deficient whatever your diet ? Yet this person whines that she feels like eating a chicken breast does a better job of giving her protein than any plant-based food could.

She finishes by misinforming us that it’s harder to eat out with friends if you’re vegan. NO. IT’S. NOT.

Any ideas as to why this person was allowed to ‘write’ this execreble piece?

ARRRGHHH.

As for the salon.com article, this person is very commendably reducing her animal protein intake. But is very desperate to point out she will never be fully vegan. With phrases like…

‘I’ll never give up meat completely…’

‘I think a roast chicken is proof of heaven.’

[The way she ate] ‘…wasn’t restrictive.’

[She’s doing] ‘Nothing dramatic, nothing that screams of absolutism.’

‘You don’t have to go all PETA if you don’t want to.’

…it’s obvious she is eager to distance herself from vegans and portray their lifestyle as extreme and limited (which she bases on nothing but her own prejudice; or is it perhaps that because she can’t go fully vegan, she feels the need to discredit people who are?). She badly wants us to know that she is still ‘a regular Joe’ (my words) and that she still likes chicken the same as everyone else.

(For the record, NOT ALL VEGANS ARE INTO PETA. I can’t stand them. I don’t see the point in them campaigning to stop people commodifying animals, when they commodify women in most of their campaigns. To me that’s counter-productive. Shouldn’t we be commodifying precisely NO SENTIENT BEING EVER?).

She then says that she doesn’t like the idea of eating the amount of processed meat and dairy alternatives that ‘seems to be involved in giving up animals entirely.’

*slow hand clap*

…aaaaand well done for perpetuating the stereotype of vegans eating cardboard sausages and soy burgers for every meal.

Apparently she hated a vegan brownie that she tried. It tasted ‘like wet garbage smells.’ Yes, there are bad vegan treats, But GUESS WHAT? There are bad non-vegan treats too! For the love of God, have a vegan red velvet cupcake from Babycakes NYC and tell me THAT tastes bad I dare you! Complaining about one bad vegan brownie (which has the potential to make people think a vegan diet is boring and tastes bad) is not objective journalism.

With interest in plant-based eating going through the roof, there is of course the inevitable backlash that comes with it.

There are also people that are interested enough to dip their toes in the water, but have such warped perceptions of vegans, they feel they have to disassociate themselves with what they perceive them to be.

YOU are interested in a vegan lifestyle. I know this because you are reading this post right now. I’m sure you are reading many posts and articles on the subject, not just mine. This is fantastic; we absolutely should always be informing and educating ourselves on this amazing way to heal our bodies, the planet and to save animals. BUT, read carefully and question continually, I beg you. There’s a LOT of misinformation, prejudice and agenda-based nonsense out there.

Next week I’ll be happier, I promise!

 

 

Vegan? Plant-based? Wtf?

I want to clarify what these terms are and how they came about. Firstly, let it be known that in terms of diet, these words are used interchangeably.

The term ‘vegan’ came about in 1944, and was coined by a guy called Donald Watson – founder of the Vegan Society in the UK, who wanted to distinguish between a vegetarian, who doesn’t eat animal flesh but eats other animal products, and people who didn’t eat any animal produce at all. He took the first three, and last two letters of the word ‘vegetarian,’ and voila! The term ‘vegan’ came about.

This was the word used for years to describe people who ate this way, until there came a time when there were so many negative associations with this word, that some people decided to use the term ‘plant-based’ instead.

Technically – there IS a difference in the meaning of these words. ‘Veganism’ can involve a whole lifestyle of ways in which to avoid cruelty to animals, i.e. not wearing fur, leather, wool etc, and not using any products containing animals or that have been tested on animals, whereas plant-based tends to refer to diet only.

I noticed recently, on some new health coach type websites, the term ‘plant-based’ being used. Upon further investigation, I realised that animal products were involved in their diet suggestions, so they really meant ‘mostly plant-based.’ I’m not suggesting these people are purposely usurping the dialogue, (or am I?) (Of course I’m not!) (Or am I?) but they are clearly not aware of the genesis of the term, and are (ok, most likely unwittingly) mis-using it so it fits their purpose. So I thought clarification was needed.

Which term do I use? I always used to say vegan. Then I learned the term ‘plant-based’ and totally latched on to that. Now? I really don’t care. I use them both. Thankfully, and not before time, vegan is not the dirty word it once was, and if someone really does have a problem with that word? Well, it’s exactly that – their problem.

People will project what they will whatEVER lifestyle you choose, so whatever term(s) you use to describe your diet – just own it, and know that any negative reactions are nothing to do with you.

Do you prefer one term over the other? Why? Please let me know in the comments.