Whenever I hear anyone touting his/her lifestyle as the “right” one, I get a twitch in my eye.
Yes, I eat a plant-based diet, but I hesitate to use the word “vegan” because that implies that I do not eat or use things that cause animals harm and I recognize that the very act of consumption kills things both directly and indirectly. This is to say that I don’t believe my diet is morally or nutritionally superior to others. It is a personal choice. This warrants a separate post, so I’ll just leave it at this: I abstain from eating meat (all), dairy, cheese, and eggs as much as I can tell based on food labels and that is my only discrimination. I am still torn on animal testing (I know that is a shocker to many vegans) and I did not go vegan to lose weight (and have not lost more than 10 lbs as a vegan, which I’ve since gained back, FYI); I did not go vegan as an “animal rights activist.” I chose to eat a vegan diet because it was one small way that I could align what I found as a critical thinker with my actions.
So, when I hear my fellow plant-strong eaters engaging in fat-shaming in what appears to be a widely shared belief that vegan diets yield thin bodies, I get angry.
The above video on “fake obesity experts” put together by a vegan group is bullshit. Let me tell you why:
- all “obesity experts” are frauds to a degree! how so? Obesity is simply a term for those who have a weight-to-height ratio of 30+, with those being at the severely higher levels having higher correlation (not causation) for type II diabetes; however, very rarely will an obesity expert tell you the truth, which is that weight is a symptom and not a behavior (which is why smoking is not the same as being fat); even more rarely will they tell you that being overweight has been found to be protective! In fact, in many cases, those who are overweight have been found to have lower mortality rates than those who are”normal” or “underweight.” Read here for more on the truth about obesity. If obesity is a focus on weight-to–height ratio, rather than health, how much of an “expert” can one really be?
- how one looks is not a good proxy for what type of “health” he/she is in. This sort of logic is dangerous and reminiscent of phrenology(you know – that old-school racist and classist measurement of “intelligence” by measuring someone’s skull?)
- the person(s) behind this video clearly does not know what “overweight” and “obesity” actually mean because several of the people featured would actually be considered obese by BMI standards (which, if you believe as they do – that BMI is a measure of health – would only further their bullshit argument). This IS important however at detracting from their argument in the sense that they don’t realize overweight is typically PROTECTIVE and plenty of fit and healthy people are overweight and obese (and plenty of thin people are unhealthy).
- Just because a doctor or nutritionist is vegan AND slim does not mean that he/she has the key to health. In fact, many of the doctors listed in the description of the YouTube video as the “real obesity experts” (which, apparently, is simply by virtue of them being vegan and thin) actually differ in what they promote as the “right” diet. Some of these gurus recommend that people abstain from oils (even olive) because they are “processed” and calorie-dense while others embrace the consumption of oil.
- Whomever put together this video forgets one true tenet to health: to each her own (i.e. we are all working with a myriad of factors determining how we should eat for optimal health. Some shouldn’t/can’t eat gluten; some don’t eat soy; etc.). Not to mention: health comes in a variety of shapes and sizes! Going plant-based does not invariably lead to less of you!
- It completely boggles my mind that so many “vegans” are weightist. I got into a bit of a scuffle once with a vegan chef who applauded PCRM’s fat-shaming ads and I am still stunned. I see veganism as an extension of my critical thinking and my love for dissecting social constructs. The mainstream view that torturing animals for food is “natural” is in the same line of “logic” as believing we should rid our world of fat people. Just think about how animal-rights-activism can be traced in the same lineage as those who fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights. It’s time we ALL realize fat acceptance is a CIVIL right and is in the same lineage as other rights for EQUALITY. Fat acceptance is already gracing our textbooks on critical theory (thank the HEAVENS for critical thinkers and dissenters) and the sooner “compassionate” people look in the mirror to see their own discriminatory and elitist beliefs, the better off we’ll all be.
Stop alienating fat people, vegans!
The Cranky One