Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Talk Show Vegans

We've got a new breed of vegans in town. Talk Show Vegans. They are typically fairly new to the game and are the perfect package for talk shows. They will oblige to withholding all the gory details about factory farms (the facts) and are just the most appealing thing ,since sliced bread, on camera. These Talk Show Vegans tend to focus on weight loss and veganism as a diet rather than a moral choice. I am happy when people choose veganism for any reason, because it save animals and is better for the environment, but I have some bones to pick with these Talk Show Vegans.

The problem I have is that by presenting veganism as a diet or a trendy new way to lose weight, leaves the person with the inevitable downfall of their "diet". Let's be real, how many people really stick to a weight loss diet forever? Its not really healthy to be losing weight forever or to be trying to. The key is to get to a healthy place and stay there. I know personally, when I was on weight loss diets, I would get so fed up or sick of them, that I would do the opposite of what the stupid book or video told me to do; I would rebel. So now, the people who are not presented with veganism as a moral decision to save the lives of animals, might rebel against this way of life once their weight loss diet fails, and could possibly go back to eating more animal products than ever before.

I know that anyone who sees a video from a factory farm, and sees the abuses against animals, will make some kind of decision. They will either choose right there and then to stop eating animals and stop supporting abuse, or they will choose to continue to eat animals and try to ignore what was just imprinted into their mind. However, the neat little package that is Talk Show Vegans, present little to none of the facts about the industry and why most of us choose this lifestyle in the first place. I personally gave a crap less about health, I saw a video of a chicken supplier, the abuses were awful (I had no clue before then), I immediately changed my lifestyle that very moment and never turned back. I do not have cravings for "meat", because "meat" to me is not food, it is a carcass of a dead animal who once was; a tortured dead animal at that. The health benefits of veganism are an awesome bonus that I enjoy, but not my motivation whatsoever. I ensure I get the proper amounts of all my nutrients, protein, fruits, veggies, carbs, omegas, etc. and I also take a vegan multivitamin with all my B vitamins (although I get them all pretty much from food) and you all know that I am a big fan of liquid aminos for amino acids - but I do all that so that I remain in excellent health so I can continue to fight for animals for as long as I possibly can. You all know I eat my junk food and I love it!

Now, what I think, is that talk shows that choose to talk about veganism, should incorporate or completely focus on the animals (which is the importance of this) and convenience/ family friendly foods; the things that really concern most people who are weary about this lifestyle. Show people what is easy, where to get vegan products, what to do with them, tips and tricks, etc. Help take the guesswork out of it. A lot of people in America live on Pillsbury brand - show them which Pillsbury items are vegan! Yeah of coarse quinoa is a lot healthier than crescent rolls, but people will get there, lets stop throwing all of our fancy vegan foods/ words at people because we have been doing this for a while and its so easy for us (now).

These Talk Show Vegans lure people in with promises of weight loss and health benefits (which will absolutely happen), so people happily buy their quinoa, kombucha, burdock, daikon, kombu, etc. to lose weight, but get easily turned off or frustrated when their own (normal human) willpower gives into a decadent cookie or a crescent roll! How about first teaching principles of compassion and some factual talk or footage about animal cruelty then we can focus on being a squeaky clean vegan. I lose weight sometimes. I eat clean sometimes. I use macrobiotic or raw principles for a few days after being really Dirty. But that is not a starting point for new vegans. If it works then I am glad; all I want is to see animals being liberated from their abuse and tortures. But people who are introduced to veganism solely as a weight loss diet run the risk of "falling off the bandwagon" and "cheating" to eat something naughty. For them, all they know is "clean=vegan", "dirty=non-vegan". I would like to see people start off by seeing veganism as normal, learn how to make all the foods (including Dirty, yummy, cakey, crumby, greasy, convenient - and also the healthy stuff), so when they feel the urge to be "bad", they can eat something that's bad and also vegan. It is better for you because it won't have cholesterol whatsoever, but at least people will be going into veganism the right way, for the right reasons. I personally know people who were gong-ho veg and are no longer.

If you are vegan for health or weight loss; great! I hope you keep it up forever. This post is directed towards the Talk Show Vegans and talk show hosts who influence so many and encourage people to do things; just start including some facts about the lives of these animals, will ya?

There is definitely a vegan "trend" happening right now. Every talk show, newspaper, article, is talking about it. I love that the word vegan is becoming more mainstream, but I fear the disappointment I will feel if it phases out and people who have turned "vegan" now, turn to something else instead. What do you think about it? If you are vegan, how does it make you feel? How about if you were vegan for a very long time, before it was trendy? Do you think this will last; is this a major turning point for this social movement? Let me know what you think; I look forward to reading your comments. Have a Dirty day!

Go eat something good, will ya? When I say good I really mean bad-in-a-good-way.


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  2. I really enjoyed this article and I believe in what you are doing. I love this blog and you have helped me every step of the way!

    However, what started this journey for me was not about animal rights it was about not knowing what was in my food. I inevitably adopted a lot of new beliefs in animal rights, but the beginning for me was realizing how many hormones, antibiotics and chemicals were in my food. It's scary stuff!

    When people ask me why I eat why I eat I always start with that. I find a lot of people can't (or won't) understand the view of saving A life but when it comes to saving THEIR life they perk up to what I am saying. I don't know that I have changed how anyone eats forever, but I do think they now think twice about what they are eating and where it came from.

    Just some food for thought :-) Keep up the great work!

  3. I agree. I'm tired of "soft" veganism. You either are or you aren't. It's okay to phase into it, but you have to have the goal in mind of being an actual vegan, not just a part-time one or being a vegan because it sounds cool but not actually believing in it. It makes it harder for people who stick with it because God knows I've gotten my share of "I was vegetarian/vegan but I stopped because I needed meat/it was too hard" etc.
    Also, being Catholic is pain because somehow everyone thinks fish and seafood aren't animals! Ridiculous! You can't be vegan and not eat fish! You can't even be vegetarian!

  4. Hi Holly, thank you very much! That is also a great way to grab someone's attention on the matter. Unfortunately, our society cares more about pleasing their taste buds or instant gratification than their own health (or importantly that of the animals). If that wasn't the case, McDonald's wouldn't be thriving and growing by the millions. I do appreciate anyone who is vegan or vegetarian, regardless of the reason behind it, although I wish everyone's intention were for the good of the animals, themselves, and the environment. My post and who I really get peeved at are the promoters (celebs, book writers, etc.) who are more focused on that trend, because we all know trends fizzle out, then what? The animals are still there, still suffering, while maybe people will say, "veganism, that was so last season". I sure hope not for the animal's sake, its certainly not a picnic for them and I think about them everyday. <3

  5. Hi Jennifer, thank you! I couldn't agree more! I have gotten that also. A lot of people tell me they were veg but had to stop because of lack of protein or anemia. Personally, I have to watch my protein for overload reasons, b/c I tend to get too much (I'm Italian - I eat A LOT lol) or more than my recommended daily value (which too much protein can put stress on organs). I think the people who obtain health problems from going veg are the same that will get them from not being veg because they are not paying attention to their diet and health, regardless. Some people have said they were veg for a week or two and developed those problems; my thought is, wouldn't they have to be deficient for much longer in order to develop those issues? I'm not sure, I do not have medical background, I just know a lot about health and nutrition through my lifestyle and research. I just can't help but think maybe it is a cop-out when people say those things. If someone eats vegan the right way, covers all nutritional needs, they should be fine and even improving health. I think someone who doesn't cover nutritional needs, vegan or not, will suffer; its just being conscious of health, diet, and nutrition. I agree, doing this for the right reasons makes it something more than a "diet" or "trend", it makes it part of one's moral make up and value system. I really wish people promoted veganism on all levels - animals, health benefits, environment.

  6. I just wrote a beautifully articulate response to the both of you and it wouldn't let me post! But basically- rock on :-)

  7. I'm sure it was wonderful! Rock on, also! xo :o)