Tuesday, November 29, 2011

asking for a better veganism

I'm not excessively vocal about it here on Icky Monster, but it's not a secret that I am a vegan. I know some of you guys are veg*n too and I know plenty of people out there are curious about veganism and still others are completely turned off by it. I want to address that last bit real quick. Sometimes, I am completely turned off by veganism, too. Why would a movement I'm so attached to sometimes make me want to hide in a corner? Because sometimes, we don't represent this movement very well. We make ourselves look bad. I have been guilty of this in the past, and I'm only just beginning to realize it. Now you won't catch me slinging the word "vegan" around with claims of its value as a cure-all health diet, or with utopian visions of a perfect vegan future world attached. Though certainly any deviation from the Standard American Diet including less animal products and more vegetables is quite healthy, and reducing reliance on animal agriculture can probably ensure a better future for the 7 billion people on earth, if we run wild with these ideas a few bad things can happen. We start to miss the point of veganism (the animals, duh!), we start to look a little crazy (c'mon, admit it), and we may even suffer physically if we begin to follow silly belief systems and sacrifice healthy eating as a result. There has been a trend lately of vegan bloggers announcing a return to omnivorous diets when vegan diets (typically poorly planned vegan diets, that is) failed them. I think this a sign that we need to make some changes within the movement.

I am constantly reading about food and its relation to animal rights. I don't just read vegan blogs--I read blogs opposed to veganism as well. This has lead me to take a new approach to veganism, and I think more of us should be moving in this direction. If we don't challenge our beliefs now and then, how can we strengthen them? If we aren't honest with ourselves about how to maintain a healthy vegan diet, and we get sick as a result, how does this support the animals? If we get wrapped up in pseudoscience and repeat whacko claims as facts, how can we expect this movement to have longevity and credibility? We don't want to look like a bunch of skinny lemonade-drinking cultists, do we? We ought to strive to represent ourselves as healthy, ethics-driven critical thinkers, because that's would we should be.

To hep out my fellows, I've put together a short list of some of the blogs I've been obsessively reading lately. Maybe this will even help a doubter see we're not all a bunch of crazy fantasists after all.

Carpe Vegan: a group of vegans advocating for "veganish" ideals
Paleo Vegan: a vegan paleontologist providing an abundance of eye-opening scientific insights
Pythagorean Crank: the blog of Dave D, former vegan who still follows a plant based diet, but has left the movement for bigger and better things
Vegan Skeptic: A skeptical approach to veganism
Skeptical Vegan: another skeptical approach
Speciesist Vegan: we love to throw around the word "speciesist", but what are its real implications?

We can do veganism better. For ourselves, and for the animals.


  1. Thank you for this intelligent post. I am a vegetarian leaning towards veganism, and never mention "the v-word" due to the reactions it gets me. Yes, I'm healthier. Yes, I'm sure everyone else would be, too. Yes, it's for the animals. But for now, while I find my place in the V-world, I'm keeping mum about it. Here's hoping your blog and the ones you have listed help me find that place!

  2. Right! And it shouldn't HAVE that negative association. It makes me sad and really irks me that it can carry such a poor image. I think it's changing though, and folks like you and me are helping it along (:


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