"Blame the person" mentality and people go simply cannot go vegan - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-29-2012, 04:39 PM
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I've seen a lot of "blame the person, not the diet" mentality in regards to veganism. That is, when someone tries to go vegans, ends up with bad health as a direct results, it is not veganism's fault, but that the person just did it wrong. With the number of healthy vegans there are, I don't think that this is unjustified. If you have ten people try something, and nine of them do end up fine and the last one doesn't, I don't think that it was the thing they tried that went wrong. It always annoys me when someone gets up and says that veganism causes bad health, they tried it and got sick so they know (Lierre Keith, cough cough). There are so many vegans that are in good health, that you can't say it will certainly, or even probably, cause you to get sick. This all assumes that a vegan diet doesn't have Oreos as a major food group. But anyway, I have things knocking around in my head.

 

1. What do you think of the 'blame the person, not the diet' mentality? Is it prominent? Justified? As I mentioned above, I think it is a yes to both.

 

2. What you make of these vegans who claim that they did go for a balanced diet and it still didn't work out? I haven't read too much into it, but Lierre Keith, The Voracious Vegan/Voracious Eats (Blogger), and other anecdotal evidence all give me some doubt. Obviously, it isn't impossible for a human being to be vegan and in good health. Everything that the human body needs can be found outside of animals and animal products. If they couldn't, it would be impossible to be vegan. But are these people telling the truth, that no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get healthy? Sure, I've seen a lot of ex vegans try to live on Oreos and fail, but assuming that they ate a perfect diet, could their bodies simply be unable to absorb some of the nutrients? It is the only thing I can think of, though no matter how hard I prod these ex-vegans, they never give specifics. I never got what they ate, other than the general "good", and I don't know what they were lacking, only that they "got sick". This kind of makes me doubt their story. Feeling sick and blaming veganism would be nice. I know that I often crave a nice cheese cake and no one could blame me if I NEEDED that cheesecake to live well. But anyway, if what they say is true, and that some people just cannot go vegan, how does that tie back into the 'blame the person' mentality? I still don't think that it is right for them to try to discourage everyone from going vegan (after all, we know that at least some people can). But I know that if I had to go back to eating meat, I would feel horrible, and it would be very painful for me if vegans did say that I didn't try hard enough. Just not sure how to feel about it, wanting to get other thoughts.

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#2 Old 06-29-2012, 04:52 PM
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I went veggie (albeit not vegan) at fourteen during the late eighties, the vegetarian society handout - small and crudely printed as they were - explained everything I needed to know about getting the right nutrition from simple wholesome non-animal staples like grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds and pulses. I can only assume that those who tried 'vegan' and came out in blotches after two weeks, didn't read any of the superabundant literature out there? As for Oreos.. Bleurgh!


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#3 Old 06-29-2012, 05:40 PM
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I've heard of people with some weird allergies and sensitivities, so I don't rule out the possibility that someone could just have unusual dietary needs or something. However, I'm pretty skeptical of most of the stories I hear from people who got mysteriously ill and gave up, especially Lierre Kieth. From what I've read she wasn't even fully vegan anyway and would routinely cheat and binge on eggs and dairy, so I don't see why she complained about a lack of animal protein so much. wink3.gif

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#4 Old 06-29-2012, 06:16 PM
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 From what I've read she wasn't even fully vegan anyway and would routinely cheat and binge on eggs and dairy, so I don't see why she complained about a lack of animal protein so much. wink3.gif

Yep.  She said so herself in an interview.  Need we say that eggs and dairy aren't vegan?  lol

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#5 Old 06-29-2012, 08:57 PM
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I don't like to jump to conclusions about people and what they ate. I don't blame them unless I know exactly what they ate and it was oreos all day xD

 

I feel like they shouldn't give veganism such a bad jab though, because these people have a lot of other vegans responding to them asking them what went wrong, they have done it for so long, could they give them more detail, etc. Obviously if there have been this many okay vegans, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to try attempting it from a different angle. Instead of these ex vegans feeling like they are the victims, maybe they should ask other vegans how they went about it.

 

That's my thought about it anyway. I don't want to doubt or rule out the possibility though that someone may have a medical condition that absolutely requires them to eat animal products. While I find it highly unlikely, I am not going to rule it out 100%.


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#6 Old 06-29-2012, 08:58 PM
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I. From what I've read she wasn't even fully vegan anyway and would routinely cheat and binge on eggs and dairy, so I don't see why she complained about a lack of animal protein so much. wink3.gif


Oh dear. Probably wasn't in it for the animals then :/


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#7 Old 06-29-2012, 09:12 PM
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Oh dear. Probably wasn't in it for the animals then :/

 

I've read her book, I don't know what she is basing her diet on. The Lion King is my best bet (she goes on and on about the circle of life).

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#8 Old 06-29-2012, 09:27 PM
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I read that book, too.huh.gif:screwy:
She seems to want no agriculture at all, just a few million hunter-gatherers. I'm not sure what she has in mind for the rest of the billions of people. Plus she said vegans "cheat and eat beef" once a week. And that she herself "ate eggs and dairy whenever possible" during her supposed "vegan" years. /end rant #2000 on this crap. blush.gif
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#9 Old 06-29-2012, 09:27 PM
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All it takes is a coincidence of not feeling so good, going to the doctor, and being the type who thinks an anti-vegan doctor really knows his ****.

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#10 Old 06-29-2012, 10:14 PM
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I read that book, too.huh.gif:screwy:
She seems to want no agriculture at all, just a few million hunter-gatherers. I'm not sure what she has in mind for the rest of the billions of people. Plus she said vegans "cheat and eat beef" once a week. And that she herself "ate eggs and dairy whenever possible" during her supposed "vegan" years. /end rant #2000 on this crap. blush.gif

Yeah, totally. Way too hard to go more than 6 days without eating a cow. I guess I didn't get the memo, LOL.


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#11 Old 06-30-2012, 12:59 AM
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Yeah, Lierre "Cheese and Eggs Ain't Vegan? You're Kidding!" Keith is a prize idiot in my view.

 

I think that yes, some people can run into trouble on a vegan diet, but the problem is not lack of animal produce!!!! They might be eating something they are unknowingly intolerant too, they might be eating too much vegan junk food, they might be missing out on a particular nutrient, they might be eating the wrong things, they might just be undereating. All of these things are possible on an omnivorous diet too.


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#12 Old 06-30-2012, 06:31 AM
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 Plus she said vegans "cheat and eat beef" once a week. And that she herself "ate eggs and dairy whenever possible" during her supposed "vegan" years.


 How annoying! laugh.gif

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#13 Old 06-30-2012, 11:12 AM
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In my experience and research, almost all exvegans were never vegan to begin with. They all cheated. Some cheat because they don't know what vegan means, so it's not intentional, it's just ignornace. But others cheat because they never really want to be vegan. For them, it's just a convenient excuse to lose weight or avoid unwanted foods or seem cool, etc.

 

I've also noticed, however, that most people who adopt dietary changes do so without doing basic research. They will try all kinds of various diets and know nothing about nutrition.

 

Furthermore, there are many companies that actively engage in confusing and manipulating public opinion about healthy eating. This makes the task of learning proper veg nutrition difficult even for the slim few who do the research.

 

I think it's fair to say that most people who claim to have "failed to thrive on a vegan diet" were doing something wrong and could in fact go vegan if they really wanted to.

However, I don't think all the blame belongs to them. I think most of the blame belongs to animal agribusiness and government for promoting unhealthy food choices and not doing enough to educate the public about proper nutrition.

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#14 Old 06-30-2012, 12:09 PM
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Well said, Elaine :)


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#15 Old 06-30-2012, 12:10 PM
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In my experience and research, almost all exvegans were never vegan to begin with. They all cheated. Some cheat because they don't know what vegan means, so it's not intentional, it's just ignornace. But others cheat because they never really want to be vegan. For them, it's just a convenient excuse to lose weight or avoid unwanted foods or seem cool, etc.

 

I've also noticed, however, that most people who adopt dietary changes do so without doing basic research. They will try all kinds of various diets and know nothing about nutrition.

 

Furthermore, there are many companies that actively engage in confusing and manipulating public opinion about healthy eating. This makes the task of learning proper veg nutrition difficult even for the slim few who do the research.

 

I think it's fair to say that most people who claim to have "failed to thrive on a vegan diet" were doing something wrong and could in fact go vegan if they really wanted to.

However, I don't think all the blame belongs to them. I think most of the blame belongs to animal agribusiness and government for promoting unhealthy food choices and not doing enough to educate the public about proper nutrition.

This is a very thought-provoking post. I never thought about it in that way before, but that makes an incredible amount of sense.
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#16 Old 06-30-2012, 06:36 PM
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Well said, Elaine :)

 

Indeed.

 

I always love reading your posts, Elaine. 


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#17 Old 06-30-2012, 10:41 PM
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Ok , I've read vegetarian myth and I have read numerous ex vegan threads on paleo forums and such, and basically every one of them(at least the ones who mentioned the contents of their diet) were forom what i could tell either number one, low fat raw vegans or two, high grain/soy/legume vegans. Both of which are far from ideal.

I have yet to find a failed vegan who had been eating plenty of fruits and veg(both raw and cooked) fully embraced healthy fats like raw nuts, avocados, and unrefined coconut milk,oil,butter and cut out the rancid, omega 6 ridden vegetable oils(soy, canola. Sunflower etc) etc, didnt go crazy on the grain and stuck to things like quinoa or rice rather than wheat,corn when they did eat them, and minimized processed and packaged vegan convenience foods

, Until I see that, I'll pretty much remain firm in my belief that it was not the vegan diet itself that brought on these people's ailments. I found a lot of vegetarian myth to be interesting and insightful, but when I got to the nutrition part, although I read through the whole thing I disregarded it completely early on, mainly because I think lierre and many other ex vegans turned meat evangelists pretty much have tunnel vision, all operating under same assumption that there is only one way to do a vegan diet. (for instance lierre constantly talks about the importance of saturated fats(often referred to as animal fats) but she mentions coconut oil as a great source several times as well as virgin palm oil, last time i checked, those aint no animal fats, and subsequently is perfectly vegan friendly! Yet continues to rave on about how our mental and physical health will decline do to total lack of good fats in the vegan diet huh.gif , tunnel vision much?
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#18 Old 07-01-2012, 02:00 AM
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 I don't think all the blame belongs to them. I think most of the blame belongs to animal agribusiness and government for promoting unhealthy food choices and not doing enough to educate the public about proper nutrition.

 

This is so true. I made a similar point on another thread. 


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#19 Old 07-01-2012, 12:14 PM
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Here's what burns me with the "tried being vegan and almost died" folks. They almost always dismiss it as unhealthy for everyone

I have known many people who say they tried it and just couldn't deal with with it, but admitted that as their own weakness. I sympathize with those who have professional meals out, or travel frequently. Those with many allergies are another group who may find protein or other nutrients hard on a vegan diet. All I really want from anyone is to admit a vegan diet can be a healthy choice, and if they won't commit, try as stay as close as they feel able.

Unfortunately, too many people blame the diet. I guess it's the only way they can assuage the guilt they've discovered rightly belongs on their conscience. 

 

Has anyone even given a reason beyond " their body needs animal protien"? I've never heard one.


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#20 Old 07-01-2012, 01:22 PM
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There's also just pure coincidence, where you get ill for another reason and blame your vegan/veggie diet.

 

I worked in a particular office for a couple of years and was constantly sick with viral infections - mostly colds, but also bronchitis and a stomach infection which I'm only just coming to declare myself 'completely over' 3 years later.  I left, and was immediately back to < 1 virus per year.  I put it down to the air conditioning - there was no temptation to put it down to being veggie because I'd been veggie for well over 10 years but if it had been a more recent thing I can see how someone would suspect their diet and change back despite ethical qualms. There's nothing worse than being chronically sick and not knowing why.

 

I can also see how the guilt you feel - whether over the ethics or under social pressure and judgment from veggies and non-veggies alike - could make you somewhat dogmatic in your argument that it was your diet. Nothing adds stridency to your argument like knowing you're probably wrong. grin.gif

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