021 Vida Vegan Con and Thoughts on Health Veganism

A roundup of day one of Vida Vegan Con 2015, and our thoughts on the potential dangers and pitfalls of promoting veganism as a cure-all, a goal, or mandating specific plant-based diets as the “One True Way.”

In This Episode

The girls recap the amazing presentations they saw at Vida Vegan Con in Austin, TX:

Then Nichole and Callie dig into their thoughts on different types of veganism, specifically health and fitness veganism, and the potentially harmful ways that those types of veganism can manifest in activism. Nichole discusses the concept that setting health or a specific way of looking as the goal is ostracizing to vegans of different body types and varying degrees of “health.” Health is a vague term that leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and seems to mostly be represented by weight and body size, neither of which are necessarily indicative of good or bad health.

Freeley the Banana Girl is discussed as an example of vegans who preach the “One True Way” of eating. They preach that one very specific plant-based diet is a cure-all, which makes anyone who tries it and does not get the same results feel like a failure. This way of preaching veganism, this form of “health activism,” is incredibly dangerous, particularly to those prone to eating disorders and low body image. Beyond that, this form of activism makes veganism all about the person and their superficial looks, without any reference to the ethics behind what veganism is supposed to stand for. Though we are fine with people coming to veganism through health, as we certainly did, we find campaigns and hashtags like “#whataveganlookslike” internally damaging to the movement.

Plant-based is proposed as a solution to calling this type of promotion “veganism.” While the girls both think you can’t take someone’s V-card, they do feel that vegans that are promoting strictly health or fitness goals for veganism should promote them under the title of “plant-based” so as to not further the idea that all vegans should look or eat a certain way. It is ok to be a vegan, but it is not ok to promote veganism in a way that is harmful to people in the movement.

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