Name the first vegan that comes to your mind.
Maybe a Youtuber, an Instagram model, a blogger.
They are skinny, right?
Lately, YouTube seems to be packed with videos like:
“What I eat in a day for weight loss”
“How to lose weight on a vegan lifestyle”
“My workout routine as a vegan”
“Why I’m no longer vegan”
Sounds familiar? There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s jump right in:
Once people go on a whole-food plant-based vegan diet, the magic begins:
They feel amazing, their hair gets shinier, skin clears up, and yes, most people loose weight very easily. Many influential vegans on social media use the personal benefits of veganism to promote it to meat-eaters, which seems like a good idea at first:
Living in a society where the focus on our exterior shells is so enormous, obsessing over our weight seems to be normal.
Veganism has helped many people cure their eating disorders and live a happier life, so getting people involved this way could be very beneficial for their health. So the intentions behind it are good.
Because the sad truth is, most people are much more likely to go vegan when they have their personal benefits in mind, like losing weight, instead of the death and exploitation of animals.
And once a person goes vegan, they automatically do a lot of good for the planet, even if it ‘s not their intention in the first place.
Being vegan fights animal agriculture, which is one of the main causes of deforestation, it combats world hunger, conserves water, reduces climate change, the list goes on and on.
The problem is that because lots of influential people talk about the lifestyle as a means of weight loss, many people quit veganism as fast as they found it, since they are not seeing explicit results. Sadly, they completely missed out on everything veganism is about:
saving the animals, the planet and living a positive and ethical life.
It seems like the media found a profitable way to manipulate people: Make them insecure about their body, then selling a million weight loss plans to them, collecting their bills and destroying their bodies even more.
A new trend seems to be labeling pretty much any dietary plan with veganism, for example a “10 day vegan cleanse” is just one example of how magazines have used veganism as an eye catcher for a weight loss plan based on restricting calories, often only drinking fruit and green juices and not even nearly getting enough nutrients, completely misinforming their readers about the issue and creating a negative image in their heads the next time they get confronted with veganism.
here´s a quick overview before we go on:
Veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet. It not only includes not eating animal products but also not using cosmetics that were tested on animals, going to the Zoo, wearing leather, wool or other animal skin and not contributing to anything that causes suffering or exploitation of animals in general.
A plant-based diet on the other hand, is what vegans eat. It´s a diet that does not include animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy.
A whole-food plant-based diet is based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes and it excludes refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
So obviously, all vegans eat a plant-based diet, but not every plant-based diet has to be healthy/ whole-food.
When we think of vegan food, salads, bananas and chickpeas come to mind.
But most people don´t go vegan for health reasons, and therefore choose to continue eating (more or less) high fat, high-calorie foods, like processed vegan junk food, substitutes for meat or fish, vegan donuts, cake, pizza and so on. These are not exactly causing them to lose weight because that´s not what veganism is about. Amen.
The truth is: being fat or chubby has nothing to do with vegans.
This has people confused because the mainstream vegans on social media are looking very slim.
But if we understand that vegans come in all shapes and sizes, we can embrace the fact that we all have individual bodies as well as different things on our plate. And as long as they are vegan, there really is nothing more for us to get involved about. Everyone chooses for themselves what they want to put in their body and what makes them happy and works best for them.
Also, there are more factors that can cause people to gain weight other than their diet:
Some people have diseases or have to take drugs that cause them to gain weight.
That in mind, there is a huge misconception that being vegan is synonymous with being skinny.
Body size does not always determine health. Many people judge others without knowing them: What if a morbidly obese person decided to go vegan, for herself and the planet? She will not lose all her weight overnight, causing her to be a fat vegan, that chose to live a healthy life. On the other side, there are lots of very slim vegan folks eating mostly junk food and simply not gaining weight. A diet doesn´t guarantee people look one way or the other.
Another thing I’ve seen a lot on social media lately is fat shaming.
No matter if it’s meat eaters fat shaming vegans,
vegans fat shaming meat eaters,
meat eaters fat shaming meat eaters or
vegans shaming vegans,
to me, it’s all the same.
No matter if vegan or not, fat shaming is a horrible thing to do.
Vegans are supposed to be open-minded, loving and gentle people.
It’s time we understood that our beliefs do not justify shaming others, no matter if we’re vegans and our intentions are good.
We never know what´s going on in the life of someone else and therefore, judging them is always the wrong decision.
The right thing to do is to spread positivity, be supportive and accepting of everyone. Standing up for others when we hear someone talking badly about them or making comments on their bodies.
Fat doesn’t equal bad, skinny doesn’t equal good.
There is no wrong way to have a body.
Be kind to yourself
Be kind to others
Be kind to animals
Be kind to the planet