By Published On: 6 January 2014643 words3.3 min read

Labels can be double-edged swords sometimes. They are used to identify common ground, sure, but they also inevitably wind up stereotyping. Here are a few statements that many take as fact. I’m here to tell you, they’re not true.

1. All vegans are aligned with PeTA.

I’m not going to say that PeTA hasn’t had some positive effects on the animal rights movement. But that doesn’t mean all vegans have to like them or agree with their practices. Until you hear someone tell you personally that they stand by PeTA, don’t you dare take it for granted that they do. That goes for any other organization, too. Do you hear me lumping you in with the NRA, FOX News, or the World Wildlife Fund? No, didn’t think so. Ethical veganism neither begins nor ends with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, so get off my back.

2. Veganism is a phase.

Contrary to what Red Robin would have you believe, veganism isn’t a phase. The term was coined in 1944 – we’re going on seventy years strong. And lest you think that there were no vegans prior to that date, “strict” or “total” vegetarians – those who did not consume animals in any form – have been around for a couple of centuries, though you could go back as far as Leonardo DaVinci to find people who didn’t eat meat. The number of vegans worldwide is growing – and while I couldn’t find a study (if you can, be sure to share!) on ethical vegans, I’d wager that those who identify as such are a big part of it. Twenty-, thirty-, and forty-year vegans are out there… would you call that a phase?

3. Vegans are skinny, malnourished weaklings.

Ok, so this one is wrong on many levels. Let’s take it one incorrect adjective at a time.

Contrary to what tabloids, diet books, and websites may lead you to believe, veganism is not a weight-loss diet – it’s much more than that, and trying to distill it as such is a problem. However, eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, rich in nutrients, can help your waistline… our very own Anya Todd can set you straight on that. Take heed, though – simply leaving animals off of your plate isn’t a magic pill. I’ve been vegan for four years, and I’m not any skinnier than I was when I was eating animals. Any healthy diet could benefit from including exercise in your routine if you’re looking to lose weight, but keep in mind that “vegan” and “healthy” do not always cross.

As for the malnourished part – I cannot tell you how often I see some news blip talking about how vegans need B12 and how “many of us” are deficient. These blips fail to consider the fact that those who eat a Standard American Diet – one that has spread worldwide – aren’t thriving. Dietitians will tell you that everyone needs to watch their B12 levels – meat-eating or not. Again, “vegan” and “healthy” do not always cross – but neither do “omnivorous” and “healthy.”

And as for the “weaklings” thing… seriously? We’re going to go there? There are vegan bodybuilders, vegan ultra marathoners, vegan basketball players, and vegan mixed martial artists out there, but you’re going to try to tell me that without animals in one’s diet, we’re doomed? Get real.

The bottom line is, vegans can be skinny, malnourished weaklings… but so can non-vegans. Vegans can also be vibrant, thriving, strong athletes… but so can non-vegans. And yeah, vegans can be overweight, unhealthy couch potatoes… but so can non-vegans.

The three myths discussed here should be food for thought about what it means – and doesn’t mean – to be an ethical vegan.

Join the conversation: what does ethical veganism mean to you and what are some myths you’d like to dispel?

By Published On: 6 January 2014643 words3.3 min read

Labels can be double-edged swords sometimes. They are used to identify common ground, sure, but they also inevitably wind up stereotyping. Here are a few statements that many take as fact. I’m here to tell you, they’re not true.

1. All vegans are aligned with PeTA.

I’m not going to say that PeTA hasn’t had some positive effects on the animal rights movement. But that doesn’t mean all vegans have to like them or agree with their practices. Until you hear someone tell you personally that they stand by PeTA, don’t you dare take it for granted that they do. That goes for any other organization, too. Do you hear me lumping you in with the NRA, FOX News, or the World Wildlife Fund? No, didn’t think so. Ethical veganism neither begins nor ends with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, so get off my back.

2. Veganism is a phase.

Contrary to what Red Robin would have you believe, veganism isn’t a phase. The term was coined in 1944 – we’re going on seventy years strong. And lest you think that there were no vegans prior to that date, “strict” or “total” vegetarians – those who did not consume animals in any form – have been around for a couple of centuries, though you could go back as far as Leonardo DaVinci to find people who didn’t eat meat. The number of vegans worldwide is growing – and while I couldn’t find a study (if you can, be sure to share!) on ethical vegans, I’d wager that those who identify as such are a big part of it. Twenty-, thirty-, and forty-year vegans are out there… would you call that a phase?

3. Vegans are skinny, malnourished weaklings.

Ok, so this one is wrong on many levels. Let’s take it one incorrect adjective at a time.

Contrary to what tabloids, diet books, and websites may lead you to believe, veganism is not a weight-loss diet – it’s much more than that, and trying to distill it as such is a problem. However, eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, rich in nutrients, can help your waistline… our very own Anya Todd can set you straight on that. Take heed, though – simply leaving animals off of your plate isn’t a magic pill. I’ve been vegan for four years, and I’m not any skinnier than I was when I was eating animals. Any healthy diet could benefit from including exercise in your routine if you’re looking to lose weight, but keep in mind that “vegan” and “healthy” do not always cross.

As for the malnourished part – I cannot tell you how often I see some news blip talking about how vegans need B12 and how “many of us” are deficient. These blips fail to consider the fact that those who eat a Standard American Diet – one that has spread worldwide – aren’t thriving. Dietitians will tell you that everyone needs to watch their B12 levels – meat-eating or not. Again, “vegan” and “healthy” do not always cross – but neither do “omnivorous” and “healthy.”

And as for the “weaklings” thing… seriously? We’re going to go there? There are vegan bodybuilders, vegan ultra marathoners, vegan basketball players, and vegan mixed martial artists out there, but you’re going to try to tell me that without animals in one’s diet, we’re doomed? Get real.

The bottom line is, vegans can be skinny, malnourished weaklings… but so can non-vegans. Vegans can also be vibrant, thriving, strong athletes… but so can non-vegans. And yeah, vegans can be overweight, unhealthy couch potatoes… but so can non-vegans.

The three myths discussed here should be food for thought about what it means – and doesn’t mean – to be an ethical vegan.

Join the conversation: what does ethical veganism mean to you and what are some myths you’d like to dispel?

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