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 Post subject: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:52 am 
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I thought this was a fantastic post by Marla Rose and we were kind of talking about it in the vegan pet peeves thread. Every time I post something about vegan restaurants in town or products I feel like I get nutrition policed and it's really frustrating.
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It used to be that vegans concerned ourselves with social justice and digging at the roots of unjust privileges. We worked at changing how society conceptualizes other animals, at getting people to finally see the unnecessary, systemic violence that is so pervasive and ingrained, it’s nearly invisible. We thought that we had a lot of work to do but it turns out that we’d been badly neglecting a whole sphere that deserved our attention: nutritional one-upmanship. No longer, though. Now it seems that so many vegans are consumed with policing each other and the world at large over carbs versus fat intake, the satanic properties of salt versus the sinister underbelly of sweeteners, that the real compelling message of compassionate living is lost in the swirling miasma of paranoia and disordered thinking.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:53 am 
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I like the phrase nutritional one upmanship. That sums it up really well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:54 am 
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I liked "compassionate living is lost in the swirling miasma of paranoia and disordered thinking" she is a really great writer!

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:42 pm 
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I love her Vegan Feminist Agitator blog. I remember reading this when it was posted there and repeatedly going "Yes! YES!" to what she wrote.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:05 pm 
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That is fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Loved it. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:53 pm 
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That is excellent. Also, ha, I forgot about this one:

“What you really need to be concerned about is alkaline versus acidic. That’s it. You cannot die if your blood is more alkaline. It’s a known fact. Acidic environments equal death.”


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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:57 pm 
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I think it's one of the less savory parts of human nature that all groups of people seem to want to one-up, to exclude, to belong more than others.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:42 pm 
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vijita wrote:
That is excellent. Also, ha, I forgot about this one:

“What you really need to be concerned about is alkaline versus acidic. That’s it. You cannot die if your blood is more alkaline. It’s a known fact. Acidic environments equal death.”

Ha! Now where can I get an IV bag full of lye?


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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:38 pm 
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I love this so much.


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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:14 pm 
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It's a double-edged (or maybe triple-edged) sword. Health issues bring a lot of people to consider vegan diets, and once they eat vegan, their cognitive dissonance toward animal issues is more likely to dissipate. But it certainly is a pain-in-the-ass until compassion becomes equally (or more) important to health. I think when it doesn't happen, those are the vegans more likely to fail. I am truly frustrated that health trumps compassion, and my belief is that compassion as well as health should extend to Gaia too, so that covers so-called environmentalists as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:05 am 
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Squeak wrote:
I think it's one of the less savory parts of human nature that all groups of people seem to want to one-up, to exclude, to belong more than others.

This is so well put.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:42 am 
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Jill wrote:
It's a double-edged (or maybe triple-edged) sword. Health issues bring a lot of people to consider vegan diets, and once they eat vegan, their cognitive dissonance toward animal issues is more likely to dissipate. But it certainly is a pain-in-the-ass until compassion becomes equally (or more) important to health. I think when it doesn't happen, those are the vegans more likely to fail. I am truly frustrated that health trumps compassion, and my belief is that compassion as well as health should extend to Gaia too, so that covers so-called environmentalists as well.


I think that people coming to veganism through the health associations of a plant based diet is different than what this article is talking about. I just don't think vegans policing other vegans on whole grains, or gluten, or whatever, does anybody any good. Look at Amazon reviews of cookbooks, for example, they are constantly complaining about the use of refined oils, or sugar, or whatever else people think is unhealthy. I think it's strange you only see this under vegan cookbooks, like you wouldn't ever see anyone giving a one star review to Nigella Lawson for using butter and beef.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:37 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Squeak wrote:
I think it's one of the less savory parts of human nature that all groups of people seem to want to one-up, to exclude, to belong more than others.

This is so well put.

I agree and it's true of every group I've been exposed to. Some element of exclusivity seeps into every club or mindset, no matter how open minded the intention is! I think it's just a trait of humanity because there are never any exceptions to it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:47 pm 
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LazySmurf wrote:
I think it's strange you only see this under vegan cookbooks, like you wouldn't ever see anyone giving a one star review to Nigella Lawson for using butter and beef.


So true!


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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:22 pm 
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This is really, really great. "Nutritional one upmanship" (best phrase) is so counterproductive.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:37 pm 
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My husband and I are chubby and we hear, almost constantly, that we'll waste away if we stay vegan. Since we've been vegan for years, I don't think it's an issue, but it's still upsetting to think that others view veganism as a diet like Atkins of Weight Watchers. Besides the fact that it's a lifestyle that includes what I wear, what movies I watch, and which companies I support, it's tough to see that others think that vegans are healthy hippies. My husband and I are activists and being vegan, to us, is a political, economic, environmental, and social act for what is right, not what is low-calorie or sugar-free.

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 Post subject: Re: The Slippery Slope of Vegan Nutritional Surveillance
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:41 pm 
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This article resonated with me. I'm a person with legit food allergies (gluten & tomatoes) who also prefers a whole-foods diet that is pretty low in sugar. This is not at all my motivation behind being vegan, though I do think veganism is an important part of a healthy diet.

However, I sometimes fear identifying as a person who cares at all about nutrition, because I simply don't wish to be perceived as a judgmental, sanctimonious health food puritan, like the folks described in this article. That is not who I am. My beliefs about nutrition are not religious beliefs, just what I've figured out works best for me. I am not taking a political stand against gluten or sugar.

It frustrates me when people assume that my veganism is directly linked to my other dietary choices that have nothing whatsoever to do with my ethics. People who treat nutrition as a battlefield make it that much harder to avoid these assumptions. When I have to describe my diet to people I often resort to self deprecation just to convey that I'm not a judgmental jerk (like "I'm one of those health-food weirdos" or "I'm a delicate flower"). Really, what I'd rather say is "what I choose to eat has nothing to do with what you choose to eat, so let's be friends!" But that would probably sound weird.


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