vegansaurus!

09/20/2011

Book about holistic health for ladies wants to hear your story!  »

Courtney Pool and Sarah E. Brown are writing a book on holistic health for lesbian and bisexual women (and their fans!). We are fully supportive of this awesome endeavor and thought maybe some of our readers might be into helping make the book even more amazing! Because you’re all beautiful and special and the best and lesbians or friends to lesbians. If you’re not, get the fuck off this blog!

Now, I’ll let Sarah E. Brown take it away with the details:

One of the purposes of the book is to shed light on connections between sexuality and our relationship with food and health. Our book, which we are currently in the process of writing, will discuss how coming out being a woman who loves women (or other non-normative sexual orientation) relates to body image, gender identity, emotional eating, veganism, our relationship with eating in general, and other aspects of health, including spiritual health and relationships. Our goals are to help women empower themselves through awareness, self-inquiry, and learning self-acceptance. We also will highlight how plant-based diets can help promote self-kindness as well as kindness for animals and the planet.

We want to include stories, anecdotes, and insights from other women who love women on these topics. Below is a list of various subjects women have written about in relation to being a non-heterosexual woman:

  • Body image, eating disorders, emotional eating, eating issues around coming out, self-acceptance, etc.  
  • Veganism and Sexual Orientation
  • Animal rights and LGBT rights and human rights
  • Sexual Orientation and Spiritual Health
  • Benefits since switching to a plant-based diet
  • Being vegan in a relationship (where just one of you are, or where both are)

These are just some ideas, but mostly anything along the lines of eating and sexuality as well as all levels of health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) and sexuality are within the scope of our work. We’re looking to keep each contribution under 300 words. We’d be happy to print your first name in the book, or, if you’d prefer, you can be completely anonymous. Thank you so much for your contributions! We hope to help a lot of people with our stories. Please email sarahbrown70 [at] gmail [dot] com to submit!

07/27/2010

Dear world: vegan ≠ eating disorder  »

Hello friends, parents, strangers, graduates of the Columbia School of Journalism, etc.:

Thank you for caring about our well-being! Generally speaking, the thought that others concern themselves with our health is, if not thrilling, at least vaguely comforting. However, it’s time that you back off. Because frankly, accusing us of being secret anorexics, bulimics, binge-eaters, “orthorexics,” or some combination thereof, is really fucking insulting, and we’re sick of it.

Articles like this one by Danielle Friedman in the Daily Beast, which includes one figure and links to exactly one study in ScienceDirect, only make it more difficult for anyone to take a vegan diet seriously. When Friedman describes it or quotes others describing it as “restrictive,” “in the service of an eating disorder,” “a ruse,” “a cover for something darker,” “really an effort to avoid food in general,” and “system of eating that’s restrictive and passes judgment on food that’s not founded on health principles,” that does a disservice to all of us. Further, in the 12th paragraph Friedman contradicts her entire article (this is also the part where she commits to a figure): “for most of the country’s roughly 3 million vegans, who don’t consume or wear any animal products, their eating habits never veer into mental illness.” Thanks for the benefit of the doubt, Danielle! Unfortunately, we’re not the ones she’s interested in.

No, Friedman doesn’t care about “most of” us; she wants to terrify parents whose children have chosen to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. THEY MAY HAVE AN EATING DISORDER, YOUR CHILDREN! Even though “most” vegans are totally fine and happy and eat foods both full of vegetables and full of donuts, that ScienceDirect study revealed that “young adults ages 15 to 23 who reported being vegetarian were, at some point, more likely to have also engaged in unhealthy weight-loss behaviors.” How much more likely? Friedman doesn’t say! And Vegansaurus doesn’t have $30 to pay to view the entire study, so we can’t tell you, either. We can quote from the results in the abstract, though:

Participants were identified as current (4.3%), former (10.8%), and never (84.9%) vegetarians. Current vegetarians in the younger and older cohorts had healthier dietary intakes than nonvegetarians with regard to fruits, vegetables, and fat. Among young adults, current vegetarians were less likely than never vegetarians to be overweight or obese. Adolescent and young adult current vegetarians were more likely to report binge eating with loss of control when compared to nonvegetarians. Among adolescents, former vegetarians were more likely than never vegetarians to engage in extreme unhealthful weight-control behaviors. Among young adults, former vegetarians were more likely than current and never vegetarians to engage in extreme unhealthful weight-control behaviors.

There you go. But is the answer really “not to let their kids be vegetarian until they go to college,” as one dietician suggests, because “[m]ost families don’t have the time to prepare vegetarian entrées”? How about taking vegetarian and vegan children seriously, and preparing vegetarian entrées? How about educating yourself about veg nutrition, so you can do your job as a parent and get your kids the nutrition they need, while respecting their individual rights? How many times do you have to be told EAT LESS MEAT BEFORE THE PLANET BURNS UP before you start eating less meat?

Here is a personal anecdote, even: I had an eating disorder, for a long, long time. More than anything else, what has helped me keep eating normally is my vegan diet. I saw a dietician when I could afford it, and she helped me through the “it’s OK to eat things” and “if you don’t eat normally you will die” bits, but keeping vegan keeps me feeling sane even through really terrible times. When I was sickest, I was omnivorous. Maybe I’m a statistical anomaly, but I think that if everyone were all better nutritionally educated—by proper dieticians, not “nutritionists” with “certificates” from “The Learning Annex” or whatever Holistic Institute of Cleansing Auras”—we’d be much better off.

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