Now that Ginnifer Goodwin has announced on the Jimmy Kimmel show that she is no longer “vegan,” it’s time to bust out the scare quotes when referring to her previous supposed veganism, which can’t have been real because no true vegan ever quits.  Goodwin herself implied as much in an earlier appearance on the same show, in which she said that once you watch and read all the vegan propaganda, “you can’t go back.” Apparently you can go back, unless some vegans are right and Goodwin never truly left her carnist leanings behind, even while she avoided all animal products and appeared to be very devoted to her ethical vegan beliefs. 

In that earlier interview, Goodwin certainly gave a convincing impersonation of a real vegan. She made sure to use the world “cruel” when referring to animal use. She didn’t excuse Kimmel’s meat eating as a personal choice that was just as valid as any vegan’s — instead she said she was against humans eating animals. She compared a turkey’s personality to a dog’s, a good tactic for making animal lovers realize that the dog they love is no more adorable than the turkeys they eat. She said that she didn’t give up animal products because she disliked the taste, and emphasized her own past animal use, two things many vegans bring up to show how normal they are and how anyone (no matter how ardent their corpse-munching background) can be a vegan.

What happened to Ginnifer Goodwin? She used to be a good person. She was an ambassador for Farm Sanctuary, she graced the cover of VegNews magazine, and in an interview with Oprah.com, she demonstrated an above-average grasp of mandatory vegan talking points, like that veganism is easy, that it made her skin clear up, that it gave her a feeling of lightness (which Alicia Silverstone has also experienced), and that taste and tradition are feeble excuses for animal use:

I educated myself. I relinquished the safety blanket of my ignorance.

This education about health led to a revelation about animals-as-products. It became so clear: I love animals. How can I eat them or make them suffer for something as selfish as taste or tradition?

I knew that the way to be proactive was to convert to a vegan diet (a vegan lifestyle—which means not using animal products of any kind—quickly followed). I found great resources from the Humane Society and from Farm Sanctuary, an animal protection program. I read wonderful books like Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, about the emotional lives of farm animals.

And in making this life change, I’ve found I have more energy, I sleep better, and my skin has cleared up. My taste buds awoke! I appreciate food in a whole new way. As for my soul, I quickly began feeling a lightness I’d never known before. Now I take responsibility for my actions. I am aware. And it’s easy.

Because of veganism, I find myself embracing all living things, even the trees outside, in unexpected ways. I never feel guilty because of what I’ve eaten or because of the handbag I’m carrying.

When people ask, I always tell them, “I didn’t stop eating animal products because I didn’t like the taste. I loved the taste! But in this life, I want to inflict as little pain as possible.” To everyone who argues that we can treat our fellow earthlings this way and so we should, I like to quote Harry Potter’ s Dumbledore, who said: “It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” I adore that.

Sound familiar? Kind of weird that she no longer believes a word of this. Well, all the worse for Goodwin, who should know better than to eat bacon-covered meatloaf, and is now forever on the vegan shitlist. If only she had never gone vegan in the first place!

The vegan blog QuarryGirl, not known for its subtlety, got straight to the point with the title of its entry, “ginnifer goodwin is awful,” in which they say that Goodwin “giggles like an idiot” throughout the “vile” interview (what is there to laugh about when there are millions of animals dying every day?); the commenters on the entry are even less forgiving, and vegan message boards aren’t too happy for Goodwin either.

The vegan reaction to ex-vegan celebrities shows how personally they take veganism and slights against it. Goodwin does not bash vegans in this interview, nor does she say that veganism is stupid, pointless or harmful. The harshest she gets is at the end is when she says it is unbearable to go home to vegan dinners with her vegan family. But since vegans believe that plants have no feelings, there’s no reason for them to think that vegan food is offended by Goodwin’s distaste for it. Vegans are so wrapped up in what they eat that to belittle vegan cuisine is to psychologically assault vegans and all they stand for.

As usual in veganism, it’s not about plants or animals, it’s about vegans. All the comments are about this being a set-back for veganism and how she has betrayed vegans, with a few token references to how the animals are going to suffer due to Goodwin’s new diet. Of course it’s bad enough that she quit veganism, but even worse is that she didn’t slink off to the shadows to eat her scrambled eggs in shameful isolation, and is instead talking about her decision and thus giving validity to anti-vegan claims. What will this do to the popular perception of veganism?, etc. etc. and so on. The reason I don’t write about every vegan celebrity who goes ex is that I would have to write pretty much the same thing every time.

Dumbledore, as usual, was right. Veganism is all about choices, not results. It’s not about the consequences of what you do, but rather why you are doing it. So there are good reasons to be vegan (ethics) and bad reasons to be vegan (health, trendiness, sometimes the environment). Then there are bad reasons to quit veganism, and… bad reasons to quit veganism.

Even though health concerns were one of the first things that initiated her vegan phase, “boring health problems” broke her resolve. Vegans like to talk about how “veganism is not a sacrifice,” and this is an important illusion for vegans to maintain, because the second vegans realize that their lives are irresolvably worse due to their veganism, they start to look for ways out. Ethics are a luxury. Goodwin was able to talk a big ethical game when veganism was easy, but once she could see it was detrimental to herself, she cracked. Being subject to physical realities is a disadvantage veganism has that other ethical beliefs typically don’t. Advocating gay marriage does not necessitate starting a pill regime. Few anti-racists have to actively suppress the urge to attack someone of a difference race. Unlike many other beliefs, veganism entails real sacrifice, and once you realize this, animal suffering starts to seem less pressing.

The decision to swan dive below the moral baseline is not a choice to be made lightly, which helps explain why vegans are so appalled by Goodwin laughing throughout this interview. But it is also not a choice to be made for health reasons in the midst of wrenching, conflicted emotions, which it appears to have been for Goodwin. It’s just not a choice to be made at all. As Gary Francione says, “we have no choice" — we have to be vegan. Except, we clearly don’t, as those pesky ex-vegans keep reminding us.

Ex-vegans are awful, not because of what they do to the animals (most of them consume fewer animals than non-vegans over the course of their lives), but because of what they do to vegans. It’s troubling to think that someone could seem to believe everything vegans do, just as ferociously, and then change their minds as if they never accepted any of it. It exposes vegan ethical philosophy for what it is — abstract and subjective thoughts, with behavioral implications, that are potentially transient. Vegans like to think their daily lives and identities are based on something rather more solid than that.

Well, they are not.

--Tagged under: Vegan Cult--

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

The Shocking Truth About Vitamin D That The Vegan RD Doesn’t Want You to Know

In her most recent entry New Vitamin D and Calcium RDAs: What They Mean for Vegans, The Vegan RD Virginia Messina writes:

Vegans get their vitamin D the same way that omnivores do—from fortified foods and sunshine. The evidence suggests that vitamin D2 is as effective as D3 in raising blood levels of 25OHD, so there is no particular issue here regarding vegan nutrition.

This echos what she said about vitamin D in an earlier entry, Recommended Supplements for Vegans:

If you live where it’s sunny and warm all year and you spend time outdoors without sunscreen, you can make enough. The rest of us need a supplement or fortified foods (just like omnivores do) supplying 1,000 I.U.s of vitamin D.” 

If your primary source for nutrition information is The Vegan RD (and whose isn’t?), your only possible conclusion from this is that vitamin D does not occur naturally in any foods. The only sources of vitamin D are supplements and the sun, and both of those are vegan, which means omnivores and vegans are in the exact same boat on this one. You are missing out on absolutely no unsupplemented sources of vitamin D by being vegan, vegans, because you know that D omnis are getting in dairy? Totally fortified.

That, however, would be a faulty conclusion. Some foods do contain vitamin D and most of them (except for certain mushrooms) are animal products.

As I type this I’m eating a salad that contains raw eggs, raw cow heart, raw cow blood, sardines, anchovies, butternut squash and salad greens. This salad is known as “The Ex-Vegan Special,” and I know exactly what you’re thinking — “That salad doesn’t contain vitamin D.” But it does. I am getting Vitamin D by eating this salad and none of it is fortified. And I’m not cheating by eating this outside while I sunbathe either. (It’s night.) How is this possible?

VeganHealth.org knows why:

The only significant, natural sources of vitamin D in foods are fatty fish (e.g. cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, sardines), eggs (if chickens have been fed vitamin D), and mushrooms (if treated with UVB rays)

Reed Mangels knew why when she co-wrote a book with Virginia and Mark Messina, evidently sneaking this passage past the two of them:

[Vitamin D] is found primarily in fish oils and the flesh of fatty fish and in eggs from hens that have been fed vitamin D. Cholecalciferol (D3) is the form of vitamin D found in animal foods.

Chris Masterjohn knows why:

Vitamin D was originally associated with cod liver oil and exposure to ultraviolet light. It is found in the highest amounts in fish livers, the flesh of fatty fish, and the blood of land animals; and in smaller amounts in butter and lard from animals raised with plenty of exposure to sunshine.

And strangely, even Virgina Messina circa a year ago knew why:

Research suggests that low intakes of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids might lead to depression. For everyone—omnivores included—the only sources of vitamin D are supplements, fortified foods and sun exposure. (Actually, there are a few animal sources of vitamin D, but it is very unlikely that omnivores can eat enough of them to meet needs; that’s why cow’s milk is fortified.)

If Messina knows that vitamin D exists in some animal products, why does she gloss over this now? Because these sources are “few”? Vitamin D isn’t in every animal product, but this chart (via Chris Masterjohn) shows there are some significant sources:

Vitamin D

Congrats to vegan silver ear fungus for topping the list, by the way, albeit with D2.

It’s true that my salad isn’t something many omnivores typically eat in these parts. Most Americans would reach for the ranch before squeezing a bloody heart over their salad bowl. But plenty of “normal” omnivores eat salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna and sardines. These are not weird foods. One-hundred grams of herring provides 1,100 IUs of vitamin D, says the chart. I used to put Trader Joe’s canned smoked herring on my salads all the time. If only I’d known I barely needed to go outside those days — imagine how many more vegan message board posts I could’ve read. But guess who would never have told me this? The Vegan RD, that’s who.

This doesn’t mean omnivores don’t have to worry about vitamin D. Many omnivores aren’t doing cod liver oil shots every day, or even eating fish at all, and could benefit from supplementation, especially if they’re computer-addicted shut-ins who live in the Pacific Northwest. But even the occasional herring or salmon would give shade-dwelling omnivores who don’t supplement an advantage over a vegan who got the same amount of sun and also didn’t supplement.

Vitamin D is not an even playing field for all diets and it could be helpful to Messina’s readership if she were more clear about this. Especially since Messina is an opponent of the health argument for veganism, presenting herself as science-based source of nutritional advice for vegans who want facts and not vegan wishful thinking. When she says “Vegans get their vitamin D the same way that omnivores do—from fortified foods and sunshine,” she betrays a subtle tendency to present veganism in a more favorable light than the facts may warrant.

Furthermore, Messina needs to remember her audience. Vegans aren’t just vegans — many of them are also future ex-vegans. And upon breaking away from the less is more philosophy of veganism, it’s quite common for ex-vegans to experiment with a variety of “weird foods” like The Ex-Vegan Special and anglerfish liver pâté. For them, especially, it’s a real disservice for their trusted nutrition source to say that animal foods don’t provide vitamin D. Today’s vegan may very well need to know tomorrow that a cup of cow’s blood contains 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3. Don’t hold out on us, vegan dietitians.

--Tagged under: Health--

--Tagged under: Vegan Leaders--

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

How to Know if You’re an Ex-Vegan That Vegans Can Write Off Forever

* You have something positive to say about Weston A. Price or the foundation that bears his name. The Weston A. Price Foundation promotes the consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, the two most lethal food substances according to the standard vegan health argument because both of them are closely allied with animal products. Also, Weston A. Price was a dentist, and vegans hate dentists.

* You have kind words for Lierre Keith and/or Derrick Jensen. Lierre Keith cited Wikipedia in The Vegetarian Myth and Derrick Jensen thinks salmon wants him to eat them. If you could believe the words of two people who are against civilization yet use computers, no wonder you were too dumb to make veganism work.

* A naturopath helped convince you to quit veganism. That’s how Lierre Keith got out of veganism, and Lierre Keith cited Wikipedia.

* You were a raw foodist or dabbled in raw foodism. That’s too restrictive. You did veganism wrong.

* You were a low-fat vegan. That’s too restrictive. You did veganism wrong.

* You were macrobiotic or dabbled in macrobiotics. That’s too restrictive. You did veganism wrong.

* You were a junk food vegan. That’s not restrictive enough. You did veganism wrong.

* You followed all the nutritional recommendations on VeganHealth.org. You didn’t really follow the VeganHealth.org guidelines. Stop lying.

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--Tagged under: ExVegans--

--Tagged under: Vegan Cult--

--Tagged under: Featured Entries--

Why Ex-Vegans Eat More Meat Than They Must

Dan Cudahy of “Unpopular Vegan Essays” — a popular essay blog amongst the abolitionist-leaning “logical vegan” crowd — has written a generally ignored and ostracized essay addressing the excitement over “A Vegan No More”. In “On Ex-Vegans”, Cudahy writes that ex-vegans don’t exist, by definition, because the definition of true veganism includes the word “lifelong”:

For some of us, “vegan” means a strong, lifelong, and morally internalized commitment to avoiding the use of animals and animal products as much as is reasonably possible in an extremely speciesist society that uses animal products ubiquitously. … There may be a lot of “ex-vegans”, but when they were “vegans”, what did that mean? Did they go without animal products for several hours daily (“vegan before 6pm”)? Did they go on a “vegan health diet” for a few weeks, months, or years only as a fad diet right after their Atkins diet? If they were vegan for “animal rights” reasons, what did they mean by that? Are they referring to a concern about animal welfare?

If you aren’t vegan for life, you never had the commitment that true veganism entails, which means you were never vegan. So much for the ex-vegan problem. Although this may create a new problem if “lifelong” is taken to mean “covering the entirety of one’s life,” since that would exclude everyone except for vegans from birth to death at an old age, which so far is no one. Hopefully Cudahy doesn’t mean that.

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--Tagged under: Vegan Leaders--

--Tagged under: SelfDenial--

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

The Vegan RD Virginia Messina Lambastes Bacon Tweets, Body Wisdom and Other Ex-Vegan Failings

From a vegan perspective, there is only one acceptable blog entry that an apostate is allowed write upon leaving veganism. It looks something like this:

I Am No Longer A Good Person

A few months ago, I had an arbitrary, meaningless meat craving that I was weak enough to satisfy. If it had stopped there I might still be able to look my dog Georgie in the eyes, but I became addicted to flesh eating and the corresponding acceptance from mainstream society. This should not be surprising to anyone who truly knew me, as I was never a vegan at heart. Though by all outward appearances I was vegan — never letting a drop of animal product touch my lips or a piece of animal hide touch my body — inside I remained the same wayward, immoral and suffering-indifferent speciesist my parents raised me to be. I did veganism wrong from the start, and for the wrong reasons (I thought veganism would be “cool”). I’d like to say I might find the moral fortitude to go vegan again, as I know that would be the right thing to do, but let’s face it: I am and always have been a selfish and pleasure-obsessed hedonist with no interest in ethics.

I noticed no health benefits from eating animal products again. I just like the taste and I don’t care enough to put animals before my taste buds. And actually, animal products don’t even taste better than vegan food. I’m lazy and animal products are what’s in front of me is all. Also, I am allergic to gluten, nuts and beans and have fructose malabsorption, which made sticking to a vegan diet difficult in some ways. But that wouldn’t have stopped me from remaining vegan if I had been truly committed.

After this self-loathing post, I will never discuss veganism again. I must confess in advance that if a word against veganism ever slips out of my mouth at any point in the future, it is nothing but a petty rationalization to obscure my moral failings. I would ask for your forgiveness, but I haven’t even earned your indifference. Please tell me that I deserve to be hung upside down and have my throat cut like all the animals that I now eat. Oh look, someone just tweeted something to that effect. Thank you.

However, this is not what most ex-vegans feel compelled to say, so vegans get upset.

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--Tagged under: Health--

--Tagged under: Vegan Leaders--

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

The Utterly Predictable Trajectory of Omnivore to Vegan to Ex-Vegan to Anti-Vegan

OMNIVORE

1. Grow up on a crappy omnivore diet that includes a lot of junk food and boring home-cooked meals. In the suburbs, ideally. When you meet your first vegan, ask where they get their protein. Say you love cheese too much to ever give it up. Convince yourself there was a strip of leather somewhere on their shoes.

2. Realize how fucked up it is that animals die so you can eat a McNugget. Go vegetarian.

VEGETARIAN

3. Openly judge meat eaters. Anti-meat militancy often peaks early as you distance your new compassionate identity from your shameful recent past. Lecture mom about the evil of bacon while you pick the remnants of last night’s Sloppy Joe out of your teeth.

4. Get annoyed when vegans say you’re inconsistent for giving up meat but not dairy and eggs. Make fun of those extremist vegans with your meat eating pals to demonstrate how comparatively sane you are.

5. Finally admit that vegetarianism is inconsistent. You don’t eat meat because it causes animal suffering and death, but dairy and eggs cause animal suffering and death. Experience cognitive dissonance. Go vegan.

VEGAN

6. Replace your old crappy diet with an equally crappy vegan version, relying on fake meats and fake cheese as you “transition.” If you experience chronic tiredness, frequent colds, depression, headaches or nosebleeds, discover that it’s due to purifying your old meaty ways. If you feel great, credit veganism.

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--Tagged under: ExVegans--

--Tagged under: Vegan Cult--

--Tagged under: Featured Entries--

Alicia Silverstone and mad cowboy Howard Liman are ranked higher than the author of the anti-veganism book The Vegetarian Myth, but Lierre Keith has apparently done more for veganism than T. Colin Campbell:

Lierre Keith is an author and vegan activist.  She has written “The Vegetarian Myth” which explains the importance of sustainability, as well as her political beliefs.  She has spent twenty years as a vegan and holds the earth and all its belongings close to her heart.  Lierre takes her activist position seriously and speaks regularly at different events all over the country.

They’ll realize their mistake and replace her with John Robbins by the end of the day. 

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

"As an Ex-Vegan, I would like to personally apologize on behalf of all vegans and myself. I would like to apologize for all the lies, propaganda and brainwashing we spread based on pseudoscience and little more than word of mouth. As a vegan of over eight years, I can say from personal experience that veganism does not work for everyone long term. In fact, it works for very, very few. I apologize for promoting this dangerous diet, for ignoring the facts and evidence that suggests children suffer from it. I apologize for saying anyone who couldn’t do it was lazy or ‘wasn’t doing it right’. I was brainwashed. I’m sorry."

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

This is a cute enough story if you don’t have a moral problem with eating meat. For vegans, though, there is something deeply offensive about these “vegetarian” friends eating Texas barbecue together before one of them moves to California.

When you see meat as rape and murder, a celebratory meal between friends looks more like Alex and his droogs bonding over a bit of ultraviolence.

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

Why do ex-vegans rail so passionately against veganism, and how can we stop them?

As Stephanie Ernst at Animal Rights & AntiOppression explains, there are three possible reasons someone might quit veganism:

1. Sheer selfishness (most common). These ex-vegans could manage to be (or pretend to be) caring and compassionate for a little while, but they were never truly good inside, so when the flesh urges came back they had no compunction with satisfying them. 

2. They fall for some Michael Pollan-esque line about humane meat (probably because they are desperate to eat meat for selfish reasons, so this is just an extension of 1).

3. They cannot be both healthy and vegan. This is a rare and bizarre scenario, since even someone allergic to vegetables can be a healthy vegan. But if it does really happen, these ex-vegans don’t count as ex-vegans because they might still be decent people.  

But why do ex-vegans have to be so noisy? Since there is nothing wrong with veganism, it can only come down to guilt, defensiveness or a combination of the two.

Okay, so what do we do about ex-vegans? Do we ignore them? Comment consistently on their blogs? Wear a “Never Trust an Ex-Vegan” T-shirt? Tell them oysters are cool with vegans now and try to convert them back?

I’m probably the wrong person to ask.

--Tagged under: ExVegans--

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