Trigger warning: eating disorders, eating habits, anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS
I saw this tweet this morning (yes I have a secret twitter I use occasionally) – but it touched on a point that I’ve been meaning to write about for months:
The tweet came from Lucy Watson- a “made in Chelsea” reality TV star and passionate vegan. She wrote, “if you’re against animal cruelty, like most people, then you should be vegan.” – the reply to this which followed is from former GBBO contestant Ruby Tandoh, who highlighted how “unhelpful” the statement that Lucy had just made was to people who might have their own personal reasons why they don’t partake in vegan or plant based eating.
If it wasn’t obvious- I’m completely and utterly on Ruby Tandoh’s side in this argument- because for me personally, being vegan is a privilege that I cannot partake in- and it’s something that I think a lot of the time people don’t take into account when they’re talking about diet choices and guilt about what you choose to put in your mouth.
I’ve written about being vegetarian- the convenience factor of meat and the fact that actually I do like it- but I’m not deaf to the fundamental truths behind the industry.
I agree wholeheartedly that being vegan is better for the planet, a more sustainable way of eating, lowers carbon emissions and yes- it isn’t cruel. I would love to be able to sustain that way of eating as I think it would make me a healthier person and I’m not a denier of the facts.
I also have never been preached at by the vegans I know- so I’m not wholly opposed to the idea. In fact, at one point during my recovery I did try it for a few days to see how I managed.
However, I think it’s ridiculously unfair of a vegan to make a claim that “if you’re against animal cruelty then you should be vegan.”
I know that everyone I know personally and probably 99.5% of people are against being cruel to animals- but that doesn’t make us bad people if we don’t want to make the decision to be vegan or change our entire lifestyle. (I know that most vegans don’t share this view but for the sake of this blogpost I’m talking in reference to Lucy Watson)
For me personally- I cannot sustain a vegan lifestyle because I am a recovered bulimic. If I get obsessed or fixated on food then I feed an unhealthy pattern of behaviour that I have. (I tried it in my recovery as I knew that it had worked for others.)
This is not true for everyone. One my friends I met through recovery went from anorexia to veganism.
Veganism gave her the safety and security with food to nourish her body and give it what it needed, and that is fine. What you choose to do with your diet and eating habits is really no concern to anyone else.
Sure- educate people if they want to be educated. Sure- have an option, but don’t be so decisive about a huge decision that people have to make.
The other factors that Ruby pointed out are just as important. I don’t have enough knowledge myself regarding access or disability’s- but I think it’s a completely fair point to make that often vegan food is for a wealthier category of people, who have access and the privilege to be able to make that choice.
In my opinion it’s just that- you can’t blanket statements about food choices and lifestyle for a whole population of people.
As Ruby pointed out- the same goes for many others- who have their own reasons. Veganism is a life choice that I admire, but it’s something that for me and many others, is not a decision that we can take lightly.
What do you think?