I belong to a few vegan groups on Facebook and for the most part I don’t really fall into ‘fights’ or have issues with anyone. Recently I noticed one vegan calling another a ‘health vegan’, ie, not being a compassionate vegan and only eating this way for health reasons. Wow, who knew two little words could be a slap in the face. I do not consider myself a health vegan. I don’t scoff at others as I realize they are on their own journey. The only time people may accuse me to being an elitist is with Vegan Bloggers Unite! I have to turn away people who are in transitions or people who are freelance writers who want to hock their health products. That doesn’t really works with the mandate of a) being a vegan and b) being a vegan blogger. I mean really, the concept is pretty darn simple.
Regardless, I see the term ‘health vegan’ as a way to a) not only insult someone, but b) polarize an already fragile group. Let’s face it, veganism is not the majority of lifestyle choices people make. I don’t understand how that is the case, but that’s probably what other people think too. How could they do this, how are they not all lacking vitamins, they’re probably sickly etc. It’s all a matter of staying true to your health and making sure you are taking every precaution to educate yourself to what foods will keep you well. Failing that, yes, people will harm themselves. Logic and common sense seem to be pretty rare these days.
I chose to live in a real world where I know horrible things are happening and I do my best to not contribute to that. I cannot in good faith pretend these aren’t happening and turn a blind eye. Some of the vegan groups I’ve been in refuse to acknowledge that fact. Personally, I find that is odd and frankly childish. Whether you chose to call yourself a plant-based, herbivore, or vegan, the point is that you’re on a path of do no harm. (I hope at least) The real problem is the holier than thou attitude that gets the whole group lumped in with being nutbars. No one wants to be told what they’re doing it wrong – especially from a group that one goes to find solace in.
Either way, the issue at hand is that as vegans we ought to be helping each other, not attacking.