Recently, a vegan food blogger re-canted their vegan commitment in a very long and emotional blog post, claiming that severe vitamin deficiencies caused by the vegan diet had led to health problems which could only be cured by returning to a meat-centric diet. Now, The Vegan RD did some good work unraveling some of the nutrition mythology that the post was infused with – that the vegan diet is intrinsically unhealthy and unsafe for most people (no evidence has been found to corroborate that, and plenty of vegans are living proof of the opposite), that only animal products can provide nutrients (plant-based sources, supplements, and shots, if necessary, could likely help even the worst cases of vitamin deficiencies), and so on. It’s worth noting as well that some people are not able to absorb vitamins as well as others, whether on a vegan diet or not; and that many people who eat meat are capable of becoming iron-deficient and B-12 deficient. A balanced diet, access to sound nutritional information, and supplementation where necessary seem like the best strategies in remaining a healthy, happy vegan. Not such a big sacrifice for most people, considering that in return they are able to spare the lives of many animals.
But my favourite response was that written by Marji over at Animal Rights & AntiOppression: “Eat What Makes You Feel Happy and Healthy.” It’s a sane voice in the midst of what seems to be a lot of internet drama created by this one person leaving veganism, writing about it, and other people reacting.
It’s worth taking time before reacting to things on the internet. I know that things happen with lightning speed nowadays, especially on Twitter. I don’t know that that’s a good thing. People dive in with knee-jerk reactions, get into arguments, slander each other, break up alliances for petty differences. All this is sad and avoidable. Some of it I find hard to believe – is this really coming from adults? People I’m supposed to know and respect in the vegan movement?? Myself I left a soggy and long-winded reply on The Vegan RD’s post, which in retrospect was unnecessary and dull. I’m learning to wait a day or more before reacting to something on the internet, if it’s emotional and confusing.
Really – our words and our behaviour matter. We have a collective responsibility to not let the Internet turn into a bunch of trash-talk. I see incredible potential and use for websites, blogs, chats, forums as sources of information, connection points for activists, and means of fast communication. But when things degenerate into repetitive arguments, shit-slinging, defamation and egotistic posturing … well, time to turn off, both figuratively and literally. So that’s all the time I’m giving to this odd internet chapter which will be known as “Vegan No More” (after the ex-vegan’s blog post of the same title).
In other news, I’ve realized what a great blog Animal Rights & AntiOppression is, and wonder how I’ve not managed to put it on my blogroll (the links on the right side of the screen). Once my computer gets de-bugged I’ll get on that.
And in more delicious news, if you like Macaroons, check out the Gone Pie blog for a gourmet vegan version. My partner and I don’t remember ever being enamoured of macaroons, but this recipe looks good enough to convert even a few skeptics!