Tuesday, 30 August 2016

fad diets vs veganism - let's clear up this confusion

A couple of months ago, the BBC released a documentary titled "Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets" which was basically just slamming plant based diets and clean eating diets. The documentary is presented by Grace Victory, popular lifestyle & fashion YouTuber. The idea of the documentary was that she would try out a couple of different diets and see what the big deal is, she didn't seem enthusiastic about or interested in these diets to start off with, so I knew right at the beginning it would be completely biased. The whole documentary was totally misleading and quite frankly it was unfair, it made vegans look like weirdos, who just follow a trend, which is totally not the case. I wouldn't have such a problem if she hadn't kept confusing "clean eating" with veganism.

In the beginning of the documentary she reads a list of things you can't eat on a plant based diet, some of the things listed were wheat, white flour, white pasta, white rice, flavorings, refined foods, chemicals & additives. I don't know where on earth she got that list from, but it's absolute garbage. I thought it was pretty obvious that wheat and rice came from plants. She obviously didn't actually do any extensive research on what plant based diets consist of. Surely you'd look into things like that a bit more, especially if you were thinking of changing your diet? I almost switched it off then, but I wanted to continue because I was genuinely intrigued to see how inaccurate the whole thing would be.

Although most of it was inaccurate information, there were some things brought up that I agreed with. How "clean eating" has become a popular trend and it can be detrimental to ones health if not researched correctly. Another thing was how easy it is for anyone to become a "nutritionist" with an online course. These are important issues, there's a lot of young, vulnerable and impressionable people with access to the internet, all they have to do is come across someone extreme like Freelee and they could cause themselves a lot of problems if they don't do their own research. Most 15 year olds aren't going to do extensive research on a healthy, balanced, fully raw, high carb, low fat diet, they'll just copy what they see. What people forget is that everyone is different, everyone has different bodies. What works for Freelee and Durianrider, might not necessarily work for you. I might also add that they are both vegan, but they certainly do NOT represent the entire vegan community. They are  just very extreme examples which the documentary decided to use, of course. That's not biased at all.

Another thing that happened in this documentary was, Grace went shopping for plant based foods at Planet Organic. Obviously a place like that is expensive, and I honestly don't know anyone that buys all of their groceries at Planet Organic. That's when she made the statement that the whole veganism thing is very "middle class" which is ridiculous. Veganism and clean eating are. not. the. same. thing.

A plant based diet is a diet is a diet which eliminates all animal derived foods. This is mainly meat, fish, eggs & dairy. People that are on plant based diets, are generally doing it for their health. They believe that a plant based diet is the healthiest diet and it works well for them, some might call this clean eating as well. That's what a plant based diet is, it has nothing to do with veganism. Veganism is a completely different thing. Vegans eat cake, chocolate, crisps, popcorn, cookies, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, pies, doughnuts, ice cream, burritos, tacos, pizza.. the list goes on. Vegan does not equal clean eating.

Veganism is a way of life, it is an ethical, compassionate way to live. Vegans eliminate all animal derived foods from our diets, including things like gelatine, honey and carmine. As vegans, we don't believe that animals are here for our food, clothes or entertainment. We have in a way, woken up to the real world, and one of the biggest injustices in the world. We take a stand against cruelty to animals and the human injustice that comes along with that, such as slaughterhouse workers not being treated fairly, families who have lost loved ones due to e. coli because of poor factory farm conditions, world hunger, people who have had their land or homes destroyed due to factory farming and so much more. Vegans are passionate about the environment and animal agriculture plays a big part in destroying the planet, there's a lot of things that contribute to global warming but giving up meat is one of the easiest things to do in terms of reducing your carbon footprint. Vegans are not following some fad diet, or craze, or popular trend. We are standing up for what we believe in, speaking out for injustices and important issues that affect everyone.

Not only do vegans eliminate animal derived foods from our diets, we wouldn't go to zoos, circuses, aquariums or anything that uses an animal for entertainment purposes. We oppose beauty products and cosmetics that are tested on animals or contain animal ingredients. A vegan would not purchase something that is made from or contains leather, wool, silk, fur, feathers or suede. Being vegan is way more than changing eating habits. Someone that is purely plant based might still do these things.

Veganism is definitely not restrictive in terms of food. There's 80,000 edible plants. That is a lot of variety. Whatever you can eat on a non vegan diet, you can eat as a vegan. Some all time favourite foods of mine are shepherds pie, spaghetti carbonara, bangers and mash, burgers & pancakes (not together). These are easily made vegan, and some might even agree that the meat free/dairy free & egg free versions are a lot tastier. Some of these foods aren't the healthiest of foods, but that doesn't matter, if you are vegan you don't have to eat clean, you can eat whatever the hell you want that doesn't come from an animal. There's so many snack foods that are "accidentally vegan" which are normal household pantry products that don't contain animal ingredients, my personal favourites are Bourbon biscuits, Walkers Worcester sauce crisps, BBQ texas Pringles (which are actually labeled vegan) Mr Kipling jam tarts & Lotus Biscoff spread.

I hope this clears up some confusion. Please don't tell off your vegan friends if you see them eating cake, they're not on a diet!

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