Why I [Usually] Have More Respect for Vegans than Paleos

A guy who saw some things he didn't feel right about and took action--Jonathan Saffron Foer author of "Eating Animals". I respect this man.

A common attitude toward vegetarians--that I would argue needs to stop--the other way goes, too. I do not respect these people who mock vegetarians, even if they are "mocking back."

The Paleo Blogosphere. What do we see the most?

  • Awesome testamonials and pictures of hot bods
  • Promises of a better life
  • Delicious and wonderful food porn
  • Great no-BS nutritional resources
  • Demonization of grains, legumes, sugar, and sometimes dairy
  • Self-promotion of books, supplements, and protein powders
  • Various trademarked and branded names for a lifestyle that can’t really be branded
  • Vegan and vegetarian bashing. Let’s discuss.

A note. The paleos I speak of in this post are the ones that knew the same information (before they were paleo) that vegetarians did but chose not to take action and then decide to “vegan bash.”

I see too much writing in the paleo blogosphere as to why a vegetarian or vegan diet is “stupid” because it “doesn’t make nutritional sense” and “doesn’t taste good.” I also see frequent sparkling reviews of Lierre Keith’s “Vegetarian Myth” coming from folks that were never vegetarians in the first place, loving the book because it justifies their actions. However, what were those paleos’ understanding of world hunger before the past few years? What was their understanding of world hunger? What was their understanding of industrial agriculture? I would argue that before the past few years, there was no denying that a vegetarian/vegan diet was better, if you could pull it off. Read: if you could pull it off. It’s no mystery that some people thrive on these kinds of diets. I am an advocate for sustainable meat production, but not factory farmed meat. Most people would have to become vegetarians in order to avoid that. I would advocate for that position if you can be healthy as a vegetarian. Two people who tried and failed this? Lierre Keith and I and so many others. We understand what it’s like to give up something for our beliefs. We understand what it’s like to fail. What is not appreciated is hate coming from folks that have never even tried it in the first place. Instead, downtrodden and fat, they cruise the web and come across a new diet, try it for only selfish reasons, succeed, blog, and then hate on people who eat differently than they do for moral reasons. Yes, I know about vegan trolling, and no, I don’t like that either. However, this is about morals, not some silly blog war of dogmatic diet beliefs by silly people.

You know what? I am going to come out and say it. I have far more respect for those that ate in a way dedicated to their morals as vegetarians/vegans, even if they ended up leaving that lifestyle. Note that this is different than nutritional vegetarians, which is easily subject to change because it’s not a moral reasoning. Moral vegetarians may also subscribe to the nutritional vegetarian belief, but this is a separate issue. They (and I), the moral vegetarians, heard, read, or were told information that they (we) believed/believe to be true and acted upon that information in a way that called for considerable self-sacrifice. Most mainstream people do not do that. They don’t want to give up their bacon for the sake of photographic evidence of inhuman cruelty, statistical evidence of gross environmental and world degradation, and environmental disasters like poop-pool leakage in North Carolina’s poorest portions (they were so serious that there is a moratorium on new CAFOs in NC now).

They want their bacon, screw the rest. They want their bodies; their health; that ideal is their idol. They buy Lierre Keith and smile and shout from their soapbox. They. Do. Not. Get. It. It is quite a different story if they didn’t know about the damage factory farming causes before they knew about sustainable meat; it is different if they tried to be a vegetarian; it is different if they knew what was going on but just didn’t feel in their heart if climate change or mistreatment of animals was wrong. I am talking about the people that knew it was wrong inside, but still chose to eat that chicken wing and not even try anything else. I believe that modifying one’s dietary habits for selfless reasons is quite Christlike; modifying one’s dietary habits for ethical reasons that go against the status quo is a Christlike concept; for “blessed are the merciful” (Matthew 5:7).

I am weak, just like everyone else. I am not better than anyone else. I just want to talk about a respect issue here. There is a respect gap for vegans that needs to be filled, and this would apply to any practice like vegetarianism. They are putting into practice what they believe. That deserves respect from the paleo community, not mockery. Thank you.

I struggled with depression, stress, anxiety, cavities, increased anger, weight gain, and fatigue as a vegetarian. I stuck out three years like this. I stuck out another with very little meat with improvements. I added more meat and the ones so far that are measurable have improved. This breaks my heart. I try to my greatest extent to cut out all factory meat, but occasionally it comes in because grains and soy seem to make me sick and there are few alternatives other than straight salads (which are a nice tool). I have practiced intermittent fasting (IF) more regularly lately as another tool against reliance on factory farmed meat. It’s just gross!

I read this story and it broke my heart because I get it, though she is far greater than I am. I simply am not the body that can thrive long term as a vegetarian, and I hate that. However, if one can, by all means, do it if you don’t have access to ethically sourced meats and animal products (decide what ethical is for yourself). You’ll have less of an impact. It’s a noble thing.

I just want to cultivate some more understanding and bridge some gaps between the vegetarian community and the paleo community–there is much work to be done. This article principally is a critique of paleos because we all already know how the other side of things can be and the paleo community has done a pretty good job of exposing and taunting at vegan ignorance.

Above all else, do what your heart is telling you and to the best of your ability take all information you can into account on your lifestyle decisions. Be love in this world and closeness to God or whatever you want to call it will certainly ensure. “Above all, love each other deeply, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8). I do not want to “draw a line in the ethical sand” in the same way the former vegan author above so well put it. I do not want to seem self-righteous. What I will be righteous about it my passion for exploring and learning the best way that I can do good in this world and help others. Whatever diet I am fully convinced at one time for that to be, I will do. I may not be a former vegetarian forever, depending on where I live or what happens. I want to make that clear.

In closing:
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5) ;“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13).

What I am fully convinced in my mind can meet my nutritional needs and do the most good over the long term.

For your fun:

Paleo Troll Comment Generator

Vegan Troll Comment Generator


One response to “Why I [Usually] Have More Respect for Vegans than Paleos

  1. Pingback: Speciesism | former vegetarian

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