crap that makes vegans / vegetarians look crazy

I’m a blackberry addict. I check the d*mn thing in the middle of the night for crist’s sake. And of course, I also check it first thing in the morning before I even brush my teeth.

So there I am, reading my phone while on my way across the hall to the bathroom at about 8 a.m. today, and there it was. An article in Time magazine that took vegetarianism 7 steps backwards backward:

Study: Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder?

“It seems that a significant number of kids experiment with vegetarian diets as a way to mask their eating disorders, since it’s a socially acceptable way to avoid eating many foods and one that parents tend not to oppose.”

AND

The authors suggest that parents and doctors should be extra vigilant when teens suddenly become vegetarians. They may say they’re trying to protect the animals, but they may actually be trying to camouflage some unhealthy eating behaviors.

Sigh.

First of all,  the word “since” is used wrong in the top quote. The writer should have used the word “because.” “Since” should only be used to imply the passing of time and not as a cause word. i.e. Since 1987 only seven people have tried meth in Canada. There. Now you know.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Vegetarians have enough trouble trying to convince their friends and family that they aren’t crazy. What the frick? Although this study may have merit, the article about the study frustrates the crap out of me. It’s enough to make me want to throw my tofurky sandwich across the room.

For one, why is it that using will power to maintain a healthy weight is only bad when it means giving up animal products? What is it with our precious attachment to eggs and steak, while we go around preaching the benefits of a sugar-free and sans trans fat diet?

I happen to believe that if Americans switched to veganism our obesity problems would significantly decline. If your teen is trying diet pills, throwing up or eating nothing, then you’re right, those ARE unhealthy ways to cut calories.

But if your child is 25 pounds overweight and is simply avoiding animals products as a way to cut calories, then that can actually be very healthy.

The article is written in such a way to imply that ALL teen vegetarians have eating disorders, rather than to say that teens with eating disorders might try vegetarianism as a way to mask it. I’m sure that people who have emotional eating problems will try all sorts of ways to mask their problem and vegetarianism may be one of them.

But to imply that ALL teen vegetarians have a problem would be the same as saying that everyone who needs to borrow $10 from you is broke because of a drug habit and wants your money to go buy meth.

Now I’m not going to pretend that my love of veganism isn’t connected to a desire to be a healthy weight. It is. (My recent tweets about fitting into a smaller jean size are clear evidence of that). But I’m not STARVING myself. I’m not eating JUST a stick of celery for dinner (as the picture with the TIME article would imply). I’m eating normal, healthy, filling meals. That’s NOT an eating disorder.

I’d argue that the same is true is for teen vegetarians. If they are eating JUST a stick of celery for dinner and attributing it to vegetarianism, they have a problem. But if they are eating normal, healthy, filling meals, that are simply without steak, then they are just living well.

It’s called common sense folks. Let’s start using it agian again, shall we?

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Comments (7)

  1. Ally

    I hate the way the media can slant scientific findings, so as soon as I read your post I went straight to PubMed to read the actual journal article.

    In my opinion, the authors of the Time article totally exaggerated the conclusions of the study. Saying that parents should be “extra vigilant” when their teen decides to become a vegetarian isn’t exactly what the journal article was trying to convey.

    Oh well – hopefully people are smart enough to actually look into the studies behind these [usually biased] popular media articles.

    Reply
  2. SCVegan

    Bad science and bad reporting.

    Reply
  3. joshlos

    This is the second blog title that’s prompted a response before I actually read the entry. The last one I just didn’t comment on, though. But this one I wanted to:

    A few things come together to make vegetarians seem crazy. While PETA’s impact certainly can’t be overstated by any stretch, I would say that being of an against-the-grain lifestyle doesn’t help things. I hate groupthink, especially when that of the majority dismisses those who think independently, or believe other than how the majority does, but I’d tend to believe it is a factor in making vegetarians seem crazy. Also, I believe it’s the zeal of many vegetarians. And I’m not talking about zeal at even a PETA level (doing things like, y’know, recommending human breast milk ice cream or whatever), but simply trying to encourage the choice not to eat meat. It’s a matter of people not liking being told how they should live their lives. I believe that’s why a lot of people dismiss religious people as crazy. None of that’s to even get at my opinions on religion, vegetarianism, or even say vegetarianism is a religion; I’m just pointing out the similarity in peoples’ dismissals of “crazy” in resistance to each.

    Reply
  4. quarrygirl

    holy crap, that article made me MAD. if only they would focus on the kids with real eating disorders and try to rope all the vegetarians into one group. it’s totally disgusting.

    great post.

    Reply
  5. quarrygirl

    i meant “and try *NOT* to rope all the vegetarians into one group.”

    oy, i should proofread.

    Reply
  6. A reader

    I had read that article before, and I NEVER got the impression that you’re suggesting. There was a study, and they reported the results, which suggested that SOME teens use vegetarianism to mask eating disorders. You’re defensive and thought your lifestyle was being attacked, which is why you were unable to look at it objectively.

    Also, if you’re going to critique grammar, you might want to make sure you’re grammatically correct as well. “Again” is misspelled, and it’s “backward” not “backwards.”

    Reply
  7. admin (Post author)

    re: a reader:
    Thanks for the heads up on the typos! (I fixed them).
    Glad to see that you got a different impression of the article than I did. I’m assuming you’re a meat eater (correct me if I’m wrong?) so if you didn’t think it made vegetarians looks bad, then that’s what really counts in the end.
    Feel free to be in touch if you have any questions about vegetarianism!

    Reply

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