Any regular reader of my blog probably knows that the topic of “ex-vegans” is a sort of passion of mine. Ever since I almost became one myself, it’s something that’s rested close to my heart.
My personal experience with the subject, combined with my science/biology/research background, has led me down the path of pursuing this topic in a more intellectual way. It’s sort of something I study, you could say. Which has led to me and my ex-vegan-studying partner in crime, Matt Ruscigno, slowly but surely piecing together a new website, which we hope will be a hub of information and interaction regarding the important issue of why people stop being vegan.
It’s something we both care about very much.
And we’re not alone! And since we’re both very busy, and since the website is slow going, and since I keep wanting to write about this myself but just can’t seem to find the time . . . well, I thought I’d put together a quick sort of reference sheet, right here and right now.
Not a lot has been written by vegans about ex-vegans, and that’s mostly because sadly, this is still considered taboo in our community. The general response in the past has been to basically shut any conversation down, to “pooh pooh” at people, or to shame them for even bringing it up in the first place. And I think that’s dangerous. Ex-veganism is happening, and until we are brave enough to confront it, to talk about it, and to truly understand it, it will continue to happen again and again.
So if you care about the vegan movement, I urge you to educate yourself on this subject. In fact, I consider it a good activist’s duty to do so. Which is why I’m posting this starter “reading + watching” list. This list includes a number of opinions, perspectives, editorials, and comedic relief, from a range of writers including health professionals, activists, educators, dietitians, and just plain ol’ everyday vegans. I want to acknowledge that some of this material may not sit well with every reader (your mileage will vary), but I believe that it’s important – in fact imperative – for us to hold space where everyone can share their thoughts and feelings. And all together, this will compose a chorus which encompasses “the response of the vegan community”.
So let’s begin:
- Jack Norris, RD actually has quite a long series of posts about ex-vegans, but the primary pair are here: To Quit Or Not To Quit Veganism, and here To Quit Or Not To Quit Veganism: Part II. His post I Was Vegan For A While, But . . . is also really great, and you can see all of the posts under the “Ex-Veg” tag, here. Jack is a Registered Dietitian and comes at this topic from a very well-researched and scientific, yet open-minded, perspective. In general his website is an invaluable resource.
- One of my go-to nutrition bloggers, Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD, recently weighed in on the subject of ex-vegans with her piece Disordered Eating, Restrictive Eating, and Ex-Vegans. As always, Ginny provides a thoughtful and cogent response from a rational, research-based perspective. I also enjoyed the discussion in the comments of this post.
Ginny has a couple of older pieces on the subject as well. Namely, Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make The Case Against Vegan Diets? and also Ex-Vegans, Happiness and Vitamin B12.
- Somer McCowan at Vedged Out wrote a great piece which essentially synthesizes and summarizes everything I’ve been trying to say for the past few years, so THANK YOU SOMER for laying it all out so carefully and clearly. I love this piece: Under The Banner Of Veganism. Deprivation Diets, Eating Disorders, & Orthorexia.
- Miss Marla Rose, never the shrinking violet, has penned a piece of satyrical gold over at her blog Vegan Feminist Agitator. The article, entitled How To Gain Fame And Fortune As An Ex-Vegan In Five Easy Steps . . . , is positively dripping with sarcasm, and smartly uses comedy to illustrate a very valid point. I heart her.
- Gary Smith over at The Thinking Vegan shares his frustration over ex-vegans, in an article called Stop Blaming Veganism For You Not Being Vegan. Gary is in media/marketing and I appreciate his reflections on the way ex-vegans are percieved by popular culture (and the possible motivations for this reaction). There’s also an interesting discussion in the comments.
- Back in January, Matt and I gave a talk entitled “Exploring The Ex-Vegan Phenomenon” at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena. You can watch our presentation in the video above, or you can just read the quick recap here, on Vegansaurus.
- I also have another video, an interview with Eco-Vegan Gal, where I talk about the ex-vegan phenomenon, its possible causes, and preventing ex-vegans (among other things!). You can watch the whole video, or skip ahead to the part on ex vegans, at 20:09.
Edited to add More Resources! I’ll keep this list going as more is written . . .
- That One Time I Was An Ex-Vegan by Lacy Davis at Super Strength Health
- Ryan writes More On Ex-Vegans, over on The Veg Blog
- On a *very* frank (no holds barred!) episode of the Red Radio podcast, entitled You’re Not Hardcore Unless You Live Hardcore, Erin Red invites Lara Yaz, Sarah E. Brown, and Chloe Jo Davis on to discuss Alexandra Jamieson and ex-vegans in general. These girls are pissed, so be warned. Also, they’re smart as hell and bring up some incredibly astute points.
Alright, that’s all the links I’ve got at the moment, but I’m sure I missed a few. Know of a great piece I overlooked? Please share it in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to add it to the collection!
In the meantime, to all my beautiful vegan comrades: please stay healthy, don’t make yourself crazy with unnecessary rules or restrictions, and for goodness sakes, have FUN with your food! Veganism is an expression of love, and that expression begins at the very beginning, with you! Self love, my loves. Because you deserve it.
♥ ♥ ♥