Monday, November 29, 2010

Voracious Vegan Starts Eating Meat

Tasha, author of the top-ten vegan blog The Voracious Vegan, has started eating meat, and has renamed her blog VoraciousEats.com.

This has stirred up quite a controversy.

She posted here, ten days ago, about the medical and spiritual journey that led her back to eating meat, after years as a vegan. (Her story is similar to the story told by Lierre Keith in the excellent book, The Vegetarian Myth.)

Tasha received so many views and comments on her blog that her web server crashed. She also received death threats and other harassment from putative vegans and animal rights activists. She posted here, a few days later, about this fallout.

Many of the constructive comments on the blog post are worth reading. And lots of other folks have blogged insightfully about the situation; you can find trackback links at the bottom of Tasha's posts.

Some of the perspectives represented in the comments include vegans who are having similar health problems; vegans who are doing just fine; pseudo-vegans who secretly eat meat; omnivores who eat only Meat Of Known Origin; and a good number of people who are concerned most of all for Tasha's well-being, and are happy to hear that her health has improved dramatically.

My observation:

Many vegans are motivated by concern for animal welfare. They are horrified by factory animal farming.

Many thoughtful omnivores are also motivated by concern for animal welfare, and are also horrified by factory animal farming.

We all want to see a food system that is healthier and more just for everyone. We all have different ideas about exactly what that looks like, and how to get there. And each of us has ideas that evolve over time.

Fundamentally, our goals and motivations are similar.

I would ask us all to focus on our common ground, where possible, rather than focussing on our differences.


11 comments:

Eric said...

Nicely put, Alex.

onceuponthekitchencounter said...

Hi Alex,

How very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this story and your thoughts. I know what you mean about wanting to focus on what we have in common. Sometimes easier said than done, though, when you're talking traditional foodie vs. vegan!!

Cheers,
Shannon
www.onceuponthekitchencounter.wordpress.com

Alex Lewin said...

Thanks Eric, thanks Shannon. I'm glad you liked my post, and my perspective on similarities and differences...

Meagan said...

This made me laugh! I can't wait to read the articles

Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist said...

Wow .. great post Alex. Thanks for sharing this at Monday Mania. Those folks posting nasty messages need a BUTTER intervention so they can get happy again!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist :)

Alex Lewin said...

Sarah, thanks for the comment. I'm all in favor of butter interventions! I keep at least a pound or two on hand at all times. You never know when you might need it...

Meagan, I'm still trying to figure out what was funny about it. Your sense of humor must be even more odd than mine. BTW loved your GF Thanksgiving recipes.

Cris said...

Amazing -- the hypocrisy is overwhelming -- "death threats" from animal rights activists? Just like the "pro-lifers" who want war....

amandalikes said...

I liked her post, but thought that it was interesting that while she went back to meat eating for health reasons, she defended it with other reasons; about it being natural 'we were born to eat meat' etc. Makes you wonder if she secretly didn't want to be the awkward vegan BBQ this summer. I don't get the death threats! Poor girl.

T said...

Just found your blog and I (as a vegan) observed this controversy as well and found it very interesting. People's personal decisions of what to eat or not eat often make people uncomfortable- but usually, its the vegans or vegetarians getting called out (eg at BBQ's, as Sarah above observed.) It was strange to see the name calling on the other side, and I think a lot of it had to do with people thinking that Tasha (or her doctor) was lying, or this was her plan all along to discredit veganism, or some other sort of conspiracy theory. Maybe it was just the contrast between the vegan of before now lustfully digging into plates of pork chops and steak.
Whatever it is, I agree- its not productive to have people on the same side against factory farming picking on eachother because of what boils down to a personal diet choice. Its much the point made in Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals- we can get to the point of changing out food system through many routes, but first we have to able to have these uncomfortable kinds of conversations without alienating others.

Anonymous said...

I know I am seriously late coming into this conversation, but I find it frightening that people would "protect" animals by threatening to harm or kill a human being.

Anonymous said...

I come in even later. Inexcusable death threats aside, I think the passionate opposition to her testimony isn't against her protecting her own heath. Even if misdirected, it is protective of animals in a sense because those who would like to protect animals realize the animals have no voice at all but that "Voracious Eats" was a very public voice that a lot of people followed, even if she is unreliable (just humor me for a moment), and that is threatening. She (practically) claims that she was at death's door despite a healthy vegan diet and then was magically put back together with the first orgasmic bites of flesh. Whether she did the vegan diet sincerely and correctly isn't the issue. That people looked to her for guidance is the issue for the disappointed folks, I think. Personally, I saw too little healthy fats in the description of her diet, but that is a common mistake made. I thrive on a vegan diet maybe because I don't omit the healthy oils. Too bad the vegan diet isn't common enough yet to publically contain stories that run the whole gamut. When that is the case, ex-vegans' dramatic blow by blow tales will be just one way it can turn out and may even be part of the past we laugh off one day as part of the evolution of veganism. The pendulum does have to swim, does it not? Dramatic pioneers often have to make exits that are just as dramatic. Obviously they don't dislike attention, or they wouldn't make their diets so public.