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Go Vegan, Eat Junk!

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Following the recent success of pro-vegan books like Skinny Bitch (click on the link to read my scathing review), I have had several people happily tell me they are “going vegan” in an attempt to eat healthier.

Let me point out that I have a mostly vegan diet, so this post is not coming from a “pro-carnivore” or “anti-vegan” stance.

However, I have a real problem with the prevailing notion that veganism is, by virtue, a healthy way of eating.

Case in point — this “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” public service announcement courtesy of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The first sentence already elicited a groan:

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts.

Really?  A “crunchy vegan” joke?

Anyhow, I was disturbed by the nutritionally empty products proudly displayed in the campaign’s accompanying photograph: sugary cereals, chips, cookies, fruit snacks, instant cake mixes, Pop Tarts.

Although PETA mentions that “one cannot live on Goldenberg Peanut Chews alone”, this campaign is completely misguided.  What is the message supposed to be — “support animal welfare while feeding yourself junk?”

If the intention of this campaign is to demonstrate that one can be vegan and still buy tasty snacks at the supermarket, why not show healthier items like jars of nut butters, containers of hummus, fresh fruits, 100% whole grain products, guacamole, salsa, trail mixes, Amy’s frozen meals, and Kashi snacks?

Many thanks to @CatherineAnne for tweeting me the link to PETA’s campaign.

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5 Comments

  1. Leah said on September 1st, 2009

    With each thing PeTA does I find myself wishing more and more that they didn’t exist. As a vegan I spend way too much time explaining that I don’t support PeTA and that much of what they say is false or misleading. Ugh.

  2. Andy Bellatti said on September 1st, 2009

    Leah, I feel the same way.

    I am a big advocate of animal welfare, but I am horrified by the way PETA gets their message across. Spray-painting people’s fur coats and throwing tofu pies does not make anyone respect you or want to listen to anything you have to say!

    Similarly, their recent campaign to get people to refer to fish as “sea kittens” was also embarrassing.

  3. Brandon said on September 2nd, 2009

    Have you seen the ‘Save the Whales’ campaign?

    I’ll link you to the blog I found it at:
    http://nutritionunplugged.com/2009/08/lose-the-blubber-ad-is-low-blow-from-peta/

    She’s a RD. There’s also a cool video on it with Fox & Friends interviewing the PeTa spokesperson.

  4. Andy Bellatti said on September 2nd, 2009

    I did see that campaign.

    So many things wrong with it:

    1) Why does the ad only show a woman?
    2) Giving up meat does not guarantee weight loss. I know plenty of overweight vegetarians and vegans.

  5. Christine said on September 4th, 2009

    hi andy,

    although i agree with what you wrote in this article, i have to admit that – as a vegan – i find the website “i can’t believe it’s vegan” to be pretty useful. i try to eat healthily and i read a lot about nutrition, but sometimes when i get a craving for some junk food, it’s a really good resource for me so i can easily figure out what i can eat and what i can’t. for instance, i LOVE the occasional oreo and nutter butter. i owe it to this website for helping me find out that they’re vegan! also, it makes the vegan candy search a lot easier, especially if i don’t feel like having the really rich specialty dark chocolates like dagoba…now i know that sour patch kids are not off limits, for example.

    those are my two cents…i don’t think it’s hard to find healthy vegan processed food, and obviously they should promote that as well…but that website is just so PERFECT for when i want something unhealthy, decadent and totally junky but i am not sure if it is vegan!

    keep up the awesome posts…i love your blog!!! :)

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