On February 27th, Alex Jamieson made a huge public admission:
Please read the aforementioned blog post now.
Ok. Now my reaction…
Alex is right about one thing: This is a shock.
Alex is wrong about another thing: I don’t feel hopeful and I’m not breathing a sigh of relief.
Yes, I do appreciate her honesty about the whole thing, but I can’t help but find her blog post deeply disturbing on a number of levels.
I will try to enumerate them here. I’m going to list my reactions in no particular order, in an attempt to allow my thoughts to flow out more easily.
Alex was “vegan” for thirteen years. That’s no short amount of time. It disturbs me to imagine how someone who has lived the vegan lifestyle for that long could ever return to a diet that includes animals.
Alex states that some of her health coach clients were “sicker and heavier after going vegan than they were before.”
What does this even mean?
This is disturbing because there is not one “vegan diet.” There are innumerable ways to construct a balanced diet without animal products. Such a general statement about the implied failure of “the vegan diet” does nothing to pinpoint exactly what foods her clients were or were not eating.
It’s perfectly normal to have cravings. I’m sure there are plenty of vegans who have cravings for every imaginable variety of animal product. A craving that comes up at the beginning of one’s veganism isn’t necessarily any different than a craving that comes up later on.
Remember– Most of us do not go vegan or initiate a vegan diet because we stopped liking the taste of animal products!
I personally know of one vegan who has admitted repeatedly that his desire for meat never went away after he went vegan over 10 years ago. To this day, he continues to enjoy the sight and smell of meat. But, he does not give in to his cravings, because he chooses to align his actions with his ethical position. He is vegan for animal rights.
We don’t have to turn craving into consumption!
I honestly feel sorry for Alex. I feel sorry for the inner turmoil she obviously endured for so long. I believe that she did have every intention of staying with her vegan diet.
But– Why didn’t Alex seek support from other committed vegans right at the beginning of her struggle? Why did she go it alone?
I don’t agree with her solution!
It’s distressing that craving (i.e taste, palate pleasure) appears to be Alex’s only or primary motivation for going back to eating animals after thirteen years. This is made clear throughout Alex’s blog post:
“The impulse to order salmon instead of salad with tofu at my favorite restaurant was overwhelming.”
“I told no one of my own cravings for meat or fish or eggs.”
“I had to experience how it felt to eat animal foods again, if only to prove to myself that it wasn’t really all that good.”
“I would secretly visit restaurants or stores and buy “contraband” animal foods, scurry home, and savor the food in solitude.”
I just can’t fully agree with the statement,
“Trusting your body, living your truth, whether it be vegan, part-time vegan, flexitarian and carnivore is all inherently good.”
This is not about good vs bad. Let’s throw out those words altogether and talk about the real issue.
From the animal’s point of view, there is a very distinct difference between vegan and flexitarian. From the animal’s point of view it’s literally a matter of life or death. Staying vegan means something. Being consistent means something!
The above statement is troubling. People can just eat whatever they want and feel good about whatever that happens to be?
So– if my “body” craves bacon and I “live my truth” by eating bacon, then it’s all “good”?
Ask the pig how good it is.
It’s very sad to know that many people will use Alex’s story as an excuse to never go vegan. Certain people will reject veganism without ever having any personal experience with it at all.
Similarly, certain “vegans” and vegetarians will undoubtedly use Alex’s story as an excuse to go back to eating animal products themselves.
Do you think I’m making this up?
In the beginning and at the end, Alex was vegan for health reasons. She said it herself:
“13 years ago, when I decided to eat a vegan diet and live a vegan lifestyle, I did it for my health.”
Although Alex did align herself with other, valid reasons for “living the vegan lifestyle” (i.e. animal welfare, global hunger, and global warming), she didn’t appear to be vegan for reasons of animal rights.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m defining “animal rights” as the idea that all animals have a basic right not to be used, exploited, and killed. Animals are not commodities. Each being is owner of his/her own body.
Although I’m upset by this news from Alex, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised by it. Alex used to eat a vegan diet. Now she doesn’t. Alex used to have health reasons. Now she doesn’t.
CONCLUSION: ANIMAL RIGHTS!
If people who “go vegan” or “eat a vegan diet” do not also believe in “animal rights,” then those people will– just like Alex– be at risk of one day returning to using, exploiting and killing animals.
I believe this 100%:
People who are really, truly and fully vegan for the one, core reason of “animals rights” will NEVER go back to being non-vegan.
Never, ever. It simply can’t happen.
I didn’t write this blog post to pick on Alex.
I’m writing this blog post to make this final point absolutely clear:
The focus of veganism must stay on the ANIMALS. The animals are the ones who are used, exploited and killed unnecessarily. Veganism is about helping THEM.