I am a fat vegan. Yes, I am a fat vegan; we do exist. I’m not currently as fat as I was in college, partly because I gave up high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda and living on avocado sushi and Taco Bell bean burritos sans cheese after I graduated. These changes helped me lose about 15 pounds without even trying. Still, I remain a fat vegan. I still eat fairly healthy, for the most part, and take care of my physical health with exercise, rest, and good hygiene. Yet my fat vegan-hood remains.
I became vegan when I was 23 years old because I cared about animals and didn’t want to eat them anymore (I had been a vegetarian previously, but learning about the inherent cruelty with the egg and dairy industries drove me to take the next step). I never approached it as a diet or method of losing weight (as it’s often promoted, even by ethical vegans). As such, the fat-hate so rampant within the vegan community and animal rights movement irks me quite a bit. Not only is a lot of it in the form of fat-shaming as a method of promoting a plant-based diet…
Perhaps I should start by talking a bit about fat-shaming in general. Fat-shaming is defined as: “The action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size.” Larger people seem to be one of the more-acceptable targets of such prejudice and mocking, and shaming them is often defended as being for their own good. Aside from the fact that fat-shaming has actually been proven to not help people lose weight (making the “for their own good” claim, at best, dubious), look at that definition; do humiliation and mocking really belong in a movement based on compassion and justice?
The Vegan Society defines veganism as “…a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” It’s a way of living and a philosophy that one can hold and practice whether they’re a size 0 or a size 24, or any size in between. Honestly, when vegans claim that vegans who look a certain way are making vegans look bad, just because of their appearance…honestly, it sounds like projection. How is making a philosophy based on justice and compassion sound like an exclusive club not “making it look bad”?
So yes, being a fat vegan can come with some baggage. But to my fellow fat vegans (and really, vegans of any body type), don’t ever let anyone tell you that your body type makes you less of a vegan. We’re in this together!
Peace and love, as always.
And to all you haters….