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Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.

“Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.”

This post has been building up for a while. I’ve had many discussions lately with people and read online commentary of people being judgmental, self-righteous, and downright hateful to others in relation to diet and lifestyle. This isn’t a new topic of discussion but is something more and more people are speaking out against. JL wrote a post that really hit me hard after Vida Vegan Con (because I’m one of those healthy people, but I also know how to enjoy a damn cupcake). Dreena wrote a post later down the line about not feeling “healthy enough” or “vegan enough” (which even I feel sometimes). My friend Allyson Kramer has talked about getting hate emails from people who deem her recipes unhealthy (though she has never once made a claim that they are going to meet everyone’s dietary restrictions). Chocolate Covered Katie has one of the most beautiful, delicious dessert blogs and is probably one of the nicest people I know and she still gets hateful comments (even though it’s a DESSERT blog that shows people how to make them healthier and clearly states that treats are an occasionally thing). I watch some of the most respected vegan authors and bloggers get beat down because of their dietary choices. And it is time for it to stop.

There are a number of points I want to touch upon in this post and I hope I can make my thoughts clear and orderly. You may not agree with what I have to say and that is totally cool! But we are here to have a conversation, a healthy discussion if you will. Comments will be moderated, but I would love more than anything to know how you feel about the topics discussed. This post is in the context of the plant-based/vegan world, not necessarily comments between meat-eaters and plant-eaters. Sorry for the lengthy rant.

EatYourGreens-

My first thought is the fascination of reaching “purity” or perfection with one’s diet. I strive everyday to be the healthiest, most radiant self I can be but am I perfect? Not even close. Am I ok with this? Hell yes. I follow an 80/20 Rule (more 90/10 lately) that has served me well for the almost 11 years I’ve been vegan. It allows me to keep a balanced perspective, enjoy events and time with friends, not feel guilty for having a treat, and eat in a way that not only nourishes my body but allows my mind to be at peace. I am super healthy, strong, rarely get sick, have stopped aging, have abundant energy and don’t feel like I need to be any more strict with my diet. I know that being vegan is enough because everything I do is helping the animals, the planet, and my health as a side bonus.

This idea that we can reach perfection is something I see mainly in the raw food movement and the “plant-based” community. Most of these people are trying to be the healthiest they can be (or they have a serious health condition they are trying to fix) and there is nothing wrong with that. But the standards unto you hold yourself are not meant to be placed upon others. Purity activism in general leads others to feel like they aren’t good enough. I often see people type “well I’m not 100% raw yet” and I see their face go into a sad pout and they spin into a shameful downward spiral. It’s OK you aren’t 100% something! A healthy diet does not have to be about achieving 100% of anything (except in rare cases of serious illness)! And that frankly is proven with science and studies no matter how people want to twist the studies to fit their own agenda (check out the book The Blue Zones and look at how centenarians eat).

Another thing I’ve noticed is when striving for perfection you become so completely self-absorbed and start to think your way is the way. This is not surprising when your diet is all about you rather than for something higher than yourself like veganism. I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to be your best. It’s everyone’s personal responsibility not to let the actions or words of others bring you down, but for those people in the limelight (anyone out their spreading a message) it’s OUR responsibility to choose our words carefully and send a message that is inclusive. I get this vibe from many people in my field that what they do is what everyone else should be doing. If you have these thoughts you are setting up your fans and readers for failure before they even get started. I talk more about this in the video below.

One woman in a vegan fitness forum on Facebook constantly posts about her raw diet and says things like if you aren’t eating her way you aren’t healthy. First of all that is very insulting to imply that what I’m doing isn’t healthy. I know for a fact I am healthy. My bloodwork is amazing, I can run circles around people at the gym, I wake up everyday with the sun, and many other things that are an indication of health. No one appreciates those kinds of comments, so like momma always said, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all.

And if you are trying to reach a level of perfection in your diet go for it! I’m all for whatever you want to do with your life. Just don’t try to tell me what to do or “should” on me. I see people hate on “health vegans” and that’s not cool either. I’ve witnessed a great deal of these people educate themselves on the ethics and find compassion in themselves they didn’t know existed. Wouldn’t you rather have someone go vegan for health than have one less person eating a vegan diet? Let’s be real. For instance, the people of Marshall Texas, a very white, Christian, Republican, conservative town, would not go vegan or plant-based if you had talked to them about animal cruelty. My friends Ed and Mandy transformed their small town, having vegan potlucks and outreach programs, even got four very popular restaurants in town to offer vegan items. That is an amazing feat and deserves to be commended. We are all spokes on a wheel and have valuable stories to share that can inspire others. Let’s just leave the judgement and ego out of it ok?

We can all live harmoniously with a little more compassion and respect toward each other.

Now let’s talk about bullying on the internet. If someone is sharing their experience of a meal or a recipe they enjoy and it doesn’t meet your dietary restrictions why do people think it’s ok to make a negative comment? Also, I’m not a fan of when someone posts a photo related to their body image or weight-loss progress and people post negative comments. If you don’t prefer the way someone looks then keep your mouth shut! It’s ok to have certain preferences when it comes to beauty, looks, personality, and body shape. But it’s not ok to make people feel bad for the way they look!

Currently I’m on the most restricted diet I’ve ever eaten and I’ve spent the last 9 weeks trying to perfect my body for a bikini competition. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done. My reasons for doing it are varied. I find it interesting that I’ve become MORE sensitive to peoples’ actions and words. That I feel even stronger than ever to stand up for the injustices of others even though I have become the antithesis of perfecting ones self. But the urge to go out and convert everyone to what I am doing has never been a goal! I am happy to share and inspire others through my journey, but I have never once told you that you should do what I’m doing or you are lazy and pathetic. The thought has never crossed my mind and it’s not appropriate!

The video below sums up how I feel about the exchanges I see on the internet. It seems that since we are sitting behind a computer and aren’t face to face with someone that it’s ok to type rude things. Think before you type!

(Please click through to the post if viewing this on email to see the video!)

Now I wouldn’t want to leave out fanatical vegans from this post now would I?! They can be a judgmental bunch and I can say this because I was once one too. Veganism for me is not completely black and white. We can only do the best we can do. We live in an imperfect unvegan society. And some people don’t want to go all the way. They want to do Meatless Mondays, or vegan before six, or vegan at home but not when they are out with family. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy that people take any steps toward eating less animals. It’s good for everyone. So it bothers me when vegans get bent out of shape when someone doesn’t make the full commitment. Let’s show them some positive vibes and encouragement! You never know if one day they will make it a tried and true commitment.

This attitude towards others is counter productive to our cause as animal advocates. No one likes to be micromanaged. And don’t you think we could be using that time and head space being all judgmental for more important things. Like helping those who are not even close to being vegan jump on board. I don’t see why so many people waste their time writing posts, comments, tweets, whatever discussing small instances of not being vegan enough which may make up 1% of their life. We practically have those people in the bag! Let’s get moving on the other 98% of people who aren’t vegan//part-time vegan/vegetarian/omnivore.

Having true compassion is not judging others, meeting them where they are, and helping them along their way. My whole life personally and professional is dedicated to spreading veganism, helping others be more vegan, and showing others that vegan food is totally awesome. I try to live my life according to my values, the best that I possibly can. I’m I perfect? Nope, but I try my hardest because as someone once said to me most of us are SO privileged that if we don’t try our best we are assholes. It’s just not possible to live and breath in this world and be perfect though. Let’s all just take a breathe.

I’m almost positive that Donald Watson did not have all these stipulations when defining veganism. I see comments all the time, well vegan means this and that and that person was never really vegan and you can’t do that and be vegan. Sometimes I just want to say well who made you the all knowing one? People are so egotistical about their veganism. We are making so much headway with bringing veganism more mainstream. That is what we need to do if we are going to stop factory farming and save this planet. Those of you that are out there making a difference, making waves, influencing others, being advocates for the animals, please stop and think about your thoughts, your actions, your voice, and your tactics. And go out there and be awesome!

I love you all. 

THE END.

Posted in My Blog on 07/11/2013 11:48 am
 

59 Comments

  1. I really appreciate this post, Christy, and I appreciate the fact that, in spite of your recent dietary changes and pending competition, you haven’t started to renounce everything that isn’t a piece of fruit or a leafy green. I agree with you that it’s important to seek out foods that support our health–and as someone who’s healed and maintained healing with food as my ally, I live that truth every day–but there’s almost always room for flexibility. People underestimate the body. The constant stress and misery people dedicate to obsessing over their food choices is probably a lot less healthy than the indulgences so often vilified on the internet.

    It saddens me that so much anxiety is creeping into the vegan community with regards to food lately. Balance and moderation are really, really overlooked. It’s nice to be reminded that even very health conscious eaters grant themselves variety, flexibility, and forgiveness.

  2. Amen. I’m a vegetarian (for 20+ years) and I feel like the vegan community has an automatic hatred button that gets pushed when I mention that, or say that I eat eggs (local, organic) like once every other week or so. Like somehow I’ve destroyed the whole world by my CHOICE to eat according to MY VALUES. I’m tired of the haters, and I’ve really appreciated the discussions lately on vegan blogs about how this kind of bullying does not fly with the ethics of COMPASSION that is preached but not always lived. Thanks for this post and for your positive attitude!

    • Thankfully those vegans are such a small fraction of the greater whole and I think they really do mean well, just not capable of seeing past their anger at the world animals live in. Keep doing your thang!

  3. What a great post, Blissful Chef, I agree with you 100%! Instead of using my energy to try to convert people (to veganism) I chose to instead use that energy to encourage people to overall eat healthier and more consciously. Like you, my wish for the world would be to switch to a plant-based diet as it would solve so many world problems (including chronic diseases, deforestation, world hunger, etc.) and as idealistically as I may be, I realize that it is too huge of a goal in my lifetime. I live trying to “be the change I wish to see in the world,” in every aspect of my life; therefore, setting the example of healthy and conscious eating- without shaming or blaming people. Love, Bea

  4. I loved this post! As a future registered dietitian who happens to be vegan, I believe helping people take steps to a healthier, as plant-based as possible diet will best be accomplished with an open, non-judgmental approach. I agree that there’s a ton of diet/body policing going on out there and it takes the focus off of making positive changes and doing the best you can do. A very restrictive approach to an already vegan diet just makes it less likely people will keep up with it long term and may give up entirely because it’s too difficult or not satisfying enough. There are many different diet approaches within a vegan diet (meaning some eat mostly whole foods, some are raw, some eat mostly “junk”, and the varying spectrum in between).

    • Thank you for your comments. It’s all very true. If people aren’t ready to go full on and that’s the only choice you encourage where does that leave them?

  5. Bravo, Christy. Bravo!

    If someone is actually concerned with another person’s health, they wouldn’t use tactics of shaming, insulting, belittling, or bullying them. It’s such a shame this holier-than-thou attitude permeates the vegan world — a world I came to looking for support, acceptance, and love.

    I think it’s far more unhealthy to be afraid of a cupcake than to have one once in a while.

    Thank you for bringing this topic to light. I think you’re going to help a lot of people feel less alone and less victimized. <3 xoxo

    • Right?!? I see these tactics far too much in the plant-based world and then those who are reached using these tactics start using them on other people because they deem them acceptable. It starts a chain reaction. It really blows my mind when people who were previously overweight and suffering start fat-shaming other people after they get healthy and fit. It’s like hello, where’s the empathy?

  6. Amen! I think the “all or nothing” mentality and comments are what puts people off from attempting to make the switch. I would much rather have my friends and family members (and society as a whole for that matter) make small healthy changes that can be sustained over a long time. The rest will follow and if it doesn’t then at least the changes they have made will make them healthier and be around longer for me to love!

  7. Bravo! Thanks for talking about what it truly means to live a compassionate life! I’ve written before about the fighting within the vegan community and appreciate more and more people reminding us that love and respect should extend in all directions.

  8. I agree. I am a combo of “plant strong” and “compassionate” vegan. I have a really difficult struggle with my cholesterol, and I cannot stand statin side effects. So my diet is very restrictive, and I don’t stray off of it. I do not beat people over the head over their diets though. If someone asks I will discuss, but I learned a long time ago the only life I get to live is mine. Adults get to make their own choices in life. People who know me know my focus on health and my work with animal rescue, I prefer to live by example.

    • I’m so glad you have found what works for you Louise and are a living example!

      • After reading all the comments, it makes me sad to see so many people have been personally affected by this behavior. I have seen some of it happen on the web, but have been very fortunate in my own life to have only experienced support on my diet. Although I will admit my 93 year old mother sometimes asks how long I am going to be on my “wacky diet” I tell her the rest of my life. :-) I think one reason I get no flack from my large extended carnivore family or my work and friends is I truly don’t jusdge others for the decisions they make for themselves. This year for my mom’s 93rd birthday my sister asked me if I would get the cake, I went to a regular bakery and bought a fabulous cake I knew my mom would love. I did not have any but there wasn’t a bite left after the party. I do wish my family ate healthier and did not contribute to animal suffering, but they are all bright educated people and I love them very much. Oh, and I actually love the way I eat, I have a lot of options and enjoy cooking great meals. For family get togethers I bring my own food with plenty for others, and there is never any left for me to take home.

        • That is super awesome that you are so supported and you can in turn support others on their journey! Thankfully I haven’t received too much negativity I just see it ALL the time.

  9. Not only was this post dead on, but the comments following it also nail this serious topic to the ground. Christy, thank you for speaking up. I am a “health vegan” and recently left a FB group because I feared the retribution BEFORE it even happened! I’m glad you gave voice to this train of thought, and it’s very encouraging to see the responses thus far. Maybe I’ll try that FB group again, this time with a little less apprehension. I seek community, but don’t need the hassle of negativity and judgement. None of us do!

    • Thanks Erica for your comments! Try the group again. If anything see it as a practice of compassion to yourself and to others who don’t see the error of their ways ;)

  10. Amen sister!!! So happy you wrote this! Thank you xoxoxo

  11. Thank you so much for this post! The idea of dietary perfectionism scares away most people who contemplate trying a vegan diet. The vegans who adopt a sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude (perfection or nothing!) are truly doing a disservice to the idea of veganism. So many people have had horrible experiences with hostile and judgmental vegans that they seem reluctant to listen to what rational vegans have to say. I recently started a plant-based meal planning service and pretty much all of my clients are omnivores. I have made it a point to embrace an inclusive, non-judgmental attitude so I can convince non-vegans to try something they otherwise wouldn’t. I agree that even small changes should be encouraged, so I’m trying to communicate to my clients how their small changes can make a huge difference. As soon as I tell people they don’t have to go all the way, they can just make a few changes and see how they feel, they seem to soften and open up to the idea of trying vegan meals. Surprisingly, very few people are unwilling to give it a try! However, if I had told potential clients that the way they are eating is unhealthy and that have to revamp their entire lifestyle, I probably wouldn’t have any clients at all.

    I wonder if people honestly believe that others will listen to them when they communicate from a place of negativity and judgment.

    • Thanks Jessica for your comments! I used to work with a ton of omins when I was a personal chef in LA. I was thrilled that they ate less meat because of me. And now working with people through my wellness program, so many of them had never experienced vegan food and many say they will never eat meat again. Gentle approach.

  12. Thank you so much for this!! One of the reasons I for so long avoided going vegan and announcing I was vegan was all of the stigma associated with vegans and the fanatical section of vegans that make the rest of us look bad. I’m the first person to not poo-poo others for their choices. After all, who the hell am I? Am I perfect? Do I have the right to judge? Am I ready to be judged myself? The answer to all of those is No, incidentally ;)

    I love my plant-based lifestyle, but not everyone is willing and ready to embrace it full time. I even cook locally-raised, free-range organic meat for my husband from time to time. I actually eat honey (I heard the gasps from somewhere, don’t worry). I don’t judge, I honestly can’t because I don’t have the right.

    Thank you for giving voice to the millions of us who, just like you, love our lifestyles but aren’t willing to alienate others by forcing our choices down the throats of others.

    You rock!

    Meg

  13. Thank you for this message, it is really important to me as someone who is slowly making their way towards a more plant based way of eating. It was shocking to me when a well known vegan spokesperson shared a picture of the inside of her fridge and to see the judgement and criticisms that people wrote. To me her fridge looked amazing and I was jealous. It seriously had me contemplating that when I get to where I want to be with plant based eating, it would have to be something I would do in secret so I wouldn’t have to deal with the negativity. Anyway, thanks for this post, will definitely be sharing it.

    • It’s crazy how the internet has facilitated people to become bullies even if they may not be in their face to face relationships. People really need to think before they type and realize there’s another person on the other side of the computer. And don’t be afraid to let your light shine! Let me know how I can help you on your journey :)

  14. Thank you for posting about this, Christy! I have started, stopped, deleted and rewritten on this very topic, but never had the courage to say/post what you so eloquently did.

    I am an ethical vegan, and one of my pet peeves is when someone lumps ethical veganism and dietary perfection together. You can of course observe both and that’s fine (as long as you don’t criticize others), but the reasoning and motivation behind these two things comes from different places: ethical veganism is based on emotion/a desire to reduce suffering, while dietary perfection is fueled by a desire to be 100% “correct”. These are VERY different things.

    If I eat meat/dairy, I am consciously contributing to the needless suffering of another. If I decide to deep fry some vegan mac and cheese, there is no suffering created. So eating “less than healthy” food does not make me any less vegan or compromise my ethical endeavors to reduce suffering.

    No one can maintain a 100% perfect diet for that long and, in fact, I suspect it’s these people who try to so militantly do both are the ones that, down the road, proclaim things like “I tried veganism once, and it almost KILLED me.” Trying to be both is also a major deterrent for people trying veganism altogether. It’s either ridiculously restrictive, impossible and/or too overwhelming to do.

    I love food and enjoy and delight in being vegan, although I also love to do things like deep fry, drink beer and use vegan mayo. But I only do so in moderation—not because I am trying to meet any dietary standard, but because I feel like crap if I overdo it!

    Eating vegan for ethical reasons has brought out a passion for cooking in me that I could have never imagined, allowing me to create and taste an amazing array of foods, both healthy and “sort-of healthy”—which has allowed me to be easily and happily maintain my veganism for the past 7 years.

    … I doubt that these “100% perfect” vegans can express that same kind of joy!

    • Well thank you, I’m glad I was able to get it out there. It did take a lot of courage lol!

      And what you said is totally true. Those “ex-vegans” all have a similar pattern; too restricted of a diet, not enough calories, or even worse something that turned into an eating disorder. Even if it was the healthiest thing for me to eat 100% raw I wouldn’t do it because there’s more to life that being perfect. I want to enjoy my food and I’m so thankful that I can eat a damn cupcake every once in a while and still have great health. Oh and surprise YOU can too ;)

    • I am a newby to the vegan lifestyle. I found a lot of negative feedback directed toward me because of my new lifestyle. You can be made to feel inferior for these choices, I do not try to convert anyone, but I casually repost articles that state my feelings about compassion for our four legged compadres in this life, and not eating them!

      I need a community, and have definately found it here on the web. I have so many exciting recipes for vegan creations I will never be able to make them all. It is so exciting!! I have no desire to eat animal products at all, because of all the generous chefs out here who post their recipes!!

      THANK YOU ALL, I LOVE EVERYONE OF YOU!

  15. Christy- I adore you even more after that video! Love your thoughts and I think you have stated them beautifully. I hate diet-shaming and think it’s one of the most negative, personal things someone can do. I’m a vegan RD and also specialize in Eating Disorders… sadly, many recent clients have a huge fear of their diet not being “perfect” enough, “vegan” enough, “nutrient-dense” enough, ect. It’s a sad situation as most of these people turned towards the internet to get advice on how to be eat healthier, and turned to the wrong sources. I really dislike preaching, even as an RD I never preach on the “perfect” way to eat. I really believe in meeting people where they are. I agree with you, I wish everyone would give up animal products but I am also a realist. I think that if we can get people who dislike green vegetables to add kale to their diet, that’s a huge step! Meatless Monday? Great! There is no perfect way. I also believe that some of the stigma that is associated with the vegan community comes from this diet-shamming practice. I was at a talk recently on Raw Foods, I went because I was interested in the philosophy and wanted to hear others opinions. You would have thought I was the food police. I was bullied, shammed, accused of not “understanding nutrition”, all because I didn’t believe that a 100% raw food diet was any healthier than a vegan diet. I left feeling annoyed, outraged, and distanced… not what I would want anyone to feel when exploring a kinder lifestyle. Personally, on my blog and with my clients, I rarely use the word vegan. I think sometimes people have preconceived notions on a vegan diet and that can be a turn off. When I introduce eating more plants, reducing saturated fats, cholesterol, I am welcomed a lot more in the non-vegan community and this approach works for me.

    What a great start to the conversation, thanks for sticking your neck out and saying it :)

    Alex

    • Awww thank you! I will try to make more videos because I really do love it!

      Thanks so much for sharing your comments. I’m so glad there are RD’s out there like you and Ginny Messina making a difference everyday. It’s sad that you have to do so much work to undo what bad information on the internet has done to people. Such a shame about that raw food class. I’m just SO over the dogma, judgment and hatred.

  16. Christy, thank you so much for posting this. I have been struggling with this for the past year. I have developed an eating disorder over the past year and I have become so afraid of food that some days I don’t even know what to eat. One website I go to says nuts will cause heart disease, then another website says that they protect from cancer, then another website says no oil, another says a little is ok, it’s the salt that will kill you. I had one website tell me that I was going to have a heart attack because I drank green smoothies! These contradictions go on and on and on…..to the point where I don’t even know what to eat anymore and have become so fearful and anxiety ridden around food that my joy of cooking has been squashed as well. My toddler son has been having some trouble with eating and I swear it has to do with the anxiety and fear that I have around food.

    I will never forget when Dr. Fuhrman told me that “eating a bagel while pregnant is exactly the same as snorting cocaine while pregnant.” This was his response when I asked him what to eat while experiencing morning sickness and I told him all I could keep down were bagels. I cried and cried and yes I still ate bagels and felt such guilt when I did. Also, recently on Dr. Fuhrman’s forums, he told me that “eating his diet 100% by his guidelines was the only way to avoid cancer and a painful death.” These things haunt me and effect my anxiety on a daily basis. I know I am a sensitive person and I should be able to just let it go, but it really causes me stress. I know deep down that this is no way to live and you writing this article really helped me see that I need to enjoy food and not be so hard on myself, the stress is more harmful then using a little salt.

    Like Rich Roll says “you can eat kale all day, but if you are angry and stressed while doing it, your not going to be healthy.” Love that! And thank you Christy!!!! xoxo

    • Oops I accidentally deleted my comment to you. Thank you so much Bonnie for sharing this. I know there are thousands of people that are in your exact same shoes and this is why I continue to strive and fight for a balanced approach to diet and wellness. I’ve seen some serious distasteful things come out of the mouths of many of the plant-based doctor/gurus and it’s frightening to me that people are getting eating disorders because of this. I will help you seek the health and balance you wish to have!

  17. Thank you so much for this post. You have put into words exactly how I feel. I get upset when I see vegans “infighting” and even more upset when vegans project hatred and animosity toward someone who is potentially on a path to vegaism (vegetarians, flexitarians, VB6, etc.). I believe in embracing people for who they are and where they are on theiir own personal journey, whether that includes a path to full veganism or not. I am all about activism but choose a more passive approach i.e. cooking great vegan foods and feeding it to anyone who wants to try it. My husband is hard core meat and potatoes but he eats what I cook, he likes almost all of it and as a side benefit he is an advocate for vegan food becuase he knows how good it can be. My ten year old daughter has bee a vegetarian for over a year now and I am so proud of her for the reasons behind her decision: compassion for animals. Will she ever become vegan? Maybe, maybe not. But I apreciate her conviction and the conviction of other ethical vegetarians too. I could not agree more. The hate needs to stop now. This is why vegans get a bad rap that is not wholly undeserved. Bravo on a GREAT post.

    • Thanks for sharing! Totally awesome your kid is vegetarian and that your hubby eats vegan food sometimes. Getting them to believe and understand that vegan food is delicious is half the battle. If you have a bad attitude people aren’t even going to try the food!

  18. I really appreciate this post, Christy. I’m impressed at how well your organized your thoughts on these complicated and inter-connected issues. For me, I try to remember that compassion towards animals includes compassion towards people — and that everyone is just trying to feel safe. Once I posted a birthday cake that I made my dad and someone left about 15 comments about how I was killing my dad by making him a cake. It was so wild. Mostly, I am able to deflect comments like that, and send some loving kindness toward that person – but it’s also sad to feel divisions within the vegan community. Anyhow, thanks for the post. Good luck with your competition!

    • Thank you Amey! That’s means a lot to me. Ugh people can be so dramatic and rude. They are killing themselves by stressing out and what a boring life it would be if you chose not to enjoy cake on your birthday!

  19. Hello! This is my first time visiting your blog, I found your post through “Save the Kales!” and I am so glad I did! I really enjoyed reading it!

    When I first started eating a vegan diet, almost exactly a year ago, I felt the need to tell everyone and anyone that they were doing it all wrong and that they should do x, y, and z, and never do this and that.

    While I still remain very passionate about eating the way I do and the positive impact it has on animals and the environment, I have learned that being preaching or judgmental is rarely, if not never, the way to go. Like you said in your vlog it alienates people and ultimately I think does more harm than it does good. I too have observed the online behavior that you discuss in your post and I agree that the shaming needs to stop!

    Every person is unique with their own lives and needs and so just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. We are all doing the best we can with what we have and I think that should be respected.

    Thank you for writing this, for sharing, and for reminding me to “think before you type.”

  20. So many fabulous points here, Christy. I agree that it’s so important to value people’s positive choices rather than negate all the positive with comments about the things that aren’t “good enough.” We really must show by example, and what kind of example does criticism or diet-bashing present? People are so much more inclined to change their ways when they are encouraged, supported and shown the way. Even if someone isn’t where we want them to be in terms of diet, as adults and compassionate human beings, we do so much better by embracing them where they are.

  21. This really hits the mark. I’ve considered myself a part-time vegan for four months. I have a meat eating family. That’s where it gets difficult to maintain and expensive. If you’re ever in Winnipeg I would love a chat and beverage with you.

  22. Well said Christy. My only comment, as a vegan activist, is that when I talk to people who are going vegan in stages, (VB6, Meatless Mondays, vegan lunch week or whatever), I always applaud the change that person made but as an ethical vegan I always say these are steps on the path to the goal of eating a 100% plant based diet.

    Not eating animals and eating as healthy as one can are not the same.

    BTW, I have no idea why you are working to change your body for a competition. When I saw you in NY you looked perfect but good luc all the same!!

    Marty

  23. Maggie Boxey

    I love this post. I have felt the exact same way looking through FB threads and reading blog comments. Do people forget that there are real people on the other end of social media? I have wanted to blog about my vegan and fitness journey (10 months so far & 40lbs gone with a marathon coming up in October!) but I gotta be honest, I am afraid of the bullying. I am afraid of feeling less than or not enough. I get fed up just by reading comments on IG, FB and twitter, and I applaud you- and the amazing ladies you mentioned in your post- for doing what you do. Thank you!

    And I love watching your journey to competition on IG. Keep up the amazing work!

    • Don’t be afraid Maggie!! You are enough and you have something to share and it’s important even though you may get some negative nillies. And be thanks for following along my fitness journey! Almost there!

      • Maggie Boxey

        Thanks Christy! I’m working on getting past that fear… maybe I’ll write something just to write it and see what happens.

  24. Really great post, Christy! We all come to veganism (or the spectrum of vegetarian, veg-curious, veg-sometimes) in our own way.

    When people talk about restricting PLANT food choices, it just doesn’t feel like it’s about veganism any longer. It’s about restriction. Being vegan is easy – eat veggies, fruit, legumes, grains, and nuts and seeds. See, easy! Oil is vegan, salt is vegan, some sugar is vegan. I don’t appreciate being put down for using any of them. My body, my choice, my veganism (for the animals).

  25. I like what you are saying for the most part. I’m a healthy Vegan and I love me a vegan cupcake..but in regards to rules in Veganism, there is. We don’t eat anything from an Animal. It is that simple. Anyone making moves in a Vegan direction I applaud you, but there are a set of rules if you want to be Vegan. Its a philosophy, not a diet. We don’t use Animals for anything! And it feels great :) Enjoy the Vegan Cupcakes!

    • Very true Sunya. I’m not saying that it’s ok to CALL yourself vegan if you are not partaking in the lifestyle and the philosophy. But we could all be a little more gentle with ourselves and each other :)

  26. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your post, Christy, and love you, even more. You are such a fabulous role model for so many people looking to change their lives to a more plant based one. This blog is just more of the same!

    I started off as a “health vegan” because of a bout with breast cancer, but have learned to embrace the ethical and compassionate side of the diet, too. I’ve never striven to be “100% correct” or point fingers at others and would like to also add that unless you’ve looked your own mortality in the eye, you’ll never understand what that fear is like. An earlier comment lumped “health vegans” into a category that isn’t necessarily true. Walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has been given a life threatening health diagnosis and you’ll understand why the compassion of this diet just may come later. Surviving is paramount.

    So grateful to know you and call my friend, lady. Keep doing YOUR thang! xoxoxo

  27. Nancy Harsh

    Hi, Christy! As you know, I’m one of those ‘horrible’ fat vegans, who strives to eat more vegetables every day. Your cooking classes were eye-opening and have helped me tremendously.

    Any type of ‘shaming’ has the absolutely opposite effect for me, so I appreciate referring back to this article when I am not a ‘perfect vegan’. !

    xo

  28. Keiko Mefford

    I loved this blog “Never Look Down On Someone Unless You’re Helping Them Up”, totally inspired by the title. Although I’m not a vegan, or vegetarian for that matter, I have cut down at least 90% of my meat intake and increased my fruit and vegetable consumption 10 fold. I tried the Morning Star brand of frozen vegetarian burgers and it was good, but I’d prefer to make my own fresh to fit into my budget. I’ll definitely be trying your Veggie Burger recipie for sure!

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