On the Vegan Movement and Sizeism

So this is my very first post, yay! Thanks for joining me for it. Better yet, thanks for having the open mindedness to click on a blog titled “The Corpulent Vegan.” I hope you won’t be disappointed.

I’ll start off with an introduction. I go by the handle “Aliakai” online, and live in the Seattle area, as I have most of my life. I am a 225 lb vegan with Haida heritage and a father that hailed directly from Britain. And I’m really sick of being told that I’m “too fat to be vegan” or that I must “cheat and actually be vegetarian.”

Sizeism is a real issue in the vegan community, as is health dogmatic-ism, both of which are definitely problems in the world at large. Oppression of ANY sort is still oppression, and alienating ANYONE in the movement hurts the movement overall. I’m hoping to join my fellow vegans and use this blog to promote body positivity, a friendly and non-judgmental approach to health and vegan nutrition, and a repository for delicious recipes/cookbook reviews/promotion of other blogs’ awesome recipes!

Veganism is, of course, about a heck of a lot more than food, but food is most often where we start. I feel as though it’s more important to start the conversation there, particularly because the lessening demand on eggs/dairy/meat will help stem the use of the by-products in more and more manufactured goods and processed foods. Besides, how many of us have heard the knee-jerk, “But I could never give up the meat, it tastes too good!”

I’ve seen many memes that attempt to refute the response with insults about the comment-maker’s overall health, future health, or weight. Not only is that not helpful (after all, when was the last time that insults made you curious and interested in furthering a discussion?), it also has a tendency to illicit a negative response in someone that either doesn’t fit the description or doesn’t view themselves as unhealthy. How many potential conversations has this sort of judgmental response shut down? And how alienating and discouraging does that sound to those of us who are fat, deal with health problems that may or may not be related to diet, and yet still devote our time and energy to furthering the cause?

A quick Google search is all you need to see this problem displayed in the movement. Youtubers like Vegan Gains shame body-positive music and cancer sufferers for their “lack of intent to listen,” all while proclaiming how disgusting fat is and how a vegan diet can cure all ills. That isn’t to say that Vegan Gains is a bad person or that his work isn’t important, reaching out to bodybuilders and health conscious people is extremely important, as is debunking the myths around protein consumption and muscle growth. But when website after website and forum after forum proclaim how vegans who are fat are ultimately distracting from and hurting the movement with their weight, it can be more than a little disheartening for those of us who are on the receiving end of such comments. Especially when we still could manage to make a difference.

I propose that we could easily change this image of ourselves and do some real good in communities that really need us. I propose that if we stop the judgment and marginalization of the heavy community, that we’ll find a wellspring of support and a flourishing of talents previously untapped to further the cause. Besides, happy confident people make far more of a difference.

So, again, welcome. This is my invitation for you to join me and so many others in making the vegan community a more helpful and positive place.

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