Tag Archive: vegan



Photo: Chefcola/ Instagram/dresnaps

If you really want to be an ethical vegan, research all your food – even the plants.

Indeed, a great frustration I have with vegans in the global north is the erasure of human exploitation in food systems. Vegans are typically concerned with the wellbeing of charismatic animals and are unbothered about the plight of “less attractive animals” or humans who are impacted by their food choices. And although ethical consumption is all but impossible in an unethical economic system, it is an ideal that global northerners (including myself) nevertheless strive for.

This quest among vegans and non-vegans to ethically consume is frequently done by (re)creating ideas and practices that actually have historical precedent. Even the term veganism, a word coined in the UK in 1940s, is really another way of saying strict vegetarianism, although at many points in history, vegetarianism was by definition “strict.” These new frameworks only come about because we have forgotten their historical predecessors.

Perhaps the most remarkable of these forgotten traditions is plant-based diets among African peoples, the subject of today’s featured article from This Is Africa: African vegans are a return to tradition. The above quote is from the article and said in passing; the central message, in fact, is that of returning to a traditional diet: Continue reading

Advertisements

When I started out as a new vegan some years ago, I sometimes would get questions about whether or not I also eat “gluten-free” foods. I knew less than a handful of people with Celiac disease who cannot eat gluten, and they ate a standard American diet as closely as they could without wheat—in other words, they were far from being vegan. Seeing that there are no ethical reasons to avoid wheat (that I know of), I found it peculiar that a plant-based diet would be conflated with eschewing gluten, but thought nothing of it (people also ask if I eat fish, chicken, or pork because of carnists who think “vegan” means someone who eats other animals except cows).

But soon I started seeing gluten-free bagels and toast in the same freezer section as vegan meals, gluten-free baked goods at the farmer’s market, and even “gluten-free” options were popping up on vegan menus. Celiac disease isn’t that common (about 1% of the population), so I knew something was up.

Continue reading


Eating animals is wrong, vegans say. But so is eating slave-made chocolate, or wearing sweatshop clothing. Guess which one vegans of the Global North care about?

Not that one issue is more important than another, but it is more than frustrating when I see vegans (mostly vegans of the global north) say “this is cruelty-free” about products made from human suffering. Vegan chocolate cake made with trafficked child labor? Mmm, delicious

I wish vegans would demand fair trade/ethical goods, protest the prison-industrial-complex, or fight against food deserts as much as they put effort into getting vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

What prompted me to write this was a series of exchanges I saw on Twitter, where white vegans from western nations were admonishing people of color for eating animals as part of their cultural identity. Continue reading


A plate of colorful pasta with vegetables and a cream-like sauce.

A common carnist reaction to a vegan/plant-based diet is to claim that it is expensive, despite the fact that meat is more expensive (in terms of money and energy consumption) than plants and that as incomes increase, so does eating animals. It is possible that this misconception comes from the highly-processed mock meats sold at stores such as Whole Foods (nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” because of its high costs). Attempting to recreate a meat-saturated diet with veg mock-meats will undoubtedly be more expensive in countries such as the US where meat is heavily subsidized.

A recent US study shows that plant-based diets are (logically) quite common among people with lower incomes. Read the full article here: Veg Diets Popular Among Lower Income Populations, Students in the U.S.


[Image of a pile of colorful hemp seeds with the caption: Prama Love Hemp Foods. 10% of our profits go to Silencing the Reality of Systemic Racism Foundation for Health

Source: Sistah Vegan

Another thought-provoking and critical piece by Dr. A. Breeze Harper that challenges the very notion of “healthy eating” in a country dominated by state violence, violence, and the demonization of Black bodies. This quote sums the piece up nicely:

I think about all the symbols and suggestions of healing and health in this Berkeley store that I frequent that put ‘good health’ into a vacuum; a vacuum that is suggesting that all one needs to be healthy is to buy and eat the right organic/natural and local foods. I see so many white and smiling faces on these products or magazines that are void of any conversations around how unhealthy racism and normative whiteness are; that refuse to even try to explain that the food system, health system, and systems of racism are interlocking…and that all the Spirulina, kale, or beets in the world cannot create a healthy USA if the food system– even the local and organic food system– exists in a foodscape anchored on centuries of systemic racism, white supremacy, and the demonization of Black bodies as ‘worthy of being brutalized’.

Read the full post over at Sistah Vegan.


A police line (police tape) established at the scene of a car crash in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Source: Tony Webster, Wikipedia

One common and troubling obstacle that human and non-human animal rights advocates face is the insistence that violence against others is “justified” because of some perceived or imagined threat. Exploitation and killing of marginalized people and animals often hinges upon the claim that “I feared for my life,” or “it was my life or theirs.” Of course, there is a general agreement that self-preservation is fundamental to the right to life, and whatever one does in response to a threat of one’s life is presumed justified until proven otherwise.

However, when we refuse to challenge or even question this claim, the opportunity to “prove otherwise” is completely forestalled, and opens the door to abuse and violence under the pretext of self-preservation. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: