Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Veganism in the News

In a guest article for the Globe and Mail, "Vegan diet has surprising stick-to-it-iveness", dietitian Leslie Beck discusses the recently published results of a PCRM study on losing weight and reducing bad cholesterol levels by following a strictly plant-based diet. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but within the context of her article, I can't help but feel that a more accurate way of describing what she calls a "vegan" diet would be to call it a "strict vegetarian" diet. Veganism isn't just about what you put into your mouth; it's a way of life wrapped around an ethical belief system that concerns itself with not using or consuming non-human animals.

In the last third or so of the article, she juxtaposes achieving the same the same health benefits as those touted by PCRM, but by following a
lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (she mentions "other studies" without actually citing sources). The positive side of the piece is that it drills home that it's not hard to follow a plant-based diet. The negative is that it presents veganism outside of any sort of ethical context, which inevitably waters down the actual meaning of the term.

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