I ran into someone online using Bill Clinton as an example of someone who looks "fit and healthy" after converting to veganism and I was kind of surprised because I've felt that he looks gaunt and drawn these days (I'm not making any judgments about whether this is because of his diet or the serious medical problems he had several years ago). Many vegans that I've known are also extremely skinny, although they think they are the paragons of health and just consider themselves thin and fit. I know that there are obese vegans, but the abnormally skinny ones are the ones that are always held up to show how healthy their diet is.
So is there an epidemic of body dysmorphism in the vegan community? I think this question is important to paleos as we try to make the case for the health benefits of our diet and argue against the militancy that some vegans have about their diet.
EDIT: Another example of this is when vegan women try to convince themselves and others that it's healthy to stop having periods. This has always boggled my mind.
asked bytrjones (5145)
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on April 22, 2012
at 11:22 PM
It has little to do with veganism itself. Preferring and believing in eating a diet without animal products doesn't lead to body dysmorphia. I would say that the health they are speaking of comes from a mental place as well...probably feeling cleaner, without processed foods and the psychological thrill of eating what they think is right. And body dysmorphic disorder affects those of all sizes, including those who are obese.
Finally, I'm pretty sure there is plenty of body dysmorphic disordered people here because of the emphasis many place on physical fitness and leanness that doesn't exist in the vegan/vegetarian world. People here on paleo tend to be into cross-fit and a more physical activity compared to vegans, because the agenda is just happens to be focused on optimal living moreso than "animal rights/welfare" (which many vegans tend to focus more on). Your idea of "healthy looking" may just be skewed towards having some abs, lots of lean muscle, etc.
I think I have to stop there before I rant too long and get carpel tunnel.
on April 22, 2012
at 10:25 PM
I'm gonna have to burst your bubble. Who's to say they're abnormally skinny? Our society has had its reference point changed for what is fit and trim. We're, as a society, so used to seeing folks overweight that what's normal has changed. What was normal, now is bordering on skinny. You must think pretty highly of paleo so that it's free from body dysmorphism.