Male Vegans Secede From Vegan Movement

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Posted in category Food & Nutrition

Vegans, Hegans, Shegans, Wegans, and Super Vegans – what’s the difference? Considering the popularity (or unpopularity) of this recent post of mine on vegans, a reader sent me this article from The Atlantic.

On Wednesday, The Boston Globe informed its readership of the hottest new trend sweeping the nation: “heganism.” Never heard of it? Well that might be because it’s not really a trend at all. That, at least, is the contention buzzing around the blogosphere today. According to the Globe article, hegans are male vegans whose diet has nothing to do with politics. They are simply “embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death,” Kathleen Pierce writes.

Well, wait a second – I thought all these people pounced on my blog to rant on me, insisting that veganism is not rooted in politics, and how dare I reference such a thing? Such a statement is akin to saying that environmentalism is not rooted in politics. Of course it is. Of course they are.

Here’s the Anne Sullivan article on discussing the new “hegan” movement: “Men Leave Their Own Mark on Veganism.” Three cheers for the vegans who have seceded from the politicized vegan movement!

Now here’s Alex Balk: “Time was when vegetarian dudes could be classified in two simple groups: “pussies” and “freaks.”" Oops, I had used the word “freaks” in my post, too. It made people really mad. By “freak,” I was pointing to the coercive and crazed political foundations underlying a self-destructive food diet. Alex goes on to say:

Look, I try to be tolerant of lifestyles that are different from my own. I understand that it takes all kinds to make a world. I’m not arrogant enough to imagine that the choices I make are somehow intrinsically better than those made by anyone else. But you people who exercise constantly and eat healthy? I cannot help but look down on you. If you only knew the pity I feel when I step out of a bar at twilight of a Friday night and look across the street to see a bunch of people running on treadmills in some pathetic attempt to live longer or land a mate… it’s absolutely tragic.

I have no idea what kind of terrible narcissism fuels this urge to deny your body’s inevitable—and biologically necessary—decay, but it says something very sad about the level of self-importance you attach to your own corporeal husk that you need to jog for an hour before you head to the office or that you “just can’t start the day right without a quick workout.” YOU ARE GOING TO DIE ANYWAY. You are supposed to die. The human race needs to replenish itself with younger, healthier specimens, and your 45 minutes at Crunch three times a week is just gumming up the works. Again, I don’t want to be too judgmental here, but it probably needs to be said: Your selfishness is worse than even that of people who drive SUVs, because enough of them at least clear out the gene pool in rollover accidents. I’m sorry, constant exerciser, but the next time you look in the mirror—and let’s face it, it’s not going to be too long from right now—I want you to see that person staring back at you. If you can take a second to stop admiring what you see, remind yourself that you are looking at someone whose astounding vanity almost certainly merits inclusion in the DSM. Let yourself go a little. You’re not that special.

Of course, in terms of his philosophy on exercise and the quality of life, I’m one of the folks he talks about! Sorta. Yet, I can’t help but giggle at this and find it funny. Unlike other people, I don’t walk around in a constant state of “being offended,” and I don’t take anything I read personally, as if it were aimed right at me. And even if it was, so what? In fact, I’m sure Alex is just writing this for effect, and it works. I’m sure he pissed off oodles of people who are vegans or chronic cardio gym types.

Of course, it’s important to make the distinction between “gym rats” trying to “exercise” for the mirror only, and folks, like me, who strive for superb conditioning, health benefits, leanness, energy, and and a great-looking lipid profile. I’d love to see what Alex looks like.  :–)  Perish the thought! However, in defense of the vanity types, what’s wrong with being willing to put out effort for some exterior benefits in return? A lean looking “constant exerciser” sure beats all the pot bellies, jiggling cellulite legs, hanging arm fat, and sagging jowls out and about. Also, Alex doesn’t mention the fact that many people – me included – work out because it is FUN, and it is preferred to watching TV, playing video games, entertaining yourself at the mall, etc.

Also, the one thing I’ve always defended vegetarians on – in spite of their misguided ways on food – is that the serious ones do tend toward a “real food” philosophy. That’s an important step in today’s world where people eat stuff like this. I say “serious” because there’s a difference between those who say they are vegetarians (due to the fad aspect or religious reasons) and those who subscribe to a real-food lifestyle and lean on the vegetarian strategy to achieve those goals. Example: I know plenty of non-serious vegetarians who have no problem gorging on processed foods, snacks, desserts, starchy stuff, junk food, deep-fried crap, etc., as long as it is not meat. I’m sure that real-food vegetarians are horrified by some of their followers.

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6 Responses to Male Vegans Secede From Vegan Movement

  1. Don Matesz says:

    March 27th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    So a person who maintains his/her health and fitness so that s/he can remain functional to care for him/herself and contribute productively to the well-being of others is “selfish,” and someone who lets his health and fitness decline so that s/he needs medical care and living assistance, or may even become demented, requiring around-the-clock attendance, is altruistic?

    Glad he clarified that for me. If you are steeped in the philosophy that “selfish” is bad and self-sacrifice is good, I guess Alex’s rant will hurt your self-image. Otherwise, think it through a bit.

  2. Kevin Benko says:

    March 27th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I think of the exercise like this:

    People who exercise are lazy because by the act of exercising, they are making their bodies to be more efficient at physical activity which will then require less effort to do these physical activities. On the other hand, people that do not exercise require more effort to do the same physical tasks, as their bodies are less efficient. Hence, people who exercise are lazy.

    (yes, there’s a gaping hole in that argument, but it is amusing to see the looks on people’s faces)

  3. Karen De Coster says:

    March 27th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Don – Alex is definitely not a Randian! And he probably looks like …… sh**.

  4. Jeannie Queenie says:

    March 28th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    A British chef named Jamie Oliver is waging a war on the crap being served in school cafeterias. Pictures of the food in this video remind me of Karen’s sauteed raccoon’s funnel butt cakes. This well intentioned Oliver bloke begins his quest to clean up school cafeterias so kids don’t become two ton Tessies. He begins by first going to Huntington, VA, the least healthy place in the US with the fattest, but obviously not happiest folks around. Many of the townsfolk resent the hell out of Jamie, like the smart assed disc jockey who interviews him when he arrives,
    and then the poor reception he receives from the school. Thankfully a mother and her kids take his healthy ideas seriously and show hope of turning their family around. This is forty minutes in length, but worth the viewing time.

    After viewing this and seeing the local’s response to better eating, ponder how this impacts on obamacare and the trillions we will pay for trying to undo damage that needn’t happen to begin with. This video will have you in tears in parts..truly a sad indictment of our culture. And worse,
    a very, very telling story of how american women since the sixties have failed bigtime as women, as mothers, wives and lovers, for if you aren’t putting love into your food, don’t dare to call yourself a woman. You can climb that corporate ladder all you want, but if you turn out a bunch of fat slobs and kids who don’t know how to eat right, or even how to put together a healthy meal, you have truly f’kd up no matter how much money you bring home to buy all of them off. Karen’s previous posts on diet and healthy eating strikes me as most telling on how so many folks obviously had very poor mothering and lousy diets or it wouldn’t be a subject to be blathering about all the time. When I read how so many are just learning about processed foods and their evils, I simply shudder. I recall back in the sixties when I bought a box of something and fixed it and found out it tasted like cardboard, that was the last time I ever picked up a box. You needn’t be a genius to know that anything in a box is going to taste just like the cardboard from whence it sits in rigormortis mode, meaning all the life is right out of it. I really fail to see that this is political for basically one is revealing how clueless they were for years..just like with all the ex vegans listed here. I love how being “ex-vegan” has suddenly become some sort of fantastic credential, when in fact, it means nothing other than that you suck at feeding yourself, and/or have been asleep at the switch for eons, as with a recent post on an ecofeminist vegan who wandered in the wilderness of her cluelessness for twenty years, and then, viola, she saw the light and we are to applaud her new found lightbulb in the cranium, so here miss ex vegan ecofeminist…clap…..clap….clap. And as for her new book, no more than claptrap, otherwise known as pretentious nonsense.

  5. Tomás says:

    March 28th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Jeannie Queenie, you mean Huntington, WEST Virginia.

  6. Michael says:

    March 28th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I love all the lifestyle condescension that’s heard too often on this board. How about allowing people of all dietary stripes and physical ability to simply live their lives as they see fit? Aren’t you all libertarians? Or just left-wing nutjobs co-opting the resurgence?

    Want to workout 2 hours before work, 30 minutes at lunch and 3 hours after work to look good and eat Kashi for the rest of your time on Earth? Fine. Want to pig out on Haagan-Daz (or how ever the f**k you spell it) and waste away in front of your 327″ LCD/LED 1024 MHz, 3D, Dolby Digital TV? Fine. Lordy. Just give it a rest. All this looking down on people because they work out or don’t work out, or eat processed foods, or eat lettuce, or drink regular “non-organic” milk (Oh the humanity!) is usually not associated with liberty-minded individuals.

    And what’s up with the priggish comment on SUV drivers? Ever drive a rear-wheeled drive in January in New England? Yikes. Maybe that editor is commuting from Rhode Island…

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