Renegade Health Radio 35: Ex-Vegan Chronicles

Friday Nov 7 | BY |
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In this episode:

  • Hear just a few of the emotional and physical struggles people experience when changing diets. 1:52
  • Learn why some people experience an “identity crisis” when switching from a vegan diet or raw food diet. 3:39
  • Understand the differences between the all-or-nothing approach and taking a moderate stance on certain things. 7:44
  • How to decipher between when your body is adjusting to eating certain foods again and when something actually isn’t good for you. 9:53
  • Learn why so many people are confused about what to eat and believe that “the truth” is always found in one place, and how you can learn what’s right for you. 11:36
  • Understand the process that so many people go through when re-identifying themselves and removing the attachments to their diet. 13:23
  • Why looking at making decisions and thinking of them with a long-term scope can make the changes you’ll inevitably make later much easier. 16:39
  • Hear Kevin’s experiences with “coming out” as an ex-vegan and some of the struggles he and many others have experienced. 16:44

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TRANSCRIPT

Kevin: Renegade Health Radio, this is Kevin Gianni with Fred Patenaude. Fred, we’re both ex-vegans, yeah?

Fred: You could say that, yes. Especially more ex-raw foodist, I would say in my case, but ex-vegan, too.

Kevin: Yeah. So today we’re going to talk about something that Fred and I talk about sometimes, you know, it just comes along, talking about our past histories as extreme eaters. And I would say that we’re still probably extreme eaters, but extreme eaters in a way that works for our body this time, so we’ve evolved a little bit.

And so we talk about this topic back and forth, you know. What do ex-vegans feel like when they eat meat? Is this something that kind of like, you know, it’s just no problem? Is it something that, you know, there’s still a little bit, sort of hanging issues around it? And Fred and I both have our own opinions about that. So we wanted to kind of share those and maybe we’ll strike some cords with what you feel if you are an ex-vegan, or if you are a vegan, you probably wouldn’t listen to this, but anyway! [laughs]

Fred: Well, I can start with a quick story Kevin, because I never really identified as a vegan. And I think that when you become an ex-vegan, it’s because you identify as a vegan at some point. So for me, because when I started it was really more about the raw food diet, and by default, it was vegan, but the vegan ideology was never kind of a big part of it. It was really the raw foodist ideology that I was identifying with.

So that when I became an ex-raw foodist, when I effectively stopped eating a raw food diet—like a hundred percent raw food diet—and I consumed some cooked foods, I experienced kind of a like, an identity crisis or something, where it was difficult to deal with the brainwashing that I’d essentially gone through for many years, thinking that if I ate anything cooked I would get sick the moment I ate it, or eventually. So it was actually very frustrating to initially get back into eating a more of a kind of varied diet, because I was dealing with my own emotions, and also because my body had actually adapted to a raw food diet. So I was not used to digesting cooked foods anymore. So when I ate cooked foods, I felt like, sick. And I thought, well…part of knew that it was my, you know, because I’ve not eaten those foods in a while, but another part believes still in the raw food part ideology.

So that’s one part of it that was the big deal. Just eating the first, like baked potato, or baked sweet potato it was in my case in like, several years. And then after with veganism and so on, it’s not that I identified as a vegan necessarily, but like I said, by default my diet was vegan because I was a “raw foodist” so I was not that interested in eating raw meat.

So when I stopped being a raw foodist, I stayed a vegetarian by default because I didn’t know what else to eat. So I went back to the diet I was eating before, which was a vegetarian diet—not a completely vegan diet—but a vegetarian diet. And then eventually, I tried some meat. I tried some animal products. And when word got out that I had, you know, I was not only no longer a raw foodist, but I was also no longer a vegan, then it kind of created a little controversy online. And I remember people talking about it on some discussion forums, and just talking about like as if I had just killed a child or something! [laughs] Because I had eaten some meat at some point.

Kevin: What happened? Was it a sandwich or something like that?

Fred: Yes. The controversy was that…it was around 2005 or 2006 that I stopped being like a raw foodist completely. Yeah, 2006. I took a definitive break from the raw food diet, and in that period I ate everything. I ate like meat and everything. I just kind of needed to experiment back, you know, with everything, and just try all kinds of foods.

So I guess some people had seen me eat a chicken sandwich or something like that. I don’t even remember what I ate. So there was a controversy online about, spread by David Wolfe, because he had heard from somebody that I had eaten some chicken or something like that. And then a big controversy kind of started online around what David Wolfe had said, around me not being a real raw foodist, because David’s point was…he usually doesn’t talk about these things in like discussion forums, but it was on this YouTube channel. So people were talking about the 80/10/10 diet. And so he said well, it doesn’t work for most people, and then some people who claim to eat an 80/10/10 diet are actually not eating it, like Fred Patenaude, who eats chicken sandwiches! [laughs]

Because right before that point, I tried to live on something close to an 80/10/10 raw food diet, which is high in fruit and so on. So the chicken sandwich story spread and there were some people defending me and some people not believing David Wolfe and some people like thinking that because I had eaten the chicken sandwich that essentially, nothing I had said before mattered, and I was just like just a fraud, essentially.

But what struck me mostly was how horrible it sounded to those people, like, it’s like getting caught, you know, smoking crack. It was literally that level of intensity. So I would say that if you really identify with like the raw food or vegan message, it’s difficult to move out of it, because it becomes an ideology. So even though my diet now is mostly vegetarian, like 90 percent vegetarian, but not 100 percent, I feel completely, you know, comfortable with that. But I no longer associate with certain crowds of people that are hardcore vegans, because they just don’t like ex-vegans.

Kevin: [laughs]

Fred: It’s like even worse than a meat-eater, because you’ve seen the truth and then you decided…it’s like an ex-Christian or something that’s even worse than a non-Christian for many religious people, because, or in any religion, it’s the same, right?

Kevin: A traitor.

Fred: Yeah! You’re a traitor because you said you believed in the word of God and then you changed your mind. I mean, how you can…and not only you changed your mind, but you changed your mind for another religion, which is even worse. So if we apply that metaphor, it’s like, you know, meat being a religion. It’s completely nonsensical if you think about it.

Kevin: I think it’s…

Fred: Yeah?

Kevin: I just like the fact that it’s a chicken sandwich, like even if it was or wasn’t, there’s a little bit of like, just irony, or just like humor behind it, because it’s not like, it’s not like you know, a greasy bacon cheeseburger, or it’s not like, you know, a double scoop with chocolate ice cream fudge.

Fred: Like a home-made thing, right?

Kevin: Yeah. It’s just sandwich.

Fred: But you know like breatharians getting caught at McDonald’s eating like a quarter pounder with cheese and a diet soda, you know, it’s like…

Kevin: We know that’s allowable in his protocol, though.

Fred: Yeah.

Kevin: I like the fact that you defined vegan in that way, because I don’t think I ever really associated myself as a vegan either in the same way, like in the animal rights kind of life philosophy kind of position. So I think that that was really…I think that’s really clear, too.

And then additionally, I love the idea of you mentioning how, you know, physiologically your body had adapted to a different diet. And so then inherently within that, what happens is when you start to eat differently and you feel that your body is not doing well, inherently, is that like, it’s almost like that kind of like cult conditioning where it’s like if you start to leave the group, like you know, there’s repercussions for it, you know, and you start to emotionally feel this way. But this is a very physical thing where your body is, you know, your HCl is probably low, the fire in your gut is so very cool, so very damp gut kind of digestive sort of thing going on. And so like you’re not able to digest your food as well. And so if you start to eat some more complex foods, you’re just not going to digest them well, and that doesn’t translate to “eat cooked foods and die” or “eat meat and die.” It translates to, “Hey we need to get back up to speed to be able to do this.”

So that’s a really kind of interesting change in perspective of it.

Fred: Yes, and it can be a long process. In my case, it was a very long process because of the raw food diet. It was an extremely long process of feeling like I am very happy with my diet, you know, right now. So between that feeling and the feeling of, you know, I eat a very healthy diet, but I’m not militant about certain aspects of it, and finding that kind of balance.

So between that state and that state of, let’s say, just complete confusion, like complete confusion, I don’t know what’s right, I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know what I should do. When I eat this way I feel like shit but when I go back to the raw food diet I feel like shit in a different way. And just this, you know, always thinking that the truth is in some kind of extreme.

So I still, I mean, I still think that you’ve got to settle somewhere and not just go with the flow of food and life, which you can do for a while, but you have to settle into your own routine that works, you know, your own health routines and the things you eat on a daily basis and the kind of “mini rules” you have for yourself, but it’s something that has to work for you and so on.

And so for me, that kind of translates to a sort of like, a “vegan-at-home” kind of philosophy, more or less, and in addition to some of my old habits still being in place, like still eating a lot of fruit and green smoothies and things like that, and not that much raw vegetation, except in green smoothies, but I’m not a big like salad-eater except in the summer. So you know I’ve found ways around the things that I like and I don’t like.

But the point I’m trying to make is it was a long process to get there. Because I spent so much time, and so much of my identity was based on not only raw foods, but the whole crowd around raw veganism and veganism and vegetarianism, in general, that to dissociate from that—especially when it’s a big part of your life and it’s the way you make a living and so on—it becomes emotionally taxing. And I’ve seen a lot ex-vegans go through that process, too, because, I mean, they have to come out as an ex-vegan at some point.

So there’s a period of time where they’re living a lie essentially. So they know, their friends know, but their vegan friends don’t know or their vegan followers on their blog or whatever, and at some point they come out as an ex-vegan. And it’s like, why seeking so much attention, but in some way it’s part of the process of redefining yourself.

So I think a lot of what we feel as an ex vegan, and I don’t even like the word “ex vegan” to describe it, is an identity problem. And a lot of it is psychological, I think, that what people feel. I mean, it can be what you said too, Kevin, but I think like 50 percent of it is psychological.

Kevin: Yeah, it definitely is psychological. And what it comes down to is, you know, the only way to not feel this way is not to define yourself, you know what I mean? Or to define yourself on broader terms.

You know, one thing that I’ve been working on in particular with the book is looking at this way of thinking that the Karo—the people in Peru that Annmarie and I have spent some time with—how they think about their life and how they think about their future generations. And the thing about it is they don’t make plans for the next ten years, per se. When they make big decisions, they have this philosophy where they make decisions for the next thousand years, right?

So if you take that, so they’re looking, for example, like where to move the family or the group, you know, they’re not thinking about, oh, where is it nice now, you know? Will this land, could our future generations be stewards for this land in a thousand years? And that’s a really important distinction between like, “Hey! Taxes are high in California. Maybe I should move to Nevada.” Versus. “Is Nevada not going to have any water in a thousand years and will my family be able to survive there?” Right?

So you kind of look at it in that perspective. So for this, I think the same perspective really kind of works where now, you’re not looking at it like, “Hey, you’re not looking at like fitting the dress goals” kind of like, perspective. You’re looking in like, long term, “What’s my hundred year plan for my own personal life?” So when you look at your 100 year plan, you start to make different decisions than, “Hey, I need to fit into this dress” or “I need to make sure that I fit into my pants for this wedding, or my tuxedo” or something like that. Because those decisions are much different than a decision made based on the long term kind of standard of your entire life.

So I think looking at that way, you know, if you don’t define yourself in those like narrow terms, like again, vegan is a narrow term, you’ve categorized yourself, there’s a lot less psychological angst when you redefine yourself. Because you know, hey, if you’re a vegan and your main goal is longevity, maybe you have this 100 year plan, well then, when you switch from vegan to paleo, your defining moment, your defining kind of term was not vegan or paleo, but it was this longevity term. So you can switch and it’s not a problem psychologically within your own mind construct, right?

So I think that’s a really important thing to think about, you know? If you are considering switching, or if you even define yourself as something now. Because I don’t know Fred, it’s pretty inevitable that your diet’s going to change. I mean, even if someone’s listening to us now and saying, “I’m going to be paleo for life” or “I’m going to be vegan for life or raw food for life.” I don’t know. I haven’t seen many people stick to something for a real a long time.

Fred: Yeah. It is interesting because some of our listeners right now fall into, let’s say, two or three camps. Either they are vegans and are happy or not happy with it, and then they’re definitely not, like they’re the polar opposite of a vegan, or they just don’t define themselves that way. So I think that it’s fine to choose to do a diet for a while, and so on, and just try it. Like you say, I’m going to try a vegan diet, but does that make you a vegan and define every aspect of your life?

You know, it usually works when you need like some extra motivation to be part of a community and so on, and make that change and hang out with people like you who, you know, because you feel that it’s difficult to do it otherwise. And that can be a good thing for a while, but usually people, let’s say, self-identify strongly as a vegan, usually start at some point early in their life and that becomes a big part of it. But I haven’t seen, like you said, Kevin, people maintain that for a lifetime or for a significantly long time like 30, 40, 50 plus years because it’s just, I mean, there’s going to be moments in your life where you’re going to want to make an exception or eat differently. And some people don’t, I mean, but it’s the minority.

So yeah. So I’m wondering, Kevin, what was your process in terms of becoming like a non-vegan openly and facing, let’s say, facing the community who were let’s say, possibly criticizing you or saying stuff against you, or possibly how you felt about it? Maybe some shame and so on just with those people, right? Because you had a blog and you had like a YouTube channel and for a while, you were the raw food guy?

Kevin: Yeah. For me, again, I never fully defined myself as vegan, but I think I never really fully defined myself as raw, even though I was raw for a period of time and vegan for definitely longer. But I was given the definition, so it doesn’t matter whether you define it or whether you are given it. I think it’s still kind of the same.

So for me, we’ve always operated under this principle, just tell the truth and say exactly how you feel. And I think that a lot of people, when I go out to events, which I don’t do as much anymore, but you know, one of the things that they say about us—Annmarie and I and Renegade Health—is we’re just honest. You know, they just really like that honest perspective. And so I guess it worked, you know, that’s what we always wanted to do.

So for me, anytime I would do an experiment, whether it was my coffee experiment or my dairy experiment, you know, this experiment, you know, anything that I was kind of working on, I would number one view it as an experiment. So it would be one of these things where personally I could say, “Hey, you haven’t eaten meat in six years. First, we’re going to like just get into it, so first we’re going to just start with some dairy.” And it might just be an experiment. So there’s no reason for me to, you know, on day one, to write a blog post that says, “Oh my gosh! Would you believe it, that I’m eating dairy right now and my life has totally changed?” Because it might not. Maybe in a month or a week, I would have a bad reaction to it and then I would go back to what I was doing before being vegan, right?

So, that doesn’t make any sense to do that. So you look at it as an experiment. And then I put a time frame on it and I said, you know, in three months, if I’m still doing this, then I’m going to start just talking about it. And I’m not going to do this big old coming out blog post or anything like that. For me, that seemed more like an attention grab. And I have friends who did that and that’s fine, and I think they did whatever they felt was right. For me, it felt a little bit attention grabby. It was like, oh, here I can just write this post and get a lot of traffic and you know, people will, you know, I don’t know, whatever, because we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. There’s no need to kind of do this whole large hoopla about it.

And then just start to talk about it. And then whenever the issue came up, or whenever I wanted to talk about maybe my dairy experiment or what kind of foods I was eating now, I would just write a blog post about it. And then I would kind of let it out in a way that I think is a more thoughtful way, because it touches on all different types of issues instead of like just one particular release, if you would.

So that’s how we did it. And you know, we got some blowback in the beginning, but you know, those people went away and now we have people who are more, I think, a little bit more open to all different types of diet philosophies, more forgiving people. And those are the people I want to hang out with, anyway. I don’t want to hang out with people who are judging or criticizing me for what I put in my mouth every day. I mean, that’s childish sort of stuff.

Fred: I had an experience earlier this year that kind of changed a little bit of my perspective. So I went to visit a friend in Sweden who’s an old high school friend who lives in Sweden now with his family. So, I haven’t seen him in years. So I kind of arranged a vacation and went to visit him there.

And it was interesting to see how his family ate, you know, their traditional diet. And that’s when I realized that, you know, I was stressing out a little bit about what I ate. I mean, most people, what they eat on a day to day basis is pretty heavy stuff, constantly. I mean, it’s a lot of heavy food constantly and a lot of food that for me would be quite occasional. So spending some time with “normal people” made me realize that, well, of course, when I compare my current diet to let’s say, the diet of a raw foodist, it’s not as pure and it’s not as raw, definitely, but it made me realize that I’m doing pretty good.

So often I think, because we spend time in a sort of alternate reality of let’s say, veganism or especially raw foodism is like that, that we forget that in the big picture, if you do eat a good diet on a day-to-day basis and it’s based on principles that most people don’t know, like how to incorporate vegetables and greens and fruit in your life and so on, in your diet that, I mean, you’re doing great. So don’t put so much emphasis on the little things that you do occasionally.

Kevin: And that is a great way to end this podcast. Hey, if you guys like this, go on over to iTunes and give us a comment. There’s a rating on the left hand side, there. We’d love for you guys to rate this and just give us a little bit of a thumbs up or whatever, a thumbs down, that’s cool, too. But we’d love to hear from you. By you ranking us or rating us, it gives other people the opportunity to hear about what we’re talking about. So thanks.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

19 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Deane Alban says:

    As a former vegetarian I like to remind people not to be so strident about their way of eating. Because the diet you follow today almost certainly will not be the same diet you’ll be eating 20 or 30 years from now. Then your diet will include “eating crow”. I was deeply into the world of macrobiotics for many years — even taught cooking classes. While I think it was a good diet for “cleaning out” it was not a good diet for “building up” therefore it helped people for a while but not for a lifetime.

    My first husband was a thin, active vegetarian and yet he developed heart disease. He needed 4 bypasses and a valve replacement. The surgery was a “success” in that it fixed his heart but he never recovered and simply wasted away and died within a year of the surgery. I believe his vegetarian diet did not help. I hope my story helps someone else.

    • Nagarjuna Palnati says:

      One can be vegetarian and yet develop not just heart disease but cancer, osteoporosis etc and etc. The reason being vegetarians tend to depend heavily on milk (which is basically LIQUID MEAT), dairy products and eggs which have same characteristics of meat (high in saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein). Most vegetarians don’t eat enough plant-based whole-foods. So vegetarians carry same risk as meat eaters for diseases and sickness.

      Even on a vegan diet one can eat unhealthy and succumb to diseases. One can say he/she is a vegan by just eating french fries, drinking coke and highly processed & refined foods.

      Adding a fruit or a vegetable to the standard western diet doesn’t change anything in terms of health or sickness.

      Just eat PLANT-BASED WHOLE-FOODS for optimum health, disease prevention, reversal & cure.

      PLANT-BASED WHOLE-FOODS = FRUITS | VEGETABLES | WHOLE GRAINS | LEGUMES | NUTS |SEEDS | HERBS | SPICES

      • Deane Alban says:

        NAGARJUNA,Sorry to burst your bubble, but our vegetarian diet was a macrobiotic diet which did not include dairy at all. We ate extremely “healthy” i.e. no junk food.

  2. Isabel says:

    Kev and Fred, thank you for continuing to talk about this subject matter and bring it more to light. It was the single biggest shift I had in my life (so far), the day I woke up and realized the mind frame I had placed myself in. How awesome to free ourselves from beliefs and become our own thinkers 🙂

  3. Paula says:

    Perfect example of animals as absent referrents. A being that values his/her life that wants to live unmolested just like us, is now butchered into pieces as meat. You seem to gloss over that quite well. I guess it’s to hell with the animals, let’s breed them, exploit them, murder them. And personal choice reigns supreme. Convictionless! Great guys!

    • NuNativs says:

      I totally agree with your sentiment and they are glossing over the issue of killing an animal that will scream, struggle and fight to stay A/Live!!!

      Nature is constructed in a way to be obvious in that plants don’t scream and bleed when they are harvested, but most people react strongly to seeing an animal get killed for a reason.

      Ignoring that is a major dis-connect no matter how the left brain tries to rationalize it….Even hard core meat heads like the host of “Bizzare Foods” has a hard time when he witnesses animals being slaughtered on the show.

      On a higher level the violence WE are experiencing in OUR culture can’t be directly traced to OUR violence against animals. Please reconsider…

      A host of fallen angels, demonic soldiers of Satan, came to vegetarian earth and instituted bloody sacrificial rites, flesh-eating and warfare. Several ancient manuscripts provide the above information. In The Book of Jubilees, fragments of which were found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, we read that fallen angels came to earth and:

      “… the way of life of every creature became corrupted; and they began to devour one another.”

      In The Book of Enoch, also found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, we read:

      “The fallen angels… began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, to eat their flesh and drink their blood. Moreover, they taught men to make swords, knives, shields, and breastplates….”

      These fallen angels mated with earth women and produced a race of half demon half human giants that terrorized the world. Finally, in an attempt to purify the land, Mother Earth and Father Sky responded: A flood was sent. The Book of Jubilees makes clear that the flood was a response to the demon-caused fall of mankind from vegetarianism to flesh eating.

  4. Graeme says:

    I think the reason that vegans get annoyed by those who announce that they are now non-vegan is that virtually non of you were vegan in the first place. Veganism isn’t a diet, it’s a moral philosophy. We follow a rigid plant-based diet as a result of our moral position. So, when we hear that someone who at one point identified as vegan is no longer such, we have to assume that your position was ‘made-up’, misreprentative, or even fraudulant. Just call yourselves plant-based, if you follow a plant-only diet. Call yourself vegan only if your moral reach included protecting the lives of living creatures, and working to see their exploitation for human purposes ended.

    I like what you guys do, I read your posts, listen to your podcasts and buy your materials because you have really important information to share (and I’ll continue to do so!). Save yourselves the aggrivation (and unsubscribes) and just refer to the diet that vegans follow as plant-based. The big difference is that people become plant-based to improve their health, and it works, we become vegan and assume a plant-based diet regardless of how it affects our health. It’s a happy bonus that it keeps us well too!

    Thanks

    • MAGGI says:

      well said, graeme, i agree. animal welfare does not figure very highly, if at all, in many peoples decisions to give up being vegan…..so their values must have changed and killing animals is no longer an issue – or they were not vegan in the first place, they just decided not to eat meat

  5. Sabrina says:

    Hi Frederic, hi Kevin,

    I’m glad that you have found a diet that works for you – emotionally and physically. I’m sure that you still eat much healthier than a lot of people. It’s fun to listen to you guys.

    When it comes to diet, I often remember the following, that one of the instructors at a health institute said one time: “When people ask me what I eat, I tell them that I eat mostly vegan, mostly raw, most of the time.” She was a very open-minded, cheerful, healthy-looking person.

  6. Annie says:

    The only reason I stayed with your blog Kevin, was because of your honesty, and you didn’t necessarily set yourself up as an expert on what was essentially, an experiment on human nutrition, being the raw food vegan diet. I used to follow many other so called raw food vegan bloggers, but some I quit because of their judgment of others choices to not be that way, and their narrow mindedness in general. I also loved the interaction with you and your wife, and following your process and change as you became parents. I quit Fred’s as I thought he was one of the narrow minded ones at the time, and I even spent money on his site. The fact that he’s changed is great for him and good to see. I still follow Matt Monarch, but that is mostly because I so like he’s lovely wife. I almost quit his blog as well due to his narrow minded views, but I didn’t, and he’s shifting and changing as well, although he still appears to be a raw food vegan. At least he’s more accepting of those that aren’t, then he used to be. I do wish though, that they’d consider some diet shifts for the sake of their future children, as you and Anne Marie did. Pregnant women need healthy fats, and healthy proteins, and I believe they are much harder to get in a raw vegan diet. It’s one thing to follow an experimental diet for yourself, but quite another to do it to a developing baby. Thanks for being willing to shift and change as you learn differently. I’ve raised my kids already and they are ages 24 to 33, and most of them understand that the quality of your food matters. I guess I did something right! 🙂

  7. Lori says:

    So glad you talked about this! I lost friends when I stopped eating Vegan (Vegan 8 years) in January 2014, and changed to a WAP/Paleo/Nutritarian type diet. It was crazy, and very eye-opening. I felt like wow, I didn’t know that our whole relationship was based on what goes in my mouth. Bummer. Ha-ha-ha, yes, you said it, even worse than a meat eater, you had been gifted with the truth and you turned against it – you will now eternally burn in hell!! I love your willingness to talk about the “emotional stuff” that is wrapped up in food choices. Very good Kevin, you said it right, don’t define yourself (“Vegan”, “Raw Foodist”, “Paleo”, “fruitarian”). The smartest will always be willing to evolve and try new things (avoid getting stuck in your dogma), and be comfortable with others doing this too. Thanks guys!

  8. Joe says:

    The main reason this is such a big deal for many people is that for many there is no real cultural reference. America is a new country with many different traditions and cultures floaring around, and I think this can make people feel disconnected, and in need of groups to belong to.

    I live in Italy – and people here are very secure in their diet and dietary choices. Food is social, and it is a constant reference point for everyone here. Each region has its own cuisine – and everyone knows what they are, so it is not open for questioning. You can strike up an conversation with anyone from any region about food and find common ground.

    This can have its negative side effects, like the inability to evolve – but on the positive side it provides a cultural identity and a sense of belonging to a larger group – something which we humans need, perhaps more than certain nutrients in our food.

  9. Becky L says:

    I appreciate this balanced, non-extreme view of eating!

  10. Hello,
    I think you can’t be ex vegans if you were never vegans to start. You two were plant-based. Veganism is so much for than what you eat. It is compassion for animals…not exploiting or harming them in any way. As you mentioned on the podcast, you didn’t do it for the animals. Even though I am not a vegan, I am a vegetarian, I try to follow Veganism principles as much as I can.

  11. JFC says:

    I’ve been vegan for 26 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees). I lost 25 lbs and kept it off all these years!

    Here’s a short video to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice and why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE

    Also, here’s a link for everyone who wants to join the revolution: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/step-by-step-guide-how-to-transition-to-vegan-diet/

  12. Randyl Rupar says:

    Aloha Kevin & Fred,

    Both of you are highly intelligent and caring men.
    The principles of truth are the highest form of human intention.
    Please “define” the term “vegan” and open yourselves and your subscribers to the real definition.
    Calling yourselves “vegan” while being free of harmesslessness and exploitation of anmals is NOT being vegan.
    You both followed a raw food, plant-based diet, it’s as simple as that….
    Mahalo for having the courage of sharing the truth of who you really are.
    Below is Veganism dieined.

    In Peace,
    Randyl Rupar

    Veganism
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Veganism /?vi???n?z?m/ is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.
    The term vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England, at first to mean “non-dairy vegetarian” and later to refer to “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.”[6] Interest in veganism increased in the 2000s; vegan food became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries, and several top athletes in endurance sports, such as the Ironman triathlon and the ultramarathon, began to practise veganism and raw veganism.[7]

  13. Darilyn says:

    Emphasizing with your position, but one’s gotta do what they gotta do! So what are your
    reasons for this “change”? Maybe you will say before this pod is over 🙂

  14. Joanne says:

    It seems that most of the “ex-vegans” neglect to mention the welfare and lives of the animals they now consume. I agree that in reality they were never vegan at all. Still, I can’t really comprehend how the killing of animals is not problematic or even worth a thought I would like to see this point addressed. Your health is your decision but ending an animals life is not.

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