Has going vegan improved your health? When people find out that I’m vegan, and especially when they find out that I’m also chronically ill, this question often follows. In this video, I share some thoughts on why I find this a difficult question, and sometimes also a bit frustrating.
Interested in hearing your thoughts and feedback! especially from chronically ill/disabled vegans. Do you also often get this question? How do you reply? Do you find it frustrating or not to answer it?
- Video with English captions
hello everyone, I’m Geertrui and I run the platform Crip HumAnimal. And I would like to share some thoughts with you about the question that I sometimes get and that’s the question: well, has going vegan has it improved your health? Are you feeling better now? And that’s on social occasions when you meet people at receptions or whatever, and they find out that I’m vegan and we start talking about veganism. Or they find out that I’m chronically ill. And then they ask, yeah, are you better now? Has it improved your health a plantbased diet?
I find that a difficult question to answer, and I would like to share some thoughts with you about it.
Why I find it difficult is that a lot of non-chronically ill people or non-disabled people seem to think that when you’re diagnosed with a disease, or when you’re disabled that you’re in like a constant state of … on a certain health level, and that you can very easily say, well these lifestyle changes have impacted my health for the better or for the worse, and that you can really pinpoint those effects of some lifestyle changes. But, I have to say, like, I’ve been diagnosed like 30 ears ago with several auto-immune diseases, and in those 30 years my health has really gone up and down and up and down. I’ve had certain periods with flares when I was really ill, when I was really not good, I’ve had certain periods when I was better, when I was more or less stable. And these fluctuations of going up and down, that can be in a matter of years. Sometimes, I’m having a really bad year, sometimes it’s in a:matter of months, that it can go up and down, and sometimes it’s even in a matter of weeks or even on a day to day basis. Sometimes, I have some days that my joint pain is really so bad that I can hardly move, and then a couple of days later it can be better again. So the point I want to make here, is that it is really difficult to pinpoint the effects of certain lifestyle changes. Of course I do think that going vegan, following a plantbased diet has overall been beneficial for my health. But it’s not that I’ve been magically cured, and that I didn’t have any flares any more. But I do believe that if I didn’t went vegan, it would have been much worse even. But it wasn’t the magical health bullet that some vegans like to portray that a plantbased diet is. Because, yes of course a plantbased is beneficial in the prevention of certain disease, like for cardiovascular conditions or in the prevention and the treatment of diabetes type II, in the prevention of certain cancers, but I should immediately add a very important note. It’s not like a 100 percent full proof guarantee that you won’t get a disease or that you will be cured with a plantbased diet. So I find it difficult to give a straight out answer to people when they ask me that question: has it been beneficial for your health? Because I honestly cannot say, yes, I’m feeling so much better now! I still have problems. I went vegan about ten years ago and I’ve still had many health issues, and I still had flares. An eventually I got operated last year, I wrote a post about that on Crip Humanimal. So, I still have my health issues. But I do think, I personally belief that going plantbased was better, but I cannot really prove that.
And that’s the second issue that I would like to discuss here, I don’t want my personal health to be seen as evidence in favour or rather not in favour of following a plantbased diet. Because my personal health is just like anecdotal evidence. If you look at it on an individual level, that is just anecdotal evidence. To prove that a plantbased diet is beneficial for health we need scientific studies that look at populations and see what the effects are of following a vegan or plantbased diet. And there are many such studies. of course, that show yes, indeed, like I said a plantbased diet is beneficial for health. So I want .. I do refer to those studies, the scientific body of evidence for health benefits of a plantbased diet. But my personal situation cannot be seen as evidence in favour or not in favour.
So I do find it frustrating that I cannot say straightforward that yes, of course it’s been better for my health, because then I feel like yeah, I’m not really a good ambassador for veganism. I’m not being a good ambassador for animal rights. I’m not the shining example of perfect health you know. And I think there‘s also some shaming in the animal rights movement towards chronically ill vegans and towards disabled vegans like, yeah, if you’re still ill, if you’re still dealing with these issues, it must be that you are not following the right type of diet that you’re not doing it right. But there are so many other factors than diet that also play a part in health issues, in having a disease or not. We should really stop that health shaming, that should really end.
Yeah and another aspect that I always bring into the conversation. Yes, health is for a lot of people important, and it’s important to know whether a vegan diet will not have any adverse effects on their health, because some people might think they will lack certain nutrients. It’s important to be able to convince people them that a vegan diet is beneficial for health. But in the end what it comes down. And I always want to bring the conversation to that point. Is that veganism is an ethical stance. It’s about ethics, it’s about animal rights, it’s about not wanting to participate as far as is possible and practicable in the use and exploitation of other animals. That’s really what it comes down to, not participating in animal use, in animal abuse. And of course the health benefits, if you do experience them, they are very welcome, and they can be an entry point for people to start eating plantbased more, and eventually embrace the philosophy and total lifestyle of veganism.
So, those were a couple of thoughts that I have about the question that I have about the question whether a vegan diet or a plantbased diet has improved my health. And why find it difficult sometimes to answer that.
I’m interested in hearing your feedback, your thoughts. Especially if you’re a chronically ill vegan or a disabled vegan, if you’ve had that question, and how do you answer that. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about that, and also I would like to know whether I’m not just talking to the camera here whether there are some people who actually watch this video, so please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
And if you want to read more about the interconnections between ableism and speciesism, and I post also a lot of interviews with disabled vegans, take a look at Criphumanimal.org
Geertrui Cazaux – Crip Humanimal.