This episode I address some issues coming from a male point of view, and try to address one of the common misconceptions about all vegans being super skinny and I name a couple of famous female vegans. (I also want to mention that Martina Navratilova is a vegan and you can check out how buff she is). I will say that one thing you probably will never see is an OBESE vegan, which is different from full figured or large bodied. Obesity is very very unhealthy and I doubt very much you can get obese on a Vegan diet, but I think that is a good thing. I also talk about why I use the word vegan and not vegetarian.
Thanks to Jordan Wyatt for his great input, and thanks to Daiseybitree for her kind review on the iTunes store!
UPDATE 28 February 2009: I would like to update this note, to address the concerns of the comment left on this post. When I talk about obesity as mentioned above, I am specifically talking about the medical condition, which as I already said is different from a large-bodied person; either someone who is naturally large, and including someone who is carrying some excessive weight even over their natural body type. I don't find large people any less attractive than less large people, however I know that people are persecuted in our society for being larger, and therefore may be extremely sensitive to any weight related issue. However, in many societies, the larger you are, the more attractive you are, so it's not about a judgment on looks, I think all people are beautiful, and I personally have many friends who have large bodies, and some of my friends carry extra fat, and they are energetic and healthy and absolutely gorgeous, because it is just natural for them to be bigger bodied and carry some extra fat on their bones. All our bodies have fat, it is natural, some have more, some have less, that's obvious and is nothing to do with beauty, which comes from within anyway.
I was glad to have had the comment left on this post, because I know that whenever you put an idea out there, you run the risk of being misinterpreted and have to be careful to how you present yourself, so it was a very useful thing to point out. I take full responsibility for the presentation of my thoughts, and am grateful for the input. I want to respond the the accusation that I am persecuting larger-bodied people. To clarify; obesity in the context I am using it is the clinical or medical condition, which is not just heavy, or large, or even carrying a certain amount of fat on the body above an individual's ideal weight as per their body type and needs - it goes beyond that, which is specifically the point I am making. I am talking about it as a medical condition just as if I was talking about Diabetes for example.
And I reiterate: I stand by my opinion, that although you will and do see vegans of all shapes and sizes, large, medium, small and extra large, just as you see this in non-vegans in fact; you will never, in my opinion, see an obese vegan, under the medical definition I have described. Of course I am not a doctor; that is my opinion and personal experience only. Nor am I putting down obese people, I understand they are suffering from a medical condition. I simply strongly believe that their condition could be vastly improved, even cured, by switching to a vegan diet. Lastly, I am not saying that eating animal products makes you obese - there are many people who eat animal products who are not obese, obviously. I am simply saying that in the case of people who have a natural tendency towards obesity, or who have medical issues or imbalances causing them to incur actual clinical obesity; I believe this could be prevented from developing by their subsisting on a vegan diet. I hope that clarifies the issue for anyone who may misjudge what I am saying on this blog post. I have enclosed the following description of what I consider to be obesity in the context that I have used it above:
"Obesity is one of the major medical problems in the western world. The clinical definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is the body’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the body’s height in meters.
Obesity results when a person ingests more calories than he or she can burn off. If this happens regularly over a period of time, the body will store the extra calories as fat. The body is able to burn off calories as energy needed throughout the day, but if the energy is not burned away, it will be stored as fat.
Every person has his or her own metabolic rate. This is the rate at which calories are used or burned off within the body. People who take a lot of exercise or are employed in strenuous jobs usually have a very high metabolic rate. They require a lot of calories, but burn them off easily. People who do not take a lot of exercise or are involved in jobs such as office work do not need as many calories.
The body stores extra calories as fat as a precaution against times of starvation. In the western world, starvation rarely affects people who eat regularly. If a person continually eats calories that he or she cannot burn off, obesity may occur.
Obesity is very serious health problem. Research has shown that it can shorten life expectancy by at least nine years. In the last two decades, the obesity rate in adults has quadrupled. Obesity can also lead to many other health complications, including infertility, depression, heart disease and stroke.
Being slightly overweight may not affect your health seriously, but when weight reaches levels of obesity, then problems will occur. Everyday activities may become difficult, and irregularities may appear with breathing. Sweating may occur during the simplest tasks, and a persistent feeling of fatigue may result from the extra weight.
Obese people often have problems with regular sleeping patterns. They are also very susceptible to snoring and awaken frequently during the night. Conditions such as arthritis and diabetes may also set in as a result of obesity. Serious problems, such as breast cancer and ovarian disease, have also been linked to obesity.
Obesity is usually caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise, but there are some medical causes for the problem. These are rare, but conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushing’s disease may be the cause of obesity. There are also certain medications that add weight when taken, such as steroids and certain antidepressants. Medications such as the contraceptive pill or quitting smoking can also contribute to weight gain."
The above article is from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-clinical-definition-of-obesity.htm
There are many other articles and opinions on obesity, the above article describes what I consider to be obesity specifically with regard to the amount of excess weight incurred (the BMI index defined) and the illnesses caused by that amount of excess, and therefore my discussion and use of the word relate to that general interpretation, so let's be clear on that - I am not interested in getting into an argument on who and what says this or that about obesity - when I am talking about obesity, I am talking about my understanding of it, which is illustrated by the above article and my interpretation of that, specifically to the amount of BMI involved before the definition obesity is applied, and the various illnesses and suffering of the afflicted. All this talk is simply in effort to illustrate that I am not getting into a discussion on the aesthetics of different body types - that is not relevant to me or to this podcast!
Finally, joint swelling is also suffered by persons with obesity, and is very painful and uncomfortable. I would like to add that I have never heard of Cushing's disease until reading the above, so cannot opine on that particular point or aspect.
Thanks again for the input and for the criticism, it was very useful and I always welcome criticism for without it I cannot grow, yet at the same time stay humble, both of which are necessary to a person if they want to learn anything from life. Thank you for reminding me of how careful I need to be when I voice my thoughts, if I want them to be understood. Understanding is one of the keys to peace, and after all, peace is the aim of all of this.