Jesurgislac’s Journal

April 9, 2009

Vegan Lunch Box Turns To The Dark Side

It is a truth not sufficiently acknowledged: being thin, and being healthy, aren’t the same thing. (I wrote about this a bit in October last year: Diet Merchants Lie.)

I believe in eating healthy, delicious food.

I love (or rather I loved) the deliciously simple Vegan Lunch Box blog, which for a year or so was the one thing I could always turn to with a smile: a blogger who, every school day, posted a photograph of the beautiful and tasty vegan lunch she had made for her small son to take to school. (Such as: this Easter lunch, a beautiful layered bean dip lunch, a yummy French Toast lunch, an injera and pea stew lunch that makes my mouth water just looking at it, and some really lovely musubi. Just a short list – I could go on and on…) Lovely, healthy, delicious lunches, not intended to be slimming or diet or anything ugly promoting thinness over health… so I thought.

The small son is now homeschooled, so he doesn’t get daily lunch boxes (and is in any case past the age where he could accept without embarrassment his mom blogging about his lunches every day). I don’t check Vegan Lunch Box every weekday: two or three times a month, usually – about as often as it gets updated.

A couple of weeks ago, Vegan Lunch Box got all exercised over the blog that posts awful pics of deeply unhealthy food in large portions: thisiswhyyourefat.

She wrote:

So I started thinking, what if, instead of looking at images of junk food every day, we served ourselves up a daily helping of healthy images instead? Can healthy images trigger the same reaction but in reverse? Can they inspire us to better health, make us crave a colorful salad, or help us get to the gym?

Good plan. So, what did she come up for as a counterblog?

thisiswhyyourehealthy?

Nope. Vegan Lunch Box isn’t interested in promoting healthy eating of good food. She wants to promote being thin. Her new blog is thisiswhyyourethin.

It is completely bloody wrong to equate “Being healthy” with “being thin”. It is objectionable in the extreme to try to advocate that people eat healthy, tasty, delicious foods to get thin.

If you are healthy, you probably aren’t thin. If you are thin by modern standards – BMI less than 18.5 – you are unhealthy, no bones about it, you skinny bag of bones. Even if you are carrying more weight than BMI standards say you should, if you eat a healthy diet and don’t go on yo-yo diets and exercise regularly, you are more than likely more healthy than someone with a lower BMI: certainly you are more likely to survive a debilitating illness or a serious operation.

Oh, this is the post on Vegan Lunch Box where she proudly touts her new skinny baby: My Brand New Baby Blog. Huh.

To quote my favourite American doctor: “She has gone from the 25th weight percentile to the 3rd in one month. Now I’m not a baby expert, but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to shrink.”

Update: why Vegan Lunch Box is going off my blogroll

Jennifer McCann deleted these comments I posted to her blog:

So I started thinking, what if, instead of looking at images of junk food every day, we served ourselves up a daily helping of healthy images instead? Can healthy images trigger the same reaction but in reverse? Can they inspire us to better health, make us crave a colorful salad, or help us get to the gym?

Great idea!

That’s why I created a new blog called This Is Why You’re Thin!

Oh. I see. The objective of your blog is not to be healthy – but to be thin.

The goal of the site will be to encourage exercise and the consumption of healthy plant-based foods through fun, intriguing, and beautiful images that will inspire us all. I’m looking for inspiring photos or video links of the things you do for health: pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables…beautiful bean soups or hearty wholegrain bread…people running, climbing, swimming, stretching…smiling kids drinking smoothies and picking strawberries. Find out how to contribute by clicking here.

Christ, no. Never. It is completely bloody wrong to equate “Being healthy” with “being thin”. It is objectionable in the extreme to try to advocate that people eat healthy, tasty, delicious foods to get thin.

I welcome submissions from vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, flexitarians, and omnivores, but I do ask that your submissions emphasize plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc.

*shrug*

This is one vegetarian and ardent cook who hopes your new blog dies. I love this Vegan Lunchbox blog. But I wish you were trying to get people to eat delicious food for health – not for thinness. The two are not in any way the same.

Another commenter responded to my comment (hers is still up, though mine were both deleted).

Bohem: For goodness’ sake. JennShmoo is not saying that you need to be thin!

Yes, she is.

She’s already explained why she chose the name

It’s quite clear why she chose the name: she thinks being thin is what’s important, not being healthy.

I think opposers to her site need not come over then

Of course not. I’ll just blog about how Vegan Lunchbox has gone over to the dark side and how depressing it is that an advocate for delicious vegan food thinks it’s all about being thin.

Leave it for people who enjoy it.

I can’t! Someone is Wrong On The Internet.

No one is telling you that you have to come. Just relax.

No one is telling you that you have to respond to comments addressed to someone else. I wasn’t talking to you and I’m not interested in your opinion, so relax! Chill out. If Jenn wants to blog about being thin, I get to blog about how being healthy is better, and you get to pick whether you want to hang out on the thin blog or the healthy blog.

What Jennifer McCain evidently didn’t realise was that I still had the comments window open, and so could just copy my comments back from the old window. However, she’s succeeded in two things: censoring outspoken disagreement with her pro-thin ethos, and ensuring I remove Vegan Lunch Box from my blogroll.

I am now going home to eat a healthy meal. Goodnight, Jennifer McThin.

6 Comments »

  1. Speaking as someone who really is too thin, married to someone who is overweight (occasionally obese), I would much rather be overweight. First of all, skinny people are almost as likely to suffer from heart disease. I have arthritis, and so do a lot of skinny people i know. Hubby weathers stomach bugs much better than me (i end up in the hospital very quickly if there’s throwing up involved), and he doesn’t spend the better part of the year freezing his ass off(polar bears are plump for a reason).

    Thin =/= healthy. healthy = healthy.

    Can we just stop with the fatty hating now?

    Comment by Personal Failure — April 9, 2009 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  2. Geez, I wish it wouldn’t have come to this. The first people to bring up the issue of thin =/= healthy were really kind about it. It was a rookie mistake for somebody not in-the-know about body image issues, so she should have just said, “Crap! I’ll just change it real quick since it’s brand new and there we go!” I’d still have Vegan Lunch Box in my reader if that’s how it had gone. Instead, she got a little nasty about the education she was getting. And then, well, so did commenters.

    Comment by arb003 — April 9, 2009 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  3. Personal Failure: Can we just stop with the fatty hating now?

    That would be nice. Also, sorry if I sounded like I was skinny-bashing. *offers hug*

    arb: I’d still have Vegan Lunch Box in my reader if that’s how it had gone. Instead, she got a little nasty about the education she was getting. And then, well, so did commenters.

    Yeah: she’s deleted the comments I made in her blog, now. So I guess Vegan Lunch Box goes off my blogroll, too, since the one thing I find objectionable is bloggers who censor out comments just because they disagree.

    Comment by jesurgislac — April 9, 2009 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  4. Wow what a great blog! thisiswhyyourfat inspires me to do the exact opposite every day. and if anyone is looking for healthy meal plans This is one of my favorite health & fitness sites. It lets you track food, workouts, and calories!

    Comment by stephanie — April 13, 2009 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  5. I just found this post through a google search one whole year after you wrote it. I’m pretty slow. I remember reading about that “Thisiswhyyourthin” blog and I never thought a thing of it but you’re right! I am 27 and have gained a lot of weight since my teen years and then I decided to start eating healthy. I’m not a vegetarian (yet) but I have significantly cut meat and dairy out of my diet and am focusing more on veggies, beans, grains, and fruit. Anyway…I’m not as skinny as I was at 18 (which is actually what I was trying to get back to when I started eating better) but I love my body now! I’m healthy and I feel good and I feel like I look good. I think eating healthy goes a long way toward feeling good and being satisfied with your outward appearance. So I guess I’ll still go to veganlunchbox to find recipes but I don’t think I’ll be supporting any book sales or her “thin” blog or anything. She LOOKS way too thin anyway. Kinda gross. Thanks for being firm in your beliefs. It’s good to get the word out there about being HEALTHY not necessarily THIN.

    Comment by Katie — April 14, 2010 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for your reply!

      I’m not as skinny as I was at 18 (which is actually what I was trying to get back to when I started eating better) but I love my body now! I’m healthy and I feel good and I feel like I look good. I think eating healthy goes a long way toward feeling good and being satisfied with your outward appearance.

      I think so too. Good for you.

      She LOOKS way too thin anyway. Kinda gross.

      Let’s not be rude about how other people look, OK? I’m going with she’s probably at her comfy weight. Whatever that is.

      Comment by jesurgislac — April 15, 2010 @ 12:18 am | Reply


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