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Thread: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

  1. #1
    CunningPlans Poison Ivy's Avatar
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    Unhappy Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/dec/fat.htm

    I have to say I'm a little stunned by this. I'm sure we all know that a vegan diet doesn't automatically mean skinny, but to say that:

    ' Fat vegans, however, have failed one important animal: themselves. Furthermore, their audiences of meat-eaters and animal-abusers may be so distracted by their appearance that they cannot hear the vital issues of animal rights and the environment; resulting in an unacknowledged setback for a fat vegan’s hard work for change.'

    My god, it's hard enough keeping a positive notion about oneself when overweight without a Doctor basically saying that overweight people are too 'distracting' to be taken seriously!! Gee, thanks for that Doc!!

    I understand the reasoning behind the article and that his weight loss guidelines are sensible and intelligent....but I think most people understand the concept behind weight loss, it's just the practice of doing it for whatever reason (psychological, depression, emotional overeating, etc etc) isn't always as simple as the theory. What about those who eat highly processed vegan food and yet remain skinny whilst eating unhealthily, why is there no mention of that? Is it because as a slim vegan they're not at risk of distracting people from the vegan message??

    Anyway, enough of my waffle!

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    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Well, I've had enough experience of being a fatso to know it's often viewed in a negative light and given that there's a sizeable subset of vegans who weigh (no pun intended) their health as well as animal wellbeing quite highly in their reasons for choosing to be vegan I'm not at all surprised at these comments.

    On a personal level, I've never noticed being overweight as at all detrimental to people's perception of veganism, because the usual reaction seems that they wouldn't be able to think of anything animal-free that they would eat, and then I pat my belly and say "wasn't a problem for me!" and we all have a laugh (ish)
    "If you don't have a song to sing you're okay, you know how to get along humming" Waltz (better than fine) - Fiona Apple

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    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Yeah, most people think vegans are unhealthily skinny anyway.

    It's better that people realise we come in all shapes and sizes.
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    that is pretty bad...

    but did you keep reading? the rest of the article was actually pretty good, somewhat inacurate i think, but interesting none the less.

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    whalespace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Try not to hit them where it hurts?
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Dumb article, but he has a point about people failing themselves. It's a struggle in life, just like smoking or drinking or gambling or shopping or any other vice. His message was obviously a positive one but at the same time, it was far to condescending. Also his assumption that thin is automatically better than fat is only partially correct. ALSO a low fat diet isn't the only way to go if you are a vegan. Plenty of people do fine on a 30-40% fat diet...

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    fortified twinkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote petunia View Post
    that is pretty bad...

    but did you keep reading? the rest of the article was actually pretty good, somewhat inacurate i think, but interesting none the less.
    I skimmed it, frowning and muttering as I did so The whole "fat people don't eat vegetables and are scared of change" thing set my teeth on edge.
    "If you don't have a song to sing you're okay, you know how to get along humming" Waltz (better than fine) - Fiona Apple

  8. #8

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Yeah, that irritates me. I remember ever since a doctor made a certain comment about my weight when I was 13 (I wasn't THAT overweight, considering my height), and even though I've lost a fair bit of weight since then (still on the high side of normal according to various sources), I still feel like I'm really fat, I just can't seem to shake that self image of myself.

    So I'm afraid to lose weight or start my daily exercising up again because then I'm afraid that I'll get too skinny and not see it, since after years of being mocked for my size I can't even tell that I am at a pretty healthy weight despite what everyone says. I still just can't believe it; I look at myself and I feel fat.
    Last edited by Quantum Mechanic; Jan 10th, 2009 at 01:24 AM. Reason: paragraph spacing

  9. #9
    V for Veganica Sarabi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Heh. There are different kinds of eating issues. People think they're addicted to cheese, but I think they're just in denial. If they really wanted to go vegan, most of them would probably do it in a heartbeat if they had the material means (and most of those I talk to do). But I do feel I am addicted to food sometimes, although I don't think it's the same as being addicted to other things like cigarettes or alcohol in terms of withdrawal symptoms. I could stop without being upset if I am a) in the right setting, or b) in the right mindset. There is, however, the issue of actual hunger which hopefully is not an issue with veganism, but sometimes is. Consuming animal products is not a necessary bodily function, whereas consuming nutrients is.

    Since I can't just design the perfect setting, I'm trying to develop the right mindset. I have been practicing eating meditation and the fifth mindfulness training of Buddhism (mindful consumption). I've only been practicing for more or less a week, but so far they are helping. I have faith that if I keep practicing them I will heal. The monastery where I began these practices was rather full of people who had come to heal from their addictions like alcohol and cigarettes and had succeeded through deep observing of themselves. Of course we need to look after ourselves as well as other beings, but looking after other beings can actually help us to look after ourselves using the practice of mindfulness.
    "To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana." - Buddha

  10. #10
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I can see what he is saying to an extent although it is quite patronising. I was quite slim when I first turned vegan but then I discovered all the vegan junk food I could have and now I am still in the healthy BMI 20-25 but only just under 25!

    Vegans do come in all shapes and sizes though like Pob said. I think the omni people I know imagine all vegans to be pale and skinny and I haven't met hardly any that fit that stereotype at all.

    "Jeff was not the picture of good health. He was very overweight with greasy skin and acne. "

    I don't like it when people imply that overweight people have problem skin though, in my experience your weight has nothing to do with having good or bad skin. Also I know a friend who is a size 10 but smokes like a chimney and has all kinds of health troubles so health problems are not just for the overweight.

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I also had a friend who weighed just 7 stone at 5 foot 10 and looked skeletal, it was genetic, she would eat huge fry ups every day and gorge on boxes of chocolate. She was forever down at Sainsburys and Waitrose buying the most fattening food on the planet. At 46 she had a massive heart attack from years of eating fatty food, now she is just content to be skinny and eat healthy food as a preference to being dead.

    I do however feel I really let the vegan side down by being fat. I've had all the tests and at 46 all my results came back perfect, blood pressure, cholesterol, B12 etc. I only eat healthy whole foods no junk at all and don't like sweet stuff anyway, but I put on weight very easily and my portion sizes are way too big. I like food and I like a drink in moderation.

    This year I am determined to slim down and exercise more.
    Silent but deadly :p

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I agree with you, Hemlock - I thought the article was basically ignorant and well, sizeist (if there's such a word). I'm not a moron. I'm very well-educated and informed about nutrition. I eat a huge variety of foods, and seldom eat junk foods or meat analogues. My weight issues have nothing to do with "living off potato chips and Coke". Far from it - my weight issues are more likely to be linked with having huge portions of the healthy foods I love.

  13. #13
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I think as well not many people are vegan for their own health reasons more for animal rights reasons so this article probably wouldn't really be very effective.

    Also I don't know if other people do this but whenever I'm out shopping and I see anything labelled vegan like a yummy cake or biscuits or a sandwich it is unusual, so I end up buying it just because it is so rare to see (but I had problems with my weight yo-yoing before I was vegan so it might just be me who does that.)

  14. #14
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    So judgmental If he did have to write about this he would have been better to focus on exercise, IMO, as there seems to be evidence that fitness is more important to health than size. However, I suppose telling people to eat low fat is his life's work/income source.

  15. #15
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    i cannot stand the bloke, anyway, he's way out of order.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    The internets strikes again.
    Who the fuq is he?
    ..but what would they do with all the cows?..

  17. #17
    CunningPlans Poison Ivy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    He's on the advisory board of the PCRM and here's a little more about the 'good' Dr himself...basically he describes himself on his website thusly -

    'Physician and nutrition expert who teaches better health through vegetarian cuisine. John A. McDougall, MD. has been studying, writing and "speaking out" about the effects of nutrition on disease for over 30 years.'
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  18. #18
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I think there are some quite good things about him, e.g. that he gets persuades a lot of people to steer away from eating animal products, albeit for health reasons.

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I think that to a degree he has a point but it works both ways.

    My daughter gave birth to Grandson number two on Boxing Day, consequently my daughter is being seen by a health visitor. Trouble is the health vistor in question, who is supposed to be a healthcare professional, is spectacularly and morbidly obese. At a conservative estimate I'd say she was about 18 stone at a height of around 5' 3".

    The very idea of taking advice, including dietary advice from such a person is pretty hard to swallow, if you'll excuse the pun.

    Going back a good few years my wife's parents used to go to a GP who not only smoked but offered you a fag as well. The mind boggles.
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    there seems to be a resurgence in people thinking that veg*ns are all overweight rather than skinny, i saw a reader's comment in a newspaper that 'vegetarians are all fat because they don't have five stomachs to digest all the plant matter they eat'

    Quote BlackCats View Post
    "Jeff was not the picture of good health. He was very overweight with greasy skin and acne. "
    i'd like to add that as well as his comments being sizeist, having acne isn't a sign of overall bad health either - i have suffered severe acne due to a hormonal disorder which has nothing to with my diet or general health levels. so i think i'm going to ignore this doctor's 'advice'.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Jiffy View Post
    Going back a good few years my wife's parents used to go to a GP who not only smoked but offered you a fag as well. The mind boggles.
    not heard that one before.

    Congrats on grandson number 2. I expect he will turn out a fine bouncing boy if that health visitor has anything to do with it

  22. #22
    Zero
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    The vegan "lean" foods guide he points out is elementary, we all know that lot's of oils and soy cheeze isn't good for us

    You could apply those rules to anyone's diet. For example just replace the vegan options with typical omni products and the same advice would apply to an omni.

    I guess one thing this does is prove that theres loads of tasty vegan food out there!

  23. #23
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Gorilla View Post
    having acne isn't a sign of overall bad health either - i have suffered severe acne due to a hormonal disorder which has nothing to with my diet or general health levels. so i think i'm going to ignore this doctor's 'advice'.
    Exactly, my brother had acne in his teens when he was very healthy and at a lean weight and was doing lots of exercise but it was just a hormonal thing.

    I meant to say as well he advises cutting back on olive oil and I thought that was supposed to be a "good fat" for your body like avocados and nuts. If I was going to take healthy eating advice I would probably follow someone like Gillian McKeith.

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote harpy View Post
    not heard that one before.

    Congrats on grandson number 2. I expect he will turn out a fine bouncing boy if that health visitor has anything to do with it
    As it happens despite feeding well he isn't gaining weight, but his brother had a slow and worrying start as well. Nowadays he's a fine figure of a man, sorry toddler.

    I only wish my daughter would see the light, sadly they are being raised as lacto ovo vegetarians.

    Sorry going way off topic. Carry on
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I also think that being a bit overweight and vegan is probably more of a GOOD thing than bad - I certainly can't see how it would be "distracting", that's kind of offensive?! How about ugly vegans (hypothetically speaking of course as we are all beautiful) would they be distracting too? Like someone else said, everyone thinks vegans are skinny and sickly looking things anyway, it's good we can show them we're not all the same.

    I worry more about being slim, not even skinny, and telling people I'm vegan, coz they give me that look as if to say, oh right, that's why! It makes me want to wear a t-shirt which says, the reason I am slim is coz I go to the gym every day and eat healthily, not because I am vegan!!

    It's all rhubarb anyway.

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    it's funny how a lot of people want to be thin and admire slim figures; but if you're thin and you tell them you're vegan, suddenly being thin becomes a BAD thing.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  27. #27

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Gorilla View Post
    it's funny how a lot of people want to be thin and admire slim figures; but if you're thin and you tell them you're vegan, suddenly being thin becomes a BAD thing.
    ERG, I know. Especially since I've been losing weight, and while I'm not slim I'm on the high side of "in the middle" so to speak, and I want to start working out more and lose some weight, but then I just know I would hear people say "Oh, so that's why you're slim" when I say I'm vegan or "Are you sure those vegetables give you enough calories?" (as if I eat only vegetables). Sigh.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Gorilla View Post
    it's funny how a lot of people want to be thin and admire slim figures; but if you're thin and you tell them you're vegan, suddenly being thin becomes a BAD thing.
    Didn't you know, being vegan is cheating

    I was reading a thing about how people are influenced by others in their social networks - apparently the more obese people you know the more likely you are to be obese too. Mind you there's a number of possible explanations for that but their idea was that it influences one's idea of normality. So perhaps being thin is starting to be seen as abnormal in some circles.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote BlackCats View Post
    If I was going to take healthy eating advice I would probably follow someone like Gillian McKeith.
    I'll second you about Gillian McKeith. Apart from occasionally suggesting the inclusion chicken or eggs, she basically advocates a meat-free, dairy-free diet (of abundance!) and knows a lot about food combining. I'm not ashamed to admit that i'm a Gillian groupie!

    As for that McDougall guy... i think some points he makes are quite valid. Like the one about feeling a sense of starvation - although it'd probably be better described as deprivation. I'm constantly feeling unsatisfied by meals, no matter how much they fill me up, so i'm forever snacking. That said, i'm a very normal weight.

    But i don't like the point he made about being an ambassador for veganism based on your appearance. I would never make a comment on an omni's physical appearance, so i don't expect people to do that to me (even though like i said i'm a healthy weight, so technically they should have nothing to comment about) - it's downright rude and completely inappropriate!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Personally, I'm loving the illustration of a 'Fat Vegan' by a slightly zaftig girl, waving about a pizza. I've never seen a soy cheese that melts like that either.

    I think I can condense the article done into one paragraph.

    Some people are vegan, some are not. Some people are overweight, some people are not. If you consistently eat junk food, regardless of if it is vegan or not, you will probably weigh more than people who don't.

    Ground breaking stuff, I'm sure we can all agree.
    Quitting something because it's hard is wrong, and quitting something because it's wrong is hard. One takes cowardice, the other bravery.

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    for god's sake what a load of tosh !! Do they not realise that the majority of vegans are such cos we are serious about animal welfare ???? vegan hot dogs are just as bad as nonvegan hotdogs, it's only up to you to decide wether to contribute to the massacre or not. My diet is no diferent to the one of anothers, I just cut the cruelty out of my diet!

  32. #32
    Off Duty Ninja RainInStarlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote veganese View Post
    for god's sake what a load of tosh !! Do they not realise that the majority of vegans are such cos we are serious about animal welfare ???? vegan hot dogs are just as bad as nonvegan hotdogs, it's only up to you to decide wether to contribute to the massacre or not. My diet is no diferent to the one of anothers, I just cut the cruelty out of my diet!

    +1

  33. #33

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I can't really decide whether this article horrifies or amuses me...

    I must say though, that I've heard a lot more recently about how vegetarians in particular seem to be on the chubbier side. Though to counter-balance this, vegans, I'm always assured (when people learn that I am one) are always underweight (something which I most certainly am not).

    The first time I was a vegan (I was a bit too young, and uneducated diet-wise to pull it off!) I was overweight, and was always told how 'very healthy' I looked for a vegan...which I always thought was pretty ironic, considering my BMI was practically screaming at me to go on a diet...

    Nowadays, having been vegan again for a while, and having managed to shed the excess weight, I am really very healthy, and yet get told constantly that I need to up my calorie intake, and eat meat, eggs, dairy, etc in order to maintain my health. So maybe Omni's just have issues with people not having the same sort of diet as them? Or like having something to moan about?

    Come to think of it, I do actually remember in my last school a morbidly obese vegetarian boy. Nobody believed he was a vegetarian because he was so fat and unhealthy. People just used to laugh it off and wonder how many burgers he ate to maintain his weight. When I pointed out that he could be that fat because he still had chocolate, cheese, dairy products, and processed 'meat' the suggestion was just ignored.

  34. #34
    Off Duty Ninja RainInStarlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Yeah...I went to a restaurant, and the waitress asked me what I could/could not eat, etc. I told her the information, and she said, "Well, you look very healthy for a vegan!"

    Thing is...I'm normal weight for my height (maybe a little on the high end of the bmi, but I swear it's muscle...), so...was I supposed to be a skinny twig or something? And, the thing was...she's an omnivore, and really really skinny! I just don't get it, lol, but I wasn't offended by the comment. I just said, "Thankyou." and that was it.

    lol

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    TWINKLE, I'm totally loving the The Cheat avatar there!! Heh heh, knittin' a sweater... lol

  36. #36
    Zombie
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Jiffy View Post
    At a conservative estimate I'd say she was about 18 stone at a height of around 5' 3".

    My ignorance ashames me..but what exactly is "stone"?
    "See no, hear no, speak no evil. Leaves you deaf, dumb and blind."

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote King View Post
    My ignorance ashames me..but what exactly is "stone"?
    14lb

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    ^ ty very much
    "See no, hear no, speak no evil. Leaves you deaf, dumb and blind."

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I get told I'm too skinny because of my weight but I'm really short and it's normal for my height. I wouldn't have thought being vegan had much to do with your weight but had more to do with how healthy you choose to eat.

    I think that Dr is trying to make a good point about health but does it in a really offensive way. I would never think someones views were less valid because they were overweight but maybe I'm just not that shalow.
    Last edited by trudyscrumptious; Dec 21st, 2009 at 07:40 PM.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    That was a totally messed up article.

    That article was jerky, no matter how he put it.

    I think that being concerned with vegans getting unhealthy is fair. That's great! I want all vegans to be healthy. But just like non-vegans, having a high BMI =/= unhealthy. Those two are different things.

    Instead of talking about zits, or fat, he should've talked about how some vegan foods are not healthy and should be treats instead of staples. That would've been great! But no, he made his article a tirade against fat vegans because clearly all fat people are unhealthy and all skinny people look young and vibrant. What an a-hole.
    context is everything

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    I am "morbidly obese" according to BMI charts. However, I have always had low cholesterol, low BP, high iron etc. I'm amazingly "healthy" but not fit. I also don't look like I am morbidly obese. Even the doctors is surprised when he weighs me. And I've been an omni for over 40 years and a vegan for the last two weeks. So right now I'm a fat vegan. I'm not a vegan for my weight - I am a vegan because I was disgusted with myself for throwing away meat at Christmas - it suddelnly struck me that animals were needlessly dying just so my Christmas table looked good. I thought of going vegetarian for years but never did. I'm glad I have taken that one very easy step further and become vegan.

    It is very easy to stereotype people. I have amazingly clear skin, and no wrinkles. If I lose weight being vegan (and I would estimate I've lost around ten pounds since the beginning of the year based purely on the fit of my clothes) then all well and good. But it certainly is not my motivation for doing so. My motivation is so that I can walk past the cows in the fields on the way to school with my son every day without thinking "I threw a relative of yours in the bin last night".
    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote Blueberry View Post
    My motivation is so that I can walk past the cows in the fields on the way to school with my son every day without thinking "I threw a relative of yours in the bin last night".
    Hi Blueberry

    I had similar feelings some years ago when I went on live export protests near York. The trailers came past loaded with calves and I'd look at an individual calf with its head peeping out and I'd think "Sorry mate, I'm doing my best". I think that part of going vegan is taking the "them" out of "us and them" leaving only the "us", that is people and animals.

    leedsveg

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Quote leedsveg View Post
    I think that part of going vegan is taking the "them" out of "us and them" leaving only the "us", that is people and animals.
    leedsveg
    That's a nice way to think of it. Thanks for that, I'll try and remember it.

    As for the cattle trucks, I see them almost daily at one point in the year as I live in the Derbyshire countryside adjacent to the A6. One day I see a field full of sheep, then the next, there's not one. Breaks my heart every time.
    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Personally, the whole article annoyed me. What about new/newish vegans who were fat before? I hated the whole first third of his article. IMHO he came across as a typical man who is viewing people with his privates. Personally I wouldn't want to go to a doctor or listen to a doctor that seems to have serious disdain for the overweight, who - thanks to statistics, would probably make up a large percentage of his patients. :-P

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    Default Re: Dr McDougall - The Fat Vegan

    Vegans can suffer from the same self-image problems that other sections of society do. Look at the number of girls out there with eating disorders because they can't unplug from the pop culture feeding tubes. In much the same way, we're told that we're too thin, too fat, too pale, too weak, etc, from various angles.

    IMO, doing your best to maintain or improve your health is primarily in your own interest and secondly provides a positive experience when discussing Veganism. eg. "I was X many stones before, but I lost N many pounds over Y months and I feel better. Still going..." If you want to improve your health, lose weight, gain muscle, etc, just seek advice and set yourself small, manageable targets within a routine. Discipline is the key, and people tend to respect those who've put in the hard work. I know people who've been very obese, but have gone to being just a bit overweight, which is a great achievement that anyone would find impressive.

    There is the added pressure that we're all walking adverts for Veganism, which can make us even more self-critical since we tend to measure ourselves against our ideals. All I can say is that the type of people who are likely to be receptive to Veganism are open-minded by nature, so don't allow your confidence to be knocked. Intelligent people can separate the person from the idea and realise we're not all utopian visions of perfection. Veganism obviously isn't a magic bullet that will turn anyone into a swimsuit model, but I doubt that's what most people would be interested in. Long-term health benefits and individual stories of success can really interest people in the positive health aspects of Veganism, providing a gateway to introduce the core ethics of Veganism.

    gutts

    ps. Sorry, can't resist a song.
    [youtube]1mRAKRgG190&fmt=18[/youtube]

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