This post is going to be a bit out of the ordinary for me but I read a little about this concept of disease shaming and found it interesting so I thought I would share with you my thoughts about it.
When I went Vegan, my reason was for my health and as touchy and particular we Vegans can be about our health the reality is that a Vegan diet does not 100% guarantee you a life without sickness or disease. (Although it does raise the odds of living a healthier life by a huge percentage)
I learned this week about this thing called “disease shaming”. This was a new concept to me. As I thought about it, I had to admit that I have been guilty of doing this, although never out loud to a person but quietly in my mind thinking this way about a person’s health situation.
Disease shaming is the belief that if a person follows a certain Vegan diet that they are guaranteed a life of good health devoid of disease. So if a Vegan gets sick, under the weather, gets cancer or some other disease, a person thinks that it was brought on by a failure of the person to follow the vegan diet 100%, “they must have cheated” or they ate too many processed foods and therefore they are paying the price now.
Blaming and shaming the person only makes matters worse. this shaming does serve a purpose though to the person shaming the other, it’s a self-defense mechanism that keeps us from facing the truth that we are not invincible and that our diet is not the fountain of youth, that will make us live forever and that no diet can 100% guarantee good health.
So I am going to start reaching out to others in a positive manner, stop the blaming and shaming even if it’s only in my thoughts.
If you are interested in looking deeper, there is a book out called “Even Vegans Die” I have not read this book, but according to the publisher of the book, they address disease shaming and body shaming as well as other health and animal advocacy topics as they relate to Vegans. It’s a play off of Dr. Michael Greger M.D.’s book “How Not To Die” which I have read and highly recommend.
Here are comments from the books publisher’s page.
“Even Vegans Die empowers vegans and their loved ones to make the best decisions regarding their own health, their advocacy for animals, and their legacy. By addressing issues of disease shaming and body shaming, the authors present a manifesto for building a more compassionate, diverse, and effective vegan community.
Even Vegans Die celebrates the benefits of a plant-based diet while acknowledging that even vegans can get sick. You will learn how to make the healthcare decisions that are right for you, how to ensure your efforts to help animals will not end after you die, and how to provide compassionate care for yourself and for others in the face of serious illness.
This book offers practical, thoughtful, and sensitive advice on creating a will, mourning, and caregiving. Without shying away from the reality of death, Even Vegans Die offers a message that remains uplifting and hopeful for all animal advocates and all those who care about them.”
Here is a quote from Michael Greger, MD who wrote the foreword to the book.
“Even people who eat a healthy, plant-based diet, can get seriously ill. That’s why this book is needed. Carol, Patti, and Ginny teach us to live wisely while we are still here, not only by eating well but also by caring for ourselves and each other. I want to live well and, if necessary, I want to die well, too. If you do also, then start reading.”—From the foreword by Michael Greger, MD
Thanks for listening,
The Vegan Gourmand