Megan Fox Weight Gain Story Spreads Misconceptions About Veganism

So there is a story going around the major celeb news sources that was probably planted there by Megan Fox‘s publicist to show how healthy, sane and low maintenance she is. The story goes like this: Megan Fox is vegan. Megan Fox gets scary skinny and simply cannot gain weight no matter how hard she tries. Megan Fox stops being vegan, gains a tiny bit of weight, is a hero of body image. The headlines read: “Megan Fox Ditches Vegan Diet For Curves,” “Megan Fox Shows Off Curves After Ditching Strict Vegan Diet,” etc.

Except the diet described in the article sounds less like veganism and more like, um, starving yourself. “For a year and a half, until about four months ago, I followed a strict vegan diet based on raw fruits and vegetables, no bread, sugar and coffee,” she told Amica Magazine (as excerpted by The Daily Mail). “But I had lost too much weight. So now I eat a bit of everything. And I train three times a week doing circuit training with my trainer Harley Pasternak.”

This does not sound like a “strict vegan diet” to me. What “a strict vegan diet” really means is “an actually vegan diet,” i.e. one that eschews all animal products. As a “strict vegan,” I eat a lot more than raw fruits and vegetables. In addition to fruits and veggies (which I sometimes cook), I eat beans, grains (including bread), nuts, legumes, tofu, seitan, soy products, and yes, even (vegan) sugar. I’m actually eating a chocolate chip cookie right now. For breakfast. Suck on that, Megan Fox.

What Megan Fox actually described to the press is a bullshit raw food diet. Bullshit raw food diets are primarily practiced by three groups of people: those who know they are bullshit but want to drop a few quick pounds for Fashion Week before they go back to eating people food; New Age-y “health nuts” who believe in an alternate reality of junk science; and people flirting with disordered eating. If she wanted to gain weight but stay vegan, she could’ve started eating healthy fats like nuts and avocados, drinking protein shakes, or heck, even having dessert once in a while. Not to mention bread. Bread is delicious, you should try it! Of course you are not going to be able to gain weight if you restrict yourself to a single food group. That’s just common sense.

But the word “vegan” gets way more pageviews and angry comments than the phrase “weirdly restrictive celebrity gauntness diet,” so they stuck it in the headlines anyway. And now she’s on some other snake oily sounding thing called The 5 Factor Diet. To which I say: whatever. Do whatever kooky diets you want, eat as many adorable animals as you want, but please do not make people associate your food weirdness with what is actually, for many, a very doable lifestyle. It’s totally possible to be both an animal-lover and a person who is not hangry all the time. I know this because I have achieved it. It’s time to stop perpetuating misconceptions.

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    • Patrick

      Megan Fox was not eating a vegan diet. She was eating a raw salad diet. She was not eating bread, pasta, whole grains, nuts, or any of the nutritious foods that make up a vegan diet. She was starving herself.

      The fact that there are entire cultures representing millions of people who have lived and thrived for centuries without meat is enough evidence that humans do not “need” it to survive and thrive. In fact, the evidence weighs heavily in the other direction, i.e., the hazards of a meat and dairy diet and the benefits of a vegan diet are well known in the medical and scientific community.

      Also, there are hundreds of famous top level athletes -even Olympians- who are vegetarian or vegan. “Olympian of the Century” track star Carl Lewis, tennis champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, cricket star Anil Kumble, Mr. International bodybuilder Andreas Cahling, Heisman trophy winner Desmond Howard, Debbie Lawrence Olympic race-walker, four time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, 4-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter, WBC World Middleweight Champion Keith Holmes, double Olympic Gold medalist in hurdles Edwin Moses, and Dave Scott, six-time Ironman triathlon winner, to name but a few. If Carl Lewis can be a healthy vegan, so can Megan Fox. She was simply doing it all wrong.

      The American Dietetic Association says at their website:

      “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.”

    • allison

      That “bullshit raw food diet” done properly can actually help you gain weight. You’re beloved avocados, nuts, and legumes are a part of that diet providing you with healthy fats. The “bullshit raw food diet” is also extremely helpful to those who have diabetes.

    • Morgaine

      “It’s time to stop perpetuating misconceptions”. Indeed… You should research raw food diets before criticizing them & their followers so harshly. Start with ‘the 80 10 10 diet’ by Douglas Graham.

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    • Saoirse

      There used to be a small vegetarian place in Edinburgh that sold vegan cakes: as they do not rise like an egg-cake, you are left with a near solid block of sugar, oil, nuts and starch. Delicious and as much likely to promote weight loss as a quart of whipped cream – there is no reason why you can’t make vegan food calorie rich, this should be obvious to anyone who spends 16 h a day awake.. As mentioned a lot of people in the world have lived and continue to live on a vegan diet, and even more live day to day on a vegan diet with the occasional feast with some meat or fish thrown in, and most of them work very hard and need to consume a lot of calories to keep going. Go to the nearest Indian restaurant, order a tablefull of vegan food and roll home!

      • Jamie Peck

        Some vegan cakes rise really well! I have had good luck with ground flax seeds, applesauce+baking powder, pureed tofu, soda, and bananas. Different egg replacements work in different recipes.

    • Canaduck

      This is a great article! Reminds me of that horrible news story that came out a few years ago about two people whose baby had starved to death on a “vegan diet”. And everyone started talking about how this was proof that babies cannot survive on vegan diets, which of course they can and do.

      Oh, by the way–the “vegan diet” consisted entirely of carrots and cod liver oil. (Yes, cod liver oil.)

    • Colleen

      Can I ask what vegan sugar is?
      I thought all sugar came from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are plants…so how is vegan sugar different?

      • Canaduck

        Refined sugar is typically filtered through bone char, as it’s a cheap byproduct of slaughterhouses–so sometimes people avoid it in lieu of non-refined, or buy stuff that’s specially refined in a way that doesn’t involve animal bones. It’s a pretty teeny tiny issue for most vegans I know. I personally buy only unrefined if I’m actually getting a bag of sugar. If I’m buying a bag of cookies, though, I don’t worry. Stuff that contains sugar usually doesn’t even specify what type it is anyway.

      • margiecakes

        @candaduck — I am not sure if they’ve changed their line on the issue, but I know at one point C&H claimed they used only bone char from cows who died of natural causes (imported from India). That seems like such a highly unlikely load of crap to me, but that was the line they gave a friend when she called them for clarification.

        Thinking back, that might have only been in their organic sugar.

    • Meg

      That ‘bullshit raw food diet’ you refer to is what I eat. I am a raw vegan and have experienced so many health benefits after switching to a raw food diet I cannot even begin to address your ignorance, which I find quite baffling coming from a fellow vegan (you’d know what outright dismissal feels like…). I’ve seen this lifestyle based on ‘junk science’ reverse diabetes, heal the chronically ill, and give people back a standard of life they had felt was permanently gone, including myself and my lifelong trouble with arthritis.

      It doesn’t really matter what you think anyway, give it another five or so years and you’ll see it differently as it comes more into the mainstream.

      But if you really want to be stubborn and prove me wrong (like I tried with the raw foodist I dismissed outright) try a balanced raw food diet for 30 days and get back to us. That’s exactly what I did, to prove the bullshit raw fooder I had a conversation with wrong…

      • margiecakes

        I think the author’s point is more that Megan Fox doesn’t seem to have put a lot of thought into following a healthy vegan lifestyle so much as just ate a very restrictive diet that is more like disordered eating. It is perfectly possibly to be vegan (including a ‘raw’ vegan) and remain healthy, as I am sure you are aware. This is pointed out in the article — there are ways to enjoy healthy fats and proteins and also follow a vegan diet.

        Unfortunately, people who just limit themselves to celery and water do not reap the health benefits and give vegans a bad name, something that the anti-vegan crusaders lap up and love to throw in people’s faces with, “Haha, stupid veggie-heads, they’re all a bunch of sickly hippies.” As the title says — it spreads misconceptions, and for some reason omnivores will happily spread those misconceptions because they find veganism threatening.

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