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Can fitness expert Jorge Cruise chill out about skinny veganism?

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I’ll admit it, the title of fitness trainer and plant based health nut Jorge Cruise’s book, Tiny and Full, grosses me the fuck out. When I wrote six weeks ago my parody piece about size-ism and the mainstream vegan movement’s tendency to tout weight loss as a huge benefit to going plant-based, I was only half joking. It was a labor born out of hearing “but why aren’t you skinny?” a hundred times too many, and I’m giving Jorge over here a major side eye in regards to being one of too many vegan health touters who equate size with healthiness.


That being said, Mr. Cruise took to the kitchen this week with the Wall Street Journal to cook an few meals and answer the obvious: “can a vegan breakfast help you lose weight?” Yes, it absolutely can, just like any other balanced diet will, vegan or not. Of course, before jumping in to the chef’s position, Cruise doesn’t hesitate to call veganism “extreme” (???) and lament the loss of animal protein and B12. Cruise also encourages a little bit of cheating by munching down a “little meat, a little cheese” here and there. He’s pretty hype, however, that vegans “lose weight extremely quickly,” and if you listen closely, you can hear me cringing all the way from Washington, DC as I drink a latte loaded with sugar.

What do you think, Ecorazzi’s fine readers? Is stressing weight loss and leaving ethics out of the conversation helpful or harmful to veganism?

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  • stewart lands

    There are many reasons to encourage a plant-based diet. Animal welfare and human and environmental health figure foremost among them. To the extent that weight loss remains a critical factor in establishing optimal health for some, it is worth mentioning. Of course, it has the added benefit of conserving the environment and of preserving animal lives, if such loss occurs as the result of reduced meat consumption.

    The suggestion that anything less than purely “ethical” motives is an inappropriate distraction from the cause fails for the reason that it is impossible to define any single ethical approach toward achieving the stated priorities of reduced animal harm and environmental impact. As there is no perfect approach we must all fail in one regard or other. Where mainstream veganism fails is in assuming that the line between “good” food and “bad” exists squarely between plant and animal life forms. This oversimplification overlooks the reality that some meats may be acquired with less animal death and suffering than many fruits and vegetables, and that many vegetables are simply irresponsible in comparison to our other vegetable options. In pretending that one simple rule (all meat is bad, all plants are good) adequately addresses the dual priorities of reduced animal and environmental harm, veganism sets itself up for failure. In light of the fact that perfection does not exist we must remain open to more nuanced solutions.

  • Mahalet M

    What I have a problem with is how he also encourages calorie restriction, in the video he was all about how every meal was only 300 calories, about 1200 calories a day!

  • ModVegan

    I couldn’t agree more. Veganism is an ethical stance, not a “diet”. Of course it’s better for you, but I wish people like Cruise (and fur-wearing Beyoncé) would stop telling people it’s the magic key to weight loss. It might pique people’s interest in Veganism, but that will soon wane after they get sick of a vegan starvation diet. Fitness experts will continue to hawk the weight-loss benefits of Veganism, but I think it’s up to real vegans to remind the public that this is first and foremost an ethical framework, not a path to weight loss (though, as I said, that can be a welcome side effect for many).

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