I don’t have a lot to say about this quote from recently-celebrated recipe blogger and cookbook author Ella Woodward:
Actually, I have a few things to say.
Ella. My veganism is not fired by a desire to make people feel bad or judged. My veganism is a lifelong commitment to improving outcomes for non-human animals. My choice to not eat meat, dairy, eggs or honey has nothing to do with wanting to feel superior and everything to do with a desire to reduce harm.
It is incredibly disappointing to see you use your newly-acquired platform to take a swipe at compassionate people.
You are quoted in your Telegraph interview as saying “I’m not sitting here judging anyone” when the opposite is clearly true.
You are sitting in judgement of tens of thousands of vegan people who have pre-ordered your book, along with many of your non-vegan readers who have been considering transitioning to a full time plant-based diet (and possibly lifestyle) thanks to your inspirational recipes.
My hope is one day soon your world view broadens to include compassion for animals and also the people making everyday decisions to save them. Selling recipes based on your own personal wellbeing success story is not the only positivity your situation could bring to the planet.
Don’t sell your legacy short with out-dated stereotypes of judgemental vegans. It makes you appear close-minded, ill-informed and divisive.
Great post. I couldn’t agree with you more.
Thanks for sharing – I am not going to get her book now.
Very disappointing, as I’ve found her blog so inspirational.
At least she’s not describing herself as vegan when she’s not. I think it sows confusion when plant-based eaters (think Bill Clinton) describe themselves as vegan and then “confess” to eating fish now and again. Ella knows she’s not vegan.
Obviously, her condemnation of her vegan customers as “judgemental” isn’t exactly good saleswomanship, but it’s sadly a fairly typical reaction by non-vegans, who (to extrapolate from research on vegetarians) seem to worry excessively about what vegans think of them.
I hope it’s okay if I mention the “Judgemental!” episode of my radio show The Vegan Option, featuring research into attitudes to vegetarians, and, of course, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Researcher Julia Minson found that omnivores thought that vegetarians rated them much less moral than the vegetarians actually did – ie that omnivores think vegetarians are much more judgemental than they actually are.
(It’d be dumb to dislike the word vegan, but as that’s the interviewer’s paraphrase, we don’t know if it’s a fair representation of her actual opinion.)
My blog exists in part to help promote your radio show, Ian. 😉
I think you are kind of reinforcing what she Is saying by being judgmental of her and her opinions… And to be fair to her, she doesn’t seem to claim to be vegan, which is a lifestyle choice not simply a food choice. She eats plant based for health not moral reasons. Surely if even one meat eater has a vegan meal even once a week as a result of her, that is something to be thankful for. Not everyone is able to make the amazing commitment that true vegans can make. And being made to feel bad every time we ‘fail’ and eat a vegetarian meal when there’s no vegan option doesn’t really help any one does it?
Everyone is ‘able’ to make the commitment that vegans make, it’s just that a lot of people choose not to.
They need to publish this as a counter response!
Wa going to buy her book… Not now.
Oh, WOW, what an overreaction. She’s probably just speaking from experience. And you know what? That’s experience a lot of us share. My best friend is a judgmental vegan. I left a Facebook group for vegan parents because the owner was a judgmental vegan. I’ve seen aggressive, judgmental vegans slander my favorite vegetarian restaurant online just because it’s vegetarian, not vegan. And don’t even get me started on the tirade you yourself participated in when Goodlife introduced vegetarian products. Vegans are extremely opinionated, it comes with the territory. And in a lot of cases that quickly leads to being judgmental. So maybe it’s time to get off your high horse for a minute. You might find that the view is a little different from down here.
Veronika, my ‘tirades’ are powered by a concern for animals and not in order to make people feel bad. This is the point of my criticism of the Ella interview. She is framing vegans as judgemental of other humans with no mention of what is driving our desire to be vegan (spoiler: it’s compassion for animals). I expressed my sadness at a formerly all-vegan product range switching to mostly non-vegan items. That is always something I will have an opinion about and not in order to make people feel shit but to raise awareness for animals.
wow so much hatred and stereotyping for a minority group!
The reason for the upset about Ella is that she just got her cookbook in the top ten ‘vegan’ cookbooks through the independent newspaper. She finds the word so unappetizing and yet wouldn’t dream of removing herself from that list. She has used the word a lot in her promotion and we followed blindly until she started working for a right wing newspaper where she dismissed us all without knowing us.
It shows that her choices are entirely based on her ego. Great post 🙂
I’m shocked & quite disappointed actually. What a hypocrite !
Many people don’t realize that being vegan is not easy, we don’t choose it so we can point and judge all day.
I would rather a convenient life eating anything from anywhere, where people don’t ask me questions ever time I eat my food. I never attack anyone for food choices I just hope by seeing how I live maybe they will see Veganism in a good light.
Ella publically attacked my lifestyle without knowing me.
Would it be an over reaction if she stereotyped any other minority group?! No, it would be a small minded out dated remark.
She has pushed all her vegan followers under the bus set up for more attacks by meat eaters.
There are more beautiful plant based ( not necessarily vegan) cooks to follow who don’t hate on a group for being compassionate.
Everyone IS able to be vegan. That’s the point. It is ridiculously easy to be vegan and it is the fundamental moral baseline for a civilised world. It’s such a wind up when the guilty tokenists Start whining about judgemental vegans simply becuase the very existence of a vegan is a reminder of their own hypocrisy. It’s not vegans’ fault you feel guilty about supporting and participating in the torture and murder of the vulnerable and defenceless. Comments such as “vegans are extremely opinionated” is TRULY judgemental. Sure, vegans have opinions – what a surprise. Should we NOT have opinions. Perhaps those opposed to racism, sexism, homophobia, child abuse, rape, bullying, torture should all just keep their opinions to themselves so as not to be judgemental about the racists, sexists et al? If you are involved in any way whatsoever in the exploitation, torture and murder of non human benings you SHOULD be judged. People talk of “my favourite vegetarian restaurant” as if the rape of mothers and torture and murder of their babies in the dairy trade is a price worth paying for their disgusting selfish desire for a taste sensation. I can barely believe the selfishness of comments such as “I had to eat the vegetarian option when there was no vegan option availble” Why was that? would you have starved to death if you had eaten nothing or is your instant gratification and gluttony more important that the lives of others? This women is not a vegan and like many of the commentators does not know what a vegan is. Yes opinionated.Yes judgemental. Unapologetically so. Non human beings don’t have a voice so if mine makes you uncomfortable, stop supporting and participating in their torture and murder. This right wing, minority attacking trash is what one expects of the Telegraph and like all discrimination, it quickly has its supporters jumping on it screaming “yes they ARE like that” in order to validate their own prejudices and alleviate their guilt. It is very simple, if you are not vegan, you are actively participating in the obscene and perverted torture and murder of vulnerable and defenseless beings. That is why vegans feel so strongly about this. In the face of this horrific treatment of animals, comments like “vegans slander my favourite vegetarian restaurant” are deeply disturbing, even narcissistic, and demonstrative of the callousness and indifference non vegans have to the plight of animals.
Spot on response. Vegans are no more judgmental than anyone else. And even if they were? Who cares. Doesn’t change or lessen the fundamentals: compassion and justice for all sentient beings.
We need more voices out there supporting being vegan as the moral baseline.
We all have our own angle why we choose plant-based. Our motivation and choices are as unique as we are as people – there is no ‘stereotypical vegan’ in my book. Ella clearly goes with healthy eating and thinks she’s being non-judgmental.
I choose veganism primarily for animal welfare reasons (as well as global food issues, health, sustainability…). I can still appreciate her recipes but ideologically we’ll be coming from two very different view points.
I have plenty of vegan cookbooks. I neither need nor want Ella’s.
She is a plant based eater, not a vegan. I’m really disappointed by her statement and her choice to serve meat in her deli but in the end, plant based eaters are on the same ethical level as meat eaters. Lately there are more and more of these “vegans”, for example the german Attila Hildmann who buys leather shoes and car seats while calling himself vegan and openly jokes about real ethical vegans. But the funny thing is – many meat eater and vegetarians LOVE these kind of people and buy there books because they feel less than with ethical vegans. So even though I don’t like them personally and don’t want to support them, they do something good by introducing meat eaters and vegetarians to vegan food…