All These Ex-Vegan Youtubers May Be Just What the Vegan Community Needs

The Vegan Youtube community has been shaken up in the last few months with a series of huge vegan youtubers announcing they are no longer vegan. This article focuses primarily on Raw Alignment and Rawvana, with whom I am most familiar, but many other influencers have started eating animal products again for a variety of “health” reasons.

As a vegan, at first I was frustrated and upset by the lack of responsibility many of these influencers took for their own health problems. Each of these women have shared that they had eating disorders in the past and both Raw Alignment and Rawvana have a history of pushing extremely restrictive diets onto their viewers which range from straight up water-fasts to extremely high fat, low carb diets.

Now, rather than attempting to eat a nutrient dense, whole food, vegan diet these women have turned back to eating animal products.

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The blaming of veganism for their health troubles was mind boggling when I saw how little calories these women were eating and how often they flip-flopped their approach to health. Although I am not a regular viewer of these channels anymore, it upset me to think about how many young girls have idolized them, and perhaps developed eating disorders of their own, as a result.

Raw Alignment played a big role in helping me transition from vegetarian to veganism in the summer of 2017. However, it was not long before I found her content going downhill and stopped watching. I distinctly remember a time when she promoted doing a several week long juice cleanse and had to stop in the middle because she became immensely fatigued from drinking nothing but orange juice and sugar cane juice (yes you read that correctly) for multiple days! As I watched the string of videos I remember thinking how awful and unhealthy this was.

Although she came forward and acknowledged this was unhealthy a few videos in, all the videos still remained posted and monetized by the time I found them over a year later.

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I am an adult. I have a rational mind and would never participate in such an ill-informed program, but the point is that not everyone watching her videos is like that. Many of the people watching are young, impressionable, teenage girls who want to be just like her because she is beautiful, blonde, and tan. The promotion and monetization of such content is inexcusable.

Further, promoting such diets is a false representation of veganism. Many people in the communities of these influencers have expressed feeling betrayed, lost, and lied to when these women came out that they were no longer vegan. In Rawvana’s case it took her being exposed by a video of her with fish on her plate going viral for her to come clean to her community. Beyond all the negativity in the comments section however, something sort of beautiful happened: smaller vegan youtube channels began creating response videos to these women.

The response videos range from rants to science based arguments against what these women shared, and all of them are important. People are speaking up and speaking out against the wrong that these women have done to the vegan movement, and the damage they have been doing for years by promoting restrictive diets.

For the first time I realized that our community is better off without these women. Of course it is heart breaking that innocent animals have to suffer and die while these women continue to profit, but the vegan community is coming out of this stronger. The influx of response videos is helping viewers find ethical vegan channels that focus on compassion rather than physical appearance.

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The problem with these ex-vegan influencers is that they were vegan for the wrong reasons. Absolutely, veganism is incredible for your health and there is loads of science backing this up. However beyond this, veganism is about something greater than yourself. It is about the liberation of animals who experience hell on earth for human pleasure, profit, and convenience. It is about treading lighter on his planet so that a planet remains for our children and grandchildren to thrive upon.

I feel compassion for these women who are so clearly dealing with confusion of their own and grappling with health issues. One thing is certain however, these are not the people who should represent the vegan community online.

I hope that young impressionable girls who have been manipulated by some of these huge health influencers watch some of the incredible response video content many vegans have taken the time to create in defense of animals and the movement. I hope these ex-vegan influencers take responsibility for their actions and truly face their troublesome relationship with food.

Here’s to the beginning of a new era of vegan youtubers who are focused on compassion and love for all beings, who encourage nutrient dense plant based meals, and who create content for their viewers, not the profits.