The Boyfriend Went Vegan Ad

First of all, what a disgusting ad. Please don’t watch it if you are likely to be triggered for domestic violence. If you are sure you can deal with it (and once again, it’s very disturbing if I had to put in a trigger warning), here it is:

There are two things that I can’t understand about this ad. One, how is it possible for anybody to argue that this is not a domestic abuse ad but a happy sexuality ad? Have such people even seen sexually fulfilled women? A newsflash: we do not look miserable, downtrodden and beaten like the woman in the ad. We look glowing, happy and our eyes sparkle.

And another question that might seem frivolous in this context but I still need to ask it because I’m confused. How are the people in this ad making a connection between a vegan diet and a greater capacity to perform in men? I have nothing against veganism, but this just makes no sense. Everybody has their own experiences, of course, but the formula I have observed for as long as I have been sexually active is “lots of beef = tons of sex, less beef = less sex, no beef = very little sex.”

I understand that in very warm climates vegan diets make a lot of sense, but the ad is obviously not set in the tropics. In that kind of a climate, one’s sexual performance will not improve, to put it mildly, as a result of this kind of eating regimen.

35 thoughts on “The Boyfriend Went Vegan Ad

  1. This is just weird. I cannot relate to it enough to get anything from it at all except perhaps that Peta people have decided that things they they present don’t have to make any sense.

    I fully agree with you about “lots of beef = tons of sex, less beef = less sex, no beef = very little sex.” although lamb, bison, venison, elk, etc probably work just as well.

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  2. I can possibly answer the vegan = more sex thing.
    It first uses the presumption that more, and more vigorous sex is more satisfying sex and carries that to the point of parody (and beyond, into violence – it’s actually insulting to their supposed target audience’s ability to reason.)
    The next link is based upon the idea that the healthier you are, the higher your libido will be; not sure really that there is any evidence for that assertion, although I suppose it is logical that the actively unwell might have depressed libidos. I suspect that the health = libido effect would stop correlating past a certain point of general well being though because so much of it is emotional. There’s certainly some evidence to the fact that the highest level of athletes (even the ones who are not using/abusing performance enhancing drugs) actually have functionally depressed libidos. But I digress.
    I think the next point is based upon the research that eating less meat is better for health; at least where notions of eating less meat are based around the segment of the American population that thinks every meal should have at least one form of meat, preferably red in it, otherwise it isn’t a meal. That segment of the population is definitely healthier for restricting their meat intake. Although that may be to do with the quality of the meat that they are eating as well as simply the quality.
    If you use those three tenuous starting points then the proposition that veganism = better sex is sort of made out.
    Still a stupid idea though. But then PETA is a generally stupid organisation.

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    1. I suspect that the health = libido effect would stop correlating past a certain point of general well being though because so much of it is emotional.

      The handicap principle suggests that this principle holds throughout all levels of health. See e.g. Cellerino and Jannini, “Male reproductive physiology as a sexually selected handicap? Erectile dysfunction is correlated with general health and health prognosis and may have evolved as a marker of poor phenotypic quality”. J. Medical Hypothesis, 2005.

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  3. Why does she drag herself to the store to buy him vegetables (apparently nothing for herself) wearing only her underwear?! And why does the camera keep focusing on her ass?

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  4. Also the ad is misleading in that it fails to inform the public that it requires substantial effort to maintain a healthy diet while being vegan (as opposed to vegetarian).

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    1. I was a vegetarian for about four years, and a vegan for about four months, and then, on a dare, I tried to follow a Jainist diet (raw vegan with no root vegetables) for a week. During that time I learned a valuable lesson: Never let a vegetarian/vegan tell you that you can become slim/lose weight by going veg (PETA again with it’s crude and rude “Save the whales, lose your blubber, go vegan” ad) I actually put on weight because my body screamed and struggled to hold onto every single pound of flesh and fat, since I was eating so little and getting all my protein from nut butters.

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  5. Wow, that is disturbing. Not to mention really sleazy. But apparently domestic abuse is back in fashion now among the younger set, as long as it involved “consensual, really hot” sex. This trend is also visible in a lot of books marketed to the “YA” teen girl market — lots sympathy-for-the-rapist “romance.” Creepy.

    PS: that guy? Looks like he couldn’t maintain an erection, never mind a healthy diet. Look how spindly he is! That skinny girl looks like she could flip him out the window with her pinky.

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      1. I think they chose this guy because that *is* the stereotype of a vegetarian guy in the US: nerdy, emo, loves lady gaga, etc. So they’re having some fun by saying, ‘ladies, don’t go by appearances, just wait till you get a guy like this in the sack’.

        Still lolable.

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  6. Disgusting-it amazes me that ads like this even make it to the mainstream. I can think of so many ways they could have made this, well, more appropriate. We still have a long way to go.

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  7. “I actually put on weight because my body screamed and struggled to hold onto every single pound of flesh and fat, since I was eating so little..”

    Being vegetarian and eating fat are two completely unrelated things. Why would a vegetarian eat less or more fat, or eat less or more food in general?

    Six months ago I was diagnosed with some major health problems. I changed my diet, and like the numbers guy I am, I decided to chart and analyse everything I ate. This is the nutritional profile of a standard day’s food for me.

    I’m off cholesterol and blood pressure medication completely, have lost about 20 pounds (wasn’t aiming for it, I was quite happy with being 6’1”, 215#), and I eat like a motherfucker. All that on a vegetarian diet. And that massive shit I take every morning (100g fiber ftw) is as satisfying as giving birth, with none of the pain!

    I laugh at anyone who dares to concern-troll me by asking ‘oh noez! How do you get the proteinz?’, or by saying you can’t be healthy on a vegetarian diet. Jesus Christ, I miss a nice medium-rare steak every now and then but everything is working out for me so beautifully, I don’t want to introduce a glitch in the matrix. I just hope I can keep this up when I return to the US.

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    1. Personally, I was eating so little because my vegetarianism/veganism was occurring while I was in rather dire financial circumstances, having just lost my job and having a severely limited food supply, since Montana, even the city I was living in, isn’t renowned for a huge vegetarian selection at their food banks. Also, I was living with a gluten-intolerant roommate who couldn’t have any foods with grains in the house. That left very few options. Living off jars of food bank peanut butter, cold beans, packets of fake lemon juice, and mouldy vegetables stinks. Literally.
      My big permanent leave from vegetarianism/veganism occurred after witnessing someone who was also a vegan cry hysterically and purge for 20 minutes because a meal she ate from the bakery had honey as one of the minor ingredients. I didn’t include honey on my forbidden foods, because I figured bees have an active role to play in the production of nearly all food, being pollinators, so it was pointless to give it up. Seeing her vomit and wax poetic about not partaking in “bee slavery” drove me to use $100 from my paycheque to buy a huge steak dinner for myself.
      Now, I’m a devotee of Jennifer McLagan and her cookbooks, and make a mean Israeli bone stew. Much happier and healthier now, but I’d never dream about bugging the other veggies to convert. Whatever floats their tofurkey gravy boat.

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      1. OK, so you were feeling miserable as a result of a) literally starving, and b) literally eating rotten food, and your body’s reaction to this ordeal gets explained in terms of vegetarianism? Would you have felt better if you were eating rotten meat instead of mouldy vegetables?

        ‘Eating organic food is the worst decision I’ve ever made for my body. I was sick the whole time! Oh, by the way, this was occurring while I was huffing paint and smoking meth’. Goddamn, nominatissima, I usually love your posts but this was a disingenuous position.

        And I love to make fun of new-age, sanctimonious vegans myself, but I’d never abandon my lifestyle because an idiot was doing something idiotic.

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    2. or by saying you can’t be healthy on a vegetarian diet.

      It is relatively easy to be healthy on a vegetarian diet. It is very difficult to be healthy on a vegan diet.

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    3. “I’m off cholesterol and blood pressure medication completely”

      – This is great news!!!! Congratulations!!! Oh, I’m so happy for you.

      ” I just hope I can keep this up when I return to the US.”

      – I have no doubt that you will be able to continue on this great regimen. You live in California, right?

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      1. Thanks! You helped me with the blood pressure part, too.

        Yeah, california. You know, I’m going to eat almost exactly the same stuff as I do in India: fucktons of vegetables and greens, lentils, beans, fruit, milk, yogurt. If my health deteriorates, I’ll have to acknowledge the possibility that regular produce in the US (regular, not organic) may be less healthy than it is in my hometown. This is not a scientific experiment, of course, but I may still learn something.

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  8. Hate to do a David Gendron, but I had to add that this ad is fucking awful. I can’t believe PETA continues to exist.

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  9. Stringer Bell :
    OK, so you were feeling miserable as a result of a) literally starving, and b) literally eating rotten food, and your body’s reaction to this ordeal gets explained in terms of vegetarianism? Would you have felt better if you were eating rotten meat instead of mouldy vegetables?

    Probably not. But suddenly being able to eat the other food at the food bank, like the frozen and canned meats (which weren’t rotten) dairy products, and allowing myself to eat the free pizza which is abundant at school functions made a real difference to my health and hunger levels.
    My financial situation has improved drastically since I left Montana, but I’m still not wealthy enough to sustain a healthy, satisfying, delicious vegan-only diet, and since I’m planning on going into academia, I doubt I ever will be. 🙂 If I ever do become that wealthy, I probably still won’t make the effort, because if I ever have that kind of money, it’s going to be spent going restaurant hopping on the weekend. The chefs of Victoria do know their way around dishes with eggs, butter, and cream in them. 🙂 After living that long in misery and deprivation, nothing short of a triple heart attack is going to make me adapt veganism again.

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    1. I can identify with the need to eat well on a very tight budget. Everyone’s situation is different, but I found that buying dried beans and boiling them myself (rather than buying canned beans) saved me quite a bit of money. Black beans and rice, chickpea salad, and red lentils are major staples of mine. Spaghetti with marinara and black beans is great, too.

      TVP costs about $1.80/pound at my health food store. Then I add two pounds of water to it, so it’s basically the same as buying ground beef for 60 cents per pound. Food is a lot cheaper if you buy it dried and add your own water! In the end, a cheap vegan diet can be much cheaper than one that includes animal products…especially if you factor in the increased diabetes, heart disease, and cancer you could be facing after years on a diet including animal products.

      That said, EVERYONE should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables–not just vegetarians. Lack of affordable leafy greens is a serious problem for many Americans–whether they are vegan or not.

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      1. “That said, EVERYONE should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables–not just vegetarians. Lack of affordable leafy greens is a serious problem for many Americans–whether they are vegan or not.”

        – Hear, hear!

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      2. Sorry, but I hate beans and my girlfriend -hates- spaghetti (pasta of any kind actually) with a firey passion. We were forced out of necessity to eat them for about two weeks when we were very poor, lived off the student food bank, and had to pay for her therapist ($100 a session, sheesh) and the health benefits were negligible compared to the negative impact that horrible existence had on our mental health. We might has well have survived by sucking beer out of ashtrays, it would have been the same on an emotional level.
        I will gladly die of a heart attack, diabetes, cholesterol, whatever comes at me, if that’s the price I pay for eating food which doesn’t make us feel miserable and sick. If I live to 50 and those years are spent enjoying myself, I consider it a far better deal than living to be 100 and spending that 100 years in deprivation and misery.

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        1. “If I live to 50 and those years are spent enjoying myself, I consider it a far better deal than living to be 100 and spending that 100 years in deprivation and misery.”

          – Of course, there are no health benefits to torturing oneself with food one does not enjoy.

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          1. A lesson I learned hard when I was younger. 🙂
            I think that those years I spent in deprivation of anything enjoyable as a teenager and an adult have given me a taste for luxury and pleasure in nearly all areas, and I find it’s helped enormously to learn to enjoy myself, after years of being told, either by others or that little voice in my head, that I hadn’t “earned” the right to enjoy myself.
            So tonight, after our free tango lesson (yay!) I think I’ll make chocolate truffles for Jaime and myself. Just because it’s Sunday. 🙂

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  10. The connection between improved male sexual performance and a vegan diet isn’t something PETA made up…and they did a poor job of explaining the connection in this ad. In short, erections and stamina are hindered by the arterial degredation (wither hardening or blockages) caused by consumption of animal products.

    PETA went for shock value with the faulty assumption that everyone already knew that a vegan diet improves circulation (which is essential to both erections AND stamina).

    A better explanation with citations: http://www.raw-food-health.net/CureForImpotence.html

    And a reminder that erectile dysfunction is an early warning of heart disease:
    http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=737

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