When activist Jasmin Singer became a vegan when she was 24, it wasn’t because she was joining a trendy food-craze, like going gluten-free or giving up carbs. To her, it was a stand against the way animals were treated, solely for human consumption. “I consider eating a deeply personal, political act,” she says. “For me, veganism was an extension of my worldview, not my personal preference.”
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Becoming a junk food vegan
As she shares — sometimes brutally and blatantly — in her new memoir “Always Too Much And Never Enough” (out today), Singer was emotionally abused by bullies as a child and young adult, and she used food to comfort herself to the point where she says she was addicted. Going vegan didn’t change that. “I ate a lot of processed food and rarely ate a vegetable,” she says.
“It wasn’t until I was 30 and my doctor told me I was on my way to heart disease that I started to realize I couldn’t effectively advocate for animals or anyone else if I wasn’t advocating for myself,” she says. After this realization, Singer totally changed her eating habits, giving up processed food and eating lots of fruits and veggies. As a result, she lost 100 pounds.
For the first time, Singer couldn’t turn to junk food to comfort herself. “Only when I was able to have this break from thinking about food was I able to look at the reasons why I felt so compelled to eat row after row of Oreos — which are vegan by the way,” Singer says. “I realized there were a lot of aspects of my life I was suppressing that needed to come out.” Feeling freed, Singer fully embraced her sexuality as a queer woman, and let go of the way a lifetime of bullying had held her back.
But it’s not always easy. Singer says in times of stress, it’s still tempting for her to turn to food, but she is now able to recognize how she’s feeling and direct her energy elsewhere — namely to her advocacy for animal rights.
But to Singer, her road to self-discovery is about much more than her veganism. “My book is not a book about how to be vegan or even how to lose weight,” she says. “It’s for people who are interested in emboldening themselves and becoming better versions of who they are.”
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