BW's Treefort 2019 Playlist: Boise Vegans Talk Tofu, Environmentalism and 'Vegan Shaming' at Foodfort 

click to enlarge Left to right: Kevin Scrima, Megan Stoll, Jenn Williams and Kristen Pound. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Left to right: Kevin Scrima, Megan Stoll, Jenn Williams and Kristen Pound.
As soon as attendees had settled into their seats, a question from vegan blogger/health coach Kristen Pound revealed that the members of Foodfort's "Save the Planet, Go Vegan!" panel on March 21 were preaching to the choir.

"How many people here are vegan?" Pound asked from the stage at The Basque Center in Boise, addressing the 40-plus attendees.

More than half of the people raised their hands. When Pound called for vegetarians to join in, that number jumped upward of two-thirds, and when former vegans, or those interested in becoming vegan or vegetarian added their votes, nearly every hand in the place was accounted for. Still, Pound and her fellow vegan panelists—Jenn Williams (the blogger and health coach behind thisishowyouvegan.com), Treefort co-founder Megan Stoll and Nexus Fitness owner Kevin Scrima—had plenty to share on the vegan lifestyle and its impacts on personal health, animal welfare and the environment.

"You'd actually save more water by not eating one pound of meat than you would by not showering for six months. That's how much water it takes to make one pound of meat," Pound said, a claim that earned shocked exclamations not just from the crowd but from the rest of the panel.

Later, Scrima tackled a question about tofu, a common vegan meat substitute, and its effect on estrogen levels in humans.

"There's a big different between phytoestrogen [plant-derived estrogen] and mammalial estrogen ... [Phytoestrogen] doesn't disrupt your hormone levels the way that everybody thinks it does," he said.

Williams shared tips on dining out as a vegan, pointing to a Boise-centric vegan dining guide on her blog. A discussion about what she called "vegan shaming" followed, and it was one of the most animated of the panel, getting the full attention of the vegan onlookers.

"I've been vegan for a few years, and my 15-year-old daughter is as well, and we both get s*** all the time. So have you guys been teased, and what is your best response when people give you crap?" asked attendee Kelsey Robbins.

"Vegan shaming is a thing," said Williams. "...When I meet that hostility I hear people out. I'm never the one to bring up that I'm vegan, people bring it up to me, but I always take the gentle approach and I kind of bring to light that you're almost shaming somebody for being compassionate."

Both Stoll and Pound cited the fact that such challenges can spark educational conversations about veganism, while Skrima took a lighter approach, joking, "[Criticism is] one of my favorite things, because I'm like, 'That's why I'm still vegan, because it makes you really mad for no reason.'"
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