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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

PCRM Creates a Rude Misguided Ad!

OK. I have my advocacy pants on again, and they’re on fire!

PCRM, Physician’s Commitee for Responsible Medicine (really?) just started running this offensive ad, allegedly to encourage more people to become Vegan.  In the ad, PCRM manages to encourage both weight stigma and sexism! See what you think.


I just had to let them know how I felt!

On Friday, March 30, 2012, I wrote this to PCRM:

Subject: Please become more informed

Dear Dr. Barnard and PCRM,

I’m writing to encourage you and your organization to consider the following research. Surely you can find more accurate and clever ways to promote being a Vegan without spewing weight bias and inaccurate information about BMI risk? (Please see attached studies using large samples.)

BMI and Mortality; Results from a National Longitudinal Study of Canadian Adults

BMI and All-Cause Mortality Among Japanese Adults

As I’m sure you know, numerous studies have shown Doctor’s bias toward people of size. Is that what we’re seeing in your latest tongue and cheek ” Sit Next to a Vegan “ campaign?


Ellen Shuman
Ellen Shuman
Founder/Coach; A Weigh Out Life Coaching and Membership Circle,
President BEDA;Binge Eating Disorder Association,
Co-Chair; Academy for Eating Disorders “Health at Every Size” SIG

The same day, PCRM responded:

Dear Ms. Shuman,

Thank you for contacting PCRM. We appreciate your taking the time to view our ad and share your comments. I have passed your letter on to members of our communications and membership departments, and they carefully review all comments and take them into consideration. I’ve sent the attached PDFs to our nutrition department for their review. Your feedback is important to us.

The intention behind PCRM’s most recent ad, directed toward American Airlines, was to highlight a particularly positive benefit of the vegan diet – weight management. The video was not intended to offend those who are overweight. Certainly, there is no value in blaming overweight people for a condition that results from a mixture of industry marketing, government promotions, addictive qualities of foods, genetic vulnerabilities, medication effects on appetite, and, in the end, overeating. Instead, it is essential to zero in on the problem foods, expose them, and do what we can to get them off our plates.

We sincerely appreciate your feedback and hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with us in the future. Should you have any further comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Emily Price, Membership Assistant


Here’s My Response to That (Note…I’ll take on their “problem foods” strategy at another time…it’s way too simplistic):

Thanks for your response, Emily. I’m glad my concerns will be further considered! We look forward to further comment from PCRM.

In your email, you wrote, “The video was not intended to offend those who are overweight.” How could your video NOT offend those who are overweight. Your video actually encourages weight stigma. Very disturbing that PCRM

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  1. Wow. How do “professionals”…medical professionals at that…get to a point where they think this kind of ad is acceptable? What a sad state of our culture and education system! Among the multitude of questions that arise in my mind: The two men already seated…portrayed as “normal, everyday” men…are they presumably vegan? Is that what “gives them permission” to scoff at those who do not appear to be vegan? So many stereotypes and inaccuracies make this ad highly unpalatable.

  2. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says

    I know. It is beyond comprehension. What were they thinking?

  3. WOW was my exact response also…I wouldn’t even know where to begin with all the “offensive” things in the message. Thanks for taking the initiative to write to them Ellen.

  4. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says

    I just couldn’t let this one go by without taking initiative! If anyone else wishes to let PCRM know how you feel, you can email them, pcrm@pcrm.org

  5. I have followed PCRM for a while now…veganism was one of my (many) desperate attempts to lose weight.

    In addition to being offensive, the ad also plays on a stereotype, that equates vegan with young, pretty, blond, thin. These images are dangerous to young women in particular as the larger vegan movement preys on the sensibilitiess of young girls. A good book about this is “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith. In it she discusses the dangers of a vegan diet on womens reproduction and also sorts through vegan propoganda.

    Also, there is a lot of research to support that meat is not the enemy for example the work of Westin Price foundation, Sally Falloon.

    Our brains are made of fat and cholesterol, and our lungs are coated in a thin layer of saturated fat as a protection. It’s healthy to consume naturally-occuring fats. Its hydrogenated oils, fried foods, added sugars and processed food we need to beware of. Many of these violations occur in commercially packaged vegan food.

  6. Ellen Shuman says

    Thank you for sharing your experience and great information, Ladybug!
    Yes, the commercial manages to be offensive on many fronts!!!

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