Monday, September 20, 2010

I am NOT a Hallelujah Vegan...and You Shouldn't Be, Either

What the heck is a Hallelujah Vegan, you ask?  Oh, trust me I will tell you.  I'm seriously peeved about this one, and I'm breaking my rule about blogging while angry for it.  I'm white-hot pissed right now.  Keep reading; you'll see why.


I've been writing in this blog off and on for a while now.  I don't get a lot of comments, but I seem to get some page views pretty frequently--from all over the world, actually--and that keeps me motivated.  Today, I couldn't resist the temptation, and I Google'd my own blog.

I was horrified at what I found.  Apparently, there is a whole group of people who call themselves "Hallelujah Vegans" and follow a diet they've called "The Genesis 1:29 Diet."  I swear on every ounce of integrity in my body that I never heard of these folks before today.

These so-called hallelujah vegans are following a restrictive diet based on a book written by a guy named Gordon Tessler entitled, The Genesis Diet.  There's no specific description of the eating plan or any nutritional science that backs up whatever it is that Tessler convinced these people to do.  All you see on the Amazon page is a handful of glowing and vague reviews proclaiming Tessler's prescience in "diagnosing" health problems.  Diagnosing?  Seriously?  He's not an M.D.  He's a PhD, and good luck finding out what he is actually a doctor of...because I couldn't.

This man is scary.  Everything I found about him paints the picture of a total sheister charleton type who goes around getting people all excited about buying his book by calling it "biblical."  He's got his various books and DVD's  for sale in a number of questionable-looking places.  It's a very Scientology-sounding type of quackery with "body scans" and "healing rooms."  I mean, that's so straight-up Friend of Xenu that I can't believe there are people who went for it.  Tessler is described in multiple places as an "expert" in nutrition and "biblical health."  Huh?  What does that even mean?

Every online diet review you find for the Genesis Diet is pretty much the same:  no specific information about the diet because they couldn't find any...but it's not recommended because it's too low in calories, too high in carbs, and too low in protein (which begs the question, "how do they know all that if they don't know what's in the diet plan?").  Sigh.

There are sites online devoted to trashing veganism because of the frightening results some people had from following Tessler's diet.  One of them is called "Losing Your Mind to the Genesis Diet," and they drone on and on for pages and pages about how meat and cheese are the only way to get quality protein (because the Genesis Diet frowns upon beans and legumes and they were idiotic enough to eat that way until their gums started to bleed...nice!).  Apparently, the authors of this anti-veg site, which I will not dignify with a link, are either lying to cover up a political agenda against veganism or they were on a pseudo-starvation diet that some nut job convinced them was scriptural...because they were stupid.

I'm devastated to think I might be associated with this guy or his book or the diet or any of this drama because of the name I chose for my blog.  I'm angry and crestfallen to find that when someone Googles my blog, the entries they will see on top of my link are related to all this drama and nonsense.

At first, I thought I should change the name of my blog...but I'm not going to do that.  I picked it because I felt inspired by reading Genesis 1:29...for myself.  All this other tomfoolery has nothing to do with my family or our little project.  I have loved the title I chose here and been proud of it, so I don't think I should have to give it up.  But going forward, let me just get a few things straight:

1.)  Nothing in Genesis 1:29 suggests you should go hungry or that you should neglect staples of nutrition.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Genesis 1:29 describes bountiful variety in God's gift of all plant life for our use and consumption.  It certainly doesn't say you shouldn't eat chickpeas or peanuts...for God's sake!!

2.) Veganism is not a diet.  It's a commitment to eating healthfully and plentifully without harming anything in the process.  It's about standing up for moral integrity against a corrupt system of "food" production in the developed world which has strayed from basic humanity and the laws of nature.

3.) You do not need animal protein to be healthy, but you do need protein.  Eat beans and legumes.  Eat nuts.  Eat whole grains.  Make sure you know where your protein comes from...and eat some every day.

4.)You don't need dairy calcium to be healthy (in fact, a lot of research indicates that dairy consumption hurts calcium absorption more than it helps), but you do need calcium.  Eat lots of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.  Drink calcium-enriched non-dairy milks (like soy milk or rice milk).  Know where your nutrients come from, and eat them.

5.) Educate yourself about vitamins B12 and D, and make sure you meet your body's needs for them.  It's not hard and nothing has to die in a factory farm for you to do it.

6.) Serving God through veganism is about stewardship.  It's not about penance or deprivation or some mystical and rigid adherence to the terminology in any particular Bible verse.

God didn't make the Bible difficult to understand.  He didn't hide the truth from you and then show it to "Doctor" Tessler so he could sell it to you.  You don't need to buy anything or consult moon phases, runes, or experts in "biblical health" to understand nutrition.  If you are  Eat well.  Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, fats, and colors...and eat calories.  You need them.  Listen to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau...not Gordon Tessler.  Her podcast is free, and she is an acknowledged, non-crazy expert in vegan nutrition.

So.  If you see someone referring to themselves as a hallelujah vegan or to their "diet" as the Genesis 1:29 Diet, know that they have no relationship, connection, or affiliation with me...and then RUN the other way as fast as you can.


  1. Dear Mrs. Nix,
    Your opening statement "I'm seriously peeved about this one, and I'm breaking my rule about blogging while angry for it. I'm white-hot pissed right now" indicates to me that you do not understand the translation of Genesis 1:29 or the meaning. Genesis 1:29 simply says that fruits and vegetables come highly recommended. NOWHERE in this verse does it say that they are the only food that one can eat to the exclusion of all edible things on the planet unless you have a translation from Aramaic no one else has.

  2. I'm certainly not in this to argue Biblical translation. The verse is clear in its meaning to me and many others. Many Biblical scholars have taken God's reluctant instruction to Noah to consume meat after the flood as confirmation that all people on earth prior to Noah were NOT given permission to eat animal products.

    I read it that way, too.

    Your hostility is noted. The anger I was writing about had nothing to do with my reading of Genesis 1:29. It has only to do with the "Genesis Diet," which is a restrictive and - apparently - nutritionally incomplete diet from a man who makes money off of gullible Christians.