I have listened to various interviews with Jonathan “Height” Haidt and read a good chunk of his Righteous Mind.

I’ve observed that male vegans who are not Indic or Seventh-Day Adventists, i.e., aren’t religiously motivated, seem to spontaneously convert to veganism even in spite of physiological and phenotypic characteristics that should push them in the opposite direction. One half-expects spindly left-wing intellectuals to be vegans, and nobody is surprised when a guy who looks like Moby turns out to be a vegan, and maybe long-distance runners could be veganist without surprise, but one certainly does not expect huge powerlifters and strength athletes to be vegans. Yet some of them are (q.v.), despite overwhelming cultural bias toward meat-eating and what could be called classic masculinity. (Muscles are classic masculinity.)

Barbara MacDonald’s research (PDF) shows a consistent pattern of reflection and a less consistent pattern of would-be vegans upending their lives so they can live with themselves and their moral code. My issue here is that such drives are so strong they overcome the two-steaks-a-day impulses of hugely muscular males.

Perhaps non-religious male vegans – and I am talking only about heterosexualists here – have an inbuilt predisposition to it. The issue seems to be age of onset and what the inciting incident might be. My mental image is of overlapping sets, in which some males with inbuilt veganist impulses they might not even know about start lifting weights, with, at some unforeseeable time, a trigger being pulled. But why?

I’m guessing that, just as moral beliefs and political orientations can be described as “innate” for some value of the term, so does veganism. These big strong veganist dudes would seem to be a highly conspicuous subgroup against which to test such a theory.

I dutifully ran this by Jonathan Haidt. “Totally cool topic! Food is so heavily moralized. Maybe purity plays a role, body-as-temple for some of these guys. Thank you!”

(What got me thinking here: The phrase “protein-deficient badass” on some veganist powerlifter dude’s Instagram. [Not an entirely original phrase, but a good one.] Also: “plantstrong”; “no-meat meathead” [both via].)

Update: Vegan Lifter Project

(2018.11.29) I later fact-checked my own ass and ran these hypotheses past about 15 male vegan powerlifters.

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None. I quit.

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