From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: Controversial Episode: Going from Racist to Anti-racist with Dustin and Josh LaJaunie

This week's episode:

Dustin and Josh LaJaunie have amazing transformation stories. They went from obese to fit. From junk food addicts to plant-based eaters. From hunters to vegans. From sedentary to active.

And everyone in the plant-based and vegan communities celebrates them for these achievements.

But what's most inspiring and exciting to me about their new identities has nothing to do with food or health. Instead, it's about how going plant-based started a domino-chain of changes that opened them up to full-on compassion.

First, for themselves.

Next, for animals.

And then, for all life on the planet.

From homophobic to celebrating Pride with  rainbow posts. From reactionary to progressive. From racist to antiracist.

I've gotten some flak for publishing this conversation. I fully expect my Patreon funding to decrease. And my risk is nothing compared to Dustin and Josh, who live not only in the plant-based world, but also in the small bayou town in Southeast Louisiana where they were born. A community that is struggling to rise to the challenge of the present moment, where so many white Americans have begun to say, “This stops now.”

The main gist of the criticism is, why can't plant-based people just stick to that topic, without going all gooey about social justice and turning people off? Stay in your lane, herbivore!

You be the judge – does the LaJaunie brothers' transformation turn people off to the possible sequelae of going plant-based, or is it perhaps the most eloquent and beautiful argument in support of eating with compassion?

I want to say one other thing to the white members of my audience. I'm a little uncomfortable sharing this conversation at this moment, precisely because so many white liberals and progressives can look at the old, racist LaJaunies and say to themselves, “Well, that was terrible, and good for them for changing, but I've never been a racist.”

If that's your reaction (and I certainly share it, because it makes me feel good about myself), then I invite you to listen to this conversation through a different lens.

I want you to ask yourself: "Where do I need to start showing the courage that Dustin and Josh demonstrate right now? Where are my core beliefs unsupported by my actions on a daily basis? Where are my current blind spots about how I'm contributing, without intention or consciousness, to the perpetuation of racist outcomes in my society?"

We're not having this conversation to be congratulated. Instead, we're having it to model discomfort. The same discomfort we feel when we stand up for our way of eating in the face of peer pressure and even ridicule. The same discomfort we experience when we exercise to the point of exhaustion.

Being healthy in this society; being plant-based; being vegan: these are all gyms where we've honed our discomfort muscles.

Now it's time to get out of the gym, and start lifting weights to make this planet great – for everyone.

Looking forward to your thoughts!