Monday, December 19, 2011

Anatomy of an apology: Daiya makes nice

I was so furious when Daiya Cheese posted a video entitled “Being FAT is now illegal in Japan”. Each fat hating comment and stereotype fueled this anger, which is why I quickly wrote up a blot post about it (and posted on facebook and emailed the company). The only thing I was seeing on their facebook page was empty apologies that clearly did not understand why people were upset.

When I got an email from Daiya Cheese requested my phone number so the CEO could give me a call, I knew it was a good sign. When I talked with Greg, CEO, and Andre from the company, my fire was completely put out. While Greg had a good explanation for not being around when the controversy started and being unaware of it, he did not use it as an excuse. Instead, he sincerely apologized for what happened. He told me exactly how he was going to remedy the situation. They were creating a code of conduct for facebook and would delete the really hateful posts by others. He was clearly frustrated with the social media employee, who up until that time had done a good job. He promised to give her training to understanding why the video post was so insulting to others. Andre shared with me his past of being bullied and they both shared how the hateful message from the video post goes directly against what they believe and what the company is about. What a relief!

I felt listened to. The apology was heartfelt. There were no excuses, just accountability. They were being proactive to remedy the situation and were addressing people’s concerns. They kept asking for my feedback and made sure I knew that their doors were open for further communication. I was impressed! Here is a video of Greg apologizing for the incident so you can see for yourself.

Companies have a human component, especially the smaller ones. I understand mistakes can happen. We all make them. To me it is more important how a mistake is handled, than what the mistake itself was. My hope it that this is a learning opportunity for everyone involved, especially the social media person. Daiya Cheese has won me back as a customer and I have new respect for them as a company.

Although there was a lot of hate being smeared across their facebook page, there was also a lot of people speaking up and showing me that fat vegans and their allies are out there and have a beautiful voice. It was nice feeling connected to them and even made some new facebook friends and was introduced to a new blog. I can’t convince every one to be open to the truth and be considerate, but at least I could find others who live like my motto; health at every size, respect for every body.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Daiya Cheese posts video that promotes fat hate - Updated!

UPDATE: Today I talked with Greg, the CEO, and Andre from Daiya cheese and I left our conversation feeling the company is in the process of taking appropriate measures to resolve the hurtful video posting on facebook and make sure situations like this do not happen again. I will be sure to blog about follow through of these measures and feel very confident that the company is sincerely good and will remedy the situation.

Daiya cheese just posted a video on their facebook page titled “Being FAT is now illegal in Japan” and then asked, “Should this be adopted in North America?” People have been commenting like mad, both upset and agreeing. Many comments were downright insulting and inappropriate. Daiya then did a post saying they did not want to offend anyone, just encourage a discussion. They obviously still do not get it.

By posting this video, Daiya is leading a discussion that promotes hatred. The idea of making fat people illegal contributes to stereotypes that we are all lazy and eat unhealthy. It contributes to the shaming of fat people and tells us they we need to change. It does not ask important questions; such as can you be fit and fat? The answer is YES!

You can see this when reading the comments by others. I get so enraged seeing how rampant fat hatred is and how quickly our concerns are dismissed and made fun of. People are not just speaking their mind; they are attacking me. I have been fat as long as I have been conscious of my existence, been fit majority of that time and vegan over 15 years. I have experienced people’s stereotypes and have been targeted for my size in ways you could not imagine. This includes, ironically, having a hamburger thrown at me during a mcdonalds protest and names slung at me by a car passing me as a bike up a huge hill.

Corporations have been profiting from people’s insecurities and promote unhealthy diets and unattainable bodies. As a result, our society is filled with eating disorders and bad body image. There is a solution. Promoting a healthy diet and exercise, along with body confidence, will contribute to a healthier population. A person’s size has no relevance in the talk about health. As a society, we should focus on health at every size and respect for every person.

On Daiya’s wall I posted that they should educate themselves about this issue, and even volunteered myself to be contacted to do so. Their response? A thank you for my post and that I can email them at any time. What! Wasn’t I already contacting them? And isn’t it their responsibility to educate themselves and correct their ignorance? I try to give companies a chance for a positive response since I have been at the other side of controversy before, but their response it not acceptable. Please join me in telling Daiya their post and behavior is irresponsible and not acceptable. Daiya should educate themselves why this post is considered offensive to so many and make a true apology. Email them at

And if you personally would like to know more about this topic, feel free to contact me, or check out some of the links below.

Big Fat Facts

Health At Every Size

Dances with Fat Blog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Baking

I went to a housewarming party last month and had been wanting to try and make pumpkin bundt cake. Well, I couldn't find my bundt pan so I ended up using the same recipe I developed to bake into cupcakes. I then glazed them simply with powdered sugar whisked with a little vanilla and coconut milk. I am not a huge pumpkin fan, but I do love ginger so I made sure to add just as much ginger as cinnamon and I think this helped me enjoy the cupcakes, along with the extra moisture from the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

3 Tb. Flaxseed Meal
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Oil
1 cup Unrefined Cane Sugar
1 cup canned Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup Molasses
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Soy, Almond or Coconut Milk
2 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 Tb. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine the flax and water and let stand a few minutes. Cream together the oil and sugar, then add the pumpkin, molasses, vanilla and milk. Add the flax/water mixture to the other wet ingredients. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to wet and mix until just combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Bake 40 minutes for 9-inch cakes and 50-60 minutes for a loaf pan.

* For gluten free, use 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour, 3/4 cup sweet white rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch and 2 tsp guar gum for flour. This has not been tested in this recipe, but it has worked in other cake recipes.