Writing a post about the Super Vegans is never easy. And picking amongst the many vegans who are out there doing great work is hard. A list of 10 is by its very nature subjective and small. So I apologize to the many other Super Vegans out there who are doing great work – the ones in the trenches who are unrecognized – the true animal heroes.
Of course my sample size is small as I am just a flotsam in the big pond of veganism and hardly have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the heavyweights in the vegan movement. My only claim to fame is that I met Alex Pacheco about 20 years ago when he stayed with my wife and I for a couple of nights when he was in town doing an undercover operation.
So I must confess that I am an outlier looking in on the vegan movement and picking and choosing my top 10 vegans’ list from the nose bleed seats.
So please understand that this list is just a starting point and hopefully a place to start your acquaintance with some of the Super Vegans out there.
You are probably wondering how I chose these vegans to represent the thousands of Vegan All Stars out there. Let me explain. I suffer from several biases. The first of which is my small sample size as mentioned before. The second is geographic bias. Being in Canada I am mostly familiar with the North American vegan movement. As such I am embarrassed to say that there are no Brits or Europeans or Asians on this list. I am ignorant in that matter.
I do however appreciate the storied and activist history of the vegan movement as it first bloomed in Britain but I am not familiar with the current British Vegan All Stars.
Also, the vegans on this list I hope are predominantly new to you. That is, as the title suggest, the top 10 Super Vegans you’ve never heard of. The well known icons in the vegan movement like John Robbins and others are not here because their celebrity is already well known. I own John Robbins a deep debt of gratitude as it was his book “Diet for a New America” that ignited my vegan journey.
Also, my list of Super Vegans that follow are not only concerned with the dietetic aspects of veganism but in my mind – more importantly – they are also great activists concerned about animal rights.
With that said, let us begin our list of the top 10 Super Vegans in no particular order:
Dr. Jonathon Balcombe
After watching Jonathan’s brilliant and very erudite talk giving to the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii I have developed a man crush for this mensch 🙂
It would behoove you to carve out 60 minutes from your day sometime this week and watch this speech about “Why Vegan? Lessons From An Animal Scientist”
Dr. Balcombe is an ethologist or scientist who studies animal behavior and it is my opinion that his work and work like his will bring tremendous strides of progress to the animal rights and vegan movement in the years and decades to come.
Buy his books and support his groundbreaking and crucial work on behalf of animals.
Gary is an excellent animal rights activist and tremendously eloquent speaker. If you have another 60 minutes you can take from your busy day I urge you to watch his very pointed and complete lecture given to student’s at Georgia Tech in the Summer of 2010.
Gary has been arrested more times than 50 cent and has managed to have himself banned from 5 countries. A tireless activist he not only talks a good game but he walks the walk too.
As with the other activists here, Gary’s site is bookmarked and I find myself referring to it very often when trying to clarify my take on animal abolition and veganism as it’s first rung.
In fact, I consider Gary Francione as the founding father of the animal abolitionist approach and one of the lone, sane voices out there not only developing the philosophy of animal abolition and animal rights but also actively arguing for animal abolition.
For a quick primer on why animal abolition is the only honest and viable approach to animal rights and why veganism is a crucial first step in that process read Gary’s very elegantly explained pamphlet on the subject titled “Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach Pamphlet”
It was from Gary’s teachings and excellent explanation of the abolitionist approach that I got sense of my own leanings and clarity on this subject. Buy his books too 🙂
Dr. Michael Greger
Dr. Greger is a vegan MD, in fact that is the name of his website. Or at least one of them. He makes this list because he is in my opinion one of the less known but equally important MDs out there speaking and writing about veganism, our health and the connection to animals agriculture.
He has done a ton of quiet campaigning for veganism including being an invited expert witness during Oprah Winfrey’s meat defamation law suit. Like T. Colin Campbell he also went to Cornell University.
His new website Nutrition Facts has literally hundreds of videos on diet, health and veganism. Definitely worth your time to get lost in there for a bit. You can check out some of his great books here.
Robert Cheeke is a vegan bodybuilder, fitness model and expert whose image you’ll find next to any definition of the word “plant strong”. A natural bodybuilder, Robert is a long time vegan (over 15 years) and a tireless campaigner for vegan fitness and bodybuilding.
Proving that veganism is not just about salad and scrawny bodies, Robert has crushed the myth that vegans are weaklings or that vegans can’t get enough protein to build big muscles.
Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness is Robert’s other site and is a must read for any of you vegans looking to debunk stereotypes and to start representing the vegan lifesyle with an emphasis on strong, sexy and fit. Check him out. Listen to him if you get the chance and build Popeye muscles with vegan spinach!
Sarah is the only Canadian vegan (represent!) on this list and she is my favorite Canadian vegan sista. Sarah is just a warm hearted, kind and funny vegan who has been putting out the vegan message through her love and talent of vegan cooking since at least 1998.
I have a couple of her cookbooks and each year I buy her vegan calendar. ‘Cept I can’t find it for next year… Sarah?
If you’re looking to start out on your vegan journey and need a reliable and easy vegan recipe book then you should choose one of Sarah’s. I recommend La Dolce Vegan and Vegan a Go-Go as good ones to start with.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard is a medical doctor and author focusing on ending the horrendous use of animals in animal laboratories as well as researching and contributing a great body of evidence to the health benefits of a sound vegan diet.
He also found Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as well as the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. The latter being a terrific resource for those of you thinking about starting out on a vegan diet. Filled with adivce, recipes and more, you’ll want to stick with it after the 21 days… seriously!
Neal Barnard is probably the best known of these top 10 Super Vegans and he has numerous books out there on helping you become and stay a healthy vegan. I own several of them. Definitely worth a look.
Bob Linden is literally the voice of veganism through his weekly radio show “Go Vegan With Bob Linden”.
For over 10 years Bob’s radio show has been broadcasting the vegan message and investigating vegan topics like animal rights, civil liberties, free speech, product reviews and much more. He has interviewed over 500 giants in the vegan movement including John Robbins, our very own Gary Francione and Professor Steve Best amongst many others.
Bob has been vegan for over 25 years and his hour long weekly radio show is worth a listen. Download it and listen to it in your car or on your iPod during your commute. Dig through the archives for all the tasty morsels.
Dr. Steven Best
Dr. Steven Best was voted one of the 25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians by VegNews. He is a tireless activist and he gave a very rousing speech at a vegan brunch in Germany. It was a needed call to action for vegans everywhere. Definitely worth the 30 minutes to listen to it.
Perhaps the most authentic and honest animal activist out there, Steven is seeking the total liberation of animals, people and planet earth from humanity’s chains of suffering.
A deeply ecological and thoughtful philosopher, Steven is on the vanguard of not only the animal abolition and vegan movement but the greater movement for justice and and equality for all who inhabit earth. Clear, compelling and thought provoking, Dr. Best is a bright candle in these dark times.
Practical philosophy that informs and inspires. You could and should spend hours reading his writings.
Harley Johnstone aka Durianrider
I just came across Durianrider’s blog a few months ago and I’m addicted to his forthright and engaging messages. Pulling no punches, whether you agree with him (I do) or not, you can’t help but to respect his position.
Harley is also a founding partner at 30 Banana’s a Day which promotes the 80/10/10 or 811 diet which is primarily a frugivore diet.
I’m a fan of the 811 diet but I’m chicken shit to try it. Primarily because I live in the ass cold frozen tundra of Canada and because I’m too po’ to try it at the moment either. Though Harley sure inspires me with is athleticism and physical fitness. The guy is a machine.
If you’ve been counting then you know this is number 11. What the hell, I just threw you a bonus 😉 Vegan Soapbox although started by one person is now an amalgamation of thoughts on veganism and vegan ethics from several fine Super Vegans.
It is one of the better and bigger vegan websites out there promoting the vegan lifestyle and the reality of animal suffering and slaughter. Definitely check them out on a regular basis. Bookmark them too like I have.
That’s my list of the top 10 Super Vegan All Stars. I’ve left out many. I know. Please add to this list as you feel in the comment box. It’d be cool to have this as the authoritative super star vegan guide.
Be well, be plant strong!
EDIT: I have now included a list of our vegan super star soul sistas. Check it our for some grrl power!
Great list! And great information that I will read in the next few days, Thanks!
My only disappointment is there is only one woman on your list. I would have like to have seen more of a balance:)
That’s a very fair comment Ann.
I realized the same when talking about this post with my wife. This is unfortunately, due to my ignorance.
As mentioned at the end of the post, please help me out and our other readers by offering some folks that should have been included. I’d love this to become the biggest and most complete guide to Super Vegans out there 🙂
This is an awesome list–thank you!
Thanks for commenting.
No mention of the vegan MMA fighters – Mac Danzig, Ricardo Moreira, and Jake Shields?
Are you serious bro???
Excellent additions Zack.
A list of 10 is always going to be lacking. Thanks for adding to it.
While we’re on the subject of Vegan Sports Superstars, I’ll add a couple too.
Pat Neshek, Mike Tyson, John Salley and Mike Zigomanis.
The lack of women jumped out at me too. I appreciate your trying to do a list like this which can be so helpful to newbies. Many on this list I wouldn’t think fit the list of “those you haven’t heard of.” 😉 For the women’s list can’t imagine leaving off the legendary, tireless Collen Patrick Goudreau, and Ruth Heidrich, cancer survivor & triathlete. She’s one of the few female accomplished athletes besides myself who has written books on how a vegan diet enhances performance. As for behind the scenes work, in the foreword to my book, Dr. Barnard talks about how I did media training for PCRM for years…and doctors and other leaders on the frontlines of today’s veg issues. I’ve been one of the main speakers at most Veg Fests in the US and Canada since my book came out in June. It’s my publisher’s (Book Publishing Co.) #1 seller and has been for awhile. Sorry to self-promote, but I don’t know of other ways to get the word out about the cheap cost of vegan eating
Thanks for the additions Ellen,
very worthy choices. I am knowledgeable of Ruth and she certainly deserves to be on a list like this. Goudreau rings a bell and I’ll be learning more about her too.
Sounds to me like you should be on a Vegan Superstar list too.
Thanks for all of your contributions.
Btw, look for an additional list of All Star Vegan Ladies in the next few days. I’m edumacating myself about the many vegan female warriors and heroes out there.
Thanks for your comments.