Many of you that know me well enough know that I have been vegan for almost two years. And yes, I still considered myself to be vegan even though I still consumed honey and bought wool socks. (Totally rebellious, I know.) I originally went vegan mostly for health reasons. I had researched, read blogs, testimonials, books and even watched a couple documentaries before fully committing. I didn’t want to run into issues or go about things too quickly. However, the more I learned the more I was sure that being vegan or plant-based was the only way to live healthfully. Also during this time, I was dealing with many negative thoughts about my body in eating disorder recovery. Going vegan seemed like it would solve all my body image issues. So, after becoming very knowledgeable in all things vegan, I made the switch and started out feeling like I had more energy and zest for life. I was excited about my diet change and very passionate about it. I felt that I was doing what was healthiest for my body.
Fast forward 14 months.
After a little over a year, being a vegan was losing it’s luster and fulfillment for me because I was beginning to not feel like I had when I originally went vegan. I simply didn’t understand, because I was always taking my liquid B12 and brazil nut daily, and even was taking iron supplements at some point. I started craving dairy. I was feeling run down and weak. I was pondering if the world would end if I had a burger. I was plateauing at a pace slower than ever before in my training. I was always eating and got hardcore hangry very easily. The sad thing is that in my mind none of these things could be from being vegan because it was obviously the healthiest way I could ever live my life.
Lol @ me.
God went ahead and gave me multiple reality checks in a variety of ways over the course of the past few months. I found myself in situations on trips where non-vegan food was the only option, or times when I was just CRAVING greek yogurt. (Like seriously, I didn’t even like greek yogurt before I went vegan.) It forced to me start thinking about life as a non-vegan. At first I felt ashamed to be thinking such a thing, like I was somehow failing myself. But as the days passed, and God continued to work on my heart, I began realizing how tunnel visioned I had become and how for all this time I was letting food dictate my body image. During this time of change, I realized that I had also become very judgemental of others who ate a standard western diet. Once coming to this realization, I felt very disappointed in myself for becoming so incredibly judgmental and narrow minded. I knew my only option to battling the constant hunger, judgement, cravings, and feelings of weakness was to give veganism up.
At this point, my mind was trying to tell me that I was going to die of heart disease or cancer if I was a non-vegan for the rest of my life. I then had my final epiphany before giving up being vegan forever: no matter what I do and how hardcore vegan I try to be, my health is only in my hands to a certain extent. God is in total control and could have me die of cancer someday regardless of whether or not I was vegan all my life. Since I originally went vegan for the sake of my overall health, this was also a crazy realization that further convinced me that veganism was just not for me.
Once I got past the mental issue of the whole situation, eating all of my former favorite foods came very easily. I now feel so much better. I can go out to eat wherever I want. I don’t have to worry about there being “vegan options” on trips. I don’t have to worry about anything food wise actually. And that is such an incredible feeling for me at this point.
I am so happy to be back to being a normal human. But I just want to be clear that this is just my story. I know there have been people who truly do thrive on a vegan diet for the majority of their existence. And I think that’s great, but at the end of the day my health and healing from restricting thoughts and actions was ultimately what I most worried about taking care of. And now that I have, I can honestly say the 100% vegan lifestyle is not for me. I do believe in the power of plants and their health benefits which I still keep in mind for meal prep and such, but at the end of the day, I am just eating what I crave and forgetting about the rest. Living with food as fuel and not as a determining factor of my body image has truly sent me through an immense time of growth as a female in today’s society.
I hope that you will join me in celebrating all foods as fuel for all of life’s adventures!
Here’s to thriving.