Breaking Vegan: Listening to the body

What happens when you’re trying to help the animals and be conscious of the environment and you then start to feel like you’re doing more harm to yourself?

Well, that happened to me.

Rewind to July 2017:

It was a Saturday night. I was home alone, with the dogs, watching some food documentaries on Netflix crying my freaking eyes out at the treatment of animals in food production. I texted my hubs and said that I wasn’t going to be eating meat anymore. I was committed. It was over. I was vegan with no intention of turning back. I was helping myself and the environment.

We were getting married that fall and we changed everything to be vegan, well, at least our meals were vegan. Our cake baker did an amazing job making sure the cake and cupcakes were vegan, our venue accommodated the restriction for me. I was so thankful for that!

Around February/March of 2018 I started to not feel that well. Brain fog, always hungry, struggling with food variety and my hubs suggested to see a nutritionist to make sure I’m eating right and getting the right supplements to be a healthy vegan because you can definitely be an unhealthy vegan because things like Oreos are vegan.

I know. I was shocked too. Oreos are vegan.

The doctors and nutritionists said I was doing everything right and I started eating more. This went on for another year and a half.

We went to Europe in May 2019, I was vegetarian, I needed to taste fresh feta in Greece and mozzarella in Italy! I was totally okay with that, giving myself some grace to experience the culture. When we got back to the states I just started craving meat. So much! I started fantasizing about being pregnant, so that I could eat whatever I wanted. Let me tell you, never have I ever fantasized about being pregnant. EVER.

I started thinking, “what the fuck am I thinking?? I can eat whatever I want NOW, I don’t have to wait. I can do what I want right now.”

I pondered this thought for a few weeks before I voiced it to anyone. I went to San Francisco for work at the beginning of July for a 1-day conference and all the food that they had was smothered in cheese, even the salad. I did email the person putting on the conference to let them know that I was vegan, prior to the conference, and I never got a reply. Maybe she read it, maybe not.

Either way there was no food for me to eat and I thought to myself, “what am I doing? I’m not eating because I don’t wanna eat animal products but there literally nothing else to eat. Am I gonna just not eat or should I get something in my belly and forgive myself? Why am I putting these strict rules in place and demonizing eating food that is nourishing to my body and mind?”

So I meditated on this. Talked about it with my hubs, wrote to a Facebook group asking if anyone else had experienced this and what did they do about it. They shared very similar experiences: not feeling healthy as a vegan, hair falling out, nail strength diminishing, foggy headedness etc. some women shared amazing articles about farming and the environmental impact of a completely vegan farm. I didn’t even think about the veggies that I eat come from farms that have animals on them that use the manure fertilizes the veggies. 🤯 This was mind blowing for me. Not even the farms the grow the vegetables are 100% vegan, and if they are, they create more fossil fuels that harm the environment more. (Link to the article).

I talked with my sis-in-law bc she was vegan/vegetarian for years and now has no restrictions and I just wanted to see if there were other people who were experiencing this. There were so many flexible vegans. I was blown away.

I realized a few things:

I’m naturally a very strict person.

When I say I’m gonna stick to a rule, I’m gonna stick to that rule no matter what. Even if that means I’m not eating much or sticking to something, when it is doing harm to me. I don’t want to think that certain foods are “good” or “bad” I want to eat what I want and feel good about nourishing my body!

Labels aren’t healthy for me.

I would honestly think negative things about people who said they were vegan and then I saw them eating pizza with real cheese or ice cream. I’d be thinking, “how can they say they’re vegan when they’re eating all the things?” When I’m reality I was jealous that they were being more flexible and likely, healthier for themselves in the process. I was talking shit about people in my head, sending negative vibrations into the universe, because I was jealous they were eating the things that I wanted to eat.

Decisions about dietary restrictions are not set for life.

We change and ebb and flow with time. These decisions aren’t final. We can change our preferences throughout our lives and I was living like it was for life or that I failed if I changed my mind, when we naturally go through stages and can go back and forth all the time. This is healthy to listen to your body and understand what’s serving your highest self at this point and time. I was really being my own worst critic and making my decisions harder on myself rather than giving myself the grace that I needed to make the decision of what to eat every day, one day at a time.

I want a healthy relationship with food. I do not want to demonize certain foods, by putting unhealthy labels on them. I want to know that I’m doing the best for me.

Am I saying that veganism is bad? Fuck no! I loved being vegan. I love everything that being vegan stands for. I’ve gone to vegan festivals. I love animals. My dogs are my life. It just stopped serving me.

So ultimately, I decided that I’m reincorporating animal products into my life. I’m taking it slow. I’m giving more thanks for our food and where it comes from. I finally understand what saying grace is all about - ha! I’m also having compassion and understanding when I start talking shit on myself (my inner asshole is very prevalent rn) and tell myself to calm down and I’m feeling better and isn’t that what life is all about? Feeling good! That’s what I want, I want to feel good!

We’re still having vegan days during the week and I’m not always going to order meat at restaurants. We’re going to be more mindful of where our meat comes from and try not to eat meat at every meal.

When have you re-evaluated a large life decision because it wasn’t serving you anymore? This can be food, relationships, career etc. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Much love and compassion - Missy 💜