**Long/ranty post. Feel free to skip, but would love input if you have the time =)
Have you ever felt the need to defend your choice to be vegan? We get a lot of judgy vibes from people. They question our protein & calcium sources and we can properly sustain ourselves. Why would we want to go vegan in the first place? What pushed us from, in my case, a standard american diet to plant based living?
I don’t mind answering these questions. Even if the person asking seems like they don’t really care for my answers, I still believe it gets them thinking about things – about how they eat, their health, the animals and the planet.
But something I have come across during my recovery from my disordered eating, is how my being vegan is a form of a restrictive diet. One of the issues I have had in the past is restricting the amount of food I eat and what types of food I eat. And when I was in outpatient treatment, it was a hot topic with my specialist. She was convinced it was just a form of my eating disorder and that I would never truly be “better” if I continued to restrict such a wide scope of animal-based food.
I didn’t like a lot of what she had to say, but over time, I realized many of the things she said aided me in proper recovery. This wasn’t one of them. And now that I am in therapy, I have come to realize I am not even recovered from my eating disorder. I’m in a very good place, a very healthy place – much better than I was 2 years ago, a year ago or even 6 months ago. I am slowly moving forward, but am far from fully recovered. My therapist today brought up my diet choice and made the same points as the specialist two years ago and it really hit a nerve.
I got extremely defensive and explained all of the awesome benefits I got from being vegan. I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better, my allergies have disappeared, I can’t properly digest dairy and I NEVER LIKED MEAT. Initially, going vegan was purely for health reasons. I had a cancer scare and after doing extensive reading, I concluded that going plant based could potentially reduce my risk of reoccurrence and that it couldn’t hurt anything.
Before going vegan, I was the pickiest eater ever. I wouldn’t try any new things, got serious anxiety about trying a new restaurant (and would order the exact. same. thing. from my regular favs). I ate much of the same thing day and day out, never eating many fruits or vegetables, or getting much protein and definitely missed out on a ton of nutrition in general. After being vegan for a year, I realized that it had opened a whole new world to me. I realized I had to break out of my comfort zone and try eating different things and I got to the point where I would try anything if it was vegan (avocado and mango are just a couple of the things I had never tried before in my 25+ years). And then I realized how much I love all of the little furry faces and how I could never eat them or from them again (which mean I also stopped wearing them or using any sort of care products of the sort). The environmental reasons came into play too and it just all sort of connected together for me. Annnnnnd my first physical and complete lab after going vegan proved I was healthier on the inside too.
So I’m feeling even more stuck in my recovery. This isn’t something I’m willing to budge on and it’s frustrating that what I’m doing could be considered restricting and unhealthy to myself when I feel like it’s brought me to my best self.
What do you guys think?