Today I’m getting up close and personal and sharing my story behind why I’m no longer vegan. Disclaimer: Please note that I am simply referring to a vegan diet, not the lifestyle. I also fully respect anyone’s choice to follow a vegan diet. You do, girl!
After many requests to write this post, I thought it would be important to explain to you all why my diet has changed, but it is mostly to give acceptance to myself and to others for being vulnerable and authentic. Thank you for keeping The Pure Life a safe space full of love and acceptance for all women.
My Story with health and dieting
At the age of 18, I struggled with digestive issues for a year straight and found no hope in conventional medicine. I saw a specialist who took me through blood tests, various medications, and even surgery with no luck. After taking matters into my own hands, I fell into veganism after stumbling across a video on raw veganism and quickly became fascinated and excited to learn more. I watched countless documentaries and youtube videos, read books on veganism and slowly cut out dairy, meat and then eggs from my diet. I became a young vegan pioneer in the Vancouver health community. At this time, I was blogging about my experiences with this health transition, my meals and my diet. I became obsessed with everything veganism. I loved creating vegan recipes and felt like I finally belonged in a community. It felt really good to be doing something that was so much greater than myself, something that contributed to reducing greenhouse gasses and sparing the life of another living thing. I felt really really good, until one day I didn’t.
My biggest mistake was that I put the label before my health – I put the label first, and my health second.
I began to think anything with the label “vegan” or “gluten-free” was the answer to all of my problem (not trying to sound dramatic, but it’s very true). I personally became so attached to the label in every aspect of my life – at one point I only wanted to spend time with people who were vegan, and those who weren’t, I would end up just trying to convince them to go vegan. I think I broke a lot of my relationships this way because I was completely throwing respect out the door.
I want to make one message clear – I love and appreciate the vegan diet and the vegan lifestyle. I think it’s such a wonderful way to contribute to this incredible movement of pro-plants and anti-mass consumerism. I think everyone should experience eating plant-based – it’s such a beautiful and eye-opening way of seeing the world. This goes for any other label. If you choose to identify with a diet label and that makes you feel amazing, then do that! Just remember that you can still be healthy without a diet label.
I now simply choose to drop the label for personal reasons. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that we can eat a certain way, but we don’t always need to put a label on it. You can still be healthy without labeling yourself x, y or z. As a nutritionist, I know how confusing diets can get. For example, just because something is labeled “gluten-free” or “organic” does not mean it is healthy! It could be packed with refined sugar and unhealthy additives, which I definitely don’t recommend.
Healthy eating comes in all shapes and sizes – it’s important to figure out which way of living and eating works for YOU. Labeling my diet doesn’t work for me, but that doesn’t’ mean it won’t work for you!
Why I’m no longer vegan
Without getting into all the details, I have decided to drop the label for a few reasons.
- My diet is no longer vegan. Do I still eat plants…like, all the time? HECK YES! I still choose to eat 99% plant-based. I make the choice to eat ethically and locally sourced animal protein when I want to, which is still not very often at this point. This might change, and I’m OK with that. This is the most important thing to me – having the flexibility and choice to listen to my body. Labeling my diet started to create disordered eating in many ways, and it’s something I am still learning how to overcome. Dropping my diet label has helped me to feel more confident and healthy in my relationship with food.
- My intuition. For years I resisted the urge to listen to my body. It’s a feeling that I never thought I would ever have – I always thought I would eat a certain way – forever. I started to make changes in my diet when I simply could no longer turn off my intense cravings for animal products, despite trying my absolute best to substitute with a vegan diet. Three years ago I was a very different person, and I think it’s important to honour those changes and listen to my intuition, wherever that may lead me. Most importantly, I now know that I can change my diet and still keep my values.
- My health. The best research tool we can ever have when it comes to health is our body. After listening to my body and diving deep into my education as a nutritionist, I believe that it’s important to constantly switch up and change your diet according to what your body needs at that moment. Listen to your body.
I like to keep my content very authentic. I have felt a huge calling this year to share my journey and my story with you all because I think we all need a little more authenticity on social media. Do I struggle with my diet? Yes, I do. Is it something I am working on constantly? Always. Do I love myself even more for being vulnerable and accepting myself for who I am truly am? Every day.
I am now fully listening to my body. I eat intuitively, I eat with intention, I eat mindfully. I eat for my mind, my body, the planet and the animals. I find my balance, my own unique balance.
How to Eat Intuitively
I think eating intuitively is a beautiful practice, and it’s something I work with my clients on regularly. These are some ways you can practice intuitive eating:
- Eat when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full (dieting and labeling triggered unhealthy portion control)
- Eating whole foods that make your body feel good. Make vibrant recipes to nourish your body.
- Eating with the seasons
- Honouring those ups and downs in our diet and lifestyle
- Remembering that our bodies and environments are constantly changing
- Creating goals surrounding your specific body type
- Become your own advocate for your health
What Intuitive Eating Is Not
- NOT copying what someone on Instagram is doing just because it works for them
- NOT putting labels above health (just because it says gluten-free does not mean it’s healthy)
- NOT unhealthy dieting, calorie-counting or restricting your body of necessary nutrients
I encourage you to share your story with dieting and labels if it feels right for you. Thank you for joining me on my journey of health and wellness and for promoting love and kindness in this community! Love you guys so much!