Two hundred and forty-four

Is Vegan right for everyone?

Many of you know that I have recently been struggling for the first time in my life with health problems. When I discovered that my problems were a direct result of my vegan diet I was devastated.  2 months ago, after learning the hard way that not everyone is capable of maintaining their health as a vegan, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and gave up veganism and returned to eating an omnivorous diet…” – Tasha, A Vegan No More, voracioueats.com

As I was checking out vegan recipes on VoraciousEats.com the other day, I started reading about Tasha’s journey from being a “vegangelical” to a meat-eating omnivore.  Despite being so pro-vegan, a slew of health problems required her to start eating animal products again (despite many tears and trying for months every alternative possible), and her health returned immediately .

It’s a long but fascinating read on one woman’s story of how both her eating habits and her beliefs changed.  If you have time, vegan or not, it’s a great other side to the lifestyle I’ve adapted over the past month and a good balance to the hardcore vegans I have talked to and researched.

After writing the post, Tasha had tens of thousands of views, hundreds of comments, e-mails and tweets.  She had people encourage her, and others threaten her family’s life (funny that a vegan who is opposed to killing animals threatens human life).  She retorted with another post: Vegan Defector Talks Back, answering questions and responding to some of the negative comments she received.

I think it’s important to show the other side of the vegan story.  Humans do need certain vitamins that can only come from animal products (specifically B12, although this can come from supplements if your body accepts them).  And we are omnivores, coming from the Latin ‘omni’ or everything, meaning we eat what is available – opportunistic eaters.  Therefore, we can thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet, or with meat.

I’ve read a lot on veganism over the past month and I do agree that it is a great choice to make for your health and your body (and factory farm animals and the environment), as long as you are very aware of what you are eating and making sure you get all the nutrients you need.  I also believe that a little bit of meat, in moderation, and that is free-range, local, organic, and you know where it is coming from, is not necessarily bad.  More on this topic tomorrow for my final post of my vegan month…

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5 thoughts on “Two hundred and forty-four

  1. This is a good point! I was Vegan for almost 10 year and got crazy ill for the last few years. My entire identity was wrapped up in being Vegan and it was devastating to start eating meat again. Within 2 months I was feeing better and within a year most of my symptoms were completely resolved. It turns out that I had copper poisoning- which is an interesting thing in itself. Copper toxicity comes from a diet high in copper and low in zinc. The symptoms include anxiety, depression, skin conditions, food allergies, acne….. and one of the biggest symptoms is a personality change towards more “spiritual” things and strong emotions- which can turn into social anxiety eventually. It is super interesting because you find newly veggie folks talking about these feelings and changes all of the time- and people tell them that they are just cleansing… etc.. I could go on and on… anyways, here are some interesting websites…

    Former Vegans and Raw Foodies
    http://www.beyondveg.com/

    Copper Toxicity
    http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm

  2. Pingback: Two hundred and forty-five | threehundredsixtysixdays

  3. There is a strange social response when you become un-vegan after being vegan for years. I was vegan for 7 years then started to eat eggs again to introduce more fat into my diet. It wasn’t easy, and I think i fought a gag reflex every morning for about a year before my tastes changed. I eat fish and occasionally chicken (chicken wings from time to time, and once ate a chicken breast at a dinner party so as to not be rude to the hosts). The response from vegans is a mixture of disappointment (because I ‘know better’) and social rejection. I find vegans more preachy to a ex-vegan than a lifelong omnivore. What is more surprising is the response from some people that aren’t and have never been vegan or vegetarian, didn’t know me when I was vegan, and who I’ve told ‘I used to be vegan.’ It’s like they instead heard ‘I’m vegan’ and proceed to scrutinize every morsel of food I consume and accuse me of being a fake or hypocrite or something. It makes it hard to try new things in that kind of environment. It’s kind of a creepy feeling knowing that people are watching you eat, waiting for a chance to single you out, insult your willpower, and question your morals, Why do they care? I honestly feel that diet is a personal choice. I wasn’t preachy as a vegan, and I’m not now. I feel that when some individuals meet a person with a very specific lifestyle (such as veganism) they see it as a criticism of their own way of life, and tend to get defensive.
    Of course, it isn’t all bad. Some people embrace my adventure to try new things like crab, oysters, and different fish. It’s great being around those people when trying something new because they aren’t pushing something on you that you don’t like, and they don’t judge when you don’t like it. My partner Dan is really they best at that. I’ll let him know when I’m ready to try something new, and he does his best to help me have a good first experience.
    Another interesting thing is that if you aren’t up for eating anything in the standard North American diet, people want to know ‘what you are.’ I’m not vegan, though I still prefer vegan food. Our meals at home are primarily vegan. I eat eggs for breakfast every day, have fish once every couple weeks, and occasionally eat chicken wings on half-price Fridays after having a couple pints. There’s a fairly new term that describes people with this diet. Flexitarian. The only problem with this word is that you have to define it every time you say it, but maybe it will become more mainstream and well excepted so all us ex-vegans can stop taking so much flack.

    • Thanks Mere for sharing! I can tell just from the social response of me becoming vegan for a month and then deciding the strict diet is not for me. I feel like I don’t fit in to the omnivores or the vegans now – some in between grey area that makes me an outsider to everyone and everyone having the right to judge what I eat. I try to laugh it off. I can’t imagine what it felt like after 7 years. I wrote in my last post about the term “flexitarian” and that is probably what I’ll stick to. There are so many yummy vegan meals that are so healthy, it would be silly to give that up.

      That’s great that Dan supports you and does his best to make it a good experience!

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