Confessions of a recovering vegetarian: How I made peace with eating meat

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One of the first questions I’m asked when someone finds out I’m in the nutrition field is “So, you’re a vegetarian?” It’s a loaded question, whether they realize it or not.

The prevailing belief when it comes to our food and health is that the fewer animal products we eat, the better. It’s perceived to be the healthier, the more ethical, the more environmental option.

I was a vegetarian of some shade or another for the better part of 12 years. I started in University for the politics of it, loving how radical it felt, and continued on and off until, ironically, I studied nutrition. I’ll confess right up front that for much of this time I wasn’t particularly good at it – I was the classic junk food vegetarian. I didn’t eat meat, but what I was eating wasn’t all that fabulous. I was more of a carbivore than anything – pasta, bread, cereals – mostly because I could never fill myself up.

During my years as a vegetarian, I had loads of digestive issues and was constantly hungry. Several times I figured this was because I wasn’t being “pure” or radical enough, so I tried my hand at a strictly vegan diet (no eggs, dairy, or anything that came from an animal). All the issues got worse, not better. The “healthier” I ate, the worse I felt. Occasionally I’d cheat and eat a little meat. To my great dismay, I would feel much better: my digestive issues resolved and I was completely satiated after even a small meal. What a predicament.

I see clients in my practice all the time in this same quandary: well-intentioned, following what they’ve been taught is a healthy, plant-based diet, trying to live their values of environmental sustainability and animal welfare through their food choices, and yet their body rebelling. What a horrible choice: feel good in your body but guilty about the impacts of your choices; or feel good ethically and miserable physically.

When I started studying nutrition, one of the concepts that compelled me the most was bio-individuality. Basically it means that what works for you might not work for me, and vice versa. One man’s food is another man’s poison. Bio-individuality is based on everything from physiology, family background, geography, ethnicity, season, blood type, stress levels, personal preferences… it’s a veritable jigsaw puzzle of factors that determine how our body will react to something.

This means that there’s no one diet that works for everyone. In fact, the diet that works for you today might be completely inappropriate five or ten years down the road. This concept of bio-individuality explains why some people thrive on a vegetarian diet while others, like me, really struggle with it.

But explaining why I did well with meat didn’t make me feel better about eating it. In fact, initially it made me feel worse. My biological wiring wasn’t making it easy to live according to the values I set for myself.

With a little more investigation, I learned that there was indeed a way to eat meat and feel good about it on an environmental and ethical level. Perhaps my innate instincts were turning me on to an important lesson in broadening my understanding of the issues at stake.

Confessions of a recovering vegetarian: How I made peace with eating meat | eatnakednow.com

I, like many people, lumped “animal foods” into one big category. I’d seen the horrifying images from inside feedlots. I’d seen the stomach-turning videos of abusive treatment to animals. I was well aware of the major contribution ruminants make to water pollution and climate change, not to mention the energy intensity of raising them. What I wasn’t aware of was a whole other source of meat, eggs, and dairy, grown by a small but growing group of independent farmers.

Farmer Joe Salatin of Polyface Farms and his grass-fed herd

These farmers are using traditional farming techniques that not only preserve but enhance their environments by increasing biomass and using minimal, if any, external inputs. They treat the animals humanely, allowing them to engage in their natural behaviors and eat the food they’re biologically designed to eat. One such farmer, Joel Salatin, has become quite famous for the methods he uses on his farm Polyface Farm. Many others are working with similar models throughout the country. Now this is meat you can feel good about!

As a wonderful bonus, not only is this an environmentally responsible choice and makes the health and welfare of its animals a top priority, it also provides meat, dairy and eggs that are far more nutritious. As one example: beef that comes from grass-fed versus feedlot cows is higher in the all-important Omega 3s, lower in fat overall, and contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that promotes healthy weight, lowers triglycerides, and has been linked to cancer prevention. You’ll find similar differences in the nutritional profiles of wild versus farmed fish, eggs from pastured chickens versus those raised conventionally in battery cages, and so on.

I immediately became very selective about what meat we bring into our home. You won’t find standard supermarket fare in our house. Yes, it’s more expensive, so we eat less of it to compensate.

The great news is that when I’m eating this way, I feel fabulous. My energy levels even out, my digestion ticks along like a well-oiled machine, and I feel lean and strong.

And then, every once in a while, hearing the vegetarian model aggressively promoted yet again, I start to question myself. I start weaning out the meat, I eat a few more grains (whole grains now – I’ve moved away from my junk food days) and a few more beans; I increase the veggie content even more than normal (50-70% of all my meals are vegetables regardless), and whaddaya know… the digestive complaints come back, I’m overstuffed but still not satiated after meals, and I start to bloat. Turns out that a plant-based diet really doesn’t work for me after all.

Digestive issues and constant hunger aside, I kind of miss the simplicity of my vegetarian days. It was so easy to just label anything that came from an animal as “bad” and end the conversation there. Unfortunately, the reality is a lot more complicated, and not nearly so black and white. Ultimately it depends on your individual biology and it depends on the source of your meat.

Here are three ways your body could be telling you it needs animal protein:

1) After a plant-based meal you experience great digestive distress.

2) After a plant-based meal you feel excessively full but still hungry and not satiated.

3) You experience powerful sugar cravings in the afternoons and evenings.

What’s your body telling you?

If you’re body is like mine and does better on an omnivorous diet, here’s a starting point for finding quality, pastured meat, dairy and eggs: www.eatwild.com



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59 Comments

  1. Laureen Wallravin

    November 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Great post, Margaret! I have such a similar story, although I could never manage to cut meat out for very long because I was just never satiated and had such low energy.

    I wanted to give a shout out to Dey Dey Ranch in Buellton, CA, a few hrs north of LA, who are farming in the model of PolyFace. I was really excited to find someone on the Central Coast doing this!

    Good luck on TED! I know you’ll be great!

  2. Danyelle

    November 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Almost all meat, dairy and eggs found at the grocery store, or served at a restaurant,
    comes from animals raised on intensive factory farms. Because no federal laws
    protect these animals during their lives on factory farms, they are intensively
    confined, mutilated without painkillers, and subjected to an array of other abuses.

    Cage-free doesn’t mean cruelty free. While the animals are given more space,
    because there is no government regulation on the term “free-range” or “cage-free”
    most of these animals are still crowded by the thousands into filthy sheds, are
    mutilated without painkillers, and violently slaughtered.

    A vegetarian diet is the best way to protect animals from cruelty and honor
    kindness, compassion, and mercy to all creatures.

    Please see ChooseVeg.com or MeatVideo.com for information on adapting a more compassionate lifestyle.

    • Masha

      October 31, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      No thanks. Human beings were made to eat meat. Our health is dependent on it. I say this as a former vegetarian of 21 years.

    • Judi

      September 24, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Comments like this hurt your cause. I am turned off from vegetarian and veganism because of pretentious attitudes like this.

  3. Thais Zoe

    November 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I was veg for 4 years…(occasional fish) and was always hungry! The second I reintroduced I lost the bloat, the extra 15 lbs…and FINALLY felt satisfied when I eat. Yum! My body def needs animal proteins. Great to hear this perspective from a “professional” 🙂
    Thanks for the post!

    • Megan

      August 25, 2017 at 5:45 am

      I have always eaten meat. One month vegan and feel less tired, not bloated and have more energy. I obviously should have turned vegan years ago. I agree with the person who sad we are all different. Diet affects each of us differently.

  4. Thais Zoe

    November 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Oops…*reintroduced red meat

  5. Margaret Floyd

    November 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

    @Danyelle, You’re right – it’s difficult to find meat, dairy and eggs that have come from animals that have been cared for with compassion, but it’s not impossible. Cage free and free range certainly aren’t all they’re promised to be. I recommend people research into the actual farms, visiting them if possible, or sourcing their meat/dairy/eggs from resources that are specifically helping these small farmers doing good work reach their market.

    Unfortunately a vegetarian diet doesn’t work for everyone and to suggest that it’s the only solution is simplistic. We are natural omnivores. This doesn’t have to mean we support or condone intensive factory farming. In fact, that’s exactly what this article is explaining.

  6. fiona westby

    December 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Great article.. so very well said. Dr. Rosedale gets a lot of questions from vegetarians, and as he treats disease with diet, it is always a delicate conversation with a passionate vegetarian. What you eat is SO powerful it can change genetic expression.. the correct diet will reverse type II diabetes in about 3 weeks for most. Cancer, heart disease.. these ‘names’ really are just symptoms, one must get the core issues of the why, treating the why will get miraculous results. Your post was wonderful, coming from a once passionate vegetarian and testing and sharing the results on yourself is priceless for others to learn. We have to eat life, many see plants of not as living as animals, when in fact plants are way more complex than animals, and without plants ‘we’ would not survive.

    • Margaret Floyd

      December 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Thanks so much for your great feedback, Fiona!

  7. Peggy

    January 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    What about all the stuff in the movie, “forks over knifes, and all the scientific Research Dr.Campbell, mcdougall, fuhrman, Barnard, clapper, essylstein,, etc.

    They all did not start out as vegans until they did all this research. It is really confusing on knowing what is true and good.

    Thanks,
    Peggy

  8. peggy

    January 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Hello,

    Saw forks over knives film. What about all the research, scientific, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Fuhrman, Bernard, Klapper, essylstein….ect.

    It is so confusing. They talk about how very bad animal proteins are? How to know what is the truth?

    Thanks,
    Peggy

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Peggy,
      You pose a great question and it IS very confusing. Incredibly confusing. Here’s a link to one of the most comprehensive and balanced reviews I’ve come across of the film so far, which explains a lot about the science and how it was interpreted (or in some cases, mis-interpreted) in the film. Warning: it’s LONG. But it’s worth the read.
      Now, for my short answer – it really comes back to bio-individuality and context. A vegan diet is a very therapeutic cleansing diet – can be excellent in the short term, especially for certain maladies. In my experience with clients, over the long term, it doesn’t work so well and during preconception/pregnancy/lactation years can be quite detrimental to the health of the mother. AND every body is different. I know people who are living a more vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and loving it and thriving. I was not one of those people.
      Ultimately, it’s most important to listen to your body. And honestly, in the film all of the people eliminated not only animal products but PROCESSED food altogether, which is the key in my opinion. I bet if they still included some animal foods (only from healthy, sustainably-raised, pastured animals) while still eating lots of veg and no refined foods, they’d have similar results. I see it everyday in my practice.
      Helpful?

      • Margaret Floyd

        January 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        Oh sorry – I forgot to post the link after all that! 🙂 Here it is: http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/

        • lynn

          July 24, 2017 at 9:56 pm

          Thank you Margaret for your story. You have described me exactly with all the same symptoms. I studied plant based nutrition at Cornell and joined the nutritarian woman health study going on now with Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Anyone over 18, female can join. I am not following it completely due to the problems you indicated. I was so disappointed I couldn’t feel well eating any beans, and most grains and all the cruciferous family. Even nuts and seeds mess up my tummy. I have a conscious problems eating animal products but at this point I almost don’t care. I am not looking to eat the best I can to feel the best I can. I have obsessed over 4 years with this whole food plant based diet in all forms. I have read every plant based doctors books out there. I was always slender. Now I have developed a large fatty belly and my whole body composition went from muscle to fat. What on earth happened. Always feeling the need to eat, always thinking about food. Your story really stoped me dead in my tracks and I just said, enough!!! I almost think I was developing this wfpd food disorder. I hope Margaret I will recover soon. Please share your time period until you did. Thanks.

          I do want to mention Denise Minger has gone back to her vegan days lately. She also does not have the expertise in the scientific research field as Dr. Campbell does.. She is a lit major. Very bright though.

          • Margaret Floyd

            July 27, 2017 at 10:01 am

            lynn, I’m so sorry to hear of you struggling like that. With some digestive support and adding in animal foods (not a lot – literally 2-3 oz of clean meat at a meal, sometimes only once or twice a day), I felt better almost immediately. Removing grains and legumes was also really helpful while I did this healing work, and now I can eat both without issue (although do so in a very limited fashion).

  9. You did it wrong

    January 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Applaud your slightly better than conventional meat eating habits, but you shoulda ate more WHOLE grains not flour products and starches like potatoes and sweet potatoes. There are way more studies that potatos curb hunger more than a hunk of animal in your gut. And make your own beans in a slow cooker, no digestive problems.
    Also you need to cut way back on the fats, oils and cheeses and nuts. Ornish levels baby.. Funny people always blame rice or noodles when they eat stirfried marinated tofu or olive oil marinara. I think its programmed into us from childhood to reject the healthiest part of the meal and blame it.
    As far constant hunger, eat more and more often. Whole plants are way less calroic dense than the hunk of fat your body is trying very hard to digest all day long.

    • Masha

      October 31, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Utter rubbish. The human body digests meat far easier than beans and grain carbs. Eating grains blocks your absorption of nutrients from meats and vegetables and feels like a lump of coal in your body. Grains are filler foods with zero nutritional value.

      • Howard

        September 10, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        Absolutely agree!

        Twelve years vegan! Utter stupidity.

        I regret every millisecond of it.

        The misinformation that got me to sacrifice my health needs to be silenced.

        Did everything “right”, nothing but problems.

        Now I eat no fruit or veg, and have regained much of my former strength and energy. Have gone from almost passing out during exertion, to my former world class endurance.

        Vegetarianism and veganism are stupid and mostly evil. All of my friends who are either have had myriad problems.

        Many are still loyal to it.

        • Sue Ballestero

          August 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          I also have harmed my health from becoming vegan, On the advice of a doctor friend I did the Essetyln diet for over a year. No oil, nuts, fats etc. I felt good at first, lost weight, cholesterol dropped etc. I had a check up with mu doctor a year later and my blood work was all over the place, I was losing muscle mass at an alarming rate and I lost over half of my hair. It is so thin and shows no signs of recovery. My doctor said my body was using the protein I had in my body to survive. Needless to say I stopped eating vegan. Now, I have a lot of digestive issues that I can’t seem to overcome. On that note, I feel we need to eat from all of the food groups. Everyone is different, but one thing is certain we all need to eat complete proteins.

  10. Michelle

    January 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Thank you very much for sharing your story.

    I am also a recovering vegan, and have struggled with eating animal foods for about 8 years. That quote “What a horrible choice: feel good in your body but guilty about the impacts of your choices; or feel good ethically and miserable physically.” hits the nail on the headfor me and I feel great sorrow when I admit to myself that I have to eat meat (the doctor told me to after my health started diminishing. Although I chose to ignore it it got quite bad and so I went to him and did what he said).

    Its hard, for some reason. Its not like meat can’t be tasty. But I couldn’t care less about the taste. I feel like less of a human being when I eat meat, as though I am doing a shameful act.

    Keep loving life 🙂

  11. merit

    October 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I appreciate the conversation conducted in a civil and sympathetic manner, which I find in Margaret’s post. I hope however, that other ex-vegetarians or enthusiastic omnivores who criticize “aggressive” vegetarians will also look in the mirror.

    I have had terrible experiences and been treated with utmost cruelty by “traditional food” advocates simply for identifying as a vegetarian. I have sometimes wondered if those “obnoxious” extremist vegans eventually become “obnoxious” extremist Weston Price followers (extremists tend to swing radically).

    I have been informed by “traditional food” advocates that I am bound to sicken and be riddled with degenerative problems by following a vegan diet. I have been a vegetarian and then vegan for 28 years. Well, I am in fantastic health, have no health problems in middle age, great skin and hair and just yesterday was taken to be 30 years old. Very recently I was surprised to find myself pregnant, at age 48. (I’ve already had 1 vegetarian and 1 vegan pregnancy, with beautifully healthy children). Now, really, how debilitated can I be for this to happen?

    I’m also of Northern European heritage and Type O negative. So it’s not that I come from a naturally vegetarian genetic line, as has been suggested to me.

    Anyway, Margaret, thank you for including the thought that not every diet works for everyone. For some people veganism works beautifully, promotes health, well being and longevity, and as much as omnis would like understanding for their diet, it would be lovely to see some understanding (instead of invective and criticism) for vegetarians.

    • Margaret Floyd

      October 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Merit, thank you for the thoughtful comment. I agree – often we go from one extreme to the other, and espouse the new paradigm as “the truth” to be shouted from the rooftops. Dangerous territory when it comes to something as complex as food in our bodies. Delighted to hear that you’re listening to your body (the only true guide!) and have found a way of eating that works beautifully for you. ~ Margaret

  12. Jan

    February 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Good article, Margaret. My own experience has been that ‘you never can tell what you’re going to need down the road’!

    In my case, I was a vegetarian through most of my 20’s, (simply because the smell of cooking flesh repulsed me), but when I was pregnant for the first time at 33 years old, I became famished. I started eating nuts by the handful, all day long, but even that wasn’t helping. So I began eating a little meat, every few days. For the next 10 years, my meat consumption was minimal, but when I got a cancer diagnosis, I turned to veganism to cleanse. And I felt wonderful – so lean, so lithe and energized. After a few years though, my energy began to lag again, and once again I turned to meat as a sometimes supplement.

    Now, five years later again, it’s time for change. I recently took gluten out of my diet, and was quite surprised at the refreshing changes that produced. Gone with the bloat, the constipation and the tired fuzzy thinking! But it brings its own problems – for the first week or so I was starving – and then I realized that I need to remember to eat fats, like avocados, and legumes and beans on a regular basis. And I am still eating small amounts of meat every three or four days. Blend, blend, blend…it seems I am taking what I need from all the available sources – I sometimes feel like a hunter-gatherer trying to make sure I get enough to eat before nightfall!

    At the end of the day, I have to agree with you – there is no one right answer for everyone, and perhaps not even for one individual all the time. And so it’s unfortunate that we have made food issues such a target for judgement and fervor.

  13. Manookie

    February 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I am so very grateful for this article and the responses!! Thank you!!

  14. Tricia

    March 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I don’t really think you guys get the concept of “vegetarian.” Vegetarians don’t eat fish, and they don’t “cheat” by eating meat. Once you are a vegetarian (and truly, a vegetarian, not just someone who happens to have not eaten meat for five years) you cannot eat meat again. I was once a “vegetarian” who thought about meat and how much I missed it. I once ate pasta carbonara with bacon in it because I felt forced to (in a small foreign country with a family feeding me and a mis-communication due to language barriers), and I remember thinking, “Oh, this won’t be so bad, I remember I liked bacon…” but when I put it too my lips I saw the life of that animal flash before my eyes, and I was utterly mortified. I puked and cried for hours. That is the last time anyone’s flesh has ever touched my lips, and you can be sure it never will again. I mean, don’t get me wrong… it’s a process. It takes a while for you to be completely rid of your addiction to flesh. I went through the same thing with cheese when I became a “vegan”. For a while, I still occasionally had cheese. But I was not a vegan when that happened, and I wasn’t a vegetarian when I still thought of animals as food, regardless that it’d been 4 years since I’d eaten another living being. The point is that you can’t be a vegetarian and also still think of flesh as food. I’ve never met a real vegetarian who has become a meat-eater. It’s just not something you can do.

    • Beat

      July 29, 2016 at 2:44 am

      Tricia,
      I dont think you realize that everyone has different reasons for turning to Vegetarianism. We are not all the same.
      Vegetarianism is a dietary choice to abstain from meat of any and all animals. It is a choice. Now, some people choose it for petitioning cruelty practices on farm animals, some (like you and me) choose it because it is “flesh” of a living being, and still others choose it simply because of the possible health benefits.
      Some people naturally have bodies that nutritionally require meat and it is extremely difficult for them to go without it, even with plant substitutes. Now, for someone like that, they would slowly wean themselves off of meat OR if they went cold turkey, they would end up cheating many times. This route does NOT make them less “real vegetarian”.
      Also, type O blooded persons (who require more protien) are the majority of people. Becoming pescetarian or slowly weaning off of meat is usually necessary should they choose to be vegetarian. It also makes sense if they cannot get enough nutrients in plants alone, why they would revert. That doesn’t mean they were never a “real vegetarian “.
      Now, for me, I didn’t need to nor was I type O. I can’t even watch graphic or violent media. Shows like In the Heart of the Sea, Fried Green Tomatoes, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hannibal/Silence, etc are truly unfathomable enough. Evil in it’s truest form. Even graphic movies/shows that have torture or “regular” murder are too much.
      I could say that if you enjoy any show or movie with violence in it, you are not a true vegetarian. But that too would be incorrect since Vegetarianism is a dietary choice. In the end, why you choose it is a very personal and individual reason.

  15. Tricia

    March 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I think the real difference between your “vegetarianism” and mine is that to me, vegetarianism isn’t about a diet. It’s not a diet, it’s never been one. To some people, perhaps it is. But vegetarianism isn’t about what you eat, it’s where it comes from. And I won’t eat anyone who has a will to live, period.

    Vegetarianism is about peace, love, and respect for others much more than it is about you. That’s the problem with treating it like a diet… it’s not about your body, it’s about respect for someone else’s.

  16. San

    April 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Vegetarianism is a way of looking at all living beings. Once you have accepted that we have evolved to leave behind the ways of our ancestors, you cannot de’evolve.’ Imagine, living without internet. We can’t. Some of us have progressed in our minds to see infinite connections between living creatures that prevent us from thinking of other creatures as food. I have lived as a vegetarian for the past 20 years. Now I have shed all animal products from my life. I don’t wear or carry leather, silk or pearls. We should be able to find a sustainable mode of living that does not affect life around us. Hunger, beautiful bag, … very many reasons we can attribute to our choices. But clearly, willful cruelty to any living creature need not be our choice. Good blog

  17. Dr. Hail

    May 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

    There is a pattern here and it has to do with the difference between human beings and active VB12 which comes only from meat products and inactive VB12 which is found in a few plants. Your own body if it has the right gut bacteria can make ACTIVE VB12. The brain and body of a human being requires ACTIVE VB12 as it functions to move other nutrients into the body. If you grew up eating meat you have enough active VB12 to last a few months or years depending upon the bacteria in your gut. The sign of a loss of ACTIVE VB12 is irrational thinking and overly emotional responses to normal life situations. When this occurs you need to consume VB12 the active kind immediately and rebuild your levels. Just like a lack of VC causes scurvy a lack of Active VB12 causes the brain to become weak. You cannot get ACTIVE VB12 from plants. One can see this effect in long term vegans who become overly emotional about eating a so called “sentient being”. This is a made up term by human beings to stop other human beings from eating what they need. To date 12 million children die each year from lack of high quality protein and meat in their diets. What human beings should not be eating is any gluten based product as it destroys the lining of the gut making it more difficult for nutrients to be absorbed. PeTA and other animal rights groups are dangerous to the health of our children by railing against meat. AS IN ALL THINGS BALANCE IS IMPORTANT. WE DO NOT NEED TO EAT MEAT EVERYDAY NOR SHOULD WE EXPECT PLANTS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE NUTRIENTS FOUND ONLY IN MEAT. IF WE FOLLOW OUR GENETIC HISTORY WE WOULD EAT MEAT TWICE A WEEK ONLY AND NEVER EAT GRAINS OR GRASSES. WE DON’T REALLY NEED A LOT OF CARBS OR FOOD. THE MODERN HUMAN IS TRYING TO FOLLOW THEIR GENETIC HISTORY WHICH IS TO EAT WHEN YOU FIND FOOD BECAUSE THE EARLY HUMANS NEEDED TO DO SO. BUT THE MODERN HUMAN BEING IN THE WESTERN WORLD SHOULD DROP THAT GENETIC IMPERATIVE AND EAT MODERATELY INCLUDING MEAT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN CELLS FUNCTIONING.

    • Robbie

      September 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Thank YOU! I love it when someone who ACTUALLY knows what they are talking about chimes in. I myself cannot even participate in the discussion anymore… Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and inform the masses of people who are searching for true understanding.

  18. Heather @TheSoulfulSpoon

    October 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Thank you so much for writing this, even though I’m reading it two years later. I greatly struggle with this issue. It’s like you took the words right out of my mouth as far as doing well for awhile, and then feeling guilty and reverting back to completely vegan meals, and then getting sick. I have been sick for one week for this very issue because I just feel too badly about eating meat. I don’t have access to local farms where I live, but I’m so glad you gave a website to help find good sources of animal protein. Right now, the only thing I’m eating is organic yogurt from brands I trust and once a week, fish that is wild. Those things never make me sick, but I can’t bring myself to eat more of them. I really needed to read your words and appreciate your thorough input and thoughts.

  19. Ian West

    October 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for a very intelligent and well-balanced post. Im a pescatarian and did a google search when I was getting hungry and feeling light headed. It seems that a full vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone and that it’s easy to become deficient of certain proteins. As a result, I’ve decided to eat more expensive organic chicken from time to time to keep my levels of protein up.
    Yes, you can get proteins from other sources besides meat. However, altertNitive proteins from things such as nuts and tofu are not enough.
    Thanks again

  20. Rahul

    January 17, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Hi,

    This is wonderfully written and is very reassuring for me. I am an Indian, which means that I live in a place where society itself is set-up in such a way that it supports a vegetarian lifestyle (Including having vegetarian dishes that are actually tasty- I have often wondered at the commitment of western vegetarians who survive on such limited choices). This is directly opposed to the way society is set up in the west, where I remember my vegetarian roommate having very few choices, whereas in India, there are many office canteens communal dining places where you will have to hunt to get non-vegetarian options. Some of the religious vegetarians here have been brought up in such a way that inspite of being good friends they often let out an involuntary shudder when I eat meat in front of them. I can understand their feelings as they have been brought up in a certain way (it could be something like a westerner sitting next to a cannibal, believe me that’s the kind of horror some of them feel). Believe me, this even spoils relationships in India.

    I can understand that feeling, but when they tell me that being vegetarian is good for health, I call Bullshit on that.

    Most of my friends tell me that eating vegetarian food will make you feel light and energetic. This directly contradicts my own experience and I get into arguments with friends who refuse to believe me when I tell them that a meal with heavy solid food like red meat, eggs and potatoes makes me feel light, energetic and on top of the world whereas I always feel low on energy and sluggish after going vegetarian for even as little as two days. Because of this, I have switched to a diet with red meat twice a day, every day as that seems to really suit my body, my energy levels and my digestion. As of now, I am perfectly healthy.

    But i do get confused, for there are friends asking me to change my eating habits, plus all those studies on the net about cancer etc. I don’t know about tomorrow but as of today my body feels Vital eating red meat, just that reading all these research findings keeps scaring me. I really liked your article, because its almost exactly the same for me. By the way, my blood group is O+, does blood group play any role at all?

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      @Rahul – thank you for such a thoughtful and thorough comment! It’s really interesting to hear of your experience. Keep listening to your body! It doesn’t lie. 🙂 With respect to blood type — it is most definitely one piece to the puzzle and O+ blood types are known for needing more animal protein. There are other factors involved, but this is one piece of it!

    • lynn

      July 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Dr. D’damo with his blood type diets has no studies backing it up except his own. Search pub med and other science based research for his theories and you will see there is nothing. I had all his books when I was more naive and wanted to prove his claims while studying at Cornell plant based certification courses. Just a bunch of nonsense. Research peer reviewed journals, and bias of the authors, and any industry backing to really try and assess the validity of diet claims out there. Nutrition facts.org is a great place for info.

  21. Cassie

    March 1, 2014 at 12:03 am

    I am struggling…I’ve been a vegetarian for about 8 months now and my cravings for meat are still very real. I related to your post because I never feel full anymore. I also cannot lose weight like I could when I was eating meat, probably because I was able to eat healthier things. Everyone else in my household eats meat, so when they eat it, I have to find something else to eat, which is sometimes vegetarian soup, but oftentimes it’s cereal or pasta. I used to eat a lot of Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine meals that were very healthy and had lean chicken in them. I used to eat the Asian Sesame Chicken salad at Panera Bread and it filled me up all day. I eat it now without the chicken and I’m never full. I crave sugar ALL the time.

    I love animals and I don’t believe in eating them, but I don’t know if I can do this anymore.

    • Margaret Floyd

      March 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

      @Cassie – I hear you loud and clear. Only you can make the decision of what’s best for you, but know that there are ways to consume animal foods that are both good for you and the environment, and that are ethical and human. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it, I know, but it can be done.

    • ronald

      May 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Scale back to vegetarianism before you eat some meat. You will have less regrets if you change your mind again. Whatever you do you shouldn’t feel guilty its your freedom of choice.

    • Rhianna

      July 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Cassie, I encourage you to listen to your body and its desires in regards to your meat cravings. When I was a vegan, I had tremendous sugar cravings, which subsided after I varied my diet to include eggs and then fish and then meat. I suggest you read online blog accounts of long term vegetarians and vegans who felt the need to go back to an omnivorous diet for health reasons. Their stories are consistent in terms of having similar cravings and health issues, and their health dramatically better after becoming omnivorous again. You won’t be alone.

  22. Cassie

    June 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    What an insightful and warm post! I think it’s so important that people look into local farming that produce grass-fed beef and dairy and pasture-raised eggs. I learned that from trying veganism I couldn’t find the same satiation in carbs as I do in protein and fats! Once I implemented the best eggs and dairy I could find I realized vegetarianism was best for me 🙂

  23. Alice

    July 19, 2016 at 5:21 am

    This depresses me. I am happy for the author, but frustrated myself. I used to eat pasture raised chicken, raw milk, and organic produce off of CSAs. The raw milk got discontinued. We switched to organic milk from the store. We still eat from the CSA. I cut out meat (sometimes we had the occasional organic roast).

    I’ve always done things by numbers, so, I tried hard to select foods not for the taste or feel but the nutrition. Lentils and chickpeas. Oh God how many lentils and chickpeas. Kale. I hate that food but I eat it. I think I’ve passed over the hatred. It’s “sustenance”.

    But, I’m tired all the time and I have headaches. I can’t get adequate sleep – and I used to at least get restful sleep in the little sleep time that was available to me. I’m running a low grade fever and in the morning when I open my mouth I have muscle soreness and I can’t determine the cause.

    In desperation I turned back and tried to eat one of the remaining pasture raised chicken we had in the freezer. It did nothing for me. I only ate a little but was depressed to see it didn’t bring the pleasure it used to, and didn’t resolve anything. Lately, I don’t even enjoy the sardines I eat for DHA. Food doesn’t bring me the same comfort it used to. This seems like a stupid thing to write about, and if it weren’t paired with declining health it wouldn’t bother me.

    But my health is crap. This isn’t apparent on the outside, except the mega-bags under my eyes. I’m terrified of my iron supplement because of the article about DNA damage in “under 10 minutes” if you take it – but I took it anyway in desperation thinking – perhaps this was just anemia. Tried to take a B12 supplement along the same lines, always terrified I’ve got the wrong dosage because the pill is at 8,200% the recommended dosage but they don’t know how much is absorbed.

    I’m so tired about worrying about every single number. I’m so frustrated to find out that there’s this plant outside called cow’s bane that is literally a few feet from the lawn here that can wholesale kill us all in just one bite. I want to embrace that beautiful philosophy that God just put all the plants and grains and legumes and everything here for us to eat in a happy, sustainable way and do all that raw food stuff that other people do and feel like I’m doing the “right” thing and have amazing energy too and all that.

    Instead look at what’s become of me. Unable to be certain at any point that adequate nutrition has been obtained. And now, progress I guess? I don’t even feel like meat is resolving things. I’m not even sure if I broke my body permanently.

    I can’t afford to die at this point, having 2 children depending on me. I can’t help but acutely feel as though perhaps this is the beginning of the end. I have headaches and I often wonder if my head is shrinking as I’ve read in some articles that vegans (not that I am one eating some dairy) have retarded brain growth and even lose brain growth? I often wonder…could that be a facetious article? Can someone actually lose existing brain? Is some kind of damage happening to my brain in these headaches? Am I slowly becoming more retarded every second? A disturbing paranoia creeps in.

    My 3 year old is out of control. Even if I were to give up dairy, he never would. Just now he is terrorizing his father over his morning milk – demanding that he get out of the shower and get it for him. An otherwise empathetic child, he has bouts of incredible horribleness, and it’s just so difficult to deal with. He also has night terrors – I must have done something wrong during pregnancy – and, he left the breast at 4 weeks; I had to pump for 14 months to just give him adequate nutrition and the switch to cow’s milk was a relief from that hellacious thing that is “pumping”. The other baby is wonderful but now I have mastitis, I think? Perhaps that’s what this is, and my boob is sore and he continues to assault it. Never any sleep in longer increments than 3 hours, at best, maybe I can manage 7 hours a night in this interrupted fashion and…it reaches a breaking point. It reaches a breaking point. And now I can’t even get that pitiful sleep.

    And yesterday, my son wanted “dinner” and I just wasn’t able to give him more than lentils and, he didn’t want those, and he won’t eat them without sour cream, and there is no organic sour cream, and I have to feel shitty about that, and ultimately I went out to get some other food – some processed crap – just, in desperation not to have him go to bed hungry, and, when I got home with the anti-meat pizza – total crap I know – he was already asleep and I just ate half of it and hated it and wished it were meat but when the meat were finally ready that also tasted like shit and I am no longer able to enjoy food and it’s fine.

    I don’t really care so much about enjoying food, I stuff down the lentils and the hateful chickpeas and the flatulence is enormous and embarrassing and not really great but I have no confirmation that’s the right thing, and I have no energy boost…and damn it, at least I should have good health. I’m not even talking about becoming rail thin (though that would be pleasant); but just that FEELING of energy and life and joy like dancing around. What happened to that??

    At least my children are alive. An adult, I guess, must live with the sacrifice of knowing everything has been pissed down the drain for the benefit of another, right? Perhaps it’s really the sleep. Perhaps that’s it.

    I am being screamed at for eggs and underwear by my 3 year old. FML.

    • Margaret Floyd

      July 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Alice, I am so sorry to read about your struggles. It would be so helpful to you to find a practitioner to support you. Everything you describe makes sense and sounds very resolvable, and I think having someone help you navigate this would be a tremendous support to you. Just my two cents. Sending love…

    • Howard

      September 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      When I was vegan (12 years), after a few years, I NEVER felt on top of the world. But I refused to listen to my body and just listened to people saying you get the same nutrients from plants. BS. For years I over ate, trying to get the promised energy out of my meals.

      Two years ago I started having super serious issues. Once a world class athlete, very close to reduced to being in a wheel chair full time, with serious mental lapses and issues.

      After switching to basically all meat and no veg or fruit, I can finally eat normally, and don’t ever over eat, though I do enjoy the foods more.

      Most of all, I don’t require anyone’s assistance to do ANYTHING now. And I would challenge any vegan or veggie to keep up with me in any way.. regardless of any factor of age, size, etc.

      And I am very suspect of anyone who chooses to rob themselves or others of life giving nutrients, because they’re indoctrinated to think of that exercise as enlightened.

      If you think that you don’t need nutrients as they come from meat, eggs, dairy, you’re more than entitled to you’re opinion… but you are wrong. It took me five years of operating my physiology at a deficit to understand this. That includes workouts at an intensity that normal people can’t really fathom. And one day, I slowly started unraveling. In months I lost so much muscle that I was smaller at 35 than I had been at age 12! And just for reference, at age 34 I still weighed 215 lbs. Could bench press 225 lbs 25 times. I’d been able to dunk a basketball since age 15, when I was only 5’11” and 190 lbs.

      And by the way, my adult height WAS 6’1-1/2″. But my catastrophic weight loss also resulted in me losing 1 and 1/2 inches in height.

      It used to be that I could not imagine dating a “meat eater”. Now, I couldn’t date a vegetarian or vegan. Out of three exes who were veggie, all have gastrointestinal issues now. And they all refuse to give it up, because it’s “ethical”. One is a nutritionist!

      There’s more to this too. But maybe take it under advisement: your body carries impressive reserves of the most critical nutrients, but they aren’t endless. Once they are exhausted, your body will have no choice but to rob Peter to pay Paul. And that means taking nutrients from other parts of your body. Ie, what will APPEAR TO BE an “autoimmune disease”. Then you’ll be shuttle between doctors who won’t know what to look at, nor who you are, and no idea what you’re capable of. You’ll just be another person who feel for the deceptions of vegetarianism and veganism.

      • Adrena

        April 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm

        Howard,
        That was a very interesting comment. Could you expand on the “autoimmune disease” part? You seem to know some valuable information that the mainstream veganism advocates do not talk about.
        I am very interested to know your experience, my health is also somewhat of a mystery to me at this point. If you can share, please do, and also what happened to you on a vegetarian diet?
        Anticipating for your reply,
        Best

    • Howard

      September 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Start eating meat. You’re sacrificing your health for what particular ideal?

    • Adrena

      April 5, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Alice,
      The symptoms are pointing to your adrenals. It is not a joke and I know that because I came down with them heavily after being a veganarian (vegetarian/vegan) for 15 years. They weren’t perfect to begin with. I am on a single mission now – which is to recover.

      • lynn

        July 24, 2017 at 10:14 pm

        Me too. I hope to recover emotionally and physically.

  24. Zezinha

    July 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Well, i was vegetarian for 8 years, and vegan for 2 years …

    I began to feel great, mas after some years, i’ turned my self into a sluggish person, with poor memory, and bloated all the time.

    I’considering myself introducing the fish and the eggs again, and a few veggies to see if i get better…

    I saw that eating only fish eggs is good for the organism…
    We don’t need much more.

    What do you think?

  25. Marie

    April 6, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Thanks for the great article. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only vegetarian who went thru this. I ate a healthy diet, but eventually I felt insatiable hunger all day and I also felt very weak and had an overall sick feeling.

    I must’ve looked like a lunatic in the grocery store because I kept saying, “I’m sorry.” outloud to the animals. I also deal with 2 chronic life threatening illnesses so that might have a bearing on why my body needs animal protein.

    This isn’t my 1st go at being a vegetarian. I’ve tried several times and each time it’s the same thing. I last about 2 months and my body rebels big time. It’s a noble cause, but unfortunately, I can’t be a part of it.

  26. Viv

    April 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Thankyou for this article. There is so little content on the internet for recovering vegans. Ive been a vegetarian since I was 14, and vegan for the last 3 years of my life. Im 32 now and my body is totally failing on me. My friendship circle are mainly vegan and I’m so worried about being booted, all these people are very dear to me. At my worst I’ve started having serious seizures and everything I eat makes me sick and Ill. Sometimes I wonder with this diet if it’s something you can sustain for maybe 10 years max, like while your a young defiant 15-25 year old or you can convert as you get older because you’ve had the 30+ years of good nutrition to support it. I ate some quorn recently and vomited twice after hours of agony, the next day I just literally gave up, I’m at my wits end. No one should live like this, seizures, constant fatigue, fainting, bloating, terrible mood swings, irritability, black spots in ny eyes, no sex drive. How amd I helping animals by being this sick all the time, how can I support say getting pregnant in a failing body like this?
    I started allowing myself eggs again recently, I wanted to see how they would affect me and I know I can always keep some chickens in my yard and give them wonderful lives. It felt really good, my brain fog started to lift. Yesterday even thought it was very hard and I felt so much anguish building up to it, I ate a meat pie. I waited to see how sick I would get because my body generally rejects everything I eat within 20-40 minutes and I start having seizures. I sat on the couch just waiting patiently for the stomach pains to start. Nothing, nada, zip. This was an incredible experience. I started to feel more awake than I have in years, my fingers stopped feeling tingly and things seemed more colourful, sounds where clearer. Normally I pass out in the afternoon because I can’t stay awake for more than 5 hours, yesterday I stayed awake until 12 at night, no nap needed. I feel so bad for eating that pie, I hate factory farming, I don’t want to contribute to the suffering of animals and I hate myself so much. But I also don’t want to be this sickly ill person anymore. I’m so conflicted and lost right now, I can’t believe a meat pie made me feel so much better so quickly when I’ve spent literally years seeing health professionals trying to figure out whats wrong with me.

    • Margaret Floyd

      May 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

      So glad you listened to your body’s intuition and wisdom!

  27. Kara

    May 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    This was so helpful to me! I just recently started eating meat again after many years off and on, mostly on, as a vegetarian and then recently having gone vegan for a few reasons. The main point is that I felt TERRIBLE as a vegan – I was so ramped up and determined, I cook a lot so I was able to try a lot of fun recipes and flavors, but within the first month my nails split, my complexion dampened, and I was bloated and feeling awful. I stuck with it to give my body time to adjust but months later I was still feeling constantly bad and unenergetic. I started incorporating meats back into my diet (ethically sourced because this is an issue I care about) and voila, digestive issues gone and I felt better and “lighter” almost immediately. I found a lot on the internet about how people felt so good after going vegan, so I was really expecting that. This was the most informative article I could find about recovering vegans/vegetarians. Those who are still vegan or vegetarian who don’t have these issues may not understand why some would go back to eating meat and they may judge, but I think you say it perfectly in this article, that we all need to do what is best for us individually. So thank you, this was super helpful and reminded me that the path I’m on is ok.

    • Margaret Floyd

      May 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Kara, I’m so glad you found this article helpful, and you’re right – there’s not a lot written out there about the transition back to eating meat after eating a plant-based diet. Many people have the experience you describe – feeling progressively worse on a vegetarian diet and then just awful on a vegan diet – and it all comes down to bioindividuality. There are so many factors at play. Most important: I’m glad you found a way of eating that feels good in your body AND that you can feel good about ethically.

  28. Pingback: Pourquoi j'arrête d'être vegan après 2 ans de véganisme – Le Monde...

  29. Bee

    July 14, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I disagree, I’ve only been vegetarian for a few weeks but I always feel full after all my meals and snack much less than before. Also, my digestive health has never been better and I feel much more energized and productive. Before, when I ate meat I felt sluggish and had frequent digestive problems. I’m just saying this diet has helped me so much to become more energized, keep a healthy weight, and have great digestive health. I recommend people test out being vegetarian/vegan/semi-vegetarian just to see if it will help you and if it does not work for you, you could always go back to eating meat. However, from my experience, if you cheat and eat meat while trying to be vegetarian it will not have the same effects.

    • Nina

      July 25, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      How can you “disagree” with someone else’s experience? That makes no sense. The author clearly outlines that she was veg for more than just a few weeks but over a decade. And she is not alone in her experience, reading all of the comments several people have had similar experience even if they were eating a healthier diet from the start. She also clearly states that it is important to find what works for you – she didn’t say that vegetarianism or plant-based diets can’t work for anyone at all. I do hope it works out well for you in the way you wish! We all deserve to thrive, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually 🙂

  30. Elaine

    August 12, 2017 at 5:20 am

    I agree with Viv, there is surprisingly very little support for those that leave veganism/vegetarianism. There is a LOT of shaming and harassment from the vegan community. I was strict vegan for 6.5 years straight from omni. I did the whole foods low fat (and sometimes higher fat) very healthy eating as a vegan for years, with periods of raw vegan, but mostly beans, whole grains, nuts/seeds, loads of fruits and veggies were my staples with very little sugar. However, i also struggled with a long term eating disorder that made veganism more challenging. Not so much healthwise. I was never low in iron, B12, energy etc. I felt decent physically, except that I lost too much weight and was mildly to extremely underweight for 4 of the 6.5 years of being vegan. I had to eat an insane amount of food to gain many lbs to get to a healthy weight as a vegan. The more challenging aspects were the restrictions, rules, social aspects. As a sufferer of an eating disorder (was anorexia for years, then bulimia, now EDNOS) it is hard for me to eat in public. I am very self conscious with food. So imagine being at a work potluck, and you are the only person in a conference room of 36 people eating your homemade brought vegan food while they are all eating what was provided by staff that is not vegan (or even vegetarian). You stand out. And yes I brought lots of vegan food to share with others, but most would not eat it. Same deal with eating out with family, or anywhere. At times it was overwhelming, so I rarely ate out or with anyone. I planned my meals continuously, especially when traveling, or anytime I knew of a social event ahead. When you are trying to recover from an eating disorder, you want to focus LESS on food and meal planning and obsessing about what to eat. As a vegan living in the midwest this can be difficult. And though plant based eating can open up a wide variety of creativity and ways of eating, it is still restrictive to an extent, which can make recovering from an eating disorder more difficult (think label reading, choosing from the two token vegan items on a menu, traveling far to find vegan products). Now don’t get me wrong. I went vegan for ethical reasons. I was an animal rights activist. I worked with Vegan Outreach and leafleted seven high schools and colleges in my city, and tabled at a private college on my own. I worked with the director of a medical complex directly to get vegan items on the hospital cafeteria menu (and I am featured on the Vegetarian Resource Group blog for that). I was passionate about animal rights. But I also saw some bias, exaggeration, and grey areas vegans like to skirt around with (pets for example that have to be fed meat like cats). My views began to change over time. I got tired of some extremists and how I could never be vegan enough (didn’t convert enough people, fed my dog meat, lived with an omnivore though he tried very hard to be vegan at home for my sake and we kept separate refrigerators and cupboards for his animal food etc and he was not allowed to use my dishes/cookware). I took medications I needed that were not vegan and I was shamed for that. I myself turned into an angry judgmental person, and ashamed to say I was awful to my family. I berated my mother for going back to eating meat. She has severe diverticulitis and gluten intolerance and so her vegan diet was very very limited (she couldn’t have seeds including in fruit and no gluten). I yelled at my husband for eating meat in public. I was awful. I didn’t start out that way as a vegan. I wanted it to be about compassion and peace. But over the years found myself far from at peace with myself or the world. I became sicker with my ED, though I did fight back as a vegan and gain 22 lbs to get healthier. But to keep fighting, I finally broke down and made the decision to step down to vegetarian as of June of this year. I now eat eggs and dairy, though not everyday and in relatively small quantities (and it took some time for my body to get used to dairy again, but my body instantly adapted to eggs and hair improved etc). My eggs are from pasture raised chickens and come from a small organic farm and I have met the farmers and seen the farm. They are well cared for and live far longer than larger commercial operations. I get my dairy from a similar farm. I also realize that yes these animals are exploited to an extent for their food, but they are well cared for in return and run in pastures. I have seen it with my own eyes. Humans and other animals are not separate from one another. We all have a symbiotic relationship and benefit from one another and share our planet. In an ideal vegan world, we would not have pets, no farm animals would exist, human population control would be more strict (many vegans are anti procreation too). I am not sure that I like this kind of world frankly. So for me, leaving veganism has not just been about health, in fact I was relatively healthy as a vegan, except I was very underweight and due to restricting and being underweight lost a ton of bone density as a vegan so am now on an osteoporosis medication. My healing and recovery from injuries and strains is far better with the increased protein, calcium, DHA from the eggs, fats etc. Though I am a similar weight as I was when vegan (normal range and healthy towards the end of my vegan days), I have filled out more with muscle with including eggs and dairy. I still eat a largely plant based diet, but am far less strict. I consume otherwise organic breads made locally that might have honey. I go to a few local restaurants where they serve the eggs I get from the local pasture raised hen farm so I know I am not eating the factory farmed eggs. I am probably more lax about dairy and allowing myself to consume nonorganic dairy when eating out or with family etc, but it is part of fighting rules and restrictions with my eating disorder, and learning to eat without shame or guilt. I am still considering adding back in fish, especially cold water fatty fish once or twice a week as it is so extremely loaded with B12, DHA/EPA, healthy fat and protein. Not to mention one of the few foods that contains natural vitamin D, not fortified. I also look at my husband’s parents who are in their mid 80s and are former dairy farmers who consume a lot of dairy and they are remarkable healthy. His mother has never broken a bone or worried about frail bones (contrary to what vegans like to preach about how bad dairy is for bones). I have also been thankful that most of my vegan friends have been open minded and still loving towards me because they know my personal struggles with my ED. But I have also encountered so much shaming and awfulness from online vegans on forums I used to belong to. I had to cut a lot of ties and am still very quiet about my dietary changes. I don’t share recipes that include dairy or eggs in them on my Facebook page so as not to offend my vegan friends. I have very few places and people I can talk about the issues I face as an ex vegan. To close, I would like to add that I have found some healing by actually visiting a few farms where my dairy/eggs come from. People are more transparent than we give them credit for, and they will be honest if you ask questions in a respectful way and are genuinely interested in listening to someone else’s point of view without forming preconceived opinions before opening your mind. Animal farming is not going to go away anytime soon, and i think we should encourage better ways of farming and animal welfare as opposed to shaming and threats and lies to get more people to go vegan by only focusing on the worst cases. I also laugh when I get the cookie cutter response that I “did it wrong” or for the “wrong reasons” and that’s why I didn’t last. My choice to leave being vegan was far more complicated than that. To each their own. Peace.

    • Margaret Floyd

      August 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Elaine. It’s unfortunate that we can’t be more supportive of each other’s highly personal food choices. I’m so glad you’ve found a way of eating that works for your body and gives you peace of mind. I agree wholeheartedly that actually visiting the farms is one of the best things you can do. There are many smaller-scale family farms that take exceptional care of the animals and we can feel good about supporting them on all levels.

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