I’d like to share with you my reasons for transitioning into a Vegan diet.
Firstly, I’d like to mention that my story might elicit difficult emotions in readers who have struggled or are trying to recover from Eating Disorders. I simply want to give background about my experience with misconceptions, depression and lies that I believed about what a healthy diet/life was prior to my fitness transformation and Vegan lifestyle. Just a reminder that seeking support from friends/family/professionals who may be and/or has suffered from ED’s in the past is important towards your recovery.
Veganism is a personal choice, and I only wish to spread the power of a plant-based lifestyle. I encourage healthy eating, and I have decided to diverge from my usual direct tone to discuss the ethical reasons behind my transition. This is all my subjective experience, and I wish only to disclose, as I believe in the power of sharing and empowering each other through life’s ups and downs.
My Early-to-Mid 20’s: My struggle with Balance
I used to think that eating was a matter of survival and struggled with self-image to often-scary extremes. I struggled with anorexia; bulimia and I struggled with stress-eating and binge-eating throughout my 20’s.
To say that my health was declining throughout my party-college years would be to attribute it to my knowledge about just how bad the food I was eating was. The truth is, however, I was very lost, confused, and clueless about my health. My relationship to food was one way I coped with feelings of sadness and emptiness.
In college, I was used to eating junk food, processed food, sugar, coffee, alcohol and a bunch of stuff that many people on campus were eating. I used to think exercise was the only thing that mattered, and I did not care about the fact that I ate really crappy foods. I sometimes coped with over-exercise and compensated in self-harming ways, restriction and binge eating. I was frightened about my life and felt like I had no way of controlling my emotions. Between those cycles of destruction, I also struggled with self-esteem and finding a balance. I felt like crap all day. I used to have frequent headaches; I was tired and was never in the mood to go out.
Late 20’s: The Wiser and more Present Me
Fast forward to my present self, I am 27 years old now; I eat healthy foods and follow a vegan diet. My biggest fear used to be gaining weight and I believe that I was truly not connected to my authentic self at the time. I had no clue what proper nutrition was, and I did not know how to listen to my body either. I was simply doing what I thought I needed to do in order to fit into a mould and a socially-constructed idea of perfection. It was not sustainable nor something I ever wish to go through again.
Knowing that I was not my eating disorder, which I named and whose voice I still hear in my head, I realise the value in healing myself. Before I did that, I started lifting weights, I started looking for other ways to battle myself. Not knowing that the only thing I was battling was my eating disorder, myself, and my lack of self worth. I learnt to look for answers within, not knowing that my physical body was not truly happy. Not knowing that what I was missing, I had right in front of me, my life. My freedom to choose and be and act how I wanted. My beliefs. My happiness. My friends. My family.
I had to learn to love myself. I had to learn to love my body. I needed to love my complexities and my dark side. I was only running away from myself when I did not acknowledge the harm I was doing to my body and health.
I slowly learnt that my health is my responsibility.
I transitioned into a Vegan lifestyle this year. I understand the changes involved with following a vegan lifestyle; I however do not think that anything worthwhile ever comes without sacrifice. And I do not see the value of eating animals anymore. I do not think that animals are put on this earth for us to eat them. Thus, I find no value in their slaughter. Therefore, I believe that on an ethical level, when I choose to say “no” to this industry that advocates animal killing, I am doing myself and the world a service.
The environmental reasons behind my choice to not eat animals has more to do with finding impact through my choices.
I do not think animals really have a choice when they are herded to a life of slaughter and death. Our environment is composed of animals, humans and the natural world in which these all interact. I thus find no purpose in the consumption of what is part of this natural world and I consciously make food choices that reflect my desire to be ethical.
Humanity to me is about making radical changes. When I radically make choices, when I am bold in my assertiveness and believe in a cause, I am asserting my humanity, my bravery and my strength. Thus, out of the free will that arises from my convictions, I assert my beliefs about Veganism being the way in which I want to make an impact on this World.
I started out transitioning into Veganism because I wanted to reverse a lot of things that were ailing my body, I was out of sync and I felt anxious, whacked out and depressed all the time. This could be due to the oxidative stress that my overtraining and highly processed diet was causing.
Aside from the fact that I know that stress is notorious for having a negative impact on the human body. I decided to look for other culprits. They go hand in hand. I now know that MSG, additives, dairy, meat, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, sugar can really mess up the psychological states that keep us calm and worsen your body’s response mechanisms, aka, the fight, flight and freeze response.
Marketers know exactly how to promote food products as being something good for us, contrary to what our bodies tell us. It took me a long time to learn to listen to my gut without having to really wonder, “why am I feeling so sick, tired, lethargic all the time”. I now know that my body is not meant to be eating processed foods, nor is it supposed to feel sluggish and sick for no reason.
As simple as it may sound, I realize that there is value in daily exercise, following a plant-based diet and having a positive outlook and support system. These things bring me a personal satisfaction that I could not find while I was being told lies about what my body needed or about what it needs to look like.
I thought I would find happiness in the pursuit of perfection, to be skinny and to look a certain way.
I thought that all I needed was to diet and eat low-calorie foods without questioning the reasons why I was harming myself. I now realize that the only diet that will allow me to thrive is one where my truth is being respected. My transition into a Vegan diet respects my desire for truth, my desire for optimal health which includes both my mental and physical health. My food choices reflect my beliefs.
“You are what you eat”. So why not be abundantly happy, healthy, energetic, light and ethical?
It is true that once you eat a plant-based diet, you suddenly become those things. I am aware that we, as omnivores, can reverse certain diseases like diabetes and cancer through plant-based living. I hope that my transition can inspire those around me to try a plant-based diet, if not for the way that their physical appearance improves, then for the lasting impact on the lives who are not being spoken about.
Certainly, animals deserve a chance at living? Compassion is not weakness. Are we not aware of the voices deep inside of us telling us that animals can feel our presence, when we interact with them for instance? They are among us. I wish to respect a highest calling and to serve a higher self. I thus believe in surrendering my previous beliefs to a more ethical and enlightened existence here on Earth, through Veganism. For my health, for the animals and for the environment.
I felt the desire to share with you, friends, and the ethical reasons behind my transition. I believe we can all stand to encourage health and sustainable living when we are humbled by so much available knowledge and life experiences. Considering that the information that is being spread is so much more overwhelming than I can keep up with, I promise to share but information that is vital towards a healthy, empowered and ethical fit and happy life with you.