So yesterday I talked about my April goals and how one of them was to go vegan for the month.
I’ve now lived as a vegetarian for longer than I’ve not and throughout this time my main motivation has swayed from morality (and not liking meat!), to it just being what I know, to health and environment reasons, and more recently right back to morality.
As I’ve learnt more about the conditions that animals are kept in for dairy and egg production I’ve felt more and more uncomfortable. I don’t want to go in to that now, but it was enough to make me want to try veganism.
However, after years of disordered eating where I was restricting not only the amount but types of food I’d eat, I was unsure whether going vegan was the right thing to do. I knew I’d have to be super cautious for any tell-tale signs that I was starting to use it as a way of restricting.
But here’s why I chose now as the right time to try veganism:
- I feel stronger than I ever have done with my disordered eating. Situations that would have once caused me to turn to restricting or binging no longer have that effect, and any time I have had restrictive thoughts I’ve used the techniques I gained in therapy to prevent thoughts turning into behaviour. I feel on top of things, and every day I can’t believe how far I’ve come.
- I have such a supportive group of people around me. I have been fully open with everyone about my month of veganism and whilst I’m not going to lie, they have expressed their concerns (particularly around making sure my iron levels don’t get any lower), they are also getting involved, suggesting vegan-friendly restaurants and sharing their vegan food with me.
- I don’t see veganism as restrictive. There is SO much you can eat as a vegan! Sure, you may have to try a bit harder to find recipes or be a bit more inventive, but it may actually encourage you to try new things (without looking at vegan recipes I would never have discovered tofu chocolate mousse…and boy is that good!). And there are so many vegan alternatives out there…you can get vegan burgers, vegan chocolate…anything you like.
- I never want to go back to what I was like before. Being down a few dress sizes is never worth losing relationships. I never want to go back to such self -hatred, the panics, the constant weighing and pinching my flesh and staring in the mirror and the guilt. If I start feeling in any way restrictive I will stop because there’s no way I want to lose what I’ve got.
As for the iron I am eating aaaall the iron supplements – Spatone water, blackstrap molasses, chlorella, not to mention munching on pumpkin seeds, lentils and other iron-rich foods.
I’m not saying that going vegan would be right for everyone recovering from an eating disorder. Whilst there are bloggers who recovered from eating disorders through becoming vegan and have thrived I don’t think I could have done this…I needed to eat whatever, whenever, without new labels. But I’m much further along recovery now.
If you are interested in trying veganism then you need to check in with what’s right for you. You have to be 100% confident that the reason you’re doing this is for something other than restriction. If you have any doubt then that’s a good sign that now is not the right time – it’s not worth risking it. There is no correct path to recovery, and your health, physical and mental, is the most important thing.
I’ll let you know how I get on at the end of the month!
Have you ever tried veganism, or are you vegan? Do you find it restrictive?