Why I Am No Longer a Vegan
Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed being around animals and spending time in nature. When the two combine, like in the photos above with my sweet dog, life is even better! Because I love these things is why I chose a vegan diet for the past seven years.
I’ve actually been a vegetarian for even longer. It was my sophomore year of college (2006) and I was up late, working on a drawing when a show came on about animal rights. I had never really thought about where my food came from and the realization of where, seriously – it’s horrible, was enough for me to stop eating meat immediately. Eating meat is also terrible for the environment. Raising meat in this growing population is impacted the environment very negatively. Forests are being cleared, resources are being depleted, if you want to know more, check out this article.
A few years later, I was having a lot of digestive pain. I was on a trip to Italy with my family where I became extremely sick and we had to miss our train to Venice. When I returned home, I saw my doctor and she suggested cutting out dairy. After a few weeks of no dairy, I felt better, my stomach was much happier, and was losing weight, so I stuck with it, and eventually started cutting out more and more animal products. Not only was this a choice for my physical body, but after reading up on how dairy products are also inhumanely harvested and their environmental impact, I felt morally better about my choice.
Fast forward to last year. My stomach had hit rock bottom- everything seemed to bother me. I was on probiotics, ate a very clean vegan diet, and did yoga 3-4 times a week. For as healthy as I seemed on paper, I felt awful. I started seeing an amazing chiropractor and natural health medicine doctor, Dr. Chris Lilja, who after seeing some test results suggested a dietary cleanse. He asked me how I got protein in my diet, and I literally had no answer. I started tracking my diet and I was eating less than half the amount a person my age and size should be each day. He suggested I start eating protein, but I had trouble digesting beans, lentils and soy. I introduced powders, shakes, and other supplements and after a few months, I started to feel stronger both physically and mentally. The cleanse and protein helped my digestive track, but after a few months, it fell back to where it was.
A fellow yoga teacher suggested bone broth. She shared with me how she used to a vegan for very similar reasons and how the broth had changed her life. I did a ton of research, resisted for several months, but after trying what felt like everything for my digestion, I made my first batch. It healed me more than I ever thought, and this healing was enough for me to realize that maybe my past diet was causing me more harm than good.
I drink bone broth weekly to help keep my stomach lining sealed, but also for the amazing proteins. Do I like the fact that I’m eating an animal? Absolutely not. It makes me very sad to boil the chicken feet that I buy from the Seward Coop. Besides the broth, I now occasionally consume wild caught fish, as well as drink kefir. The impact certain animal products have had on my health shows me I wasn’t meant to have a vegan diet. It’s all about the intention behind eating animal products. I think it’s important to understand that these products should not be over consumed or wasted. Food is nutrition, it is fuel, it is energy and it takes energy to produce it. Being mindful of how much I take or why I am eating what I am eating has opened my eyes to seeing more than the terms vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, ect. Being a vegan wasn’t keeping me healthy, it wasn’t serving my body. As guilty as I feel about eating animal products, I know that my intention is to keep myself happy and healthy so I can better serve those around me, and that makes it worth it!
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