Let me start this off by saying, I’ve been trying to write this post for months now.
Every time I’d sit down to try and gather my thoughts, I’d pick up literally anything around me to distract myself. My phone, a snack, my notepad… literally anything. I would realize that I had laundry to do, or dishes to clean… And before I knew it, the time I’d set aside to write this post was up, and I was on to the next thing.
In hindsight, it’s clear to me that I was avoiding writing it because I wasn’t ready to open up. Not yet.
After all, this wouldn’t have been the first time I flip-flopped between being vegan and eating meat. What if I’d decide to go vegan again in a few weeks? Why make a thing out of it? I’d taken breaks from veganism in the past, a night off, a slip-up here and there… That’s just the honest truth.
After a month of not being vegan had passed, there was some shame. There was feeling like I’d failed. And in being fully transparent, I started to feel like a fraud; here I was preaching this vegan holistic lifestyle online that I had decided I would no longer live. I think if I’d opened up about it right when it happened, it would saved me a whole lot of emotional turmoil and feeling distraught, but I needed my time to process.
I don’t want this to sound heavy, or to make it bigger than it needs to be. As I’m writing this and reading it back to myself I can see how it’s sounding, but ultimately this post is about sharing the process, for anyone else who can relate.
I think the reason it had such a profound impact on me is BECAUSE it extended beyond just my diet. This is what I left my full time job for. This is what my whole brand had been about for two years. Some had become dependent on me to continue to provide daily vegan recipes. It had become such a meaningful part of my identity and my beliefs that choosing to no longer be vegan left me feeling completely ripped in half. I started questioning every single thing I would eat.
On one hand, a core principle of veganism still ran deep for me; animal rights. Why should we be allowed to take the life of an innocent animal for the purpose of food when there are so many alternatives? And it’s not just “AN” animal, buying meat is supporting the mass killing and factory farming of animals. Hundreds of thousands, millions over the years. Raising them solely to die.
It’s sad. Truly heartbreaking. And the future cannot look like this for humans on Earth. It shouldn’t. The impact factory farming has on climate change is not sustainable in the long run either, not at its current rate, not in my opinion.
And how can I have a pet that I love and cherish more than words can describe, call myself an animal lover, yet at the same time support the meat and animal-slaughter industries?
Torn. In half.
It makes no sense if you look at it that way. None. Why does my dog’s life matter more than the life of a baby lamb? Why are some animals’ lives worth more than others? And why should we get to dictate that?
Then, on the other hand, there was what my body was telling me; fish, chicken, lean proteins that your body will absorb differently than plant-based protein.
This is just fact; our bodies absorb protein from animal-based sources differently than from plant-based sources. When consuming plant-based proteins, it’s recommended to also consume increased iron so that our bodies can retain and benefit from the plant-based protein in a similar way they do with animal-based proteins. S and I did the raw vegan schtick, we lost significant amounts of weight and muscle mass, and neither of us felt that great. That lasted two months out of the two years I was vegan.
I had been vegan from October 2016 to October 2018. It started out great, and I was motivated, and interested, and I’d seen every documentary about the meat industry, health and veganism, and various diets that were out there. I’d read books like How Not to Die, and The China Study. And yet, near the end of the two years, it was petering out for me and I was just becoming more and more disconnected from it all as my body kept telling me what it was needing.
The winter months were the hardest. It was tough to maintain a vegan diet when my body was craving warm, hearty meals with more substance. More than just carbs, or potatoes, or pasta.
I wanted to feel full.
I wanted to stop being tired.
I wanted to be able to order off of the WHOLE menu at a restaurant. Not just steamed broccoli or french fries from the side menu.
I wanted to eat a piece of cake at a wedding again, or a birthday party, or baby shower, or any other life event or celebration where there was cake.
I didn’t want to have to question the ingredients of every. single. thing. someone made for me when I went to their house. Or to have to pre-prepare food for myself and bring extra, just in case.
After two years of living it, it was getting to be a lot. I just wanted to live, to slow down a bit and stop overthinking everything.
In a video I shared on my youtube channel about hitting the reset button, I talked about how in the past I tended to operate at two speeds; 0 and 100. I just know that about myself. I have a perfectionist personality type, but I’m working on that. I think that in part, being vegan was about being a perfectionist for me. I had to do things just right, a certain way, and it just wasn’t sustainable for me. It’s hard to always be mindful of everything all of the time and to nitpick every single meal. It was exhausting.
Now with all of that said, my diet does currently lean heavily on the plant-based side. My meals are actually still vegan a majority of the time, but other times I do have chicken, and fish, and eggs. Some nights will be a large salad packed with a ton of veggies, healthy fats like avocado, and sometimes the protein will be tofu, while other times it’ll be a can of tuna. That’s just what works for me right now.
After operating at 100 for so long and trying so hard to be perfect all of the time, I needed to be able to recognize that in myself to take a step back. To reassess and to strike a balance that would work for me. My life goal in all aspects of my life right now is really to achieve a healthier balance. To slow my role and just listen to my body, to do what works for me, and to always keep “balance” as a priority. It’s much more sustainable for the longevity of my mental and physical health
Better choices daily
In the long run, this is how I see myself living. Yes, one day maybe I choose to be vegan again. I may or may not commit to the label, but I can commit to making better choices daily. I can commit to having meat or animal product with EVERY meal, and to reduce my meat intake for the sustainability of our planet (and because I think it’s the right thing to do). Balance, enjoying things in moderation.
Recipes I’ll be sharing
I truly mean this when I say I don’t care to ever go out of my way to explicitly share photos of grilled salmon, or roasted chicken on my instagram feed or my blog. I just don’t care for it. I don’t see animal-protein in photos the same way anymore. I truly do prefer to share vegan recipes, as inspiration, and as a way of challenging myself in the kitchen. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t ever share non-vegan recipes or photos in the future because those would just be an honest reflection of my life. I’m not trying to keep that a secret or be ashamed of it. I’ve always been honest with you guys, and transparency is something that I highly value in communication.
At the end of the day, me going vegan was a personal decision, just like it is now with me choosing to no longer be vegan. I think we can all do a better job at leaving room for more understanding and respecting people’s decisions, even if they may not align or conflict with our diets, our beliefs, and our values. I never judged anyone for their food choices, so I don’t really care to be judged for mine.
Right now I’m just doing what works for me, being as mindful as I can be (to a healthy degree), and letting myself live a little while also making an effort to “make better choices” daily. To everyone who’s followed my journey as it’s progressed over the years, thank you. If you’re ever considering going vegan, or transitioning out of it and would like more info, you’re always welcome to leave me a message here or send an email. I’m happy to share any insight I can that might help!
Inspired by Nick | Nick Joly