This is my personal why I'm no longer vegan story.
Over 10,000 words long.
So long I had to add a Table Of Contents after the introduction which will link you directly to the various sections (or just the pictures if that's why you're here.)
And I don't really expect most people to read it. Actually, this was difficult to write and I struggled with my decision.
But let's get this out of the way first — If this a topic that upsets you, please do not waste your precious time and energy here.
Maybe instead of getting angry at a stranger on the internet, consider reading 20 Ways To Improve Your Life In 2020 That Don't Involve Mindless Consumerism.
I'm not going to argue with you or approve your snarky comments. Go live your best life — this here is about me.
I'm writing all this out because I went vegan, did everything right and it destroyed my health in a very short period of time.
With all the current controversy surrounding the multiple high-profile online personalities leaving veganism, the response from many has been incredibly dismissive.
These influencers are actually just right on track. And they are a tiny, insignificant portion of the regular people who go vegan without ever publishing What I Eat In A Day (VEGAN WFPB!) vlogs.
Ask yourself if all the 30 million Americans that tried veganism or vegetarianism are just attention-seeking eating-disordered influencers who "did veganism wrong" by eating raw/doing detoxes/not eating enough/not supplementing enough/not supplementing right/not eating enough of xyz ingredient or food group?
Ask yourself if it's remotely normal for eating to be so complicated.
This is why I'm writing out this highly personal account after so long — because I was just a normal young girl who went vegan because I was promised health. Because I fell for the absolute lie that animal products were the reason our collective health was failing, that diseases were on the rise, and that the obesity rates were rapidly rising.
I'm not here to convince you that your vegan diet is unhealthy, time will do that for me.
I followed the advice from the esteemed vegan experts. I bought the cookbooks they recommended. I followed their recipes. I trusted them.
They were doctors after all.
I didn't have a YouTube channel or Instagram or this blog (which is only a few months old). I didn't have a history of disordered eating or food obsession. I have never tried to lose weight.
I didn't eat a fad vegan diet. I never went raw or fruitarian. I never did a water or juice fast.
After the first year when things sharply went downhill, I introduced an expensive supplementation regime to make up for everything my "perfect human diet" was missing, never grasping the cognitive dissonance of my actions.
I still failed. And I failed hard. My health rapidly deteriorated within the span of two years.
This is for anyone who is interested and for anyone who is going through the same thing and feels the same sense of loneliness, betrayal, anger, and confusion.
For the young girls who are watching 20-year-old influencers in bikinis peddle vegan diets, faux spirituality, happiness through consumerism, selfishness and self-destruction marketed as self-care through an endless array of pills, detox regimes, and other dangerous advice.
And I'm writing this for myself as much as I am for anyone else. It feels like time to finally get it all down and organize my thoughts on this important period in my life.
And I think it's important for all of us who went through this to share our experiences if at all possible.
I've watched quite a few smaller bloggers quietly leave veganism behind this past year and most are unwilling at this point to talk about their experiences whether from fear of reprisal or just the sheer exhaustion of it all. I was there too. I've been an ex-vegan for years. But I'm breaking my silence now because I think this is a very important topic, and I hope they eventually break their silence too.
And let me make one thing perfectly clear: this is not a gentle or apologetic story where I blame myself or some esoteric reasons for my failure. I do not consider any version of a vegan diet to be acceptable, safe, healthy or remotely appropriate for human beings. Mothers-to-be, currently pregnant women, and children, in particular, are at the highest risk. I think veganism is dangerous and nutritionally defective. Failure is the only possible outcome of that deficient diet.
I also do not believe anyone who makes the claim that they've been vegan, especially a raw vegan or "fruitarian" for any considerable length of time, and feel great doing it. I don't believe anyone who claims they have never cheated on their diet.
I do not believe in diet gurus or influencers in general. When your income is tied to your way of eating, and that diet is very particular and restrictive, I regard your advice as suspicious at best.
And despite everything that happened to me, I'm actually so very grateful to veganism now.
Veganism led me to fishing, to becoming a licensed hunter, to learning about foraging, to learning about grass-fed regenerative agriculture and holistic management. It led me to really study the food system as a whole.
Veganism led me to animal-based eating, raw milk, and ancestral health — it brought me back to my roots. Both to my childhood and to my ancestors.
This is your last chance to turn back if this is even remotely offensive to you.
Immigrating to Canada, Poverty, & My Early Diet
I was 6 years old when my father moved the entire family from our modest village home in the south of Croatia to Toronto, Canada.
I will never forget that first drive from the airport to my new home in December — I had never seen snow before.
I had never seen such wide roads full of fast-moving cars, nor multiple neon lights that filled up the sky from buildings and streetlamps.
I had no idea what was going on. It was magical.
We lived in what passes as a ghetto in Toronto with our fellow immigrants and refugees. It was a nice neighboorhood, with a real community feel despite the poverty and general air of shabbiness that pervaded everything or the random outbreaks of crime.
It was supposed to be temporary. We were going to move into a nice house in the suburbs.
Instead, my parents divorced when I was 10. My father moved out of our rental apartment. I never saw him again. My mother was left in poverty with two children and no support.
Our neighbours eventually began to buy homes in nice, safe suburbs and move on with their lives. They were finding the Canadian dream they had come for and becoming successful middle-class contributors to the Canadian economy. We stayed in the ghetto.
I grew up eating a typical Croatian diet prepared by my mother who herself grew up in a tiny village in the extreme poverty of post-WW2 Yugoslavia. She was the youngest of 8 children, her family were typical peasant subsistence farmers. She had farm chores that started at dawn, no television, no indoor plumbing, she was not allowed access to higher education or even a driver's license.
Her childhood was unimaginable to me, and the gulf between my mother and I has always been wide, but it is why we thrived as children, at least from a nutritional perspective. For that, I'm forever grateful.
This blog is called The Peasant's Daughter, after all.
Soup every day — real soup made from cheap bones. Hearty, filling stews of smoked pork like grah and kelj kupus. Beef liver once a week for the vitamins. Pâté (or pašteta in Croatian) practically every day spread on the rustic bread my mother baked fresh each morning for us. Cabbage rolls or sarma. Fish every Friday — whatever was cheap — thank God for the Chinese grocers for this.
There was little in the way of processed food in the house. Dessert was infrequent and homemade Croatian-style koláče. Chocolate milk was a treat. Occasionally a jar of Nutella for crepes or palačinke. I loved fried spam and eggs.
With poverty also comes the fried chicken hearts, livers and gizzards. Gnarled pig knees with stray hairs sticking up singed in the roasting pan. Potatoes. So many potatoes. Leafy greens like swiss chard and kale. Milk, yogurt, eggs. Polenta with full-fat sour Balkan yogurt.
We drank water or milk, occasionally juice. To this day I have no taste for soda.
My mother instinctively didn't trust the processed food of her new country, the colourful cans and packages. She knew only what her own mother had taught her and this was what she lived by. Frequently this was to her detriment, but not when it came to food and nutrition. Everything was homemade and from scratch and also so very monotonous.
Immigrant poverty from developing nations was quite different from the poverty of my Canadian peers which relied on cans and packages. I envied them their lunches. They looked waaaay more fun than mine.
Because we were poor, the school tried to get me to eat the free poor kid lunches offered. Instead of the lunches my mother packed, I was to have a processed ham and American cheese sandwich on brown Wonder Bread. An apple and fake, sugary juice rounded out this sad excuse of a lunch.
My mother was offended that her homemade bread and nutritious pâté were considered inferior to the fake food they would have me eat instead. We did not accept the school lunch program.
But I did feel shame at my pâté sandwiches at school. Shame at my poverty. And the backdrop to all this was the devastating side-effects of the Yugoslav wars, and of the communism which had preceded that. It followed all of us to our new home in Canada, none were immune, not even the children.
My community was full of suffering people who had seen things no one should ever have to see. PTSD, depression, alcoholism, and domestic violence was my normal. And none of this was ever discussed openly.
Shame played a huge part in my formative years. It is a burdensome thing that takes so much effort to rid yourself of.
Teen Angst & A Typical Diet
I started working at 14 to help my mother and finally get some money for mysef. With that newfound freedom, naturally, some would be spent on fast food.
Every day at the school cafeteria I would get a slice of pizza or a ginormous panzerotti with a carton of low-quality chocolate milk.
I didn't think about nutrition, most teens don't. We just eat.
I hated those years. I had unresolved issues from my childhood and so much unhealed trauma.
I shot up to my full height of 5'10 by 14 and would remain a gangly and awkward mess throughout high school.
Like many (most?) of my fellow North Americans, I would start eating a Standard American Diet. My "inferior" childhood diet long forgotten.
Granted my SAD was a slightly better version as I would still mostly cook whole foods like chicken breast and vegetables. I took the Canada Food Guide seriously and tried to incorporate as many "heart-healthy" whole grains and legumes into my diet as possible.
I stayed away from red meat except for the occasional steak or burger which I viewed akin to being like junk food and a source of protein only, nothing more. I would sometimes buy the anemic, flavourless pork from the grocery store too, but I knew that was even worse for my cholesterol.
What was cholesterol exactly? Who knows. It was bad. I would die from it somehow when I was older if I didn't avoid it now.
I would feel worry and guilt at not eating low-fat enough. Was I clogging my arteries?
Gone was the smoked pork hocks of my youth. Gone were the daily soups made from real bones. Pâté, liver, hearts and gizzards? Not a chance.
That was poverty food. That was in my past. I made casseroles with chicken breast and broccoli. I made fancy pasta. I followed fancy, always-smiling influencers who ate healthy as I perceived it. I drank fresh juices full of vitamins and minerals which would give me beautiful hair and skin.
I also ate junk food regularly. It was just a "snack" of course.
But I didn't feel great. I didn't look great. I was just doing okay. I knew there was something I was missing.
Discovering The China Study
Then one day I came across a copy of the infamous The China Study.
I devoured the entire book in one night and I remember this like it was yesterday — a tranquil feeling of peace washed over me. Finally, I had the answer to true health and longevity — a plant-based whole-food diet — veganism.
Our ancestors were actually primarily plant-based the book explained in authoritative and compelling language. Meat was an occasional thing, borne of necessity and survival. It was difficult to obtain meat for those early humans you see versus the tubers, fruits, greens, and fungi that the forests were utterly teeming with in the real-life Garden of Eden of our ancient past.
Before the scourge of humanity destroyed that natural abundance. B12 was actually from bacteria in the soil, and since our ancestors wouldn't have typically been washing their produce, that's where they got it from.
Even this deceptively scientific book had underpinnings of faith and religion. But I didn't know who the 7th Day Adventists were yet.
I would switch over to organic produce and stop washing my fruits and vegetables too — to be more like my Southern Balkan ancestors who apparently grew/foraged an absolute abundance of vegetable matter in the thin and rocky soils of the mountainous geography that characterizes much of Croatia.
I did have some remaining niggling doubts and unresolved questions in my mind but what did I know really? Online vegan celebrities sagely asked, how can we be true meat eaters if we can't go out into the wild and kill an animal with our teeth and nails?
I thought that was so brilliant. That I'd never known of anyone to plant and harvest a garden with their bare hands and teeth didn't occur to me. That human evolution and the tools we used are so tightly intertwined that the story of one is the story of the other was a realization I would come to later.
I had spent no substantial time in the forest myself, that was another love I would come to later. What did I know about foraging? It was probably super easy, and almost everything was likely edible if you just had the wisdom of our ancient practically-vegan ancestors. Especially in the fabled garden of Eden vegan forests we once lived in.
I didn't know then that everything in the grocery store was manmade, the wild counterparts tamed and bred for size, sweetness, taste, palatability over the last few thousand years. There is no broccoli in the wild, there never has been.
I gave up meat and dairy that night. There was no last meal of steak or a cheeseburger, no final hurrah. I dove right into veganism. I thought I would eat that way for the rest of my life.
And I genuinely didn't even miss my old life, so sure was I of myself — the science on my side. And why would science and doctors ever misrepresent anything? These people were beacons of light and truth in a dark world of ill health and misinformation.
Whole Foods Plant-Based: My Vegan Honeymoon Period
Those first 6 months of veganism were amazing.
Not only did I ditch all of those animal products that were causing heart disease, cancer, early puberty, and every other ill known to man — but I ditched junk food and anything processed entirely. I made everything from scratch with the help of my new vegan cookbooks.
I ate all the colours of the rainbow. I ate plenty of legumes for protein. My skin glowed.
I was a healthy whole-foods, plant-based vegan. I tracked my calories and nutrients with online calculators to be on the safe side. My head would swell with assuredness when my micronutrients would be off the charts.
I didn't know about bioavailability yet, or that conversion rates of many micronutrients from plant into forms actually useable for human bodies is difficult if not frequently nonexistent.
A typical breakfast might be a green smoothie full of berries and raw leafy greens. I would drink that with a baked sweet potato on the side, maybe drizzled with a tiny bit of tahini.
A vegan lunch might be two toasted pieces of ancient grain Ezekiel sprouted bread topped with the homemade vegan tuna I had faithfully made from my doctor-approved cookbooks. A bowl of vegan borscht on the side.
Who needs toxic mercury-laden tuna when you can mash up chickpeas with a tiny amount of vegan mayo and dulse seaweed flakes?
I mean no, this tastes literally nothing like tuna, unless you have maybe never tasted tuna before.
And sure the amount of vegan mayo called for in the recipe wasn't remotely close to the amount you actually needed to use to make the vegan tuna palatable or resemble the picture in the book with the enticing creamy texture.
And the homemade vegan borscht I had on the side — which the cookbook author weirdly refers to as "always being naturally vegan" lacked the body that collagen-filled bone broth gives to a stew.
I ate legumes almost daily — all the protein you need, and anyways the protein thing was overblown regardless.
Sure, legumes without the addition of meat or bone broths taste kinda bland — just add more seasoning until the seasoning is what you're actually tasting! That plus texture = satiety.
Dinner might be a lentil stew with a big, green salad. Or a brown rice stirfry full of vegetables.
Snacks were nuts. Raw fruits and vegetables. Hummus and whole-wheat pita.
The borscht wasn't the only recipe the grinning, tanned blonde with big white teeth and a tight forehead claimed were "always naturally vegan." Irish stew was bestowed with the same claim alongside quotes from real Irish people confirming this.
They couldn't even tell the difference between the vegan and the dirty meat versions — that's how good these recipes were!
So why could I tell the difference?
I was so high on health and self-righteousness, that I overlooked all of the small things that made no sense. I probably just didn't "get it" yet since I was so new and detoxing from my life-long meat and dairy addiction. I just needed more time. Eventually, I would eat low-fat and feel great. Eventually, brown rice and vegetables would taste like a satiating meal instead of desperation food.
If it's spoken by a rich-looking blonde lady with an expensive-looking face in a book the venerated doctor from The China Study had put his seal of approval on — it must be true.
So I believed it.
In the very beginning, I tried to keep my fat intake on the lower end just as The China Study recommended. This would prove to not be remotely sustainable, not in the short or long term. The less fat I ate, the worst I felt.
That many, many of the recipes called for more fat in actual practice than stated in the written recipe to make them actually taste remotely decent was another example of my own cognitive dissonance and refusal to see what was staring me plain in the face.
It was my fault that the vegan tuna recipe needed more vegan mayo. Mine. Not hers. Not the great doctors.
Fat is unhealthy. Fat would clog my arteries and kill me. The freaking China Study said so and that was the study to end all studies — one study to rule them all!.
And all the other vegan doctors confirmed this! They had studies showing low-fat veganism reversing heart disease!
So I pretended to eat less fat than I actually was in order to lie to myself that I was capable of following the perfect human diet. And I pretended that I wasn't pretending in order to get over the initial hardship and adjustment period. I performed so many mental gymnastics that I became an elite athlete in cognitive dissonance and denial.
I had not yet discovered the religious beginnings of veganism or just how many of these experts and doctors were being guided by their religious dogma first, science second.
The most effective propaganda never ever comes across as propaganda.
And I never managed to grasp ethical veganism so I stayed out of those conversations altogether when they cropped up in my online vegan forums.
Eschewing honey was illogical, beekeepers were clearly fulfilling a vital role in agriculture. Why would I import agave syrup when my local beekeepers were producing honey while pollinating human food crops — my vegan foodstuff?
And other animals ate meat. I'd watched enough nature documentaries where a pack of some clawed species takes down some prey animal only to begin eating it while it was clearly still alive and struggling. It clearly wasn't wrong for them, not that I'd advocate torture mind you. The very existence of omnivorous and carnivorous species made veganism as an ethical choice seem absurd.
No veganism wasn't an ethical choice — it was just the healthiest, most appropriate diet for the human animal, a clearly herbivorous species that can digest meat if needed, but really shouldn't because the meat was the cause of all of our sickness and societal ills.
I did believe in veganism as the most environmentally conscious choice.
Of course it took less environmental degradation to produce fruits and vegetables. It's a no-brainer! Livestock ate grains that humans could be eating instead, particularly the poor ones. Nature was being destroyed to keep these livestock alive, their waste and emissions destroying rivers and streams, polluting the air we breathed.
Livestock was one of the leading causes of climate change. I looked at infographics showing exactly how bad livestock is for the planet and believed it completely. I felt good that my diet was saving the planet, not destroying it.
Croatian Peasant Village Life & Cognitive Dissonance
To eat and live as a vegan you have to accept a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance from yourself while pretending not to.
One of my favourites, in hindsight, was watching the old women of my home country living full, active, healthy lives in their villages.
These were respected matriarchs; crones still tethered to the traditional lifestyles of the Balkans, living in their ancient stone houses. This is not a side of Croatia most vacationers are privy too, but it exists in the mountains surrounding Dubrovnik as you disembark your cruise ship and pay too much for a substandard gelato.
I observed these old women in their 80's and 90's, heavy in the middle now, with wrinkled skin and gnarled hands.
Their eyes were bright and clear. Their minds were sharp. I would talk to them for hours about their life, their childhoods, so vastly different from mine.
They made everything from scratch. On their tiny plots of land was an entire ecosystem of plants and animals living together in symbiosis. Everything was organic. They made their own cheeses the traditional way, they made wine and rakija and olive oil. Their world was not wrapped in plastic and shipped in from China.
What they lacked they would purchase from the local market where farmers sold their products directly to the public. They made do with very little. I'm not romanticizing anything here. The Croatian diaspora is huge for a reason. Their lives were very hard and they were so open and honest in the stories they shared, many of them almost unbearable to hear. But they were told as a matter of fact, not to garner pity or even sympathy.
My memory is slowly fading many of them would say with a chuckle and yet they recounted events from their distant and recent pasts with great clarity and eloquence.
Oh to be young and strong again they told me as they woke at dawn every day to take their cow and flocks of sheep or goats through the barren, rocky Croatian mountains in search of forage for the animals.
Ever seen these ancient women split the skull of spit-roasted lamb to scoop out the prized brains?
Eating brains will keep yours sharp they would tell me while offering me an eyeball skewered on a paring knife.
You're not eating enough. You look so skinny.
They could even be so much healthier if they just went vegan I whispered to myself as I watched a grandmother wield a scythe to cut back the wild grasses and weeds encroaching on her land high in the mountains above the Adriatic sea which teemed with life. The thin soil and mountainous coastal terrain ill-suited to much agriculture save for the native plants that managed to thrive.
After Year 1 as Vegan: Honeymoon Over
Unexpected things were starting to happen health-wise after that first year.
I would wake up feeling exhausted, my brain shrouded in what felt like fog. It would take me hours to dispel that foggy feeling. I began to drink more coffee. One cup in the morning wasn't enough and 3-4 became my new normal. I got headaches for the first time in my life.
I was constantly bloated. I was warned of bloating as a normal side effect in the beginning as my digestive system became accustomed to eating more vegetable matter.
But the bloating didn't go away. It only got worse. Much worse.
My stomach would feel full to bursting with food when in actuality I had barely eaten anything on my plate.
And so I was constantly hungry but I could not eat. I was constantly eating but I could only eat so much at a time. I began to eat smaller meals more frequently.
This helped a little bit, but not for long.
My stomach was now constantly distended. I would feel sick most of the day, drained of energy.
Despite my best efforts, I began to rapidly lose weight because I physically could not get in enough calories. I had always been slender but I hadn't been skinny since my high-school days.
I began to notice that my bloating and nausea happened most around my consumption of beans, lentils, and chickpeas. My protein superstars.
I cut them out and felt better. I added them back in, I felt worse.
Cutting Out Legumes
Beans and chickpeas were killing me. I couldn't eat legumes anymore.
Lentils occasionally were okay. As were green peas.
Where the hell was I supposed to get protein from? Or enough calories?
So I ate more potatoes. Sweet potatoes especially, for the Vitamin A, but also plain regular russet potatoes, and more exotic yams and tubers from the farmer's markets.
I didn't want to rely on soy, but it didn't make me feel sick, so I grudgingly added in tofu and made scrambles with so much seasoning to cover the taste. I made faux bacon from tempeh.
Then the potatoes started to make me feel bloated and sick too. I could barely stomach another damn potato. I cut them back drastically.
I cut out coffee. Coffee was ground-up beans. But that wouldn't last long as the morning brain fog and exhaustion made coffee a necessity.
I looked at my naked body in the mirror with some alarm: I looked soft, weak. My legs looked like the thighs were concave, they seemed impossibly skinny. Same for my glutes which sank inwards. Where was my muscle? My torso and hips formed a straight line down with no noticeable definition at the waist. My breasts were shrunken down. Why were my shoulders looking like they were collapsing forward? I became very self-conscious about my posture. My medium olive skin looked grey and lifeless, lacking the glow I had experienced those first few months. My long, thick hair I realized looked thinner.
Superfoods, Powders, Fats, & Potions
I became obsessed with superfoods and protein alternatives to get that vegan honeymoon period back. I upped my fat intake even higher.
Maca root from South America, Quinoa from Bolivia, Chinese herbs, powdered super berries, and teas shipped in plastics from around the world.
Veganism for the environment, right guys?
This had to be the missing link. If I could only find the right superfood to heal me and make me feel better, I could make veganism work for me.
I added the Bio-K+ vegan probiotic drink to fix my now constant gut issues. It was the most disgusting tasting thing and set me back $50 per week.
I added vegan kimchi and sauerkraut into my diet.
I bought the most expensive refrigerated cold-pressed flaxseed oil for the Omega 3 and whole flax seeds which I ground myself daily. I added both to my big, colourful daily salads.
I bought chia seeds and nutritional yeast.
Acai and goji powders which I added to my smoothies.
Coconut oil! Coconut cream! Fortified nut milks!
If it's white, it's milk, right?
I added even more variety of tubers, nuts, and seeds into my diet.
I struggled to make brown rice palatable before giving up and sticking to white rice.
I ate an avocado every day to up my fat intake and coconut products — perhaps his holiness of The venerated China Study had gotten the fat thing wrong where women were concerned? Maybe we needed more than the pitiful recommendations allowed to us?
Then I developed a rash all over my body from the avocado habit and had to severely cut back.
Too much soy and too much wheat made me feel bloated and ill. Rice was still safe.
My periods started to fluctuate drastically and became unbearably painful. I remember one day laying curled up on the floor with a heating pad wrapped around my back and stomach fighting back tears.
Becoming a Supplementarian
After that first year, I also grudgingly added supplements.
Our ancient plant-based ancestors didn't need them only because the vegan garden of Eden was pure and untouched by dirty human greed and industry. I lived in the modern world of stripped soils and capitalism.
Unwashed vegetables were perhaps not enough to meet my B12 needs. The sun was not enough for D3 in this Canadian climate of long winters.
So I got the fortified nutritional yeast and some pills, alongside vegan D3 and the very expensive liquid vegan iron.
My natural perfect human diet was starting to resemble a packaged dystopian hellscape of sludge and pills.
In this future of chemistry and plastic, there is no more culinary tradition. There is no old mother with her pot of soup. There is no more joy of taste or discovery of new cuisines. Just an endless array of bottles and powders and manufactured flavours.
How could all the Chinese-made packaging waste I was generating be more environmentally friendly than the pastured eggs from the farmer down the road?
How could shipping out-of-season fruits and vegetables into Canada be better for the world than buying beef from the guy a county over? Was it even possible to eat a local vegan diet in this country?
How was this monoculture vegan world of endless fields of soy, corn, wheat, and canola better than my Croatian villager family members with their homesteads of diverse plant foods and animals? They didn't need to spray chemical pesticides and herbicides. Their animals ate what nature produced.
And all of the food and probiotics and powders were costing a bloody fortune and I was still feeling awful.
I thought back to my childhood, to my years of poverty and the foods my mother cooked for us. To the rest of the immigrant families struggling to survive, to get out of that neighborhood. There is no chance in hell that my family or any other could have even remotely afforded a vegan diet.
This further solidified my position that veganism was not an ethical choice. How can something as simple and fundamental as food be ethical if the majority of the world couldn't afford it? Is starving to death or children afflicted with rickets an ethical choice?
And how much human exploitation was involved in the production of all this vegan food?
But how could I have known, sheltered stupid little girl that I was, that slavery was not a distant relic of our shameful past, but very much alive and well in parts of the world — and even bigger than ever. And agriculture was a massive driver of modern slavery and untold human suffering and exploitation.
Veganism was a diet of the first-world privileged individuals who had spent little time in the wilderness, no time on farms, and were bored of their lives. Veganism was a way to push back against the existential dread of our cushy existence.
For the first time in my life, I was part of a privileged class.
Pea Protein & Mock Meats. No Longer Whole-Foods Plant-Based?
Since I could still eat green peas with no bloating, nausea or other bad effects, I thought I could also use the (expensive) Vega Protein Powder — made from pea protein to get my desperately needed protein.
A bruised indent on my thigh was stubbornly refusing to fade. My body wasn't healing itself from injury.
Well, green peas and pea protein powder are two vastly different things I soon found out.
Within the span of a week, my stomach furiously rebelled. The bloating was back. I looked like a skinny and malnourished woman that was also tragically about 5 months pregnant. I was nauseous. I could barely put food into me from the excruciating feeling of fullness that was never accompanied by satiety.
Pea protein powder is not dehydrated and ground-up peas as I had assumed. Rather it is a highly processed food not found anywhere in nature. It is a newly made food and completely unpredictable in the food supply and my guess is that as we use this cheap filler byproduct more and more in processed foods like vegan burgers, more allergies and bad reactions will crop up to it.
I turned now finally in my desperation to vegan mock meats.
What the hell was there left? And could I still call myself a whole-food plant-based vegan?
I bought the plant-based sausages and burgers and nuggets.
But if you've ever had real food before, you know how bloody awful these things are. They taste like seasoning and sauce. They taste like salt and sugar but nothing else.
Have you ever had vegan cheese by the way? It’s disgusting. Anyone trying to convince you otherwise is not a trustworthy person. Ditto for vegan cakes/cupcakes.
And no, I didn't feel great after eating them either.
But what was there left for me to eat? How could I get in enough calories to gain back some weight and start feeling better?
I looked at my bottles of powders, plant proteins, special oils, potions, herbs, teas, pills, supplements, packaged foods, and food-like products.
So much plastic. So much waste. So much expense. My health was gone. I felt moody and irritable, exhausted. I looked terrible.
It didn't matter how many hours of sleep I got, I woke up dreading the day. Getting out of bed in my brain-fogged, exhausted body felt like a monumental effort. I would continue laying in bed, for hours sometimes, dreading life. I was depressed.
I hated looking at pictures of myself because they so clearly evidenced how unhealthy I looked. My face looked gaunt and lifeless with permanent dark circles under my eyes and premature nasolabial folds. So I avoided having my picture taken.
This was just over a year of veganism.
That First Cheat Meal
One day I ordered a pizza. No cheese, please.
I ordered it piled it high with healthy vegetables, chose the whole-wheat crust option, and reiterated several times on the phone — absolutely no cheese, just sauce and veg.
The soggy mess of a pizza on its cardboard crust arrived promptly — and with real cheese.
What was I to do with this massive pizza covered in real cheese? Let it go to waste because of some animal products? Call the pizza place and force them to replace it, when they would still throw out the one I already had? No. That's moronic. Wasting food is not vegan. The pizza was here and that was that.
All I could responsibly do was eat it and then go back to my regular programming afterwards. No big deal.
That whole-wheat crust and the plethora of soggy, discordant vegetables that I ordered had turned pizza from comforting junk food into an absolute trial to force down my throat— but this pizza had real cheese.
And it was the most amazing pizza I had ever had.
The worst part after eating all that cheese — low-quality and overly processed though it was — I felt good. I felt satiated for the first time in a long time.
I pushed those feelings aside and went on with my failing vegan life.
The cheese was bad. Cheese would clog my arteries. Cheese would kill me eventually.
Something something hormones. Something something pus. Something something cancer.
Year 2 of Veganism: Cheese & Cheating
Somewhere in that second and final year of veganism, I was not technically vegan anymore.
At least once a week I would cheat with cheese. I did this in secret and shame.
That shitty pizza place cheese was my gateway drug. But I was just so hungry, and those small morsels of cheese, eaten guiltily in private were the only times I felt full.
But I didn't want to be a mere vegetarian. The vegan doctors said that it wasn't enough to be healthy and save myself from heart disease and cancer, vegetarianism was just marginally better than eating meat. Just barely.
So I lived out a year as a shameful vegetarian. Struggling with a ravenous hunger for cheese that always left me feeling guilty afterwards.
If that literally sounds like an eating disorder to you, you're right — it absolutely is. But it's one you're doing because the higher powers have told you it will save you from an early grave, disease, and illness.
It's the eating disorder that you convince yourself is the healthiest way of eating possible.
Asking The Vegan Community For Help
I took to the online vegan community for help.
I only had vegan friends in the online world.
I described my symptoms, begged for answers.
I was still just mentally and physically detoxing was the most common response.
Basically, they told me that like a recovering addict, I needed more time. And I needed to eat more. Some suggested fruitarianism.
But how much time? And eat more of what? So many of the supposed healthiest foods were causing me to have terrible reactions no matter what cooking method, amount, or combination I tried.
I got absolutely nothing of value or help from the vegan forums where everyone was claiming to live a healthy, happy, vegan life with their endless plates of brown rice and broccoli that were just SO good and SO satisfying with little more than some soy and hot sauce added.
I felt dismissed and eventually ostracised. The community wasn't sympathetic or friendly towards me or interested in my struggles. They wanted success stories or easy, fixable problems.
What was wrong with me?
My First Taste of Meat In Two-Years
As I continued to shamefully cheat on my perfect diet with my cheese habit I also started waitressing at a busy restaurant. I was constantly on my feet and constantly pulling double shifts.
I was miserable, skinny, hungry.
I was fed up.
I ordered a French Dip Au Jus and ate it as if my life depended on it.
The worst part was how good I felt afterward. There was no upset stomach or nausea like the online community had warned me about.
Your stomach stops developing the digestive enzymes to process meat. You'll get sick if you eat it.
I knew that something was wrong with me — I had failed veganism. Veganism was the Platonic Ideal and I was a miserable unenlightened animal, unworthy of it. I was cast out of the vegan garden of Eden where my ancestors had lived in perfect health.
I would never rediscover that here on earth. My vegan garden of Eden crumbled around me.
That meat tasted so good and I found a renewed sense of energy that night and a massive sense of relief.
But how do you reconcile two thoughts to your vegan brain? That the thing that is making you feel better is also the thing that is slowly killing you?
I weighed myself that week. I was 115 lbs at 5'10. An underweight BMI of 16.5. Normal begins at 18.5.
I looked like a skinny, androgynous, teenage boy. There was nothing in my appearance to suggest fertility or health or femininity anymore. That had eroded completely.
I forced myself to look in the mirror.
This isn't normal. This isn't right.
Two years was what it took.
One Study To Rule Them All: The China Study Book Was Total Bunk & Other Inconvenient Truths
Veganism and its adherents promise you health, vitality, and longevity while it destroys you from the inside out.
Since then, I've watched many people hold onto their diets, refusing to see what was plain as day in front of their eyes, hold on to cherry-picked studies and taking the word of social media influencers and vegan doctors to a level of regard that isn't supported by evidence.
I've watched badly made and very biased "documentaries" terrify people.
That was me too. But I was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
So I sought out further answers elsewhere, not just from my sacred vegan sources.
In the two years since starting this journey, I had never thought to seek critiques of my bible The China Study or How Not To Die.
I never read past the headlines about the studies either, so if iron from animal sources was causing colon cancer, then so be it. Why read the study when the headline told me everything I needed to know? Why would a journalist writing for a credible paper lie, misrepresent, or sensationalize when their integrity and career depended on it?
An why should I waste my time reading the studies? It's not like I could interpret them even if they weren't behind a paywall.
If appeal to authority had a face, it was mine. I had not ventured outside my vegan bubble, but now I was forced into doing it.
And that is how I discovered the infamous Denise Minger, a former vegan who had destroyed her health and teeth, who took on the infamous The China Study — my bible — and tore it apart completely and wholly.
Her conclusions would be impressive enough to launch her into internet renown, even forcing the doctor himself to respond directly to her. And her conclusions would go on to backed up by others, doctors and researchers, statisticians. She would even go on to write and publish Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health.
As for me, I was both shattered and relieved.
Shattered that I had fallen for such a con. Relieved that it wasn't me — it was this stupid, deficient, unhealthy, species-inappropriate diet that was making my health fall apart so spectacularly.
Just like a cow fed the species-inappropriate grain that would eventually kill it if it were not destined for slaughter before such a time, veganism was the cause of my own demise.
Veganism had failed me.
And more veganism was not the answer to heal me.
There was no plant superfood, no combination of leafy greens and tubers, no magic pill that would turn veganism into something it could never be — a healthy, species-appropriate diet for people.
I didn't know you could misrepresent studies so easily. I didn't know that studies could be so badly designed as to render their results useless. I didn't know how prevalent click-bait journalism was.
I didn't know scientists and doctors and researchers weren't all-powerful and had their own biases.
I would go on to read the book The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith, another former vegan who had destroyed her health.
Then another former vegan wrote about taking up hunting of all things in The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance.
And I discovered Mark's Daily Apple and his primal diet which emphasized meat, seafood, and vegetables, with minimal fruit, dairy only if tolerated and absolutely no grains. He wrote about nutrient-density, nose-to-tail eating, grass-fed and pastured meats.
He went behind the headlines and clickbait articles, he ripped apart the studies, exposed them.
I desperately sought out criticisms from unbiased third-party sources of the information I was finding. Read back-and-forth debates. To no avail. There was plenty of criticism but it felt so hollow, and it didn't negate my personal experience.
I walked away from veganism forever and I have never looked back.
And then so many other people online were discussing their experiences too. So many ex-vegans with the same complaints and health issues I had. So much collective guilt and bewilderment and anger.
Many of these people were part of communities discussing paleo/primal diets, keto, and also some long-dead dentist called Weston Price.
Discovering Ancestral Health & Healing Myself & My Gut
Have you read Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration?
Have you looked at the pictures comparing the tribal peoples eating their traditional diets versus the ones that had adopted more modern foods?
You can't read that work from the 1920' s and 30's and not feel something.
I felt betrayed and angry.
There has never in the history of the human species been such a thing as a vegan civilization. Never. There have however been groups of people who have thrived off of a nearly entirely animal-based diet — the Inuit and Mongols just to name two.
Animal foods have been prized for health and fertility since before written history, they have made up the most important and valued aspects of our diets. They are essential and critical to every single cell in our body.
Am I suggesting that just because we've always done things a certain way, we should continue them?
No. Just that maybe we should treat veganism as the untested, unverified human experiment it truly is. Maybe we should tap the breaks before going into something full-force because a study based on a questionnaire suggested a possible correlation between meat and cancer.
Take the studies out of it entirely, and ask yourself what makes more sense, that the animal foods we have eaten since the dawn of time are the cause of the multiple modern diseases or the industrialization of the food supply which has led to brand new hyper-processed foods like vegetable and seed oils to become a huge part of our diet?
Is it actually the hamburger, or the hamburger bun, coke, and french fries fried in a type of oil that has only recently in human history been possible to produce?
Ex-Vegan Anger & Healing
Hell hath no fury like an ex-vegan seeing the world with newly-opened eyes.
I was furious. Furious at veganism. Furious at the lies, deceits. Furious at my own ignorance and stupidity.
I sought out raw milk from grass-fed cows. It's illegal here in Canada due to a plethora of reasons which don't add up — but you can still find it. I bought it from the back of a van in a parking lot like a junkie. The farmer drove 5 hours to illegally deliver his product to me and others.
I sought out fatty, nutrient-dense, nose-to-tail cuts of meat: liver, brain. I ate wild salmon and sushi. I ate grass-fed and pastured whenever I could afford it.
I went from one extreme to another but this time I started healing myself.
I started supplementing with Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil — and I still take a teaspoon daily in the fall and winter months, and it remains the only cod liver oil that I would ever recommend anyone take.
I started making and drinking bone broth daily and supplementing with additional Collagen Hydrolysate from Great Lakes.
No, it's not necessary to supplement on my diet, but when I was still healing, I truly believe it was. The cod liver oil, in particular, was a miracle in a bottle.
I still take both of the above and they are the only things I take, but now I use them as the supplements to a good diet that they're intended to be.
I used up, threw out, or gave away my absolute pharmacy of vegan supplements and disgusting alternatives.
I cooked with pastured lard, tallow, ghee, or butter.
I gave up legumes and grains entirely.
I learned how to read studies and analyze them critically. I read every study I could get access too.
B12 doesn't come "from the soil." It comes from ruminant animals who manufacture it in one of their multiple stomachs. The best source of B12 was red meat from ruminants, something omnivores were eating less of in favour of "healthy" boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Sweet potatoes do not have Vitamin A — they have Beta Carotene which must then be converted into Retinol by the human body. And conversion rates are vastly unpredictable (an understatement probably). True, useable, Vitamin A — Retinol, is only found in animal foods.
There is no plant source of DHA and EPA, conversion rates from things like flax seed oil are, again, inadequate. Algae? No thank you, what an idiotic solution and a complete waste of time and money when you could just eat some salmon or brain and get some real nutrition in the process. Human beings do not eat algae in nature and maybe there's a reason for that? Maybe we haven't studied this product long enough to bring it to the marketplace yet and tout it as a true vegan alternative?
I no longer trust isolated compounds or manufactured vitamins. Nutritional science is a very complicated field and is still in its infancy. We do not understand everything that happens inside us when we eat, we do not know all the factors or cofactors that take place within our bodies when we eat a piece of salmon versus take a pill stuffed with algae or some type of lab-grown fermented bacteria.
Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone found in sunlight, seafood, and other animal products.
Acai berries and quinoa aren't superfoods. The content of beef liver blows every single plant out of the water when it comes to nutrient density and vitamin/mineral content and is so much cheaper. The brain contains tremendous amounts of Vitamin C along with DHA and other micronutrients.
I argued with vegans online. I was furious.
I started gaining weight back. The fullness in my face started to gradually return. The dark circles and nasolabial folds went away.
My depression and anxiety faded. The bloating went away.
My hair thickened and grew long again.
I now sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed. My skin glows. It tans easily and holds colour for months into the winter. I have a defined waist-to-hip ratio. I look like a healthy, fertile woman and not like a sickly, androgynous blob of undeterminable sex.
I hike up mountains. I canoe the Canadian wilderness. I climb up glaciers. I fish, am starting to hunt, forage, have a community garden plot where I grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables you rarely or never find for sale in grocery stores.
Gardening was another eye-opener to the difficulties of being vegan and self-sufficient. First of all, growing your own food takes a lot of time and can only be done during certain times fo the year. Second, the soil is not some dark, dead thing. It is teeming with complex life and it requires life, in turn, to flourish and grow the things that we like to eat. Soil is hungry. Soil wants blood, bone, manure. The plants I was eating on my vegan diet were not even vegan themselves.
As an alternative, the soil gets petroleum-based fertilizers and chemicals and this treatment — vegan though it may be — is destroying the soil that every species on earth requires for survival.
Veganism is not an environmentally conscious choice or the future of our species. Regenerative agriculture is and that relies on more livestock, not less. Have you watched the Allan Savory Ted Talk yet? You need to watch it. Go ahead and search for criticisms on him too. Take nothing as gospel anymore, I'm not an influencer, I don't care if I change your mind or confirm your beliefs.
I gradually stopped arguing with anyone online. I stopped reading studies. I just don't care.
I'm actually so glad that veganism is on-trend right now because I know the majority of them will be ex-vegans soon enough. And I know that many of those ex-vegans will rediscover ancestral health and regenerative agriculture which is our future and so much more than just grass-fed. Just like I did. And those communities, many of whom are full of former and recovering vegans, will welcome them back to being human.
This took years. This was not overnight.
My diet is still animal-based, nose-to-tail, and focused on nutrient density. But now I eat everything in some amount and as I want to. I eat intuitively and never feel that deep, raw, aching, hunger that once was my daily reality. I do not struggle with my weight or digestion, it's effortless and not a concern.
I love my life. I love my body. I love what I see in the mirror. I love what my body can do for me
My Before & After Photos
Posting Before & After photos is something I'm uncomfortable with. I'm not a fan of displaying too much of my skin online either. I'm making the exception for this article as it's actually relevant to the subject matter.
You Were Never Really Vegan/You Did It Wrong & Other Vegan Lies & Deceptions
You were never really vegan, you were merely plant-based. Veganism is about reducing as much suffering as possible.
My time inside the vegan community and also observing it from the outside has led me to believe that veganism is not just a diet, but rather an ideology, a religion — just one without a God, and that makes it particularly dangerous, as committing immoral acts against apostates and nonbelievers becomes acceptable.
Want to send death threats to a small farmer? Throw paint on someone for wearing a fur coat? Destroy the livelihood of indigenous communities in remote locales and then walk away back to Los Angelos as if nothing happened? You can.
In the pursuit of animal rights, individuals have staged and filmed acts of unbelievable cruelty towards animals attempting to pass them off as real insights into how some industries work. You've likely heard the oft-repeated line about animals being skinned alive for their fur. Not only is skinning an animal alive completely illegal and totally unnecessary, but it would also be incredibly dangerous and even ruin the prized fur.
Don't believe me?
Think that the fur industry is a biased source? Sure is. Luckily you can Google each and every case listed and read it for yourself from multiple third-party sources and news journals. I did. Everything in the article checks out.
(Also if you want real information on how the fur industry operates, visit the Truth About Fur or look into visiting a trap-line or farm for yourself.)
Here's a few choice picks:
- 1972: The Canadian Association for Humane Trapping produces a film entitled They Take So Long to Die. Scenes of animals suffering horribly in inappropriate traps are subsequently aired on CBS television. It is later learned that the animals had actually been caught in the wild and released into a compound to be trapped and filmed at leisure. The film is withdrawn from circulation, but the footage appears in another film, Canada’s Shame, produced by the Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals.
- Mid-1980s: Greenpeace Australia distributes film of two men mutilating live kangaroos as part of a campaign to ban ‘roo products in Europe. Greenpeace only withdraws the film after a court convicts the men for breaking the law, and concludes that they were paid to do so by the film crew.
- 1964: Private film company Artek Films vilifies Canadian sealers with footage, screened by CBC television, of a seal being skinned alive. Following a public outcry and investigation, the man in the film, Gus Poirier of Prince Edward Island, signs an affidavit declaring that he was “employed by a group of photographers … to skin a large seal for the film. I solemnly swear before witnesses that I was asked to torment the said seal and not to use a [club], but just to use a knife to carry out this operation, where in normal practice a [club] is used to first kill the seals before skinning them.” A Federal Standing Committee castigated CBC “for not enquiring into its accuracy before screening,” but the damage had been done.Despite the ruling, the footage would later be used in IFAW propaganda, even though its founder, Brian Davies, stated under oath that he had never actually seen a seal being skinned alive.
Veganism requires strict adherence to a hypocritical and frequently fantastical scripture, offers a path to redemption and forgiveness through forsaking the flesh of other creatures at any cost. It seeks to cast out, harass, and ruin apostates.
It is highly hypocritical and believe me, this is a feature, not a bug.
How else do you reconcile protesting fur, leather, wool, or down while wearing unnatural clothing made in overseas factories where the surrounding environments are ecological dead zones? How do you accept that this clothing will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years, leaching poison into the environment? Or even during its life cycle as it leeches out microplastics every time you do laundry?
How do you reconcile the countless acres of monoculture foods which annihilate diversity, kill insects, kill bees, poison the soil, and strip it of its precious topsoil which can only be rebuilt through animal inputs like grazing and manure?
How many small animals are killed when those foods are harvested? How many creatures were driven out when those fields were planted? Every tree, shrub, wildflower and native plant eradicated through chemical and mechanical means. The watershed placed in jeopardy.
And that farmer, through necessity, must kill the deer and rats and other animals that feed on those crops so that you can eat them instead?
Does the typical omnivore contribute to what I listed? Do I? Yes, of course, but the takeaway point here is that the typical omnivore contributes to the above but doesn't claim a moral superiority above his fellow man while doing it.
That moral superiority — shouted from atop a razor-sharp ledge — is reserved for the vegan despite so much of the vegan argument falling apart through even a bit of scrutiny.
So why are vegans not supporting and championing regenerative agriculture?
Why do their activists continue to trot out the same tired platitudes about grass-fed meat being worse for the environment because of carbon emissions while ignoring that even the worst grass-fed farmer is still at least working with an ecosystem with multiple flora and fauna, unlike monoculture which must eradicate everything else?
Why do they continue to ignore that regenerative agricultural practices are shown to be carbon neutral or even carbon negative?
Why do they keep pretending that these animals are grazing on land that could be used to grow plant foods for human consumption?
Why are you pretending that even current agricultural livestock practices are a major contributor to carbon emissions when the data shows us otherwise?
Why are they not championing that the transport trucks be switched over to electric instead of demanding that humans eliminate meat from their diets when transportation and not cattle is clearly the bigger source of pollution?
Why are you not supporting modern hunting which is a literal act of conservation and the reason so many species have been brought back from the threat of extinction?
- The Conservation Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt
- Hunting IS Conservation
- Decline In Hunters Threatens How US Pays For Conservation
- Talking Conservation and Wildlife With the Meateater’s Steven Rinella
As I explained already, the ethical argument for veganism made and makes no sense to me. If it is not wrong for any other omnivorous or carnivorous animal to kill another to survive, why is it wrong for humans?
Because the human-animal for vegans is elevated to something divine. Because veganism is very clearly a religion despite what the adherents tell you.
The religious underpinnings of vegetarianism and veganism in North America are fairly easy to see once you know what you're looking at. And many of the vegan doctors that I respected, admired, and looked up to were part of these religions.
What about poor people? I was raised in poverty, veganism would have been impossible for our family. Are you a better, more evolved being than those living in poverty? Do you understand the implication of that statement for the majority of the world?
How about the Inuit and Indigenous people? Icelanders? The Mongolian and Sami peoples? Anyone living in northern climes where little can easily grow?
What about eating roadkill? Invasive species? Free food? Dumpster diving? Bivalves like oysters and mussels that are incredibly sustainable food choices, have no central nervous system, and are basically fleshy underwater venus fly traps?
But to get back to my first point, why is it wrong for humans but not other animals?
If following meal plans, recipes, and recommended cookbooks from literal vegan doctors and taking the required supplements was not enough to do it "right" then there is no right way. Eating is not meant to be this complicated. There is no such thing as a multi-year detox from animal foods in order to reach vegan enlightenment. That is an insane thing to accept at face value.
And if I didn't seek out a specialized vegan doctor back then for help — well I don't see a doctor about my diet now either, because I don't need help with learning how to eat.
The small-minded individual will read what I just wrote and write it off. After all, the entire world can't go back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Most agriculture isn't regenerative and regardless most people can't afford to buy that type of meat even if they even have it available locally. Most people can't or won't grow their own food or keep their own backyard chickens either.
Isn't veganism a movement that is looking to change the present reality to suit their own vision despite 99% of the world not being vegan nor desiring to be?
Well, that's what I'm doing as well by living and eating the way I do, as privileged as it is. This is is the future I'm working towards in my own way, as much as I can. And I've watched this movement grow steadily with my own eyes — we're not going anywhere.
Many of us are former vegans. You can't fool us twice with the same nonsense.
Life After Veganism. Life After Labels.
I now say I eat animal-based focusing on whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods. I emphasize nose-to-tail cuts, red meat, and seafood. I mostly avoid grains, but not entirely. I eat junk sometimes, but rarely. I eat intuitively as I did in childhood and it is effortless.
If you want to see a typical day of eating, check out: What I Eat In a Day (January)
I'm not as interested in dietary labels anymore like I once was, whether that be vegan, paleo/primal, keto, carnivore, whatever. They can be helpful to many, just less so to me now.
I will happily make vegan, vegetarian, or allergen-friendly food for my friends and never criticize or discuss their dietary preferences unless specifically asked.
I don't care how anyone eats, but I have my opinions, and they aren't likely to change unless faced with some groundbreaking new evidence.
I take issue with the unfair, relentless attacks on farmers. I despise degenerate celebrity culture and the attempts of millionaires who log countless hours on private jets and attempt to tell regular people how they should eat or live. I hate influencer culture and its potential to harm young minds, particularly young teen girls who watch these people. I also hate the particularly fringe sects of veganism like raw foodism or fruitarianism.
Extremism exists amongst my own community, and I'm not a fan of that either.
I wish that people who were interested in sustainability and truly reforming the food system could get together on a common ground despite ideological differences, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
To The Vegans Who Have Made It This Far
If you're a vegan who has slogged through my entire, lengthly story, you likely fall into one of two camps:
- You are angry at me and the perceived slights against your diet/lifestyle. You hate that I call it a religion but you're here to tell me about the gospel of Dr. McGreger or other proselytizers.
- You are sick, tired, bloated, depressed, and hungry. You are confused. You want reassurance that you are not crazy, that other people are going or have gone through what you're experiencing. Your online vegan groups are starting to not make sense and you're finding that the faux concern over your quality of life is now giving way to a cold shoulder while your suffering continues unchecked.
For the first — If you've made it this far, thank you. But please remember that any attempts at rudeness, harassment, or bullying will be completely ignored. Your comment won't be approved and it will not get a response. Don't waste your time here, just go off and live your best vegan life.
This blog is not a forum for you to express your viewpoints.
Lead by example for those who are interested in your message. I'm not interested in converting you, debating you, or convincing you of anything.
For the second — it's okay to feel like you do. Most of your peers do or will at some point. The community of ex-vegans is considerably larger than that of current vegans.
It's also okay to rethink your values, beliefs, and choices. Life is a journey and we (hopefully) will be on this planet for many long, happy, healthy decades. As we grow and change we will hopefully also have the courage to admit when we are wrong and then take the steps to change our lives.
I've done this numerous times. I will (hopefully) continue to do so.
I am not the same person today that I was when I was 19. Heck, I'm not the same person t today that I was a year ago. Nor would I want to be.
So why should you be? It is not a virtue to hold steadfast to a philosophy that is no longer serving you.