Why I’m No Longer Vegan | The Journey To Recovery

Update Spring 2023: This post (much to my surprise) has become the most popular article on this blog. It has reached over 100K of you and I have received hundreds of emails, comments, and messages on Instagram. I haven’t been able to reply to everyone, please know that your shared experiences and words have touched me to the point of tears numerous times. Thank you for taking the time.

A lot has changed since I typed up this story on a burning whim:

In 2020 I became pregnant (after years of healing and following a nutrient-dense diet) and gave birth to my firstborn, a son, after a very easy pregnancy and labour.

I also had a successful first hunt (turkey)!

In 2021 a long-held dream of mine was realized when we moved into our homestead, a historic house in the country where we are now gardening and growing our food and raising chickens, ducks, geese, and Icelandic sheep while planning a permaculture food forest. We are practicing regenerative and holistic farming methods and it is is incredible to see how much can be done on only 3 acres of land.

In 2022 a second son was born after another extremely easy and enjoyable pregnancy and quick labour at home. As with the first, breastfeeding was easy, and postpartum recovery was barely a thing. I credit my current diet and lifestyle with that.

The peasant's daughter and son on the homestead
With my first son, on our little homestead.

Family photo from our recent 2023 trip to California where we stayed on a working sheep ranch of the rare Navajo-Churro breed.

This is my personal why I’m no longer vegan story.

It’s long.

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 is 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 doing literally anything else.

I’m not going to argue with you or approve (or even read) 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.

But 84% of people who go vegan or vegetarian will go back to eating meat within the first five years, many citing health issues as a reason for quitting.

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 of 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. I didn’t have a history of disordered eating or food obsession.

I have never even 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.

You’re all liars. I was too.

And despite everything that happened to me, I’m actually so very grateful for veganism now.

Veganism led me to fishing, to becoming a licensed hunter, to learning about foraging, and 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 neighbourhood, 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 was a staple — 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.

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, occasionally juice as a treat. 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 myself. 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.

Puberty was….rough.

Getting SAD

Like many (most?) of my fellow North Americans, I would start eating a Standard American Diet.

My “inferior” childhood diet was 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 worried and guilty about not eating low-fat enough.

Was I clogging my arteries?

Gone were 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 healthy to be. 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, Vitamin 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.

Apparently my Southern Balkan ancestors apparently grew and foraged an absolute abundance of vegetable matter in the thin and rocky soils of the mountainous geography that characterizes much of Croatia.

That totally made sense in this vegan world that was health expert approved.

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, and 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 plants 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.

Or something.

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.

But 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 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 this 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 to, 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 80s and 90s, heavy in the middle now, with wrinkled skin and gnarled hands.

But 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 because that was the way it was always done.

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 like mine.

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.

I watched a grandmother wield a scythe to cut back the wild grasses and weeds encroaching on her land. Here high in the mountains above the Adriatic sea which teemed with life, the thin soil and mountainous coastal terrain were 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 to 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 godawful taste.

I made faux bacon from tempeh which was bearable.

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 I had ever tasted and it 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 in the hills and mountains.

And all of the food and probiotics and powders were costing an absolute 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 neighbourhood.

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.

SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!

(No it is not)

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.

Oh no.

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 meI 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.

Why I'm no longer vegan
Actual photo of me after two years of veganism.

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, holding 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?

And 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.

It’s a thorough and breathtaking takedown by a then 24-year-old English lit major which you can read here.

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 be backed up by others, doctors and researchers, and 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, and exposed them.

Like this article about that link between meat, heme iron, and colon cancer I mentioned.

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 1920s and ’30s 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 maybe we should treat veganism as the untested and 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 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 to.

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 (amongst other things) 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.

After nearly two-years of veganism. I’m 5’10 and weigh roughly 120 lbs here, an underweight BMI of 17.2. My lowest weight was an astonishingly underweight 115 lbs.
After nearly two-years of veganism. I’m 5’10 and weigh roughly 120 here, an underweight BMI of 17.2. My lowest weight was an astonishingly underweight 115 lbs.
learning to rapel
About a year into recovery from veganism. 5’10 and about 125-130 lbs here, with a medically normal BMI of 18.7. Low, but no longer underweight.
why I'm no longer vegan
Approximately two-years into recovery from veganism. Note the hair and skin. I’m not wearing any makeup in this photo although it is blurry. I’m probably 130 lbs to 135 lbs here at 5’10. Yes, my eyebrows are atrocious — I fixed that too.


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 do that!

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?

Read Saving Society From Animal Snuff Films.

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 are 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 or thousands 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?

showing how regenerative agriculture is carbon negative
Source: White Oak Pastures

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?

Source: Diana Rodgers from Sustainable Dish & her upcoming documentary film Sacred Cow

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?

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.

Read: Thou Shalt Not Discuss Nutrition ‘Science’ Without Understanding Its Driving Force.

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. You are insane to believe it.

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.

And?

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. We know your nonsense for what it is. We lived and breathed it.

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. They no longer bother me. No food does really since I took the time to heal myself, heal my gut.

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)

If you want to see how I ate while pregnant with my first, check out my Pregnancy Way Of Eating article.

I’m not as interested in dietary labels anymore as 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 in my own community, and I’m not a fan of that either.

Call it all out.

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.

Or

  • 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 and I am not a dumping ground for the pain and trauma of your diet failing you.

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.

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67 Comments

  1. From Berlin/ Germany here. I am so confused! Watched “Cowspiracy” and “What the Health” on Netflix yesterday and immediately panicked that I am killing my family “death by cheese and meat”. Then watched several YouTube videos of Neil Barnard touting being vegan. Immediately cleaned out the fridge but then had absolutely no idea what to make for my children for dinner. Just out of curiosity I googled “vegan almost killed me” to maybe – just maybe- find some arguments against being vegan. I stumbled upon your story and I read the entire story – what a good and informative piece (I had to chuckle too).
    Certainly not going to impose Vegan on my kids or husband! BUT, still confused. I thought animal products cause all the suffering, cancer, diabetes, heat attacks.
    So what gives?
    Any credible long term vegans out there that truly are healthy and glowing and full of energy?
    I wonder! Will definitely read the linked articles etc.
    But still very confused! Also read the China Study many years ago but did not fully understood the stats. And let’s face it, anything China is not credible to begin with. Highly doubt any cancer stats published by China are credible etc.
    Anyhow, thanks for this long insight into your personal journey. Still going yo do some searches to actually find credible long term doing fantastic vegan stories.
    Should I ditch my juicer I just bought? I thought “green lemonade” will guarantee longevity and zero illness die to an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
    So many questions….,

    1. Eat real food. Whole food. Ditch seed oils and the hyperprocessed crap filling the food aisles. Cook from scratch. You’ll be ahead of 95% of people.

      Don’t let the noise surrounding you scare you, just keep striving for betterment. And be gentle with yourself too!

  2. Fabulous statement, loved it!! Just went carnivore last December 2022, health seriously spiraling down for the last 7 years. Did a lifetime of organic , mostly plant based, but always included dairy and eggs and occasional meat. Finally figured out that oxalates and too low of protein was the main culprit. I haven’t felt this good for many years, joint pains mostly gone, histamine rashes now only sporadically, heart issues improving, and brain fog is gone!!!! It would be nice to see more recent comments!!

    1. Mary that’s so wonderful to hear! So many people experience what you do. I’m behind on approving comments on this post as they tend to get hijacked but I will eventually.

      Thank you for sharing!

  3. I never answer blog posts, but yours it too brilliant to ignore! Thank you so much for this.
    My story is different from yours. I’ve been vegan 2 and a half years without any changes in my physical or mental health, then another 10+ years as a vegetarian, again with no consequences (other than the occasional low iron). I’ve never craved meat all these years.
    BUT in the last few months meat cravings started to creep in, subtly at first, then stronger and stronger. At a certain point they became impossible to bear and I decided to eat meat again.
    At first I felt the need to justify eating meat again with some health problems, but my blood work is perfect. Then I decided that, if after 13 years my body is telling me something, I’d better listen to it. Started eating meat a few days ago, the taste and texture were weird and not so pleasant, but I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it again.
    Your post was a real eye-opener.

    1. Hey thank you for sharing! And I hope you don’t see this as patronizing – but this stranger is proud of you for listening to your body ❤️

      1. Not patronizing at all, thank you for your answer! We need more people like you. Also, because of you I now ordered “Nutrition and physical degeneration” and can’t wait to read it 🙂

  4. Loved your article. You’ve just made something clear and I’m looking forward to getting back to the healthy normal life.

    I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years. Growing up in Hungary, eating home cooked foods, eating veggies and fruits from our garden or from the market, eating home raised meat, then moving to the USA and realizing most of the food are in boxes or cans….big difference. After living in the USA for 8 years I’ve decided to go vegan. Almost teen years later…I knew something was missing, something was not right, my body was missing something, not functioning as it supposed to be, gave up running as I always had low energy level. I’ve started to looking for answers and found others who gave up vegan food and felt better.
    I’ve got tired checking labels, always going restaurants that has at least one vegan option, travel was a nightmare if food was not available, air travel is not vegan friendly at all. I never liked or ate too much vegan fake meat. Always tried not to eat soy!
    After thinking a lot, yesterday I just ate eggs and today some fish.
    It is time to change and start to heal.
    I prefer home cooked meal, clean, natural foods. No processed food, no sugar. Lost of green leafs, fruits, nuts, seeds. Moderate meat, all freshly cooked.
    And some healthy dark chocolate!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. Your story and your experiences are so important. Best of luck in reclaiming your health and vitality —- it is NOT normal to feel tired all the time and incomplete. Recognition of that is huge.

  5. Loved this article! I went vegan at the beginning of the year and tried to do it right (felt amazing the fist few months!) but will admit cheat days crept in a little later. I felt incredibly guilty for those. I’d watched all the documentaries, read the books, followed the “daily dozen” let a friend persuade me that vegan was really how God intended for us from the shape of our teeth, the example of the “Garden of Eden”, horses not needing meat to be the strong animals they are, etc. What really started to give me pause was I was noticing the vegan heavyweights I was following did not look healthy to me. Dr. Greger looks more and more unhealthy (like a gentle breeze could knock him over) the other older vegans skin was saggy, eyes sunken in and not clear and bright. Then I began dealing with depression and absolutely zero motivation to do anything. I lost my desire for life and became very negative even though I had always been an optimistic person. My energy was sapped, I gained weight.

    It has only been in the past three weeks that I’ve started to come out of this. For my mental health I was turning to nootropics (with a healthy guilt trip from my vegan friend saying I wasn’t doing it right) and actually went on a prescription medication for depression out of desperation! I’ve never once been on prescription drugs and have been against them, but like I said I was desperate because I felt like a completely different person, like I was just a shell of myself.

    I started researching gut healing, thinking that I needed to reset and heal my microbiome. Which I believe I absolutely do! I read “The Gut Healing Protocol” by Kale Brock. His protocol included meat and lots of bone broth, along with fresh veggies and it was making sense to me. I had to rethink everything, and I did. I went back to pastured meats and bone broth over the past couple of weeks being on the protocol and I feel like myself again! Im motivated, happy, enjoying my family, actually back to doing projects around the house, off the medication, not taking any supplement nootropics, I don’t need them!

    Being Bible based, I always was conflicted with life in the garden and how men are after. Of course the garden had the perfect nutrients and environment, there also was no death. But that’s not reality any longer and God set up food laws that included meat. We are stewards of this earth and to treat animals compassionately, but also to be thankful for what they provide as covering and sustenance.

    This is my 2 cents from my thankfulky shorter experiences with veganism. I’m truly afraid of where I would be mentally/emotionally had I stuck with it.

    Thankful that you and others are sharing experiences so that people like me have real life examples that it is not working. Food should not be a religion, it should fuel, but also is a time to enjoy what God has provided for us, a time to gather and fellowship with our families and others, an opportunity to bless others and as wives and mothers we can give nourishment to our husbands and children.

    Much love and blessings to you and your family in your lovely new life 🙂

    1. God bless you and thank you for sharing your story. Every story like yours is important.

  6. I can understand your disappointment in regard to this diet and your health, but to be fair veganism isn’t a diet. It’s an idea. How you take that on board and do something with it is up to you, taking into account all of your personal circumstances. There is no reason you cannot still use vegan ethics to guide your everyday choices, which by my reckoning is really the only way to go. Most of us are already vegan to other folk, the next step is to extend that ethical attitude to include other species whenever we can. The world would be a lot better if we all did that.

  7. Wish more folks were willing to hear what you had to say. Actually take the time to read, not just knee-jerk react with their pre-programmed responses. I write for several homesteading-type publications, and have been innundated with similar keyboard-warrior vegans who are militantly out to attack anyone who eats meat with a fervor that borders on manic. The conversation is always a synthesized moral debate, not a health one. Many of these folks are lacking a real spiritual foundation and purpose, don’t believe that they were designed well in the first place, and have turned their diet into a form of pseudo-godhead for them to serve and sacrifice their bodies to. It’s hard to read and watch.

    Gah…It’s actually hard to put in words the frustration that I feel with this so-called “diet” community in general. I can see some of that same ire and hate in the comments you’ve received here. So much of it really is a symptom of a society in decline–so disconnected with our peasant ancestors and their self-sufficient way of life, so brainwashed with constant admonitions from our corrupt rulers and corrupt “influencers” who will do anything for a click, so dumbed down from being sick and discouraged and purposeless.

    I never was vegan, but was a vegetarian for 7 years. I didn’t want to eat meat unless I could raise it myself. Now, I finally have my homestead and can ensure that my animals are used head to tail once it’s time for them to join us at a meal. I raise them. I butcher them. I cook them. Now it’s all my responsibility, and that is a wonderful thing and a sober responsibilty. Funnily enought, as a result of that, I eat very little meat–more of an Asian proportion of meat-vegeteables, than a western one. It becomes a treasured and valued element, but not the bulk of the food.

    You’ve written a good thing. I hope that these frustrated words from a stranger online can encourage you to keep going, and keep finding a better way to live than the way we’ve been told.

    1. My response is inadequate to your eloquent words here, but — exactly all of this. Thank you ❤️

  8. This is such a wonderful and well thought out post. Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable.

  9. All of these people eating poorly and blaming it on a vegan diet… Yes, if you’re eating less calories than you burn… you’re going to lose weight. So eat more. Its not difficult to get 2000 calories on a veg diet. Yes, if you’re buying processed faux meats and “superfoods” its going to get expensive. Eat whole foods: beans, grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables. Yes, if you’re not supplementing you will be nutrient deficient in b12 but the SAD is deficient in many nutrients as well and B12 is $15 for a year supply. Educate yourself. It’s not rocket science. Stop blaming the diet when in reality your poor health is a result of your ignorance.

    When your omnivorous health problems come creeping in will you write us a blog post about it?

    1. Why comment when you clearly didn’t bother to read the article? I get that it’s long and all over the place but why comment if you’re not willing to read it? Everything you’ve stated is covered in there pretty extensively.

  10. I am sorry you had such a rough experience with being plant based and vegan. You know your body best and glad you are doing what you need to do to feel good.

    I have been vegan for only 6 months. in 2009 I was working at a Jewish restaurant and there was two things I picked up from that experience. One that they didn’t eat pork, crab, lobster, shrimp, etc. I ate alot less if any during that time. And like many kitchens the waste was rampant. I would see tons of animal products thrown away daily. Animals died for our food only to be tossed. And how many times did I eat some crappy animal product that was low in nutrients and I didn’t even like. Like a processed sandwhich. And then I dated a vegetarian guy who showed me videos. I taught him how to cook vegetarian dishes. I didn’t understand how he was doing it for the animals when he was still contributing to animal cruelty. I went vegetarian but was conflicted. And then we broke up for other reasons. I was feeling awful so I stopped being a vegetarian and tried again months later, same thing. Same health issue. So I moved on with life. Met a guy who I have been dating ever since, he has wanted to be vegetarian and we talked about it but we never did it fully. Partially because I was conflicted about eating some animal products. Then in April 2020, I made alot of quiches as a tribute to my grandma who passed 6 months prior. And some of her other favorite dishes. And I got so sick if eggs I can’t eat them or think about them. So in May I gave up eggs. I didn’t care much for dairy besides icecream and so I cut that. I also couldn’t eat chicken anymore due to my April cooking. So I was left with lamb, cow and pork. I didn’t eat pork much since 2008 anyways. So I was s left with red meat which isn’t very healthy for people. So transitioning was hard for me. I spent from May through August learning and researching. And the only thing I missed was a steak. I eat a moderate diet of reasonable foods. I sometimes eat vegan junk food. I am satisfied all the time. I feel guilty for the avacodos, cashews, bananas, and other items I purchased that aren’t fair trade. But I feel at peace with what I am not eating. I regret not doing it in 2009 when I knew nothing of veganism.

    But I don’t eat whole foods plant based. I don’t eat too much rice and brown rice has more arsenic in it. So I choose white rice and rinse it. I make amazing food that my non-vegan boyfriend eats and asks for and looks forward to.

    He absolutely loves cheese like your pizza story. He needs cheese. I do not. It’s good. But I was worried about all the growth hormones and other stuff in it. I don’t eat much vegan cheese. My vegan junk food is some Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy icecream and some Gardien Chickn sliders.

    My sister wouldn’t ever be vegan and I would never ask her to. Same with all my extended family. In 2009 I was wondering how much impact a vegetarian could really do and was more convienced that vegetarians should help push towards cruelty free farms. It wasnt reasonably to ask everyone to be vegan or vegetarian.

    So why am I vegan? Because I personally do not need animal products to survive. The mass farms are terrible. And I feel great in the lifestyle.

    I think that the last minutes of animals life while they are scared for their lives is transferred over into their muscles. So we are heating fear, pain, grief. It’s bad karma. We are eating chemicals.

    But it sounds like you are not eating the way that many are. You are eating more natural sources. You are eating parts most people including my extended family wouldn’t eat.

    My goal is to cook amazing vegan food that people may eat and they would choose to eat it because it taste good, satisfies them and makes them feel good.

    And we need people like you in our lives too. Why would a vegan say that? Because there are people with allergies, people who can’t eat vegan for their health. There is not only one solution. I know mass farms is not the solution. But I would love a solution for my sister who has an autoimmune diease to feel better. And for millions who eat like zombies.

    The way you are doing it make may work for many. And I hope it becomes more out there.

    Not all vegans are judgy. Not all want to tear the meat out of your hand. Not all are trying to ban meat.

    I would love to see more vegan options available. And by being vegan I can help support that cause. And by you paving the way doing what you are doing hopefully you will help others feel healthier and live better.

    I do say that you got me at that point about vegan being a religion. I am not religious and am open to many different thoughts on religion. But with being vegan I try to be strict. No honey, no animals products, no cheating. Because to me it feels right. And I look forward to reading your work in the future and if this path is the right one for you and how it evolves.

    Thanks for sharing your story in the blog.

    1. Thank you very much for your perspective and well-thought-out response. I hope people read it.

    2. Your story was a real eye-opener, thank you so much! It helped me to see that a diet with meat in moderation isn’t as unhealthy and unsustainable as our friends keep lecturing us.

      About half of our friends have gone vegetarian or vegan over the last 2 years. Meat is an important nutrient in me and my boyfriend’s diet because of our allergies, and our friends give us trouble for it, quoting the same kinds of studies you mentioned.
      I already had strong doubts that their diets are so much healthier, because THEY are the ones who are getting fatter and look bloated and tired. They also love the heavily processed meat substitutes, with an ingredient list that makes me flinch.

      We eat meat because we simply love the taste, and a veg/vegan diet clashes with our allergies. Especially the meat substitutes are a minefield for allergy sufferers.
      I have coeliac disease and can’t handle dairy well. My boyfriend gets severe abdominal problems from soy and most beans, and is prone to anemia.

      I’ve explained to our friends that I can’t cook their foods in my kitchen because gluten is very dangerous for me. I’m also not going to cook dishes that will upset my boyfriend’s stomach. Still our friends invite themselves to dinner and then complain that I can’t use their substitutes. They don’t seem to understand how dangerous their allergen-laden Frankenfood is to us 🙁 It’s like some of them are in a cult, they’re so obsessed with their lifestyle that it’s endangering our friendship.

      Processed foods often contain gluten, soy or milk, so we can’t eat about 70% of all things in the supermarket.
      I already cook a lot of things from scratch because of our allergies, and I make soup and stock from bones. The taste is amazing! Luckily grass-fed beef is easier to find here in Europe, and we have found a good seller of wild grazing beef.

      Your story inspired me to look into the nose-to-tail stuff that you mentioned. My in-laws tried it last year by buying pigs together with colleagues. The pigs were raised in the garden of one of the colleagues who lived in a farmhouse. They had an amazing life of digging for acorns, bathing in the mud and playing with branches. Their meat tastes extra good in the knowledge that these animals were treated well ^_^

      1. Hi Ellie, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. Good luck in nose-to-tail cookery, it can seem intimidating at first but then it becomes second nature.

  11. Thank you! I love that someone has documented their journey and has found peace. I have never been vegetarian nor vegan, but my daughter is vegetarian and will be converting to veganism soon. I worry that her and her daughters will lose so much by the transformation.
    I am a believer in whole foods and the circle of life. I have read other comments, and I agree that many people have been vegan or at least vegetarian with little to no ill health effects, however, I also agree that worldwide veganism, vegetarianism is not possible, nor should it be. Life should be a balance. While I cannot hunt, I appreciate hunters who do what I could never do. I don’t like fishing either, but balance is key to survival for every living thing.
    Thank you for providing links to peer reviewed studies and other people’s writings. Very well written and documented.

    1. Thank you for your response. Don’t worry too much about your daughter, most girls will go through this phase and then abandon it when it stops working or being convenient. But of course, it is a mother’s job to worry!

  12. Wow, intelligent eloquent article. Similar to my experience except I ended up bloated and overweight …. Don’t ask me how because it makes no sense….. My breakthrough came when a friend referred me to a functional medicine doctor because I was truly unwell. A raft of tests later and the dr was breaking the news to me that I should consider giving up the vegan diet. I added animal products back in and the first meal I had was so good. My body literally leapt on that meal and I slept like a baby that night. Eventually I did a DNA test through smart DNA under the advice of another functional medical dr and learnt through the results that I’m absolutely not built for veganism. But also not built for too much saturated fat. So no dairy for me. Being armed with all this info you would think I’d learnt my lesson. But the mental dissonance and denial mentioned in this article is very real and very powerful and Ive stumbled back several times and become bogged down in years of uncertainty. I love this article. It’s the clarity I needed and gives a voice to the inner wrestlings I’ve had for a long long time!

    1. Thank you for sharing. I’m happy to hear you are doing better and that you didn’t give up, never ever give up. It takes a while for many of us to find out what works best and in the process we sometimes try many things.

  13. I found this post in, of all things, a Google recipe search. Interesting. I am over 50, have been vegan for 28 years, and have never looked back. Giving up animal products was the best thing I have ever done for my health. Becoming vegan was the result of several years of experimentation and education, as well as expert medical information. My husband went vegan about a year after I did. He is a large/tall athletic person, distance runner, avid mountain climber, etc. He is an executive and Biochemical Scientist. I am retired from a fast-paced, high pressure career in finance. I am active and strong. I had a healthy vegan pregnancy, and have a now adult, vegan (since conception) child who is an athlete, “triple threat” performing arts person, musician, and honor student at a prestigious university. My point to this mini-bio is not braggadocio; it is to contend that a well-balanced vegan diet DOES work for us, as well as millions of other people. It has kept my family vibrantly healthy and thriving for more than a quarter century, energized and nourished for all of our endeavors. We know several people who have been vegan for a lot longer than we have who are also extremely healthy and living well. I commented specifically because of your “I’m not here to convince you that your vegan diet is unhealthy, time will do that for me” verbiage. While yours did not work out, my family’s and that of millions of others worldwide do. One must work toward one’s own path to optimal wellness, and a healthy, balanced plant-based diet can certainly be part of that path. I have never been a “preachy” vegan. I have friends and family members who hunt. We can all sit at the same table. I also wanted to comment that as a Mom, your childhood story breaks my heart, and I wish you future happiness. I also wish you well in your pursuit of health. Cheers.

  14. Saying that some people’s vegan diet will eventually fail is a bit presumptuous. I’ve been vegan now for close to 22 years. Never purposely cheated and my health has been wonderful. I went plant based (I had never heard the term vegan at the time) because I have a family history of familial hypercholesterolemia. At 38 I already had advanced heart disease. My uncle, an MD, had done research back when he was diagnosed with severe heart disease and recommended that I went on a strict plant based diet (along with daily walks and meditation). My uncle by the way managed to live to 96 with his condition by adopting a strict plant based diet while my father and other uncle both passed away at 73 due to heart disease. Many of my male cousins have died much sooner. So now I’m in my 60s. I’m still active as is my wife who has been vegan about 20 years is as well. I also know many members of the vegan community who have been vegan much longer than I. We have a friend, George, who has been vegan 45 years. He is now approaching 90 and did stop running when he reached 84, but is in good shape for his age and extremely mentally sharp.

  15. Do you have a degree in nutrition or just making ridiculous statements about eating plant-based based on your own experience? The over extensive consumption of animal protein is causing diabetes, cancers, and is proven to reverse heart disease. You’re giving a lot of people false information and could seriously negatively impact their own health. You look very young and may not be experiencing the extent of artery clogging and weight gain that others are due to animal consumption. All animal products contain cholesterol which our body does not need because we produce our own. Animal products have very high levels of saturated fat, even “lean meats” such as chicken, and are directly associated with the most chronic diseases in our country. It is completely unnatural to consume milk from another species after weening off your mother. Over 65% of the world is lactose intolerant simply because we are not supposed to consume milk from a cow or any other animal. Those animals produce milk for their babies just as a human mother produces milk for her baby. So drinking a cow’s milk is stealing the nutrients from her baby even if you “save some for the baby” because nature provides the exact amount that baby would need (I repeat) just like a human mother. I wish you the best as you grow older and hope you do not develop one or more of these horrible chronic diseases. As you probably know, most doctors have less than 4 hours of nutrition education and the advice they give is often based on their own life experience, advertisements and opinions. I highly suggest regularly getting your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked. I noticed on your page you don’t consume many legumes or whole grains… there are many benefits to these foods and they should not be avoided unless there is an allergic reaction. You can find more information about those benefits here: [link removed]

  16. Hi,

    I’m sorry that you suffered so many health issues. Sometimes, the vegan diet doesn’t suit you, but that isn’t because of the diet, it’s simply because your body won’t accept it. It’s unfortunate. However, saying that the vegan diet isnt suitable for anyone is just incorrect. It seems to me that you were looking for every excuse to stop being vegan. The health issues were the main reason I gather, but how on earth could you be ‘vegan’ and then start hunting and fishing again? Did you go to the doctors or speak to a nutritionist regarding your diet? Did you do all you could? Did eating a bit of cheese really make that much difference? As someone who ate meat for years and have only been vegan for a few, I can tell you that I have never felt healthier, and never felt better about myself either. I could never go back to eating meat, purely for the guilt. And also because you don’t need to. I know that it must have been hard for you, but I firmly believe that if the vegan diet really wouldn’t work for you, you would only eat what you absolutely needed to to feel better. And would feel guilty doing it. But instead you eat what you want without any guilt at all. You may have been plant based, but you were never really vegan if you have gone back to eating as you do currently. I’d love it if you would try again and maybe see a professional nutritionist/doctor to help you with the issues you had before. There might be an underlying health condition which exacerbated your symptoms.

  17. Thanks so much for your excellent post. I enjoyed reading about your family food history as well as your journey through veganism and out the other side. It was nice reading a story from a blogger who wasn’t “vegan famous” and wasn’t an influencer and just wanted to share their story with others. (It was also refreshing not to see the hundreds of hateful comments from vegans that typically appear on those “why I’m no longer a vegan” posts.) Anyway, I’m an ex-vegan who was vegan for seven years. I then became vegetarian and have been eating meat again for about four years.

    I first ate dairy again on my honeymoon when we were offered some amazing chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, and I just said F it. I went mostly back to vegan after that with a few “slips” here and there (essentially I was a lying vegan for a while) and then officially started eating pastured eggs and some dairy. My health wasn’t good, but I wasn’t obviously unwell like you were with being so underweight. I have dieted and struggled with being overweight my whole life and after a while on veganism I noticed I was ALWAYS hungry to the point I was eating way more calories than I needed to deal with the constant hunger. I developed hormonal issues, my anxiety was off the charts, and I had melasma — brown spots on my forehead that I’m convinced came from way too much copper (I ate loads of chickpeas) and not enough zinc in my diet.

    I finally decided to add oysters because they are a fantastic source of zinc and I personally had no ethical issue with eating them (love how you put that re: the underwater venus fly traps). I anguished over this decision for a long time because I could hear the voices of vegans in my head and all the scorn I imagined I’d receive. (Even though vegans don’t give much respect to vegetarians, they generally portray eating meat as a MUCH worse sin, and I knew in their minds oysters = meat.) I also felt the shame of feeling I’d failed as I believed everything in The China Study too. I finally decided I cared more about my health than a label and I went for it and FELT SO AMAZING after eating a half dozen raw oysters from the U.S. gulf. I had a feeling of instant satiety and culinary joy I hadn’t felt in years. (My melasma did go away after a year or so, by the way.)

    My foray beyond oysters happened kind of accidentally. My husband told a friend I was “eating seafood” again and she made her famous salmon with capers and white sauce for dinner when we visited. I had another “F it” moment and decided to eat the fish, which was SO delicious. I felt a tiny bit guilty but it felt so amazing to be eating at a group dinner at a friend’s house and not be the one wth the “special dish” that didn’t look as good as everyone else’s. Again, I felt physically great after eating the salmon. Very satisfied and nourished, not bloated/still hungry the way I had felt on my vegan diet.

    So, from then on it was a “slippery slope” with beef being the last thing I ate. Now I eat everything again. I often wish I had never become a vegan. It was damaging to my physical health and my mental health, including being a strain on friendships and family relationships. (For example, I regret so many moments I missed out on when I could have been a part of the rich food traditions in my husband’s family and instead I sat off to the side with my bland vegan food watching everyone else cook and have fun and eat.)

    The thing I regret most is getting a close family member into veganism. She’s still a very dedicated vegan, and revolves her life around veganism including being friends exclusively with other vegans and putting the word “vegan” before everything when recounting what she ate (Ie: “I had a vegan sandwich and some vegan cookies and a vegan hot chocolate…”). She knows I eat dairy and eggs but I still haven’t told her about the meat. I know it has affected and will strain our relationship, as she seemed horrified when I told her about the dairy. I also worry about her health as I know she would never stop being vegan, and if she suffered ill effects would probably never admit they’re due to veganism.

    I believe veganism is really bad for relationships … even those vegans who pretend to be chill and laid back and “not like those militant vegans” are secretly judging you and agonizing over your dietary choices … I know I was one of them. It takes so much mental energy and drives a wedge into relationships with non-vegan family and friends — you know, the people who truly care about you.

    One thing that helped me “make the break” was moving away from an area where I had a lot of vegan “friends,” which happened a few years before I gave up veganism. I once ran into one of my old vegan “friends” after I had become non-vegan. Almost the first thing out of her mouth was “Are you still vegan?” I was so taken aback and embarrassed I lied and said “yes.” I realized after the fact that none of the vegans I hung out with online or in person were real friends: our friendships were held together by veganism and nothing else, our shared bonding over PETA recipes, supplement recommendations and weeks of communal agonizing about “how hard” it was to go to a family Thanksgiving where turkey was being served.

    I’m very happy to be done with veganism and to have moved on with my life, though I regret ever getting into it in the first place. I do think the tie to my vegan family member is the main “link” I still have keeping me tied to veganism as I hear about it all the time from her and end up eating only in vegan restaurants if I travel with her. I had one sort of miserable trip where we on the daily bypassed all these amazing looking cozy restaurants and took five trains and walked 30 blocks to get to some mediocre vegan place. I guess that’s my own fault 🙂

  18. I just read your story when I googled ‘vegan doesn’t work for me’.I’m 64 years young, by the way. I’ve tried over 2 years, and the beans, legumes, potatoes make me bloat and gain weight. Enough already!! I really thought I was doing something wrong, too. Today, your story let me know it’s not just me, veganism is just not for me. We all need to find what really works for our own bodies. Food should fuel, not make me tired, exhausted and left with brain fog. Thank you for your honesty! Take care and all the best to you!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! And good for you for listening to your body, it can be a surprisingly difficult thing for people to do.

  19. This is a lame excuse if you are really Vegan for the right reasons you dont go back to meat. This is something you wanted to do so don’t blame it on being Vegan. Stop making up lies and why do you need to explain your self to people anyway if you think you are right. It’s plain as day to see you enjoy contributing to murdering innocent animals Seriously the poster sounds dumb I know people who been Vegan since birth and they are still alive who are you to say that being Vegan your health wont last. I’m one of those vegans and my health is fine .Mark my words next couple of years all you meat eaters on here will have heart attack or stroke clogged veins. It serve you right tho enjoy animal killer

  20. This is an amazing story. I love your honesty and rawness. I was vegetarian for years went back to meat eating, but often find myself researching vegan and attempting to go that route-but end up stopping when I feel like it consumes my life. So much time planning and cooking and chasing down so many ingredients to make things that are replicas. Then I stop eating vegan and eat like a human. Then the guilt of animal cruelty begins and I start the cycle all over again. So many good points in this article. Thank you!

    1. I understand how you feel. Thank you for sharing and I hope you figure out what works for you.

  21. I’m not out to make myself sound superior but it amazes me that anyone would even consider being vegan. I always ate healthy, especially once I was old enough to be on my own so perhaps my body and brain were ‘trained’ in what is good to eat. I never restricted my diet, sometimes eating sweet and fatty foods, but they were always home-made. I didn’t (and still don’t) eat any ready-made, commercially-baked or processed goods, and I don’t eat out at restaurants or fast-food places. Initially, this was due to not being able to afford to. But since I’m a good cook and my cooking skills have only improved over the years, I find ready-made and restaurant meals can’t remotely compare in taste to my own cooking, baking and other foods I make such as fermented.

    My body ‘tells’ me what to eat. I eat a wide variety of foods, still there are times I get a strong craving for certain categories of food. Nothing like junk foods but things like certain vegetables or meats. I listen to what my body needs and it’s always worked out well for me. I must be doing something right as I’m almost 71 but people who don’t know me find it hard to believe. Honestly, many take me for 20 years younger. My face is unlined and I’m still slim, active and strong for my age and size. I have no health issues – never get colds or the flu and have no allergies – except for thing. I have hypothyroidism which is looked after. It developed during a VERY stressful period of my life but I have no idea if it was contributing cause. I’m grateful for my health and life at my age. I never tell others what they should eat or do since we’re all different individuals.

    I’m happy for you that you discovered what works for you. Keep doing so and always listen to what your body tells you. (I plan on reading the other sections of your site in the following days.)

    1. You’re clearly getting it! Thank you for sharing your story, it’s refreshing.

  22. I have never been a vegan, although I’ve often had days where I just end up eating vegan or vegetarian because I like utilizing what comes out of my garden and topping it off with what I have in the fridge. That being said, I do have my issues with your approach that I will try to note calmly, including one that strikes me as having the same “root” as the vegans you criticize.

    The root here, in my eyes, is distorted epistemology and theory of mind. Much like the vegans complain that any idiosyncratic reaction is simply because “you were not vegan and weren’t doing it right, I know your emotions and body better than you”, you’re essentially coming and saying “anyone who says they feel good on a vegan diet is lying and I know better than them what they think”.

    The nature of subjectivity means that you logically cannot know what a person is thinking simply by your own experiences. We can only deduce from behavior, and while I will certainly not ignore the “84%” statistics as being representative of a (heavy) majority tendency, the fact of the matter is that something else fills that 16% gap, and extrapolation by itself is not sufficient to conclude that all of the remaining 16% are simply “liars” any more than an 84% presence of people eating processed foods (or something positive, like cabbage) would mean that the others simply haven’t found the “truth”. A major link is more useful than a small one, but not absolute in application to every person unless we get a study that cites 100%.

    Moving on from that, I’d say that your post certainly does showcase that the vegan argument that “a vegan diet is healthy, necessary and natural” is certainly not anywhere near as backed by studies and statistics as they would claim.

    My main issue with the dogmatic ones — dogmatic being the keyword — is that they seem to try to make a patent on “compassion”, using it as a persuasive definition fallacy to enforce their views of it, rather than a state of mind. Bonus points when they simply call this “logical”, using said word as a praise-word for things they agree with rather than a set of useful epistemological tools.

    An example would be that they say that any animal eating should be abandoned because of factory farms, animal breeds, even with backyard birds, that end up having serious issues with their constitution not handling their muscle-mass or egg-laying, male chicks, calves and bulls being carved up, insufficient space and other forms of animal abuse.

    They don’t address that we could make breeds with builds that could handle the egg-laying or muscle-mass with less to no issue, and omit the heavier producing breeds until we do.
    They don’t address the requirement for pollinators and thereby the exploitation of pollinators, whether they are fenced-in or not.
    They don’t address anything relating to the animal’s temperament throughout life, yet seem to appeal to the few seconds of slaughter as though this meant everything.
    They don’t address that we can simply give animals space, access to nature and and watch their health and behavior, finally giving them a good amount of time to live past maturity, and then slaughter them painlessly, to say nothing of what a predator would do to any animal, domesticated or not, in the wild, with zero concerns given for duration of hunting and horrified chasing, eating an animal alive or surplus killing.
    And they don’t address the matters of “speciesism”, where they condemn humans for prioritizing species capable of philosophy, metacognition and self-recognition, but have no problems prioritizing animals (and plants) over the insects they eat or are damaged by.

    But I suppose one of the worst issues for me is when I see them berate people for not completely eliminating meat consumption, even as they go plant-based, citing animal suffering.

    Because if all one cares about is minimizing suffering, and not increasing joy and happiness, the actual logical conclusion would simply be to destroy as much life as possible, as nothing (biological life, at least) could ever suffer then. If one does not want to base their life off of ANY animal suffering, one would refuse to live simply because living means stepping on small types of life, to say nothing of agriculture.

    They would live in cage hotels and eat nothing but potatoes and a few other things, because those are high on the amount of calories and space usage per person.

    What, they want to be healthy and eat a varied diet? That may be more understandable than eating sweets, but still represents a mindset of “prioritizing my life over some animals”, which is before we address “prioritizing my healthy life” over animals.

    What, they dare to want more space than is necessary for them to live? They want privacy and mental health, and joy from sweets, among other (relatively) resource-intensive things?

    Well, we can certainly make an argument that mental health is necessary for good physical health. While logical and I would say truthful, it also further blurs the distinction between “necessary for good life” and “luxury”.

    Some people will be miserable without their luxuries, be it meat, sweets, or indeed, a jet, and others will get by pretty well regardless. I would simply choose to let a billionaire have their jet if they’ve actually been made to use enough of their income to offset the damage it causes, and/or regulate its use, much as I would ensure that farming must be done with much higher animal-welfare standards that it is now

    Why do the dogmatic types of vegans get to dictate how far it should go for other people’s personal lifestyles, or where the balance between health, joy, and animal welfare or rights lie?

    In all honestly, it doesn’t matter whether or not we talk about eating meat or having a home bigger than a capsule pod. Because the requirements for mental health is dependent on the person, and I certainly don’t want to twist everyone into having equal rights to be the same, as opposed to equal rights to be themselves while minimizing harm.

    I can only tell people to use as much as would truly keep them happy, and using technology and social policy to increase availability of resources and the technology that would make them happy by their own consent — and perhaps encouraging a non-China style replacement fertility program — after which, I really don’t know what else one can do.

    Way too long a post from me, but since I spent my time writing it, I feel like I may as well offer it for posting.

  23. After reading this it seems to me your anger is misplaced – Veganism is not a/the culprit here. Sometimes, some paths are not suitable for certain people, so blaming a vegan plant-based lifestyle is quite unfair.
    I, many of my friends, and millions of people, around the the world, after adopting a plant-based lifestyle are much healthier and much happier because of this choice, and animals are receiving the compassion they so dearly deserve. Further, there are those, in a variety of cultures spanning the globe, whose food choices have always been from plants and trees and not animals due to their location, and they have always thrived.

    For Our Health
    For The Planet
    For The Animals

    1. I’m happy that your vegan diet is currently working for you. It won’t forever, as it never does or has for anyone. Good luck xx

      1. I’ve read your story on here and find it very fascinating but I think it’s comments like these which make you come across as very insincere.
        I appreciate you had a very bad experience with being unhealthy and vegan yet the fact you cannot accept that there are clearly many people who do thrive on the vegan diet is very worrying.
        there are many people commenting on here about how they have been long-term vegans and are thriving. do you really think they’re all just lying.
        You are denying reality because of your bad experiences.
        I know many people on non vegan diets who are extremely unhealthy and have all kinds of health problems I know people who have gone vegan who have cured or reversed many of their health issues.
        I hope you all the best with your non vegan life but you should accept reality that most people thrive on vegan diets.
        Kind regards

        1. Veganism is an unhealthy and dangerous diet that is becoming a worrying fad, especially for young women, and I will continue to call it out for the ridiculous religious zealotry masquerading as health that it is. ESPECIALLY here on MY page where I’m telling my story and relating my personal experience.

          Most people do not thrive on it, that’s why the overwhelming majority of vegans quit. No one lives long-term on it, that’s why there is no such thing as a life-long vegan or a single vegan civilization in the entirety of human history. That is the reality and that is the truth: every vegan is just a future ex-vegan.

          People lie because they cling to their own beliefs long after reality smacks them in the face and shatters the illusion they bought into. There is a reason our stories all resemble each other so much when it comes to this topic.

  24. I have read this twice.

    The first is when I started inching my way towards fish and eggs again just over a month ago. The second time was today. I have to say, I cried.

    At the beginning of August, I was going through the dilemma of whether or not to eat that food, feeling conflicted about your blog. With fatty fish, high quality, local eggs, and a month and a half of healing (so far), my brain feels like it’s working again. I feel sharp again. My brain fog is finally gone. And I imagine this will only get better with more time and eating. As a software engineer, I’m constantly tinkering and thinking. I almost cannot believe how much more efficient I am now. But that’s just one aspect; there’s also the chronic fatigue that’s lifting. I’m no longer constantly hungry.

    It’s overwhelming. Not only because I feel like a part of me I barely could recognize was gone has come back, but I am shocked I was vegan for three years and suffering for at least half of it, never making the link to diet. I’m angry at the vegans shaming those of us that left out of necessity for our health, gaslighting with the famous “never vegan & never did it right”. I’m seeing such hypocrisy baked into the notion of “cruelty free” as they eat a plate of monocropped food with a side of guacamole harvested from the bloodshed of cartel-controlled production.

    Sacred Cow really opened my eyes, and it’s just the start. Maybe I’ll also write my own experiences somewhere.

    Overall, thank you. Your post takes so many of my feelings and puts them in such a beautifully expressive way.

    1. Thank you for your words and sharing your experiences with me, it truly touches me how many people have opened up to me over this article that I wrote one day because I just needed to get it out. You’re not alone and there are so many of us who have had this shared experience.

      I urge you to share your own story somewhere if you feel compelled to do so, there is a world of compassion out there and it can be quite cathartic as it was for me — not to mention important as more and more people look for answers to their health issues. Feel free to reach out and chat on IG if you need too xx

  25. Thank you so much for sharing! I am currently still a vegan, but I am highly contemplating on whether or not I should quit. I know there are people who say “It’s the right thing to do for animals and the planet”, and I understand that mentality, but the problem for me is that veganism isn’t right for me. It’s expensive, and I’m a vegan living in a house full of non-vegans. I have to dish out extra money just to get food to be suitable for my vegan lifestyle, and not only that, I have to start supplementing to get nutrients that wouldn’t be an issue for me if I merely just ate meat/animal products. And this might sound like a “weak” and “silly” reason, but there are just some foods I just straight up miss that no vegan alternatives can make up for, like deli meats. I’ve tried Tofurky deli slices, and they just don’t compare to actual sliced deli turkey/ham/salami, you name it. It’ll make my life a lot more easy and a lot less expensive if I just went back to eating meat, which I’ve done for my whole life until a little while. Once again, thank you for your great insight, and I will think about this. I won’t say for sure that I will no longer be vegan, but I’m considering at least being lacto-ovo vegetarian if not vegan.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been where you are right now, countless people have. I understand the struggle and I really understand the crazy expense. Even now as someone who buys grass-fed/finished beef, pastured heritage pork, raw dairy, etc. etc. —— I’m spending so much less. The supplementation costs really killed me money-wise, that and the “superfoods” and every other thing I tried to eat to reclaim my health. It’s normal to feel conflicted as you are now. Can you start with good, pastured eggs and see how you feel? And maybe some high-quality dairy, especially raw and/or fermented as in kefir? I make a raw kefir smoothie every morning with raw egg yolks, collagen powder, fruits, coconut oil, and even butter sometimes too. It’s absolutely packed with nutrients and probiotics to boot while still being cheap. Good luck in your journey regardless, and feel free to reach out if you need to vent/chat. xo

    2. Hi Angela,
      I am Vegan, as well, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. I live on a low, fixed income and live on a budget so I know what it’s like, however, I am able to afford it because I love to cook, when possible I buy food items in bulk, and I shop at a place where the produce section is huge and the prices are low. Sometimes I have to order online, but I am very good at finding deals. For me, eating animal flesh/any animal products is just not an option. And, yes, a plant-based diet is truly best for us, the planet, and especially the animals. The protein derived from plants is undoubtedly much healthier than factory farm animal meat. I know it can be somewhat difficult, but I hope you hang in there –

      Sincerely, C.A.S. (Remember, there are many vegan cookbooks and resource publications at libraries, and also – so many vegan blogs & websites on the Internet). Good Luck!

  26. I had the exact experience as you 3 years into veganism. I had a mental health crisis and I started secretly binging on cheese pizza every couple weeks for about a year. Tried salmon once and loved it, but I managed to convince myself that I actually hated it and continued to exclude fish. I just was constantly craving animal fats but I was in deep denial and had a lot of guilt. Finally fully admitted to myself that I no longer wanted to be vegan 1 year later in July of 2019 when I was visiting Melbourne, caught a cold, and ate the most delicious chicken ramen to soothe myself. I ended up eating chicken soup almost every day during that trip. The broth was so delicious and satiating in a way that I hadn’t felt in so many years. When I came back I was committed to trying all the foods that I had been depriving myself of, so I spent a while on the SAD (childhood nostalgia), still binging and feeling some guilt. But it’s so much better now that animal products have been normalized again for me, instead of me associating them with evil. I cook all my food from scratch now and make my own bone broths, Greek yogurt, fermented veggies, etc.!

    I never thought that I would be an omnivore again because I only associated it with the SAD–processed meats and cheeses, fast food, fried things. I just couldn’t imagine how it could be any healthier than a vegan diet. I never grew up cooking much and I had two working parents so most of the things we ate came out of the freezer…so I’m not surprised that I felt drastically better as a vegan for the first couple of years, because it was the first time I started cooking whole foods. But eventually, as veganism got more trendy and all the fake meat products started coming out I ended up eating most of my food from the freezer again! Gardein chicken tendies, beyond meat, protein bars, fake turkey deli slices, vegan cheese….so I was kind of wondering what the point was I guess…I think that contributed to my mental decline because I started getting the sinking feeling that I was being experimented on with all these manmade products. (and I don’t mean that in a conspiracy theorist way– I just mean that there’s not really a lot of history behind modern veganism and the long-term health implications of eating a processed vegan diet since all these hip new products have just come out within the past 4-5 years…It made me feel like a human guinea pig.)

    So anyway I was a strict vegan for 3 years, a “bad vegan” for 1, and have been an ex-vegan for the past year or so. I never really had any severe physical ailments while vegan, but the mental anguish was really bad. My anxiety and depression were through the roof. My boyfriend (who went vegan a few months after me) actually ended up becoming severely anemic and couldn’t even make it up a flight of stairs at one point, and was falling asleep during meetings at work. He went to the doctor and they told him they thought he had HIV….of course, he didn’t. Looking back, I feel shocked that I didn’t make the connection that he needed a steak!! I made vegan chili instead with beans and TVP, and lime juice to help with iron absorption. wow.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thank you so much for your story, I really love it when people share their personal experiences as I think it’s really important. The mental health aspects were frightening. Waking up from a full night’s sleep feeling exhausted, the constant anxiety, the mental fog, feelings of nihilistic hopelessness etc. Scary stuff and there are so many of us who went through it but felt ashamed and weak and so we stayed silent. Congratulations on your recovery, I hope you continue to feel better!

  27. I was strict vegan for six years. I left it behind mainly to overcome an eating disorder, but many of my ethical beliefs changed as well, or maybe I just started really listening to those nagging grey area questions always trying to surface that i could no longer stuff down. I have now been pescetarian for several years. I also consume eggs and dairy. I am so much healthier. I’m no longer anemic or underweight. I’m not angry all the time. With dha and b12 in my diet the fatigue and brain fog are less. Unfortunately i lost so much bone density as a vegan I’m still paying the price with stress fractures, though dexa scans have now significantly improved more recently. I’m glad there are people like you telling their stories. There are many of us.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad you’re reclaiming your health and I wish you nothing but the best in life.

  28. Thankyou for this post. I was vegan on and off for about five years. But the longest I was properly vegan was a year. I damaged my health. My nails stopped growing. My hair became dry and brittle. Again stopped growing. I was constantly hungry. I had stomach cramps. Low energy. Anxiety and depression. I still do have depression. But it is much improved. I’m doing well.
    Been eating a diet containing meat and animal,product for six months. Feeling great. I wanted to,read something that convinced me I was doing the right thing morally. I am now convinced all is ok. But I am angry because I was taken in by the propaganda. I’ve watched films like earthlings and Dominion. So I became vegan for the animals. So when I cook meat I consider how healthy it makes me and my family. And how good it tastes. I’m sure once I’ve read more information about animal foods I will be at peace with myself. Good luck to you on your healing journey.

  29. I found your post because I was having a discussion on a gluten free forum with a young vegan on how hard it is to be gluten free and vegan. We were both being nice and respectful, but she had the answer I have all too often heard: “Don’t blame veganism, it’s my fault I’m not feeling well.” I tried to offer a few suggestions but ultimately gave up, so your line: “I’m not here to convince you that your vegan diet is unhealthy, time will do that for me.” is completely true. I wanted veganism to work more than anything else and clung to it despite the toll on my health, but particularly my mental health. I hate to see people suffering but I know they have to go on their own journey to like we all did to come out of it. I remember talking to a friend of mine who was raised Mormon and though I was not raised in any religion, the parallels with leaving veganism were too striking to ignore. There is a lot of bravery in this, and I wish you all the best for being a light to those who need it most.

    1. Thank you for your response. There are so many of so who have been there and back.

  30. This post was so validating! I have been vegan for over 4 years, last year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and recently my hair has started thinning and falling out. I definitely read the China Study as well and fell for the rhetoric, even though reading books by Michael Pollen about whole foods made way more sense to me! I appreciate your honesty so much. I’m afraid that since I’ve been vegan for so long, adding meat and dairy might make me sick. Thank you again, and I am going to continue to research and figure out my best way forward.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry about what you’re going through right now, please know you’re not alone — so many have been where you are and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you find the answers you’re seeking and feel free to reach out.

    2. I was afraid of that too – I remember eating ground beef completely terrified and bracing myself for the reaction and… I felt amazing. Meat is not something most people have issues digesting. Dairy, yes, and gluten, yes, cause problems for many people. Eggs for some as well. But the occasional high-quality meat should make you feel amazing.

      One thing that really helped me was bone broth. Bone broth (NOT STOCK) is extremely nourishing and not only has all of the fantastic collagen but also protein as well! I was shocked to learn there is about 15g of healthy protein in 1 cup of chicken bone broth. I buy frozen chicken backs and necks and simmer them for 24 hours with ginger, lemons, garlic, etc. This also helped me with the guilt of contributing to animal slaughter – the bones are often “throwaway” parts whereas the muscle meat is the luxury product.

      You don’t need to eat meat that often, either. As Chris Kessler pointed out on the Joe Rogan vegan debate, if you ate a few ounces of liver and a few oysters PER WEEK you would meet nutritional thresholds for DHA, B12, etc. I would try adding a small amount of whatever sounds best to you and go from there. I still prefer almond milk over dairy milk, buy vegan ice cream, I don’t eat much cheese and still do a lot of vegan baking. But the all or nothing, black and white cult of veganism is too detrimental. I wish you luck in your journey back to health.

  31. Thank you for this post. I became plant based to heal my heart issues, yet have wound up with a multitude of other health issues. I have lost a lot of muscle mass which I didn’t have to lose. My weight is below 90 lbs which is too thin for me, despite being 5’2, (I now look sickly at age 50). I also have developed some thyroid dysfunction with a high TSH, multiple tongue ulcers and a swollen tongue, fatigue and depression. What I thought was the answer to my angina, as it was at the beginning, has created failing health in the end. Luckily, I was smart enough to add in fish, additional B12, and have recently started eating eggs. An extreme paleo diet was also not the answer, as I tried it before going plant based, but found that it was not good for my heart or my well being. Intuitive eating is my goal.

    1. I’m happy to hear you are healing and on your own intuitive path. I strongly believe in that. Best of luck to you and your health.