In the last 2 months I have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle. While I do think it’s possible to recover while being vegan if you are ethically vegan and feel passionately about it, I’m not going to recommend it. I think a huge part of eating disorder recovery is having the freedom to eat whatever you want no matter what.
When I was sick I was a pescatarian. I wanted to believe I was doing it for the right reasons but there was just really no way to tell because the timing of my eating disorder and my vegetarianism coincided a little too conveniently. When I recovered I stayed pescatarian for the most part but if I wanted to eat meat I let myself. I didn’t feel good about it morally which helped me realize that I really did have an ethical dilemma going on in my head, but I still let myself eat it because my recovery was about having zero limitations in my diet. So, I ate meat for a few months of recovery and then I phased it back out because it went against my own morals. After being vegetarian again for a few years I started wondering if I was still truly doing it for the animals. I decided to test myself and let myself eat meat again. I ate only chicken and I had it about two or three times and felt so horrible. Not the kind of guilt that comes with ED thoughts but the guilt over being a part of a system that I hate so much. That experiment made me realize that I’m not eating animals because I really do care about them – and it has nothing to do with my diet. I truly don’t want to be a part of a system that I so strongly oppose. So, I decided to try veganism because taking any part in the system of animal slavery, abuse, torture, and murder was not who I wanted to be. It wasn’t that hard, I was already vegetarian and I always found that after I recovered lactose really made my stomach hurt. I think I made myself lactose intolerant by cutting it out of my diet for so long, so it was actually quite easy for me to transition.
As far as my biggest justification for my veganism (not that I need one, but I do have one…) Climate change is this huge looming doomsday that’s off in the not so distant future and everyone’s kind of ignoring it. We’re down here squabbling about issues which are important but the bigger picture is that the earth is going to die, climate change is going to wipe us all out, we’re responsible, and we’re not doing anything about it. So I think about it like this: you have the White Walkers in the North and they’re going to kill all of us but we’re all down here wondering who should be sitting on the Iron Throne when really, does that matter at all? I mean eventually hopefully one day we can worry about those issues, who’s sitting on the Iron Throne, etc. In the meantime, shouldn’t we all be focusing on killing those White Walkers?!? Believe it or not animal agriculture is a leading cause of global warming (go watch Cowspiracy on Netflix asap) and it’s insane to me that everyone continues to ignore it instead of doing something about it!
I also care deeply about the animals and I think that the way we treat them is the most unethical and inhumane injustice in our society.
For those of you who are still recovering from an eating disorder – despite my strong views on veganism, I do not recommend starting a vegan diet in recovery. You have to be in the right headspace to make a decision about your diet like that and if you are recovering from a restrictive eating disorder or you are in a restrictive eating disorder that is not the time to make that kind of decision. While I don’t find veganism restricting at all, if I was in a headspace of restriction I sure as hell would find a way to. I think it’s great when people want to go vegan I just think you need to make sure you’re in the right state of mind to make that decision and once you are recovered please join us! Until then do what’s right for you ❤
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