I am free from Veganism! After 4 years of not eating meat, dairy, or eggs, I struggled with the idea of abandoning my convictions. Significant contemplation over the past year has made me feel confident and content with a balanced diet that includes some meat. Other than applying some healthy and helpful guidelines, I feel free to eat what I want.
Why am I no longer Vegan?
1. My original motivation was a short-term goal.
I successfully lost weight, then I began making exceptions. I repeated the weight loss cycle in 2017. I was clearly working with short-term goals. A diet with short-term goals and motivations always fails for me.
2. I became obsessed.
I signed up for all the Vegan communities I could find. I felt guilty about the environmental impact and animal suffering I had caused. My daily newsfeeds cemented my belief that that a strict Vegan life is the only way to be. Compassion for animals consumed me. The idea of eating meat sickened me, and I started having a hard time with others eating meat. I became close-minded and defensive about the subject.
I realized that I needed to look at things more holistically.
3. My social life deteriorated.
I started missing out on social events because I was Vegan. For example, my team at work rarely gets together in-person because we all work remotely. I was looking forward to an annual social event, until I discovered it was taking place at a barbecue restaurant. I felt my only choices were either to brood in the corner with a baked potato, or to not attend. I chose to stay at home while everyone else enjoyed their time together. I eventually stopped being invited to group lunches and happy hours altogether.
I also had a hard time making new friends, and I distanced myself from many of my old friends. I felt more disconnected from almost everyone I knew. I felt lonely.
4. Vegan culture is extreme.
Many Vegans make extreme conclusions, such as: If you eat animals, you must not love them. If a bird kills a worm, that is nature, but when a person hunts a deer, some Vegans call that murder.
Vegan activists sometimes go to extreme measures to get people’s attention. While I was a Vegan, I agreed with their sentiment, but I have always wished they would minimize their public displays.
5. Vegans are often proselytizing hyprocrites.
I was a hyprocrite. I considered myself “Chegan” (cheating Vegan) when I felt like eating eggs and dairy. I generally preferred not eating meat. I didn’t buy non-Vegan products (e.g., leather furniture), but that was primary because I was a minimalist.
Most of the Vegans I had met also seemed angry, and they frequently proselytized (attempted to convert others). I usually kept my thoughts to myself, but I desired to help spread the word. I was expecting non-Vegans to respect my beliefs, while I did not respect theirs.
As an Atheist, I am sensitive to religious people proselytizing. I was wrong to ever feel I had the right to impose my beliefs on others.
6. Vegans kill plants!
I used to despise the “Vegans kill plants” argument because I felt it was simply ridiculous. Then I watched the BBC documentary How Plants Communicate. I learned that plants feel pain and pleasure, just differently than animals. Do humans know enough to say with certainty that plants are not sentient beings? I questioned my declaration that I wouldn’t eat animal flesh, but that I’m fine with eating plant flesh.
Interestingly, Fruitarians (such as the late Steve Jobs) eat only fruit, nuts, and seeds (food that plants provide), so that they do not harm animals nor plants. From my research, this extreme diet cannot healthfully sustain humans long-term.
My belief is that we are all one, and that includes both animals and nature. Ideally, ALL the food I eat will have lived vibrant lives surrounded by sunshine, love, and positive energy.
7. My health suffered.
My focus on animal suffering displaced the focus on my health. After a couple of years of being Vegan, I began making unhealthy food choices. I felt fine eating a couple of slices of Vegan cake, simply because I wasn’t eating meat! Vegan products, restaurants, and food festivals were full of junk food. I ended up eating much less healthy than when I was an omnivore.
Ultimately, I experienced malnutrition issues. I was weak, tired, and unable to focus for several weeks. I quickly recovered after re-introducing meat into my diet.
8. A balanced diet is helpful for my Type 1 diabetes control.
A Vegan diet is generally high in carbohydrates. Last year’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes means I must keep my blood sugar levels under control to prevent complications. A healthy Vegan diet consists of high-carbohydrate food, such as potatoes, rice, beans, and bread. All of these foods “spike” my blood sugar. It is also difficult to estimate the carbs of a plateful of Vegan food, so preventing blood sugar highs and lows is more challenging and risky. Meat and cheese have zero carbs. Eating meat has helped me stabilize and have more control over my blood sugar.
My husband and some friends encouraged me to end my obsession and “eat a burger now and then.” My diabetes diagnosis finally made me open to the idea. My first burger after 4 years (pictured) was scrumptious!
9. I am part of a complex food chain.
People, animals, and plants are all part of a complex food chain where we eat each other to survive. People who live near the water eat fish sustainably. Hunting for food can help sustain a population of animals. Many indigenous tribes have hunted and lived with a primarily meat diet for centuries. There are many types of plants that trap and eat animals, as well.
I am a part of this circle of life, and I will embrace it.
10. I want to be reasonable.
I happen to live in a society where our food sources include both animals and plants. I am enjoying eating out with my carnivore husband, and I am enjoying the benefits of a balanced diet.
I am thankful for the compassion and education from the Vegan community. Veganism encouraged me to be more conscious of where my food comes from. I now choose to make better choices. For example, I eat cows raised humanely in big pastures, and choose wild caught fish over farmed fish.
I also tend to make healthier choices overall, so I choose organic over GMO vegetables, and I generally avoid fried and highly processed food. I have dietary guidelines, but no more extreme limitations.
I am happy to be free from my restrictive, obsessive behavior. I apologize for my hyprocrasy. I’m guessing that I have many friends and family members who are happy about my change of heart! Thank you all for your kindness and patience during my transitions. 🤗
Comments or questions? Please leave me a comment below.