Hi guys and happy Monday/ Fourth of July to all my American friends! Going to be linking up with Julia today for another Mental Health Monday!
*Disclaimer: this is my blog with my own opinions. I am not in any way, shape, or form bashing veganism or saying it is wrong.
Veganism- you know, not eating anything that comes from animals. Dairy, meat, eggs, etc. Basically eating allll the plants. I feel like it is definitely becoming increasingly popular nowadays. I think in some ways that is great! Limiting our carbon footprint is certainly a right step in the direction towards ending global warning. However, I could never be a vegan. Yeah, all you vegans: please don’t hate me. I think we all know what’s best for us. Each and every individual is different! And for me, I could not follow a veganism lifestyle.
For the longest deep when I was engulfed in my eating disorder, I had so many foods off limits. I was dairy free for almost a year because I was convinced dairy led to digestive problems. Then I was gluten free for 6 months because I was convinced that gluten also led to digestive problems. At one point, I was dairy and gluten free. Then there was the phase where I only ate organic, all natural foods. My orthorexic phase. All processed foods were off limits. Everything entering my body had to be natural and wholesome. I was putting so many restrictions on myself and not ordering things at restaurants/saying no to dessert/not going to family parties was the norm for me because I prioritized food over all of those things. My incredibly diet was the most important thing to me and the center of my world for 3 years. And let me tell you- living that way was just exhausting.
“Orthorexia nervosa: an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with otherwise healthy eating”
Although I was never formally diagnosed with orthorexia nervosa, I definitely did have almost all of the symptoms. I was obsessed with eating healthy and pure during the first 2 years of also battling anorexia nervosa. Healthy eating (as well as restriction) consumed me. I found myself scrolling nonstop at 200 calorie breakfast recipes or menus for restaurants that carried the caloric content and nutritional values three weeks before going on a trip just to plan where our family would be eating. Nutrition and food became all-consuming to me. And with my extreme tendencies and my black and white thinking at the time, there was no balance. There was just allllll the healthy foods all of the time.
When I was deep in my eating disorder, I felt as if my identity was found in being the “healthy girl.” I was known for my nourishing and “clean” eats by my friends. Opening my lunch box everyday during lunch was bound to bring comments from the table- “Omg a spinach salad today! Alyssa you are so healthy I wish I had your motivation.” This fed more into my behaviors and made me feel like I had found part of who I was- that part being an extremely healthy eater.
But boy, boy was I wrong. I never regret what happened during those years or anything I went through because it taught me SO much, but I have certainly learned a lot about myself from it. The thing is, throughout those years that I was longing to be healthy I was anything but healthy. I was a girl obsessed with food and during my orthorexic years, I had the most flawed relationship with food. My obsession with health was quite unhealthy. My extreme tendencies took me over the edge, and the list of things I said I couldn’t eat grew and grew. So many foods were off limits during this time, and this is one reason in particular why I could not be a vegan. I lived a little chunk of my life restricting myself of SO many things. Not only did I restrict myself of food, I restricted myself of any social event involving food- cookouts, campfires, birthday parties, you name it. I don’t want to carry a label defining how I eat and not allowing me to eat certain things when I’m out. Because when I’m at a campfire, I want a freakin’ marshmallow. I said no to too many in the past. And when I’m at a birthday party, I want a piece of cake! Or I want to be able to have what is served without anxiety, I want to be able to just go with the flow. But the thing is, if I labeled myself as vegan; I know I personally wouldn’t be able to. I would overthink social gatherings and be stressed if they would have any vegan and plant-based options and overall just not feel “normal”-a way I felt in the past when I didn’t eat while out to dinner with friends or at a party. Because in my opinion, when we are with others over a meal or sipping on a latte with a friend, we are enjoying food and drinks AND being social: we can connect with others over something so simple- a meal! During the depths of my eating disorder, I felt that I could never connect with another person and be present with them in conversation while out at a restaurant because I was too dang worried if they would remember to put the dressing on the side. And that is something so, so silly to be worried about.
I really do enjoy filling my body up with lots of plants and nutrients. I love all the fruits and veggies, all the veggie burgers and tofu, I adore the almond milk ice creams and do eat things that are vegan. However I love eggs and chicken. And I couldn’t give up turkey sandwiches. Does that make me a bad person? No! Not in my opinion at least! I lived my life in a way for SO long where I viewed myself as good or bad based on what I was eating or how much I was eating, and that is a lifestyle I will never go back to. I view myself as a good person now if I am kind to others, if I am respectful, if I am generous and loving and living my life in God’s grace. I don’t view myself as a good person based off of what goes into my mouth that day.
Love yourself. What does that mean to me? Not defining myself as something so small by what I eat. Treating my body kindly. Not denying my cravings. Being able to say YES to an ice cream cone with friends without any worries or regrets. Because God made ice cream so we could eat it. Not deny ourselves of it then obsess over it. To just enjoy it.
*Again, I am not bashing anyone who lives a veganism lifestyle. These are just my experiences and thoughts on the topic. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder, these are just my opinions and me sharing the way I choose to life my life- a life that is completely free from food labels and a life that is full of food freedom.
I would love to hear any thoughts you have about this below! Thank you for reading. <3
Have a lovely Monday friends and an amazing holiday! Sending lots of love 🙂
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