Mental Health Monday 7/4/16: Why I am not a vegan

July 4, 2016 in Balance / Recovery

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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  • Reply Kate July 4, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Great post Lyss. For me personally, I also like to have nothing off limits. I went without red meat for 6 or so years but soon realized as my recovered self I had no good reason not to eat red meat occasionally. It’s still not my favorite, but I love the variety and the ease of enjoying experiences with others at things like cookouts!
    I’m still trying to figure how to eat in a way that benefits my digestive system, but I’m doing it in the least restrictive way possible.

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      I went without red meat for a while too, but the reason I went without it was because I labeled it as “unhealthy.” Which is not a good reason to go without something! I’m glad you are easing digestive problems in a nonrestrictive way, and I’ve been praying that they go away and ease up ASAP! Xoxo

  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law July 4, 2016 at 5:12 am

    I don’t like any food labels as I feel like they’re restrictive! I mean, sure I eat gluten free – but only because I have no choice (coeliac disease doesn’t give you days off… much to my disappointment, haha!) but that’s the only “restriction” I have.

    I often hear people on certain “diets” bellyaching about how they wish they could eat this or that – and that’s when it worries me.

    We shouldn’t label what we eat – we should eat what’s right for our bodies and enjoy everything in moderation!

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Oh yes, I totally understand food labels if you have an allergy of sorts!! I get worried when people make those remarks too. I totally agree with what you said too in that we shouldn’t label what we eat and that we should just eat everything in moderation! Thanks for the input kristy 🙂

  • Reply Lynne July 4, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Hey Lyss, great post as always 🙂 I feel you are 100% correct in everything you say. You must do and eat what you feel is right for you, everyone is different. Nothing is bad in moderation, unless our bodies have a genuine diagnosed intolerance for instance lactose or gluten and so forth, then the necessary should be cut out if advised by a medical practitioner.
    We can still be ‘healthy’ if we eat meat, and so often it is the people who start off wanting to be super ‘healthy’ so they stop meat, stop this and that, but then don’t substitute enough for what they are lacking in their ‘way of eating’ and before you know it they have the eating issue as it is not done correctly, all of a sudden it becomes extreme and out of control.
    Well done for making yourself Healthy. I am so proud of you. x

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you for your insight Lynn and kind words 🙂 I agree that nothing is bad unless you do have a food allergy or intolerance! I think meat is fine to eat and like you said, eating everything in moderation and not putting any foods off limits is a great way to live. I think that it can become something that is done to an extreme as well! Thank you for all your support <3

  • Reply Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It July 4, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Omg this was totally me, and I think this is such an important post. I definitely remember telling people gluten “bothered my stomach” when I would refuse to eat bread with them or that I “didn’t like” something because it was a fear food for me. I’m with you on eating ALL the plants sometimes, but I think healthy and wholesome foods should never be labeled as “good” or “bad”, because they’re all good for you! 🙂 I hope you have an amazing 4th of July full of ALL the food!! You inspire me every day Lyss. xoxo

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Ah totally agree with labeling foods as bad or good. When we look at food as just food- nourishment for our bodies and something to help us live, our mindsets can make a huge positive shift! Thank you for your insight marina as I always love hearing it:) hope you had a wonderful fourth beautiful!! Xoxo

  • Reply Stephanie July 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Amen my wonderful daughter!!!

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:24 am

      Thank you so much Mom!! <33 Love you

  • Reply Caroline July 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I’m really not one for food/diet labels. I would honestly love to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle (not really a huge meat fan and better for the environment!), but at least at this point, I think it would do me much more harm than good and lead to a lot of undue stress and restriction. However, I do know people who joyfully follow a vegan lifestyle and never feel restricted. In the end, I think it’s okay for everyone to find what food choices make them feel great, and I refuse to ever judge a person by what they eat, because labeling certain foods “good” or “bad” will never be constructive!

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:25 am

      I know it would make me stressed too! I think not judging someone based off what they eat is so important too. Thank you for your thoughts Caroline!

  • Reply Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet July 4, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I loved this post because I often wonder how many of the vegans I see on IG are just hiding behind veganism to continue their restriction. Oops, did I just say that? Regardless of ones motives, vegan diets clearly benefit the environment and animals, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s the right choice for everyone. I know it isn’t for me

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      I often wonder that too cayanne! I think those who are not fully recovered from an eating disorder use veganism as another route towards restriction. I agree- I know it isn’t a good choice for me either! Thank you for your insight girl!

  • Reply Leah M | love me, feed me July 4, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I can seriously relate to SO much of this!! I had actually wanted to go vegan nearly a year before I did, but I was worried that it was a disordered choice and knew if I was going to commit to veganism it couldn’t be from a place of restriction. Now I’ve been vegan for nearly 2 years and can’t imagine it any other way 🙂 It’s interesting because pre-vegan days I thought veganism was kinda restrictive, but now that I’ve been vegan for so long I don’t see it like that at all!

    Have a great day, lovely xx

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      I am glad that the veganism lifestyle works for you! And that you don’t see it as restrictive. I think that is great that you found what works best for your body!

  • Reply Emily July 4, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    You don’t know how much I love this Alyssa, because you are going for the broader principle of the vegan lifestyle being something that would be restrictive for you. I have similar feelings about it right now, but the girls I do follow who are vegan, I know are 100% non-restrictive, and they seem to just really be fulfilled by eating that way! <3

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:16 am

      Thank you SO much Emily! I know veganism is a sensitive topic, so I wanted to approach what I was feeling in the right way, and one that would not cause any bad feelings!

  • Reply Edye July 4, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I’m vegetarian and have been asked if I plan on going vegan and the answer is no. I’m perfectly comfortable where I am and couldn’t imagine giving up my Friday night ice cream or fettuccine alfredo. Being healthy has a different definition to everyone. I’m perfectly happy with how my life is and that’s all that matters. Hope you have a great 4th Of July <3

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Oh yes, I totally agree edye! I gave up those Friday night ice cream dates with friends for far too many years, and I wouldn’t want to do that to myself again. I am so glad you are happy with you life, because life you said that is all that maters! Xoxo

  • Reply Megan July 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I’m not really in favour of cutting out anything from my diet unless it is 100% necessary. It is so much easier to live without labels.

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:17 am

      Oh I totally agree Megan. Living life without labels is so easy and freeing 🙂

  • Reply Ellie July 5, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Being a vegan, I see your point. Many times I wonder if vegans are using the platform as a way to restrict. In the case of Jordan Younger, that was exactly what happened. However, it isn’t a “clean eating” issue for most of us. We care about the well being of animals and think it is inappropriate to eat them or take their secretions. The fact is, humans do not need those things to thrive and live. We can eat cake, cookies, ice cream and all the good stuff without being cruel to animals.
    Honestly, I get it, it’s hard and inconvenient to say no or ask for soy milk, but really, what’s wrong for standing up for what you believe in?
    Since turning vegan and making vegan friends, I realized it’s easy and fun to be vegan.
    I respect your decision for your body, I’m just saying what is true for me.

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      I just finished Jordan Younger’s book, and the lifestyle most definitely didn’t work for her! She still does eat a lot of plant based things, but she no longer carries that label of a vegan. For me, I couldn’t Carry that label. It wouldn’t be healthy for me! I’m glad this lifestyle works for you though Ellie.

  • Reply sarah July 6, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Love this Alyssa! I also would say that I struggle with Orthorexia in addition to Anorexia, thought never formally diagnosed with the former. I would never become vegan, vegetarian, or follow any sort of labeled diet because I know that would not be healthy for me given my history. My gaol is to be anle to eat whatever I want and listen to what my body craves. I think I’ll always be a “healthy” eater, but I will be healthy in the sense that I’m not afraid to have ice cream or pizza in addition to veggies and all the other traditionally labeled “healthy” foods.

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:18 am

      Yessss- totally agree with everything you said!! We shouldn’t fear food and give it that power. I think coming to that point in life is absolutely amazing and i know you will get there <3

  • Reply Liv @ Healthy Liv July 6, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Such a great post, Alyssa! You have such a great perspective on balance and enjoying all types of food in moderation and not banning any foods, which is what I try to do, too. Love all of yours posts!

    • Reply Alyssa July 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Aw thank you liv!! You are so sweet. I think banning foods leads to no good in the long run. Thank you for your input and kind words 🙂

  • Reply Taylor July 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Love this post! I do eat dairy, but I haven’t eaten meat in 12 years. However, I have no problem with anyone who wants to eat it… I could chicken for my husband often. I do think sometimes people use being vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free as a way to restrict their food consumption. I think it is so important to eat what you like/what your body craves. There is no one diet or one way of eating that is right for everyone. Each individual has to find what works for them.

    • Reply Alyssa July 7, 2016 at 1:26 am

      So agree with what you said Taylor in that it is SO important to eat what you like and what you are craving! I really do think too each individual knows what’s best for them, and respecting their decisions is very important too!

  • Reply Megan July 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Alyssa this is such a great post! I can’t believe I’m just now seeing this. I feel like our stories are so similar in so many ways. While I am mostly vegan, I definitely have been restrictive with it in the past and learned that that’s no way to live! Now I just eat the foods I like, which are mostly vegan, but still make room for the real ice cream and beef tacos and cheese pizza whenever I’m craving it 🙂 Like you said, all about balance!!

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