This post might ruffle some feathers, but I want to share it anyways. And if you don’t ruffle a few feathers from time to time then you are probably doing life wrong.
I posted this video on Instagram a couple of days ago of a recipe with both an egg and egg-free option, and it sparked a bit of a…discussion in the comments section. So I thought it was time for a serious chat and explanation.
Things change. People change. And minds change, but only when they are open.
For a long time mine was not. For a long time I was eating the same vibrant whole plant foods day after day hoping that eventually I would feel amazing doing so. As amazing as all the Vegan What I Ate YouTube videos promised and #hclfvegan Instagram captions professed. Yeah, I got caught up in that crazy comparison mindset too. I was unwilling to consider any other alternative. If I could just eat healthy enough and vegan hard enough it had to happen eventually. Right?
But it didn’t. Not after a year. Not after two years or three years. Not after going raw vegan. Not after eating nothing but bananas for a week (hello desperation!). Not after reading all the books and watching all the videos and trying all the versions. I was frustrated. And as irrational as it sounds now looking back, I felt like I must be doing something wrong.
Believe me I wanted it to work, I wanted it to work so badly. I had been vegan since high school, I create vegan recipes for a living, until recently the word vegan was all over my about me page–it was a HUGE part of my identity and letting go of that felt scary. But after trying to make it work for years and feeling not so hot ninety percent of the time, I had to finally put that familiar identity and my love of massive banana smoothies aside and admit to myself that it wasn’t working for me anymore.
You might be wondering why I didn’t just drop the high fruit/high carb part of veganism and try a starch-based or even lower carb plant-based diet. I did try it, but I didn’t feel better nor was I satisfied eating that way. Plus beans, soy, and raw veggies are all a nightmare for my stomach, which makes the plant food options quite limited.
Aside from stomach issues there were other signs my body was giving me that things weren’t right. My hair was falling out like crazy, I had circles under my eyes and low energy levels, and I found myself constantly snacking and craving endless quantities of sweet food.
So for a few months now I have been eating AIP paleo-ish and including non-vegan foods in my diet again. And while it has been far from smooth sailing, I feel SO much better. Better than I remembered it was possible to feel. Even my worst days are better than my good days back when i was eating tons of fruit. AIP is not an easy diet to follow, and I have not done it perfectly nor do I want to. My goal is to use it as a starting point from which to experiment and find what works for me as an individual without rules or labels.
I truly feel like this is a step in the right direction. There is no longer a feeling of disconnect between what I want to eat and what is probably best to eat to nourish and feel good inside. I used to crave and eat tons of fruit knowing full well that my stomach would most likely be an angry mess afterwards. But now I actually crave savory foods, simple foods that make me and my stomach happy.
All the recipes I share will still be vegan. I still love fruit and love creating with it. I love dreaming up healthier ways to make sweet snacks and seeing just how many recipes it is possible to squeeze dates into and creating nice cream for any and every season. There may be a few more grain-free and AIP treats mixed in, but from the feedback so far it seems many of you appreciate those too.
It’s not that a big bowl of banana ice cream doesn’t appeal to me anymore, it’s just that I know it won’t make me feel awesome. And right now I need to focus on what makes me feel awesome inside and out. I truly am content eating his way, thank goodness tastebuds are so wonderfully adaptable.
I am in no way criticizing the vegan or high carb vegan diet–it works for many people! But for me it turned into trying to force something to work that just didn’t. Trying to force myself to fit into a diet instead of finding a way of eating that fits me. Someday I hope that my love of fruit will realign with what my body needs and wants to feel good, but that day is not today.
It feels good to be flexible and to experiment. It feels good to finally feel good. And even though my primary motivation for making this change was physical wellbeing, it has done more for my mental wellbeing regarding food and health than I ever could’ve imagined. A change in perspective is a powerful thing.
I know this may upset some of you, and if you decide to unfollow me for it then that is your choice. I will be sad to see you go, but at some point I have to put my own health first. Being honest with you is important to me, and it is my hope that you will receive my honesty with an open mind.
Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps you have a struggled with similar health issues. Perhaps you have had to make the same tough decision yourself. For so long I would instantly dismiss anyone who tried to convince me that my vegan diet may be the cause of my health issues. I had to come to it on my own in my own time and then be open-minded enough myself to make this change. A change that at one time I never thought I would make.
To my vegan friends, if you wish to voice your opinion all I ask that you do so with the same compassion for me that you advocate for all.
And to my friends who have been supportive of me and my decision regardless of dietary choices, so much gratitude and love to you <3
And why the cookies? Because this is my second batch in a week of these cookies from the incredible Mandy (Be Sol-Ful) and they are grain-free and chocolatey and delicious, meeting all the cookie requirements that make both me and my body happy right now! And yes they are vegan too. Also I think all serious chats are better with cookies, don’t you?
Beth R. says
So glad you’re following your instincts and pursuing a diet that works for YOU!
Thanks for the support Beth <3
Bianca // Elephantastic Vegan says
No longer entirely vegan? *leaving page* bahahaha just kidding!
do what makes you feel good and eat what makes you feel good! That’s the most important thing!
We all want a happy and healthy Natalie <3!
Bahahahaha!! You are the best, thank you Bianca <33
I’m sitting here a bit teary-eyed because I can imagine how hard it must have been to share this AND I can see the weight lifted. It is not easy to put yourself out there and share struggles especially when there are people out in this world who walk around with their minds (and eyes) closed. Change is inevitable and all I can say is that I am incredibly happy that you have found what works for you!!! That’s what some people fail to recognize – we are all different and no single way of life can be uniform. I’ll try and keep this “short” ? since you already know most of my thoughts through our conversations outside of IG. When you finally experience good days, feeling better, you don’t want to jeopardize it by forcing a diet that isn’t working. AIP (and remaining vegan) is sooooo hard and I’m still using as the framework in my diet, but when I do stick with it, I feel my best. I miss the days when I could just live on smoothies and tons of fruit, but I’ll take a happy gut over that any day!
I am incredibly proud of you – you literally tried everything, read it all, and listened to your body. And that is what’s important!! That was a long time to struggle with health and you are way overdue to feel GOOD! You know I love you and think the world of you so I’m obviously not going anywhere ❤️ Just because we don’t eat the same way doesn’t mean you’re not the same Natalie I came to know and love. Thank YOU for being an amazing friend and a shoulder to cry on. You’re the best and all I want (and I can guarantee many others) is for you to be happy and healthy!! I’m sending GIGANTIC hugs and so much love your way! ❤️?❤️?❤️ P.S. – thank you for making my cookies! I’m making yours again later today! ?
I thought of you so many times while writing this post, and not just because I was staring at (and eating actually lol) your cookies during the process. I admire you SO much for sticking to vegan and doing AIP and making it all work somehow…magic I think. Nah, just a lot of determination–you are amazing! And I also thought of you a lot because you have been a HUGE support and incredible friend throughout it all. Just having someone to compare AIP notes with and most importantly swap cookie recipes with has made it 1000 times better❤️ Yes I know exactly what you mean about now wanting to jeopardize it–feeling good feels so tenuous sometimes. But I think that is partly what makes me feel like what I’m doing now is working better than anything I’ve tried before, it is slowly becoming less tenuous. Slowly starting to make sense and not just feel like a big game of luck that I don’t have control over. THANK YOU for all the hugs and all the cookies and I just might be making more of yours today later because goodness knows these are long gone??? Lots of love❤️ xo
High carb was hell for me too. I’m almost positive that sugar for most people isn’t good until they have truly healed their gut. I have left the high carb vegan and currently eat a higher plant based fat diet and I went from feeling horrible to amazing. I think we all go thru those periods when change is just required and we cannot stay attached to some mindset that no longer works forever. Good on you for letting go. Experiment with higher fat foods avo, nuts seeds ect but without massive amounts of sugars and beans but more greens. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. Good on you for your courage and ability to change. It till me years to let go of the High carb mentality. It still haunts me. The bible says we arent to worry about what we eat or drink. That the Lord will always provide. We are to let go and trust. He also says we aren’t to exalt one type of way of eating over another. We all start with baby foods, and mature and different times. God bless you girl. I’ll pray for your health.
I have definitely been including a lot more fat in my diet too (heck yes to all the coconut and dark chocolate!!) and it has helped A LOT. It’s crazy how hard it can be to let go of what we are used to because it feels comfortable and social pressure tells us it’s what we should be doing. Letting go of high carb vegan was tough for me at first too, but honestly I look back sometimes and wonder what I was thinking now sticking it out for so long when my body was telling me loud and clear that things weren’t right. I am so happy for you that you had the courage to jump into the unknown of diet experimentation too and have found something that works for YOU! That’s what really matters? Thank you so much Monika, lots of love?
Demeter | Beaming Baker says
Natalie, my dear lady bird, thank you so much for opening up to all of us. I just want to say, first and foremost: I will be here to support you, no matter what. Your decisions are exactly that: YOURS to make. I can’t put myself into your shoes and act like I know what you were going through–only you know that. Thank you for being brave enough to open up, brave enough to be vulnerable. Looking forward to seeing you get healthier, happier and more energetic–whatever way that feels right for you. Sending you lots of love, forever and always. Your BBB. <3
Thank you sweet friend and for your message and for the unicorn and for your support no matter what?? Ugh yes vulnerability!! Why must it be so hard? But it almost always feels better once it’s out, doesn’t it. Of course I wanted to experiment myself and sort things out a bit first before sharing, but once the post writes itself you know it’s time to share? Big hugs to you my BBB!!!!????
The Vegan 8 says
So that is why you have been using eggs in those videos, ahhhhh, haha I was wondering!! I would never stop following you Natalie and will obviously continue to read your wonderful blog and love to! Just like Mandy said above, just because we have different beliefs on how we eat, doesn’t change that I still love who you are. Honestly, I have the same issue with fruit and would think anybody would because it’s just so much sugar. You know I’m not the biggest fan of fruit to begin with, but vegan or not, in the past I use to make smoothies a lot for breakfast and load them up with fruit and I would always, always get the worst stomach aches afterwards but I kept downing them because I thought, hey fruit, it’s healthy, lol! But, nope. Too much fruit, period, I would think isn’t the best idea. For me, changing our lives to a vegan diet completely healed my hubby’s gout and my sinus and digestion issues. It has literally changed our health and lives for the better and could not be more grateful for eating and living this way. But, none of my friends are vegan and that hasn’t changed our friendships or relationships one bit because I love them for who they are, just like you! xoxo
Ha yes I was kinda surprised no one ever mentioned anything about the eggs in videos tbh. I wanted to experiment for a little while and figure it out for myself and wait for it to not feel weird/foreign to me anymore before sharing. But this weekend the post just flowed easily and it felt like time to share. It is actually talking to you a while back about the whole fruit/stomachache thing that made me really give a low fruit vegan diet a chance for a while, but it just did not work for me. I have to admit giving up the fruit was hard there for a while, but at this point I don’t miss it very much? I admire so much the huge positive impact that veganism has had for your family, it’s beautiful! But yes we are all different, and I agree 100%–it is absolutely about the person and not the labels. THANK YOU so much for your support and kind words and understanding❤️ Plus in my experience living down here in this corner of the country vegan real-life friends are not the easiest thing to find lol? xo
PREACH SISTA!!!! So much love and admiration for you, my dear! SO many people would never have the courage to battle through such frustrating issues in private, let alone share the story when some can be quite ignorant and insensitive, to put it lightly. I am so happy you’re on your way to feeling great 100% of the time, and I can’t wait for you to get to that point! You’re so right though, regardless of what others may feel/say/think, at the end of the day you need to concern yourself with YOU. Things do change, circumstances are out of our hands in some cases, and it’s important to put things in perspective and to above all value your well-being. So I genuinely am so, so proud of and happy for you, Natalie. Keep us updated, I hope it continues to improve each and every day!! Xoxoxo
Aww thank you Sara <3 It has definitely been a process with lots of experimentation but when is life not?? And moving in the right direction it seems. I definitely had support from some awesome peeps along the way, but it feels nice to finally have shared it publicly. Always does after the fact even though that can be hard to remember when you are debating hitting that publish button. Thanks for reading, I truly, truly appreciate your support!
Alison @Foodbymars says
Girl, preach. I so wanted to be vegetarian and tried it for quite a while. That didn’t work… my doctors begged me to stop after my hair was falling out and my period was disappearing. I then added back fish… it helped, but my iron was so low no matter what supplements I took… I then threw in some liver… that helped a lot. And ultimately, I’m back eating meat – grass-fed, organic and good quality with nutrient dense veggies. I still always prioritize covering my plate in greens because it’s so important to me and it helps so much. And non-starchy, lower carb veggies also get priority, but I do need my carbs here and there to keep me balanced. Still working with finding what’s best for me and have also been using AIP as a template. You have to listen to your body, unfortunately veganism and vegetarianism is not right for everyone at all times in their life. That doesn’t mean you can’t have respect or love for animals, or for anyone who can and does follow that lifestyle. I personally, only buy from and support ethically sourced fish and meats and eggs, while keeping up to date on issues with our farming practices and the animal abuse that’s all around us. And ultimately, doing what I can to keep up with my health and find a balance. Glad you’re on the mend, here to talk anytime!! XOXOXO
You are awesome <3 YES I relate so much on the food stuff and the ethics. I have truly loved connecting with you more lately on IG. Your page has become one of my favorites, it is exactly the inspiration I need right now for figuring all this out and embracing the journey. And muffins, embracing grain-free muffins too 🙂 Sardines next and then one of these days maybe I'll be brave enough to try liver. I know it's so good for iron and all, but the smell! lol Thank you so much Alison for reading and for the words of support. And I might take you up on it! xoxo
Aww same here mama- love what you’re doing. I hear you on the liver… sauté it with onions and sweet peppers and your favorite spices with a little wine until almost crispy and you will be addicted to it- no smell hehe! We can do this!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. Seeking health and wellness is ultimately the most important thing and I totally understand when folks just don’t get it. Your recipes are wonderful, your vulnerability is inspiring, and your courage to seek wellness (despite the haters) is beautiful. I’m grateful for your honesty (and any AIP recipes you’ve got).
Aww thanks girl <33 For reading and understanding and for the support, you are awesome! I completely agree on all counts. Vulnerability is so powerful yes so dang scary too. But it always feels better to share in the end 🙂 Oh geez, my meals are so boring most of the time they don't even qualify as recipes lol. I save most the AIP recipe effort for the sweet stuff 😀 P.S. We seriously need to meet up in person if ever we are both back in GB at the same time!
Yes, I agree! It would be great to catch up on all the years since high school. Also let me know if you’re ever in Atlanta!
That would be awesome, will do 🙂
Hey girl! Firstly, well bloody done for following your instincts and doing what’s right for you. Everyone is different, and what suits one person, will not suit the other. We all have a choice, and anyone giving you a hard time for the change in your diet, simply doesn’t deserve your time. Hope you will continue to feel better! X
P.S. Do you deliver these cookies?
Thank you so much for reading Anna and for the support <3 I absolutely agree! It doesn't mean those rude comments don't still hurt a little bit but I always go by the logic of if you don't have anything nice to say then I am going to pretend you didn't say anything at all. And after your kind words of support of course I would share my cookies...if they weren't all gone hehe?
I’m so happy that you made the decision to listen to your body! As a dietitian student, I truly believe that we need to eat in a way that makes us feel good and we shouldn’t eat to fit a label! Everyone is different and we can’t judge others for the way they eat. It’s all about balance and having a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good inside and out. 🙂 I love eating vegan meals as well, but eating eggs, fish and poultry on occasion makes my body feel better too. Best of luck with everything!
Thank you so much Caroline <3 Labels lead to judgments of ourselves and others and that just distracts from the important thing: what our bodies are actually telling us. All about that balance 🙂 I have really loved connecting with you on the blogs and IG lately, and I appreciate your support a lot!
That’s exactly the way I see it. 🙂 And you’re very welcome! I love your blog and Instagram and it’s been nice connecting with you as well!
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
SO proud of you 🙂
Thanks for always listening even when you should be napping or doing taxes or making biscuits or all 3 at the same time.
Kyra @ Vie De La Vegan says
Much love to you Nat and your bravery for posting this! It’s so important to listen to your body and do what you feel is right for your health. I went fully raw for about 4 months, thinking that the raw diet was the best thing for my health, but by the end of that time I felt like crap…no energy, couldn’t concentrate…so I re-introduced cooked foods and felt so much better. So I can relate to your situation – I guess we all see certain diets as being the best for our health, but at the end of the day our bodies know what’s best for us.
Thank you for the kind words and for relating Kyra, it means a lot to me <3 I have totally been there with the raw food thing too, it sounds so lovely and vibrant but in actuality I think it's just too radical for me to sustain and my body to handle. Luckily the body always tells us, subtly at first and then not so much 😀
audrey @ unconventional baker says
WOT?! NO LONGER FRUITY?!? I’M OUTTA HERE ? ???
I can really relate to your struggle. As you know I’ve had my share too. After many years of trying all sorts of diets for health I finally circled back to simple vegan and feel good now. But the process has been long, sometimes trialing, embarrassing (“what crazy thing is she eating now?!”), restrictive, painful, interesting, promising, disappointing, bloating (oh so bloating — I can’t do green smoothies for the life of me ?), and so on.. and it ain’t over yet either, I am sure.
In the end, I decided to ditch the labels (even though I am vegan and plan to remain so). I even renamed my blog some years back — I just no longer wanted to box myself or others into a a specific diet label, so I steer clear of talking diets or ways of eating on the blog (being seen as an advocate / role model inevitably comes with the territory of being a food blogger / public foodie — just knowing the amount of health struggles and diet fails I’ve been through, the last thing I want is to give others advice on how they should be eating, even if I’m happy with where I’m at, feel it’s what’s right, and so on). I really feel like food and diet is an individual thing and a private and personal choice — each person should decide for themselves what makes sense and works for them, and always be open for re-assessing.
I’ll most definitely still be here with you 🙂 — be it the new eggy you, the old fruity you, the future whatever you. So long as you don’t start putting bacon in your ice cream or chocolate — that’s where I draw my limit ? And I’ll probably come even then and just not comment on the bacon part ?.
Hahaha!!! You are awesome Audrey, thank you? I relate to all those emotions/feelings so much and actually totally relate on the green smoothie thing too. Raw greens and tons of fruit–um nope not a good idea? And I used to eat them all the time, now I’m like DUH Natalie no wonder you felt like a balloon! I have tried to keep the preaching different diets to a minimum on the blog too. Mostly because I know that things do change and I will inevitably change and end up looking like a hypocrite at some point. There is no “perfect” diet for everyone forever and always. But also because it feels wonderfully freeing to just enjoy and utilize all the foods without rules or labels! Except “unconventional”, that one fits you perfectly? And you know I mean that in the best possible way you insanely creative recipe magician✨ I wish everyone would take this stance and quit the preaching, it would make it SO much easier for everyone to tune into and find what works for them without the social pressure. Anyways…I am thrilled for you that you are feeling better too! Funny how sometimes simplifying and just chillaxing about it all is actually the answer? Lolol on the bacon in chocolate thing? Okay fine, I’ll just save that for the insta?
I started being obssessed with your blog a while ago and I could not express how I love your recipes. I am not a vegan, as I am still on my way and failed sometimes. But I believe it is not the goal but the journey. So I believe that maybe true for you too. Where we are being is not the end in itself. And for we have only one life, what is the point if you are not enjoying our life right?
I love your recipes, and I hope seeing your insanely creative and beautiful recipes here on your blog whichever diet they are. And I honestly hope that you will feel better and awesome all the time 😉
YES!! Your words ring so true for me! I completely agree on it being about the journey instead of the destination. If we are always just chasing this “perfect” health but struggling or feeling like a failure in the meantime then it is not worth it. And if you can make and enjoy vegan foods and non-vegan ones at the same then I don’t think that is failure at all! Thank you for the support and kind words, and I already am feeling much better. Much love?
It is so sad to see other people who criticize you for adding a “non-vegan ingredient” or changing your diet. Some people just judge too quickly and like you said, you have to put your own health first. I found this post extremely motivational. For a long time, I was consumed by the idea of being a perfect vegan, thinking that it’s “the only way” to being healthy, satisfied and fit. Even though many of my meals are vegan and I absolutely love creating various plant based desserts and foods, I began to include “non-vegan” foods in my diet because I realized I needed to make a change. For a while, I have been contemplating whether I made the right choice and how others will react. Even though I did get criticized I realized that this is better for my life and my health and that is all that matters. Thanks again for being such an amazing inspiration and I would love if you upload both vegan and nonvegan alternatives.
Social media and the internet can definitely pain that “vegan or bust” picture as the way to health and happiness, and it is so far from the truth. I am so with you! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, just eat all the foods–vegan or not! It is ultimately up to us to decide what is best for ourselves and our bodies, but making the change is a lot harder with all the social pressure. I am sorry you had to endure some criticism in the beginning, but I am really happy that you stuck it out and followed your instincts to make the change anyways? And thank you for letting me know that you would be interested in seeing both vegan and non-vegan versions of recipes! I am still figuring all that out in my own head so your feedback is really helpful and encouraging. Lots of love Mara??
rachel @ athletic avocado says
you’ve got our full support! So glad your listening to your body and doing whats best for your health! You are awesome Natalie <3
Big thanks and hugs to both of you! You guys are awesome and it means a lot to have your support❤️❤️
Leah M | love me, feed me says
You do you, boo!
You are amazing, Natalie. Thank you for opening up. Forever and always here for you. It also makes my heart happy how supportive all the comments on this post are so far – you are so loved and admired!!
So glad you found something that’s working for you too!
One of my favorite phrases/notions of all time, especially with the “boo” on the end because you know I love my rhymes? I have been totally blown away by the positive response and support too! So much gratitude for all the beautiful people around me and YOU are definitely at the top of that list. Thank you sweet friend???
Heather McClees says
This is exactly what my life has been like the last 10 years. It’s why vegetarian works for me and vegan simply doesn’t. I say I have a vegan heart, but the rest of my body never got the message. But it’s true. I still love and eat vegan food, but I have so many GI issues, I can’t not give my body what it needs. I am proud of you! I have found my bpdy goes thriugh ups and downs with all foods, and that’s okay. The important thing is just to listen. Keep at it, you can reach out to me anytime you need to! 🙂 XoXo
Heather McClees says
Lots of typos — sorry– iphone! ?
Do not worry one bit about typos, your message and support came through loud and clear❤️ Thank you so much for reading and relating Heather. “…a vegan heart but the rest of the body never got the message”–that is a lovely way to put it, I know exactly how you feel! But yes, at some point we have to listen to what our bodies need and be open-minded enough to give it to them. Much love?
Heather McClees says
Thanks, Natalie! If you ever want a friend to chat with about this (I know how hard it can be in this space), you have one. I’m with you all the way! I did the same journey you are taking a couple of years ago, and I learned a lot. Sometimes I still think about trying it again, but we shall see. Lots of love, dear! <3
Hi Natalie! I can’t possibly be as eloquent as all these wonderful commenters but I echo everything they said. I love you, your recipes, your witty blog and your videos no matter what! You’re a rock star!
Awww you are the sweetest Diana! Eloquence is overrated anyways, it’s the thought and support that counts and I appreciate it very much <3
Oh Natalie you definitely need to do what is right for you!!! No two women have the same body or dietary needs! We need to support each other and stay away from labels! You are so creative and honest I love all your culinary masterpieces! Some of my readers may be horrified that I feed my family hotdogs sometimes…but life is about balance! Food should serve us not the other way around! Much love! Xoxo
Yes yes YES!! I am totally with you on everything even down to the hot dogs 😀 Life is about balance but also about so much more than just worrying about food all the time. It’s certainly an important part of life but there are a million other amazing and important things out there too! Thank you for the lovely words of support Laura and for taking the time to read <3 xo
While I try and eat only plant-based foods, I do consume beans, grains, and soy occasionally. My diet would be very limited otherwise–and thriving on fruit alone is a hard way to live. So, I can see where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, your ethical intentions to be vegan may not line up with what works for your individual body. Do what works for you. I appreciate reading your perspective and thoughts regardless.
Beans and grains would make things much much easier, the options get pretty slim without those. Yes the ethical side of things is still one that bothers me a bit, but right now I am going the listen-to-my-body route and seeing where that takes me 🙂 Thank you for reading and for understanding Melanie, I appreciate it a lot <3
So happy for you finding a diet that suits you, Natalie! I tried going vegan once and could not stomach all the associated starches. Literally, my digestion was a mess, bloated all the time, foggy thinking, craving sweets like a madwoman. I respect you so much for ‘coming out’, and wish you all the best! ♥
Thank you for reading and relating Lauren! Yes my stomach really didn’t care for all the carbs either and I know exactly what you mean about the sweet cravings all. the. time. It has actually been quite a fun experiment rediscovering other foods and finding a more balanced way of eating again 🙂 Much love <3
I think you really hit on a good point when you mentioned being vegan was a big part of your identity. I think so many people attach their diets to who they are when, at the end of the day, it’s just food…not who we are. I have struggled so much with food my whole life. I went from eating whatever and being very obese to eating next to nothing and not knowing how I should be fueling my body and now I am still trying to find the balance. I was vegan for a while but have added in certain foods from animals because it feels right. I still excludes some, or even most, because they either make my body feel bad or I just have no desire to eat them but I feel great. People have tried to get me to put a label on how I eat but there isn’t one, I eat what I choose to eat on the day that I eat it and it’s what works for me. I hope you continue to feel well and find what works best for you. This was a great post.
What’s crazy is that people try to make you put a label on your diet when it really doesn’t affect them at all. We seem to want neat little names and categories for everything, but diet and life are messy and always shifting and changing. I think the labels really mess up our natural intuition when it comes to food, I know they did for me. And now with all the different facets within vegan/paleo/whatever it can feel even harder to just do your own thing. I am so sorry that you have struggled for many years with food on both ends of the spectrum, but sometimes I think it’s only after having gone through those sorts of extremes that we can truly appreciate balance and be confident in being uniquely label-less 🙂 Thanks for reading Rachel and for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it!
I think what you’re doing is awesome, Natalie. . Trying to fit a into a particular diet lifestyle that isn’t really working for you is unnecessary I feel like. I consider myself vegan but I love honey and eat a ton of it and sometimes egg whites will creep into my diet too.. But that’s because my diet is restricted in other ways that make it really hard to find things to eat. Period. So we have to get creative and loosen up a bit. You have to do what works for you. It’s a diet; not a religion.
I’m so happy to hear that you are feeling better with this new way of eating! I’ve tried so many of your recipes and they are the bomb. Like seriously. You are a genius when it comes to baking 🙂 Good luck with everything!
Hi Hayley! I really appreciate your support, thanks for reading. I absolutely agree–however you choose to eat flexibility needs to be a part of it. Plus life’s a lot easier and a lot more fun that way too 🙂 You are very sweet, I am glad you enjoy the recipes too!
the struggle is real for sure! thank you for such an eloquent post and for being so brave to let us in to your personal life. i have recently let veganism go in hopes of finding recovery from my decades-long eating disorder(s). i think that i used the vegan label as a way to make restriction seem ok but it is totally not ok. i truly appreciate your honesty and i am so glad that you have found a balance that is working well for you! keep it up…you deserve it and you are worth it. hugs!!!!
Thanks for reading Dayna 🙂 It wasn’t until I stopped being vegan that I realized how much I was using it as another way to restrict too. And you absolutely deserve it too!! Big hug to you too <3
It’s been over a year since you posted this, but I’m just finding it now. I can so completely identify with you. It’s been over two years since I went vegan and I kept hoping that if I just got it right, the balance of veggies, the protein and vitamin supplements (necessary in part because I’m intolerant of soy), that I’d finally feel great eating vegan.
The truth is, I’ve felt consistently worse. I’ve gained weight, my hair has fallen out, I’ve gotten used to the look of me with dark circles under my eyes. I’ve craved carbohydrates constantly – especially anything sweet, fruit, candy, maple syrup, straight sugar.
For the past several months, I tried introducing fish to my diet, eating small amounts a couple times a week. I was incredibly selective about the fish I chose, and at first this did help a bit, although maybe it was in my head. I don’t know. Unfortunately, the intense sugar cravings and fatigue persisted.
At a recent doctor’s appointment, my doctor asked if I was getting enough protein. (Fair question, and something I’ve considered because I’ve always known I need more than average.) What I didn’t know, or conveniently forgot, is that the connective tissue disorder I have increases my protein needs. It also makes it harder for me to absorb nutrients. A week ago, my physical therapist asked me if I’d considered bone broth, because I have problems healing and some people he knows have had success with it. Almost two years ago, a dear acquaintance and respected herbalist described exactly how food is medicine, and how she not only advocates consumption of a diverse spectrum of plants, but often prescribes bone broth in particular.
I haven’t gotten to bone broth, but today I ate my third egg – over easy on a pile of sautéed spinach, arugula, foraged dandelion, broad-leaf plantain, ramps, sorrel, curly dock, garlic chives, mixed with sprouted quinoa, with a few pieces of kimchi on the side. I feel so deeply sated, like I’ve fed some part of me that has been craving for so long.
I grieve giving up my ideals, but I also feel remorse for continuing with strict rules about what I could and couldn’t eat, despite my suffering. I plan to primarily eat a plant-based diet going forward, but I’m going to let go of “vegan” or “pescatarian”.
Thank you for continuing to post vegan recipes and thank you for your bravery and transparency. <3
Natalie, your desserts are radawesomnessssss. …I’ve been a vegan the past err 6 or 7 years. I didn’t feel good at first. Pretty tired a lot. Weak. Probably aenemic. When I cut oil out of my diet (and gained a better grip of nutritional science), my energy and strength returned. I mean, I can still have oil, but just very little (and feel good). Also, the realization that the caloric density of plant foods is way lower than animal foods helped me overcome my psychological fears of eating “too much” food. It is normal for me to want to eat “more” food going vegan – that’s the only way I’d get to 2000 or so calories/day.
Have you considered Dr. Gregor’s work as a tool to aid your digestive issues? He is my go-to – as well as cronometer (an app to make sure I am getting all my RDAs).
I’ve read non-vegan literature as well like The Perfect Health Diet (The most academic paleo book I could find) and a bit of Weston Price. Of all the nutrition books I’ve read during my 3 month stay in Croatia (I basically just read about nutrition every day for 3 months), Dr. Gregor’s stuff has always been the most thorough and logical to me.
Bake the good bake 🙂