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?