Following last week’s praise of Veganism, I’m here to say why I’ve given it up. Who knows if this is temporary or permanent; I don’t even know at this stage. All I know is that I am in a position in life where I want to look after myself better which means putting myself first where possible. This may sound selfish as shit because Veganism, for some, works on the premise of putting the wellbeing of animals first. OK, so I’m selfish. (And if you think I’m selfish then you’re paying too much attention to what I’m doing and not enough attention to your own life.) Anyway, part of this putting myself first and looking after myself better falls into the category of listening to my body, what it needs and knowing how to serve it. Which brings me to my first point…
It Risks Breaking Communication With Your Body…
You know when you crave something? I’m not talking about McDonalds (although that’s your body communicating something in itself); I mean genuine fucking food? Like chocolate? Or chicken? Or a banana? Or strawberries? Or steak? Or that special dish they do in that restaurant down the road that no one else does? All these are vital commentary from your body trying to inform you with what you need to fuel yourself with. The moment you introduce rules that make you ignore these cravings, or you start piling on the guilt for eating something outside of your diet, it’s not good. The messages you receive from your body start getting misinterpreted and/or you ignore yourself altogether which, from a self-care perspective, isn’t honouring yourself in the best way you can. We’ve been taught that this is bad, or that is bad, or we shouldn’t be eating certain foods. We’ve been fed the message (no pun intended) that our bodies can’t be trusted and we must control them. When I craved chocolate as a Vegan, I wasn’t able to have it or I had to pay £3.00 for a special Vegan chocolate bar that tasted like shit and did not satisfy my cravings. This led me to binge on other things, not quite hit the spot, and just made me feel unsatisfied. Learn to listen to your body and you will start respecting yourself in a whole new way. You’ll learn to trust that your body knows what it needs, when it needs it, and your job is to give it what it wants – whether this be rest, exercise, chocolate, or carrots. Just listen and respond.
It’s Fucking Expensive
OK, I’ll keep this one short. It’s expensive, period. As I stated, £3 for an average sized chocolate bar? Bitch, please. I’m already paying £4 for Tampons – I’m not forking out anymore money to satisfy my premenstrual cravings, too. Look – unless you eat a shit ton of meat, I’m sorry, but you’re not gonna get more bang for your buck at lunch time. It’s expensive and most recipes I encountered made you add some weird ass shit that you can only find in specialist healthfood stores as opposed to your local supermarket, and I would literally use only once before it was forgotten in the back of my cupboard. Furthermore, Holland and Barrett isn’t always open after work and, even if it was, sometimes I’m simply too tired to go to the extent of cooking a huge meal. Call me lazy, call me selfish, call me whatever. At least my bank account isn’t getting battered by purchasing one-off items like Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Flour and Agave Syrup. I’m sorry, OK? I’m sorry.
Being Centre Stage
There’s nothing worse for me than being the centre of attention. Every meal time, when surrounded by Carnivores, I got all the stares across the table as they panicked with what to feed me. Or, worse, I received no eye contact at all and they acted like I wasn’t there and left me to fend for myself and a menu that was seeping meat and dairy. That was great, too. Anyway, every time it made me feel self-conscious and a burden, even if I wasn’t. Yeah, this probably highlights some kind of inner-child bullshit I need to overcome but it was salt in the wound everytime.
Eating Abroad Is Impossible
March 2017, Paris. That was the moment that the Vegan diet started to crumble. (Fucking hell…I am so sorry for all the food play-on-words.) Have you tried eating Vegan abroad? In France, they pride themselves on meat and cheese in every meal. Eating abroad is just a nightmare not worth entering into if you’re Vegan. It’s another worry to add when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Fuck that.
It’s Where I’m At Right Now
This one is personal. Like I said, I’m at a stage in my life where I’m actually learning to listen to myself, to look after myself better, and to respect my body more. This means slowing down when I’m feeling tired instead of powering through, exercising when I feel restless and letting my body dictate how far I run, and being free to eat the food that my body needs when it needs it. Also, I’ve found that I have difficulty sleeping at night and my mood isn’t always brilliant; these two may be connected…But I always find that, after my evening meal, I never feel satisfied and I’m constantly snacking to satisfy myself. So, I’m giving it up. Maybe it’s forever. Maybe it’s temporary. Who knows. My whole journey with being Vegan wasn’t wasted – in fact, it informed me in new ways how to respect my body, what it needed, and how I could maintain that vital connection with myself. The best thing I’ve learnt? Do what fucking works for you. You need to adopt the best diet that makes you feel good, energized, and content with your life. Following rules, feeling guilty…these aren’t ideal ways to live your life and, particularly for women, guilt is not a great thing to be associated with food. So, for now, I’m living and eating with what feels right for me. And I’m happier with that than I have been for a long time.