Thinking back, the month of August back in 2012 became a turning point for my life and my relationship with food forever.
I switched to a plant based diet when I was recovering from an eating disorder which I had suffered from since I was 15. I remember exactly how I felt during the first two weeks after cutting out all animal products – I felt like I had never felt before. Growing up, food used to be my tool. My tool for suppressing tears, suppressing emotions, shape my body or make it react a certain way.
Due to a constant lack of food and therefore fuel, I used to move as little as possible. I was probably the only anorexic in my clinic that didn’t have to be supervised because of her exercise addiction. I was the girl who always had a headache or her period when we played hockey in school. I used to hate any sort of sports (funny, how this has changed, right?). I had no sense about what food actually was. I didn’t see calories as energy/fuel but as the enemy. A piece of chocolate had the same “value” for me as “too much” fruit if I ate the same amount of calories .. as if there was such thing as too much fruit.
I was so disconnected to my body that I had lost all feelings for how food made me feel. I felt half alive for most of the time anyway.
When I decided to go vegan, I was already one year in recovery. As my bmi of 16 was still very low, my therapists and parents were more than concerned about my new “restrictions”. I can’t put into words how much courage, willpower and strength it took my incredibly weakened character to explain them how much veganism and saving the animals actually meant to me.
I’m incredibly happy and grateful to say that my parents have always been the most supportive people in my life. Without their help I would have never gotten into recovery treatment and without their help my transition into a vegan diet would have never been so smooth as they never complained about leaving out dairy / meat for me or to buy an extra pack of soy milk.
For the first time in my life I realized that the food I ate was my fuel. Cutting out animal products in some way made me feel lighter than ever before. I had energy that had never been there. I couldn’t stop being in a good mood, my skin was glowing and I couldn’t stop moving my body. For the first time in my life I started running almost every single day – me, the person who had always hated sports.
When you recover from an eating disorder, they usually feed you ALL the unhealthy stuff. “Dietitians” will give you diet plans that contain dairy with almost every meal, chocolate bars after a meat heavy lunch and most important: butter. On. Everything.
So yes, u was getting in enough calories. But those calories weren’t fueling my cells rather than making me feel sluggish and anxious. It was as if my vision had clears and some sort of fog had left my brain.
When I first switched to a plant based diet, nobody talked about paleo, high carb low far, low carb or intermittent fasting. I went vegan purely for the animals and that was the best motivation I could have had in order to stick to veganism. I ate all the foods no matter if it was processed or not, if it contained wheat, salt, oil or gluten. I naturally ate more whole foods than before and I also ate tons of soy yogurts, soy schnitzels, vegan chocolate, fries and pizza. I had never felt that good ever before.
Just like I get sick so much less and haven’t really caught a cold in over three years.
After sticking to veganism for over a year, I also discovered its health benefits, learned more about cancer development and how much animal agriculture harms our planet. These are very important issues, which, in my opinion, everybody should at least know about if you are questioning your cunsumption of animal products.
#1 What about B12?
I get my B12 tested once a year and for 3 our of 4 years it always used to be fine. This year I received the first test result which showed a deficiency, which is absolutely understandable, as vitamin B12 is something that’s being stored by your body and can decrease over the years.
I now supplement according to my test results and recommend you to get injections by your doctor.
Note: according to multiple studies, an estimated amount of 40% of the population between 26 and 83 lacks B12 in their blood. Definitely get your levels checked on a regular basis, even if you consume animal products, as a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to serious health issues. Recommended Article by Dr. John Mc Dougall
#2 Have you been 100% vegan all the time?
For sure, there have been situations, when I later found out that the food I had eaten or the milk in my coffee wasn’t plant based which used to freak me out and made me feel anxious. Today, I relax about these situations as my main motivation behind my food choices are still the animals ans as long as I keep asking for vegan options and spread the word in this way, my job is done.
During the half year or so, I still ate our neighbors’ chicken’s eggs and sometimes honey that was made by a friend of my parents.
#3 What motivated you to go vegan?
There was one friend of mine who was the only vegan in my school at that time. She told me lots about animal agriculture and how cruel it was. I never really understood it, nor listened to her, until the day I watched a documentary where it was shown, how cows get impregnated (aka raped) so they would continue to produce milk. I had never made the connection that cows actually make milk for their own babies and always thought, they’d do so anyway which was just beneficial for us humans. Phew! The same day I decided to cut out dairy and went plant based over night.
The past 4 years have I have by far felt the most amazing, healthy and alive. To me, there’s no going back and I hope to inspire as many of you as I can to live a happier and healthier life.