I was a vegetarian for eight years, three of those were spent as a vegan. I absolutely thrived off a vegan diet, I have always loved my veggies, my mom even told me as a baby I used to store meat in my cheeks so that I didn't have to eat it, so eating a plant based diet made sense to me and giving up dairy was just as easy for me as giving up meat. It wasn’t long before I was feeling fantastic, I was lighter, more energetic, my eyes and skin were brighter and I even lost weight. Just eating plant based foods was so natural and effortless for me and things seemed great UNTIL they weren’t – I totally missed the messages from my body that this diet I had chosen wasn’t sustaining me any longer.
My gut issues worsened (I always have had issues with my gut but most of the time it was due to my gluten and dairy intolerance which I wasn't aware of at the time), I lost my period and my anxiety returned. I couldn’t understand that if I was eating the healthiest I ever had yet then why did I have all these health issues. This longing for a deeper understanding of what was happening to my body, threw me into two and a half years of self-work and exploration around food. After two years of working through adrenal issues, gut health, hormones, thyroid etc. with various food changes and meal plans the anxiety had reduced but I still had no period. DEEP down, INTUITIVELY, I knew what I had to do to fully regain my health but I didn’t want to accept it. I had so many beliefs attached to being a vegan that I knew I had to let go of and there was a part of me that enjoyed being identified as vegan, if I’m being truly honest.
However, I knew introducing some form of animal protein back into my diet might just be what my body needed, and if not, I could always go back to eating a plant based diet, so there was little harm in trying. I started introducing ethically sourced animal products back into my diet. I started with eggs then chicken and finally fish. It was not an easy transition and after eight years of no meat, the first few days were difficult – I must admit I did shed a few tears as I tried to wrap my head around not being a vegan anymore. After a month I noticed my health had started to improve drastically. I wasn’t binging anymore, I wasn’t hungry all the time, I felt more grounded, my blood sugar levels were improving and I was even sleeping better.
After 3 months of eating animal products my period returned.
Some days I still struggle with the concept of eating meat but I am listening to my body daily and trying my best to feed it what it needs. I still don’t eat any dairy and have tried some red meat on occasion but prefer to avoid it. I eat animal protein a few times a week and eggs daily. I no longer label myself as following a certain type of diet as your body is always shifting, changing and adapting and with that your diet and bodies' needs are also always changing. We as humans are cyclical beings and change is inevitable.
LOVE YOUR SELF and LOVE YOUR BODY.
PS. This is not to say one can’t thrive on a vegan diet, you can with the correct supplements and food combinations but this way of eating wasn’t sustainable for me or my lifestyle. I will still always make VEGGIES my main focus of the meal ensuring they cover more than half my plate at meal times.
Feed the Mind. Nourish the body. Connect to the Soul