Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Is veganism restrictive? How does being a vegan affective my social life

In the past i used to think veganism was restrictive, or for me it would have been restrictive... i didnt want to give up meat or dairy and if i did i didnt think i would be able to eat enough or get the right amount of energy or nutrients. Now i think differently. Before going vegan i made a list of all the things that i could eat and all the different options and that list just keeps growing and in all honesty its just creativity that limits you. Of course i do also need to write that i know i live in a very good country and city where there are alot of vegan options and fake meat/alternative dairy options,  so i know i am priviligied in that sense. Not to mention that i can also afford to buy fake meat and alternative dairy options if i want to, so once again i am lucky and priviliged, as i am aware that in many other countries that is not the case. Or that vegan options cost double or tripple as much  as the meat/dairy options (which they do in sweden as well).

I also need to add the fact that because i enjoy making food and baking as well as am aware about nutrition it makes getting enough energy and nutrients easier for me compared to someone who only knows how to cook eggs or pasta and knows very little about nutrition. Then it can definitely be hard to get enough energy and nutrients if you dont know how to cook or have no creativity with food. But i can say that even if you have high energy needs its not impossible to reach those energy requirements with a plant based diet, and in my case it means eating alot of nuts and nut butters daily as well as adding coconut oil to oatmeal or lots of sandwiches with vegan butter and cheese to reach my daily energy requirement.

I personally believe that a plant based diet is only restrictive if you make it restrictive. There are so many options you can eat and plant based/vegan eating DOESNT necessarily mean healthy, a reason why vegans can be protein deficient or lac nutrients is because they live off of pasta and noodles or just potatoes and oreos and of course that isnt healthy for a person and that type of diet is lacking alot of vital vitamins and minerals which a person needs. So dont mix a vegan diet with a healthy or weightloss diet as that isnt the case.... but of course being VEGAN and just eating plant based isnt the same thing. One is a diet change, the other is a lifestyle change.

What i thought i would mention however is how veganism can be restrictive in some ways (from experience) and how it affects my social life.

As mentioned earlier, luckily i live in a city which has alot of vegan cafe and restaurant options, however at times when you are with friends or family you might end up just going to a random cafe where they dont serve vegan options and dont even have the option of alternative milk options so you end up with a black coffee or tea. Which was the case for me this weekend. It is not fun to sit at a cafe with family and sit there with a black coffee 1) because it reminds me too much of my past and 2) because friends and family can find it awkward. At first i felt a little down as there was nothing else i could order, but i just figured i will go to the store and buy food later - no big deal and i dont want to have to make a fuss and make everyone find a new cafe when they just wanted to eat a sandwich and drink some coffee. THIS type of situation can make veganism very restrictive and if you are recovering from an eating disorder this is the type of thing you want to avoid. If i didnt believe in the ethical reasoning and motivation behind my choice of being vegan then i would have ordered something just to "fit in", but instead i knew i would eat something afterwards. But when you are recovering you dont want to be put in those type of situations where you feel restricted or like you cant order something.  This segment might be written alittle bit messy but i am trying to formulate my thoughts and hopefully you understand. Basically saying that yes, veganism in situations like this can be restrictive because in my case during that scenario there was nothing i wanted to order - i could have, but because i choose to not eat meat or dairy due to the animal suffering behind that food i didnt want to order it.

But moving on.... does veganism affect my social life?
Mostly no... there are 2 other vegans in my class so when we have class events or get together as a group it isnt so strange that some people have meal boxes with them due to allergies or even because some are on diets or other reasonings. Or that there are many different options i.e gluten free, lactose free, vegan etc etc  People eat differently and i find that my class is very accepting of that and its not so strange and i dont find myself being judged either. But also when we have talked about getting together as a group of friends to make dinner or bake or things i have just suggested that i can bring my own vegan options or that i can buy some vegan butter or milk and its nothing strange with that as i dont want it to be an inconvenience either. For example i was going to have a taco evening with friends and i said i would bring soy meat, however the taco evening was last Friday when my mum came to visit so i couldnt go anyway. But i dont find that veganism holds me back in my social life or getting together with friends - i dont want to let it affect my social life either. However i do sometimes feel judged or like i may be an inconvenience when it comes to group meals. For example today i was talking with some people about making a christmas brunch together but then there was one person who was like "what can you even eat... its all meat and eggs and dairy". And it shocked me a little to get such a negative response and like the person didnt want me to join, and maybe that was the case. But instead i just informed her of the things i could eat, for example i can eat bread with vegan butter and i can eat soy meat balls or make my own beetroot sallad or fake meat as a "ham" etc Of course they were all talking about salmon and ham and eggs and rice pudding and things like that, so i'll see whether the brunch actually happens or not, but i would like to join and bring my own vegan options and amaze my friends and the skeptics with the vegan options, hahaha!!!
Luckily i have friends who are understanding of me being vegan, but i do understand that if your friends or family arent understanding it can exclude you from events because you seem like an "Inconvenience" to join for dinners or going out to eat, and that is such a pity and i think those type of people are close minded and not the best types of friends. But you shouldnt isolate yourself or make yourself feel excluded, instead join different events and bring your own vegan options if you have to. No point avoiding social situations just because you wont eat the same as others. However if you find that this type of behaviour would lead to you feeling isolated or restrictive then a vegan diet might not be the best for you. Because your mental health should come first and if you feel that veganism will restrict you then it might not be right for you.... even if i wish that it was right for everybody, its also about being strong enough in your beliefs and not letting yourself feel restricted or losing out on life/social events because of your beliefs!!!


Anyway, a very long post but i just felt i had to write these out and share them with you :)

What are your opinons or thoughts on this? Or maybe you have your own experience of these things to share?

7 comments:

  1. I just want to share my opinion and at the same time ask you a question. I follow many IG accounts of recovered girls and I must admit that mostly all of them (including you) have become vegan. However, all of you assert that veganism is only about animals and environment but I don't believe that. It's not just a perchance that all of the recovered girls have become vegan just because of ethical reasons.. Have you ever asked yourself why have all of these girls become vegan? Is it really because of animals? Environment? I think that all of those girls have become vegan because they find vegan food safe. I know you eat peanut butter and fake meat etc. but I still think it's all about health. Because you know.. I also wanted to become vegan (recovering from anorexia) but now I realised that the wish to become vegan was just because of my eating disorder. I thought I will feel safe eating vegan food. But now I realised that I want to be healthy. And if I will ever want to become vegan, I will become vegan because of animals and our planet. It's just my opinion and I don't want to judge you because I believe you are fully recovered. I am just confused because most of those girls are vegan and are telling that it's good for the planet but hell no I think it's all about healthy food and that is actually evolving from anorexia to orthorexia.

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    1. I believe that you are true and that unfortunately many who have eating disorders can turn to veganism as it means that they can eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and have a reason to say no to different foods or what others are eating. And I know some have judged me for this as well, saying that I've gone vegan because I've relapsed. There are people who eat plant based for health reasons and then there are people who eat plant based for ethical reasons and I guess only the person themselves knows why, and if a person is eating plant based due to restriction reasons then hopefully they can be honest with themselves about it and make changes if necessary. There are videos from many who have said they went vegan in recovery but then reached a stage where they realised that veganism wasn't healthy for them and that it was a way for theme to restrict, but there are also many who have gone vegan after being recovered and done it for ethical reasons... so it's about the person, their mindset and their intentions. But also the fact that veganism is a trend online which I think is awesome, I mean if it wasn't a trend I wouldn't have become more aware and willing to try/I. E not stay blind and oblivious to the meat and dairy industry. However veganism for me isn't a trend or just a diet it's an actual life change I've made, hence why there are so many posts about veganism and vegan products and such and why I actually do things like make sure the hair dresser I go to uses cruelty free products and why I won't buy milk or milk products for my family or regular chocolate as a gift for people etc those are things I care and think about now. But for someone who has had a past or is currently struggling with an eating disorder going vegan can be conflicting and turn to something negative. But it's about the person being honest to themselves and their intentions. But as I say I don't think going vegan in recovery is the best recommendation, instead people can make other beneficial changes in their life or buy creutly free products and lower their carbon footprint print and consume less meat and dairy and eventually go fully vegan if that is what they still believe in and can do it in a healthy way. This is my belief anyway, other vegans would say that everyone can go vegan but because of a past with an eating disorder I know that maybe not everyone can or is able to especially not if it puts their mental or physical health at risk . I think it's easy for people to judge from the outside but it's up ton the person themselves to be true to themselves.

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    2. I appreciate your answer and again I'm telling that I don't want to judge anyone. It was just my opinion and at the same time a question. Thank you for taking your time to write an answer. I also support your decision about veganism and it's great to hear you take care of animals and our planet. I just want all of these girls to be healthy and not being restrictive in eating plant based diet. Anyway, your blog is really inspiring and it helps me during my recovery!

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  2. I love this blog and it has helped me so much over the past few years, and you're a really inspiring girl but recently all the posts are a vegan show... it's a classic thing though of people turning vegan and talking about it 24/7 but I think it's just a bit ignorant to the fact that people on this blog struggle a lot with food, restriction, and reading this (even if you don't mean it to and try to reinforce the fact that they shouldn't turn vegan because you are) may make them feel a level of guilt about what they are eating. For example myself, I would love to be a vegan, or even vegetarian, but I've been told by multiple health professionals that it would be dangerous. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and a symptom of that is an iron deficiency that can only be altered by haeme iron (only found in meat). I was on 6 iron tablets a day, plus eating my body weight in spinach when I was a vegetarian... but still felt absolutely awful and my symptoms got really bad. So I realised that I can't actually function without eating at least fish, and so now I eat grass fed organic beef once a week and feel a whole lot better. But reading this blog recently made me angry at myself and the fact that I eat all of this awful stuff which is bad for the environment and for animals, which brought up a lot of old feelings. I just think it's a dangerous game to play, and I know you're not trying to do that and are actively encourage people to make their own choices, but subconsciously I can imagine a lot of people are feeling pressured to do the same. I'm not telling you it's bad that you're vegan, it's just the frequency of how much you're mentioning it is a little excessive + times when you mention being disgusted by meat is quite emotive and powerful and kind of makes me feel dirty for eating it. And that's probably why you get all this criticism from people about being vegan (I think it's great if it's helping you) - reading the above comment was very interesting too.

    Writing this I think I need to emphasise the fact that I know it's your blog about your thoughts and you have control to do whatever you want with it - I'm not suggesting you do otherwise - I just know you really care about your readers!!

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    1. I will keep this in mind. And like you wrote I guess many of my readers are very impressionable and I need to keep this in mind. And I can definitely write less about veganism but at the same time it is something I am passionate about... just like in the past I used to write lots of running posts. But I guess I can make more posts about other things you can do to help and vegan meal ideas? And like I write I know not everyone can be vegan but I can at least inspire people to want to eat some plant based meals and make other changes in their life. Of course veganism and eating disorders is a sensitive subject and I do want to write about veganism but I can lessen the posts if more people think it's "too much". But I also know that alot of people want to read about my vegan posts and changes they can make in their life etc and don't feel guilty for eating meat or dairy, if that is what you need to be healthy then that OK.... just like in recovery,it might not be the healthiest to eat a plant based diet if the body can't absorb all the energy or get enough energy through that way of eating. But I think people should 1) research and 2) be vegan for ethical reasons not for health or appearance reasons.

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  3. I for one look forward to your posts about veganism and you have shown and taught me so much already, so don`t post less - post more! It is interesting to read about aspects of being vegan and to be able to pick up tips about what to eat and products to avoid because of animal testing/cruelty issues. You have shown me that going vegan is not in the least restrictive on a normal day to day basis, infact I am amazed just how much variety of foods there are and creative recipes out there!
    Eating this way is the best thing I have done, for my own health and well being as well as the environment and I thank you so much for the inspiration

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  4. I really enjoy your vegan posts :) You've inspired me to adopt a more plant based lifestyle. I am still recovering, but my first year in recovery I ate EVERYTHING. Then I stopped eating red meat and milk....then during the summer I eliminated chicken and fish...and since September I've stopped eating eggs. The only dairy I have now comes from some leftover protein bars and powders that I have.
    But I feel great! I'm glad that I can have a positive impact on the world :) and the health benefits (as long as I eat enough) are wonderful as well.
    I know that there are a lot of reports stating that there is a strong correlation between eating disorders and veganism. I can understand how that is true. But maybe it's because of our past obsessions with food that we are more aware about where it is coming from and the impact it has on our body. Maybe that's why a higher percentage of vegans suffered from an ED at one point....
    I don't find veganism restrictive at all. I live with 3 other girls, and they're super curious about the foods that I eat. Maybe I'll inspire them to eat more plant based! That would be cool.
    I find that veganism forces me to get creative with the foods I eat. I've tried soooooo many new products/recipes that I'd never heard of before (is. falafels, nutritional yeast, spirulina, chia, flax, tofu....) sure it may be tough at restaurants, but growing up with food allergies I'm used to being prepared whenever I go out!

    Anyways, those are just some of my thoughts :)

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