Why I’m No Longer Vegan

After over 4 years of living a passionate vegan lifestyle (with the occasional dip into my parents’ honey jar), my body, mind, and soul were craving a change. I began to have this random craving for eggs during the fall of last year, and it lasted for a few months…

I was honestly nervous because I hadn’t cooked or eaten eggs in years and I was hesitant to take that first bite or crack that first egg. I was also nervous because veganism was such a huge part of my life during my formative adult years, how could I suddenly let that go and betray the community I had joined and built up around myself? I was IN this community of vegans. I had influenced so many people to go vegan or at least open their minds and mouths to plant based food and lifestyle concepts. It was a thread that weaved my social life together.

I sometimes thought of how other people would think of me if I ditched veganism… those judgemental/worried family members who insisted veganism wasn’t sustainable and the friends I had made because of this lifestyle. But I knew that what those people thought of me didn’t matter, frankly at all. What really mattered was what I thought of myself. What matters is my intuition. What is my body telling me?

My education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition revolved around the concepts of bio-individuality and intuitive eating. Bio-individuality means there is no perfect diet/lifestyle for everyone. Each person has individual needs and what may work for one person may not work for another. Intuitive eating has been a real life saver for me. I had put myself through so many different strict plant based diets, thinking this is what will make me lose that freshman 15 and make me healthy. Though none of them stuck with me, none of them worked, none of them made me feel good inside and out. All of those restrictions were inspired by other people on the Internet that I was looking up to for guidance… and they were paired with late night, mindless binges. They weren’t intuitive.

Naturally, after I graduated college, as my body and mind grew and changed in different ways, I began to incorporate intuition into my health more. After my health coaching training program at IIN, I became at peace with the fact that humans have created so many different diets for a reason. This was a milestone in my life because I was so tunnel visioned just a year or two prior, thinking veganism was the only way to be environmentally friendly, compassionate towards animals, and extremely healthy.

Fast forward to January of this year, I finally decided to get eggs at brunch with my partner at The Grange in Providence. They source their free-range eggs from a local farm, so I thought it would be a great place to break the ice. That was the best brunch I had ever had up to that point. I felt SO satiated and energized and like I had turned a page to a new chapter of my life. I had followed my intuition after much hesitation, but with an inner knowing that this was the right choice. I felt like I had grown up, yet I felt a connection to my younger Self, the little girl who was so excited to go out to her chicken coop to collect the marvelous eggs her hens had laid that day.

Some of the nitty gritty details of why my body led me to this lifestyle change revolve around my body’s unique sensitivity to various foods. My body is sensitive (not allergic, there’s a difference) to soy, peanuts, and sesame. These foods I ate in abundance during my years as a vegan, as I had virtually suppressed the teachings of my experience at an allergist’s office when I was a youngin. It was traumatic and my allergist specifically told me not to eat peanuts. I didn’t listen to her. Anyways, consuming these foods, especially in abundance as I often did (because TOFU and TAHINI, YUM), drastically affected my seasonal allergies, eczema, and respiratory issues (which are all connected), often making them unbearable. It’s been about two years since I finally realized I need to quit consuming soy, peanut, and sesame products for good if I want to have a pleasant life. And with that elimination came sadness. I missed tofu, tempeh, tahini dressing, sesame bagels, peanut butter cups, soy based meat/dairy substitutes, etc… After a while of adapting to a vegan life without these foods, I got very bored and frustrated with the food I was eating. I wasn’t feeling very adventurous with cooking like I had when I first went vegan and I started to feel very restricted, especially when going out to eat at restaurants.

I realized that I could still lead an environmentally sustainable, cruelty-free, plant based lifestyle while incorporating eggs into my diet, as long as they are local and free-range. I definitely plan on having my own chickens in the future, but for now, I am supporting my local farmers who give their chickens a wonderfully happy life. A small part of me is still a bit weirded out by what eggs actually are, but that fact doesn’t bother me when I think about how consuming eggs has been a human practice for so long, how it doesn’t harm the chickens (if acquired from the right source), and how it allows me to connect with my younger Self. I have been able to make nostalgic foods that I haven’t eaten in years. I have been able to eat more whole food breakfasts (and actually look forward to making breakfast). I haven’t felt a negative affect on my health and well being as a result of this change.

If you have been feeling like you’re not your optimal, healthy Self… if you feel like there are changes you would like to make to better your health, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. As a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I can help you make sustainable changes (in various areas of life) and reach wellness goals in a safe, loving way. I can also just offer ears to listen if that’s what you need.

Follow your intuition. It’s there for a reason.

Love and Light – Kayla

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