Yes, it's true. For the last almost two years, I've been identifying as vegan to help me get over my issues with food. It was the best thing I ever did for myself, as it let me A) eat without guilt B) learn to understand that food is fuel and I need it in order to do all the things I want to be able to do and C) learn to love my body no matter what stages it goes through. But alas, I can't continue the vegan lifestyle any longer, and it totally bums me out, but I refuse to feel like I'm letting myself down or that I'm now a failure - something I would have done in the past.
So why am I suddenly losing my vegan status? My health and I do NOT want this to imply that being vegan isn't sustainable or that humans can't get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrition they need from a vegan diet, because it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE. There are many people - including world class athletes - that do it and love it. However, not all bodies are created the same. Some people thrive off eating meat. Some bodies thrive off high amounts of healthy fats. Some people thrive off of fruit and veggies. Some thrive off high amounts of pasta and bread. My body (including my mental being) thrives most when I include eggs in my diet.
Plain and simple.
So here's the back story. I'm currently borderline iron-deficient anemic. Back in high school I actually was considered to have iron-deficiency anemia and I only know this because every time I tried to donate blood at blood drives, I was always denied because my iron count was super low. Eventually I went to my Dr, inquired about it as at that point I had been denied a few times, and found out that yea, I actually am anemic and I needed to eat more spinach and red meat to get my numbers back up. Cool. Secondly, but more importantly, my B12 is also abysmal. B12 is super necessary because it ensures the proper functioning and health of nerve tissues, brain function, and red blood cells. Yea, super important. Thing is, we can only get B12 by ingesting it from meat and dairy - the body can't produce it's own. Now most normal vegans can get enough B12 by injections or supplements. My body however, just doesn't want to play that game. In the almost two years I was vegan I tried 5 different supplements - a nose spray, throat spray, gel cap, dissolving vitamin, and an under the tongue liquid thing (that was super gross). I looked into B12 injection therapy. A) It's not the cheapest - I mean it's not outrageous but I could use that money for a car payment, rent, debt, grad school etc. and B) I got one injection once and hated the way I felt after.
As I've been doing all my research and talking to professionals, I've concluded that adding eggs back into my diet is the best option for me. Eggs are super high in B12 and while they aren't the most beneficial for iron absorption, for some reason, my body makes it work. I still don't have the highest iron count in America, but I'm no longer in the anemic range. And that is huge for me. Last week I fully tested this new lifestyle. I ate one egg, at night after my workouts, and honestly I haven't felt this good in a really long time. Not that I wasn't feeling great as a full fledged vegan, but with the increased workouts and physical feats my trainer is making me do, and the long hours I've been spending working and designing, my energy and focus has been on the lacking side. And no matter how much hummus, nut butter, and vegan protein I was eating, my body continually felt exhausted. But last week, I felt so much more alert and capable. And that really excites me!
So what does this mean for me? Nothing in my life is really going to change minus the egg a day part. I'm still not eating meat, fish, cheese, or dairy milk. I'm still buying cruelty free clothing and beauty products. We have a client who runs his own happy little farm and I plan on buying my eggs from him. I'm still cruelty free. I don't want animals to be hurt. And as long as I'm buying from a farm that isn't mistreating or harming the chickens, I'm perfectly fine supporting them.
I realize this is an odd post for a mental health blog. But part of your mental health is making sure your body is being taken care of. Including how you feed it and how that fuel makes you feel. You cannot be in a zen mind without your body being fully taken care of - including sleep, drug and alcohol abuse, food, etc. Eating disorders stem from a power struggle with food - allowing food to guilt you and take over your life. Me coming to a healthy place not only mentally but now physically with food is only going to aid in my recovery. And I hope you can figure the best method for your body as well. It stupidly helps. Seriously.