Yesterday I posted about my experience following a vegan diet for a month. I have the upmost respect for those who choose to be strictly vegan. A vegan diet was strongly enforced as part of my yoga teacher training for ethical reasons. However, I did a lot of soul searching and meditation during this time to reflect if I could realistically continue being vegan after training was over. And here is where I am at this point in my life.
Why Veganism is Not For Me
As a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree, I spent years in school being educated on food and all aspects of how our diet affects the body. There are certainly ways for our bodies to adapt to not having animal sources of protein, but we need to be smart about what we replace those foods with. Saying you’re vegan but not eating a single vegetable is equally as unhealthy. At the end of the day, my science-based education came into play a lot during this period of reflection.
Nutrition has no “One Size Fits All” approach. Veganism may work for some, but not for everyone. Some people have conditions or allergies that may require them to be a little more liberal with their diet, otherwise they could be at risk for malnutrition.
I understand there is certainly an ethical aspect to why some people follow a vegan diet. But, like all things in life, that is a choice and not a rule. And quite frankly, having worked in corporate America for the majority of my 20s, I don’t think humans are treated any better than animals when it comes to work we’re forced to do in life. At least the animals are fed and able to get some sleep.
Doing More Harm than Good?
The truth is, as much as I love food now, there was a time when we didn’t get along. Food was my daily enemy. It took me a long time to get to a place where I could not only be comfortable around food, but actually enjoy it. So to be forced to be on an extremely restrictive diet against my own will did not feel like ahimsa (“do no harm”) to me- it felt like it would take me back to a place I didn’t want to ever visit again.
Being vegan also took away a major part of how my husband and I spend our time together. We LOVE exploring new restaurants, going to food-tasting events, and eating out with friends. I love my husband for making the sacrifice to lay low during this time, but it would have been a major adjustment if I continued on the vegan path. And quite frankly, I wasn’t exactly having the time of my life either. And at the end of the day, my health and relationship is not worth sacrificing just so I’m able to put my leg around my head while achieving enlightenment. Even if self-realization is not meant for me during this lifetime, at least I have an amazing husband to join me on the path during this life – and hopefully the next.
During this period, did I force the Mr to be vegan along with me? Absolutely not. Therefore, I had an extra challenge when it came to meal times. How did I handle this situation? Stay tuned for my next post to see how we still enjoyed meals together.
Are you vegan or did you experiment with a vegetarian/vegan diet at some point? Share your experience in the Comments!