Feeling flat, sick, and sad? Healthcare practitioners and naturopaths telling you to eat fish or heal your gut with bone broth? Peer pressure and social expectations wearing your down? Angry at militant vegans, or health nut vegans, or activist vegans, or complacent vegans?
Ready to abandon your vegan identity?
If you're saying "yes, yes, absolutely yes," then I'm sure you've struggled and introspected and struggled some more... But I've got the three most important questions to ask yourself before you break up with veganism.
First, let's kick this off with some hard truths that you probably already know:
A vegan diet is nutritionally bountiful; it isn't nutritionally restrictive.
There is always a way to meet your health needs while being a vegan; it may take more work, there may need to be compromises, but eating animals or animal products isn't necessary.
There are also ways to get your social, spiritual, and emotional needs met while being vegan.
At the core of it, abandoning a vegan diet is only ever about identity and ethics. If your ethics and values have actually changed, fair call! Do you. But if not, if you're struggling with being tired, flat, "depleted", depressed, burnt out, plagued by gut issues, skin issues, mental illness issues -- check in with your nutritionist (hello) before reaching for the cheese to make sure you've got all of your nutrients covered, then get stuck into the inner work to find out what is actually up.
Have your ethics changed? What are your values now, and how does ditching a vegan diet meet them?
(NOTE: It's legit to say "my core value right now is to get my iron levels sky high and get my doctor off my back about my diet"; no judgement here! I'm just here to encourage you to retain honesty with yourself so that, like with an interpersonal break up, you get true closure.)
Now here's the kicker:
Before making the tough decision to eat animals again, I invite you to take a look at what is going on with your sense of self, your sense of belonging, and capacity to care for yourself and others in this world.
Ask yourself these three questions before breaking up with your vegan identity:
Do I feel like I don't have enough to give?
Do I feel depleted? Emotionally, physically, mentally, and/or spiritually?
What do I really need?
It might be financial support, food access, family support, more friends who get it, rest, sleep, personalised advice on nutrition (hey, contact me!), time out from direct action, or more one-on-one time with animals. Be clear about what you really need, ask for it, and make it happen. Get your needs met and recover your strength so you can keep fighting for others.