Today I want to disclose something that I’ve never really shared with anyone but that I feel it’s important to talk about at this point in my life. Today’s topic is how I see veganism in relationship with eating disorders.
I’m not going to go into details on this (it would require a whole different blog post), but long story short, I used to suffer from disordered eating when I was about 20, during my first and second years of university. I was never diagnosed with a specific eating disorder, but I went through a phase in my life where I thought I was worthless and didn’t deserve food. So I stopped eating. I was punishing myself – I don’t know for what. But depriving myself from food was part of a set of strict rules I was imposing on myself, turning my whole life into a rigid discipline that was only aiming at making me smaller and smaller – in every sense.
Eating disorders and mental illnesses are very complicated to explain. The good news is, I got over mine. I recovered, and my relationship with food became “normal” again. However, although I did gain my weight back through the help of a dietician, I never received any psychological support. Looking back at those days now, I honestly wish I did. Sometimes I’m really scared it’s all going to come back. I know I’m in a safe place now, and when I do sense those feeling creeping back up, at least I can recognise them in time and stop them. But I’m not sure it’s normal they are even coming back, nor whether they would be coming back if I had talked to somebody at the time.
Although I do enjoy food now, I take pleasure in cooking and I can safely experiment with different “diets” without worrying that I’m doing it for the wrong reasons, from time to time I do feel a sense of guilt when I eat too much or I have something I think I shouldn’t have.
I no longer want to feel this way.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m about to embark in yet another food experiment: I’m going to eat raw vegan for a week.
I’ve been following a bunch of raw vegan YouTubers in the past months and this lady in particular inspired so so much and made me want to give raw veganism a go. Among the many reasons she gives on why you should eat a raw vegan diet, she explains that when you follow this kind of plant-based regime it’s very hard to binge. The thing I struggle with the most as a result of having suffered from an eating disorder is the urge to binge – as in, to eat not when you’re hungry, but when you’re bored, or stressed, or you just feel like eating in your mind but you’re body is not actually sending you any hunger messages. I decided that I want to try and see what it’s like to listen to your body, and to actually eat as much as you want, without feeling guilty or bloated or just not good.
I’m doing this while being in full possession of my faculties, and I promise there are no reminiscence of disordered eating or will to lose weight or anything like that. I’ve done TONS of research and I will make sure to take in all the nutrients and calories I need.
Regardless of the results after this week, I think it’s important to remember that I’ve already came a long way in terms of how I see food now as opposed to how I considered it in the past. Veganism has helped me immensely in this sense.
When I first went vegan my parents were worried because they thought it was just another way for me to restrict my food intake. It took a lot of effort and research to show them that being vegan doesn’t mean starving yourself, that you can in fact gain weight on a vegan diet, and that overall veganism is actually much healthier than “standard” meals revolving around meat and dairy. It was only once I went vegan, some six years after my eating disorder, that I finally started to really enjoying food again.
Eating vegan took the guilt out of the equation. I now know that I’m eating healthy, delicious food, and I’m loving it. Every time I sit in front of a meal, I know I’m not hurting any animals, I’m helping the planet, and I’m doing a favour to my body. This also helped me love myself more, for doing something good. It shifted the focus on my actions, rather than on my appearance. What I do is more important than what I look like.
This was kind of a personal post but I’m glad I’ve shared it and took it off my chest. I’m extremely happy and grateful to be in the safe place I am right now. It took a lot of work, but I made it. And I’m very excited to be constantly learning about my own body and mind.
Stay tuned for more updates on my food experiment and a whole bunch of What I Eat in a Day videos! Thank you so much for stopping by and I will talk to you soon!