I’m not vegan anymore either

Inspired by one holistic nutritionist’s recent coming out, I wanted to share my own coming out story. Alexandra Jamieson is a well known player in the industry who built her name while eating a vegan diet. She has since then reached a new chapter in her health, which for Alexandra meant eating meat again. Going through this same process myself, I wanted to build on her openness and remind people that it’s okay for us to change and it’s okay for others to change too.

Several months ago I met up with a friend for sushi. I used to love sushi before I eliminated all meat from my diet. I can still remember my very last time eating it. I had made the decision to go vegetarian and so I wanted to indulge in my very last spicy salmon roll. I went to one of my fave spots, ordered a roll to go, went back home and hid in my room eating it in shame. My mind was already ahead of the game and molding into the label I had unknowingly created for myself.

A year later I stopped eating dairy because of some mucous issues I was trying to resolve. The mucous didn’t go away, but I grew closer and closer to the vegan label others were giving me. I always told people, “I don’t eat meat or dairy and focus on plant foods,” but everyone just heard vegan. I would actually cringe when people called me that or politely correct them. Eventually, it just became easier to explain myself by saying I was vegan. My friends understood vegan. Strangers understood vegan. Servers and chefs understood vegan. Traveling to Korea as a vegan was fun because nobody understood vegan. I may have ended up with bacon in my bibimbap, but I was me again. Just me, no labels.

Fast forward back to my sushi dinner with my friend. I had been craving salmon for the last little while and so I confessed that I was going to order some salmon sashimi. I was going on and on about it, almost in a panic until he finally stopped me and said, “Sandra, it’s fish not crack. Enjoy it.”

That moment helped me shed my faux vegan skin. While I still think that most people can benefit from including more plant based foods in their diet, support animal rights, and love all the good the vegetarian and vegan community are doing – I’m not a vegan. I never was a vegan. What I eat does not define me or who I am. I strive to make the best choices for my health. Sometimes I don’t and that’s okay too.

Health is a journey, not a label.


15 responses to “I’m not vegan anymore either

  1. Somehow “vegan” got twisted to mean something like a special club that had spies and if you were caught “cheating” you weren’t “one of us”. That’s why I don’t use the term vegan …ever! I always use plant-based. Also I always teach that there is something called the “happiness factor”. Better to be a happy carnivore than a miserable vegan (but if you can be a happy vegan…more power to you) 🙂

    • That is just so so powerful – the happiness factor. I absolutely love it! Did you know they’re trying to change the term vegetarian to plant-strong because being veg doesn’t equal healthy? Either way, as long as we’re making the best choices for our body and doing our part to minimize harm done to the planet and others that’s what matters most. Thanks for such a wonderful comment!

  2. Great post Sandra! Inspirational as always. I always felt the opposite – guilty for eating meat. I now try to eat more fish and less red meat. And when I do eat meat I try to buy organic whenever possible. Congrats on having no more labels! Xo

    • This is the beauty of it all! Everyone is at a different point in their health journey and has their own individual needs. We must understand and respect this. Way to take charge of your own journey and make some awesome choices!

  3. Pingback: VeganThink | Illuminutti·

  4. Glad at least that you recognize that you were never vegan to begin with. Apparently It wasn’t about justice for you, or respecting the fact that other sentient beings have interests, rights, families, and complex social and emotional lives.

    But you’re wrong when you say ” What I eat does not define me or who I am.” WHO you choose to eat or not — and please don’t hide behind the convenient euphemism of “meat” — DOES define who you are and what you stand for.

  5. Very inspiring blog. It is so hard to define who you are and how you want to eat. It seems there is always someone trying to tell you what you are doing is bad. I to believe that eating more veggies is a good thing, but I also know the nutrition in meat and I am not afraid to eat meat. Thank you for an excellent read.

  6. So, I’m late to the party, but I just stumbled across your blog post. As a former vegan myself, I know how much the “identity” piece becomes a selling point for the lifestyle–to the point where it stops being about health and suddenly becomes the basis of our “who I am,” instead of our “how I eat.” When I first started eating meat again, I hid it–I’d leave my coworkers in the break room and hide while I choked down tuna as fast as I could in case someone came looking for me. It was horrible. It wasn’t until I separated myself from the dogma that I had been swallowing for so long and just stopped introducing myself to people by the way I ate (Hi, I’m Kaila, and I’m a vegan!) that I really started to break free.

    I absolutely love your words: “Health is a journey, not a label.” Man, oh man, is that true–easy to forget when you have your nose buried in a menu, but so, so true.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • I love your honesty and how well written you are. I’m so grateful that others can relate and understand this labeling that takes over us just being… no labels attached. Thank you SO much for sharing!

      • Thank you, Sandra. I think it’s so important that we share our journeys with one another and don’t try to hide who we are or what we’re struggling with. Whether or not we ultimately choose to define ourselves by how we eat or by how we don’t eat (because, for some people, that’s where they need to be on their journey), understanding that there’s a spectrum makes it so much easier to practice a little self-love–and love for others. Thanks again for being a part of this essential conversation!!

  7. I am so grateful that respected people in plant based health are being honest with themselves and sharing with others!
    My journey is with healthy living has so much people based guilt that I HATE! I was a vegetarian for four years and a vegan for 7 months (I know not long enough to qualify maybe;) my body screamed at me that it was not happy. I hired a special nutritionist to help me though it. I have always been a runner, so the maybe I needed more protein or iron? We tried everything and ended up fainting on a few runs. Finally I stopped trying to force a lifestyle that was not working for me. I slowly starting eating meat, althought not every meal or even every week but instead listening to my body within reason. I feel so much better.
    The problem is the guilt remains. My mother in law recently went vegan and talks about it often, seems to be a great fit for her. I feel large amounts of guilt that I eat animals and jugdement also. I wish it were all simpler and that people could suppor each other without fighting (as subtle as it may try to be) for moral high ground.
    I wrote a book but the point is thank you for sharing your internal struggles. There are people out there who need to hear it and I am one of them!

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