Hello dear Veggies!
I came here looking for support and hopefully to know if anyone went through what I'm going through. This didn't go that well in a different vegan forum, so please be gentle ^_^
I studied veganism for half a year before deciding to fully embrace it but I was surprised by what I felt. There are still aspects of it that I don't agree with and a few others I'm not sure and because of it I never had the intention to call myself vegan even though I lived like one. But... the diet aspect of it made feel really uncomfortable. I was always healthy and had a good approach to food, but I am an anxious person since a child and tend to obsess over things and I guess that this aspect of my personality was exacerbated by the restrictions veganism implies. After a "honeymoon" couple of months I started to wake up with this knot on my chest, feel super anxious every time I had to shop for food, obsess with food labels, eating out and the possibility of making a mistake made me avoid it totally... I ate well and a lot, but when anxious I tend to lose weight and I am already small and thin so it became a problem. But anxiety and how I started to relate to food was the real problem.
Food has a cultural and emotional dimension but it was the emotional aspect of it that took a toll on me and not because I missed anything, but just because food restrictions controlled my life, it was like I was anticipating a decision about food all the time. And I'm a perfectionist so I really wanted to be a good example of a balanced vegan. But I was feeling miserable and usually the advices people give have more to do with nutrition mistakes and I don't see much about the emotional aspect of it, it's like a secondary thing. I also have a history of depression and I am doing therapy and this was all discussed with my doctor.
So... I decided to become vegetarian while still having veganism as my moral compass. It's been a month and I feel great, I actually feel free? Which in a way makes me sad:/ The anxiety went away and I gained the weight I had lost but in reality I didn't drown myself in eggs/cheese/milk, I eat pretty much what I did before and go vegetarian if there isn't vegan when eating out and let go of the labels obsession and just stick with the obvious. I still embrace the rest of the lifestyle, but it seems that I had a problem with the mindset necessary to be vegan.
My motivation was actually spiritual. I've been practicing yoga for many years (know many vegetarians) and while studying the philosophy behind it and gaining an understanding of ahimsa based religions I started to question if I was living aligned with my beliefs and veganism seemed to fit.
I still feel guilty for going back but I'm trying to find peace with accepting that my mental health is more important than being perfect and that an all or nothing approach and absolutisms deny the complexity of ourselves and the world.
Are you vegetarian for any of these reasons? Is vegetarianism a compromise when the best option (veganism) doesn't seem possible for you? Did you feel at any point that your were developing some type of eating disorder?
Thank you in advance! I've been reading other threads and you seem generally kind and I appreciate that