veg*nism and eating disorders - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-28-2003, 06:01 PM
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Hey there, I'm new and I've looked around to see if this topic was already covered on a different thread, never found it, so I thought I'd start it--if it is somewhere else, just let me know! In the introductions threads, Palindrome (whom I have not yet met )made mention of the relationship between eating disorders and veg*nism. I've had some experience with this before but never really thought of it as a common occurance, so I'm very interested! Anyone have any more information on the subject or know where such information is available? Thanks!

Jamie
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#2 Old 05-29-2003, 09:12 AM
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I'n no expert but the way I understand it is anorexics often look for reasons to limit their food choices and consume fewer calories. Since especially vegan diets tend to be lower calories and veg*ns are often thought of as being thin, veganism is attractive to them. So, there are a disproportional amount of anorexics among the veg*n population.



Also people that are overweight might be attracted to veg*nism because they think it's a way to loose weight. Well, that's not necessarilly true (it depends on what you eat and people can loose weight w/o becoming veg*n), but that's what they think.
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#3 Old 05-29-2003, 12:06 PM
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How many years were you anorexic, Kyo?
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#4 Old 05-29-2003, 12:58 PM
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DeeYahMK;



I was never anorexic but I've read about the connection between anorexia and vegetarianism.
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#5 Old 05-29-2003, 01:15 PM
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i am also very curious about the +50% figure that palindrome cited.



what is your source for this statistic, palindrome?
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#6 Old 05-29-2003, 02:28 PM
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miss gulch;



I looked at palindrome's post and this is what he/she said



Quote:
you might be interested to know that the number of veg*ans with eating disorders, incurred or current is quite high. over 50%.



I'm afraid palindrome got it backwards. In the the book "Becoming Vegan" this is what they say:



Quote:
Reasearch indicates that as many as 50% of those suffering from anorexia nervosa or bolimia nervosa are vegetarian.



Palindrome suggests that out of 100 veg*ns 50 have eating disorders. But the statement in "Beciming Vegan" suggests that out of 100 people with these eating disorders 50 are veg*n..
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#7 Old 05-29-2003, 03:48 PM
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This person that wrote "Becoming Vegan", is he/she a medical doctor, trained in nutrition, that SPECIALIZES in eating disorders? Has that person personally treated eating disorders and if so, how many years has the practice been operating? Did they do a blind and double-blind study to prove that there is a definate corellation between eating disorders and veg*nism? The reason I ask is because I wonder about that 50% statistic...from where did it come? Was it based on actual questions given to actual eating disorder patients during a specific span of time, or was it just a "pull out of air" thing that someone thought up and decided to use because it sounded good?



As a former anorexic, I was not attracted to being veg*n because of the "low calorie/no fat" issue. True, anorexics typically control and portion themselves but the veg*n issue has nothing to do with it. There are many factors that drive a person into restricting/controlling portions and to blanket it by saying "anorexics are drawn to the veg*n life because of the lack of fat/calories" is dangerious thinking and only serves to dismisses the underlying issues that drive and feed this disease while allowing the sufferers to remain misunderstood and unhelped.



As a vegetarian, I get hungry more often now and need to eat more often than I ever did as an anorexic. When I was anorexic, I DIDN'T WANT TO EAT and MADE EVERY EXCUSE NOT TO EAT. The thought of things like veggies, grains, fruits and the like made me nervous when I was in my suffering days. Even things that are mostly water (like, iceburg lettuce for example) were avoided because any form of nutrition meant fat, fat was evil and I did not want to be evil. I am vegetarian now but it's not because of the lack of calories and fats. It's because my system is so screwed up that I can't digest anything beyond stuff grown from the ground. Everything else makes me sicker than a dog and gives me reactions that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy!



I personally, do not know of any veg*ns that were former EDs (eating disordered people) that were attracted to being veg*n so they wouldn't have to eat. I have, however, found the opposite existing. There are EDs that are recovering from their conditions and they are turning to veg*nism to help them be HEALTHIER, not sicker. A good many of them are also turning to counseling to overcome the internal issues that fueled the disorder in the first place but I have yet to hear a person say "I went veg so I wouldn't have to eat".
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#8 Old 05-29-2003, 04:01 PM
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https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...ting+disorders



Yeah, I've had what one might call an eating disorder. I don't feel it has anything whatsoever to do with me being vegan/vegetarian, though.
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#9 Old 05-29-2003, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kyo



I'm afraid palindrome got it backwards.








funny play on words, Kyo. was that intentional?



i figured that the statistic was being cited backwards. still, i am very curious about at how it was arrived. i guess my questions are more for the author of becoming vegan though.



i didn't get a chance to read all of the other thread that you linked, The_Gazumper, but i am anxious to do so. thanks for linking that.
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#10 Old 05-29-2003, 05:16 PM
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>>warning: I have zero experience with eating disorders period - this post is just my uneducated thought on this topic<<



I've heard that some people with various eating disorders function better when there are strictly defined rules/restrictions assigned to eating.



If this is true (don't know - just heard) - then I would think that veg*nism would be a healthy way to proceed. At least, when a veg*n diet is correctly followed - it's healthy way of life.



So - IF people with eating disorders gravitated towards a veg*n diet - that would be a good thing (in my mind)



I think (scary thought) that if it was the other way around - people with no eating disorders became veg*n and then an eating disorder manifested itself - that would be a cause for concern....but never have I heard of that happening in any article or book (not that it hasn't been addressed - just that I have never seen it)



<edited for typos>
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#11 Old 05-29-2003, 05:32 PM
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miss gulch;



Yeah that's funny. I realized that after posting. It wasn't intensional.
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#12 Old 05-29-2003, 06:04 PM
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DeeYahMK;



In the book they don't say where the statistic comes from.



Both authors of the book are highly reguarded registered dieticians. Both of them are vegan and one of them is a former anorexic.



Here is part of the text:



Quote:
The obvious question that arises is: "Do vegetarian or vegan diets contribute to or cause eating disorders?" While this may seem a logical conclusion, it is important to consider which came first, the vegetarian diet or the eating disorder. Reasearch indicates that the large majority of vegetarian or vegan anorexics and bulimics chose the eating pattern [vegetarianism] after the onset of their disease. The "restricted" vegetarian or vegan eating pattern legitimizes the removal of numerous high-fat, energy-dense foods such as meat, eggs, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, whipping cream and butter. It is an appealing diet for anyone wanting to reduce these types of foods for whatever reason. However the eating pattern chosen by those with anorexia or bulimia is far more restrictive than a healthful vegan diet, eliminating nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, and limiting overall caloriic intake........

Research suggests that vegetarian/vegan diets do not increase the risk for eating disorders, but rather those with eating disorders tend to follow severely restricted diets that they describe as vegetarian.........

Many who select vegetarian/vegan diet as a means of eliminating fattening food end up becoming convinced of the ethical, or health arguments in favor of this pattern of eating. If this is the case for you, be assured that that you can achieve complete recovery without forsaking your beliefs and values.

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#13 Old 05-29-2003, 06:40 PM
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The author of Being Vegan is Joanne Stepaniak. I don't see anything on her site about eating disorders, but I guess you could e-mail her.
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#14 Old 05-29-2003, 06:51 PM
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The book I quoted from is "Becoming Vegan". It's written by "Brenda Davis, R.D. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D."



Here is the web page for Vesanto Melina





In the past I've looked for a web page for Brenda Davis but haven't found any. But, you can find articles by her on various vegetarian web sites.
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#15 Old 05-30-2003, 12:26 AM
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I'm no expert on anorexia, but I think it's important to distinguish it from the various other eating disorders which involve obsession with food, restricting food, etc. Someone can exhibit disordered eating habits for many different reasons, and those reasons may be a better predictor of whether someone is likely to use veg*nism as a "cover" for their habits.
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#16 Old 05-30-2003, 03:46 PM
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ANYONE DESPERATE FOR HELP WITH ANOREXIA/BULEMIA/COMPULSIVE EATING/ ANY OTHER EATING DISORDER THAT COULD BE DREAMT UP GO TO

www.overeatersanonymous.org

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

thought i'd throw that in here for anyone who might be in need.

take care!
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#17 Old 05-30-2003, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dvmarie



I think (scary thought) that if it was the other way around - people with no eating disorders became veg*n and then an eating disorder manifested itself - that would be a cause for concern....but never have I heard of that happening in any article or book (not that it hasn't been addressed - just that I have never seen it)



I was a vegan for a few years before I had an eating disorder, though I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder while I was simply a vegetarian, about 3 years prior to the manifestation of my eating disorder. MY ED has no relation to my veganism, but it DOES have a relation with my OCD. I don't think my veganism is related to my OCD, either, as I became a vegan for personal ethical reasons, not because I wished to restrict my diet.
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#18 Old 05-30-2003, 05:38 PM
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I have OCD and anorexia. OCD before veganism (that probably caused me to go to the extreme vegitarian) and veganism before anorexia.
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