Veg*ns and Eating Disorders - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 09-06-2003, 10:03 PM
Veggie Regular
 
OConfusedOne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 757
I've noticed a disturbing trend, both on this board and in my own life. There seem to be a disproportionate number of vegans or vegetarians who have issues with food ranging from finicky eating to full-blown eating disorders. Do you think there's a more-than-coincidental relationship between eating disorders and veg*nism? And if so, what can we do to prevent it?



(I have my own theories, but I'll wait till some people post to add them.)



~Mollie~
OConfusedOne is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 09-06-2003, 11:15 PM
Veggie Regular
 
rabid_child's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 12,282
I've known some people with eating disorders that (admittedly) took up veg*nism because it was an excuse not to eat fatty foods/much food at all.



One such person was my cousin's cousin who first said she was a vegetarian, then that she was a vegan, then came up with more and more excuses for why she couldn't eat another food and another food and another food. She's currently quite ill.



And before anyone jumps all over me... OF COURSE not all veg*n persons with eating disorders use it as an excuse, but with the people I've dealt with directly in my life, this was the trend the majority of them followed. I think its also possible that people with eating disorders, as well as other psychiatric disorders, are more sympathetic and tuned in with the feelings of others, both humans and animals, and may have more of a conscious when it comes to harming them.







I'm a finicky eater, but I suffer from irritable bowel.. which sort of dictates a picky lifestyle. I became veggie BEFORE this came on full blown, and I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I wasn't already maintaining a low fat high fiber diet. A vegetarian lifestyle is ideal for an IBD sufferer .





Also, there is a CORRELATION between eating disorders and veg*nism. That does not mean that one causes the other in either direction. There is probably a third (or fourth or fifth or sixth or seventh) reason for the connection between the two.



(For people behind on their statistics.. a correlation is basically when one "thing" increases with another "thing" which looks like it could be a cause and effect, but it isn't necessarily so. For example: there is a correlation between children with a larger shoe size and their reading level. The bigger the shoe size, the higher the reading level. This does not mean that big feet mean better readers. The third part to this equasion is that OLDER children have BIGGER feet, thus it is true that larger shoes -- older children -- are at a higher reading level than smaller shoes -- younger children. Thank you for attending my Statistics class. You all get an A for reading this far.)

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
rabid_child is offline  
#3 Old 09-07-2003, 08:23 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
Quote:
Originally Posted by OConfusedOne View Post

And if so, what can we do to prevent it?

I think most people with an eating disorder will eventually come to a veg*an diet, because they´re so calorie-conscious and animal products cotain lots of calories. But it´s sure not the other way round.

Support would mean to tell someone, that one suspects an eating disorder. The problem is with an internet-board that you don´t see people. Here´s an example how hard it is already under clinical conditions. We had a patient with an immunologic/rheumatic disease 2 or 2 1/2 months ago. She was very slim and we suspected an eating disorder. She was telling how much she was eating, but the cafeteria personel told she only took a few leaves of green salad. She was not open for a discussion of her problem and the family wasn´t either. Two or three weeks later I saw her again. In the meantime she had gone to fasting and drank only her own urine. Needless to say that she lost weight, looked awful, all wrinkled at 23 years of age, retention parameters alarming. Talking to her, her family, her physician didn´t chance anything and she stopped coming to our center. I don´t want to sound desillusionized, but just state how difficult it is. BTW, not to forget telling you, she was pregnant in the second month!

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#4 Old 09-07-2003, 09:12 AM
Newbie
 
on roasties's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16
I would say there is probably a link between veg*nism and eating disorders as becoming veg*nism can provide a way to restrict calorie intake and a way to explain weight loss to people.



However, I don`t know of no vegans or vegetarians with eating disorders (as far as I am aware) but I do know 2 people close to me who have been very badly anorexic.



My sister was at one point very ill, under six stone, all skin and bone and veins and hair. Another was a girl I used to train with at uni who had to give up professional sport because of her eating disorder. Neither were/are veg*n or had any interest in it.



BUT, what did strike me was how REMARKABLY similar their personalities were.

Both :



1) are very nice and kind people.

2) are incredibly hard working, obsessive and complete perfectionists

3) are otherwise sensible and normal and from good middle class backgrounds

4) are shy and have low self esteem despite being good looking and successful in life

5) participate in sport where weight loss can improve performance (up to a point)



I am no expert but I bet a lot of people reading with eating disorders share some of these characteristcs.



I think my point is that there are much more important factors that determine whether a person is more susceptible to an eating disorder than whether they are veg*n or not.
on roasties is offline  
#5 Old 09-07-2003, 10:19 AM
Veggie Regular
 
NDvegan85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,379
My veganism and my EDs are completely unrelated, although it is conveinient at times.
NDvegan85 is offline  
#6 Old 09-07-2003, 10:30 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Cissy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,759
I'm with ND there - unrelated, though convenient. My veg*nism is for ethical reasons. I had my ED the first time I went vegetarian, and the ED actually got me to start eating meat again for awhile.



1) are very nice and kind people.

2) are incredibly hard working, obsessive and complete perfectionists

3) are otherwise sensible and normal and from good middle class backgrounds

4) are shy and have low self esteem despite being good looking and successful in life

5) participate in sport where weight loss can improve performance (up to a point)




Yeah, those are some of the most common characteristics of people with eating disorders. I'm all of those basically.
Cissy is offline  
#7 Old 09-07-2003, 03:31 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
I am all of those characteristics too. But I've never had an eating disorder. I did go through a time last year when i worried about my weight and thought I was putting on to much weight, plus I hate (and still do) my stomach!! And I started eating less fat and cut down or junkfood, preprepared foods and food of carbohydrate..



My sister has those characteristics too, she eats quite little and worries about her weight but I wouldn't say she has an ED yet...but she def has the potential too, which is worrying!
GhostUser is offline  
#8 Old 09-08-2003, 01:51 AM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
this has been talked about on this board A LOT, and frankly I don't understand the big mystery about it. veg*nism is popular among the ed'd because cuts out whole groups of food, elimating a large number of things you can eat, and gives you a good commendable excuse for not eating those things. (yeah, there are people with eating disorders who also happen to care about animals, too but were not talking about those people now i dont think) Also, vise versa, veganism is really an extreme way of living, and maybe its also possible that when you become a vegan, you start focusing so much on food, what you can and cant eat, etc, it becomes an obsession and it becomes more than an act of eating because people eat, it becomes eating and not eating for other reasons, which are all things that can trigger already vulnerable people.



since i havent been here in a while heres my little update im in my 3rd week of treatment for my ed (purging anorectic, hmm), and im officially not a vegan anymore (although i eat very little dairy and eggs, its just as big an issue as it once was), i became a vegetarian for animals a long time ago, and i became a vegan because i didnt want to eat cake on my bothers birthday one year, and it did take a lot to admit that to myself even. i have been eating non vegan things in my binges for months, but never meat. i know a lot of purgers who eat things in their binges that are against their morals even (non-kosher, non-veg, etc), it was another way of acting out during my b/p phases. anyway, i do belive in veganism and i would really like to do it again, but right now it just makes focusing on food much more severe, and im not willing nutritionally to make that big a deal about my food while im trying to get healthier. i know that sounds really selfish but it was a personal choice.



i miss you all btw and hope youre doing well.
GhostUser is offline  
#9 Old 09-08-2003, 10:18 AM
Veggie Regular
 
skarrlett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,218
I noticed that too when I first joined VB. Although I am recovering from an ED, I find that I'm eating a lot more now that I'm vegan. I don't put so much crap in my system and I actually pay attention to the ingredients. Whether it's a coincidence or not, becoming vegan has had a positive impact on my eating habits.
skarrlett is offline  
#10 Old 09-08-2003, 06:53 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Cissy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,759
skarrlett - I've been eating ALOT better since becoming veg*n as well - for me it turned food into a positive thing.



Secura -
Cissy is offline  
#11 Old 09-08-2003, 07:16 PM
Veggie Regular
 
meatless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,670
Personally, I think the average North American diet is an "eating disorder." To me, it has always sickened me how much and WHAT the typical person eats.



I do not have an eating disorder, but there has been two in my past. First, I was the skinny girl growing up. Everyone was mean to me and made fun of me, and told me endlessly how I was toooooo skinny. Well, excuse me for being a runt. So I decided to put on weight to show them. Within a few months I put 50 pounds onto my 100 pound frame-- essentially, I increased my body weight by 50% which is completely unhealthy. Then, they started worrying about how big I'd gotten! It was a problem-- I was eating tonnes of high fat things like meat, and massive portions of everything. I would have four bowls of Frosted Flakes in the morning for breakfast, for example. It was only when I started waking up in the middle of the night absolutely starving that I realized I had a big problem. So, I decided to lose some weight. It was harder than I had expected. It was then that I cut red meat out of my diet (age 16) and I slowly pared back my consumption. Until basically, I would only eat fat-free products, and things like tuna. I wouldn't say I had AN, but I became truly afraid of fat. I went back down to 100 pounds in about a year. It didn't help that my bf at the time was a health food nut whose diet consisted mostly of chick peas and tuna. Over the next two years I went back up to about 115, and then stayed there for two years. Then I started University, and I seem to have leveled out (four years later) at 125 pounds.

However, my vegetarianism has NOTHING to do with an eating disorder. If I have any disorder, it is my ridiculous love of cheese and ice cream. I eat healthy in day to day things (lots of fruit, salad, grains etc.) but I am a freakin pig when it comes to dessert.
meatless is offline  
#12 Old 09-08-2003, 07:49 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
this is all very interesting

i also had an eating disorder about 5 years ago

the hardest thing i have ever been through so far in my life

i turned to vegetartianism a couple of years ago

i am vegan now and i love it!

i feel so at one with nature

having an eating disorder didnt cause me to become vegan

i have always loved animals and wanted to do something in my life to better my relationship with nature

i still have ed problems like im sure all of you that have experianced the disorder have- so lets help eachother out positively
GhostUser is offline  
#13 Old 09-08-2003, 07:50 PM
Veggie Regular
 
JavaPrincess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 668
This relationship is one i can QUARANTEE You is highly believed is a strong one in the professional community. and i would dispute it if i hadnt seen it myself, nearly my entire support group is vegetarian and nearly all admit it is for caloric/health reasons, myself on the other hand feel there is little or no link between my veg*nism, and my ed other than the choices i make within my diet. I am a strict vegetarian and that is purely ethically motivated and if anything i find that helps my ed, because if i were eating dairy my fat intake would be even lower. (fewer fat free soy "dairy" products - at least near me). the only time i can say that perhaps the lines get blurred is when i allow it to be an excuse for why i wont eat some high fat food on a menu.



If fear of fat in meat is what is keeping someone from eating it then I believe the ed is inherently linked, for example i refuse to eat full fat tofu, but have decided to work towards that as a goal, rather than most of my co-patients goals of eating steak or meat products which are nutritionally comparable. if one cannot fathom that sort of compromise, in my opinion the two are linked.



by the way... right on CORRELATIONS!!
JavaPrincess is offline  
#14 Old 09-08-2003, 08:10 PM
Veggie Regular
 
OConfusedOne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 757
I suppose it's pretty apparent that veganism is at least to some extent linked to EDs. It makes sense, I guess - after all, stripped down to its bare minimum vegansm is essentially a moral aversion to food, even though I don't even think of meat and dairy as food anymore. I experienced this myself when I had an ED. I'd been lacto-ovo for six years, but was eating too much cottage cheese so I decided to go vegan so I wouldn't be able to eat cottage cheese or cake anymore. Veganism is the only positive thing to come out of my anorexia.



The bigger question then becomes what to do about it. It seems a shame that such a positive lifestyle has become equated within the medical profession with something that destroys lives. It's almost ironic. Even though veganism is restrictive, I've had some of the best food of my life since going vegan. I think we, as a community, need to project that to the rest of the omnis in the world. Veganism is not nearly as restrictive or bland or calorie free as it's been projected to be, and I think if we get the truth out to the general populace that maybe we can at least stem the ED-vegan craze. I hate to see people using such a good thing for such a negative purpose.



~Mollie~
OConfusedOne is offline  
#15 Old 09-08-2003, 11:29 PM
Veggie Regular
 
bluegrrrl79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,671
Actually I think of it this way: People with eating disorders are very focused on food... I think that being that focused/obsessed would make people think more about what they put in their bodies. A lot of people with EDs are concerned with purity of foods. I dunno, I mean I agree with the low calorie idea, but I think the being obsessed with food could also be a good point. I mean if you think about it, eating veg*n can take up a big part of your life, as can an ED. In both instances, food can be the center, what can you eat and what can't you. I think most "normal"/omni people don't put much thought into what they eat, therefore less likely to consider not eating meat/etc. YOu know what I mean?



Personally my ED has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. I started slowely not eating meat long before my ED started (I hate the taste of it), plus being lactose intolerent I couldn't really have dairy anyway.
bluegrrrl79 is offline  
#16 Old 09-12-2003, 12:25 AM
Veggie Regular
 
*sprout*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 878
{edit} sorry this turned into kinda a rant for me {edit}





you want to know somnething that is so anyoying

ok tip for all you people !

if someone is average-thin (ish) and they dont eat alot IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE ANOREXIC !!

aaahhhh

sorry i am so anyoyed at people !!

example :

'you ONLY had that for lunch'

'ya im not a huge lunch person'

'no wonder your thin you must be anorexic' (while giving me dirty looks)



or



'want some chocolates'

'no thanks'

'why are you on a diet or something?'

'no i just try to eat right'

'ya sure *cough* anorexic *cough*



or



'hey becky are you anorexic ?'

' WHAT ?!?! NO !!'

'ookkk (giving me suspicous looks)



garg !!! its even more anyoying if you arent really THAT thin or even skinney !!
*sprout* is offline  
#17 Old 09-12-2003, 12:27 AM
Veggie Regular
 
*sprout*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 878
BTW



most of the time i get this from my friend who is on a diet and eats

porrige for breakfast

crakers for lunch

ushally skips dinner
*sprout* is offline  
#18 Old 09-12-2003, 06:13 AM
Veggie Regular
 
meatless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,670
I have gotten that all the time from people, sprout. More when I had NO eating issues whatsoever than any other time. And I get people telling me why don't I eat this or that because "You have nothing to worry about." It is like it has never occured to them that the fact I am not fat may be BECAUSE of how I eat (far healthier than your average person). I am 5'7, 125 pounds, and wear a size seven, but people gawk at me and don't believe me when I tell them that. I'm really not *that* thin, certainly not like when I was a teenager!



THat being said, there are lots of people on this board who have admitted to an eating disorder. So I don't think anyone on here is being judgemental in the way you have described....
meatless is offline  
#19 Old 09-12-2003, 01:14 PM
Veggie Regular
 
bluegrrrl79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,671
Quote:
Originally Posted by *sprout* View Post

{edit} sorry this turned into kinda a rant for me {edit}





you want to know somnething that is so anyoying

ok tip for all you people !

if someone is average-thin (ish) and they dont eat alot IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE ANOREXIC !!

aaahhhh

sorry i am so anyoyed at people !!

example :

'you ONLY had that for lunch'

'ya im not a huge lunch person'

'no wonder your thin you must be anorexic' (while giving me dirty looks)



or



'want some chocolates'

'no thanks'

'why are you on a diet or something?'

'no i just try to eat right'

'ya sure *cough* anorexic *cough*



or



'hey becky are you anorexic ?'

' WHAT ?!?! NO !!'

'ookkk (giving me suspicous looks)



garg !!! its even more anyoying if you arent really THAT thin or even skinney !!



Trust me, even for someone having an ED, that **** is very annoying to hear as well! I just think in general peope should leave their comments to themself, and not try to go around diagnosing others with mental disorders. I think it's pretty rude, regardless of if you have an ED or not.
bluegrrrl79 is offline  
#20 Old 09-12-2003, 05:59 PM
Veggie Regular
 
*sprout*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 878
THat being said, there are lots of people on this board who have admitted to an eating disorder. So I don't think anyone on here is being judgemental in the way you have described....



nobody here said anything like that !! just my stupid friends !

when i said all you people i was just angry and reffering to stupid people that do that



I have any disorder, it is my ridiculous love of cheese and ice cream. I eat healthy in day to day things (lots of fruit, salad, grains etc.) but I am a freakin pig when it comes to dessert.



omg i sound totally like you !! i eat totally heathly (love fruits and grains too) except when it comes to having dessert after dinner ! then i pig out !
*sprout* is offline  
#21 Old 09-12-2003, 06:04 PM
Veggie Regular
 
meatless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by *sprout* View Post

nobody here said anything like that !! just my stupid friends !

when i said all you people i was just angry and reffering to stupid people that do that



Well you see how "all you people" could be taken to mean a lot of people.



People like you described either don't *get* or don't care about the damage they cause. The same types are the ones who drove me to put on 50 pounds (on a 100 pound frame!) just to make them shut up.
meatless is offline  
#22 Old 09-12-2003, 06:05 PM
Veggie Regular
 
meatless's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by *sprout* View Post

omg i sound totally like you !! i eat totally heathly (love fruits and grains too) except when it comes to having dessert after dinner ! then i pig out !



Yeah, that's pretty much me.
meatless is offline  
#23 Old 09-12-2003, 06:26 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Cissy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,759
Quote:
Originally Posted by *sprout* View Post

{edit} sorry this turned into kinda a rant for me {edit}





you want to know somnething that is so anyoying

ok tip for all you people !

if someone is average-thin (ish) and they dont eat alot IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE ANOREXIC !!

aaahhhh

sorry i am so anyoyed at people !!

example :

'you ONLY had that for lunch'

'ya im not a huge lunch person'

'no wonder your thin you must be anorexic' (while giving me dirty looks)



or



'want some chocolates'

'no thanks'

'why are you on a diet or something?'

'no i just try to eat right'

'ya sure *cough* anorexic *cough*



or



'hey becky are you anorexic ?'

' WHAT ?!?! NO !!'

'ookkk (giving me suspicous looks)



garg !!! its even more anyoying if you arent really THAT thin or even skinney !!



True dat! I've been underweight my entire life, and even though I ate normally, I always got "Are you bulimic?" "Eat!" etc comments even before the ED started. It bugged the living hell out of me. I equate it with going "OMG, you're a fatty!" to someone overweight. Even my overweight parents agree with me there - it's horrible, they've gotten asked if they keep the food at their end of the table (My brother's thin too).
Cissy is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off