I have to start off by being fully honest and saying that before i went vegan i did think that veganism was restrictive and that most people who were vegan had an eating disorder.
I wondered why would someone not want to eat Ben and Jerrys or Marabou chocolate or eat egg yolks if it wasnt because those foods were fear foods and the person had some form of an eating disorder. Now of course i know better and know WHY a person wouldn’t eat those foods and it has nothing to do with calories or fears, but because of ethical beliefs.
I must admit, i am embarassed that i thought this and it was very close minded of me however i can’t deny that there are MANY people who have eating disorders and eat a plant based diet or live a fully vegan lifestyle.
Some in recovery from an eating disorder say that changing to a vegan lifestyle and diet helped them recover, which is amazing! However others i believe go vegan just so that they have a *valid* reason to not eat certain foods and to continue restricting and only eating safe foods. There have been some from social media who i follow who over the years have come out and said that they were vegan only because of their eating disorder and that their realtionship with food wasn’t balanced or healthy. This of course makes it seem as if everyone who goes vegan also has an eating disorder. But this is not the case.
Veganism is NOT synonym for an eating disorder and it is not restrictive. However if your mindset is unhealthy and your relationship with food is restrictive, then it doesnt matter what type of diet you follow, it will still be restrictive.
If you have a healthy relationship with food and can eat enough and can eat balanced then a plant based diet isn’t restrictive at all because there are so many options. There is vegan junk food and vegan processed food, but also you can make plenty of balanced and nutrient dense meals which will help you reach the right vitamin and mineral amount you need daily.
My advice is that if someone is recovering from an eating disorder, you shouldn’t eat plant based. There are many reasons for this and one of the reasons is that when recovering from an eating disorder you should have no restrictions on what you allow yourself to eat, but also that the body has been through alot and that the uptake of vitamins and minerals might not be as good, leading to defieciency, compared to someone who has a healthy and functioning digestive system. Not to mention, as already written above, if a person has an unhealthy realtionship with food and has certain fear foods then a plant based diet might just keep the person restricted and never fully recover as they don’t face their fear foods. With that being said, i dont mean that a person should eat meat and dairy 6 times a day to recover, but to atleast be open to all foods and maybe that means eating a ben and jerrys every second week because that is what the person really wants and needs and eats plant based 98% of the time otherwise. My recommendation if you want to be vegan and are recovering from an eating disorder is to instead focus on the other things you can do to help the animals and the planet (a post about this coming up!), and eat plant based meals throughout the week and in time go fully vegan if you can stay healthy mentally and physically.
So to end this post, veganism doesnt mean a restricted or unhealthy diet. A person eating animal products can eat restricted and unhealthy and can have deficiencies. So don’t blame a plant based diet for those things, of course it does require some extra knowledge about nutrition to stay fully healthy while eating plant based but that doesnt mean it is unhealthy or restrictive.
Wanting to make a difference, wanting to save animals i.e not eat dead animals, wanting to help the planet…. how does that mean that a person is extreme or has an eating disorder? If someone says that, then they don’t know what an eating disorder is.