I started eating a vegan (plant-based diet) when my oldest child, now six, was around five months old. So, it’s been around five years since we went vegan. Last October, however I started incorporating animal products into my diet and we’ve since continued to eat animal products. Keep reading to find out more about why and how we stopped vegan. I also share why we don’t take on any specific “diet” anymore.

Why I’m Not Vegan Anymore

Why We Went Vegan Initially

My main goal with veganism was eating as many whole food as possible. Meaning, I wanted to eat fully plant-based, and not substitute everything I ate with vegan alternatives (Tofurkey, Oat milk, etc.)

It was also important to me to have my daughters grow up with a versatile diet. I wanted them to know, love, and eat vegetables. Being vegan almost ensured this (or so I thought).

Saving the animals was definitely a huge positive for me, as I passionately disagree with (and still detest) big agriculture. However, the health aspects were my number one motive from the beginning.

Briefly, here are some positive things that came out of our veganism experience:
01. We were eating whole foods regularly.
02. We learned to cook food from scratch.
03. We ate and (still enjoy) several different types of vegetables.
04. My daughter’s know where our food comes from (vegetables, fruits, animals, alike).

Five Years Later

Fast forward five years. My daughter is six. She starts showing a huge interest in trying animal products, as my husband is not vegan. She notices eggs, meat, and other foods at restaurants or at friend’s houses. I knew this was a possibility, and I was ready for it when the time came. I never wanted to or planned to “force” her to be vegan against her will. I was very very VERY picky about the animal products I started her on, as she had only had a tiny bit through exposure as a baby (for allergy purposes). We started with pastured butter, then moved on to pasture-raised local eggs. Now we incorporate grass-fed and finished animal meats, wild fish, and even bone broths into our diets.

Part of this is just her curiosity. But I also believe that because of her MTHFR gene mutation, her body was craving natural B12. (She was on a synthetic supplement, but as with everything, I truly prefer the natural form over man-made.)

So this is how my daughter started eating animal products. It doesn’t necessarily explain why I started eating them, however. Ultimately, though, I had to make a choice. I was vegan for the health benefits first, and for the activism second. I had to choose the route that best nourished my family, and for the time being, it just isn’t veganism.

 

Why I Eat Animal Products Now

After this I sort of went into a spiral of research. My daughter’s interest led me into researching the best products to feed her, and that’s what piqued my interest. This led me to discover regenerative farming and I sort of fell in love with the idea, and I just realized how much sense it made. I realized why people had farmed that way for so long before they started industrializing our food system. The monocropping of foods like corn and soy are extremely detrimental to our soil environment, and yet so many of the foods we eat each day (vegan or not) contain these glyphosate-infested, processed foods.

I could go on and on about how soil depletion and lack of whole foods in our diets today is the root cause of so many underlying issues, but I can tell you that it certainly is not a problem of whether you are vegan or not. There is no true diet that is earth-friendly. Big agriculture and monocropping are one in the same, and the companies profiting from this are turning our food industry for profit, not for the benefit or our health. So all that to say, I don’t buy that veganism is a planet-friendly diet anymore like I used to because I know a bit more than I used to.

 

So What IS Your Diet Now?

The simple answer is this: I don’t prescribe to diet dogma anymore. Paleo, ancestral, vegan, vegetarian. None of it. It’s limiting and contributes to mental illness and issues around food. Therefore, I don’t limit myself. I eat what my body craves, naturally, which now, is a diet rich in fats and proteins.

Positive Changes After Making the Switch to Animal Products

Something I want to point out is that I really did thrive on a vegan diet at first. I was switching from a Westernized diet of mostly-processed foods and sugar to almost exclusively plants. I noticed the benefits of a plant-baed diet for a long time. I had glowing skin at first, I lost a lot of fat (almost too much in the beginning), and my energy levels felt great. But after years of eating a vegan diet, I started to notice small things. My hair was a bit more frail. It didn’t grow as quickly as it used to. I felt sluggish and needed coffee to get through the day, and most of all, I started to crave sugar. Lack of protein intake almost always results in a sugar craving, and I felt this way for a long time before finally making some changes. The changes were small, and it took several months to introduce an animal-rich diet again, but I have noticed some very positive changes. I’ve also done some research on the necessity of animal products and I feel that it’s right for me and my body. 

There were some pretty noticeable changes once my body got used to eating animal products again. Here are the things I noticed: 

01. I felt more full after meals and stayed full.
I had to eat a LOT of plants to feel full. I was eating rice, pasta, bread, and sugar. I also ate so many nuts and legumes, but still felt hungry pretty often. When I started eating animal products I was surprised at how full I felt after meals without having to eat a lot of food.
02. I didn’t crave sugar.
I was finally getting the protein my body needed so I stopped craving sugar. Eating chickpeas, black beans and almonds are definitely protein-rich, but it feels very different from eating an egg cooked in pastured butter. Those foods aren’t as satiating. I craved sugar constantly because of lack of protein, and that’s almost completely eliminated since switching to animal-based foods.
03. My skin cleared up because I wasn’t eating as many nuts.
I still eat flax seeds, and other nuts and seeds regularly, but I’ve decreased the amount by about 75%. Did you know that there’s such thing as eating TOO MANY nuts? It’s true. Look into PUFA’s and see what you think about it all! My skin is so much less inflamed.
04. I almost eliminated hydrogenated oils from our diets. (The true culprit of high cholesterol).
This one is big for me, as I just recently (about one year ago) started to understand and research the dangers of hydrogenated oils. Oils like canola, rapeseed, sunflower, etc. are harmful to the body when consumed in large amounts. I read a lot about hydrogenated oils in the book Nourishing Traditions.
At this moment I am very passionate about regenerative farming and I believe in the purpose and beauty behind the cycle of having a land and those that dwell on it in harmony. Definitely look into it more. If it interests you, look for products that are grown and sourced locally to you. Ask, do you feed your cows grain? Are they grass-fed and finished? Is your dairy raw, homogenized, or ultra-pasteurized? These are all things you’ll want to look into and research for your family!

Some Closing Thoughts

I want to leave you today is this: every family is unique. Every family has to take the information they have and make the best decision they can in that moment. No two family’s diets will look alike. What you eat may not be what other families eat, and that’s okay! You have to do what’s best for your family, your body, and your health. You shouldn’t have to answer to anyone else about that.
At the end of the day, my goal has always been whole foods and real foods, and even though I didn’t originally intend on our family consuming animal products, we are. That’s where we are today. It could change. Someday my daughter may come home and announce she wants to be vegetarian. I would support her and try to. nourish her the best I can. But this is where our family is at right now, and I wanted to share it with you all. If you’ve been nervous about changing your diet or making any sort of change, I can only speak from my own experience, but I hope this is all helpful to you!
Thank you so much for reading!

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