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Vegan Inquiry July 20, 2010

Posted by Jen in Motivation, Sprituality.
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The other day my mom emailed me the link to a really interesting article. It’s called “When Veganism Is An Eating Disorder”. You can read the full article here.

Source

This article struck a chord with me. I have been a vegetarian since I was 13, though I certainly did not do it to avoid eating fat or to cut calories, as did one of the people mentioned in the article. I really just didn’t like meat very much, and was an extremely picky eater!

However, as time has gone on I have dabbled with veganism, and it has been a source of struggle for me. I do not believe I’ve ever chosen to go vegan for weight loss reasons, but more for ethical reasons. However, I still have some issues around it, because when I see that other people are vegans I often end up feeling guilty, like I should be a vegan because it’s healthier and better for animals and the planet.

FYI: “Should” is a red flag! If you notice you are doing something because you think you should, it’s time to stop and figure out where that voice is coming from! And, for your reading pleasure, I’m going to do some inquiry right here, live, on where my guilt and “shoulds” about veganism are coming from. (I’m using a loose version of the The Work, developed by Byron Katie.)

Ready?

I should be a vegan because it’s better for my health.

Is that true? I think it’s probably better for my health because I’ve read that it is. And because the saturated fat and cholesterol in eggs and dairy aren’t good for me. And those foods also cause cancer. (I’ve ready WAY too many books on health and diet for my own good.)

Is it absolutely true in all circumstances? Hmmm. Well, if eating a vegan diet is causing me mental strife, and ultimately to be unhealthy mentally, then no. And if avoiding something with cheese in it, only to go eat three pounds of natural peanut butter because I’m feeling deprived, happened, that certainly would not be healthier than just eating the damn cheese.

How do I feel when I think that thought? Kinda anxious and guilty. Like I’m doing something wrong if I’m not eating the healthiest diet possible.

How would I feel if that thought could never enter my mind? Free! Happier, lighter.

Turnaround: I shouldn’t be a vegan, because it’s better for my health. I should be a non-vegan, because it’s better for my health. I should be my health, because it’s better for my vegan. (I’m not sure what that one means, just trying different combos.)

Do any of the turnarounds sound as true or truer than my original statement? YES! “I shouldn’t be a vegan, because it’s better for my health” feels true to me. I love, love, love eating vegan foods, and will probably always eat lots of them, but giving myself that label and putting that pressure on myself is not healthy. Also, the part where I wrote, “I should be my health” feels true to me. We should all be our own health. We all need to decide what truly feels right for us.

Phew, see how helpful inquiry is?

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