A Vegan No More

***To read my follow up to this post where I address many of your questions and concerns please click here – Vegan Defector Talks Back***

UPDATE: Thank you all for your comments, I never expected this post to get so much attention. However, I do not have the time nor the desire to continue moderating comments. Some of you have been amazingly supportive and have shared many thought provoking ideas, and I really appreciate that. Unfortunately, others have made threats against me and my family and that I cannot tolerate. So, thank you all very much for reading my post but I am going to be turning off the comments. I hope you can understand.

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Many of you know that I have recently been struggling for the first time in my life with health problems. When I discovered that my problems were a direct result of my vegan diet I was devastated.  2 months ago, after learning the hard way that not everyone is capable of maintaining their health as a vegan, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and gave up veganism and returned to eating an omnivorous diet. My health immediately returned. This experience has been humbling, eye-opening, and profoundly transformative. To hear the whole story just keep reading…

Part 1 – Health Shock

When the doctor first told me that I had numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies, that I was almost anemic, and my B12 was so low she wanted to give me an injection immediately, I refused to believe her. I actually asked her to show me the blood test results because I thought there had to be some sort of mistake. But there was no mistake, it was right there in black and white; deficiencies and abnormalities across the board.

The results explained perfectly why I had been feeling weak and exhausted for more than 6 months. Whereas I had previously lived for working out and even an hour on the elliptical wasn’t enough for me, lately doing more than 20 minutes at a leisurely pace caused me to yearn to spend the rest of the day in bed recuperating. When I could I slept till noon, I felt lightheaded when I stood up, I couldn’t remember simple words or the names of my friends, and I was freezing cold even in the midst of a sweltering Saudi summer. Of the myriad symptoms I’ve listed here and the ones I will not be describing publicly, the absolute worst of all was my depression. This awful, lifelong foe I’ve been battling on and off was sneaking back into my life, painting the edges of my world a sickening black and stealing the joy that I had fought so desperately to regain.

The doctor, who was kind and very understanding, was surprisingly knowledgeable about vegan diets and had a career long specialization in nutrition. After ruling out any other possible medical condition, she patiently spoke over my tears and my hitching sobs and explained that yes, humans are healthiest when eating a large amount of varied plant foods, but that we would be wrong to ignore the small amounts of animal products that many of us so essentially need. “Most human bodies run optimally on the occasional animal product. Eggs and bits of meat every so often are small but very important parts of a healthy diet.” she said, a look of sorrow on her face. She could see how hard this was for me.

She told me that while there are people who can be quite healthy on a vegan, or predominantly vegan, diet, there were many people who simply could not. After all, every human is biologically and physiologically different, she explained. I listened patiently, refuting her claims with the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years. After all, I wasn’t just a regular vegan, I was a hardcore, self-righteous and oh so judgmental vegangelical. I never passed up an opportunity for some preaching. She was prepared. Just as patiently she explained how many of the ‘facts’ I was quoting were just plain wrong, or had been presented in a way that distorted the truth. It was horrifying and I almost passed out in her office because I was so worked up.

She respected the fact that I was committed to staying vegan and worked with me for over an hour to figure out how I could maximize the nutrients in my already superbly healthy vegan diet. According to her, I was already doing everything right. Along with the minor dietary suggestions, she also recommended a variety of supplements in addition to the ones I already took everyday, including iron tablets.

I remained silent when she gave me the B vitamin injection, I tried not to cry as I waited in line at the pharmacy for my iron tablets, and when I arrived back home I hid the papers and the box of pills in the back of my bedside table. I didn’t tell anyone for days, not even Cody. I had failed and it would be my dirty little secret.

For a week I took the iron pills dutifully, somehow ignoring the fact that they weren’t vegan. I had felt a small measure of improvement immediately from the B vitamin injection, and was hoping for the same affect from the iron pills. Unfortunately, it was obvious after only a few days that they were making me ill. I couldn’t keep food down, I was spending hours a day in the bathroom, alternately hunched over or perched on top of the toilet. I was losing weight and feeling worse than ever.

I went back to the doctor and, just as patient as ever, she said that I was obviously not handling the pills well. I’m sensitive to just about all medication, even Advil has been known to make me sick, so this was no surprise. She asked me if I would consider adding a few eggs to my diet every day. I shook my head, a few eggs couldn’t really be that important. She explained that yes, they really were. But I still said no. Absolutely not. After another lengthy counseling session she wrote another prescription for another kind of iron supplement. Once again I tried to fight back tears at the pharmacy.

The new round of pills was even worse. I would rather feel weak, dizzy, and depressed, than this violently ill. After 2 weeks I threw the pills in the trash and returned to the doctor again.

She spoke to me for a long time, explaining again in great detail exactly how and why a vegan diet was damaging my body. Nutrition is a shockingly inexact science; no one completely understands the complicated dance of vitamins and minerals, much less the synergy of whole foods and their role in our health. But she tried to give me as comprehensive a breakdown as I would understand. She discussed heme iron, the lack of specific nutrients that lead directly to depression and anxiety, she talked at length about vitamin A, taurine, retinol, beta carotene, vitamin D, omega fatty acids, as well as B12 and the disastrous and irreversible results that occur when the body finally depletes its last stores of that crucial ingredient for health, and much more.

She explained how the health problems we are plagued with in the Western world are not caused by animal products, far from it. Humans have been consuming animals (in much greater quantities than we do now) for millions of years without ill effect, and historically there has never been a single vegan culture. We need to look at the recent additions to our diet to uncover the causes of our sudden modern plagues: refined sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats, refined flours, chemical toxicity and the industrialized denaturing of all forms of food. According to her, avoiding healthy, organic animal products was not only unnecessary for good health, but in most cases positively detrimental to our well being.

“You see,” she concluded, “for many, if not most, people a totally plant based diet is not a good thing. It obviously is not working for you and that is nothing to be ashamed of. The body has evolved to utilize meat efficiently and healthfully, not tablets or pills. You’ve been taking B12 supplements for years, and you’ve been trying to take iron supplements for weeks, and they haven’t been utilized by your body at all. Supplements are a very poor substitute for whole foods. Taking medication is not the best option and it is not necessary; you could almost certainly regain your health on a balanced diet. It is my recommendation that you try that.”

I shook my head in silence.

“I’m sorry, I just can’t. I won’t.” I said to her for the millionth time, wiping the tears that were flowing down my face. “It just isn’t going to happen. I don’t care how sick I am. It’s wrong to eat animals!”

She leaned forward on her desk and made one more plea for me to think more carefully about my health and well being. “Natasha, you are hurting yourself. You are very, very sick. Your hair is falling out, your depression is back, and you are making yourself ill. You cannot go on like this.”

I stared at her for several long seconds, then got up and left the room.

I returned on schedule for my follow up B vitamin shot (and several visits with several other kinds of doctors including a cardiologist – more on that later), but I was only going through the motions, I always stopped myself from dwelling on the serious health problems I was having, it was just too painful.

I kept eating healthfully, as I always have. An entire head of greens every morning in my fruit smoothie, beans almost every day, tons of citrus fruits in my lunch snack plates, tofu, soaked nut pates, whole grains, sprouted grains, and roasted veggies, and of course my daily vitamins, all of the delicious, beautiful food that I loved. This diet was supposed to make me healthy in addition to saving the world, not make me ill. Everything I had ever been told by vegans had said that this was the optimum way for humans to eat.

I wanted desperately for it to be right, for my ethics to outweigh my physiology.

Of course, I never questioned why I was constantly hungry. Why 2 veggie burgers, a giant raw vegetable salad, and a bowl of nuts, couldn’t keep me full longer than 2 hours. It was exhausting, physically painful, and tedious trying to keep myself fed, but I figured it was worth it. I was healthy. Or at least, that’s what I thought until it was proven otherwise. I’m still not sure why I accepted for so long that fatigue, exhaustion, and growing depression were a normal part of life that was to be expected as one grew older. After all, I am only 28 and I’ve never in my life suffered from ill-health. But the fact is: I wanted veganism to work. I wanted desperately for it to be right, for my ethics to outweigh my physiology.

I delicately broached the topic of my ill-health with several vegan friends. I even made comments on other blogs and on twitter highlighting my struggles. The response was nothing short of shocking. In the span of just a few days I received an outpouring of emails from fellow ‘vegan’ bloggers, who told me in confidence that they weren’t really vegan ‘behind the scenes’. They ate eggs, or the occasional fish, or piece of meat, all to keep themselves healthy, but were too scared to admit to it on their blogs. I even received emails from two very prominent and well respected members of the vegan AR community. One a published and much loved vegan cook book author, the other a noted animal rights blogger, their emails detailed their health struggles and eventual unpublicized return to eating meat. Many people sent me links to other vegans who had struggled with veganism related health problems and had been forced to return to eating animals and animal products, or had decided to stop following a vegan diet, such as: Raw ModelDebbie Does Raw, Daniel Vitalis, Sweetly Raw, Chicken Tender, The Non-Practicing Vegan, and PaleoSister, to name just a few. It was refreshing to know I wasn’t the only one suffering from this problem, and the more I heard, the more it seemed I wasn’t even in the minority.

Unfortunately, there were also masses of people who contacted me to offer unsolicited and often insultingly patronizing advice. They made sure to let me know that I was only sick because I was ‘doing veganism wrong’. ‘Have you tried more greens/beans/tofu/nuts?’ the questions were relentless. I was baffled by the suggestions to eat imported goji berries, use maca powder in my smoothies, or eat more spirulina. All these exotic recommendations were supposedly needed to make me healthy on a diet that is heralded as natural and ideal; it absolutely did not make sense.

Many more vegans just rolled their eyes, blatantly skeptical that I was feeling ill in the first place. The realization that people I had previously considered friends were now flat our refusing to believe in the veracity of my health problems was shocking. Could they honestly think that I would give up on veganism right away? Did they truly believe I hadn’t tried everything in my power to make this work? ‘Spend 1 day in my body barely able to walk from exhaustion, feeling dizzy, cold, and depressed, and then judge me!’ I wanted to scream at them. But I didn’t. I just stopped talking about it.

As a feminist, this body hating rhetoric infuriated me.

After that, I soldiered on in silence for months. I lied to myself, to my readers, to the world saying I felt healthy and fine, when in reality I felt worse than ever. During this time I saw doctor after doctor and tried every suggestion and recommendation, desperately hoping for a cure. I was determined to make veganism work; I was always convinced that just around the next corner I would find the solution. I tried to skirt the issue of my health problems with fellow vegans, cringing as they insisted that anyone who couldn’t be healthy on a vegan diet obviously ‘wasn’t doing it right’. I wanted to scream, but instead I kept my mouth shut, and listened to their arrogant and ignorant opinions on why so many people ‘failed’ at veganism. Some people even suggested that those of us who couldn’t remain healthy as vegans should willingly sacrifice our health for the cause. As a feminist, this body-hating rhetoric infuriated me. The willing participation in the denial and degradation of my bodily needs smacked of misogyny, patriarchal control and violence against the female body, and everything that I fight against. But still, I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t know what else to do.

For 3 years I built my entire life on the premise of veganism. It was my life’s passion, my guiding light. Being a vegan was everything to me. I believed my actions made me an animal rights crusader; I was saving lives, and changing the world Now, I know otherwise, but it took a very long time to realize that. For months I was consumed with my self-induced illness, but I still couldn’t abandon veganism; I couldn’t stop fighting for what I believed in. Even if it was hurting me.

Part 2 – Healing

My first bite of meat after more than 3 years of veganism was both the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Tears ran down my face as saliva pooled in my mouth. The world receded to a blank nothingness and I just ate, and ate, and ate. I cried in grief and anger, while moaning with pleasure and joy. When I took the last bite I set back and waited to feel sick. I had just devoured a hunk of dead animal, the most evil thing I could conceive of, surely my body would reject this debasement and I would feel vindicated that I truly was meant to be a vegan.

I felt profoundly joyful in finally listening to the wisdom of my body.

Instead, my face felt warm, my mind peaceful, and my stomach full but….I searched for a word to describe how it felt….comfortable. I realized that for the first time in months I felt satiated without the accompaniment of stomach pain. I had only eaten a small piece of cow flesh, and yet I felt totally full, but light and refreshed all at once. I reveled in that new and unexpected combination of sensations. How amazing it was not to need to eat for an hour solid till my stomach stretched and distended over my pants just to buy an hour or two of satiety. How beautiful it felt to be able to eat the exact thing that for so long my body had been begging for. I felt profoundly joyful in finally listening to the wisdom of my body. What a revelation.

Then I noticed something else odd: my heart was beating slowly, steadily. Normally, after a typical meal of veggies, rice and beans, or other starchy fare, my heart would race and skip for an hour or so afterward. Several visits with a cardiologist, more blood work, an EKG and an echo-cardiogram had confirmed that my heart was in perfect shape. The cardiologist explained that the unnerving post-meal palpitations were a symptom of my deficiencies, as well as a sign of blood sugar instability caused by the massive servings of carbohydrates I was consuming. Now after eating a single piece of steak, my heart thudded on, steady, strong, and slow. It made me cry all over again, this time in joy.

Every day for the past 2 months I have eaten fish or a piece of meat or eggs. To my never ending shock I have found that I digest a meat and veggie meal far, far better than I ever digested a whole grain/nut/veggie meal. I know that the lipid hypothesis is completely fallacious, these animal foods won’t hurt me or cause me ill health in anyway, in fact, the vitamins and minerals they provide, along with the nutritious cholesterol and wholesome saturated fat, will restore my health. And they have. There are few things as healthy and nutritious as grass fed, organic animal products. So, for these past months, I ate animals and animal products every single day. And, I say with a huge, grateful smile on my face: I’m back! After 1 month on my new diet my blood levels were either normal, or almost normal. After 2 months every single deficiency and out of whack number was completely restored to the healthy, normal range. Not one problem. Not one.

They always say you don’t really know what health is until you’ve lost it. And I never realized how unhealthy I actually was until I started feeling better. Glowing is the only way I can possibly begin to describe the way I feel now. If I was a religious woman, miraculous would have to be my word of choice to express the transformation I’ve undergone in the past 2 months. I’m now reveling in my health; basking in the clear headed precision of my thoughts, the strength of my legs when I run, the warmth radiating from my skin, the slow, melodic power of my heart, and the perfect knowledge of my body when it tells me exactly what to eat, how much, and when.

Eating meat everyday turned out to be incredibly easy because it was exactly what I had needed all along.

My diet is now, obviously, very, very different than what it was before. At first, when the doctor suggested I eat small servings of meat or eggs everyday to regain my health I was panicked. How disgusting, I thought. Surely I would have to force it into my mouth and it would be a battle just to swallow without vomiting immediately. The doctor just smiled and told me to listen to what I wanted. Not what I thought I should eat, but what I actually, really wanted. This immediately struck a chord with me. So, with my doctor’s permission, I really listened to my body for the first time in years. And, perhaps not so surprisingly, I found myself reverting right back to how I had eaten all of my life before going vegan, back in the years when I felt healthy and invincible and never had to deal with sugar crashes, mood swings, and ravenous hunger with the accompaniment of a stuffed and bloated belly. Eating meat every day turned out to be incredibly easy because it was exactly what I had needed all along.

The changes that I experienced were manifold and occurred so quickly and decisively I almost couldn’t believe it. Within one week I was able to stand up without seeing black spots in my eyes, and I was sleeping peacefully through the night. To my relief, my constant stomach pains and bloating completely vanished. Within 2 weeks I noticed my allergies were diminishing, even at a time when all the trees and flowers in our community were beginning to bloom. Also at 2 weeks I no longer needed a sweater just to sit on the couch, my toes and fingers had stopped feeling like perpetual icicles. At 3 weeks I could complete a light 20 minute cardio workout without feeling dizzy or nauseous, something I had been unable to accomplish for months. At 3 weeks I also noticed the most amazing change of all: my depression was diminishing. Days would go by when I wouldn’t succumb to hours of sobbing or listlessness. At 4 weeks I noticed three very strange things: my mysterious lower back pain that had been bothering me for nearly a year had vanished, even though I hadn’t changed my shoes or done any physical therapy; the skin on my face was plump and full and the fine lines that I had figured were just a sign of being nearly 30 had faded so much they were barely discernible, even though I had not changed anything about my skin care routine; and finally, I noticed my hair was thicker, shinier, and much fuller than it had been in years, even though I hadn’t changed anything about my hair care routine.

And now, after 2 months of non-veganism I can honestly say I feel reborn.

At 5 weeks I noticed a steady, permanent buzz of energy that carried me throughout the day. I started being able to run errands, work out, and do my writing, all in the same day without needing frequent rest stops. I kept waiting for exhaustion to sneak up on me…but it never once reared its ugly head. After 6 weeks I was reveling in my strength and stamina, I literally walked around the gym with my mouth hanging open in awe of my endurance and new found strength. I was unstoppable. Also at 6 weeks I knew for sure, in the way that only a person with the battle scars of depression can know, that this bout of sadness was gone for good. Joy and the most indescribable sense of relief and tranquility were now just a given when I woke up in the morning. And now, after 2 months of non-veganism, I can honestly say that I feel reborn. Healed doesn’t even begin to describe it, because I have so surpassed even my most wild expectations. I am healthier and fitter and happier than I ever remember being. My days are jam packed with hours of working out, riding my horse, hiking with my dogs, laughing with friends, working, writing, and just plain living. I feel healthier and stronger (so much stronger that I can’t even describe it) than I have in years, and it isn’t something I’m going to ever give up again. I’m back!

Part 3 – Rethinking my Beliefs

3 years of veganism didn’t just leave me exhausted, depressed, and very sick, it also filled my head with doubts and questions about the ethics of veganism. If I actually need to eat animals to be healthy, how can it be so wrong? It has been a complicated and eye-opening journey, and I now find myself in a much different place than I was 3 years ago, a year ago, or even several months ago. Perhaps if my health hadn’t improved so dramatically upon the reintroduction of animal flesh I wouldn’t be so sure, but it did improve remarkably, and now that I have my life and my happiness back, I will never give it up again. Ultimately, I can no longer think it is wrong to eat animals.

Several years ago I believed veganism fit in perfectly with my determination to drastically reshape the world. As a revolutionary feminist and anti-imperialist, veganism seemed to be yet another way I could fight the injustices we are facing. But as the years wore on and my body began devouring itself for the sustenance that my vegan diet couldn’t provide, I began to lose the will and the energy to do the vital work I had so loved. I no longer had the mental clarity to write my famous scathing exposes, or the physical energy to teach, organize, and build solidarity. I was sputtering out, grinding to a screeching halt. I realized that veganism, my choice to buy ‘cruelty free’ foods, was quickly becoming my only avenue for activism. It was the only thing I really had energy for anymore. As a staunch radical I’ve always been opposed to capitalism’s emphasis on the personal solution, I refuse to buy into the mainstream myth that we can shop our way out of catastrophe. And yet…with my dwindling energy reserves and devastating health problems I realized that was exactly what I was doing. When I stumbled along this quote about veganism by Megan Mackin it seemed as if it had been written for me: “It begins, eventually, to look like a very effective way to co-opt a movement: take the most passionate activist-minded, girls especially, and get their focus on a way of living that drains energies and enforces conformity in others. The Big Boys still run things, but now even more freely – with out much interference.”

I eventually forced myself to apply the same ethics I had used to analyze animal foods to the analysis of plant foods, and tried to calculate the macro impact of my food choices.  I soon realized that I had to make a serious change. As I’ve written about before, the foods I was eating as a vegan saved no more animal lives and were no ethically better than the foods I am now eating as an omnivore, with two main differences. First, I now no longer lie to myself about the fact that life requires death. Second, I am now healthy. Just like always, I still care intensely about the environment, the well being of animals, and the politics of food, but my ideas of how to do the most good and effect the most change have drastically transformed. I reexamined the party line of veganism, that it is the moral baseline, and admitted to myself that I had never been comfortable with the arbitrary declaration of drawing a line in the ethical sand. In fact, during my time as a vegan I never stopped searching for an even better solution and a more ethical way to live. I definitely believe I’m on the right path. My new thoughts don’t have veganism’s catchy slogans like ‘Meat is Murder’, but here’s a quick wrap up:

In one of those strange circumstances of serendipity that life is always throwing our way my veganism induced health problems coincided with a period of intense food justice activism in my own life. During this time in my work as a food rights advocate I had many, many discussions with agronomists, farmers, agroecologists, and global south advocates, and I learned how very wrong I was in my previous conviction that veganism would save the world. While veganism presents a very simple and easy to understand solution to the world’s problems, and has therefore become the go to politically correct strategy, it is at best a band-aid for the ecological and world hunger crises we are facing. The need for the entire world to go vegan in order to stop global warming or prevent chronic hunger is simply and irrefutably false.

As I learned while sitting at the metaphorical feet of the world’s leading revolutionary ecologists and food rights advocates, the only way for humanity to survive in any meaningfully sustainable way is for us to live entirely within our local food systems, eating the plants and animals that naturally live on our immediate landbase. And this most definitely does not include millions of acres of grains, the cultivation of which is amenable to only very small parts of the globe. To produce the vegan foods that I used to consider so cruelty-free; modern, industrialized agriculture forces land to grow crops that are alien and unnatural to it, robs the planet of its resources, destroys whole eco-systems, wipes out entire species of plants and animals, and creates a chaos of death and destruction as more and more wild land is needed to replace the devastated cropland.

This planetary devastation (and the resulting socio-cultural ramifications) has been going on far longer than the advent of factory farms, which were only introduced in the past several decades. Of course, just like any decent human being, I abhor the evil that is factory farming, and I stand opposed to their slavery, torture, and abuse. I also recognize that the massive production of grain is what led to the creation of factory farms in the first place; they simply would not have been possible otherwise. We do not grow so much grain because we want to have factory farms; we have factory farms because we are growing such an avalanche of grain. Veganism, while coming from a decent place of compassion, is ultimately short sighted and does not fix our problems. Truly local, preferably wild food is the only way we can live without causing devastation to this planet. And living truly locally, without massive consumption of monocrop industrialized grains or soy, in almost every part of the world necessitates the use and consumption of animals for us to be healthy.

As a vegan I didn’t like to think about the fact that without animals’ waste products, bones, and blood, farming is literally a zero sum game.

It broke my vegan heart to learn how unavoidably essential it is for humans to stop the use of fossil fuel fertilizers and reintegrate animals back into farm life. As a vegan I didn’t like to think about the fact that without animals’ waste products, bones, and blood, farming is literally a zero sum game. Without organic matter to feed the plants and the hungry soil, the precious topsoil will die and nothing can grow, a fact of life we are seeing play out around the globe as the millions of fossil fuel dependent farms collapse. When we expend resources like water and food on animals we are repaid tenfold. Not only does the water and food get used again in the form of manure that nourishes the soil in a way simple water never can, but the animals are eaten by us, and the remnants of their bodies used to feed the hungry earth. It was shocking to realize I had been expounding on the need to transform agriculture and farming without even knowing the bare minimum of what it takes to keep an ecosystem healthy. I now realize that the statistics I used to quote about environmental devastation, grain and water consumption, pollution, and ill health, were all based on numbers from factory farms, not from the realities of traditional land base specific farming, which is the only kind of farming that can heal our planet and us.

From now on I will choose the deaths that keep me and the planet healthy.

When I stopped merely talking about food advocacy, and started listening to people living on the front lines of the global food justice struggle, I had my eyes irrevocably opened. I realized that in many ways veganism removes us from our place in the natural scheme of things, denies our necessary participation in the food cycle, and makes the natural world into an alien realm that we can no longer fully understand. Vegans like to say that it is our intentions that matter, but I ask ‘matter to who?’ I now believe that instead of arbitrarily deciding that the deaths caused by veganism are okay, while the deaths caused by omnivores are unforgiveable, and that some animal deaths should be prevented at all costs while others are a necessary evil, we have to abolish the entire fabricated hierarchy we have constructed and come to terms with the cycle of life and death. We are all of us on this earth connected, and ultimately, death is a necessary, unavoidable part of life. Whether it is the animal deaths caused by a vegan diet that forces the planet into an unnatural and unsustainable cycle of production while failing to provide many of us with necessary nutrients, or it is the deaths caused by a close looped animal integrated farm cultivated to grow its natural bounty in traditional ways, there will always be death on our plates. From now on I will choose the deaths that keep me and the planet healthy.

I do not believe the planet cannot support 7 billion people in any meaningfully sustainable way, vegan or not. Therefore, an integral part of us being able to live in a genuinely environmentally respectful way is not for us all to go vegan, but for us to lower the birthrate and the population so we can live truly locally. First and foremost this will require the advancement of women’s rights and the global empowerment of women. (It really is amazing just how much feminism can accomplish!) As for world hunger, all of you who have read my world hunger articles know there is already more than enough food produced to feed everyone on the planet generously. Capitalism has turned food, and especially grains, into a commodity, a weapon of war, and a way to make a profit, instead of the inalienable right it should be. The way to prevent hunger is not to feed the starving masses the food we currently feed to animals (excess food production and the resulting food dumping is one of the causes of hunger in the first place), but for the chronically hungry people to throw off the shackles of neo-imperialism and to gain back control of their local food systems.

Most ecosystems on this planet simply cannot support annual grain agriculture, and the urging by vegans for the inhabitants to adopt a vegan lifestyle anyway is damning them to an eventually desiccated land base and inevitable starvation.

In my own life, my decision to return to my omnivorous ways is drastically shrinking my carbon footprint. The truth that as a vegan I did not like to face is that most places on this planet are not suited for annual grain agriculture, but for a mix of plant and animal husbandry. Most ecosystems on this planet simply cannot support annual grain agriculture, and the urging by vegans for the inhabitants to adopt a vegan lifestyle anyway is damning them to an eventually desiccated land base and inevitable starvation. Saudi Arabia, where I live, is one of those places. Now, instead of relying on grains and beans grown overseas with pesticides and seriously unsustainable farming methods to form the bulk of my diet, I can now turn my focus towards local animal products, such as goat, lamb, or chicken. For example, I can go to the local market and buy goat meat from goat herds that graze just a few miles away over the open desert, herded by Bedouins from oasis to oasis in a centuries’ old tradition. These goats make use of the dry and scrubby land that would be completely unsuitable for crop farming and they drink ancient artisanal well water. If the land they use was transformed into huge swathes of crop fields it would require staggering amounts of synthetic fertilizer and imported water, and it would wreck the delicate ecosystem that currently exists in the desert. Not only do I feel better physically and mentally as an omnivore, but my choices are much more consistent with my conviction that we need to live as ethically and sustainably as possible within our local community.

Whether it is the staggering destruction caused by factory farms, or the slightly less staggering but no less devastating destruction caused by vegan agriculture, our planet is being irrevocably annihilated and we must stop treating the symptoms of this disease and abandon short term solutions. We can’t shop our way out of this crisis, personal solutions are not enough. Presenting veganism as a panacea that will stop global warming, save all the animals, and feed the starving masses is nearsighted and unfounded. And it shames me, as an academic, that I ever let myself believe it. We must instead focus our efforts on a complete reimagining of the way we live on this planet. Anything less is suicide.

Part 4 – Where Do I Go From Here?

While my original choice to be a vegan stemmed from the always noble impulse to do the right thing and be as compassionate as possible, it was a mistake and a choice I should never have made. If I had done my research and actually asked the hard questions from the beginning instead of letting the graphic images of factory farms guide me, I would have saved myself 3 years of misguided efforts as well as the deterioration of my physical and emotional health. If I had adhered to the rigorous academic standards that I hold myself to in all other aspects of my life I could have spent this time fighting effectively towards real solutions, as well as feeling healthy and happy. I wish I had also taken a look at myself and how I had always felt the best. I spent my life thriving on meat and was healthier than anyone. I should have recognized that I come from a long line of preternaturally healthy and impervious meat eaters, from as far back as anyone can remember. My body has always known what I need to be healthy, and yet I ignored that and for far too long sacrificed my health.

Many people have suggested that I should only eat animal products that I loathe or that disgust me, so I would be sure never to take pleasure in the act of eating meat. It saddens me now that I actually considered this for a while. After giving it some thought, I wondered why should constant revulsion and grief at every meal be the price I pay for staying healthy? Why shouldn’t I cook the most delicious meals and revel in the pleasure of eating fabulous, healthy, and amazing food? I eventually realized that it is okay for me to take joy in cooking a steak, or daydream pleasurably about all the many ways to cook my evening salmon. I refuse to play the game that so many women (vegan or not) are forced to play by our violently woman hating society; I will never feel shame or guilt for eating what my body wants and needs to be healthy. I will take joy and shameless, undeniable pleasure in every glorious bite. I will be grateful and thankful and celebratory at all times, while never forgetting the lesson that I learned about listening to my body and respecting the fact that I deserve to be healthy and happy.

I am sure that many of you will be upset or disappointed about my announcement. Some of you might even try to rationalize my ‘failure’ or ignore my experience so you don’t have to face the possibility that veganism might not be the only way to live. Many of you might even be angry with me, after all you thought of me as an ally, some of you even went vegan partly because of me. I hope you are able to realize that I have to do what I believe is best, and what I believe is right for me. And if you happen to be a healthy and happy vegan, then I am happy for you! Keep on doing what works in your life, but maybe take away from my story that veganism is not always the best thing we can do for our own health or for the planet or for the animals. And if you are vegan and you don’t feel as healthy as you used to or as you would like, don’t waste any time in figuring out what is wrong and doing whatever you need to do to get better. You deserve to be healthy and happy, too.

The past few months have been humbling and painful, but ultimately happy. I started on this path in the depths of despair, my eyes almost permanently swollen shut by so much crying, wondering where to go from here, what to do. Who could I tell, what would they say? Should I keep it a secret or blog about it, or just drop off the face of the earth and never update my blog again? I thought long and hard about my blog, my precious personal space for sharing my silliest stories, goofiest photos, and absolute favorite recipes. I didn’t want to let it go, but how could I continue? As soon as I made this announcement I knew I would get hate mail. In fact, just from remarks on twitter and other blogs, I’ve already been inundated with angry letters accusing me of being an anti-vegan troll who has been plotting this for years, or in the employ of the meat industry.

So, I knew I would get hate mail as soon as I made this announcement but I didn’t feel right keeping it secret any longer. I am by nature a painfully honest person. But once the announcement was made, I wondered, what do I do then? Keep blogging? Stop blogging? Do I take pictures of the meat, or only show my vegan meals? I didn’t want to hide a part of my life as if I was ashamed of it. I didn’t want to deny the very decision that has restored my health and happiness by never breathing a word of my food choices to anyone. Most of all, I wanted to keep blogging because I love food. I love thinking about it, writing about it, cooking it, and most of all eating it. I love food and I love being a food blogger. I adore the community, the friends, the laughs, the memories. I don’t want to give any of it up. So, I’m going to continue. As you can see I’ve revamped the blog, obviously changing the title and a few of the pages to reflect my changing life. I will be permanently moving to a new url (www.voraciouseats.com) within the week. But no matter what I’m going to keep on blogging the meals and recipes I love. My life is so yummy – I want to share every single bite!

Post Author

Tasha

This post was written by who has written 180 posts on Voracious.

  • http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    Wow,Tasha. This post is epic. There are a zillion things I could comment on. This one stood out (among many others!)
    “All these exotic recommendations were supposedly needed to make me healthy on a diet that is heralded as natural and ideal; it absolutely did not make sense.” Your reference to imported gogis, maca, etc…so true!

    The bottom line with it all is that I am very happy for you. Thrilled for you! I know you will get some naysayers, some haters, some hatemail, the “have you tried’s” (which is so patronizing and insulting…on everything from veganism to arthritis to headaches..yes, the person “has tried”…my goodness but i digress).

    I am so happy that you have found your health. Been reborn as you said. I am always here as a friend, supporter, and champion of YOU! In whatever form your diet is. I really dont care.

    I think it’s amazing and a testimony to your strength as a person that you came forward, too, with this all. You, and I, and any blogger can hide, not reveal, or finesse the truth as we see fit…but you, you have been honest and true to yourself and are simply sharing it with the world. Bravo!

    And of course so happy you have found your health again! That’s what it’s all about. Your diet at 30 will not be the same as it was at 28 or 48 or 88. We are always all changing; glad you are making changes as your life is changing and tweaking things along the way.

    The new layout looks great. And good luck w/ the new URL. Tech stuff is always complicated!

    xoox

  • Emily

    I’m a long term lurker, but I had to leave a comment to support you. I reintroduced fish into my diet a couple of years ago when I realised I was getting breathless just walking up stairs, and that my iron levels were so low that getting my period meant slipping into anaemia and having to take suppliments. Since changing my diet, incorporating eggs, dairy or fish on a daily basis I am no longer tired, I can run, and do run, every day and I feel stronger and healthier.

    I admire your bravery, and I’ll continue to read your excellent blog x

  • Mia

    I have to tell you that i feel like your post came to me just at the right time. I admire the bravery and eloquence required to write an essay of this caliber. I’m struggling, immensely, with my health and have been vegan for 5 years, since i was 14 years old.I’m running out of ideas, and it’s so hard to even imagine the taste of flesh..i can’t even stand the smell. I suffer from debilitating depression and fatigue, and you’re absolutely right, anyone who critisizes someone on the quest for health and peace of mind, must not understand the true nature of our suffering. It really is such a shame that one is made to feel intimidated of speaking their mind, and of their trials and tribulations in trying to cause as least pain and devastation as possible. My dark emotions, a result of my terrible health,have caused me to make some very poor decisions, rendering me spiritually ill.I’ve become reliant on prescription drugs, and even occasionally street drugs, to ease my pain and allow myself to be a more productive member of society. I’m can’t lie about my state, i have no good reason to do so.I’m well aware of the casualties suffered in the production and trade of both legal and illegal drugs, but once you get a glimpse of sanity, it’s hard to ignore and therefore avoid.I have absolutely NO idea where to start, but it’s still so hard for me to figure out how i can even begin to come to terms with eating something from an animal.I find it absolutely disgusting.I just wanted to let you know that i will still follow your blog and i hope no one tries to discourage you. I look forward to your future articles, and i hope you offer more anecdotes about your journey towards health while remaining morally sound.I may be a minority but i’d surely benefit from any tips you can offer on introducing animals back into your diet, as i have no idea where to even begin. It hurts me so much to even say such a thing,but i realize that it needs to be done.

  • http://cookeatburn.wordpress.com Kristie

    Ack, what an incredibly difficult time you must have been having. Thank you for sharing, and for deciding to come back to blog, and this post just goes to show that I and others will continue to be privileged to read your heartfelt and informed thoughts. And so, so thankful that you have your health and voraciousness back! :)

  • http://veganawakening.wordpress.com Kiersten

    Tasha,
    Thank you for your honesty and sharing your story with us. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for you to deal with all of that. I completely understand why you went back to an omnivorous diet. While I would like to keep thinking that EVERYONE can thrive on a vegan diet, I know that this simply isn’t true. Everyone is different and our bodies require different things. There’s not much we can do other than to take care of ourselves, even if that means changing our views of food. Right now, while my body is mostly healthy, I can say that a vegan diet is great for me. But if my health were suddenly to deteriorate and my only option was to change my diet, it would be hard but I would learn to accept it as you have. While my views on veganism differ than yours, I still respect your views and decisions. I get upset when people judge my vegan lifestyle, so who would I be to judge someone else for their lifestyle? I’m sorry you received so much negativity from other vegans. I say, ignore the nasty comments and continue to stay healthy. I am glad you are feeling better again!

  • http://zippyzu.blogspot.com Crystal

    Tasha, I just wanted to say that your an amazing girl- listening to your body was surely the right thing to do and I’m so happy that you are feeling better. If people are going to judge your, and de-friend you.. well they aren’t worth having in your life. your a bright soul- and it shines through in your words. Thank you so much for being honest and getting this out.. Continue to be strong- and know that I will always look forward to upcoming posts <3 Much love
    Crystal

  • http://applesandporsches.com Ellie Di

    First – I’m so very, incredibly, amazingly happy that you’re healthy again. I was really worried about you! Sacrificing ourselves for our beliefs does sound noble and honourable, but in the end, it does no one any good since we’re no longer around to make the changes we need in the world. I’m sososo glad you made the choice to save yourself so you could carry on.

    Second – I find it fascinating that your journey has taken you into the realm of local food. I’ve been studying this for a while now and have also found it to be the approach to our environmental, animal, and health issues that makes the most sense overall. I’m proud of your ability to tackle these hardest of issues and come out not only with answers but with new fire.

    Third – If people want to tell you you’re bad, evil, whatever – eff ‘em.

    I’m so looking forward to seeing what new and wonderful things you discover on this branch of your path. (And if you can tell me how to cook fish in the house without smelling up the place for days, I’ll love you forever!)

  • http://huntgatherlove.com Melissa

    Of course there will be some vocal vegans here that will say you did something wrong, the ADA says veganism is fine, and if you only took supplement X you would still be vegan. But the truth is there are still things that science doesn’t know. Depression in particular is fairly poorly understood. I would definitely check out this excellent blog http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/

  • Sarah

    I knew this was probably coming, after I saw a comment of yours on Gena’s blog (Choosing Raw). I am happy that you have come to a place of peace with this, because I noted how upset you seemed in those comments.

    I know how hard it probably was to make this decision, but you went through each step so eloquently and thoughtfully in this post. There will certainly be people who will send you rude emails and comments, but I know you are undoubtedly strong enough (and voracious enough) to field those with grace and composure.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to continue blogging, and I look forward to hearing more about your life outside of veganism, if you’re planning to share.

    Also, I highly recommend Simon Fairlie’s book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance for an in-depth analysis of both vegan and non-vegan farming methods, and their impact on the environment. There are some flaws in his research, but overall it’s a really well-researched, thought provoking book.

  • http://topsy.com/thevoraciousvegan.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention A Vegan No More | Voracious — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ellie Di Julio, Tasha . Tasha said: The post you've all been waiting for – Why I'm No Longer Vegan – http://thevoraciousvegan.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/ [...]

  • http://www.thevegancookbook.com miss v

    glad to see you are okay, and finding the diet that works for you. i continue to believe that veganism is the best diet for the human body (both male and female), but i have never been one to force people to believe my ideals. that being said, i have many friends who chose to enjoy an omnivore or near-carnivore diet (i live in kansas city, after all). :) i’m happy to hear you are finding peace with yourself, your body, and your health.

  • http://cathweber.blogspot.com catherine (FOOD SNOB)

    Tasha, I’m sorry to hear you have been feeling so sick for so long, but I am so glad you figured out why and are feeling better! I believe every person knows what’s best for his/her body, and I applaud the changes you’ve made!

    I am extremely supportive of the locavore movement — I agree that it is probably the only way we can feed everyone in the world healthfully.

    Keep cooking! Keep blogging! I’ll keep reading!

  • a

    I’m a longtime lurker, and although I probably won’t continue to read your blog after the change, I want to tell you how important it is to respect your body’s needs so that you can continue to do good in the world.

    If your system says you need more protein and other nutrients, by all means, give it that. You’re a thoughtful, intelligent woman with much to offer the world. Do it kindly and mindfully, and feel no guilt.

    Take care of yourself, and be well!

  • http://tweal.blogspot.com tweal

    Great post Tasha! I have been following your twitter vegan discussion as of late, so I’ve been patiently awaiting this article to read the ‘full story’.

    I am so happy that you decided to share this story with your readers, as I think it’s very important for people to realize there isn’t one diet for everyone. We are all individually responsible for our own health, and not everything works for everyone. I was vegan for a short while but I found it too hard – I felt so deprived. Now I eat cheese or eggs (in baking) occasionally, but I think I would struggle much the same as you if I had to eat meat again. I will cross that bridge if and when I come to it.

    I also love this quote of yours “I refuse to play the game that so many women (vegan or not) are forced to play by our violently woman hating society; I will never feel shame or guilt for eating what my body wants and needs to be healthy.” I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://www.nellywantstobevegan.blogspot.com nelly

    darling tasha i applaud your bravery…and your strength! epic post…and i truly appreciate everything you have written.

    i am so happy to hear that you are well…and thriving again!

    cheers babe!!! <3

  • http://midlifevegan.blogspot.com Cheryl Allen Salinas

    Tasha — This is so beautifully said. I love your writing. While we would love to avoid the upsetting parts of our journeys, it is those parts in which we ultimately find our greatest growth. I’m sorry you have been suffering and want you to know that I feel none of us should judge another. Poor health is clearly an indicator that a change is needed, and depression most of all. I am happy for you that you made your choice thoughtfully, and observed your body’s response. We should each tune in to our body’s needs. I respect your choice and your talent, and will certainly continue to follow you as you evolve. Good Karma coming your way, girl!

  • http://www.fabulouslybroke.com FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com

    I am totally in support of you.. I can’t believe how mean some people were.

    I ate vegetarian/vegan for a while, but I couldn’t give up just my pure love and taste of meat/seafood, which just made me eat less meat overall but not give it up completely.

    What a beautiful post. I hope you don’t mind, I’ll link to it.

  • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

    Tasha,

    In the last two years we’ve known each other, I’ve come to truly admire and respect you. It would be untrue to say that there’s not a lot that I disagree with very fundamentally in this post, but the bottom line is that — as always — I respect your honesty, your sense of conviction, and your eloquent writing. I’m happy that you feel better than you were feeling a few months ago, and will continue to cheer on your healing process.

    Gena

  • http://dietdessertndogs.com Ricki

    Wow, what a brave and honest post–and so beautifully written. Congratulations on figuring out what was standing in the way of your good health (I’m still on that path!) and on making the changes necessary to regain your vitality. I think each of us must decide what works best for us and follow the route that makes most sense and feels right.

    I think what shocks me most about your post (and there were quite a few things–ha ha!) is that you received hate mail for this public confession. As someone who eats a vegan diet because it works best for me on all levels (I feel better, both physically and psychologically this way), I find it appalling that others would feel they have the right to judge your choices so harshly. Nobody is perfect, and we need to accept and respect each other!

    I both admire and respect you–and send big hugs to cheer you on your path back to health. :)

  • Heidi

    I’ve been a lurker for quite a while on your blog. While I’ve never been vegan I do think I need to add more veggies into my diet, so I read a lot of vegan blogs. I have to say. Good for you! What an amazing journey you’ve been on, and kudos to you for sharing it with all of us! I absolutely believe in eating local and I will follow you to your new blog as well. I hope things continue to improve in your health :)

  • Lindsay

    Of course I’m happy you feel better — and as long as this post was, I think a lot was left unsaid. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps you are not ready.

    Gena said it so well… It would be untrue to say that there’s not a lot that I disagree with very fundamentally in this post, especially having watched someone bounce back from iron deficiency (that she was trying to head on by eating steak and eggs 3x a day) by going plant-based.

  • http://myfruitylife1,blogspot.com Kat (My Fruity Life)

    I too, saw this post coming as I saw your comment on CR a while back.

    The bottom line is we must listen and respect what our body wants and should feel no shame in that. I am so happy you have found healing.

    This was a very voracious post. Kudos to you!

  • http://glutenfreeveganmunchies.com/ Kristin (of GF Vegan Munchies)

    Hi Tasha, I’m a long time vegan blog lurker, yours and so many others. I also saw your comment on Choosing Raw a few weeks back, so I’ve been curious about your story.

    Firstly, I want to honor you for listening to your body and having the courage to reconsider your convictions. This isn’t about me but I want to also share some of my experiences. Curiously, it was listening to my body and a recent major medical event that brought me to the vegan diet. I began my journey from standard American diet to exploring vegetarian and veganism about 3 years ago. My experience has been increased health ten fold. I don’t say this to criticize your experience at all. Quite the contrary, I believe this discussion is oh so important because knowing our own body and listening to our own wisdom will empower us far more than any fundamental belief system that does not coincide with our experience. Being empowered is what will lead us to influencing great positive change and spreading the warmth we wish to see in a sometimes cold, industrial, commercialized world that is suffering. We have to be connected, in truth and in spirit and in consciousness for all sentient beings, including ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will have nothing left to give.

    Over the years, I have struggled with whether or not to have a blog that features vegan food because I didn’t want to hold myself out as something untrue. Do I really belong on the PPK forum (I still haven’t joined btw)? I’ve been rather turned off by vegan proselytizing, even though I stand as a living example of many of its benefits and I share what I’ve learned all the time in with positive embrace. Vegan food, in whatever amount is suitable for each individual needs to be celebrated without condemnation for not begin an absolute. Your assertion that every body is different is correct and I think it garners respect as we share our love of vegan delights. For me, vegan diet 90-95% of the time is my healthiest experience. However, my body needs an occasional animal protien. I feel best when it’s fish. The first symptom that indicates I need it is hair loss. I work closely with a naturopath to evaluate my health and my nutrition. Vegan food for me has unlocked an entire world of healthful, conscious living that garners much pleasure and enjoyment and connectedness for me. I won’t be shamed by giving myself what I need either. My blog features gluten free vegan food b/c it is the staple of my diet and I want to share my journey honestly, even when I struggle. I’d love to open this dicusssion up on my blog once I’ve finished participating in VeganMofo.

    I hope you only pay attention to feeling honored, respected, supported, freed and loved. Best wishes to you! Namaste’

  • http://kristinsnibbles.wordpress.com Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)

    I applaud you. This post was amazing. Your explanation was incredibly factual and 100% understandable.

    Good for you for doing what is best for your health.

  • Meg

    Hi Tasha,

    We’ve already talked a bit about this so I won’t rehash everything I’ve said. But again, I am truly sorry that you’ve had to go through such health problems. I do believe that you’ve tried and I don’t blame you for eating meat. I know I would almost definitely do the same in your situation. And, as I’ve said before, I see it — at least when does as minimally as necessary — as not so different from vegans who take non-vegan medicines. After all, the definition of veganism says that we should do as much as “possible and practicable” to avoid animal exploitation and cruelty. I don’t believe that making yourself so sick is “practicable” at all.

    I do think we run into problems as vegans when we say that the vegan diet is the absolute healthiest for everyone and ignore possible problems. I don’t think that’s the case and I do see that there are people whose bodies have a harder time on it. I do hope, though, that with time those problems will be solved because I do still very much care about the sentient beings whose lives are taken to sustain humans. I consider myself very lucky to be doing better as a vegan, including a strictly vegan diet, but I realize that while I have the choice, others might not because of their bodies or other situations. I encourage everyone to do what they can, but don’t fault them for not doing what they can’t.

    Of course, I realize that you have had a change not just in diet than belief. I can’t say I’m as comfortable with that, but I know you are still a very good person who cares deeply about others. As there have been some rather high profile ex-vegans who have become VERY strongly anti-veganism, I hope you can understand why it makes some nervous at the very least. But, I hope they will also consider how their own intolerances might encourage such hostility.

    A few more things I’d like to address from the post…

    “Vegans like to say that it is our intentions that matter, but I ask ‘matter to who?’”

    Well, it matters to me personally, to know if I am doing right or wrong. Someone who intends to murder someone and just doesn’t get the chance is not a better person than someone who accidentally kills someone. Nor does accidentally giving money to charity through some sort of mistake make one a better person though the outcome might seem the same. In some cases, perhaps, no one would know but the person who did these things but they know and I do think that changes not only how they see themselves and the world but also affects their actions in less visibly connected ways.

    ” I now believe that instead of arbitrarily deciding that the deaths caused by veganism are okay, while the deaths caused by omnivores are unforgiveable…”

    No doubt there are some who think this, but I do not think that is the “mainstream” vegan view if there is one. I certainly do not think that way. I have plenty of forgiveness for others. And I don’t think that the deaths caused by the production of plant foods is “okay”. It certainly is not. But, it may be harder to avoid. That is part of the reason why I and others say that veganism is the baseline — that is, the *least* we should do is to try to avoid exploitation of and cruelty to other animals as far as possible and practicable. That leaves what is harder to avoid and that which is accidental. We still should work on those, though.

    “As a vegan I didn’t like to think about the fact that without animals’ waste products, bones, and blood, farming is literally a zero sum game. Without organic matter to feed the plants and the hungry soil, the precious topsoil will die and nothing can grow, a fact of life we are seeing play out around the globe as the millions of fossil fuel dependent farms collapse.”

    This bothered me because it is false and I’d really hate for people to believe that that is the only option, to take the manure and bodies of captive animals. I encourage you and others to look into veganic farming as an alternative. I also support humanure, which is different than “night soil” which is what most people are familiar with.

    Finally, I would like to remind everyone that veganism is not just about one eats. That tends to get the most attention and tends to be the greatest problem for a lot of people. Animal exploitation exists in many ways, from fashion to the pet industry and zoos and in so many items. I do encourage everyone to go vegan even if you end up being one of those that must make the occasional dietary allowance for health reasons. I do strongly believe that to exploit and kill sentient beings *when we can reasonably avoid it* is the wrong choice. Please do make the vegan choice whenever you can, whether it is buying vegan makeup and clothes or choosing a vegan meal.

    Thank you Tasha for writing this and for leaving it open to comments!

  • http://www.thevelovegan.blogspot.com Velovegan

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to comment and say that you shouldn’t feel bad about it. You know yourself what is best for your body. Your diet as a vegan, from what I could see, was excellent. So if it wasn’t working for you when you were eating the best you possibly could, then it doesn’t make sense to carry on with it if it was making you sick. I know someone who was a vegetarian for many years (maybe about 10 or more?) who went back to eating meat not so long ago, for health reasons. As a vegetarian she had IBS, and since adopting a paleo lifestyle her stomach is no longer in pain. Link is here if you’d like to have a look: http://foodfloraandfelines.blogspot.com – she studied nutrition so is VERY clued up on everything.

    I don’t think your time as a vegan has been wasted, however. You will now be able to assume an omnivourous diet, while knowing a lot about animal welfare. Maybe you can even use your knowledge to educate others into eating compassionately – by buying organic meat and dairy, from known sources? In my experience, on telling people I am a vegan they think I am a freak, whereas if I just convey to them the importance of animal welfare and thinking about where their meat comes from, they end up making a better informed choice, choosing organic and locally produced over factory farmed or from unknown origin (my boyfriend is a meat eater but shuns so many products due to my warning him of what is good/badly produced meat)!

    As for vegans behind the scenes eating meat/dairy, I would have to say that I wouldn’t touch meat myself and lie about it, I don’t really see the point. I do have the occasional bit of dairy though, if I really fancy something while out and I discover it has a bit of milk or butter in it. I am not going to beat myself up over it though or let anyone else tell me I’m a failure or unworthy of the title of a vegan. I do my best 99% of the time and I admit to my failures. I actually do believe that humans are meant to eat some meat and a bit of dairy – to me, it seems natural, BUT, it’s the way things have gone with cruel farming practices that have driven me to become a vegan. If time was reversed and everyone had a few chickens of their own, a cow, and a few sheep who lived happy lives, then I would probably be an omnivore! People may find this shocking, but hey, that’s my opinion. As long as we stick to our beliefs and try to reduce animal suffering then that’s what matters – no matter if we are vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater: you can still be compassionate.

    I really hope that your health continues to improve. Don’t let anyone tell you what is best for your body, listen to the professionals and to your own mind.

    xxx

  • Allison

    Thank you for this post and for talking about something most people are afraid to address. So honest and thoughtful. You’ve made me rethink everything.

  • http://christinehennessey.blogspot.com Chrissy (The New Me)

    Thanks for blogging about your decision and the reality you’ve been facing the last few months. I’m so glad that you’ve found a way to be healthy and thrive. I reintroduced local eggs back into my diet a month or two ago, not because I was feeling deficient, but because I feel like my food philosophy is evolving. I don’t think veganism is the best choice for everyone, or that it is possible for everyone, and I agree with you that local food is more important. I’m not sure I could go so far as to eat animal flesh again, and I’m lactose intolerant so I know dairy is out of the picture, but the eggs I can handle. Not only handle, but enjoy!

    Lots of luck to you on our journey, and I will be following along on your adventures!

  • Linda

    Hi Tasha –

    Just wanted to say I applaud being brave enough to say all this publicy to a community that is often extremely judgemental.

    I’ve often thought the die hard no-shades-of-gray approach to food that is often the hallmark of many vegan/vegetarian adherents is very smiliar to any other eating disorder, with lots of self imposed rules and little tolerance for others who vary from the “beliefs”. No doubt many will decry your “falling off the wagon” and will self righteously lambast you; pay them no heed, you are being very wise.

  • Stephanie

    Tasha, when I read your comment on Gena’s post awhile back, I felt so hurt for you. You sounded like what you were facing was just killing you (and, apparently it was!) and you were in such a dark place, thinking about turning against something you were so passionate about.

    I’m really happy to hear that you’ve found what works for your body, and I absolutely believe that is important for everyone, vegan or not. I can’t even say where I’m at currently will always be right for me.

    I love your writing and will continue to read it!

  • http://cookeasyvegan.blogspot.com Andrea

    Thank you for this eloquent and honest post on your health, life and beliefs. I’ve always admired your forthright approach to whatever you are involved in. I respect whatever decision you’ve made, knowing the deep level of thought and study that went into it. You’ve made a decision about your body and health that you needed to make, and whether you stay with this choice or some day choose something else, I remain a supporter. I’ll still be interested in reading your ideas on this blog. It makes me uncomfortable to know that well-respected bloggers and authors are not being honest, and may be misleading their readers. Thank you for not being one of them.

  • http://cafewitteveen.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/a-fun-filled-friday-lickity-split-and-an-inadvertent-middle-finger-to-you/ A fun-filled Friday lickity split and an inadvertent middle finger to you! « Le Café Witteveen

    [...] vegan goes omnivore and writes an epic post about it. Thanks [...]

  • Kirsten Marie

    Thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and trials.

  • Carole

    Tasha, what a moving post.

    I just wanted to say how sorry I was to read about how ill you have been.

    I have loved reading your blog and will continue to do so. Thank you for sharing your feelings so beautifully.

    I myself have sometimes struggled with being vegan over the last 17 years of my life, and have over the years switched back and forth between a vegetarian life and a vegan one.

    I passionately believe we should not harm other animals, but true life is not that black and white, and we must all choose to do the best we can each and every day of our lives, for ourselves and for others.

    I recently decided not to carry a lable of what I am anymore – I am just me.

    All my best wishes for your future! (Keep up the blogging please) x

  • http://www.jessiebea.com Jessie

    I’m so happy to hear that your are healthy and happy! I admire your strength in not just blindly accepting the doctors orders, but really trying to understand why your body needs what it does. I do have to say that it surprises me as well that a vegan diet might not be the healthiest diet on the planet. And I honestly don’t think a single person could correctly point to anything you did wrong in your veganism- your diet always seemed so perfectly healthy to me.

    I was wondering if you could share some books or articles that you might have come across when you were doing your own research? Your article has me thinking about how most of my information comes not from science per se, but from hearing what others tell me. I’d love to learn more.

    And you can be sure that I’ll still be a reader. Your posts, whether they are pictures of food, recipes, or essays always leave me hungry or thinking about things I hadn’t thought about before.

  • michelle

    tasha,
    i hope this little comment of mine doesn’t get jumbled in the mix…
    i just wanted you to know that i have been feeling, as a very strict vegetarian, all of the things you were feeling as a vegan…i often feel tired and listless, freezing cold all of the time (especially after i eat), and i’ve even suffered bouts of anxiety over the past year (something that has never happened to me before). i’ve been on and off vegetarian/vegan for nearly 14 years…and i can honestly say that i am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. over the summer i had the priviledge of meeting lierre keith, an author and long time vegan turned omnivore who shares a story much like yours…i had actually put her book on my amazon wishlist before i even knew who she was…but then at a dinner arranged by one of our dear friends, lierre was there and i had a chance to not only listen to some things she had to say but also to watch her eat…i went home that night and ordered her book “the vegetarian myth” and i swear to you that one book of only a few hundred pages was a huge slap of reality…all of the things i thought i knew were wrong. and no, veganism and vegetarianism will NOT save the world. my fiance is also vegetarian and he was vegan for a few years before i urged him to start eating eggs, he was SO skinny and pale and sick most of the time…we now eat local, organic eggs from vegetarian fed hens and we’ve also added local goat cheese to our diets. but i am teetering very loosely on the edge of eating meat. it has been so long that i honestly just dont have a taste for it at all…but after going to the doctor and hearing them tell me that my bouts of anxiety and extreme dizziness are closely related to my diet and reading lierre’s book and now this…i am feeling like my arsenal of vitamins just isn’t enough…i know it will be hard to convince my fiance to eat meat with me…i think it will be a process even convincing myself…but i realize that for overall health and well being…and to restore the vitality that we once had…this might be essential. i’ve been talking about starting slowly by using organic free range chicken broth in our meals…do you have any thoughts? any ways that might be easy to include meat into a diet that hasn’t included it for years? i also love cooking and trying new recipes…and i have loved your blog all along…and i will continue to be on your side still.
    thank you for sharing this! it is a funny thing being vegan…almost an elitist attitude we carry, as if “vegan” is who we are…that is the identity of our true self…in terms of health perhaps “you are what you eat”…but in terms of spirit, no one bite defines you.
    peace.blessings.love. and health to you.
    …michelle

  • http://rs79.vrx.net Richard Sexton

    Been there, done that. I tried no meat and thought my body was dying. While some people seem to be able to do this it’s undeniable many can not.

    There was an article in the Washington Post not that long ago where an NFL player found the same thing: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120122116182915297.html

    Nobody (in their right mind) wants to see animals suffer, but we’re letting our emotions get in the way of our intellect. Consider: tens of thousands of, say, cows of chickens are killed every day and given the factory farms they live in death is probably a relief. Then we have seals and other wild animals that live perfectly natural lives and are then hunted by indigenous peoples(with rifles, not clubs) in small amounts, and keep in mind seals are not an endangered species. Yet, through emotion and not intellect the poverty stricken natives of the Arctic, by recent decision, can not sell their seal products in the EU, yet we allow beef, chicken, etc, from factory farms to be sold there. The triumph of emotion over intellect, in the exact same way proponents of vegan-ism rabidly proclaim everybody should eat that way. It’s the (lack of) B12 talking…

    As an aside, you may not need to eat anything more than eggs and sardines (or other oily fish) which live perfectly natural lives and are a highly renewable resource not in any danger, free of mercury, and like natures little vitamin, mineral and omega-3 pills.

    Best wishes,

  • http://www.babcockandbobbins.co.uk Dave Powell

    Wow, amazing post. I always like to hear counter arguments especially on the “ethics” front and this hit the spot in so many ways. thanks

  • Jennifer K

    Hi Tasha,
    Long time lurker here. I just wanted to add my voice to the positive encouragements you have received here. Of course you should do what is best for you and I admire you for it. We would all benefit from listening to our inner voices more. It sounds like you have been through a really tough time but have come out stronger for it. Good for you!

    Although I am mostly vegan (I eat eggs from the chickens that my dad raises) I have always thought that people who eat only sustainable and ethical animal products are doing as much, if not more, for the cause of animal rights as vegetarians or vegans because when you eat these products it creates a demand for better animal foods. The world isn’t ever going to go vegan but if we could get people to care about where their food comes from, the world would be a better place for both humans and animals.

    I really admire your bravery in writing this beautiful post and I look forward to reading your future posts.

  • http://jennybakes.blogspot.com Jenny

    Health is about balance, basically. I eat vegan a lot of days, but had to go back to eating fish and eggs after similar but not as serious health issues. I had to have my gallbladder removed after it shut down following a foray into only fruits and vegetables (similar to the trend of gallbladder problems after the fat-free diet craze in the 80′s). I couldn’t afford to purchase meat on a regular basis that came from the ethics I would demand, so I just try to buy eggs from chickens who have been treated well, and fish that has been farm-raised and low on the endangered list.

  • Paul York

    All you have to do is eat correctly. If veganism did not work for you, it’s because you did not do it correctly. It is the healthier diet option by far, and also more ethically and environmentally good. Keep trying and don’t give up. The people who said it was unhealthy are wrong.

  • http://anewchallenge.wordpress.com Liz

    I am so happy that you are well again. :)

  • http://www.jessiebea.com Jessie

    Oh Paul…

  • http://www.veganathome.blogspot.com Susan G

    Dear Tasha,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Many may recognize themselves in it. I’m sorry you went through such a hard time, and wish you the best health and peace in the future. I think you are very brave and eloquent.

    Susan

  • b

    My god this is brilliant. Tasha, way to own where you are and what you need. Illness is real, especially in radical communities, and our health is not to be taken for granted or treated like a privilege. I so appreciate the connections you make here between misogynist body hatred and farming and animals and food. The new blog may not inspire my cooking in the way this one has, but I’ll happily take that trade-off. Much love to you.

  • Charlie

    What a beautifully written and heartfelt article. Thank you for sharing the inner details of your experience and outcome. I know there are so many differing views on this subject, but I truly believe our bodies were designed to consume animal protein. Just as I do not fault an animal in the wild for eating another animal, I do not fault another human for eating an animal. It’s part of the balance of nature. But I also understand the personal choice some people make not to partake. Their health is their issue, not mine. I do feel though that we are too meat oriented in our country and feel that good fresh veggies should be the bulk of our diets with the smaller addition of animal protein in order to stay heart healthy. But, that’s just my feeling. I know many would disagree with me.

    Anyhow, thank you again for sharing your experience with us. May you enjoy fully your newfound health!

  • CaitieCat from Shakesville

    This is a most impressive, heartfelt, and beautifully-written post. Speaking as someone outside the vegan movement, it sounds heartbreaking that you faced such a crisis, and I’m glad to see you’ve found a solution that works for you – and done so in a way that doesn’t say anyone else is wrong for believing differently for them.

    Came by from a link at Shakesville’s blogaround.

  • http://goofygourmet.blogspot.com Sarah

    Hi Tasha,

    I’ve never commented before on your site, but I would like to say how sorry I am that you went through such suffering. I’m close to someone who has struggled a long time with depression and would do anything, anything at all, not to ever feel that way again. The physical aspect of your experience sounds truly horrifying.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years ever since I bonded with a cow. The first 6 months I was strict–no animal flesh, period. Then I realized that my wounds were taking a lot longer to heal and I just didn’t feel so good. I started eating fish about once every one or two months, which is how often my body craves it, and it made a big difference to me. I’ve been able to keep going and be healthy like that ever since. From what I can tell by watching Survivorman, there’s no way that humans evolved to eat a ton of meat every day–it’s really hard to catch animals!

    I have to ponder your remarks on the damaging effect of veganism on the Earth. It’s the first time I ever heard that point of view, and I wonder if the damage could be mitigated by de-emphasizing grains, corn, and soy in agriculture. Is that completely unrealistic? I know that people used to eat hundreds of varieties of plants due to their hunter-gatherer lifestyles…but perhaps agriculture and over-population are the real Earth-harmers.

    Now I’m super-curious: What are you cooking for Thanksgiving??? Or as a Saudi Arabian, do you no longer celebrate it?

  • Jade

    This post has made me think about why I am vegan. I, however, have not suffered any ill health from my diet. I feel better than I ever did eating animal products, but maybe that is because of the Standard American Diet way I used to eat. I am sorry for your struggles and I am so glad that you have found your way to health and happiness. Every one of us is different, and that’s OK. You have to listen to your body.

    I am now realizing that it’s not all about who is the best or hippest vegan, it’s about what is right for you. We don’t have to have a label.

  • http://laney-lanesworld.blogspot.com elaine

    Thank you for writing this. For being BRAVE enough to write this. I admire your honesty, your journey, and do not criticize you in the least for finding what YOU had to do to take good care of yourself. Bravo!

  • http://www.epicurvegan.com Nicole

    Tasha:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us and for being brave enough to face this so publicly. As an aspiring dietician/medicinal herbalist/holistic nutritionist who is also staunchly vegan (been vegan for 8+ years), for me your post definitely helps me see how not to judge others in their decisions to do what works best for them. Having had experiences in vegan communities where I was harshly criticized for not being the most perfect vegan example, I know how devastating it can be to be judged like you were by the people in your community that you had hoped would be the first to lend you support.

    My career path has often had me thinking about how I would feel about advising someone who wanted to eat a meat-based diet. I’ve also fielded questions from others on how I would or wouldn’t involve my personal ethics in helping someone toward a path to health. My decision has been that my primary interest lies in caring for the health of others, not in convincing them to be vegan. My personal decisions about my diet should never complicate how I care for someone else’s health, someone who comes to me with the trust that I will do my very best to help them. I may not choose to eat meat myself and I may not like what happens to the animals. But what kind of a health care professional would I be if I let my personal interests influence how I advise a patient or client? It’s totally unethical and irresponsible to put my beliefs ahead of someone else’s health. And I don’t think that others who aren’t in your shoes and haven’t had your experience have any business calling you out for eating meat again.

    I’m not advocating for eating meat, eggs, and dairy at every meal. And veganism is not just about the food – just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you need to start wearing fur or leather. But we both know that eating a heavily meat-based diet is only trading one handful of problems for another handful of new problems. But what I am saying is that you can still eat a lot of veggies, grains, and other foods along with meat, fish, dairy and eggs. It’s all about creating a balanced diet for you, one that is based on your own needs and not the decisions of others who don’t know or won’t admit that there really are some people can’t thrive on a vegan diet. For some of us it’s not as simple as “doing it right” on a vegan diet. There are 6 billion plus people on this planet and that means 6 billion plus different body chemistries. It’s naive to believe that all of our bodies are going to behave exactly the same. DNA and hereditary factors just don’t work that way. It’s all fine and well for someone to go out and read a book like “Becoming Vegan” and think they know everything. But despite my rather radical vegan ethics, I’ve had to come to terms with the truth that no matter what I believe in the fact of the matter is that my education in herbal medicine has shown me that there is bonafide science-based evidence to show that there are very complicated processed involved in how each of us responds to the nutrients in foods and herbs.

    I can see how hard this has been for you, and I wanted to let you know that I do believe that you made the right choice for you. I had the same experience as you did in feeling so very torn over personal ethics and beliefs and the need to be healthy. For me, my experience was going from being an omnivore to being vegan. The internal turmoil I faced in knowing why, for me, eating meat and dairy was wrong immediately vanished when I did what was right for me and went vegan. One moment I was standing in the dairy aisle of a grocery store, dithering over what eggs to buy for my boyfriend and knowing that no matter how I tried to fool myself free-range was not even a bird-friendly option. The next moment I was walking out of the store with tears in my eyes, having left my very full basket of non-vegan food right where it was on the floor. I couldn’t buy the eggs and I couldn’t deal with the turmoil anymore, and in that moment I was vegan.

    I didn’t mention this because I’m saying that I think your decision was wrong – the thing is that I knew I had to go vegan, and when I made that decision I felt such an enormous relief in not having to deal with that inner turmoil. I made the decision that for me was the right decision, just like you had to make a very hard decision to eat meat despite all of your concerns.

    It’s true that while we all may be human, each of us has a unique body chemistry and not all of us will thrive the same way that others do. Take herbal medicine, for instance. Just because a remedy I use works remarkably well for me doesn’t mean that it would work as well for you. Each of our bodies will interact with the constituents of the herbs in different ways. And while there are some overall benefits that result from taking a certain herb, it’s not necessarily true that those benefits will manifest in you the same way that they do in me. I think the same can be held true for the kind of diet we choose to eat – I may do just fine without meat whereas you don’t. I will admit to having a problem with anemia, but that problem has persisted regardless of the type of diet I choose to eat. I could very well be one of those people who simply doesn’t absorb iron properly regardless of whether it is heme or non-heme. You might just be one of those persons with a body chemistry that thrives better with the occasional inclusion of animal products, especially when it comes to iron.

    Do what you have to do with what you have and what you can and be at peace with the knowledge that you have done your very best. Be happy, sweetheart.

  • http://veg11.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    Hi Tasha,

    Thanks for sharing. I emailed you last night about this. Ever since I read The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone I have been intrigued by the vegan & macrobiotic diet. I have a blog I stared as well, sharing some of the vegan recipes I’ve been finding & trying. I recently too changed the name of my blog. When I went on a road trip down the coast I found it very difficult to eat a vegan diet. So I stared eating meat & dairy and realized I must be somewhat lactose intolerant by the way dairy makes me feel.

    I think when you need to start taking supplements to stay healthy, then your diet needs to change cause that’s not natural. Kudos to you for listening to your body & sorry you had to learn the hard way. I’ve personally haven’t given all my faith into the vegan diet. I continue to follow a vegan diet about 85% of the time and eat fish, eggs and some meat occasionally. I think introducing more grains and veggies is a good thing for your body but occasionally you need meat. Those nutrients you just can’t find anywhere else.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better :)

    Sarah

  • Anya

    I have loved reading your posts…this was a particularly brave post to put forward. My only comment is this – why not try a lacto-vegetarian diet? This is the diet Indians have been thriving on for thousands of years. It should stave off the anemia and B12 deficiency. I wonder why a lot of vegans, when faced with some health issues, go completely to the other side and start eating red meat again.
    I continue to be vegan, but if I ever had health issues, I would reintroduce organic milk and some eggs, if absolutely necessary. Could never go back to eating meat.

  • BobTheExVegan

    I was vegan for over a decade, and ended up with depression and other health problems. When I returned to eating meat, my health improved greatly.

    It was a difficult transition, but know that you are not alone in this.

    Thank you for your honest and moving article.

  • Bob Ross

    How odd that there are no negative comments here. That just doesn’t happen…

  • john west

    just shows how powerful the meat and dairy lobby are making things like this up
    what a joke

  • Shari

    Too much drama, here. Oddly dogmatic, from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Perhaps that’s the most important health issue, needed a rigid paradigm.

    Good luck on your journey ….

  • Jerome

    Hello, delurking to say that while I won’t be reading your blog anymore, I have enjoyed it immensely up until this point, and I certainly understand your logic and wish you much success on your journey.

    The question I would pose is whether you could challenge yourself to be as vegan as possible in every other way (cosmetics, clothing, etc.), as those choices probably wouldn’t be detrimental to your health and wouldn’t support further cruelty.

    It might also be worth seeking out meat from non-factory-farmed animals so that you aren’t supporting the most horrific conditions that they “live” and die under.

  • Paula

    Why not ovo-lacto and leave the meat aside?

    I’ve been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for almost 20 years, experimented with veganism for 5 months and went back to consuming dairy and eggs for B12 (I simply did not feel comfortable with the vegan B12 argument and I felt my body needed the plain yogurt it always has had).

    Yet being vegan taught a lot about maximizing the plant diet whilst only peppering it with dairy and eggs for nutrition’s sake. YOU inspired me to try and make green smoothies a part of my life. They still are in my post-vegan, back to ovo-lacto reality.

    Babe, I know you’re devastated and you should not put yourself down: this is simply a different stage of your activism and your nutritional and spiritual life path. You’ve brought yourself and us much wisdom and awareness. Please don’t ever doubt yourself or all that you’ve accomplished.

    Lots of love….Paula

  • http://twitter.com/jkimbell James

    Hi Natasha,

    One thing that’s for sure is the strangeness of nutrition science, at least in its current state. It’s very hard to make blanket recommendations and be right. There are healthy people who’ve been on an Esselstyn diet for 20 years, and there are healthy people who’ve been on an Atkins diet for 20 years. (There are also healthy people who’ve been on the Standard American Diet for 20 years.)

    However, just because it’s hard to be right doesn’t mean it’s hard to be wrong. When you say cholesterol is nutritious, saturated fat is great, animal vitamins are magically better, you are making a lot of claims, and it’s quite unlikely that they’re all true. The skepticism with which you recently approached vegan assertions was great – keep it turned on when you read Weston Price articles. This new diet seems to work better for you, but it’s hard to say which parts are helping and why.

    That said, you’ve got time. No need to figure it all out now. In fact, it’d be impossible to.

  • http://twitter.com/jkimbell James

    Whoops, I typed Natasha when it’s just Tasha.

  • Damen

    wow. What a powerful and positive response to a difficult issue. You have really excelled with this one, and put it out there where it needs to be. I have also been vegan for 3.5 years now, and although I haven’t had any health issues (on the contrary, I’ve been completely fine with it), I have slowly come to question my views for many reasons, and many of them are the same as your own – and, perhaps not coincidentally, my conclusions have been much the same also. It certainly is not an easy thing to do deal with, but as you and other comments have said, we must do what is actually right not what we driven to do by emotional responses alone. Factory farming remains unequivocally wrong and unjustifiable, and must be opposed strenuously by all decent people everywhere, but that doesn’t mean that eating meat is “wrong” – it is in fact quite normal and natural, and for people like yourself it isn’t even optional, but essential. It is the production method that is unnatural, not the product itself, and I think we forget that all to easily and all too often. Thankyou for having the courage to express so eloquently and in such detail so many things that so many people need to hear. Please keep this blog open at least, even if you no longer choose to update it, so that others will be able to find it and read it also.

  • Paula

    One more thing-sorry to post back to back-you’ve just inspired me to go and bake!! Yummy pumpkin pie…maybe chocolate muffins, too!

    Thanks for all the life you bring and don’t you dare not blog! :)

    I missed your posts of late and was wondering what was up! Now I know! Again, you are immensely brave for taking your decision public and I am glad to hear you are feeling healthy and strong.

  • Cailin

    I was a lurker on your sight for MANY months. For a long time, I had been questioning my own eating habits, and was beginning to think that a vegan diet would solve all my problems. So I started to research and followed your blog, and a few others daily.

    All the vegan bloggers I followed made the vegan lifestyle sound idealistic. Your health is immediately restored, you can drop pounds without even trying, your skin will glow, your hair will shine and your depression will fade. I truly began to believe the vegan diet was the answer for me.

    I tried eating a vegetarian almost vegan diet for a (very) brief period, and I immediately noticed the lack of energy I had when I cut out those foods from my diet. I began eating meat and dairy products again, immediately feeling like a failure and felt guilty in doing so.

    I would check up on your blog and the others and would feel terrible about myself that I was too weak to become a vegan and the temptation of eating meat and cheeses was too much. No will-power.

    Then there were no updates for a good long while and I began to re-evaluate my eating habits again. Trying to find the right balance for me.

    I am currently in the midst of changing my diet to a more healthy one. A balance of fruits, veggies, grains and meats and cutting out as much refined sugar and all those other nasty things as I can. It’s hard though, as living on a student budget it isn’t easy to get all the healthy, organic stuff that I would like, but I’m trying, and it’s a process in itself.

    I randomly came back to your blog today on a whim…and I immediately saw the “Vegan No More” headline, and immediately dove in and read every word.

    Thank you for coming forth and being so brave and honest in this post. Some of us just aren’t made for a plant based diet, as I’ve now learned.

    Thank you Tasha once again. I will continue to be a loyal follower of yours, and can’t wait to see what Omnivorous treats you will concoct for me to try out in my own kitchen!

  • Jason in Princeton

    “You did not do it correctly.” ….??

    Good lord, Paul, did you even read what she wrote?

    Tasha, best wishes to you, and be well.

  • Jason in Princeton

    “eat correctly”, rather.

  • Angelina

    Hi,

    I’ve never read your blog before but I wanted to say I think we all have to figure out what is right for us. I have been vegan for a few years and for me, it has been great.

    I would also say I urge everyone, vegan or not, to have a regular physical with blood tests. Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D as well as the standard ones. Some people don’t absorb vitamins very well even though diet so you can be an omnivore with a B-12 deficiency.

    Anyway, I hope you well on your path to figure out what is right for you.

  • Marlee

    I would have found a vegan nutritionist. You can rarely trust an omni dr. to help you find the right vegan way to eat that will work for you.

    Plus you said your dr. said we, as humans, use to eat a lot more meat? That is not true at all. Before factory farms meat was only a side dish, not ever a main course as it is now. That is one of the reasons we have so many health issues.

    You said “nutritious cholesterol.” Cholesterol from animal products is not nutritious. The human body makes its own cholesterol and does not need any from outside sources. Eating animal products is why so many people have high cholesterol.

    I have 2 friends with iron deficiencies and another with iron anemia and B12 anemia problems. All of them eat meat and they do not skimp on eating it either. Those problems are not a vegan problem.

    I feel for your struggle but I think you should try consulting a vegan nutritionist or dietician if you do care about animals.

  • Cassandra

    Anyone who dares criticize you, claim you “didn’t do it right” or try to force-feed you their “anything but vegan is evil” crap either didn’t read what you had to say or just don’t care about you. Much like the “prolife” who do nothing for the born children they claim they want to save, these people who’ve been so cruel to you have no idea what you’ve gone through. Regardless, they’re not worth your time or energy.
    Having read through your struggle, it sounds oddly similar to the struggle many anorexic and bulimic people go through. I’ve watched a close friend suffer the way you did as she basically starved herself and your struggle, particularly with the doctors echoed what I heard from her. When she was finally able to accept that she needed to eat more, the joy we all shared with her was much like you describe as well and I appreciate hearing your success. I know we’ve never met, but expect to see more comments from me in the future.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  • Vegan

    What a bunch of poop! Fine, if you don’t want to eat vegan, don’t (well, as a vegan i don’t think it’s fine, but that’s another story). However, just because you choose to discontinue a healthy, compassionate diet, don’t spread such nonsense to make yourself feel better for having to (or rather thinking that you have to) go against your morals. I understand you are trying to rationalize in order to live with yourself without self-hating for what you’re doing.

    You are discounting a vegan diet and it sounds to me like you are discounting a vegan lifestyle in general. Are you now wearing leather and fur, for example? I would assume so because you seem to have done a 180 as to your previous thinking.

    I agree with a lot of what Meg wrote above so I don’t want to repeat what she has said. However, I want to add that you several times said things such as, “The willing participation in the denial and degradation of my bodily needs smacked of misogyny, patriarchal control and violence against the female body, and everything that I fight against. ”

    What hooey!! Do you think veganism is for women only?? This is apples and oranges here and makes no sense. You’re grasping at straws to make yourself feel good with your decision.

    Again, do what you want with your body but don’t encourage others by writing some outright lies in your diatribe.

    To sum up, you couldn’t hack a vegan diet and instead of just doing what is right for your body, you have to make excuses as to why everything you did before was wrong and everything you are doing now is right – and you’re trying to drag others down this horrible path.

    I would have had respect for you if you had said, hey I choose to eat meat now because it’s what I want to do, but the fact that you’re now pulling stuff from Carni 101 and spreading these lies as truth is reprehensible and makes me have very, very little respect for you.

  • http://www.hangontomato.com Carolyn

    Wow… I gotta say, I NEVER saw this coming. But I am SO GLAD that you told us what’s been going on!! I’m glad that you are happy and finding yourself in a much healthier place. You were one of my biggest cheerleaders when I went vegan for a short period of time, and I am more than happy to be your cheerleader right now!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  • Vegan

    I just found out you were vegan for only 3 years. Oh my. Try talking to some of us who have been vegans for 20, 30, 40 years now… Anyhow, now I understand where some of this is coming from. You probably became vegan in the first place because it was just the “cool” thing for you to do at the time.

    Plain and simple, you’ve said some extremely ignorant things about veganism. Although I thought you were doing it out of spite before to make excuses for not hacking it, I now see it’s that in addition to not having done enough research on vegan-related issues. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed for you for stating some of the things you’ve said. You would have been fired now if you were working at a newspaper for not fact-checking!

  • Vegan

    Cassandra, you may have hit on another point. If she went vegan because had body issues and used it to lose weight as a wish to become anorexic, when she got sick from her unhealthy relationship with food she may have had someone call her out on it. Some anorexics do hide behind the mantle of being a “vegan” when in fact, they are not eating healthy because they are depriving themselves of a healthy, vegan diet. I don’t know if that’s the case here, but good on you for spotting it!

  • ImHealthy

    Jains have been vegans for thousands of years. And I think you laid it on a little thick with what this doctor of yours supposedly said.

  • http://pythagoreancrank.com/?p=767 The Vegan Bubble « Pythagorean Crank

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  • Shannon

    You guys, this person is just a plant from the meat and/or dairy industry. It’s obvious because “she”talks about stuff that isn’t relevant to “her” supposed reason for writing this.

    They also appeared to have pulled some anorexic person’s picture off the internet and stuck it on here. However, what they forgot is “she” is supposedly healthy now eating meat. They forgot to update that fake photo of “her” which helps to disprove this.

  • ImHealthy

    How come my comment didn’t get posted? I said that Jains have been vegans for thousands of years and that Tasha laid it on too thick to be believable about what her doctor supposedly said.

  • Flora

    Wow, I know a lot of people who really need to read this! People just have to stop beating themselves up over what they eat or don’t eat. Moderation is almost always the key to a balanced life, and diet is no different. Thanks for being brave enough to tell your story.

    To the prissy and self-righteous ones who left negative comments: if you want to be the Food Police, go work for CSPI and/or shut the hell up.

  • danna

    as a vegan i will no longer be reading your blog but i thank you for your candor and i’m sorry for your health problems. i’m even sorrier for the animals you will be eating and i do wish you wouldn’t implore others to join your unnecesarry consumption of them. please do as other have said and consult a VEGAN nutritionist!

  • Melinda J

    Thank you for your honesty! I’ve been struggling with the possibility that I might need animal products, and have been an endless mental loop that goes like this:

    If I eat meat, then I want to eat only grass-fed organic meat. Eating natural meat is very expensive and I don’t really know how to choose it. Raw dairy products scare me. Choosing the right animal products is too difficult and expensive. I should just stay vegan…

    I look forward to reading about your journey and I hope you get more positive reactions than negative ones!

  • Simran

    Imhealthy,

    Jains are NOT vegan. They are LACTO-VEGETARIANS who consume all sorts of dairy except for eggs — cream, paneer, cheese, etc.

    Please do your research before you spread false rumors about a religion.

  • Jane Doe to You

    Wow, this is cool! The writer appears to be quite a wishy-washy nut job but I love reading most of the comments left here.

  • Heather

    Are you serious? I was a vegan for 10 years. Well, 10 years, 3 months and about 5 days to be exact but…come on. The vegan diet is healthy. You’ve seen Tasha’s posts of her food — it wasn’t like she was subsisting on vegan Twinkies and peanut butter. She had a diet better than most people I’ve ever met, vegan or not. Lots of varied veggies, fruits, beans, healthy fats — everything that anyone proclaims to be the pinnacle of a healthy vegan diet, she ate. And it wasn’t enough for her. She did it “correctly,” whatever the hell THAT means, and it wasn’t enough. She as a person needed more, and eventually she realized that sacrificing her own life for an animal’s life wasn’t going to advance veganism at all.

    That all said, it sounds like she’s still coming to grips with what all has happened — a major paradigm shift has that tendency. But she seems happier, healthier and better adjusted. I’ll take the happy person who eats an occasional steak over the judgmental person who tries to make soy taste like beef.

  • Natalie

    This is one of the most disappointing things I’ve ever read and actually made me feel ill. So sad…

  • Anand

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog. Nice work!

    Most vegans that I’ve met have been pretty militant about it, as you said that you were. The problem with “movements” is that they don’t take into account the science. Yes, it is true that the Jains live a purely vegan lifestyle but they are the result of adaptation over more than 5000 years! There may have been many who simply died from malnutrition and we are seeing the ones who made it. People from northern climates may need meat as a result of that adaptation.

    There is also a difference between eating meat (and enjoying it) as part of a healthy life and the idiotic worship of bacon, the insanity of the Double Down and the steaks the size of chocolate cakes that I saw in Las Vegas.

    I too was a vegan until I discovered that it’s pretty well impossible in North America…bonemeal in the soil pretty well nukes the idea of cruelty-free vegetables. So, I learned to shoot…well and how to properly butcher an animal. I don’t hunt but it was an important psychological step for me to know that I could quickly kill my food if I had to. Since I don’t have to, I buy cruelty-free, organically-raised meat directly from a rancher. I know that the animal was raised well and met its end without pain or fear. Since we don’t need that much meat, I split it with a number of other people and all is good. A small chest freezer is all I need. In addition I fish a couple of times a year when the salmon return to the rivers and I eat what I catch and stop fishing when I have reached the limit or have enough.

    One last thing. I believe that of all the species on the planet, we are of the only one that can provide our animal food a good life and a death free from pain and fear. No other predator does nor can they. If we are truly enlightened, we must pursue this assiduously.

  • Sarah

    It must be frustrating to know what’s best for all people in every situation. Especially without full knowledge of their health problems and personal experience. I can only imagine what your day-to-day is like.

  • Ginger

    I’m so glad Tasha didn’t listen to your expert medical advice.

    Where did she go wrong? What should she have done differently? I’m guessing you know her fairly well to know what mistakes she made in her diet. So don’t keep all those pearls of wisdom to yourself! We are all sitting on the edges of our seats to hear how to be a good vegan! However, just state your opinion and don’t back it up with personal experience or research.

  • Sarah

    I know Tasha personally. In fact, when I first became a vegetarian with vegan ambitions, she was one of the guiding influences in my new lifestyle. I live on the same compound in Saudi Arabia as Tasha, have seen her with her animals, have seen her defend her opinions about dietary choices and the rights of all living things, have read her blogs and other articles, and have seen the sadness in her eyes when she told me in person about how she was no longer vegan.

    To those of you who claim she is a meat/dairy industry plant or that they’ve posted a photo of someone with an eating disorder, I think it would be prudent of you to examine your outrage and accusations and to reread some of Tasha’s blogs. She is a beautiful, loving soul, in a body that couldn’t cope with her mind’s ideals. And life is about living in the best way we each can. To that we must learn to trust our bodies, whatever message they are sending. I don’t believe that it is possible for any of us to predict what we would do if our bodies betrayed our beliefs or what that journey would look or sound like. For Tasha to share hers with the public is brave and honest.

  • Anon

    After all the judgmental, preachy vegan rants I have read here, I cannot believe you are now eating meat every day. Eat what you like, that’s not the issue… I just hope you realize that your convictions are not always based in reality.

    I hope you can look at yourself and shift from a high and mighty ranter to a humble realist. It’s wishy washy people like you who give dedicated, nonjudgmental vegetarians a bad rap with the meat-eating majority.

    I’ll miss your food blog, but I won’t really miss these narcissistic novel-length posts.

  • De

    Perhaps the commentators who have successfully managed to be vegan for decades and cite this as evidence that Tasha is making a mistake should remember that bodies vary? Just as some people get quite ill on even a healthy omnivorous diet, others may become ill on a healthy vegan diet.

    Also, as Simran pointed out: indeed, Jains are generally lacto-vegetarians, not vegans.

  • Arianne

    Paul, did you read the post? I believe that the ‘doing veganism wrong’ argument was covered somewhere around here:

    “Unfortunately, there were also masses of people who contacted me to offer unsolicited and often insultingly patronizing advice. They made sure to let me know that I was only sick because I was ‘doing veganism wrong’. ‘Have you tried more greens/beans/tofu/nuts?’ the questions were relentless.”

    and here:

    “Did they truly believe I hadn’t tried everything in my power to make this work? ‘Spend 1 day in my body barely able to walk from exhaustion, feeling dizzy, cold, and depressed, and then judge me!’ I wanted to scream at them. But I didn’t. I just stopped talking about it.”

    I think that what you need to consider is that while you seem to know how to ‘do veganism right’ for YOU, you need to recognize that you don’t know how to ‘do’ veganism for everyone else.

  • Tasha

    You have now left nearly a dozen comments all with different names. Some of them even in response to other comments you have left. Just because you have the option to write anonymously or with any name you want doesn’t mean that I do not know your unique address and who you are every time you write something on my blog. Your actions are very disturbing. No more of your comments will be approved.

  • Brian D.

    I’m a vegan but I honestly have no idea what I would do if I started getting sick like Tasha did. However, I do know that because I’m a vegan for ethical reasons and am trying to live a compassionate life, if I were to choose to start eating meat again I absolutely would not post something like Tasha did.

    I think if a vegan felt he or she had to go back to eating meat for health reasons, it would be possible to hold divergent views on this. I feel if it were me experiencing this, I may relay my story to others but I would certainly encourage those who are also vegans for ethical reasons to carry on in their journey if they are able. Eating meat to maintain your health does not mean you can’t continue exhibiting compassion in other areas of your life.

    I do feel sad about Tasha’s post, not because of her decision to eat meat, but of her choice to espouse such negativity by really trying to negate many of the positives of veganism. Just as Tasha’s decision to start eating meat was a personal one that she had to decide for herself, she should leave that decision for others to make for themselves as well.

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  • Jim

    I have been a vegetarian (not a vegan) for 43 years and health-wise, it turned out to be a very providential choice for me. We are all different and we must all take our different paths, I cannot and will not judge you. That said, if I was told that I would die unless I ate meat, my personal convictions about the value of animal life would leave me very comfortable in parting peacefully from this world. I would have to have been a much stronger person than I am to have remained a vegan all of these years, so I attempted to find my own middle way, to live fully and enjoy my life, and to allow animals the same privilege. I hope you find peace and the realization that you’re still learning, changing and reflecting on how your own life may yet be best lived.

  • Dianne

    I read about this on Twitter. It really makes me sad too. If we were all trying to be vegans for health reasons, it would make sense to go into detail. But I’m trying to be an ethical vegan and I think what I’m doing is right and don’t know why you have to put us down to build yourself up. But I know everyone has their own opinion. I just wish you had decided to talk about SOME of the good things about veganism. Do you really think there are none? :(

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  • Tom

    Hi there, I’m sorry. I hope that our Vegan comrades don’t crucify you. I have the urge to find the issue with your diet, as I know a great deal about nutrition myself and Veganism agrees with my body, but I am vetoing that impulse as shortsighted and arrogant.

    As much as we want to be pure balls of energy, we are not. Unfortunately we are animals, and the want to escape that is a curse of the intellect.

    Ethics are subjective constructs, and what you are doing is not wrong by any real measure of that (consensus). I hope you continue blogging.

  • A.

    This quote you had singled out:
    “From now on I will choose the deaths that keep me and the planet healthy.”

    Choice. It’s all about choice, and balance. Not diet, everything.

    Veganism is as extreme as a meat-only diet, but you don’t see omnivorous persons going to that extreme. They have veggies with their meat. Veganism is too extreme, too far on one side of the board. Extreme in any direction is never good, be it religious, financial, or even dietary.

    Choice, and balance.

    Glad your health returned and the dark clouds receded.

  • john west

    this site is not even a real blog, it’s designed by a website company. show us the whois data for a private individual… it isn’t. it’s all fake.

  • Rick

    One place she went wrong was exercise. over-exercise to be exact. health, longevity and wellness comes from lowering food intake and lowering core body temperature (thousands of years of ayurveda prove that point). extreme exercise does neither of those. it robs the body of nutrients needed for repair and healing, while also keeping the core body temperature dangerously high.

  • Smurf

    @Vegan – Wow, you have really drunk the vegan Kool-Aid, if that’s not a contradiction in terms… I have seen someone comment on here comparing veganism and its attendant radicalized nature to anorexia/bulimia… While I emphatically agree with that, I would also add to that an aura of cult-ishness, to which it seems you might be subscribing.

  • Jeffrey

    Basically nobody, vegan or not, can survive without a source of B12. Bacteria in the gut of cows for produce it them and when you eat a cow you in turn get it. Now you can grow those same bacteria on medium and extract B12 from them. That’s where the B12 that’s in vitamins and which is supplemented into food stuffs comes from.

    Bottom line. If you want to be a vegan you should really be taking a multivitamin everyday. However, you should probably be taking a multivitamin everyday anyway, because they’re good for you! :D

  • greta

    longtime lurker, aspiring vegan, never posted before.

    was wondering if cody is still maintaining his vegan lifestyle?

  • Nivedha

    Hey Tasha

    I am also one of the lurkers on your blog and this is my first post. I am glad to hear that you are finally back to your healthy state :) .

    I actually considered being vegan after seeing and hearing all the cruelty that happens behind the scenes and I thought that the only way to put an end to all these was to opt a vegan diet. But I did not just jump into it immediately. I did a lot of research regarding veganism. And I found out that even though there are a certain number of people who survive perfectly fine on a vegan diet, some just don’t. Out of the people who have failed on a vegan diet, some did it correctly and some did it wrong. But the thing is, no one ever knows how our body will react until it is subjected to it. I certainly did not want to take the risk and wait and see how my body reacted to it.

    I finally reached a decision and decided to be a pescetarian instead. A pescetarian is someone who eats seafood but not other meat, and may or may not consume diary or egg products. In my opinion, it is definitely a better choice than a full-fledged omnivorous diet with regards to ethics, environment and health.

    Health wise, fish is one of the healthiest out of all the meat out there: low in saturated fats, high in omega 3 etc. It is also the most easily digestible meat around, unlike beef, which stays in your intestines for up to a week.

    Ethics wise, fish goes through the least amount of suffering as compared to other animals. It gets to spend a natural way of life in its own environment. The only time it is subjected to pain is when it is being caught, unlike other land animals that suffer in the factory farms from the moment they are born.

    These are the factors that lead me to take up a pescetarian diet. Please do not think I am here to preach to you about pescetarianism, I am just suggesting you a different omnivorous diet that causes less suffering. It is your wish to take it or leave it. Afterall, our healths are the most important.:)

  • Jenna

    Tasha,

    I came over from another blog, but I love how open you are about your thought process and decisions. I don’t see the point in eliminating yourself from the gene pool because of veganism since it has drastically affected your mental and physical health. I’m sure you will continue to do the best you can to eat healthfully and live ethically.

  • Erin

    Tasha~
    I’m just happy that you’re back and feeling good about yourself! I think everyone is entitled to eat however the heck they want and however makes them feel healthy! I’ve decided to remain vegan, but it’s what works for me. If I should one day change my mind, however, I dont want to feel guilty about it because other vegans think I should be! Just like you shouldn’t diet because of shame and guilt, you shouldn’t stick to a form of eating just because someone else thinks you should either. I admire your courage and resilience!

  • Eric Otto

    I have had similar problems when I have gone vegan and even strict vegetarian. My immune system tends to go and I have many more colds and bronchitis. My vegie friends don’t want to hear that but that is okay. For you, focus on your health and get better. Be respectful of food you eat.

  • Dr. J

    You write: “Obviously, the planet cannot support 7 billion people in any meaningfully sustainable way, vegan or not.”

    There’s nothing obvious about this; it is pure speculation. You are not the overseer nor designer of the Earth’s incredibly complex and dynamic ecosystem. This kind of statement indicates to me that you have a presumptive ideological streak in your personality. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can lead you to these unproven “truths” that get you in trouble because “truths” are left unchecked in your belief system, and if these truths end up not being true, you end up misguiding yourself and your readers.

    My advice: Learn from your mistakes. Presume carefully. And challenge yourself to question “truths” instead of constantly needing to “know” truths.

    Dr. J

  • Shelley

    I’ve never read anything so stupid in my life. So what you’re saying is that the only way to stay healthy as a vegan is to be a sedentary slob?

  • Brittster

    Wow, I love how that some people find the concept of opening their own minds SO terrifying that they have to instantly claim that poor Tasha here clearly couldn’t be a real person. Saaaad. Since you’re clearly expert internet detectives, you do realize that a quick read of her About Page reveals that she works for Hollaback, which is a legitimate anti-street harassment organization that’s been around for some time now right? And that if you go to Hollaback’s website, she’s listed there on the Board of Directors, just like a real person, which confirms her existence right? But no, clearly Big Agra created this website, Hollaback, and all other references about Tasha’s existence on the internet. Hell, Big Agra created the internet in the 80′s JUST SO THIS DAY COULD COME. Geesh.

  • Amy

    wtf? you are a hilariously obvious troll…

    and your “proof” of this absurd meat/dairy industry conspiracy? that she hasn’t updated her photograph? um, she’s been ill… and even those of us who are healthy don’t update our profile pictures on our blog very often, if ever!

  • http://yumveggieburger.com Ali – YumVeggieBurger

    This post is so beautifully-written and heartfelt, it really pains me to see that some people still took it as an opportunity to jump up on their soapboxes and preach their moral superiority in the comments.

    Having seen many friends and family members go through various health problems, I completely agree that everyone’s body is built differently, and there cannot possibly be one diet that is “right” for every human on this planet. Learning how to pay attention to your own health and being in tune with what your body needs is so important.

    I commend you for your bravery in writing so honestly about this – I hope since there are so many other positive comments as well that you can see how many people truly do appreciate your honesty and value your sharing of your experience, whether it matches their own experiences/lifestyle or not.

    Best wishes and continued health!

  • Kristal

    First off, to the brainwashed people bashing the author of this, shame on you. Vegetables are living things too. All living things must feed off other living things to survive. That’s how the world works. Grass is living, cows eat it to survive. Does this make them murderers? No. Cats need meat to survive & be healthy. Does it make them evil? No. Humans are just another animal, and just like the other animals, we must feed off something living to survive. This woman’s body needed meat. She was suffering deficiencies. Protein & vitamin deficiency is not a fun thing to experience. You people insulting her for this writing should really be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Anthony

    Although I am a vegan, I do think this choice should be left up to individuals and not forced on anyone. I didn’t know Tasha before this and have ever read any of her blogs, but I get from the some of the comments that she was pretty adamant and forceful about her vegan diet before. Even though I know many holier-than-thou vegans, it sounds like maybe now you’ve become a holier-than-thou omni?

  • sarahb

    i am quite appalled at some of these reactions from the vegan community. perhaps i expect more from a community who bases their lifestyle on having compassion for living things.

    there are some really means-spirited comments here that i find so surprising.

    natasha – this was a beautifully written explanation of something SO incredibly personal. thank you for sharing this with the world. i hope you can block out the negative energy and focus on the positives.

  • Rho

    Thank you so much for posting your story! I have tried to go vegan twice in the last ten years and every time I hit the one year mark my body would just shut down. I contracted colds and infections, on average, three times a year and I was sleeping all the time. I was also really confused, I took multivitamins everyday and was eating all the ‘right’ things.

    When I got a cat six years ago I did my research and decided to feed him meat. I came to the conclusion that just because we humans couldn’t find a humane way to process and kill animals, my cat should not have to suffer health wise. It took me years to realize the same goes for me.

    2010 is the first year that I’ve eaten meat and dairy right though and I haven’t gotten sick once.

    I really do envy people who can live the vegan lifestyle but at the same time, I’m just thankful for my health. I also feel way more connected to the earth and everything in it. You are so right, without death there is no life, and I was denying that for so long.

    I hope your new found health continues to flourish!

  • Josh

    Aren’t you immediately repeating the same mistake by adhering unthinkingly to a new absolutist philosophy about eating? Most people probably should eat more vegan and more local, but it’s a question of degree. Sometimes, as you found out, 100% vegan doesn’t make a lot of sense, and sometimes 100% local won’t make a lot of sense. Sometimes it might make sense to grow a crop in a climate that’s not perfectly suited to it. I would relax the rhetoric a bit and emphasize thinking about one’s food choices on a dynamic basis, taking ethical, environmental and health factors into account to make a balanced decision (i.e., the way most meat is produced leads to ethical and ecological challenges, but perhaps it is healthy to consume). A food choice may have positive *and* negative impacts, and in general there may be no perfect way to eat. Just hewing to any one ideology, no matter how well-intentioned, doesn’t seem like the way to consistently make thoughtful decisions.

  • Wolfgirl

    Good for you– you recognized an important need that was not being met by your diet, and instead of clinging to your ideology, you made a practical change in order to improve your health, and your life.

    Keep sharing, and don’t worry about any vegan fundamentalists who want to belittle you for your choices. You have support and you are loved!

  • http://pdblack.twistedpair.net diana

    Tasha,

    I think this post is outstanding and I, for one, needed to read it. It makes perfect sense that we all need different nutrition, but I never thought about it in light of veganism before. Thank you for that.

    I went vegan a couple of years ago, but drifted back to animal products mostly out of laziness after about a year. I’ve been a “vegangelical”–new word for me, and it’s perfect–but not for environmental, animal-loving reasons. I grew up on a farm, so I’ve always accepted death as part of life, I guess. I was a vegan for health reasons, and felt it was a good idea for everyone. You have convinced me otherwise, and for that, I thank you.

    I think it is better for me, though, and for that reason I’m planning to return to a vegan (or mostly vegan) diet. I will definitely keep an eye on my mental and physical health when I do, though.

    Excellent post. Bravo!

    d

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  • http://www.edible-landscape-design.com Pat

    I came to this post through a friend’s Facebook, but I wanted to say that as a physician who has gone through a lot of health challenges (with all the “if only you would do this” garbage from other people), I applaud your self-honesty.

    Each one of us has our own genetic history, our own cultural heritage, and the way our bodies react comes from that long lineage.

    Not all of us can drink gallons of milk, and no one goes around telling the lactose-intolerant that they “aren’t doing milk right”. Not all of us can only eat meat (I had a — doctor — friend try the Adkins diet and it made her sick, yet another one lost 100 pounds that way!). Not all of us can only eat vegetables, or only fruit. It’s well known that a heavily grain-filled diet is not good for a lot of people (diabetics).

    If I’ve learned anything it’s that we must listen to our bodies. No one can know our bodies better than us, and when we stop listening to what our body is saying no amount of pills and proselytizing will help the problem. Whoever said in all this that if you have to take supplements to stay healthy then something is wrong was right on target, because pills don’t grow on trees… :)

    Don’t listen to those who want control over your body. I wish you well in finding out what’s right for you.

  • Shylo Preston

    Hi Tasha… I have been a lurker and following your blog for some time, and it was your honesty with your feelings, thoughts, convictions that first drew me in and has kept me reading. I always liked the fact that as much as you shared your strong convictions, you were always brave enough to also share your questions and waverings. I truly respect you for that.

    Once again, I’m proud of you for honestly putting your thoughts out there for the well-wishers and the critics to pick a part. I have benefited from the discussion, and if I’ve picked up on your heart at all, I believe that would please you.

    Always remember, it’s not what you put in your mouth that makes you a good or bad person, it’s what comes out of your heart. Your blog has a permanent place on my browser bar, and I look forward to seeing your future posts!

  • blinder

    great read, very well done. i am a vegan… but a bit different. i stopped caring about “animal rights” a very long time ago. actually angry judgmental vegans are the butt of my and my friends’ jokes… because honestly? they are a joke.

    i believe it’s fantastic you found health. nothing, and i mean NOTHING should ever get in the way of that. if the day comes where my health suffers as yours did, then i will certainly follow in your footsteps.

    now in closing… with this transformation you have completed, what else have you been wrong about?

    i just know when i have those “yikes i really was wrong” moments, it causes me to start thinking about other things i am wrong about.

  • David

    You need to read “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability” by Lierre Keith

  • Neve

    Just wanted to offer my support to you. It takes a lot of bravery to announce this to the world. I’m glad you’re achieving the good health and happiness you deserve.

  • http://thevegantruth.blogspot.com M. Butterflies Katz

    It doesn’t ring true to me, your words. Sorry. I’ve been vegan for 32 years. I have friends that are vegan even longer. I’ve met and known hundreds and hundreds of vegans, living in a vegan community all my adult life. Everyone was made better and healthier from a vegan diet. We don’t get iron from pills, but from iron-rich plant-based foods. I keep getting tested and am perfect down the line. My vegan friends was just tested and perfect down the line. We eat lots of raw food, fruit and veggies. We have green drinks (with dark leafy greens). We eat plenty of greens. Also nuts and seeds, legumes, grains. You can get a doctor or anyone to tell you that your vegan diet is not adequate, but that is simply not the Truth.

    We are natural herbivores. The ONLY supplement we take is B12, which I prefer to get my microorganisms from a lab made pill than from the torture and murder of sentient animals. Some of us, after many years, supplement with DHA – long chain fatty acids, however you can just eat flax seeds or hemp oil.

    You need to get 1/2 hour of sunshine on your face and hands everyday for vitamin D.

    Veganism is wonderful for health of body and health of heart and mind; knowing that we walk this earth without inflicting harm on those who can suffer.

  • Robin

    Tasha,

    That post could have been written by me. I applaud you for having the courage of your convictions, because I was ‘ostracized’ by the vegan community after I decided to re-incorporate meat into my diet. Oh yes, and I even had a Vegan nutritionist, and she said I was not one of the lucky ones destined to live a meat-free diet. I was getting heart murmurs, sleeping 15 hours a night, freezing unless it was over 75 degrees, and hungry, voraciously hungry 24/7 it seemed (when I wasn’t sleeping, that is).

    I became an activist for raw milk, local farmers’ markets, organic and biodynamic farms, and humanely raised livestock. I know the farmers that grow the veggies, raise the pork and chicken and eggs that I consume. Same thing with the raw milk. I am glad I was Vegan for several years; otherwise, it might have taken me much longer to get to this point in my life..amazing health and vitality.

    I am also a hunter, and know how to drop an animal with one shot, field-dress it, and butcher it.

    It is great that you have found your true path, Tasha. Let those who have made their choices abide by them, and while they are unable or unwilling to accept yours, that is their issue, not yours.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Let the sanctimonious Vegans have their say, but your life is ultimately YOURS. And they will move on to other people of their ilk.

  • Diane

    After being a very strict vegetarian for 10 years I faced similar problems. While technically eggs and cheese are a part of my diet I don’t like them much and they rarely find their way onto my plate, especially since I moved out of my parents house. Recently I had been having dizzy spells where I would nearly pass out. Aside from feeling awful they made other people view me as very weak, which was even worse for me.

    I started taking very large B supplements, which made me feel a bit better, and was more concious about eating eggs and cheese occasionally but I still suffer from mild depression.

    It hurts me a lot to eat animals but this really helped me to consider it.

  • Carl

    Many people posing as vegans have a problem with that kind of diet. You were trying to be a vegan without proper preparation, else you would never have had the deficiency you experienced, and that is often true of those who practice veganism as a fad and without the necessary info to provide proper nutrition. I have been a vegan for 50 years. I have never taken B12 as a supplement, and I have never experienced your deficiency. Although I made myself aware of the need for B12 and made sure that my diet included blue-green algae and sources for that particular vitamin. You should never start a radical diet without proper forethought. On the other hand, you should not blame the diet for your lack of preparation and insight.

  • Robin

    Ah, that’s right. Always blame something else..not the fact that humans are not ‘natural; herbivores. There is no culture on this planet that has been exclusively Vegan in the history of humankind. Not one. Not even ancient Hindus. It’s been shown that they ate so many insects that were on the vegetables they consumed that protein intake was sufficient for their lifestyle.

    I prepared for three years, and took a year to decide. I will not justify your sanctimonious statements by justifying my decision any further. It’s your life, you can have it. As I have mine.

    We would all do better to understand that any kind of ‘holier-than-thou’ behavior is no better than passive-aggressive attempts at coercion. It doesn’t create closeness, it doesn’t change anyone’s mind, and doesn’t strengthen friendships.

  • diana

    Thank you, Sarah, for supporting Tasha. Yes, this post is brave and honest. It’s also wonderfully readable, and shows a great deal of careful thought. But it’s especially great to know that Tasha has strong support nearby. Thank you for that!

  • https://thediscerningkitchen.blogspot.com Cami

    I can appreciate your motivation and reasoning for putting aside veganism and I have no doubt that you were ill. I have done similar myself in the past. I have lupus and actually went on a vegan diet to improve my health. I had vitamin and amino acid deficiencies prior to going on a vegan diet. I had a lupus flare and my doctor tried to argue that perhaps adding some meat in my diet would correct the problem. I hung on to that hoping it would fix my ills…and it did not. My same problems breaking down and absorbing food were there, only I was becoming even more ill due to meat because my body wasn’t equipped with the enzymes necessary to break it down. Adjusting my vegan diet and supplementing when necessary helps me obtain optimal health for me (although, you’re right that everyone is not the same). B12 is an issue for everyone. Our depleted planet has a hard time providing many nutrients these days.

    I would encourage you to do some introspection and consider how many of those processed foods you eluded to may have contributed to the issue. Even if you remain a non-vegan. I would also encourage you to consider eliminating gluten, soy, and dairy from your diet. A lot of vegans rely on soy and gluten heavily. If soy is not prepared properly (fermented) it cannot be absorbed by the body. Over 90% is GMO, and studies have shown that GMO can negatively impact health. Gluten and dairy can bind to the opiate receptors in the intestines and impede hormone function and digestion. I would also encourage you to consider getting a g.i. panel done by a reputable lab to determine whether you have enzyme deficiencies, inflammation, or bacteria imbalances that may contribute to your deficiencies.

    I’m glad you are feeling better but urge you to explore what other changes you may have made to your diet aside from meat that may have improved things (less processed foods? less soy?).

  • Emily

    Absolutely she was doing veganism as correctly as it’s possible to do so, and in a way which works for some people. But when you say that she had a better diet than most people you know – she had a diet that was making her sick. She had a diet that was leaving her with many nutritional deficiencies. So she actually didn’t have a good or healthy diet at all. The average American diet would have been far healthier for her.

  • diana

    Indigenous Alaskans who are forced to live on fish die. People who can eat fish *and* other things, including greens, do far better; it really is a matter of local consideration. Saturated fat is actually very good food, and for most of us, those who eat high fat diets end up with low cholesterol. If that sounds backward, remember that the body produces cholesterol in the absence of good food cholesterol, and that carb-loading makes it into the dangerous, sticky stuff that clogs arteries. Carbs in high quantities are the issue, not fats.

    A friend notes that in order to reduce suffering, it makes the most sense to eat large mammals. A cow, a single death, can feed a person for months. Fish as food means a death each couple of meals; sardines as food mean a number of deaths per meal. Grassfed (adult) beef and bison would be the most humane options, from this perspective.

  • http://www.cheeseslave.com Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

    You are AWESOME! Thank you so much for sharing this. Your writing is so authentic and clear. Thank you for touching so many lives in a positive way. You are helping many people out there.

  • http://www.cheeseslave.com Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

    This is one of the best books I have read in the past decade.

  • diana

    Thank you so much for writing this, Tasha. It is a delight to meet you, and to read your work. It is so important that we take this information forward, into the coming years where it looks like economic and, really, civilization’s collapse is imminent. Living locally and eating that which our bodies were designed and adapted to eat, over hundreds of thousands of years, is all that is going to ensure human health carries into this uncertain future. And I worry that feminists, especially, have been horribly weakened and physically damaged by the mandate, fueled by care and compassion, to be vegan. Or ‘merely’ vegetarian, which I was for a decade-plus, and which damaged my body irreversibly. Had it not been for true friends who steered me in the direction of Weston A. Price, and for Lierre Keith’s brilliant and eloquent book, The Vegetarian Myth, I might well have continued to try to live in a way that would further damage my body. I look forward to following your blog!

  • http://trieatingplants.blogspot.com Eimear Rose

    I think Natasha said in her post that the meat she is eating is from small, local farms, not factory farms,
    “Of course, just like any decent human being, I abhor the evil that is factory farming, and I stand opposed to their slavery, torture, and abuse. I also recognize that the massive production of grain is what led to the creation of factory farms in the first place; they simply would not have been possible otherwise.”

    Thanks for writing this brave piece Natasha. The main reason I loved your post was because it challenged the idea that the ethics of eating are simple- it’s such a minefield. While I am a vegan, I have always been deeply respectful of people who eat carefully farm reared or wild meats. You have given me a lot to think about! It’s so obvious to me that you have taken your decision after a SERIOUS amount of thought and therefore guilt should be the last emotion you experience now (although I understand it must have been a predominant emotion over the last few months). I have heard some arguments in recent times about the fallacy that an all vegan humanity will reduce world hunger (although in the spirit of honesty I must admit to having skimmed over them because it’s uncomfortable reading, as your post was for me). There are just far too many factors at play when it comes to climate change, environmental degradation, world poverty, injustice, globalisation, industrialisation, food production etc. Mostly importantly I am so glad you are feeling better. There is enough suffering in this world that no-one should knowingly inflict any on themselves. All the best :)

  • John G

    What an incredible piece of writing, heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because of how hard it must have been feeling your convictions not only question, but completely dismantled and in such a dramatic way. I hope that there are not too many people taking a childish ‘told you so’ pleasure from this because you deserve nothing but support.

    It takes a strong person to live by their beliefs, even stronger take that fight public, but to turn around and admit they were misguided, and virtually denounce them, that takes a truly remarkable character.

    May you live a long, happy, healthy and sated life, and let’s hope the world really can change they way we produce the food we need.

    Good Luck!

  • Debora

    Wow, what an amazing experience. I am grateful that you have shared this. You are thoughtful and principled and earnestly doing your best. I will be checking in with you to see where your journey takes you!

  • Azuza

    Did you read the post?

    Not only does she talk about eating organic, grass fed beed, but she mentions the horrors of factory farming, how it’s terrible for the environment and how she is choosing to eat locally.

  • Azuza

    I was going to recommend this book as well. This post reads very similarly to the book and I recommend to everyone struggling with veg* (and eco) related struggles

  • Becky

    I saw this blog post on Facebook. I’m so glad you chose to live. Thank you for your courageous honesty. I was a vegetarian for 25 years. I have permanent damage to my nervous system. I now eat meat & must have B12 shots weekly for the rest of my life. I started to suspect my diet was not ok and asked others who ate similarly. They all denied eating animal products & some suggested dairy was my problem. One day I was having lunch with an older vegan woman who’s opinion I really respected. She got the chicken. She was not telling the truth & I foolishly based decisions on what she & others said. It was disheartening to see that well respected vegans are lying about eating meat to save face. This is not a game. The health consequences are severe. Anyone who presents themselves as an authority on a topic has a responsibility to be truly educated on said topic & to be honest always!
    Thank you again for your honesty. There are many cruelty free choices these days. Guilt & shame hurt everybody.

  • http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com Karen Vaughan

    M. Butterflies,

    Vegans who manage for 32 years probably have different enzymatic and metabolic systems than those who cannot last 3 years or three months. Just because you live in a vegan commune, doesn’t mean that everyone can live that way. People who cannot thrive on that lifestyle self select out. And if you are growing your own food, you may have access to higher quality vegetable food than an urban vegan.

    Climate plays a factor as well. I find that vegans do better in warmer climates, although not always since Tasha is in rural Saudi Arabia. But in general the urban northeastern vegans who come to see me run cold, have scant to missing menstrual periods and are of delicate immunity. Your mileage may vary, but so may your body and your setting.

    Something like 40% of people cannot convert the Omega 3 EPA to DHA and must have animal sources of DHA like wild salmon or pasture raised meat. You apparently don’t fall in that group but Tasha may.

    Vegetable production is not cruelty free, and destroys the habitats of many animals. If you see a field after a combine has been through, it is hardly blood-free, and the deaths of indigenous plants which are sentient creatures also occurs. Monocrop agriculture has done more killing to insects and land animals, not to mention trees and herbs, than even meat production and it uses tons of fossil fuels. But then we are being consumed by animals ourselves, from skin mites and helminths to the occasional bobcat or jaguar. Life involves killing, but we can choose to make it as ethical as possible.

    It is about the choice of how we

  • Demia

    Dear Tasha,

    Thank-you for your honest words. It is apparent that this journey has not been an easy one.

    I applaud you for thinking about how your choices impact our world. Being vegan is not what necessarily makes anyone ethical. Making choices that minimize one’s negative impact on our world does.

    Thanks for sharing your story,
    Demia

  • Tamar

    Jains are not the picture of health and vitality in my eyes l. They look ematiated and stunted. If veganism was so natural and so inherently healthy it wouldn’t be rocket science and it would be insanely easy to “do it right.” the fact that it’s not that easy to “get right” is proof that it’s not healthy fir most people.

  • Heather

    But that has worked for YOU and your friends and your community. Or rather, that’s what people are telling you. As someone who initially thrived from veganism and then ultimately failed due to insulin resistance (sorry, Dr. Barnard, I followed everything in your book and still felt like crap) and a myriad of other health problems, I know that adding some animal proteins back into my life have helped *me* whereas I’ve seen friends who have thrived on raw, on vegan, on paleo, etc. There is not one right way to eat, as every body is unique. It’s highly patronizing that after this long, thoughtful post from someone who did NOT want to give up veganism but found that her health was failing because of a diet & lifestyle she loved, that people still aren’t reading it and telling her what she did wrong.

    And then people wonder why people are afraid of vegangelicals.

  • Tamar

    The point I haven’t seen on any of these posts is the Blood Type diet. It certainly helped me understand why 4+ years of vegetarianism were making me fat and sick rather than healthy.

  • Lori

    I totally agree with your comments and love your lifestyle! One day I’ll get there.

  • http://www.pamkilleen.com Pam Killeen

    Great testimonial, Tasha! I, too, am a recovering vegan. Recently, when I did my book launch (for my book, Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic), a group of vegans came to try and undermine my meeting (I anticipated that they would do this). I let them scream and yell. They actually helped me prove my point — that vegans are brain starved and consequently suffer with mood problems.

  • Jaime

    The best thing is that you’re doing what’s right for your own health, I’m glad to hear that you went to a doctor. I’m not a vegan, I love meat and I live in Nebraska which is known for its steaks. Occasionally I do enjoy vegetarian dishes. Anyway I wish you the best and take care of your health. I once read a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said that health is the first wealth. I really believe that. ;)

  • http://debbiedoesraw.blogspot.com debbie

    Tasha: Thanks for the shout out. and girl, don’t listen to the naysayers. You know what you need to do and you are doing it.
    Love this post!
    xoxoxo
    deb

  • Bill

    I was a vegan for 18 years and thought I was healthy…but that was because I ignored my allergies, asthma, fatigue, and other health problems, all of which have disappeared since I began eating meat again. Like you, I remain committed to an ecologically sane and ethically just way of life, supporting local farmers who graze animals rather than feed them grain.

    Mental clarity is not something than seems to be possessed by some of the vegan commenters here. I love the argument that you didn’t “prepare” yourself right or that there is some esoteric fix that a vegan nutritionist could propose! Just how natural a diet is it if you require such steely nerves and long apprenticeship to make it work?

    Most humans in most of history have been hunter-gatherers, who consumed plenty of meat, varied vegetables and no grains. Their bones show them to have been healthier than the farmers who came after them. The comment about meat being very rare before the modern period applies only to poor people in class-stratified agricultural societies. The upper class took the meat and the health that came with it if they didn’t also splurge on refined sugars. In any event, “just a little meat” is meat and that fact that they survived on “just a little” doesn’t mean that they could do as well on none at all. Our atmosphere needs just a small percentage of oxygen for us to breath, but it’s best not to drop that to zero.

  • http://goldilocksfindsmanhattan.blogspot.com/ Ulla

    This is a wonderfully honest post. I grew up on a farm and we raise grass-fed beef, lamb and now pastured pork. Our philosophy is to keep the animals as happy as possible and to let them live in a way that is harmonious with their instincts and nature. I also think it is in our nature to consume some meat.
    I get emails from former vegans who have to eat meat to manitian their health. I wonder if this is a trend. I have always gotten along with vegans because they care where their food comes from. I do not see why you can not still have that passion for animals as an ex-vegan.
    Anyways, I love this post and it’s honesty.
    I hope you keep feeling better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Buellers-Kitchen/370324877889 Alysia

    Love this. I’ve been through a very similar journey. Right on Girl!

    Come join my facebook page. I’d love to hear from a reader like you.

    Cheers!
    A

  • Katie P

    Tasha,
    Thank you so much for this post. I think it goes to show that every person needs a varried diet. Some bodies thrive on vegan diets, some higher in fruits, some higher in grains. Some bodies thrive on meats, fish, poultry. I have come to believe that eating locally, is really the most environmentally concious thing to do. Get to know the goat that will feed you, pet the chickens that give you eggs, kiss the cow that gives you your milk to make your cheese. Know that your animals are eating delicious grasses and not getting pumped full of junk. Local, pesticide free farming is the way to go!

  • Afraid of vegans

    Does veganism affect literacy and overall intelligence? That’s essentially what I’m getting out of your post. Clearly, you either did not read the post in it’s entirety, or your reading comprehension levels are on par with 8-year-olds.

    Why on earth does the author very, very, VERY reluctantly reintroducing animal products into her diet for health reasons mean that she’s now wearing fur, leather and promoting bullfights for a living? (is the lack of nutrition in your diet depleting your braincells? I’d get that checked out if I were you.)

    Finally, I am bemused by your attacking the author with such vehemence when she has obviously tried to be respectful of your views. In your brief post, you have managed to use the following to describe either the author’s views or her character:

    “a bunch of poop”
    “nonsense”
    “self-hating”
    “hooey”
    “grasping at straws” (thought let’s be honest…who’s grasping
    at straws here?)
    “diatribe”
    “reprehensible”

    Clearly you are not capable of an adult discussion, so i really dont see why you expect to be taken seriously by adults. We’re not animals here. Learn some decorum.

  • Stacy

    Thank you so much for your bravery and ability to think outside the Vegan philosophy. You are a real hero for standing your ground and taking the heat from the Vegan mind set of the folks on your blog. I was vegetarian/vegan mostly for 6 years and I’m so glad I added animal proteins and fresh raw milk, pastured eggs and such back to my diet. There has never been a vegan society in native cultures ANYWHERE on this planet. It’s a new paradigm and the Rain Forests are being burnt down to grow soy when in the past in was for concentration camp style beef. You made the RIGHT choice and your body will be forever grateful. Thanks again. You are a HERO! Study the works of Weston A. Price and you will never question your choice. Congratulations on your courage and heartfelt post.

  • caren

    You missed the most important part of her story, that growing so much grain is why there’s so much hunger on the planet and unnatural. We are on the top of the food chain, time to deal with it.

  • Emily

    Wow. What an amazing post! I can say truthfully that I am right there with you. Though not vegetarian or vegan, I bought into the low-fat, lots-of-grain diet mania of the last 30 years. It was fine for a while. Then I began noticing fatigue (I must add here that I also have fibromyalgia) and weight gain after I turned 50. This was not supposed to happen; I was eating low-fat, whole-grain everything and working out 5 days a week. An acquaintance pointed me in the direction of Weston Price, The Nourished Kitchen, and a few other whole food, traditional diet websites. Like you, I learned that it isn’t animal fat and full fat dairy that is making us sick and obese…it’s the overly processed, fake food and rancid vegetable oils that we’ve been told since the 80s are healthy. It took a lot to convince me to give up non-fat milk and yogurt, replace canola oil with coconut and olive oils, but I can tell you it’s exactly what my body needed. I haven’t gone back to eating beef, but I eat chicken, fish, lamb, pork, and organ meats. My energy is better (in spite of the fibro) than it’s been in years and the stubborn 7-10 lbs. I was carrying around are gone. I think we all need to question what we’ve been told about diet, whether from a medical or sociological perspective…and eat real food, not the packaged, plastic garbage that is making us all sick.

  • http://www.cityguyyoga.com Navdeep

    Sat Nam,

    Love, love, love and blessings to you…

    Don’t stop blogging. Don’t even consider changing the name… this is a wonderful example of true life, and you are dealing with your true life by following your truth. abet after a lot of pain…

    I guess we all learn sooner or later that there is no right, or wrong, and despite hearing these words many times before, it is not until we experience a life changing event such as this, that we start to see that truth is about listening to our inner feelings, and not our mind. Sometimes that inner feeling is a hunger for something we are told we cannot have… We learn that truth is about being silent inside, and not about screaming at someone to tell them they are wrong or you are right.. Truth, is personal, truth is balance. truth is where we find ourselves when we stop listening with our minds and start listening with our hearts.

    This wonderful and beautiful article is a very hard and important lesson for us all about both the power and the dangers of our beliefs. I take my hat off to you.

    To your very good health.

    Sat Nam

    Navdeep.

  • Azaroth

    “…I had just devoured a hunk of dead animal, the most evil thing I could conceive of…”

    Only in a detached affluent society divorced from the real act of living in the world, can a thought process evolve where one equates extreme denial of the needs of your body as a positive thing. It has its philosophical feet in the shallow tide pool of old thinking. The dark age christians believed that denial of the flesh (which according to them belonged to satan) was the only route into heaven. They died by the thousands generation after generation attempting to prove their philosophy real. The only thing ever proved is that the power of human belief is above even that of the needs of the body. This does not make it right. A life grounded (not on facts but rather) in beliefs is delusional at best.

    I am so glad to hear another thinking mind has found its way out of the vegan-only philosophy to find a more balanced ground upon which to help change the world.

  • http://www.rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com Rosa

    A beautiful and honest post! So true, yet so taboo. Kuddos for exposing your thought!

    At least your vegan phase helped you open your eyes and see things in a different way. It was all for nothing…

    All the best!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • joker

    Q: How do you know when there’s a vegan in the room?

    A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

  • Chicken Lawyer

    I represent the chickens of America. I must say as an attorney you will be facing a class action suit fromt he many chickens that have contacted me. One chicken from Florida, ted, told me to tell you to STOP over exercising! he also said that if your going to practice caloric restriction you need to be following better advice. There is a seed called quinoa that is the most well rounded plant protein on earth. Has ALL 8 essential proteins and is complete. Also, as stated, stop the inhuman amounts of exercise! Your breaking down tissue which requires even MORE protein to rebuild.
    Janice, a chicken from Utah also said that vitamin A is found in abundance in carrotts and other vegetables. B- vitamins are found in a whole host of foods as well as vitamin D. Many people are perfectly healthy on a vegetarian diet be it vegan, or lacto ovo, or just plain plant dominant. Our ancestors ate meat but ONLY read ONLY on occasion. There was no Shop Rite 10,000 years ago. You ate what you captured, and that was NOT a regular occurance. The ate plants, nuts, fruits, roots, seeds, etc. If humans were predominantly meet eaters, our teeth would resemble a lions or tigers. Teeth for ripping/ shreading. Now go look in the mirror, do you resemble a lion? Well, do you? No , you look like a PRIMATE hence teeth like the mountain gorilla. Teeth shaped for mashing/ grinding. Timmy the chicken from Las Vegas, said it perfectly. He said that you should stop obsessing and wanting to control. Adopt a plant based diet, exercise MODERATELY and if you have to, add some fish and skim milk on occasion. As stated, reducing your core temp. is actually a GOOD sign, it means your metabolic rate is reaching an efficeint state. Less food= less free radicals hence a better metabolic balance. Exercise did NOT improve life expectancy in the studies to date! Walk for 30 min. every other day. Low impact semi aerobic exercise.

    Do these things above and I’ll talk to these pissed off chickens and try to stop the suit. As you can imagine, they are NOT happy with your recent decision. The last hen Oprah who stopped by my office said it perfectly, ” Why does that Tasha chick go about things wrongly and then instead of doing things right, wants to eat me and my friends legs and breasts to solve her problem?” Listen to the mother hen Oprah. God bless…..

  • http://blog.bodybuilding.com/KCMO1984/2010/11/20/vegan-no-more/ Bodybuilding.coms – The beginning of the End – Vegan no more

    [...] A Vegan No More by TASHA on NOVEMBER 19, 2010 [...]

  • http://www.CarolGalanty.com Carol

    WOW! I feel like I just read something out of my own private journal. Our struggles have been incredibly similar. I have (had) been writing a blog for the past year and a half (www.GalantysGamePlan.com) about nutrition/wellness/raw foods. I wasn’t toting the vegan flag quite as much publicly as you were, but I was very against any animals being killed for me to eat a meal. I was quick to point out to my husband and children that they were gnawing on dead pigs or cows as they tried to enjoy their evening meal. I now know that I NEED animal products in my diet to feel well. I too have experienced hair loss, heart palpitations, decreased energy, brain fog, depression…the list goes on. And I too have been afraid to admit to my readers, my friends, even myself, that I need to eat animals to function optimally. I am still struggling with it…I can eat eggs, some fish/seafood, and occasionally will taste a few bites of my homemade chicken soup. But I still cannot eat anything from a cow (even though I’m starting to really crave the taste of beef) and pig is absolutely stomach turning to me (despite the fact that I grew up on it!). The fact is, I still look at pigs and cows the same way I look at my family dogs. I may as well put my dog out on the barbeque before I go purchase a steak. I know logically that my view has to change so I can function optimally. I haven’t been to the doctor recently, but the last time I went, I was deficient in B12 (had shots, like you), also vitamin D and was running low on others. So long story short, I’m trying to be more accepting of what my body needs. I’m getting close to the point of going out to buy a steak! Only once in a while..just enough for me to feel strong and well. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I know how hard it is to come “out of the closet” so to speak when you’ve been speaking so publicly about veganism for so long. I, on the other hand, have completely stopped writing my blog–not only for this reason, but still. Anyway, thank you for sharing. Loved your article!

  • Ellen

    Bravo! I read this post yesterday and your words are going to stick with me for a long time. It’s eye-opening to know so many vegans cheat. My diet is near-vegetarian, and when I started tripping on the pavement when jogging, I had a burger. Sadly, it saved the day..

    My problem is that meat just doesn’t look good to me. Maybe you can create a foodie blog with tasty non-greasy meat dishes. Good luck to you. I wish you all the best!

  • http://couscous-consciousness.blogspot.com/ Couscous & Consciousness

    Tasha, I have never visited your blog before, having just found this article from a twitter link. Well, what a wonderful find. I so admire your courage and open-heartedness, not just in telling your story, but in having the courage to embrace the decision to live healthily and achieve your full potential – I truly believe that is the responsibility of every one of us, and there is a cycle of life and death involved in that; it is also our responsibility to treat that cycle with respect not abuse. I am in agreement with you that the best way to honour that and ensure the sustainability of the planet is to eat a good balanced diet procuring as much of that as possible from seasonal, organically grown, local produce.

    I wish you much joy, and will be a keen follower of your blog now that I’ve found you.

    Sue :-)

  • http://animalfriendlyeating.blogspot.com/ kelli

    may i recommend “the yoga of eating” by charles eisenstein? i gained a lot of insight and wisdom from it. i think the book will resonate with anyone who eats consciously, as most of us here do.

    i’m happy to hear you’re well.

    xoxo

  • In Alaska

    How is it “diatribe” to detail your experiences and talk about your reasons for your decisions? This is *her* truth, and I for one did not for even a second feel like she was preaching or trying to act like she was *ALL-KNOWING*.

    You on the other hand….

  • http://rs79.vrx.net Richard Sexton

    I don’t know where the idea “Alaskans that live on fish, die” came from, but it needs to be said that the Inuit native to Canada and Greenlans ate nothing but seal, fish and whales for 15,000 years. Clearly if this diet would kill them they’ve have never survived this long. Google scholar has many article about this.

  • http://rs79.vrx.net Richard Sexton

    “Eating animal products is why so many people have high cholesterol.”

    No, it’s not.

    Cholesterol consumption has remained stable since 1900 yet cholesterol counts and cardiovascular disease (“CVD”) have risen sharply.

    Cholesterol isn’t one substance, it is a class of chemicals: there are HDLs (“good cholesterols”) and LDLs (“bad cholesterols”). Of the LDLs, the are light and heavy forms, which describe basically the size of the molecule, the light form is benign it’s the heavy form or “vLDL” that is the dangerous and harmful one.

    It is a byproduct of the metabolism of sugar, a plant material, that creates vLDL.

    You only need to look at places like Toulouse France, where they eat more saturated fat and cholesterol than any race on earth yet have 1/5 the CVD of Americans.

    Do the research for yourself, none of this information is new.

  • Trase

    You are a brave woman, to make the right choices for yourself even though they stood in the face of the convictions you’ve held. I was vegetarian for several years myself; my liver did not function properly and so I had trouble digesting meat. Once those issues were worked out, I woke up salivating and craving beef. I’ve been an omnivore again ever since.

    Your experience reminds me of one of my own. I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and was zealous in my faith – but gradually realized that I was being lied to; and finally found the strength to leave. It seems to me that veganism becomes a religion to many; I believe you used the term vegangelical, and that seems appropriate. Once we’ve committed ourselves so deeply to certain beliefs, and tried so hard to “help” others to see the “truth” of those beliefs, coming to the realization that things aren’t so black and white, and that much of what we have held dear means we’ve actually been intellectually dishonest with ourselves, requiring us to transform those beliefs – it’s very humbling, and one of the most difficult things to do in life. That’s especially true when those who have been fellow believers attack us for no longer conforming to those beliefs.

    But – it sounds that we are very much alike, in that we live honestly and openly in our lives. It’s simply not possible to do otherwise and be able to look in the mirror. So good for you – you made a very courageous post here, and it is heartening to see that you didn’t let pressure from yourself or outsiders to continue living as a vegan prevent you from being healthy and happy. Frankly, anyone who continues to insist that you should “keep trying” is ignoring blatant evidence. But that is the nature of faith-based beliefs – often the followers allow themselves to be blinded to the truth.

    My husband and I have started our own family farm, after losing my job of almost a decade in March of 2009. We have 14 acres, and we are putting them to use – we raise laying chickens and dairy goats, and plan to add heritage breed turkeys and laying ducks next year. We are working hard to insure our practices are sustainable, and our animals receive loving, compassionate care.

    Are you familiar with the Weston A. Price Foundation, or Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms? They both provide a lot of information about diets that include animal products, but that do so in a responsible manner.

    Good health and happiness to you!

  • Virginia

    Shut up.

  • risa

    This post was passed along to me by a friend, and I have to say I am so relieved to read this. I tried veganism for 2+ years and gained 50 lbs eating like you describe, just filling myself as full as possible then starting again the moment I had some free space in my stomach. I couldn’t go into a deli to get lunch – the meat made me salivate so much I would drool. There were a host of other problems I won’t get into, which all amount to “I so understand.”

    I was lucky, in that I never thought killing animals was wrong in and of itself. For me to think that would also mean that the dogs and cats I loved so much were murderers as well. But it took me a few years to also acknowledge that advocating a vegan lifestyle for *everyone* is to ignore and erase biological diversity. The people we come from had a culture, which ate in a particular fashion based on where they were. It actually took me a while to figure out that, yes, I inherited one parent’s metabolic system and not the other, but that was an extremely educational experience – it taught me that there is no such thing as the perfect diet. It’s not “you are what you eat” – it’s “you eat what you are.”

    Thanks again. I’ll be reading you regularly from now on.

  • Liv

    Where do you begin…This is my first visit to this blog, I loved it and will continue reading it. I am a nurse, never been vegan and I feel that I from what I know I never would concider it. Still this blog was a fascinating read. I just had to respond to you… Where do you begin… You make an appointment with your doctor, go to your doctor and be completely honest about where you are. Maybe you need a few consultations, just to talk to someone, but eventually you need to make the arrangments needed to get you off the drugs! During that process you will hopefully find some good discussion partners, who you can process your feelings about your diet. The only one who can turn things around is you! (Been there…)

  • Giuli

    Wow. You are really brave. It takes a lot of courage and strength to rethink something you devoted several years of your life to – and admit it on the internet, no less! I’m glad you’re healthy now.

    I was never a vegan, but I was a vegetarian for a while, and the first part of your post is very familiar to me. I was also told by a doctor that I had an iron deficiency, and was almost anemic. I also took iron tablets for a while before simply returning to (organic, free-range) meat.

    “We must instead focus our efforts on a complete reimagining of the way we live on this planet. Anything less is suicide.”

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!! Have you read the Ishmael trilogy by Daniel Quinn? (Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B) You should read it. I think you’re ready to. Or you could read Jason Godesky’s The Thirty Theses, which is probably easier, since it’s online and free: http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/index.html

  • http://goodlifemenus.com Tracey

    You may have something there, Jade. Most people who come from the S.A.D. diet to any kind of whole foods diet are going to see a change, to a greater or lesser degree.

  • Alex

    Wow – this post is amazing, it is something that every vegan/vegetarian should read, if for nothing than at least to hear the other side of the story. So many of them suffer health problems and cravings for animal food, and when a slip occurs they are devastated because they did not follow through the dangerous ideology of veganism. I just hope more people would have the courage to act upon their situation as you did. Rock on!

    P.S. Don’t let the angry and malicious comments get to you, it’s the D3/B12 deficiency talking:D

  • http://www.travelworldpeace.blogspot.com Grace

    Hey Tasha,

    I really appreciated this article. I was a vegan for a few months, and a vegetarian for a few years. I’ve started eating meat again gradually over the past couple years, and have felt much better, but I havn’t looked much into the philosophy of it….I guess I still thought that being a vegetarian was probably better, but I couldn’t do it. This article is really helping me rethink that philosophy and see the benefits of why eating meat and why animals are so important to our food chain and to our world.

    Thanks for helping me look at this in a more balanced manner.

    Grace

  • http://goodlifemenus.com Tracey

    No kidding, Smurf.

  • http://goodlifemenus.com Tracey

    Natalie, why should this make you sad? Why should you be sad that someone has found the answer for her diminished health and has reversed it and is now thriving? Do you care more about an ideology than a living, breathing person? Perhaps you need to re-examine your motivations.

  • http://www.battleforhealth.com Eric

    Very compelling story, thanks for sharing! I tried the veggie-diet myself, and never found improved health until I began following the Blood Type Diet. Dr Peter D’Adamo made the connection several decades ago between those who do well on different diets and the gene that codes for blood type. I strongly suggest you look into it, as you might discover that your health jumps up several notches higher. Best of luck!
    Eric

  • JG

    I’m glad you’re doing better now.

    The basic fact is that you can’t undo millions of years of evolution with an ideological choice. Humans evolved to be omnivorous and fighting that is simply fighting evolution, biology and physics. It’s like insisting that gravity doesn’t exist and then expecting gravity will comply. The results are painful and possibly dangerous or even fatal.

    This doesn’t mean doing a “meat-out” is healthy either. Nor consuming a lot of sugar, fat, etc. A Neolithic diet is probably the best aligned with what our bodies are nominally evolved for.

    Never forget that to evolve to a high-fat, high-sugar, high-meat diet most must die – we _could_ evolve to “meat-out”, “sugar-out” or “fat-out” in our diets but it would require most of us who are Neolithically-evolved to have our gene-lines (our progeny) wiped out with the few who don’t get sick from these having only their children live on. That alone is reason enough _not_ to fight our current evolutionary legacy, if you are going to go for ideologies.

    And there is a place for reverence and self-discipline when eating meat: something _did_ die for you. This impulse many vegetarians have is correct. Anyone who eats meat _should_ care deeply about the life that was sacrificed. Basically a moment of thanks sort of like saying grace or as in Avatar is the minimum that would be appropriate to respect that loss.

    I’m a confirmed omnivore and always will be.

  • http://goodlifemenus.com Tracey

    Sarahb, you’ve nailed my reaction to some of the comments, too.

  • Darcy

    This post was shared on my facebook news feed by my N.D. I respect your struggles and thanks for sharing all of this. For the other readers, yes, I am a meat eater and do have unhealthy “Western diet” habits (overindulgence in sugar, caffeine and processed foods) which I would do well to deal with. I don’t oppose vegetarian or vegan diets on principle, but have chosen not to go that route.

    I am in my fifties. Over the years I have discovered that even the most well meaning communities can become abusively judgmental toward people they consider “their own.” It is a paradox I have long struggled with and have concluded that I cannot accept the pressure to conform within a community whose beliefs I share any more than I can in the more generalized “real world”. In fact, when “your own” turn on you,it can be more painful to deal with than anything short of divorce. I can’t say I understand this. The other bizarre paradox I am picking up on here is that for (some)people who mean well and have the best intentions about nutrition and self care and compassion for every living being…this drive can turn into an eating disorder. How confusing, and how very unintended. Your interaction with your doctor sounds like an intervention for the anorexic. I appreciate your painful journey to be well under these internal and external pressures. For those who think you’ve turned into a fanatic for omnivore diets, I suggest that is a misinterpretation. Yes, sometimes the mindset causing one will transfer to the other in a lot of things whether diet related or not. I don’t see this here.

    Thank you for being a human being who is working on being nobody but yourself.

    I have vegetarian friends and omnivore friends and folks somewhere in the middle who seem to do fine. But then, I have known a few others who, like you, struggle with what outwardly seems to be the best dietary approach and who suffer mentally and physically, refusing to believe it isn’t working. And I have seen mood swings and abusive behavior that appears to be directly related to diet problems — and for those rigid enough to be in that judgmental mode it’s hard for them (and others around them) to recognize this cause and effect. That is cruelty on a different level, but still cruelty: to oneself, as you have painfully come to realize, and to those around them. There may be some of this going on in people’s reactions to you. Ultimately those people need to accept responsibility for this, but it isn’t easy.

    One more thought. I too was at first taken off guard by your comment that the rigidity around food is misogynistic. Then I kept reading and understood a bit more where you were coming from. Never having read your work before it took me a while.

    Keep on healing. Love and light.

  • http://goodlifemenus.com Tracey

    I’m another who has read this post when it was passed along via Facebook. I’m happy for you that you have found the way to eat that is what your body needs, and not what an ideology is telling you that you “should” need.

    I notice someone has mentioned the Weston A. Price foundation already. That’s a very extensive site that gathers much nutrition information research. They even have a section for reading for vegans coming to the site. Lots of links to peer-reviewed research.

    Bottom line there is just what you’ve discovered: local foods are best, if you can swing it. Animals should be raised eating what they naturally eat, be that grass or bugs or fallen fruit and nut mast. Certain nutrients have been found at high levels in the healthiest populations of traditional peoples around the world. Seeds should almost never be eaten without being fermented or sprouted, and they won’t be a big portion of the diet.

    I look forward to reading your new blog!

  • http://dandelionrevolution.com/blog/ celia

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt transformation; I often ‘try’ to talk to clients about how their vegan diet may be causing more harm than good, but I will instead be referring them to this post from now on. I particularity appreciate how you have such a reverence almost about the small amounts of meat you are eating and how grateful you are about the improvements in your health. Maybe it’s just me, but I think an attitude of gratitude about the food that nourishes us makes a positive impact.

  • Lindsay

    First off, tens of thousands of “cows” are not killed everyday. Cows are female dairy cattle that produce milk that is made into cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, and many, many other dairy products. Farmers do not raise “cows” for meat or kill tens of thousands of them a day. Steers are raised for meat, and as far as the factory “farming” it has been proven that it takes 5 more acres per pound of hamburger if steers are raised on pasture, which means more land is being consumed. Steers are fed a feed mixture that in every bite contains all the nutrients, vitamins, proteins along with minerals they need to grow and be healthy. We can’t say the same for our diets. Steers are raised in feedlots because they are healthier, easier to clean and keep the animals clean and provide the shelter, water and food they need at all times, eliminating the need for animals to starve or dehydrate because they have to find feed and water on their own. Their waste goes on the fields and feeds the crops we eat, not just corn and soybeans, regular peas, beans, onions, beets, etc. Farmers are under strict regulations as far as animal health and welfare. Yes, there is farms that do not treat their animals fairly but to say every farmer is like that is to say every dog owner starves their dogs or mistreats them. Horses are neglected, abused, and starve to death because they can’t be sent to slaughter because of our “emotions” about them here in the U.S. Yet over in EU they are eaten in many countries…but here they starve and suffer. We need to learn to treat all animals fairly, and just because they are used for meat doesn’t mean all farms are “bad”, those are the minority, but thanks to animal activists who only show them, people don’t realize the time, effort, care, attention and last but not least, the money put into raising a healthy animal. Think about it, no one is going to pay top dollar for a skinny, neglected/sick steer being sold for meat, I’ve been to auctions and seen the steers, all the top dollar steers were slick and fat and happy, the very few that were skinnier went for next to nothing. Farmers DO care about their animals and the land, and spend their days risking their lives to do what they love. Farmers make up 2% of the population, but feed the other 98%. Think on that. And Trisha, I am glad you are able to keep yourself healthy and realize that eating meat in moderation is not bad.

  • http://www.anyellday.com Yell

    You started with STEAK?

    You couldn’t start with Alaskan salmon or hard-boiled eggs?

    STEAK?

  • Cassandra

    You seem to be reading every third word here. You might want to look into that. I never said she had body issues or that she was going vegan to lose weight like anorexics starve themselves to do. I said that what she was saying to her doctor, insisting that her vegan diet was the only way she could eat sounded like an anorexic defending their starving themselves. I don’t for a second buy into the vegan cult mindset that it is a better diet for everyone. I don’t believe any extreme diet that cuts any sort of food entirely out is good for the majority of people. And I definitely find your ignorant cult-like mindset to be damaging to both your cause and the people you turn it loose on. Go back to your kool-aid and leave this girl alone. She’s suffered enough for your vegan cause.

  • Cassandra

    So if we’re not buying into the Vegan cult, we must be part of your conspiracy theory?

  • Michael

    I feel the same way as a lot of folks here. I spent the majority of my life not eating meat until around the age of 46 when I introduce fish back into my diet. I have to say, I feel healthier now than during the 24 years I didn’t eat meat.

  • Rockey Mann

    Agreed Cami -excellent points and Ph of the digestive system is a paramount issue in absorption of iron. Investigating the interaction of foods is the road to success. One thing people neglect to think about is how foods are grown. Do they actually have the nutrition profile that food would have if grown in a non commercial environ? We are all different with different needs and this was beautifully written but it is about one person- not vegan life in general. There are 40 million vegans in India alone so it can be done.
    Some of us are vegan because we have no choice so I know it can be done.
    Thanks for sharing and happy you feel so much better.

  • Elainie

    Tells me the vegans making negative comments didn’t comprehend what she wrote. Maybe time for some animal fat and DHA to restore some cognitive function?

    Tasha, if it’s any consolation- I too was vegan and raw vegan numerous times over (going back to some grass fed animal foods/eating primal/paleo) and have made peace that my body doesn’t function well on all vegetal matter.

    I lost hair, energy, slept all day, bruised, memory loss, slurred speech , the whole gamut. When my TSH level reached 165 I knew I was in serious trouble. It hadn’t been like that when I was paleo.

    It took me a longer time to regain my health but I’m glad I finally did and won’t be looking back. Still eat tons of veggies, raw foods (skip the nut pate’s) but the small portion of animal foods really does the trick for some of us.

    It’s great some of you feel great being vegan, but some attitudes are nothing short of toxic. Everyone is different biochemically and will have different needs. Lose the dogma and have some compassion for your fellow humans, not just the animals.

  • http://richfletchersgoodfoodrevolution.blogspot.com/ Rich Fletcher

    Great Post!! I normally would not read one about Vegans, as I never did quite understand the concept… but I have to say Im really pleased I did. Great writing!! Im really glad you have found happiness and health again!! :) and I have to say Im extremely jealous over your locally sourced bedouin (sp?) goats !! Awesome !!

  • http://www.curezone.com/blogs/f.asp?f=1785 Chef Jem

    Greetings Tasha!

    Congratulations on your “rebirth”!
    What an amazing journey!
    Your truth telling is awesome!
    I love it!

    I found your blog by way of a recent facebook post by Kaayla Daniel. I will comment on her post with a link here.

    You may have believed erroneous things about “right” diet but your body sure knew what it needed (and that “body talk” is a voice that no one can argue with)! I’m very happy for you that you could hear your body! I think your triumph over the battle in your mind was truly heroic!

    How fortunate that you had a doctor who knew that there has not been any successful vegan societies! People can believe what they want regarding diet and it will not change the very long historical record of what foods have been relied upon to nourish people and especially those that we know had radiant health. Weston A. Price has the high honor of being the premier researcher of such people in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”! He said: “I spent several (over 10) years studying the primitive people in various parts of the world, and I have come as a missionary from them to the people of modern civilization, and I beg of you to learn of their accumulated wisdom. And if you do, you too can have strong healthy bodies without so much disease as we suffer from these days.”

    There are other researchers as well and in all this research there have been no vegan societies that have been documented. One can ask why the findings of Dr. Price and others are not included in the nutritional indoctrinations that prevail in our institutions. These models of truly radiant health are apparently not at all tolerated in a medical paradigm that is based in disease. Yet, virtually all of the suffering attributed to malnourishment could be eliminated with the knowledge of what real health is plus an understanding of the actual lifestyles that people lived to obtain radiant health.

    The confessions of those who apparently have been pretending to be vegans are probably only the tip of an enormous iceberg! Your truth telling opened the door for that! What a liberating message you have! May it spread far and wide!

    Best Regards!

    Chef Jem

  • `SusanElizabeth1949

    Marlee: I grew up in the 50s, back then what is now called ‘grass fed’ was ‘range fed’ and the cheapest meat around. Meat was not a side dish, going clear back to my grandparent’s childhoods in the 19th century. The only time meat was not the center piece for anyone who had sufficient money was during the rationing of both WW 1 and WW2.

  • Juliette

    I have witnessed so many people who have either gone on the all-vegan diet or the all-meat diet get sick and unable to heal. I think this post is extremely informative and insightful. You seem to be strong in your convictions and truths and you have just found out that you need more than what you thought. It’s hard when that happens. It’s hard when you have adapted yourself to a certain diet or regimen and you find out you have to change it. I really applaud you. Being an omnivore is probably the best and most balanced way to live and survive. Meat is rich in iron and vitamins and vegetables, nuts, and legumes are wonderful in the health department as well. A balance of both will keep you healthy and fit. And it doesn’t change that you are fighting for the well-being of animals and the planet. If you’re dead, you can’t help ANYONE, so you needed to do what is right for you. Keep up the wonderful work and don’t worry about what these people have to say. You are doing everything right!

  • Steve

    Who are all these supposed vegans who are secretly binging on steak in their closets at 3am when no one is watching? Names, people, I want names. Back up your accusations with names and let’s get to the truth.

  • http://theskinnyonline.blogspot.com/2010/11/big-fat-success.html Lisa Sargese

    Brava! Your voice is a necessary one in a world of confusion about real food and good health. I suffered along as a vegetarian and then a vegan for so many years. I envy that you were able to bounce back so quickly. It’s taking me 2 years to get my energy back. The depression was so bad when I was trying to be vegan. The lack of energy, the anemia, the malnourishment while all the while the “ethical” vegans cheered. I will not longer take one for THAT team. All my meat and dairy comes from a local family farm. No cruelty, just sustainable living. Thank you for being a voice crying out in the wilderness. Don’t let the naysayers get you down, luvvie!!

  • veronica

    The Jains are lacto-vegetarians. Try again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_vegetarianism

  • http://topsy.com/thevoraciousvegan.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention A Vegan No More | Voracious — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lisa Sargese, Mika. Mika said: Fascinating (and a bit heartbreaking) post. http://thevoraciousvegan.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more [...]

  • jen

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this. I went vegan about 4 years ago, I tooo had heart palpitations, went to cardiologist for tests, they said everything is fine, my hair is falling out at scary rates, I am depressed more than ever, anxiety is sometimes debilitating, I am exhausted too…. I cried with you while reading this, all I can say is thank you

  • Raffael

    Tasha,

    I’m often wont to quote Walt Whitman when he said in Song of Myself, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” It often brings me some solace when I choose a different choice than one I previously chose. However, after 10 years of strict vegetarianism that was practically vegan, the first time I ate wild, sustainable salmon I felt such guilt as to be practically indescribable. I initially went vegetarian due to my own health issues (Crohn’s disease), and at first, it helped tremendously. I still had some symptoms, but not nearly as many as when I thought veggies were only there to soak up the drippings from steak. After a decade of this and “learning” how evil meat was for the body, a friend of mine was diagnosed with Crohn’s, and she asked me about diet strategies. I did some research on my own, for the first time, and I discovered that the majority of those who “knew what they were doing,” in terms of guiding my health decisions were WAY off. All the research I was reading was telling me that I needed to eat certain forms of animal protein, mostly fish. As painful of a decision as it was for me to go back to eating fish, I discovered, much as you, my body craved it, and I began to have more energy and think more clearly. Much like you, I also had militant vegan/vegetarian friends talk to me as if I had “lost the faith,” but I couldn’t deny what I felt. With Crohn’s, if I eat badly, not only am I malnourished, but I’m in physical pain, and I couldn’t deny that I was in less pain.

    A Buddhist monk I know once told me that, “Life cannot exist, except off of other life.” He was saying this in response to my question about why he, a Buddhist monk, was not vegetarian. He indicated to me that we make choices, and should be cognizant of the impact our choices have, so he ate meat selectively. Taking his example and what I had learned about the environmental impact of eating certain types of fish, I, again, much like you, decided to eat fish, but only fish that I know is sustainable in how it’s caught.

    Thank you for sharing your very intimate, and clearly painful, journey to become a healthier you.

  • http://deanebarker.net/blog/post/778 The Story of a Recovering Vegan :: DeaneBarker.net

    [...] A Vegan No More: A long but interesting post from a militant vegan who quit and went back to eating meat.  Veganism, it turned out, was killing her physically, and it led to a epiphany for her – humans are supposed to eat meat. She decided that veganism was a direct contradiction of her being human. I delicately broached the topic of my ill-health with several vegan friends. I even made comments on other blogs and on twitter highlighting my struggles. The response was nothing short of shocking. [...]

  • http://soychaibookshelf.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    I read this yesterday and will probably be doing it again to get a better grasp on everything. To be honest, it makes me sad because you were such an inspiration to me and your new daily tweets on how much you love bacon just make me sad. I support your doing what you need to to help your body though I do question some of what you say. For example, going back to bacon, how much locally raised bacon are you finding in a Muslim country? And more grain is grown, thus destroying agriculture, to feed cows than humans, which puts a damper on that claim. I admire your honesty but I’m taking it with a grain of salt. Before, you were a die-hard, everybody-should-do-as-I-do vegan and the problem is that that has not changed, just switch out “vegan” with “omni.” You may want to explore a middle-road and avoid looking a little ridiculous.

    I’m glad you’re better. I did notice that your posts had lagged off, occasionally were more negative than before, and that your energy/motivation seemed to be flagging. I just fear that you’re fitting your ethics to your new choices, rather than the other way around.

  • http://www.lifeistooshortforlowfatcheese.wordpress.com Torri

    It’s always important to listen to your body. If you are feeling better now, and not ill, then however you got there is really none of anyone’s business.

    I enjoyed reading your blog before, and I will enjoy it from now on. I don’t know you, and even if I did know you, what business is it of mine to judge you?

    One of the most interesting things to me is how we change through the years, how we reevaluate and grow and evolve. I like that you are sharing that with us.

    Take care of yourself – anyway you want to!

    Torri

  • http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com Zak M-K

    Congrats on the recovery and having the courage to keep an open mind!

  • kristen

    Wow… So weird that I just came across this… I have been seeing a nutritionist for the past three weeks, trying to lose weight, gain energy, and clear this damn depression! Same problems. I was vegan on and off for quite a few years. My nutritionist was very against a vegan diet and i was sick of suffering (with eating disorders as well), so I surrendered myself to her, figuring if it doesn’t work, it finally isn’t my fault. So far, I have experienced the same: actually being satisfied after a meal (!!), my depression seems a bit better (I am writing again, which before I started, I was no longer able to do), and have lost weight. I don’t have much more energy yet, but I have high hopes about it. Thank you for such a great post and I really found this at such a great time. I was beginning to wonder if this was coincidence that i was feeling better (and maybe convincing myself of it?).

  • Megan

    I’ve never read your blog before, but someone sent me this link. You are a wonderful writer and your story is very interesting.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 15 years, and I am almost certain that I would be a lot healthier if I ate meat. I’ve always had very low iron, and when I was a teen I really craved red meat constantly. I eat dark leafy greens that most Americans probably have never heard of, but my iron levels are still so low. I’ve now had 3 kids, all of whom have very low iron and two of whom have some very minor birth defects, and I fear that these things might be due to my diet.

    I still can’t bring myself to eat meat: I no longer really care about the animal rights aspects, and it’s largely turned into a textural thing. I get around it by ignoring meat that doesn’t ping my sensory issues: for example, I no longer ask at a restaurant if that squash risotto has chicken broth… I just pretend that it’s all vegetarian unless I can actually see the meat.

    Though obviously your story is more extreme than mine, I still found it inspiring. I’m going to try to keep it in mind as I wrestle with the question of whether to reintroduce meat into my diet.

  • Raffael

    Vegan, I will try to respond to your statements without malice and anger, but it’s hard, as this is a personal issue for me. Due to my own health problems, I witnessed firsthand evidence that nutrition is not an exact science and that the biomechanics of each person are idiosyncratically different. Some people simply cannot absorb nutrients the same way as others. I know many naturopathic physicians personally, and I have discussed this very issue with them. It’s interesting that NONE of them recommend veganism for everyone; they all talk about the variance of what each person can nutritionally absorb. Read my posting below for a little bit regarding my own journey away from the “light side” of vegetarianism, back to eating sustainable types of fish. What was more interesting to me is that many of the sustainable agriculturalists I know (Yes, plural.), talk about the environmental benefits of small-scale local animal farming. When done properly, they tell me, it tends to give back nutrients to the Earth, as opposed to mono-farming crops like corn, wheat, and soy, which actually require animal-based products to farm on a large scale. If you carefully re-read Tasha’s post, you may find that she discussed many of your objections to her discontinuation of her vegan lifestyle.

    What’s more, I find that your objections are nothing more than interpretive attacks on her arguments. You do comment on her perception of women eating a vegan diet as a misogynistic denial of one’s bodily needs. This is a philosophical debate, and I think the crux of her posting seems to be one of the scientific and environmental value of a vegan versus non-vegan diet. I keep reading your posting, and I find no factual refutation of her supposed “lies” regarding the health benefits of conscientiously eating moderate amounts of I animal fats. You did not appear to acknowledge the multiple times she attempted to work with her physician/nutritionist to make her vegan diet work, nor do you seem to address the fact that she talked, in detail, about the environmental evils of large-scale farming.

    French intellectual Jacques Ellul wrote in his book “Propaganda” that the difference between propaganda and education is that propaganda has a tendency to crystallize and simplify a complex issue; Tasha’s posting seems to shed light on the complexity of nutritional decisions, especially when one considers environmental and moral impact. You claim she “couldn’t hack it,” and she is “spreading nonsense.” You call her statements “outright lies,” without citing evidence to the contrary. Your argument, appears to be filled with opportunistic attacks on her character, that are augmented by your (obvious) choice of a screen name that enhances your anonymity and allows you to comfortably and anonymously make judgmental attacks on her, with no fear of reprisal. Isn’t the internet great for that? I know many vegans, and I think they might agree with me in saying that your attacks on someone for their own choices, especially with such a clear rationale for them, taint other people’s perceptions of the vegan movement.

  • ann

    i must say the comments are mean and pridefull just as they say you are. i had no idea that if you are honest and open about your feelings your full of pride or you are pushing yourself on others. i love the fact that you poured your heart and told what was on your mind and all your thoughts. i do the same thing. we get shit for it but, its the truth and that is what matters. this is my first time and i will be following you from now on. my husband and i have been trying to go vegan and my body has differnt feelings. honestly i dont know what to think of it. yes, i agree with the vegan lifestyle but, yet i dont. i feel good then i dont. all the stuff they said should happen didnt that is for sure. we are all sicker then dogs right now. but, yet when i eat diary and meat i feel sick sometimes now, when i ate a local farmers meat i didnt. also they say you lose all this fat well i didnt!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is so confussing to me. whats up skinny bitches they tell you will…not. i must say iam confussed but, i didnt go vegan for human reasons. that all makes me kind of sick actually. my grandpa was a hunter loved the dear on the wall!!! . yes, i think the whole industry is crap and i dont want to eat from it anymore. i wont even buy frome the organic store meat i love the local only. checiken makes me sick just thinking of it cause of all the whore storeies on it. i love eating vegan but i also love eating meat! i do believe there is a balance to everything and i believe that vegans and it on but, yet maybe they dont. balance……i also belive that god has it right in the bible what to eat and what not to eat. he says it very clearly. and they also ate hardly any meat but, they did eat it. he had us kill the animals sainly to. none of this murdering crap that they do or abuse yes, when you eat that i think it is 100 percent bad for you bodys. your eating there fear etc. we are learning everyday. what we think we know could be wrong it could be right. study study study be open dont be pridefull and dont put someone down cuase she tells her feelings. go away and dont be a jerk
    you rock girl!

  • Laura

    Anand –

    ” we are of the only one that can provide our animal food a good life and a death free from pain and fear. No other predator does nor can they. ”

    You are so right! We raise chickens and sheep on our small farm, and this summer we lost numerous chickens to raccoons. They were killing several a night, and leaving carcasses largely uneaten, so they certainly were not killing only for food (that I could have respected). There was a path of strewn feathers several feet long leading to each carcass, making it apparent the chicken was very much alive and struggling while its predator dragged it away, eviscerating as it went. Friends of mine have lost sheep to predators in much the same fashion.

    It is sad when animals from our farm become food (all of which is sold locally), but at least they meet an end that is much less cruel than any afforded them by their wild predators.

  • Laura

    Hey, do you have cites for any published articles about those studies that say GMO can negatively impact health? It would be really helpful for a project. Thanks!

  • Laura

    Tasha -

    It is apparent in your writing that this decision was agonizing for you, on many levels. Your bravery is truly inspiring. The message at the core of this post is that to be healthy, physically and spiritually, we must, each of us, find the balance between our physical needs and our spiritual convictions.

    I hope you have opportunities to “meet your meat” so you can see that animals raised on many small farms are happy and healthy. The life of a sheep on pasture, grazing the plants its ruminant system was designed to efficiently digest, features more peace and less cruelty than a life in the wild. Like the other small farmers I know, we treat our animals with respect and compassion. No life is ever taken irreverently here . . . even the life of predators that sometimes menace our livestock.

    It is a shame when people who claim to promote a lifestyle based on compassion show less respect for a fellow human being than for the gallons of petroleum that transport their factory-farmed plant foods across the ocean.

    Be real, and be well.

  • Laurie

    Much love! There are SO many of us ex-vegans out there. Plant-only food just does not work. Stay strong. Ignore the hate mail!

    L

  • shawn

    Yet another story about somebody that wasn’t eating properly, got sick and blamed their vegan diet (not ignorance). I’ve heard this story plenty of times but I’ve also heard and live the story that any and everyone can live long and healthy… on a vegan diet. I’ve been vegan 18yrs. Without any difficulties at all(because I eat right) and have countless friends that share the same results. News Flash: learn about veganism, transition slowly into the diet, research nutrition and eat properly, be healthy, help save the environment and animals. this story is both sad and lame! shame on you.

  • Paul York

    Guilt and shame may hurt some people’s feelings, but they will get over it. However, being murdered for your flesh really hurts. There is no comparison between the narcissistic emotional gushing of a human and the very real and serious murder that animals endure. Non-human animals have feelings, they can suffer, and they do not deserve to be held captive and murdered. It is completely unnecessary, since anyone who followed a proper vegan diet would not be unhealthy. In fact, they would be healthier. All the scientific evidence verifies this (see Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine site). This entire post is about assuaging guilt, self-indulgently, but does not take into consideration the feelings of animals at all.

  • Howard Landman

    The book The Empty Mirror was written by a Dutch guy who lived in a Zen monastery for a year. Their diet was vegetarian and he got ill within weeks. The doctor prescribed that he hike down to town once a week and eat a hamburger. His body just couldn’t handle getting no meat protein at all.

    It is POSSIBLE to get everything you need from a vegan diet, but it is really hard. You need to know exactly how much of each nutrient you’re getting. B12 can be had from yeast (brewer’s or nutritional), for example. But how many people want to eat yeast every day?

    At the Hollyhock Center in British Columbia, the diet is vegetarian except for fish on Thursday and (sometimes, red tide allowing) an oyster barbecue on Sunday. I know that works for me because I’ve lived on it for weeks, but I’m not sure I could get by with no animal consumption at all.

    People also vary in how easily they digest various foods … different amounts and effectiveness of various digestive enzymes. A diet that works well for one person may not work for another. You need to find a diet that works for YOU.

  • Liam

    Veganism is centered on our society’s guilt trip. We feel so guity becuse we are told to.
    I really think vegans are unbalanced.
    The large herbivores have a different system than we do.
    Carnivores are always more intelligent, The brain needs so much power.
    It’s another trend or fad foisted upon us by the guilt ridden media.
    Eating a creature that is built somewhat like you is necessary because we need the PROTEINS!!! . Snakes eat snakes, sharks eat other fish, chimps eat monkeys.
    God people!! get real!

  • http://risashome.blogspot.com risa b

    Note to self: Like Voracious, listen to your body. You’ll be healthier, happier, and maybe even live longer.

    Note in reply: Yes, ma’am.

  • JB71

    You mentioned that you’d been lied to about what your body needed. You persisted in those beliefs long past the point where someone sane would have gone “You know, this isn’t working.” You ignored diligently the efforts of your body to tell you that something was wrong. You refused to believe doctors and nutritionists, always looking for some way to justify the pain and hunger you were feeling.

    You latched onto veganism like it was a salvationist theology – and it darn near ruined you.

    Good for you for finally realizing that we’re omnivores.

  • Alex

    Cheeseslave, you’re an industry shill. At least others tried to hide it better than you did.

  • Dee

    Shari,

    You just summed up what I was feeling. The article felt disingenuous to me. It actually reminded me of an infomercial testimonial. (Especially with the highlighted quotes/sound bites and the uber-enthusiastic claims of instant improvement.)
    Just for the record- I became in vegetarian in 1993, went vegan in 2000, started eating free range eggs a few years ago. The latter didn’t require any radical paradigm shift- a middle ground exists. I have a good friend who was vegetarian for years who recently starting eating meat and feels better health-wise. It happens.
    I’m not implying that the author doesn’t feel better, but something about the writing style struck me as tinny.

  • Dee

    Josh,

    Your reply is incredibly well written. I think your observation could be applied to a lot of different situations in life. It’s tempting to cling onto labels and identities. It’s a lot harder to make decisions on a case by case basis.

  • Ginger

    I guess the fake “her” I had dinner with a few shorts weeks ago was a figment of my imagination.

    Sorry Tasha…I can’t resist!

  • Ginger

    Danna,

    Please send us a list of VEGAN nutritionists in the Middle East.

    “…i’m even sorrier for the animals you will be eating …”

    This is brilliant and really makes some sort of point or something.

  • http://www.vegventures.com Maija Haavisto

    I find it quite interesting that many people mention low iron levels associated with veganism. My experience – and the experience of many people I know – has been the exact opposite. When still eating meat and dairy I was always borderline anemic, but after dropping both my hemoglobin is almost too high (and I don’t eat blackstrap molasses or anything). Many people have the same result, because dairy is so incredibly effective in blocking iron absorption. As a result many vegetarians struggle with anemia, but for vegans it’s very rare.

    However, people are different and the study of nutrigenetics is set to find out why different people have different nutritional requirements.

  • jka

    agreed completely paul. I can only wonder what would have happened if she’d visited a different doctor — follow the advice of your doctor blindly… and drool at the taste of animal flesh… and then write about it as if on some ethical/intellectual high ground… sounds like a major cop-out to me!

  • http://www.fallonshealthylife.com/?p=404 Carnivores, Omnivores, & Herbivores, oh my! « Fallon's Healthy Life

    [...] (if you’re not following her, you should be; she’s a riot!).  Entitled “Vegan No More,” it was written by a self-described [...]

  • Sarah

    Did you even read the whole post? Have you ever read this blog before? Tasha did everything she could and her decision was heart-breaking.

    Seek first to understand…

  • http://www.glutenfreetriesvegan.com Sarah

    Wonderful Tasha,

    What a great post! Amazing outpourings of comments too. I’m so happy that you have found health and peace with your dietary changes. I love your bravery and that you always have the strength of mind and courage of your convictions. You constantly inspire me.

    I think my vegan journey is coming to an end as my mental and physical health struggles under such dietary vigilance. Whilst I’m still struggling to give up my vegan ways, on the days where I relax about food both my body and mind are happier. This is what my aim is and what I think everyone’s aim should be. I honestly believe that when there is dis-ease in any part of the body (including psychological and spiritual realms) we cease, or struggle at best, to be productive human beings thus we should do whatever we can to resolve such states of imbalance.

    Anyway, as always I love you lots and am so happy that you are back in the blogging world. Can’t wait to read more :) xxx

  • Janice Hamilton

    I am vegan. I have been meat free for 25 years, I have been vegan 16 years. I am perfectly healthy. I eat little and I feel full. I don’t feel tired during the day. I had depression when I wasn’t eating so well as a vegan but then I discovered raw foods and started to incorporate this into my diet. It didn’t happen over night, things take time, but my deppression has now gone. I eat healthier than I ever have. And yes I eat goji berries and spirulina, I do not consider these exotic foods just because they are not in the mainstream, they are staples of my diet and give me protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins etc. I juice a lot. I do not crave meat, I crave greens and spirulina, I do not believe everybody’s phisiology is so different. I believe I have to give a little bit of the story in supposrt of veganism as a lot of meat eaters are coming on here and congratulating you. I am not sure what happened in your experience but it isn’t my experience.

  • Ginger

    Way to make assumptions about someone you don not know. Obviously, you have never read anything Tasha has written. Obviously, you have never talked to her face-to-face. If anyone in this world ever researched and read everything out there on vegan nutrition, it was Tasha. I’m sure she would say that she is very happy that you have been able to maintain your vegan lifestyle.

    I would say that 50 years is really a lie, isn’t it? Even if you can do it doesn’t mean everyone on the planet can. Just because I can walk does that mean someone paralyzed from the waist down and can’t walk isn’t trying hard enough?

    Get down off your high tofurkey, Carl. Arrogance doesn’t suit you.

  • slaven vulic

    hi… have to admit i didnt go thru all of the text… but i still felt of just leaving a commment. Been vegetarian since 16 and am now following that diet for 16 years. Basically never been to a doctor since for a serious problem of any kind, my blood tests surprises doctors as it turns out too good in their opinion. So far in my 16 year expiriance of being into diet and lifestyle, on 1 case where veggie diet made person feel worse there is 10 cases where you get people say stop eating meat made such difference in my life. This however being just my honest observation… or thing i witness, saw, felt… That which i said however was not intent to be judgemental of you tasha or anyone. Each case is unique and should be dealt that way.

    I from my expiriance… and i repeat… from what i personaly experienced… I belive that humans dont need meat. I belive person should always eat healthy and put effort in learning and discovering what food and health really is and acting according to it. This applies to vegetarians, vegans and person who chooses to eat meat… well to everyone… there is no healthy diet.. there might be healthier diet… but healthy diet is well… when u make conscious effort to consume whats good for u and will make u healthy… i hope that made sense : ), english not being my first language (all hail the spell checker!).

    anyhow… there is much to say about subject… i just want to stress about eating healthy, no matter of diet choice (and by saying so i dont want to imply that tasha wasnt doing so and that got her into trouble, as i said each case is unique).

    thx… bless be

    slaven

  • http://dunsgathan.blogspot.com/ Saigh

    Congratulations on your journey back to health. And thank you for your courage to speak out.

    While I was never a vegan, for more than very short, maybe a week, maybe two (my health was already fragile, so it was quickly notable when I went that far) I was a sickly vegetarian for years, then a sickly, but sometimes better, pescotarian (not frequently enough, most likely, it took me awhile to figure out how much better I felt when I had a dose of fish fat and protein). I struggled with what i knew was my need to add animal protein, but going along with why I returned to eating fish, I found my own key was finding a way to eat meat outside of the factory farming hell. I could fish, so I ate fish. It was hard to find other non-CAFO meat at the time, but thankfully, I think we’re seeing a lot of change with the grass-fed movement. I now can buy locally raised, grass-fed meat, and I’m now able to raise my own chickens (might other food animals too, eventually).

    BTW, I’d love to add your blog to my “foodie blog list” that I intend to grow on my homesteading blog. I hope you don’t mind.

  • Jason

    Enjoy misinformation

  • Kitty

    I wanted to let you know how brave I think you are for writing so honestly about your journey. I’m so happy for you that you finally feel healthy.

    I had two daughters who were vegetarian for several years, and I loved eating with them and cooking for them. I can’t say I ever went entirely vegetarian, but I was enjoying a lot of new flavors with them and read about vegetarianism and veganism as well. My copy of Recipes for a Small planet was well worn and now resides at my daughter’s house. LOL

    I finally decided that locavarianism is the best course for health and responsible eating. My daughters are both also eating local, one more than the other, and I’m very proud of them.

    unfortunately since being diagnosed as diabetic, I am now almost exclusively carnivore since all starches, even beans raise my blood sugars a LOT. That’s a subject for another time, but I sure miss beans.

  • I Know your tricks

    Biggest pile of corporate paid crap i have ever read. Only the stupid would believe this and not notice the marketing style writing.

  • http://captiverecordsmusic.com Cody

    Tasha, I still love you as my wife even though you are a construct of the meat industry. I won’t judge the fact that you don’t actually exist and will continue to embrace you for “who” you are.

  • Rutabaga

    You know, you can do whatever you want and I won’t judge for you it even if I do think you’re wrong. HOWEVER, go perpetuate the stereotype that vegans are all just faking it it absolutely unforgivable. In the three plus years that I’ve been vegan I haven’t had a bite of meat or dairy or eggs, because I’m staunchly ethically opposed to it. Your backstabbing comments reflect on the thousands of vegans who are doing it for the right reasons and are putting in the effort to make sure that they are healthy.

    Do whatever you want, but don’t drag the rest of us into the muck with you.

  • TJR

    I also have read Lierre Keith’s book, and one theme that Lierre deals with extensively are the effects on the human brain of the vegan diet. Depending on the individual, this effect will make a person anywhere from a bit rigid and high-strung to a downright mentally-ill rage-junkie. This psychological effect with a physiological cause probably explains why you clung to your vegan religious mindset despite the fact that it was clearly harming you.

    I saw this effect for myself many years ago when I was a college student living in what I now call Politically Correct Co-op Land. When John Robbins’s *Diet For A New America* was a relatively new publication, the vegan religion sunk its claws deeply into the co-op house in which I lived thanks to a very vegangelical couple who was living there (the male half of which was an unbelievable misoyginist and homophobic jerk-face, BTW, who eventually got himself kicked out of the place for his behavior). Within weeks of the wave of conversions to veganism, the social dynamic of the house became completely unhinged. People were flipping out on and getting totally alienated from one another for the pettiest reasons, sometimes no reason at all. After I moved out for unrelated reasons (I didn’t realize at the time why this was happening), I heard that the dynamic of the place only continued to get worse. Much worse, in fact. These days, I tend to think that the dysfunctional dynamic you often get in PCCL settings has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of people who live there are vegans or near-vegan vegetarians.

    And of course, the vegans themselves wasted no time in proving Lierre was right about this when she was assaulted by a trio of pie-throwing punks at an anarchist book-fair in San Francisco. I saw the video of the attack, and two of those pies connected very much like full-on punches, and Lierre has a spinal condition that makes her prematurely frail for her age. And in a thread on the Indybay website in which this incident was discussed, I couldn’t help but remark that the vegans who defended this behavior manifested in spades these serious mental problems that are so often the result of the vegan diet.

    So Kudos to you, Tasha, for discarding something that was clearly not helping you be a strong, healthy, and self-actualized woman, activist, and human person and doing what common sense demanded you do to change this situation.

  • http://ingunowners.com/forums/break_room/119856-a_vegan_no_more.html#post1462020 A Vegan No More – INGunOwners

    [...] for the planet than our omnivorous ways, (developed over millions of years). It's a nice read. A Vegan No More | Voracious __________________ [...]

  • Janet

    I agree. And, Tasha, you might consider what all that time you seem to feel you need on an elliptical trainer has to do with loving and/or hating your body.

    What I find most troubling about this, Tasha, is your need (as JKA notes) to try to justify this as if eating meat is some sort of moral responsibility. You don’t need what you call ‘organic matter’ for a rich and fertile garden. Plants also make rich soil (newsflash: organic means it’s carbon-based).

    Perhaps you’re sure that your new meat-based diet is making you feel better. It doesn’t seem to have helped much with your tendency toward melodrama.

  • John

    So because Tasha incorporated help from a (my) web design business to redesign her blog that makes it fake? Not sure about your logic John. What would a web design business have anything to do with the choices of being vegan or not?

  • Richard

    The position that all meat is murder and raising an animal for food is inherently evil does more to harm animal welfare than it does to help.

    It’s such a ridiculous statement that people ignore the difference between a free range pig and one that is stuck in a crate it can’t even turn round in. Vegans and similar extremists are such illogical caricatures that they debase the credibility of the great mass of people who care that animals are treated well before we kill them.

    I don’t know if pigs can be considered happy or not, that’s a philosophical argument that’s beyond me to settle. But if they can be, the four pigs my parents keep in their fields probably are. They’ll be well fed and well looked after in a safe and spacious environment right up until the moment they are shot in head and die instantly. That’s a much better life than a lot of people have.

    Anyway, well done Tasha, for making what must have been a difficult decision and having the courage to share it knowing you’d be attacked by the zealots of the faith you have abandoned.

  • Sharon Macaulay-Fradkin

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog. I have felt guilty for years about being a meat eater and have gradually cut back, hoping to become a vegan eventually. Mostly thinking about the planet and not myself. This was a very thought provoking article and I’m glad I read it. Kudos to you for taking your health back.

  • valerie

    I am a staunch animal rights activist. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I was a vegetarian then a vegan when I was 2-27. I am now 46 and still an animal rights activist, I am in perfect health. Here is how I do it; I only consume animals that KNOW PERSONALLY have lived a happy healthy life, cared for by people who I KNOW PERSONNALY and who love and respect their creatures and give them the best life possible – outdoors in the fresh air, in the grass, with fresh freely flowing water, with as much space as they need to express their animals natures. There is no escaping the fact that their lives end and that they experience fear at that moment. I know the people who raise my food do as much as they possibly to can to make that moment as brief as possible.

    This is the only way I can do what I need to do to maintain my perfect body and mind health. It is my religion and now has become my activitsm. I simply refuse to eat any animal tha that does not fit the criteria I have listed above.

    Good luck to you in quest for the self-acceptance to be a human and the self love to regain your health. I hear the pain in your words.

  • valerie

    opps, 22-27! not 2 – 27!

  • Ginger

    Paul,

    That is a vegan site, so I’m thinking it might be a little biased. Try again.

  • Meghan

    This is absurd. We grow VAST amounts of grain to FEED ANIMALS that we eat. We would have to grow LESS if we stopped raising animals for food.

  • Daisy

    I’m pretty ambivalent about this blog. On one hand I’m glad you are regaining your health. On the other hand, it boggles my mind that an apparently educated woman like you would buy into this diet. It’s obviously bogus.

    Humans evolved eating meat. We are what we are because our ancestors ate meat. When I see a 12 year old talking about becoming a vegan because they’ve read something on PETA or HSUS, I understand. But you’re a grown up and obviously know how to do some research.

    But the main reason I can’t give you a lot of applause for making the switch back to a normal diet is that you continue to support the sham of veganism. You say you know some of the “big” names in veganism secretly eat meat. One is even selling cookbooks to the public. I think that’s fraud and by not naming those names, you are involved in that fraud.

  • http://www.harvestdream.org Angelo

    A fascinating read! Thanks for the experience. I myself practiced veganism for 2 years but ended up incorporating fish and cheese simply because I needed something that would ‘ground’ me. On the vegan diet I was high strung, finicky, excitable, almost with too much nervous energy – my diet was primarliy raw vegan at the time. For me it was an experiment more than anything, not so much a religion.

    My rule is and has been that IF you can kill it, than you have every right eating it. There’s no excuse letting others do the dirty work, that’s ultimately a shirking of ones responsibility in the process. I don’t mean to imply that you must kill everything you eat, but you should try doing it once, or at the very least consider visualizing it in a meaningful way. It was through this methodology that I realized that I simply could not eat mammals. I could happily pluck a fish from the water, I could even lop the head off a chicken (those egg laying and to me non-emotional creatures) but I could not kill a mammal! Can you? If you can, and many can without hesistation, than you are free of an otherwise logical gap in your lifestyle.

    My diet is largely vegetarian with goodly amounts of eggs, chicken and fish, with the odd serving of cheese, I also have no health ailments, plenty of energy and an otherwise stable emotional life (we all have our moments though!),

    I view mammals as brethren, and in no way can I bring myself to kill them, it just feels too much like murder. That might seem a harsh statement, but that’s how I feel about it – it’s not a moral judgement on those who can kill, though the killing part is something that is denied by far too many meat eaters. Other than the argument that we can only derive heme iron from red meat – I feel exceptionally fine – I haven’t felt in any way inclined to indulge in red meat at this point, if that changes than I’ll have to learn to kill my brethren, but I doubt that need will arise.

    Thanks again for openly sharing your experience.

    Cheers,

  • TJR

    @Daisy: Jeez-Louise, and here I thought *my* comment came off as a bit shrill. Cut people some slack, already! It really bothers me to see an informed omni being as unbalanced and myopic as any vegan. 1) It’s just simple nettiquette to refrain from publicizing what specific people said to you in private e-mail conversations. 2) I don’t think Tasha is defending veganism as such, because she’s pointing out that it doesn’t work for an awful lot of people. 3) We all conform to some extent, and when you hang out with lefty types, it stands to reason that one may well be drawn in veganism/ vegetarianism. 4) And factory-farming is such an awful thing on so many levels, I can understand a person wanting to disassociate themselves from it in their lifestyle choices. As much damage as John Robbins’s *DFANA* has done, I think his work really does deserve credit for making us aware of how deeply dysfunctional our modern industrial food-system has become.

  • http://www.mominreallife.com Rachel

    Paul, JKA, Janet,
    How’s the view from your pedestals. Hopefully us peasants aren’t ruining your view as we take care of your high horses.

  • // SomeRandomGuy

    “Obviously, the planet cannot support 7 billion people in any meaningfully sustainable way, vegan or not.”

    Really?

    I noticed in your About Me section there is no mention of this life-changing event. It is written as though you have always held this philosophy and is self-aggrandizing in the extreme.

    While it’s a joyful thing to see someone pull themselves out of a doctrinaire quagmire and reclaim (in your case, it seems, a large piece) the joy that comes from being balanced and healthy, the thing that jumped out the most in this whole post was the complete lack of humility in the face of such a reality-changing realization (strict veganism vs balanced with animal products).

    One would think this would immediately prompt a strict re-evaluation of other closely held dogma/beliefs. Reading this, though, one would apparently be wrong.

  • Janet

    Rachel,
    I don’t think ad hominem attacks do much to advance the conversation.

  • http://www.mominreallife.com Rachel

    So you can come on here and tell her that she is being melodramatic about the fact that she was dealing with a serious health issue, but I can’t state that you are acting superior to her?
    I didn’t realize that you felt your judging her actually advanced the conversation.

  • http://topsy.com/voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention A Vegan No More | Voracious — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Nikoley and timethief, Nikhil Karmarkar. Nikhil Karmarkar said: RT @rnikoley: Reading: "A Vegan No More | Voracious"( http://twitthis.com/v9olcl ) [...]

  • Tasha

    UPDATE: Thank you all for your comments, I never expected this post to get so much attention. However, I do not have the time nor the desire to continue moderating comments. Some of you have been amazingly supportive and have shared many thought provoking ideas, and I really appreciate that. Unfortunately, others have made threats against me and my family and that I cannot tolerate. So, thank you all very much for reading my post but I am going to be turning off the comments. I hope you can understand.

    I will be answering many of your questions in a follow up post.

  • http://www.theveganrd.com/2010/11/do-ex-vegans%e2%80%99-stories-make-the-case-against-vegan-diets.html Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets? | The Vegan RD

    [...] on 21. Nov, 2010 in Uncategorized When I read the recent blog post by Tasha, who used to be The Voracious Vegan, it felt like déjà vu all over again. Just a few months ago I was blogging about [...]

  • http://lifeistooshortforlowfatcheese.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/funniest-search-term-ever/ Funniest search term ever « Life is Too Short for Low-fat Cheese

    [...] don’t know if I told you, but I’m also quite anemic right now. I read a post on Voracious Vegan yesterday that has got me [...]

  • http://paleozonenutrition.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/a-vegan-no-more-an-moving-account-of-one-womans-choice-to-eat-animal-foods-after-being-vegan-for-3-5-years/ ‘A Vegan No More’ An moving account of one woman’s choice to eat animal foods after being vegan for 3.5 years | Julianne's Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog

    [...] A Vegan No More [...]

  • http://topsy.com/voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention A Vegan No More | Voracious — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristina Johnson, Christine and Kristina Johnson, Ontariolocavore. Ontariolocavore said: A fascinating exploration of veganism: A Vegan No More http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more [...]

  • http://thewanderingdouche.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/douche-of-the-dietary-left/ Douche-of-the-dietary-left | The blog of the wandering douche

    [...] this on metafilter. It’s clearly heartfelt, and the end result of a lot of self-reflection and [...]

  • http://duurzamegadgets.nl/webwinkels/are-some-people-not-fit-to-be-vegans/ Are Some People Not Fit to Be Vegans? «

    [...] sprited debate and at worst, heated ire. So here’s more fuel for the fire – dedicated vegan food blogger Tasha at the Voracious Vegan has turned her back on 3.5 years of veganism, drawing support but also ire from her readers. Some [...]

  • http://www.ozzmoe.com/?p=8205 Ozzmoe's Universe » Are Some People Not Fit to Be Vegans?

    [...] debate and at worst, heated ire. So here’s more fuel for the fire – dedicated vegan food blogger Tasha at the Voracious Vegan has turned her back on 3.5 years of veganism, drawing support but also ire from her readers. Some [...]

  • http://www.AdviceOnGreenLiving.com/are-some-people-not-fit-to-be-vegans/ Are Some People Not Fit to Be Vegans? | Green Living

    [...] debate and at worst, heated ire. So here’s more fuel for the fire – dedicated vegan food blogger Tasha at the Voracious Vegan has turned her back on 3.5 years of veganism, drawing support but also ire from her readers. Some [...]