Quitting Veganism and Why This Holistic Nutritionist Had to Quit

It’s been over a year now since I had to accept the hard fact that a vegan diet wasn’t working for me. I had finished my Holistic Nutrition Certification that taught me all about the incredible benefits of plants and all the ailments that a vegan diet could cure. So why in the world was I getting sicker? I was so frustrated. How I was supposed to help clients? How could I face every animal I came across? I felt so torn between my morals, my knowledge, and everything my body was saying to me. This is my journey to quitting veganism and the life lessons it taught me.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

Why I started

I started being a vegetarian for the same reasons other people begin a vegetarian diet. The way the majority of animals are treated in the food industry makes me sick to my stomach.

Not only are animals treated badly, but it’s frightening thinking about what is going into my food that I don’t know about. The food industry has really gotten to be far too manufactured and frankly, it’s a little bit scary.

Going completely vegan

After eating vegetarian for a few years I was struggling with major cystic acne, leaky gut symptoms, exhaustion, brittle hair, wrinkles…all the things I was told would be cured with a plant-based diet.

I had learned so much about the benefits of a heavily plant-based diet, yet I wasn’t seeing any of the benefits. Maybe I was doing something wrong. I hadn’t committed enough.

That’s when I went fully vegan.

No more cheese and eggs for me.

Very quickly (within 2 weeks) things just got much worse. I felt weak, my skin started doing things it had never done before. All around I felt sick.

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There is a link between veganism and minimalism. I didn't see it until I was forced to quit my vegan diet. See the similarity between vegan and minimalism.

Quitting veganism

I got so fed up of trying to feel healthy. I was Reading all the books, watching all the teachings and I still felt absolutely terrible. After searching the internet I began to find stories of other people who quit their vegan/vegetarian diet and began eating meat again. Most notably, Jordan Younger from @thebalancedblonde on Instagram. (Formerly The Blonde Vegan.)

Although almost everyone who quit veganism received harsh backlash from the vegan community, it sounded like those who quit experienced dramatic improvements in their health.

Most people sounded like me. They had gotten to the point that they were willing to try meat again because they were so fed up with how they were feeling.

Posts about living with less 

Eating meat again

No part of me was excited to eat meat. My husband was thrilled and expected that I would want to just go out for some chicken wings. Instead, I bought a single rotisserie chicken and ate a little bit each day just like I would take medicine for an illness.

I hated it.

I also knew I was going to have to start small and not completely through off my digestive system.

After about 3 days, I began to notice serious improvements.

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Feeling better

I couldn’t believe (but was so thankful) I was feeling better. Eating meat actually improved my symptoms. Even just that little bit. I was feeling more energized, my skin began to clear up. Honestly, it was that big of an improvment.

While I was so thankful to be feeling better, I was plagued by the thought that everything I had learned and researched over the last 2 years was completely wrong.

I originally started this blog in hopes of encouraging others to eat a more plant-based diet but couldn’t muster the strength to write when I myself felt, well, like shit.

I still hated the meat industry. My stomach still turned when I’d drive by big trucks filled with animals. How was I supposed to eat for my health without supporting all of these things that I hate?

Other stories

Here are some other great reads from people who were once vegan/vegetarian and after quitting veganism have begun sharing what they have learned.

Ethical non-veganism

Here’s What Happens When You Stop Being Vegan

Many stories of quitting veganism

Why I Stopped Being Vegan

The topic of most vegetable fertilizers containing bone from animals

How Vegetarians Can Avoid Bone Meal Fertilizer

Your Salad Was Probably Grown with the Bones of Dead Animals

Options outside of veganism

The more I began reading on the topic, the more solutions I found to quitting veganism while still feeling ok morally.

  • You don’t have to eat the standard American diet. – Quitting veganism or vegetarianism doesn’t mean you have to start tossing back quarter pounders or eating an entire bucket of fried chicken. Something as simple as a single serving of meat per day (or less) could be enough to provide you with the protein and vitamins you need.
  • Find ethical farmers. – If the main reason behind not wanting to eat meat is because of how the meat industry operates, start looking for local farmers to supply you with a more ethically raised meat. They could use your support.
  • Vegetarianism – For me, vegetarian doesn’t work. I’ve come to learn that my body just does not respond well to a high amount of carbs (FODMAPs) However, if you were struggling with a vegan diet, eggs and cheese may be enough to help balance you out and improve your symptoms.

Supporting everyone

It’s crazy to me that someone would be mad at another person for choosing to be their healthiest self. (Slowly lowers head…because I totally did this.)

Although I don’t fully understand it myself, we are all different which means different things work for different people. I do fully believe some people can eat an all plant-based diet and thrive. There are many supporters out there who do.

However, after my experience, I now believe not everyone will thrive with a plant-based diet…although everyone needs their veggies!

After quitting veganism I have started looking at the world with less judgemental eyes. I may not understand why someone does what they do but I now know it’s no reason for me to judge them.

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There is a link between veganism and minimalism. I didn't see it until I was forced to quit my vegan diet. See the similarity between vegan and minimalism.

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