So, I became a vegetarian when I was thirteen. It was a gradual process - I think it took me about a year to go completely vegetarian and cut out things like chicken/beef broth and not pick meat out of dishes and "eat around it". I cut out gelatin when I was about fifteen, and I haven't used products tested on animals since I was about fourteen. I went vegan when I was 20. About... six or seven months into it, I had a major indescretion - I bought an Amy's meal thinking it was a vegan one, but it was the vegetarian version with dairy cheese. I remember eatin it and thinking, "Wait, this isn't right." And then I realized that the cheese taste was gross, and I felt really good knowing that my body was slowly starting to reject this stuff.
Fast forward to about two years later, and I've been on a cheating binge and I feel terrible about it. I still couldn't bring myself to eat a slice of cheese or a scrambled egg or drink a glass of milk - kind of like some people like chicken nuggets but get grossed out by ribs or whatever. I haven't eaten any meat while cheatin, nor do I think I ever could. I think part of it is that I suffer from bipolar disorder and am very depressed right now, and am craving comfort foods. I live sort of in the boonies, and I know that if I had a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's closer to me, I wouldn't be tempted to cheat because great vegan options would be close by. I have noticed that I have gained five or ten pounds since I started cheating foodwise, and I know that this stuff is bad for me and cruel for the animals. But I still do it and beat myself up afterwards. Has anyone else had this problem and overcame it? Does anyone have any advice, and is anyone going through this right now?
Aurora- I read that being vegan is a journey and that means there can be turns down the wrong road. If you go back to basics and make them fun again you will find your way back. It doesn't sound like you are enjoying the cheating anyway so just remind yourself that next time.
Please don't beat yourself up. It sounds as though you have made very conscious choices from a very young age. Something you should be really proud of. Everyone has slips. There are no vegan police keeping score. Just pick yourself up, and make the best choice available to you, one choice at a time. And although we are glad to be here to support you, if you find yourself feeling very depressed, please reach out to someone in your life or to a doctor to help get you through. There is only so much comfort you can gain through the computer screen. You need to take care of you first and foremost. All the best.
Guilt never helps. Your conscious/rational mind needs to pay attention to the messages your body is sending you. Your body forces you to eat when it is out of whack or when it is anticipating a famine.
Our bodies are designed to handle significant periods of feast and famine. When we are deficient in our diet, our bodies compel us to binge. My advice is to review your food selections. Do you have a balanced diet in the following areas?
Vegetables - Raw leafy greens (kale and collards) are critical for protein, iron, and calcium. Colorful vegetables raw and cooked are also essential.
Legumes - A variety of cooked and sprouted beans. Peas and some nuts. Ground flax seed is ideal for Omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole grains - Wild rice and non-wheat and non-gluten whole grains are my choices.
Whole fruits - Don't drink commercial fruit juices. Eat whole fruit with fiber and real nutrition that hasn't been paturized out.
Water - Drink lots of fresh clean water. Avoid commerical drinks, coffee, and alcohol.
Do you avoid trigger foods? If you consume excess salt, sugar, fat, oils, processed foods, and food additives, this can cause binging.
For more information, I suggest you go to your local library and check out the book:
"Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings---And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally"
By Dr. Neal Barnard
Being vegan is not enough to assure an optimal diet. There is no reason to feel guilt if you stray off the path. Your body is trying to tell you something if you feel compelled to binge.
Another excellent author is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He has a few lessons to teach us about real hunger versus other types of compulsions to eat. His book
"Fasting and Eating for Health"
Provides some insights into some common myths about appetite. Thanks to these and other books, I lost 80+ without any hunger pangs.
I started on the Kind diet a week ago with much success but after a very stressful day I went back to my old habits. How do you deal with the stress of every day life and continue eating a healthy diet without reverting to old habits???
Just stick with it! And decide that slipping up is neither a reason to slip up more, nor is it a reason to give up! You just have to find what works for you and be your own little support team. Did you do it for health? Carry around some of the health info that made you want to become vegan and re-read some bits every time you think you want to eat something non-vegan. If you did it for ethical reasons, remind yourself what your eithics are by reading a bit about how awesome animals are (The Inner World of Farm Animals is great and talks about how smart, caring, and emotional animals are).
My strategy for being a successful vegan: make a big batch of the brown rice crispies and keep a couple on you at all times, carry TKD or another inspiring book with you, and any time you feel like you might be slipping off the wagon, eat a rice crispy and read a part of the book to remind you of your motivations. By the time you are done with a rice treat, your body isn't as likely to be going crazy with cravings and your mind has been reminded of the reasons behind your important decision.
But most importantly, don't give up and don't beat yourself up! There is no right or wrong path to veganism, and so what if it takes a few tries!