167 Returned Ex-Vegans
We are FINALLY doing our Returned Ex-Vegans episode, woohoo! Today we bring you five unique and moving stories about people who went vegan, stopped being vegan, and became vegan again. Their stories illuminate the many reasons why we need to have compassion for those who struggle to stay vegan in this non-vegan world, and why we need to have an inclusive, sensitive, anti-capitalist movement that goes beyond defining veganism by consumption.
In This Episode
We want to say a deeply heartfelt thank you to our five contributors for their amazing stories. We lucked out that all stories were unique, each showing different sides of why being vegan is so hard for so many people, and how sometimes it takes a few tries to have it stick.
Struggled with: disordered eating
Now that I’m approaching veganism from a healthy mindset, I don’t restrict myself from any foods. My therapist and I agreed that my lifestyle should still be restriction-free, but I no longer consider animals food (for me). I know that is a privilege that I have, and I don’t hold anyone else to that definition of food, but for me, it’s what works and keeps me mentally healthy. I’ve also shifted away from a food-centric veganism. Yes, food is obviously important for veganism, but there’s also planet-destroying-capitalism, plastic waste in the ocean, makeup products, testing on animals, the fashion industry, and using animals for entertainment. My veganism has expanded beyond food, and that’s been absolutely critical in keeping mental health in check.
Struggled with: white cis hetero-patriarchial vegan community, PETA, lack of options
I don’t give a shit if being vegan is trendy, and vegan assholes won’t bring me down or dampen my commitment to reducing the harm I do in the world as much as possible. Veganism has become part of my anti-exploitation activism, and I am sure that as I move through this world I will find even more aspects of exploitation I participate in that I had never considered before.
Struggled with: convenience, conviction and community
In early 2017 I found the idea of being vegan was something I couldn’t let go of, and the back and forth was getting me down and I felt like a bit of a failure with it. I decided to give it one last go, all in with no exceptions. I felt like in order to stick with it this time, I needed to find a community and actively involve myself in veganism as activism not just as a diet if I wanted to make it stick.
Struggled with: family pressure, finances
I have been feeling really great about our current state of veganism especially since I have transitioned to being ethically vegan instead of being a health vegan. I can easily say to my family “Violence is not part of our family’s values.” And they shut up. I still get made fun of and sneered at plenty by the people who supposedly would support me no matter what, and love me unconditionally, but right now at least my nuclear family is vegan.
Struggled with: wanting to fit in, rebelling against parents
Sometimes I get frustrated when the people I love don’t understand how I feel about animals. But then I have to remind myself that I was raised vegan, and it still took me 24 years to make the choice to be vegan for myself.
Joke in the Middle
What do you call a potato with glasses?
Related Research Articles
- Conservatism predicts lapses from vegetarian/vegan diets to meat consumption (through lower social justice concerns and social support) (Science Direct)
- Investigation of lifestyle choices of individuals following a vegan diet for health and ethical reasons (Science Direct)
- Vegan Killjoys at the Table—Contesting Happiness and Negotiating Relationships with Food Practices (MDPI)
Links and Information
- Germany’s First Vegan Kindergarten to Open in Fall (VegNews)
- MLB Ballparks Nationwide Debut New Vegan Options (VegNews)
- City Of San Francisco Considering Ban On Sale Of Fur (Plant Based News)
- Vegan Celebrity Alicia Silverstone Fights for San Francisco Ban on Fur (Plant Based News)
Mentioned in this Episode
- Anorexia More Deadly Than Other Mental Health Disorders (Recovery Ranch)