Why I Stopped Being Vegan | Story Time
Hey it's Marvolo and welcome back to my channel. Today I wanted to tell you all a little bit of a story. And it is about why I stopped being vegan. I was vegan for, I don't know, somewhere between 7-10 months. It's hard to keep track just because I transitioned, eh, about a two week transition from eating like a vegetarian to eating a vegan diet. First I'll just tell you why I went vegan. I had been vegetarian back in high school, and my parents really were not supportive of it. I was a little bit afraid to tell them I was vegetarian, I felt like I was coming out of the vegetarian closet.
I know that sounds stupid, but that's kind of how it felt. And I never did really feel comfortable telling them, but my mom started catching on to what I was and wasn't eating. And she would just put meat into things that would otherwise be a vegetarian dish.
Like she'd be putting bacon in the mac and cheese and all this stuff just to try to catch me. Finally, I think she confronted me and asked if I was vegetarian, and I told her I was. When I was 17, I went and I tried to donate blood. I had done it one time before, despite my terrible fear of needles. I saw it as a way of trying to overcome the fear, and doing something good in the process. Also it got me out of classes, and that was probably more than anything why I wanted to donate blood. And the free cookies, I mean, come on. I guess it's not really free, it's like cookies in exchange for blood, and I guess that's not really fair, but whatever.
I can't donate blood anymore so I'm glad I got at least one opportunity to do it. But the second time when I was 17 and I went in to try to donate blood, my iron levels were too low. They weren't so low that I was anemic, but they were low enough that if I donated blood, I would be anemic. So they wouldn't take my blood. For some reason, I decided to tell my dad that, and my dad grounded me, and told me that if I tried to donate blood again, I'd be grounded for even longer, and basically tried to ground me out of being vegetarian, which didn't work. I ended up stopping being vegetarian in high school because I got really stoned, but that's a story for another day. So I had previously been vegetarian, and most of that was just because of guilt associated with harming animals, seeing Meet your Meat, a video produced by PETA, and a whole bunch of other content. And really, I mean, I still do believe that being a vegetarian and being a vegan, those are really eco-friendly.
They're some of the best things you can do for our environment, and any argument otherwise, I mean pretty much any argument for not at least trying a vegetarian or vegan diet, the only one that works is "I like the taste of meat, or dairy, or eggs, or whatever." I went vegan again mostly because I read about how much milk can affect your mental health, and I was going through some really bad mental health stuff. And I actually did notice that a dairy free diet really made my mind feel more clear. Now before I went vegetarian, whenever I wasn't vegetarian, my weight would be probably around 115-118 lbs. But when I was vegetarian, I would drop down to around 110-107 lbs. But I kept losing weight, and 107 is about the lowest weight, I mean according to the BMI scale, which isn't entirely accurate, but you know, especially when you're worried about being underweight, it is a good place to look. It's like I said not always accurate, but whatever, it was what I was using at the time, and it still is something that I refer to. I kept losing weight and kept losing weight, and I was modeling at the time, and I didn't lose my butt or my boobs. The rest of me was just...I don't know where the weight was being lost from, but...I guess probably around my ribs, because I got really ribby.
Kind of when I was at the top of my modeling, with my red hair, and I was traveling a lot, and I was doing really well financially just off of my modeling. I weighed about 104 lbs, and I remember thinking okay, I really shouldn't lose more weight than that. I mean part of me wanted to lose more, but that's a destructive part of my brain, and I was able to cancel it out. But I started noticing weight dropping and dropping, and once I started getting around that 100 lbs mark, I started panicking. I tried gaining weight, I tried incorporating all sorts of plant-based substances, like flax seed, hemp seeds, just a lot of seed and nuts, and quinoa, and just different ways to try to pack on some weight.
I even tried vegan protein powder, but all of it was going straight through me, and this was when I first was being diagnosed with Crohn's, and so I thought, okay. The last thing that I really want to do right now is put dairy into my body. I know that will just make me feel disgusting. So I'm pretty sure...I was pretty sure I was lactose intolerant, so I was just like fuck that.
I now know that I am indeed lactose intolerant. I was also a little bit weary about fish because of mercury levels. Obviously I'm not so much concerned about that anymore. I was kind of a health nut. I wasn't taking any medications at all. Vegan, kind of hippie-ish.
Maybe a little bit of an attitude about it, like other people aren't as good as me, or they're not trying as hard for the world. Eating vegan and trying to gain weight was so hard. I was going to Costco, buying things in bulk, but it was getting very expensive. I blew through the last of my modeling money that I had saved up, and I wasn't really able to book any shoots with all my Crohn's symptoms starting up. I dropped under 100 lbs and I don't know, my family was getting irritated with me, everyone was getting irritated, so I tried to start eating chicken.
And that didn't help my diet. That didn't really help me to gain weight, and just over time, with my attempts at gaining weight, my attempts at finding foods that I could actually digest, I ended up just reverting back to eating whatever the fuck I wanted. I was..I just decided what my body craves is what I'm going to try to give it. I was having trouble digesting any vegetable at all. Any fruit at all. So eating a vegan diet when you can't eat fruit, when you can't digest vegetables, when you can't digest seeds, or nuts, or beans, it is very hard to stick to a vegan diet.
It's so hard to get your protein. I would've been eating seitan, because I do not have a gluten intolerance, or I would have been eating tofu, not tempeh, because it is too high in fiber, and when you have diarrhea, fiber, you don't need it. But I would've been eating stuff like that, but it is so hard to prepare food when you are that sick and exhausted, and I couldn't use the stove, because I was running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, and that's just not safe. No one else in my household knows how to cook vegan food. I'm not really happy about it, but I reverted back to that sort of a diet.
After I was diagnosed, I thought about going back to a vegan diet, but every time I would try to eliminate some new food group from my diet, I would be dropping weight. Eventually I did get down to where I was just eating poultry, cheese, blah blah blah, but no red meat. And then I dropped poultry out. I've been hanging out around 105 lbs right now, that isn't ideal for me, but oh well. I have fish about once or twice a week, because the fish oil does, I believe, more good than the mercury does harm in my body just because fish oil is so good for your digestive system, and I have a digestive disease. Even then, I'm pretty sure I would be okay without fish in my diet, but the problem is eliminating dairy.
I currently eat fish occasionally, and then I use Boost, which is a nutritional supplement. I don't have to pay for it, since it's a prescription, so it's a really easy way for me to maintain weight. It's a really good source of protein for me, and it doesn't really upset my stomach. Because it's prescription, and because even before I was on the prescription ones, I couldn't find a vegan one anywhere. I don't really see how I could ever be vegan again. I need supplements like this, and really having them not covered by insurance isn't financially realistic for me. I also eat a lot of cheese. Yes, I am lactose intolerant, but my boost drinks are lactose free, they do have dairy, but they are lactose free.
And I stick to harder cheeses that have very low lactose. I meet with a registered dietitian whenever I have questions, and she's able to tell me what sorts of dairy will or will not be triggering to my lactose intolerance. She gave me sort of a scale of how much lactose is in which dairy products, and I can sort of test and see where on that scale I have to stop, because my body can't handle it. Even then, I will admit that sometimes I break my own rules and I'm sure people look at me weird, because I tell people all the time I really need to not eat solid foods. I can't eat fruits, I can't eat vegetables, and then they see me eating blueberries, and it's like, yeah this is kind of destructive.
Sort of it's own kind of eating disorder and self-harm, actually. I mean in a way, because every time I eat fruit I make my colon bleed a little bit. And I know it's going to happen, but I do it anyways, because it's really hard to live without fruits and vegetables, you know. But regardless if I do eat them or not, I mean I try to cook them well, make sure they're soft, make sure they're not going to cut my intestines up on the way down.
I can't really do seeds or nuts because they're too sharp. When I eat them it's purely for pleasure, because it comes out, I know that might sound graphic, but undigested. Meaning that when you look in the toilet the food looks... Like an apple looks like a chewed up apple. You can tell what the food is when you look. You know how sometimes after you eat corn, you'll see corn in the toilet, even if you don't have Crohns? For me that's how like all vegetables and fruits are. Might be TMI, but you know, it's a reality for a lot of us.
So I guess really what I want to say is this. To all the people out there who advocate a vegan lifestyle for everyone, and say that it's going to cure people of disease, really? Make sure you know what you're talking about. Make sure you understand how the disease affects people. I do know people who have found relief from a vegan diet, but Crohn's doesn't affect everyone equally, and there are so many different digestive disorders, and nothing is going to work well for everyone. Now I've heard people with Celiac's say that they wanted to be vegan, and they just couldn't, because there weren't enough vegan and gluten free options together. I find that what my problem is, is that I am supposed to be eating a low-fiber, low-residue diet, and I just can't find any vegan foods that are low fiber, low residue, at least ones that will sustain me, and be affordable.
If I could find a nutritional shake, if I could find a way to sustain myself and be vegan, I probably would try to go back to it. But the problem is that it's just not realistic with what I've got going on in my life, and what I have available to me, I just don't really know how you can be vegan and eat a low-fiber diet. And that's why, even though when I was vegan, I sort of thought everyone should be vegan. Why isn't everyone doing this? It's all about will power, and just wanting the taste of meat, and not caring. But I've sort of realized you know, one diet doesn't work for everyone.
And instead of doing something like going vegan if you're having health problems. I mean if you're going vegan for ethical reasons, more power to you, but not everyone's body can really handle it. At least that's what I'm finding. I think that an elimination diet is what's best. Everyone has foods they can't really tolerate.
Some people will feel best when on an entirely plant-based diet. Some people feel better when they have red meat in their diet. It's not something that I choose to do, even if it would make me feel better, I just don't feel okay ethically with that. I'm all for trying to save animals, and I'm all for doing everything I can, but when it comes down to my life, my health, my well-being, I've realized that I'll pick that above anything else. I mean I take pharmaceutical drugs to treat my Crohn's, and I know those are tested on animals. I know some of them have had animal in them. I have had medications with mouse proteins in them.
I've read about the studies done on lab mice, and animal testing done for Crohn's disease. And while it breaks my heart that that's how it goes, I'm not going to deny myself medication. I'm not going to let myself be seriously ill, or even die for that cause, because I feel that it's not worth it..? I don't know, I feel really fucked up when I say that kind of thing, but I'm trying to do my part. I'm trying to do my best. Part of me always wishes I could do more, and also part of me know that my brain would feel better without dairy in it, but the dairy is how I'm keeping weight on my body essentially.
The reason I have fat on my body is because I consume dairy. If anyone out there watching this video has Crohn's disease and they've tried a vegan diet or any sort of elimination diet, let me know what particular foods are triggering for you, as well if you have IBS or any other digestive condition. Just let me know what are your trigger foods, and what foods you find are the easiest to eat.
What kind of diet works best for your digestive system? Alright, I think that's it for this video. If you have any questions for me, you can leave them down in the comments below. If you liked this video, please give it a thumbs up, and don't forget to subscribe so you can stay updated for the next time I make a video. Thank you so much for watching.
I love you guys, and I'll see you again soon.
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