If you would ask me 4 years ago, if I ever doubt the diet I have chosen, I would say “no, never” – and I would lie. Today I am able to admit the truth: as far as I know myself, I always doubt my decisions, and my diet is no exception. Vegan diet, same as any other diet, is not a magic pill that can set you free from all the problems. However, it doesn’t mean you have to give up searching the optimal and balanced way of eating and living.
The need for connection and belonging
The peak of my doubts about vegetarianism and veganism came to the time when I finished University. Environment changed, I had to communicate with new people, and I was not successful in that. I felt depressed, lonely, lost, incapable. And I came to conclusion, that my diet is the thing that separates me from others.
Now it sounds kinda silly. Who cares what you’ve got on your plate? But it was serious concern for me that time. And my diet was not the only idea of mine. I questioned everything that differed me from others. I thought: “maybe I am such a loser because I don’t smoke, or because I never changed my natural hair colour, or because I don’t wear skirts and dresses, or makeup? ….”
The reason I felt this way was connected with my own perception: why did I feel shame about my values? Why was it so painful to speak my truth and express my authenticity? Was there actually something shameful about it? I think I was just a match to people, who could make fun of me, shame me, hurt me and make me doubt my reality, doubt my choices, my values. So, most likely, my diet never was a barrier between me and others. Quite opposite: because I had unresolved issues in my relationships with this world, I was desperate to change something. And I continue to make changes time after time.
Does vegan diet cause depression?
Talking about more recent concerns connected with veganism: I was struggling with depression once I moved to Cyprus. It is actually common situation, when people are having hard times, after moving to another country. It was objectively stressful, however this is completely other story.
At the same time – once we moved, I realized, that I just don’t want to eat animal products at all, and there is no social barriers anymore: we started to live separately (extremely separately) from all other people and our family members, who may mind. Luckily for both of us, my hubby was in the same flow with me. He was even able to notice some health improvements (no epigastric burning anymore, better energy levels…)
But then again, I started to feel like there is something wrong with me. I thought, maybe I am getting not enough B12, or Iron, or Omega 3… Maybe my physical health is the reason why I can’t find a job, why I feel myself useless, miserable, unmotivated and have no life purpose. I went to make some blood tests – but results were fine. I was just searching a problem.
Digging deeper into different scientific resources, it became clear, that all necessary nutrients can be found in vegan version and most of them are already proven to be healthier. It is not so easy in the beginning: it requires time to learn, to search new products, to make mistakes, try different options, get used to new habits, sometimes a new schedule may be needed…I still have issues with that time after time… But it is possible. And let’s be honest, any new skill requires all this things. I consider having good relationships with food as really useful and necessary skill.
So yes. Me, my sister, my husband – we learned and shared information about new studies, watched movies, studied critics, read articles and reviews… I doubt, that average person with average diet takes this things same serious like vegans do… For instance, not everyone knows, but even people who consume meat on the daily basis may have B12 deficiency (B12 is present mainly in the liver of animals, but liver is not so popular dish). So, it is convincing. And inspiring.
So this how such kind of doubts are worked through in my case.
Types of vegans
Now I feel comfortable with this type of uncertainty. It is normal to doubt, to question everything you know. And it has to be done time after time. So once you formulated a question – investigate, and you will find the truth that resonates with you, with your personal truth and your values, truth that serves you, solves your problems, makes you a better, healthier, happier person. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but there is evidently no such need to consume animal products, and if someone doubts – it’s ok, but this person still has to dive deeper. I personally think, that whoever reads all of this – is vegan. Maybe not-yet-vegan, maybe already-vegan, maybe deep-inside-vegan…)) Honestly, I think this way about every person I communicate with 😀
Am I “whatever, I’m vegan”-vegan?
So today. Do I ever doubt eating animal products is not necessary? – No. Do I ever doubt that my diet is perfectly balanced and I get sufficient amounts (and not more than necessary) of all nutrients? – Yes, sometimes I do. Maybe I will never stop doubting – there is always something to learn, and I am not a scientist to be up-to date all the time (I just do my best). Moreover, nutrition is not the only thing that is important in life. And my balance between such spheres like “professional growth”, “health”, “relationships”, “creativity” and “social life” has particular skewnesses. Yes, I still have so many things that I would like to change or improve…. However, it motivates me to notice improvements in my ways of coping with this circumstance.
I continue investigating how my body is functioning. I study, I read books. For instance, from the book about women’s hormones I learned some tips that I am trying to apply. When I manage to do this, I do feel better. I know, that I have to drink more water, take better care of my skin, hair and body in general, take better care of my mental health, reduce stress and expectations that I put on myself, eat more mindfully, read books, meditate, do yoga, run… And one of the things that I delay for too long: I need to do some medical tests, in order to know my body better. And that’s not because of my diet – just it is the normal thing to do for everyone….
So… I am not pretending that my lifestyle is perfect or what’s so ever… Everyone has their own way to reach their own balance. I don’t actually believe it is possible to have perfect balance, perfect lifestyle. Not possible at all to have perfect lifestyle permanently during all your life! Eventually … the only perfection I know – is to be ok by being imperfect!
So, stay cool, and take care!
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