why i’m not vegan

Before all you vegans start getting mad at me or unsubscribing, hear me out.

During high school and my recovery, I tried to find an eating plan that worked for me. One of those was veganism. I loved the idea of not eating any animal products and the benefits it would have on the environment and on my body. But at the time that I made this transition, I was also playing basketball, competitively. I played two games while being vegan and they were probably the worst two games I had ever played. One morning, I went to breakfast with my coach and guess what I did…I ordered eggs. That’s where my vegan streak ended. Plus, my coach was basically going to talk me out of the whole vegan thing because of what it was doing to me anyways.

So I ate the eggs and at my game later that afternoon, I played 100x better. It may have been mental, it may have been the protein, but whatever it was, it worked.

I still wouldn’t eat chicken at this point though so I was technically vegetarian. Fast forward a couple of months and my depression worsened. That’s when my mom suggested I try to reintroduce chicken back into my diet. She even promised to buy organic. And I ate it.

Protein has really helped with my depression and I can still feel the affects when I don’t eat enough of it. Everybody is different and every body is different. And I guess my body really needs protein. I would say I eat vegetarian 90% of the time but I incorporate in organic, cage-free chicken whenever it’s available.

If I were not as active as I am and not had a history of depression, you bet I would be vegan. There is no doubt that there needs to be a change in the meat industry. That’s why I eat organic chicken. The chicken are allowed to roam free (hence cage-free) and they are not mistreated like too many of the animals are. (P.S. If you want to watch a movie on the meat industry, watch Earthlings. You will cry and you will cover your eyes. But it really opens your eyes to the meat industry and how mistreated the animals are.)

I know it is possible to get enough protein in a vegan diet but my body did not respond to it well. If it responds to your body, perfect! That’s what works for you. But like I said, every body is different.

Are you vegan?
Have you tried something that your body doesn’t respond to well?


21 thoughts on “why i’m not vegan

  1. This is a really interesting post. I feel like in the HLB community especially it’s hard to find an argument against taking on a diet that doesn’t eliminate one thing or another. Props to you for listening to your body and doing what you believe it tells you is best rather than going along with what other people say is best.

  2. Food Inc and Earthlings are very, very eye opening. It’s insane.
    I’m still transitioning into veganism. Meat slowed me down, no matter what it was. When I went back to eating vegetarian I felt great and I have more energy than when I ate meat. I feel better not eating any animal products. I guess that’s just my body. It’s not for everyone though, and I can understand why you need protein and why I don’t. Every body is different.

  3. I so,so feel you with this post,Haley!
    I also tried veganism,but it simply doesn’t work for me. It makes me feel sluggish and sick,plus it’s sort of difficult for me to find proper vegan sources of protein etc. as I can hardly stomach beans and soy (only in small amounts!)…
    I’ve been a vegetarian though for approximately five years,but last summer,I decided to re-itroduce meat in my diet because I was craving it like crazy somehow and as my body is damaged enough from anorexia,I don’t want to deprive it from its needs! I am trying to recover,so I really want to learn listening to my body…

  4. This is my exact reason for staying omnivorous too!!!! Okay it sounds really vain and awful, but whenever someone asks me “why aren’t you vegan” (Because I too am adamant about eating only local, organic, free-range, hormone free meats – and I pay extra for it), my reply is “Name for me one elite, top-level distance runner or triathlete who is vegan”. Guess what….you can’t. Know why? cuz I don’t think its possible to perform at that level without meat and dairy. Yes, there ARE plant based sources of protein (and Iron and B-Vitamins, equally as important), but when you’re active and eating over 3k calories a day, um, do you know how much volume of food you’d need to meet your vitamin/mineral/macronutrient needs? I dunno my stomach could not handle that big a volume of food – that’s why the more concentrated sources of protein, Iron, and B-vitamins are necessary for active people like us!! I too have had bouts of not clinical depression but some low times, and keeping my protein intake high also helps my mood too. I went vegetarian for a week this past fall and felt like crap haha. Honestly, I think the healthiest thing you can possibly do for yourself AND the environment is to feed your body the things that will help you perform and function at your best!

  5. Good for you girl! You do exactly what your body needs. I will be the shameful one and say that I love meat of all varieties and continously eat it. However, I have been transistioning it out by eating more fish and vegetables and such. And I do buy organic, locally grown stuff/locally produced things from the co-op in town. So while yes, I do eat meat and it’s not all oraganic and such, I do eat a lot of organic foods. My body needs protein, similar to yours. I have to have it at least once a day.

  6. I can totally relate to everything you said. I used to be vegan but being so active I couldn’t keep it up and noticed the effects. Now I eat meat, but organic and am conscious of my intake. I still love plants, but eating more protein has helped me feel 100x times better. Glad to hear you’re feeling great again!

  7. I’m glad you’re doing what’s right for you! I think it would be silly to follow a diet that doesn’t make you feel like you’re at your best, you know?

    I’ve never tried going vegan, so I don’t know how my body would respond to it. But as of right now, I like meat and I plan to keep it in my diet! That being said, I AM trying to make a better effort to eat more organic and sustainably sourced meats, but it’s hard to do. I think I need to watch that documentary to give me the motivation to make more ethical choices! 😛

  8. I am the same way, my body does just not function right when i cut out meat and dairy. I don’t eat red meat but chicken, turkey, fish yes. If I cut them out my body craves it like no other. & i love cottage cheese so vegan diets are not for me. I am an avid bikram yogi and I couldn’t keep up with it without those high protein sources.

  9. I am the same!! 🙂 I need the protein from meat..otherwise i get dizzy and i am never satisfied. Luckily we are able to get locally raised and pastured beef. And locally raised chicken!! it’s a true blessing. Its good that you are listening and doing what YOUR body wants/needs!! 🙂

  10. I just wrote a post about going vegan for a bit. I don’t want to permanently be vegan, but I think vegetarian and vegan diets are beneficial in moderation for some. I have never heard of this documentary, but I am going to look for it! I’ve read a lot of books about meat farming, and the verbal descriptions brought me to tears.

  11. I am totally the same way. I never eat red meat – only chicken and turkey (not often). When I do eat meat, I only eat organic because I think it is easier on our environment and the animals (hopefully) are treated more fairly and humane. Being vegan is not for me, but I give props to people that are able to do this. I think you just have to listen to your own body because like you said, everyone is different and has different needs.

  12. Vegans don’t hate anyone 🙂
    You should do what you feel is right at the time realizing that things do change in your life. I never judge because I wasn’t ready (or well enough informed) to go vegan 6 years ago, but I can see the benefits and I will never go back
    BTW, I am an old lady and I ran the half marathon in under 2 hours…not bad for a vegan 🙂

    to Kate: Brendan Brazier (triathelete)
    George Laraque (prof hockey player)
    Geoff Rowley (prof skateboarder)
    Molly Cameron (prof cyclist)
    Robert Cheeke (prof body builder)
    Luke Cummo (prof martial artist)
    Bryan Danielson (prof wrestler)
    Mac Danzig (prof fighter)
    Scott Jurek (runner)
    Bob Harper (personal trainer)
    Mike Mahler (prof body builder)
    Pat Neshek (prof baseball player)
    Adam Myerson (cyclist)
    John Salley (NBA star)
    Salim Stoudamire (prof NBA player)
    Tony Gonzalez (prof football player)

    just sayin…..

  13. LOVE this Hayley! When I first joined the HLB world I was semi-sucked into the idea that veganism was the “absolute right” thing to do. Lucky for me, my parents wouldn’t sway to it. I eat mostly vegetarian as well but mostly because I’m too lazy to cook chicken and find a way to use it inventively. I agree there needs to be a change to the meat industry- that’s why I stopped eating red! Now, I don’t even miss it.

  14. I have never heard of the Earthlings movie, but I love documentaries, and I really liked Food, Inc and Forks Over Knives so I might have to watch it soon! I tried completely cutting out meat after watching those two movies, actually, and it just didn’t work for me either. I didn’t feel quite right and I was tired/grumpy/had GI issues but now I try to only buy cage free/no hormone meats and since they are so expensive I consume less meat and that balance works for me! Good for doing what works for you 😀

  15. I think that’s a good decision! I’m not a vegan because I feel poopy when I don’t get enough protein as well. I eat fish, but no other meat. Also, beware of labeling on animal products. I am a chicken farmer and my mom used to own an organic store, so I know that the terms that people think are good don’t really mean much.. “Cage free” usually means the chickens are confined to a barn. “Free range” means that they are allowed access to the outside. If you must buy from a store, always pick free range, BUT the best way to buy meat is to buy directly from the farmer! Then, you can know what you’re getting. Also, non-organic but from a farm where the chickens are truly free range can be better for you nutritionally than organic cage free, unless you’re worried about antibiotics.. It is difficult for smaller farms to obtain the expensive USDA organic label, so a lot of them may feed their chickens mostly organic, without antibiotic use on the flock, but not have the label. Sorry for the rant, but I hate the labels in the chicken industry sometimes! They can be sooo misleading.
    I love the post! I think that you’ve obviously thought this through, and are not just blindly eating whatever.. You’re fueling your body how it wants to be fueled, and that is that. That’s what’s important!

  16. I think the most important thing is to listen to your body, and it sounds like that’s what you’re doing! I did the vegan thing for awhile, and honestly, it didn’t “work” for me, so I went back to eating dairy. I’m still a vegetarian, because I just dont’ like meat, but I found I was eating healthier if I added in things like yogurt!

  17. I personally am mostly vegan besides occasionally eating organic Greek yogurt or raw honey but that’s because it feels right for me. I haven’t eaten most meat in years and completely eliminated meat several months ago and I feel so much better. Meat and dairy definitely weigh me down, I have no respect for the industry and I prefer plant based proteins. But you’re right–everyone’s different and you’ve gotta do what’s right for you!

  18. Good for you!!! Way to go for eating what is right for your body. I feel like veganism has grown to be almost a trend, but it’s not right if it’s not good for you personally. I am not a vegan either, though I eat lots of vegan and vegetarian meals, I eat what makes me feel good. Love this post!!

  19. I tried to go vegan in high school and hated it because I didn’t know how to eat properly and didn’t get the right nutrients. Then last year I watched the documentary Forks Over Knifes and was convinced to go vegan again (mainly for environmental and health reasons), only this time I did my research and learned how to eat right! I think it’s important to listen to our bodies and try to eat a healthy, sustainable diet, vegan or not!

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