Why I Can't Call Myself a 'Vegan' + Nutrition Updates!

why i cant call myself a vegan.png

Oh. Em. Gee. You guys.

It's been a hot minute (ok, like a year) since i've written anything nutrition-related on here...but as with EVERYTHING in my life, when something feels right, I go with it. 

So first I feel like I need to update you guys on the nutrition front. 

Last we spoke (or...I wrote?) I was really fucking sick of talking about nutrition, which is also why I stopped seeing nutrition clients and went the online business route instead (that's the short version, at least). 

I think the main reason for this was that I had a lot of my own nutrition (and disordered eating) issues that I was still trying to figure out, and I didn't think it was healthy for me to be advising other people on what they should be doing, nutrition-wise, when I needed to focus on myself.

The truth is, I still don't want this blog to be about me "advising" anyone on what they should be doing when it comes to nutrition. 

Yes, i'm still an NTP, I love good food (avocado toast is life), and I love sharing all of my favorite restaurant travel-recommendations with you guys - but at this point, I feel like nutrition is SO individualized, that it's hard to give blanket recommendations over the internet that are going to work for every single person.

WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT. 

What I DO want to do, is share my experiences about food and nutrition, what is working for me (especially while traveling) and what isn't...so that YOU can make the decision about what is right for you.

In the words of Tony Robbins, BE YOUR OWN DAMN GURU. 

Ok, now that that's out of the way - for those of you who haven't been around here for long, my husband (Erik) and I started traveling full time in January, so I basically haven't had access to my own kitchen or really ANYTHING familiar (food-wise) for the past 6 months. 

Old (disordered-eating) Amie would've been freaked the fuck out by this, because it meant I couldn't control every-single-ingredient in my food. But to be honest, NOT being 100% in control of what i'm eating (as weird as that sounds) has actually been extremely therapeutic for me. I've loosened up the reigns on my food choices and realized that i'm not going to gain 10 pounds by eating a bowl of pasta. Talk about freedom. 

So yes, i've pretty much been eating out for every single meal since January.

And I feel great. The only thing I really miss my Vitamix and making my own smoothies (only because the ones you get at restaurants are too small, lol)

So...what have I been eating?

Vegan in Thailand

If you guys saw my recent Instagram post, believe it or not, i've been eating mostly plant-based (i.e. focusing on an abundance of foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds etc. and avoiding eggs, dairy, meat and fish for the most part) since I started traveling. 

I say "believe it or not" because if you've been here from the beginning, you know that I started as a total "paleo" enthusiast. And don't get me wrong, I'm not against eating "paleo" at all and I think eating paleo can be incredibly healthy and healing for some people.

But for me - eating paleo was just another way that I could avoid and restrict certain foods, which definitely didn't help my disordered-eating mindset. 

Now you might be asking yourself...isn't eating plant-based just as restrictive?

And I totally hear you. When I was a strict "paleo" eater, I viewed veganism/plant-based eating as the ULTIMATE form of restriction (ironically hilarious coming from someone who used to be anorexic) and I still believe that many people still "use" the plant-based/vegan style of eating in this (unhealthy) way.

i'm not calling myself a vegan

However, i've always been drawn to a more "ethical" way of eating. I even tried to become a vegetarian when I was 8 years old because I loved animals so much- but that's pretty hard to maintain when you aren't cooking your own meals, you aren't buying your own food, and you know nothing about nutrition. 

So, earlier this year when I intuitively felt (<<< notice a theme here?) like eating less meat, and was having an increasingly difficult time seeing the animals I loved on my plate... I just went with it. 

My plant-based "experiment" if you will, started in Thailand, and was surprisingly easy to do there, as well as most of southeast Asia. Think curries, noodle dishes, rice, veggies and TONS of fruit everywhere. HEAVEN. 

I was feeling great eating this way, it was easy and delicious...plus once I started doing more research on how eating plant-based/vegan positively impacts the environment (+ saves TONS of animals every single day) it honestly has become a no-brainer to maintain. 

But here's the thing: I totally realize that putting any "labels" on your diet can be a slippery slope for anyone who has ever struggled with food and disordered eating. So while I will say i've been eating mostly plant-based...I don't think i'll ever call myself a vegan

For me, it is important to keep an open mind about the fact that sometimes, delicious and nutrient packed smoothie bowls are not available at every restaurant like they are in Bali

 Buddha bowl - Kynd Community - Bali

Buddha bowl - Kynd Community - Bali

Sometimes, you're in France at a fancy restaurant (um, me last week) and the only option that looks appealing to you is fish cooked in tons of butter. (All I could think was 'thank god they have something other than veal'...that I WON'T do)

So what did I do?

Yes, I could try to figure out a way to say "i'm vegan" in French, cause a scene*, and stress myself out...but i've been there, done that before (during my disordered eating days) and i'm over it. 

*If you have an allergy/sensitivity etc. I TOTALLY understand the need to do this, but I don't

So yeah, I ordered the fish, enjoyed my meal, and moved on. No, it wasn't my top choice, but being flexible around food and NOT beating myself up for imperfection is totally my jam these days. 

how am i feeling eating plant-based?

I seriously can't believe it's been almost 6 months since I started eating this way! Like I said, i've occasionally eaten eggs, fish, and dairy (i'm talking maybe 1x a month ish?) but for the most part, eating plant-based has made me feel awesome. Maybe I can do a part 2 post about the changes i've noticed? (DM me on Instagram if you're interested!)

My energy has been great, I feel totally satisfied, I actually feel like i'm LESS restrictive than ever with my food choices (bring on the bread, pasta, and vegan pizza) my skin is looking great, i've only had acid reflux maybe once or twice in the past 6 months (I used to have it daily) my PMS has lessened, I feel like i'm making a positive environmental and ethical difference, and more than anything...I feel like i'm doing the right thing for myself, my body, and my mind right now. 

However: living/eating intuitively also means that I am open to the possibility that eating plant-based may not work for me forever. Living ethically and making food choices that support our beliefs are AMAZING - but I feel like this is a very "put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others" type of situation. If the day comes when i'm starving and the only option is chicken, or i'm feeling super low energy and depleted and craving a steak, i'm going to listen to that. 

I can't call myself a "vegan"... not because I don't believe in the mission or what it stands for, but because i'm not going to let what I eat define me. I also think that when it comes to different styles of eating, there is such an "us verses them" mentality, and i'm soooo not about that life.

I can’t call myself a “vegan”... not because I don’t believe in the mission or what it stands for, but because i’m not going to let what I eat define me.

If you are thriving on a keto diet, awesome. If you love being Paleo, let's be friends. If you eat 10 bananas a day and wear a "vegan vibes" shirt, i'm into it. 

Let's all stop trying to convince other people what THEY should be doing, and what the PERFECT diet is for them, and keep our eyes on our own plates. Let's stop judging other people's food choices and accept that just like us, they are doing the best they can with the knowledge/resources that they have right now. Let's start sharing helpful information and personal experiences, but allow each individual to decide for themselves what is best for them in the end. 

What do you think?

How would you describe the way that you eat?

What questions do you have for me about plant-based eating?

Thanks for reading, you guys are the best !

Curious how I turned my passion for nutrition into a profitable business online that allows me to travel full-time? Join the free training!

XO,

Amie