Nah — that isn’t a typo. Or a weird title to grab your attention.
Going vegan saved my life.
You probably think I’m over exaggerating or being dramatic, but going vegan helped me overcome something that could have been potentially deadly. Or, at the very least, could have seriously ruined me.
I was extremely hesitant to write this because it’s such a personal story and I was so deeply affected by it. Although, I feel that it should be told because maybe, just maybe, it can help someone else.
So, here goes nothing.
*Side note: this may be TMI for some people but it’s a personal story so deal with it.*
When I was a freshmen in college, I constantly felt like my body wasn’t good enough.
Every damn day, thoughts like “I’m so fat” or “nobody will like me when I’m this big” raced through my mind.
And keep in mind, I most definitely was not obese, or even relatively overweight, by any means.
You might just think those are the typical thoughts of a young, self-conscious female but it took a huge toll on my self-esteem and my mind.
Which severely impacted my future and my health. In other words…
Just a short year later, I had an eating disorder — Bulimia.
Almost every time I ate something my mind deemed “bad” or “unhealthy” for my body — even if it really wasn’t — I’d feel completely guilty and go vomit the contents of my stomach.
It was an never-ending cycle.
I’d eat almost everything in the kitchen until I couldn’t fit anything else in my stomach and then I’d purge.
Sometimes, this cycle would repeat itself maybe 6 or 7 times a day.
It was horrible — but I couldn’t break it; I couldn’t escape it.
All days weren’t like this though. I’d have a streak of a few days, or maybe even a week, without this happening.
I’d feel happy and so proud of myself. I was changing. Things were getting better!
But then I’d eat something, once again, that my mind deemed horrifically “bad” and the cycle would start all over.
You might be asking yourself, “well why didn’t she just stop throwing up?” or “shouldn’t she just stop eating food that makes her feel this way?“
But it isn’t that simple.
If you’ve ever had an eating disorder, or maybe know someone who has had one, you might know that it’s a serious mental issue.
It’s definitely not something you can just fix overnight. It takes time and a lot of healing to really, truly overcome it.
Not to mention, as a human, there’s no possible way to escape food. It’s necessary to survive… and when food is everywhere, as a bulimic, one becomes addicted to the fabricated control of binging and purging.
To this very day, even years after overcoming bulimia, I still sometimes struggle with the thoughts and feelings that I ate too much or ate food that’s “bad” for my body.
(Seriously — it’s been 4 years! It’s a tough thing to escape.)
But the difference is now I know how to fight those thoughts and feelings and resist the urge to purge.
Anyways, how does going vegan play into this survival of my eating disorder? Well, around the end of 2015, I frequently dabbled with the thought of going vegan.
I often made recipes that lacked animal by-products, as well as meat, and read about the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
So, on March 10th, 2016, I decided going vegan was the best path for me to take.
Thus, March 10th was the last day I ate meat and about a week after that, I completely gave up dairy and other animal products.
March 10th, 2016 was also the last day I purged. Ever.
And I’ve been cheering myself on ever since.
So, how did going vegan save my life, you may ask? It helped heal my mind.
I started to cut out animal products, like meat, cheese and eggs, as well as processed food items that had animal products as ingredients, like whey and powdered milk, and swapped those food items for more plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, and nuts.
By incorporating more plant-based foods into my diet, my mind didn’t want to deem those foods as bad.
Thus, the urge to purge slowly scampered away into the dark crevices of my mind, never to be seen again.
As you may or may not know, many food items that are usually bad for the body, like junk food and processed food, most likely contain animal products or by-products.
So by going 100% vegan, I chose not eat them.
And as time passed, my mind started to heal.
Food started to be just food.
It was absolutely liberating.
I was finally freed from the never-ending cycle of eating and purging.
But going vegan not only healed my mind, it also helped heal my body.
Since I wasn’t eating the recommended amount of calories every day when I was eating and purging, I definitely wasn’t getting in my recommended daily nutrients.
And it started to take a toll on my body.
My skin was dry and cracked, my nails started to get brittle and would break easily, my hair dried out and started to wither away, my face would constantly breakout and I was tired all the time.
By going vegan, I incorporated more nutritious fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans into my diet.
And my body began to heal itself.
My skin cleared, likely due to the cutting of dairy, which frequently made my face breakout.
My nails grew to be stronger and longer.
My hair got back its long-lost shininess and started to grow quicker.
And I got my energy back — every morning I woke up ready to attack the day!
Not to mention, it also seemed that I was brighter, in a way. Like I was glowing from the inside out.
It was as if the negative energy I’d been carrying around for years lifted and I’d restored my natural happiness.
Welp, there’s my story of how going vegan saved my life.
I can honestly say that if I hadn’t made the decision to start eating a complete plant-based diet, I would most likely be in a terrible state of depression and still suffering from an eating disorder.
Today, my life is truly filled with happiness and I’m more compassionate towards animals, as well as other human beings.
I’ve learned to love more — and better — and my heart has, figuratively, grown 10x in size (sorry for the cheesiness but it’s true).
Thanks for reading my story friends! And please share it to help others who might be in the same position as I was.
Psst, want some more Sophie, aka The Wanderful Me, in your life? Follow me on Instagram and like my Facebook page!
Cindy MagyarNovember 8, 2022 1:58 pm
So excited to have found your website and insta account. Just sent you a message there. We’ll be heading for Vietnam in January from UK so just at the very start of my research. I’ve just retired and me and my husband will be joined by our daughters (who are a similar age to you) and we’re all going to explore Vietnam together. How cool eh? They are both in Thailand atm and my husband and I are both previous travellers, just like you, and fully intend to head back to this amazing life of travelling and want to do it sustainably too!
I should imagine it’s pretty easy being vegan in Asia as they don’t do dairy anyway do they? Their fruit and veg are all in abundance so I’ll most likely do vegan too!
Look forward to your newsletter,