Growing Through Changes

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:: This post was originally written on April 2020, but due to the global pandemic, the social justice protests, and the birth of our first child it didn't feel like the right time to share this until now. ::

As I've gotten older I've learned that the only constant in life is change.

Growing, evolving, transforming.

It's all a part of this human experience.

We outgrow certain ideas and beliefs that perhaps one time we held onto so strongly.

Sometimes because we want to. Other times because we have to.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of growing, growing through changes. 

One of those major changes in my life is that I am not vegan anymore.

It's been several months now that I haven't been fully plant-based with my food choices, hence the lack of posts on the blog. I didn't feel ready to publicly share the changes happening in my personal life, but I also didn't want to continue posting under the impression that I was still vegan...

After months of privately sitting with this decision and giving myself time to adjust, I have finally been ready to share the news ... but then we were hit with a global pandemic!

To be honest, discussing my personal dietary decisions with you guys during a time like this, of such uncertainty and loss, just feels so trivial and unimportant – because honestly, it is.

There are far greater problems facing humanity right now than me deciding not to be vegan anymore - like thousands of people dying, and another million losing their jobs/paychecks, security, and stability.

However, I also understand that life goes on and I'd much rather get this off my chest sooner rather than later. After all, my identity has always revolved around being vegan – and now that I'm not, I feel it is only right to let you guys know of the changes.

This isn't a post to convince you that veganism is wrong nor bad for you, nor that my choices are right. Because in reality who are we to say what is right or wrong for any given individual?

I can only speak for what is right for me now at this very moment. Veganism was right for me for four years, but now it no longer is.

For me, veganism was a beautiful experience and I have zero regrets.

It allowed me to discover my passion for healthy eating, wellness, and homemade cooking.

It changed me from a fast-food-obsessed-junkie into a broccoli-cauliflower-kale lover.

And most importantly, it made me more compassionate, kind, and aware of some of the bigger issues that are going on in our society related to our food industry, sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals – concepts that were totally foreign to me beforehand.

I am a totally different person now coming out of this experience from who I was before starting, and for that I'm thankful.

However, the time came for me to let go of the all-or-nothing vegan mentality. Even though I resisted at first, my mind and body fought back harder with time.

I was no longer thriving. I no longer felt great like I did before. I was constantly tired, weak, sad and was experiencing symptoms of depression that were only getting worse despite my constant efforts to heal... My blood work was less than optimal. My iron, vitamin D, and Vitamin b12 were trending downwards and were critically low despite vitamin supplementation.

Looking back now, I can see how my symptoms were related to the deficiencies I was experiencing.

Iron = low levels have been associated with low energy, extreme weakness, fatigue, and depression.

Vitamin B12 = critically low levels can have neuropsychiatric effects (aka depression and anxiety)

Vitamin D = plays a role in the synthesis of serotonin and has been shown in research to play a role in regulating mood and warding off depression.

The time finally came when I had to take a good hard look in the mirror and be honest with myself about how I was feeling - and that perhaps my diet had something to do with it.

A month after changing my diet, I got pregnant with my first child. And I do believe it was all divine timing. I know many mothers have gone through vegan pregnancies with success, but this was not something I was totally comfortable with.

So what does my diet look like now?

It is still predominantly plant-based with the addition of some high-quality organic animal products such as organic grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs – because this is what is working for me right now and is helping me feel my best, mentally and physically, which is my number one priority in this point in my life.

As a conscious consumer, I continue to choose and support brands that are local if possible, ethical, and environmentally-friendly. This means buying mostly organic and from companies that dedicate themselves to best practices when it comes to sustainability efforts and the well-being of their animals; like choosing to stay away from companies that encourage factory farming and cramped unsanitary conditions - because these concepts are still important to me.

I will always have a passion for plant-based foods and there is no denying that eating more plants is good for you, this planet, and the welfare of animals.

But the all-or-nothing mentality isn't serving me anymore... and it is time for me to let it go.

As for the blog?

I will continue to post a ton of vegan/plant-based whole food recipes that are healthy and homemade. After all, I love eating plants and that will not change. But I wanted to be authentic with you all and let you know that I can no longer call myself “vegan” because this label is no longer a part of who I am.

I know that not everybody will agree with my decision and that's okay too. I'm not here for your approval.

If you've read this far, thank you for giving me your time and space.

Thank you for learning a little more about my journey and the changes it has endured, and will most likely continue to endure because as humans we evolve with time - and change is inevitable.

I hope for your sake you are able to find a diet/lifestyle that fits your individual needs whether that's vegan, paleo, keto, whole30 or any other label you want to give it... or not – and that you never feel pressured to stick with something that is hurting you just because you are afraid of change. If something isn't serving you anymore – it's okay to let go, change, and grow from the experience.

I wish you health + happiness above all else.. right now more than ever.

Thanks for reading. <3


with love + gratitude,

Jen ♥


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About Jen

A former registered nurse turned stay-at-home-mama, yoga teacher, and holistic health + wellness enthusiast. I share my homemade healthy recipes + natural living content to help women and moms live healthier and happier lives.

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