aura

Veganism and mental health

8 posts in this topic

I'm working towards a vegan lifestyle, in part for ethical reasons but even more so to see if it'll help with my mental health. So far it's forcing me to think way more about my food choices, which is a good thing. No more mindless snacking.

Any vegans or vegetarians around? Do you feel your eating lifestyles affect your mental health, positively or negatively?

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It usually makes things worse. There are vegan horror stories galore all over the Interwebs. And it can take ten years, give or take, before the ill health effects of a vegan diet are really felt. It really depends on your genetics, microbiome, etc. Some people can do well on a vegan diet, but most will not. A vegetarian diet is much healthier for most, but the ethical issues are problematic. If you look at the treatment of slaughter cows and pigs vs. laying hens and dairy cows, you will quickly come to the conclusion that you are better off eating a pork chop rather than an omelette. So seek out small-scale grass-fed fairy, and  eggs from laying hens that actually spend lots of time outdoors eating grubs and stuff. Eatwild is a great resource. 

For something to live, something else must die. That is the reality. When crops like soybeans, wheat, corn, etc. are planted, sprayed, and harvested, untold thousands of animals die, everything from worms to lost cats and dogs. and birds, snakes, rabbits, deer, and all kinds of other things. The pollution of the monoculture crops destroys sea life, too. So the next time you have a tofu and veggie curry over rice, just remember that is not death-free, not by a long shot. If you want to be vegan, fine, but please don't pretend that your food doesn't come from death. It all does, and that's an incontrovertible fact. And if you think cows, pigs, and chickens are more worthy of preservation than all the other critters, then that's just specist. 

 

 

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I agree with you completely. I suppose my reasoning had more to do with how my body feels when I eat one way or another. I'm planning more of a "flexitarian" diet (I'll eat whatever if I'm out to eat or at someone else's house, but when I have control of the food I want it to be plant based). I'm not sure I have a great rationale for this except that it makes me feel good about myself.

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Uh, I'm a little less... broad thinking that Flash? Idk I went vegetarian initially for moral reasons (saw an incredibly dubious 'documentary' and gave up pretty much straight away). Now I'm just used to it I guess. The texture of meat, or a lot of meat substitutes, are really weird after 6/7 years. Still, couldn't give up my eggs and dairy I'm afraid. As a family we are lucky enough to afford more environmentally conscious stuff, but that isn't the case for everyone.

The only link I've seen between vegetarianism/veganism and mental health is either in restriction or control over food. Not saying either foodstyle equals disordered eating, I've just known people who have eliminated food groups like meat as a way of controlling what they ate. Personally I think I just felt a little more superior afterwards :P but it didn't last long! Individual choices can only do so much. Plus, what with all the massively biased and manipulative 'evidence' on both sides (big food and meat industry vs. radical vegans) I sort of fell out with both. PETA is a classic example. Would rather spend my time signing petitions to save bees or giving (currently limited) money to organisations that work on environmental stuff I do think can help, etc. 

There is so much BS around food and lifestyle that I've adopted a mentality where I'd rather just eat what I want without guilt attached to it. Like 'clean eating'. Food isn't bad, it's just energy and most of the research I've seen from dieticians says eat moderately and with as much variation as possible. I shouldn't feel bad for eating scrambled eggs with enough butter to make Paula Deen happy. My issue with a lot of the vegan 'activism' I've seen (on youtube, instagram) is that a lot of it is shame/happiness. In the sense that they make you feel like shit for enjoying something, then promise happiness in their lifestyle without any consideration of medical needs/financial or practical barriers. Of course, food industries sweep what they do under the rug and say it's entirely in the consumers hands. Like Coke promoting exercise because it's in their interests to advocate for a healthy lifestyle (so we can keep chugging their product). In the end, everyone just thinks they have the solution but who knows? If it genuinely makes you happy without making you feel bad for other dietary choices then why the heck not. Maybe we should share recipes haha

Sorry aura you replied as I was writing this. Such an essay!

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, aura said:

I agree with you completely. I suppose my reasoning had more to do with how my body feels when I eat one way or another. I'm planning more of a "flexitarian" diet (I'll eat whatever if I'm out to eat or at someone else's house, but when I have control of the food I want it to be plant based). I'm not sure I have a great rationale for this except that it makes me feel good about myself.

I would listen to your body and see how it responds. I feel better when I eat lots of fruits and veg, and few grains. And I do much, much better with rice than wheat. And my body likes lots of fresh produce too, not just cooked. And pickles and fermented Foods, too. Fried foods don't agree with me much, along with the various "vegetable" oils. Seafood and legumes agree with me and I don't get gas from the latter, for whatever reason. I like poultry and meat, but I think many eat too much. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts are great non-meat sources of good food. In any case, I think you need to find what makes you feel good and what you can feel good about eating. I don't think there is a universal prescription.

Edited by Flash

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Posted (edited)

I've been a vegetarian for many years, way before my mental health issues started, so I very much doubt that being a vegetarian has had much to do with my mental conditions.

Meat was easy to give up, but I just couldn't give up my eggs and dairy products.....So I get those from a local small farm that treats the animals humanely, and lets them roam about and socialize freely with members of their own species.

My son and I actually paid a surprise visit to the farm and they were very glad to give us a tour.

Of course, the dairy and eggs that I buy from this farm are more expensive than what you would get in the grocery store..........But to me it's worth it.......

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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I just randomly remembered something- being vegetarian did make depression-eating harder. White bread, carrots and noodles mostly! Don't think it mattered in the long scheme of things, given that depression eating is sort of sad and desperate regardless, but I couldn't focus on things like protein (which requires slightly more effort when you are veggie, as opposed to chicken nuggets or something. No I don't think chicken nuggets are a good source of protein, but also, depression diet)

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7 hours ago, CrazyRedhead said:

I've been a vegetarian for many years, way before my mental health issues started, so I very much doubt that being a vegetarian has had much to do with my mental conditions.

Meat was easy to give up, but I just couldn't give up my eggs and dairy products.....So I get those from a local small farm that treats the animals humanely, and lets them roam about and socialize freely with members of their own species.

My son and I actually paid a surprise visit to the farm and they were very glad to give us a tour.

Of course, the dairy and eggs that I buy from this farm are more expensive than what you would get in the grocery store..........But to me it's worth it.......

Yeah, I was vegan and then near-vegan for a number of years, and I still went cuckoo. Getting quality eggs is worth it. You might pay $7 a dozen or so, or even more, but they're still relatively cheap. And they look completely different. The yolks are a vibrant orange, not yellow. I think a lot of people would benefit from touring local farms. Go to your farmers market and ask about their practices, then select one or two to visit. It can be a nice family outing.

And there are many alternatives to traditional CSA shares these days. There are organic delivery services here that source mostly from local farms. The produce bins here run $32-$65, delivered, depending on the size. Another place—similarly priced—allows you to customize your order, so you don't end up buying things that you don't want. And they even have pantry items, meats, and other things that you can add on at both places. They supplement with stuff grown farther south when fewer things are growing here, so there's always diversity. Check out localharvest for places near you.

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