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I've been vegan for 26 years and had bad depression prior to then when I was eating an omnivore diet. Depression can make me despise myself, but it would be magnified by a million if I used animals. I couldn't live with myself for supporting animal suffering. I'm not proud of many things in my life, but I do take pride in being vegan. If that wasn't in my life anymore I'd struggle with self esteem on a massive scale.

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I know this is an old post...

I'm vegan and have been since 2011, before that I was lactovegetarian but lactose intolerant so rarely ate dairy, and before that omni. I found that once I went vegan I stopped getting sick so often and generally had more energy and felt better. It didn't have any negative impacts on my mental health. I've had more time functioning medication free since going vegan than I did before, but I still take medication when I need it. My improvement could be due to any number of things (better counselling, improved coping techniques, moved interstate, etc) so I'm not going to attribute that to my diet. I think the difference for a lot of people is they jump into it without doing proper research of what a healthy balanced vegan diet looks like. Blood tests a few times a year will help you recognise if your diet is deficient. I was lucky enough to be living with a veg friendly dietician when I moved towards vegetarianism and veganism so I didn't have any problems with that and have been able to maintain my health easily since then.

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i just wanted to toss in a mental health-related reason i like being mostly veggie when cooking for myself. i have hang-ups about not cleaning things well enough when i cook with meat, and have spiralling thoughts about the bacteria i missed living there and growing and me getting sick (or making someone else sick, somehow). i don't encounter these issues when i don't cook with raw meat, so i usually don't bother.

i can't be too strict about it or anxiety/perfectionism will kick in. so when i'm cooking for myself, i stay on the vegetarian side of things, and when others are cooking, i'll eat meat.

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👋 There is a link between diet + depression, for sure. I'm a living example, and here's an article that backs it up:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diet-and-depression-2018022213309

"“A dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression. A dietary pattern characterized by a high consumption of red and/or processed meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, potatoes and high-fat gravy, and low intakes of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of depression.”"

I'm obese, and doing Bright Line Eating - https://brightlineeating.com/ where there is a massive emphasis on eating a large amount of vegetables every day, zero flour, zero sugar. In terms of mood, those 3 things do definitely make a difference to me - I was binging on ramen to deal with my suicidality, and whilst those noodles worked a treat on emergency mood stabilisation, long term, it's how I gained around 20 kilos.

If you're after a healthy plant based diet, and not sure where to start (and don't have weight issues like I do) - forks over knives might be helpful to you:
https://www.forksoverknives.com/plant-based-primer-beginners-guide-starting-plant-based-diet/#gs.UeA4k1k

 

hope that helps.

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I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center and developed a great deal of empathy with creatures...lead me to be a vegetarian for about 8 years...I eat meat now, but get conflicted at times.  Had to stop volunteering because I got too emotionally involved with the animals and there were too many heartbreaking situations to deal with...and I really grew to despise humans.  Anytime I mentioned that I worked with wildlife someone always had to tell me some (what I considered) horror story of how an animal was treated...learned to just keep my mouth shut.

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4 hours ago, crow66 said:

I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center and developed a great deal of empathy with creatures...lead me to be a vegetarian for about 8 years...I eat meat now, but get conflicted at times.  Had to stop volunteering because I got too emotionally involved with the animals and there were too many heartbreaking situations to deal with...and I really grew to despise humans.  Anytime I mentioned that I worked with wildlife someone always had to tell me some (what I considered) horror story of how an animal was treated...learned to just keep my mouth shut.

Good on you for your volunteering. It is that conflict that you describe which would destroy my ability to function. I couldn't cope with the guilt and not being the authentic me. Eating vegan has helped me enormously in that regard. 

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