Retiring Vegan

After 6 months of a vegan diet, I am retiring. It was a good run, and I still truly believe it’s not that hard to do, unless you are training for Ironman. Even then, I am fully aware that there are people out there who are vegans and do long distance endurance events, and I applaud them for their efforts. Yay them! As for me, I cannot continue to break down to tears because of how hungry I am.

This decision was made last night when I could clearly see how irrational and crazy I’ve become when it comes to intense hunger. Last night I opened the refrigerator and cried at the sight of beans, carrots, beets, nectarines, and mixed greens. I didn’t want any of that. Β I sat on the sofa, wept a little more, and couldn’t even think of anything that I did want to eat. I tried to remind myself I’m a grown adult, I can pick my pathetic self up and go to get food. But I had no energy to do that.

Instead I drank a half a carton of almond milk and went to bed.

Obviously this isn’t even healthy anymore. I’m irrational, hungry, and moody. This behavior and lack of energy is not going to get me through training.

I choose chicken quesadillas.

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21 thoughts on “Retiring Vegan

  1. Solid move. You gotta find what works for you!

    I changed up my nutrition in early January. Since then, I’ve had many vegetarian and even vegan days but definitely did not draw a line in the sand like many do. I am really happy because I feel like I get the best of both worlds and have felt considerably better (energy wise) since deciding to pay closer attention to my dietary choices. I don’t get any fancy label but it’s been working great so far.

  2. I applaud you for so many reasons! Trying it, maintaining it, and even giving it up. The giving it up part takes guts. I’ve tried multiple dietary ways of life, I always ended up hungry, and it’s really a PITA to maintain. Eat healthy and do what works for YOU. πŸ™‚ Want some CAKE??

  3. WHOA. Good for you! I think the six months of the diet will — if nothing else — make you so much more conscious of what you put in your body. You’ve conditioned yourself to eat incredibly healthy — but now you won’t have to deny yourself some of the good (unhealthy, delicious) shit!

  4. Good for you for making it 6 months, that’s no small feat! I gave up vegetarian-ism after like 2 weeks of incessant dreams about chicken…. yeah. Sometimes I think our bodies just do whatever they can to tell us “I NEED MORE!” and like you said, during training is probably one of those times it just wants more protein and different textures and options since you are probably eating more volume as well – beans get boring and not so pleasant after a 1/2 cup serving πŸ™‚ I do find myself wondering how people run ultra-marathons as vegetarians and vegans, it must just be people are all so different.

    Have a good weekend!!

    • Yup, my hunger is very texture oriented. With veggies it’s always pieces and bits of food. Sometimes I just want to bite into something more solid, like pizza!

  5. I’m sorry you had to experience that frustration and hunger and I am so glad you are giving this up. You are training so much you need the calories and they need to be calories you WANT to eat. Hooray for recognizing your needs!

  6. Funny, a few years ago I had a bunch of blood tests because I was on accutane and discovered that my cholesterol was on the high side. Nothing too bad since the “good” cholesterol was in the right range, just genetically I’m kind of stuck around 200, as is my father, and his father, yadda yadda yadda.

    Long story short, I tried to stop eating red meat and replace it with all the “right” things. I was eating chicken, but almost no other meat. I made all the efforts to replace it with vegetarian options but fuck, it just didn’t work for me. It’s also when I discovered that my iron absorption rate is rather slow, making non heme sources less effective for me in general, something that is tough to get around.

    The bottom line is the same shit doesn’t work for everyone. And this is why I get so angry when people get so self-righteous about diet. I had a few people tell me I did things “wrong” and it’s like…what the fuck does that even mean? Its not like I wasn’t making substitutions for iron. It’s pretty impressive to be dedicated to health like that but at the end of the day, labeling yourself as anything – from vegan to paleo and everything in between – is fucking exhausting. Once stuff becomes “off limits”, it gets in your head and it becomes stressful. I commented because I remember the day I stopped forcing myself to try and like processed shit like Boca burgers because I cooked two, decided “fuck it”…then went promptly to Wegmans and bought myself ground beef to cook for the first time in months. It was a fucking relief.

    • I appreciate this! I’m kind of dreading the “you didn’t do it right, you can make adjustments, blah blah blah” stuff. I know it’s coming, but I also make a point to avoid discussing my eating habits with people for that very reason. I had a hunch this wasn’t working for me when I noticed how puffy my belly was getting. It’s a huge relief to not have foods off limits now for sure.

  7. I know people do it for various reasons….just as people adhere to gluten-free and other lifestyle diets, but DAMN…..after day in and day out 2-4hrs of training plus life in general, I’m doing good to eat something that isn’t made at Subway or Papa Johns…..I can’t imagine the mere thought and energy that goes into having to make these food choices….the pre-planning…YIKES!! I live off boiled eggs, peanut butter and jelly, turkey sandwiches, steak, and salmon….and a shitload of fresh-baked frenchbread!! Very little thinking….and a whole lot of animal consumption for sure….there are days I tell my dogs to run for cover b/c they are free game as well!! kidding…sorta!
    Hope it cures your hunger pains, BUT keep in mind….as your volume goes up….you’re gonna be hungry ALL the time and if you don’t keep feed the machine every 2hrs, the machine turns into a raging biotch at about 2hrs and 2mins…..so I’ve been told πŸ™‚
    I’ve got nuts, bars, dried fruit in every gym bag, my purse, and in my car’s center console…..ya’ just never know!!

    • it’s funny you mention your dogs, on several nights when John fed my dog, I’d comment on how good his food smelled, HA, gross. Yes, I was slowly losing my mind with the vegan diet.

  8. Food choices are so personal. Glad you are listening to your body. Hope you don’t get any flak from anyone, but if you do, you maybe could send the birds after them!

  9. I have been going through a similar thing. I had given up sugars and grains but when training, I find that I need them. I feel weirdly guilty about taking in sugars now (even though really who cares…I mean it is my food decision, you know). Anyhow, I agree with the thought on the line in the sand. I think eating according to whatever makes you feel healthy is the way to go. If that is 90% vegan with some quesadillas tossed in, then that is what you need to do.

  10. You’ve opened yourself up to try new things, which only makes you a better overall eater. Does this mean we can talk about burgers again? πŸ™‚

  11. I just found your blog! I can’t even remember how, but I really like your writing. I’ve been vegan for over 12 years and a vegan triathlete for 11. From my experience, having trained for three IMs, it sounds like you were seriously lacking in nutrition. What you speak of is not normal or healthy. It absolutely IS very difficult to train for long distances on a plant-based diet. It takes a lot of dedication and creativity to get all of the nutrients in that are needed, and still taste good. I’m now training for my 4th IM start (a year away now) and am already obsessed with hunger and eating enough. One thing to watch for is to consume enough nutrient-rich calories every day. There should be no days of the intense hunger you describe here. I respect your decision to unveganize, but it’s too bad that it came to that. Personally, I’m all about easy, quick, tasty, and nutrient-dense vegan food. It sounds impossible, but I know that it isn’t! I’m starting to get into it. Anyway, just my little blurb from the vegan “side.”

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