I’m not vegan anymore

Dear friends,

 

I am no longer vegan.

And I am still passionately devoted to helping as many people reach their ultimate health as I can. By helping them accept their cravings and working with their unique bodies to create lives of meaning, freedom and radical self-acceptance.

I’ve been thinking of how to tell you this story for some time now.

What I’m about to share may come as a total shock to you.

You might want nothing to do with me after today.

But I’m really hoping that you feel hopeful and breathe a sigh of relief.

13 years ago, when I decided to eat a vegan diet and live a vegan lifestyle, I did it for my health.

My body was suffering from years of unhealthy eating and a whole-foods, plant-based diet rebooted my entire being. Quickly. It was a relief and a miracle, in my mind.

The more I learned about how our food culture operated, how animals are raised in such unhealthy, horrifying conditions, and how animal protein production adds so significantly to global warming, I resonated deeply the vegan way. It felt good and clean. It felt right and my body thrived.

For a great long while.

And for a while, I thought many of the world’s problems could be solved if more people ate this way. We could end hunger if we fed grain to people instead of cattle. We could end global warming if we reduced the fertilizer, trucking and refrigeration required to produce meat. We could end the obesity epidemic.

What I ate aligned with what I believed.

And that was that.

But then, a few years ago, something began to shift.

 

The Uprising

 

My body started craving the “bad” stuff. Namely, meat.

It used to be that, when a friend ordered a burger out at dinner, I was slightly (though quietly) disgusted.

But I started noticing a different reaction.

Instead of disgust, I started to salivate.

The impulse to order salmon instead of salad with tofu at my favorite restaurant was overwhelming.

And, for me as a vegan, it was confusing, too.

At first, I thought: “I must be mineral deficient. Or maybe I need more concentrated protein. I’ll eat more sea vegetables. I’ll just add more nuts and hemp seeds and drink more green juice. Then the cravings will stop.”

I denied these cravings and tried to “talk my body out of them”.

I hid my cravings from myself, and my community.

I ate more sea vegetables in order to add more minerals to my diet as I had told so many of my vegan-curious friends to do. I chose more protein-heavy plant foods on a regular basis. I avoided sugar and drank green juices by the pint, all in an effort to give my body the nutrition that I thought my body was asking for.

I tried for over a year.

I felt ashamed. If I was “doing it right” I wouldn’t have these cravings, would I?

And still, the cravings persisted.

 

The Vegan Ideal

 

While these cravings warred with my vegan-teacher self, I noticed that most of my health coaching clients and readers were not vegan. Many of them were interested in trying this style of eating, often for the same reasons that I had.

They love animals and don’t want to contribute to their suffering. 

They care about the planet and our global health. 

They want to feel well in their bodies and lose weight. 

Yet, some of these clients weren’t thriving on a vegan diet. Some were sicker and heavier after going vegan than they were before.

And they were so ashamed. Ashamed that it didn’t work for them when they thought it a moral, “right and kind” diet. Ashamed that the weight loss others had experienced wasn’t happening for them.

They felt like failures.

From that place, they craved something different.

They were looking for a state of health and well-being where they didn’t feel judged or guilty for their bodies’ needs… or cravings.

And I told them what I started to tell myself:

Some cravings are just your body telling you what it needs.

So I began coaching more and more people to trust their bodies.

To learn to listen to their own, innate knowing.

To live their truth.

 

And people began to relax and feel better in their bodies. They lightened up about food and felt better about themselves. Once they started listening to their bodies and trusting themselves, the judgment about food lifted and they started eating better because they wanted to, not because they “should.”

 

The Hardest Part

For many of these people, the hardest part wasn’t eating animals again. Even though they loved animals, and many had rescued their pets from shelters or donated money to environmental groups.

The hardest part was the shame. That they weren’t living up to the “vegan ideal.”

I saw their struggles.

And it made me guard my secret more tightly.

I told no one of my own cravings for meat or fish or eggs.

Even as I was helping others come to terms with the perfection of their own bodies and cravings, to learn to love and accept themselves as they were showing up, to be honest and real in their life…

… I was hiding my own truth.

 

The Turning Point

As time went on I couldn’t stand myself.

I had to eat some meat to experiment.

I had to experience how it felt to eat animal foods again, if only to prove to myself that it wasn’t really all that good. That it was just a thing I could manage or handle, like some addiction.

So, with the support of a few close, trusted friends, I allowed myself to eat what I was craving and started with some eggs.

The emotions of guilt and confusion I felt almost overwhelmed my ability to listen to what my body was saying – my human-animal body.

I started to think:

“What are you doing?! You shouldn’t be eating this – how can you even like the taste of this when you know where it comes from?!” 

But I tuned in to my body instead of my thoughts.

And my body said YES.

It felt good and strong. And it wanted more.

Sneaking Around

 

My mind and morals popped up and batted down those overwhelmingly positive body sensations, but it became like a world-class tennis match.

Cravings from my body would SHOUT for meat, and my brain and logic would violently shove it away.

This went on for months.

I would secretly visit restaurants or stores and buy “contraband” animal foods, scurry home, and savor the food in solitude.

It’s so strange now to realize that, after working for 12 years as a health and wellness professional, I’d developed an eating disorder.

It reminds me of that new term orthorexia – the idea that we can become unhealthily obsessed with eating the “right, perfect foods.”

And a glimmer of hope began to dawn on me – that I could support even more people to feel good and get healthy without the shame, judgment and guilt if I brought my own struggle to light and shared my story.

 

Coming Out of the Closet

I began to see my cravings for animal foods from a different angle.

It wasn’t immoral or wrong.

It just was.

In fact, I came to believe that trusting your body, living your truth, whether it be vegan, part-time vegan, flexitarian or carnivore is all inherently good. 

I thought about coming out sooner, but I was afraid. Afraid of what my vegan friends would say. Afraid of what my family would think. Afraid what would happen to my health coaching company that I was working so hard to build.

And I was worried what my clients and readers – what YOU — would think.

Would you feel betrayed? Would you be upset that I had lied all that time? 

But I was suffering under the weight of my secret. I was living two lives. I hoped that one day I would be brave enough to talk openly about my experiences and about what I saw as a new possibility for health and wellness.

 

Today is that day.

As the revealing of my secret came closer, as I began to eat openly in front of my family and talk with a few vegan friends about my evolution, I noticed something very contradictory.

While my family and closest friends were completely accepting and loving towards me as I began to eat animal food products, I saw how that wasn’t always how it went with everyone.

Recently the actress-comedienne Ellen Degeneres, one of the most popular vegans around, mentioned that she had been eating eggs from her neighbors “happy chickens.”  The response from the vegan community was swift and harsh. Diatribes on blogs and Facebook posts against her for “lapsing and lying” we’re harsh.

How is that compassionate, I thought?

Compassion.

This was a word I had given to the vegan community completely. But I began to realize that we need to offer compassion for all creatures, all animals, all humans, ourselves, in order to be truly compassionate.

And I realized that by keeping my truth a secret, I was adding to the hostile food-culture that so many feel trapped by.

The food culture that makes being overweight a crime and a weakness.

The food culture that makes eating what your body needs a moral dilemma.

This culture that has produced the most unhealthy, food-and-weight obsessed and ashamed generations the world has ever seen.

And it’s killing us in so many ways.

So I’m writing you this letter and telling you all in the hope that you and I can bring the dialogue to a new place.

A place where we can begin to have more compassion for ourselves and each other.

A place where we take the morality, perfectionism and rigidity out of our food.

A place where we can live truly healthy lives without the fear of judgment that who we are or what we need, is wrong.

A place where we can be ourselves.

 

What I Believe

I believe there is a middle way. There is no ONE way that everyone should live or eat. People can still love animals and care about protecting the environment AND honor their own animal bodies and consume the foods that they need.

I believe there are many paths to health.

I believe you can love and care about animal welfare and still consume them.

I believe that a vegan, whole-foods diet saved my life and is a delicious, valid, healthy style of eating for many people.

I believe that a vegan diet should be promoted as one of many possible ways to get the body and life that people crave.

I believe most people should be eating more vegetables and less processed, chemicalized, processed junk food.

I believe we should restructure the way animals are raised so that they live in more natural, comfortable, humane surroundings and stop force-feeding them 80% of all antibiotics used in the US.

I believe humans are animals. And some animals need to eat other animals to be healthy. Some do not.

And I believe in the innate kindness of people. And that by having compassion for each other, no matter how we eat, we are creating a new food culture, and a better world.

A culture and world that is free of shame.

And I am still passionately devoted to helping as many people reach their ultimate health as I can. By helping them accept their cravings and working with their unique bodies to create lives of meaning, freedom and radical self-acceptance.

It has been such a huge relief to me to stand in the full view of the people I know and respect. To state my truth from a place of self-acceptance instead of shame. And I hope you’ll join me in exploring the evolution of your diet, wellness and life dreams.

With all my love, hope and thanks,

Alex

 

*I recently sat down with my friend and author, Jonathan Fields to discuss this very subject.

To watch the video of our conversation, go to http://www.goodlifeproject.com

Comments

  1. Steve says:

    A very healthy development. Thank you for sharing it and inspiring us to find our own truth/

    • Sarah says:

      I’m with Steve; I cannot possibly applaud you enough. I was a long time vegetarian that had terrible health issues so I went vegan hoping to heal myself. I healed some issues, and greatly aggravated others with the enormous amounts of soy and wheat in my diet. It was very difficult to admit that veganism didn’t work for me after three years. If your own community will no longer accept you because your whole foods diet now has animal proteins now and again, join us in the Paleo community. There are thousands of people who were veg/vegan that, like you, hit a point where it just didn’t work. It’s difficult to grow out of a community; but growth is the point of life.

      • Jessica says:

        Hi! I am glad you are healthy!! I eat paleo and tons of sat fat. I feel amazing. Since eating low carb, I have lost 60lbs, cleared up my fibromyalgia, prefiabetes, MVP, and chronic fatigue. My large intake of sat fat coincided with increased energy and cleared up allergies. We need to eat what makes us feel good physically, and even though I LOVE me some veg, I can’t go a day without meat and fat without feeling like crap. I am a total fathead!!

        • Alex here Jessica suffered from problems due to a wheat (gluten) intolerance
          She cut out gluten (went on a no grains diet) and felt lot better.

          She also feels better as she’s finally meeting her caloric requirements
          As fat is about twice as energy dense as carbs.

          Alex I think the reason why you didn’t succeed was because you were not eating enough, both calorically and by volume. If you just eat a few sea vegetables you’re not going to get nearly enough calories and you’re going to have to fill your stomach full of them to get very few calories. This is why many people
          Fail on a vegan diet, either that or they have gluten or soya intolerance and don’t know it.

          Go watch food that kills, maybe even people without a gluten intolerance are finding they’re better off grains and that and the calorie dense nature of meat and dairy is why people like paleo so much.

          • Be says:

            Dr. Gabriel Cousens “The Problems with the Vegan Diet” – he discusses some common issues.

            http://tv.greenmedinfo.com/gabriel-cousens-problems-with-vegan-diets/

          • Roy Watchorn says:

            Yeah just watched a video response that covered this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4vaphVOc_o&feature=player_embedded
            Have been a vegetarian for years and now vegan but only since I started calorie counting to make sure I get enough food have I realised how much starch/fruit you need to eat to get enough food, for example, for a woman you need at least around 2500 calories a day. That’s 700g of rice. Or 19 potatoes! Who eats starch in this volume? Hardly anyone then they say they were nutrient deficient on a vegan diet when really they were just starving. Btw I’m not suggesting eating one food a day but it just gives a good idea of the quantities required to meet your body’s energy needs.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Paleo eschews dairy… making a very few exceptions for butter and heavy cream. And like Jessica, low carb, high at Paleo was the bomb for me… and I don’t have any gluten issues.

      • Taluscat says:

        I call bullshit. Cravings don’t mean you are deficient. All they are are flavor memories. For example, lots of people crave crap like Doritos or devil dogs, are they deficient in HFCS? I may not crave greens all the time but I know they are good for me. Grow up! If you want to go back to eating meat just say it and don’t bore us with a huge page of boring typical justifications. But don’t be surprised if you lose much of your business too.

        Also, you lost all credibility when you said some people are carnivores.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Some people get cravings for things that aren’t even food. I wonder which flavor memories trigger dirt, laundry soap, starch, hair and matches cravings.

        • joe says:

          One of the best replies on here! Excellent point about cravings. Meth addicts crave meth but certainly they shouldn’t “listen to their bodies”. Alex’s justifications fly in the face of volumes of scientific evidence that confirm that the more plants in your diet the longer you live.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Again, I’m always astonished at the energy and effort a person will put into explaining how they’re not interested. NEWSFLASH folks, people who aren’t interested don’t bother posting- they just move on.

          Be genuine.

        • teachermom says:

          Oh geez live and let live. Eat a friggin’ steak — or don’t. How do you have so much time to care about what others put on their dinner plates? I mean, really. Get a job, a hobby, have a drink, get laid!

    • Johnny says:

      I think Vegans and Vegetarians are inherently good people with a fantastic cause. Most meat is disgusting, inhumane and unhealthy. However, eggs from backyard “happy chickens,” butter from grass fed cows, and meat from healthy grass and pasture raised animals is extremely healthy for humans and a necessity. Corn, Wheat and Soy are terrible for our bodies and also for the environment the way it is grown. If everyone would only use local, organic food including vegetables, eggs, butter and meat from local permaculture sustainable farms, all the reasons to be Vegan would no longer exist and everyone would be happy and healthy.

      • Lauren says:

        Well, not all reasons – the core issue of the ethics of supporting life by taking life is not addressed by humane husbandry. But the practical obstacles would indeed be reduced to essentially zero, I agree.

        • Cassandra says:

          “the core issue of the ethics of supporting life by taking life ”

          Of course, when one pulls up a potato and eats it – a life is taken. Cut down a head of lettuce, a life has been taken.

          • LucyP says:

            Cassandra, the difference is that vegetables don’t feel terror or pain or bleed… they don’t mourn when their babies are torn from them, they don’t form friendships, they don’t have hearts and minds, as animals do. There is a big difference between pulling a potato out of the ground and slicing open a pig’s throat.

          • Lesly says:

            I think by “life” here we mean – ‘with a consciousness’ which a potato doesn’t have.

          • Judi Hewitt says:

            PLANTS DON’T BLEED OR FEEL FEAR – YOUR COMMENT WAS A STUPID IDIOTIC THING TO SAY!!!

          • Brian says:

            the people responding to you with hate seem to not have much understanding of the world around them. there is a growing body of research that shows that plants do, in fact, communicate. where do the hardline vegans draw the line? is an animal really smarter than a plant? why are they so assured they are right? maybe they need to open their minds a bit. here’s but one recent news story which should at least make them consider the possibility: http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2012/06/16/meet-your-vegetables/K9Q57mh3vuj5P2RvV6rUuK/story.html

          • Laura says:

            Actually, scientific studies have shown that plants do feel fear and have awareness.

          • Geoffrey says:

            Actually, a preponderance of evidence demonstrates that not only do plants feel pain and fear, they remember the individual causing it and will react to their presence in the future. Most of this is based on Russian studies, but there is some data from the US as well. This data is old as well. The famous documentary, The Secret Life of Plants, does through some of this as well, in an easy to understand way. Be kind, plants feel, think, and remember.

          • Brian says:

            It is interesting that people who take the lives of animals for food, always point out that vegans kill plants. If killing a plant is akin to killing an animal, if there is no difference distinguishable to you, why do you see humans as different from animals? According to our theory, cannibalism should be legal. All life takes life, right? The evidence about plants is still highly debatable. We KNOW that animals are sentient beings and it is wrong to murder a sentient being.

          • eve says:

            The point is do the least possibe harm. No eating animals is good for animals and also for plants. Do not forget that an animal must eat tons of vegetables for give and adecuate amount of meat. So… eating only vegetables is favorable for animales and also vegetables!

          • Suzanne says:

            Animals die, in great numbers, some of them hideously, some through starvation, during the production of plant foods. The fact that their corpses are not eaten does not make the animal any less dead or the vegan any more ethical than the non-vegan. It is possible to produce milk, meat, and eggs without drawing anything at all from the human food stream. Ruminants thrive on not only grass but crop wastes, so they can well eat the stalks, cobs, and husks of corn, as well as other stovers like soybean vines.

          • Erica says:

            Many small animals are killed in the process of farming, especially huge monocrop-types. Putting aside whether or not plants feel pain or fear, other animals do die for vegans and vegetarians (and omnivores) to eat their veggies.

          • Jenaka says:

            The Secret Life of Plants explains how plants may use animals for their own ends. In other words, it is beneficial for some plants to be eaten by animals and plants will evolve ways to encourage this, like developing tasty fruits to spread their seeds.

          • Heather says:

            LucyP,
            Um, actually, plants DO feel the same chemical reaction of pain that animals feel when cut, or ripped from the ground.

        • FRIDA says:

          All life takes life. You do it too in ways you haven’t yet realized.

          • Diana says:

            Awesome statement Frida …. Very though provoking..

          • Even if any of you really belief that plants feel pain, you do realise that omnivores are responsible for more plant deaths than vegans, don’t you? Or do you only eat anorexic animals?

        • Vickie says:

          Oddly enough, this has been addressed Biblically. Before the fall of mankind, when the world was first created, God made every green herb upon the face of the earth and every tree yielding fruit with seed after it’s kind, for food for the human. Strangely so, it was the same way for animals with the added diet of every creeping crawling thing. ( Genesis 1:29,30. ) With the fall into disobedience and separation from our Creator came the need for someone to die in order for one to live. Even our shame in our nakedness became a reason for an animal to be slain for our covering. All of this was in Divine plan to point to a Savior, who had to die that we may live eternally. It is painful to cause a death for any animal on our behalf…to live this short earthly life, but it is so much more important to see the picture God is painting for you and me. There is more to life than what we see. Because of our sin we are separated from God. He sent the perfect sinless sacrifice..Himself to pay the price and overcome death on our behalf, so that we might live eternally with Him after this life. This next is not Biblical necessarily, but my own thoughts upon reading the scripture: That in Heaven we will be vegan, there will be no GMO’s, there will be no slain animals for our food/survival, there will be just wonderful fresh , beautiful clean food for us to eat at the Heavenly feast! But for now, in this fallen state of the the whole world, planet included, we need meat to survive. I never have liked meat, but I eat it in small amounts….for survival! God be with you all on your journey to health and knowing HIm.

          • AMEN!

          • Penny says:

            Thank you Vickie. I was feeling the same way reading the other comments. Amen. Gods ways are not mans ways, and they never will be. Also, in modern revelation the Lord has revealed a code of health, a law to all His children (us!); (Doctrine & Covenants 89) 10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—
            11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
            12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
            13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. (www.lds.org)

      • Maureen says:

        Johnny, to feed millions of people a meat diet, animals have to be factory farmed….say a million people in my city are eating meat. On average each will eat 100 animals per year, so that is 100 million animals needed to feed them – that’s jsut one city of people. How are you going to find 100 million animals from “local, sustainable” farms?
        Also, there will ALWAYS be cruelty associated with animal products, there is no such thing as “happy meat”or “happy milk”, including on the small local farms. Male chicks are worthless to the egg industry; therefore all male baby chicks must be gotten rid of and killed after birth. Generally they are treated like gargabe; suffocated in plastic bags or ground up alive. They are useless by- products, whether the farm is a giganitic factory farm or a small “humane” local farm. Same goes for dairy. Dairy cows must be constantly impregnated to produce milk – obviously. Guess who is useless to the dairy industry? That’s right; all the baby male calves who muct be taken away from their mothers at birth, causing tremendous grief to both, because humans have decide they need to mother cow’s milk. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a small farm or a big one; this is how the dairy business works. And have you ever been to the terrifying place called a slaughter house? It will never be the case as you say that “all reasons to be vegan would no longer exist and everyone would be happy and healthy”

        • Lauren says:

          Please investigate your claims further. You may be interested in Googling Joel Salatin.
          100 animals a year? Are we talking yeast, or moose? Is that nose-to-tail eating, or T-bone only? There are many ways to be respectful of the animal other than avoiding all contact.

          • Maureen says:

            Depends on the size of the animal. If someone is eating a lot of small animals such as fish and chickens, and eating them twice a day (many people do eat meat two or even three times a day), then yes, they would be eating at least 100 animals per year. Less if they only eat large animals such as bison, obviously. Many more animals are affected if you take into account the egg laying hens supplying their eggs or the dairy cows supplying their milk.

          • Revo says:

            My family of three eats primarily grass fed beef, wild elk via hunting, and pastured egs & chicken. One elk and one cow have sustained three adults since september, with enough left in the freezer for another couple of months. We are supplementing with local organic pastured eggs from a mom & pop producer, some bacon & other charcuterie, and the occasional meal out, and occasional fish. But all red meat comes from one of these two animals that were butchered in the fall. This is nose-to-tail eating, including the bones (marrow), and organs. Anything left goes to the dog. The rest of our diet is a lot of vegetables & fruit, a substantial portion of which is grown in our garden. By any measure–compassion, carbon footprint, overall cost, health outcomes, you name it, this is a winning combination.

          • Emily B. says:

            Yeast are not animals :( They’re fungi, like mushrooms.

          • Ginnie says:

            Joel is the man! Meat doesn’t need to be factory farmed. It doesn’t even need to be farmed. Where I grew up, you could drive down the road and find wild deer and turkeys all over the place. It was considered problematic how rampant they were and people were always hitting them with their cars. If more people hunted them for meat, they wouldn’t be as overpopulated and we wouldn’t have to buy crap meat at the store.

          • Yeah. I did google Joel Salatin, and found that he got his figures wrong. Or someone else did so on his behalf. http://skepticalvegan.com/2010/03/19/myths-of-the-vegetarian-myth/

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms. ‘Nilla,

            You are quoting Lierre Keith, not Joel Salatin. I really like chocolate. Do you care? Why should you, it isn’t relevant here, nor is Lierre Keith’s misunderstanding of Saltin’s farming.

            Eating pastured animal foods instead of grains and beans saves lives. HUNDREDS of them.

          • Jan says:

            It doesn’t – 100 animals seems high, even if eating meat three times per day. A chicken is about 3 pounds, dressed weight. A single hog is 180 pounds dressed, roughly…so two of those could provide a pound of meat per day. Not nearly 100. We can make two meals for 3 people out of a rabbit. Using all of the animal does matter…but people want to pick the good stuff and throw the rest out. The demand for waste is incredible.

        • Pam says:

          Are you telling me that those young roosters that are happily chasing hens and crowing at all hours in my yard got suffocated in plastic bags or ground up alive?
          I hate to tell you this but my bull doesn’t run to the drugstore for a condom when one of the cows is in heat, nor do they sit down and discuss their plan for more children. They just do what their bodies tell them to do…every year. And those calves are raised by their mothers until they are old enough to thrive without the milk, not just live but thrive, just like humans are. I sharemilk with my calves. Baby gets the vast majority of the milk, straight from his mother, and I get the pittance that she will allow me to have.
          I have never taken any of my animals to a slaughter house. Every animal that gets harvested here is slaughtered quickly and painlessly. My animals have good lives and quick deaths. THAT is compassion.

          • Maureen says:

            Maybe not your roosters, Pam, but the griniding up or suffocating baby male chicks is absolutely standard industry practice. Millions and millions of them. Obviously no egg operation requires roosters; what do you think happens to the baby male chicks? And what you are describing is absolutely not standard industry practice. Male chicks and male calves are unwanted by-products of the egg and dairy industries. They are useless to the industry and are got rid of by the cheapest means possible.

          • Lisa C says:

            Well said. Animals killed humanely die better than prey in the wild. Can’t help but think that’s where the term “humane” came from.

          • Amber says:

            Every animal that gets harvested here is slaughtered quickly and painlessly. My animals have good lives and quick deaths. THAT is compassion.

            You’ve got to be kidding me! How do you know their deaths are painless? They can hardly tell you so themselves, because they’re DEAD! How is that compassion? Ugh.

          • Pam says:

            Maureen, you lumped all farms, big and small, together in your original comment. I abhor the industry’s treatment of all animals, not just “useless” males. That is why I do not support it and I do not emulate it. All of my eggs come from hens in my backyard that are free to come and go as they see fit. They spend their days scratching through cow patties, eating bugs, raising babies and having sex. My cows spend their days creating patties, eating grass, raising babies and having sex. Same for the pigs and the turkeys. Not all farms are the same and you can’t paint us all with the same brush then dismiss us as being abusive and cruel.

          • Caroline says:

            I think nothing like humane murder doesnt exist, its murder like murder…

          • Pam says:

            Amber, have you ever heard an animal in pain? They are not quiet and they are not still. When an animal drops to the ground with nary a twitch or a sigh, they are not in pain.
            Caroline, killing animals is not murder. The dictionary defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being. Slaughtering a steer is neither unlawful nor committed on a human being. Because you can’t stomach the idea does not make it murder. I

          • Dave says:

            Maureen you’ve clearly never spent any time on a ‘good’ farm, or an industrial one for that matter. It’s also obvious that you haven’t been to a slaughter house. Your estimate of 100 animals per person per year is complete nonsense, as is your theory on the suffocation of male chicks… in such a heavily mechanized operation, manually suffocating animals before they go through a grinder would be pointless, unless an operator at the ‘factory’ got their kicks from doing it.

            Pam, your farm sounds fantastic, well done. I’ll bet the produce is delicious! The thoughts of lounging about, grazing and having sex all day is extremely appealing to me… can I come and live there? ;-)

          • Alan says:

            Maureen, dairy bull calves are a valuable commodity, nit a useless by-product. Get your facts straight.

          • Alan wrote, “Maureen, dairy bull calves are a valuable commodity, nit a useless by-product. Get your facts straight.”

            Um. Yeah, riiiight. From enthusiastic supporters of the meat and dairy industry: http://jimmysfarm.com/jimmy-doherty-tackles-veal-issue-on-new-channel-4-documentary-series. “Every year over 150,000 bull calves are shot at birth.”

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            There you go, mixing up individuals with industry again. You have to know that that doesn’t actually HELP anyone, right?

          • Anna says:

            If only all farms were like that, sadly the factory farm is in charge and there is no love or care in those places. Its get the animal packaged, health, wellness and cleanliness be damned. Im sure you wouldnt want to support that kind of environment.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            There’s lot of love at the farm I frequent. The animals have names and the children play with them. They are without a doubt, loved. So keep your close-minded generalizations to yourself.

        • Craig says:

          For sustainability, you might want to check this out: http://gardenpool.org/
          This 900 sq ft pool feeds a family of four. They get fish, eggs, and various fruits and vegetables. If everyone with a backyard did this….

          • Emma says:

            Really neat website!! There’s also a great book out there called The Backyard Homestead that gives blueprints and ideas for self-sustainment plots for various sizes of acreage – starting at a 1/4 acre and up!

        • Agreed – check out the work of Joel Salatin and Sepp Holzer – a total fabrication that we can’t do it without fossil fuels or chemmy fertilizers – a total like. We can and THEY ARE. For way less money to produce also. PERMACULTURE is the key – if there is one thing to get interested in for 2013 and beyond, its food forests and permaculture. Great article – I was a 5 year vegan who switched to a more weston price/paleo style in 2009, I couldnt be more happier with my choice. Stability, no more sugar cravings and overeating – such a happy balance.

        • Cts says:

          100 animals a year per person? That’s ridiculously high. My family of four might eat a chicken a week (so 13 each/year), which we raise ourselves, and we buy 1/2 a cow and 1/2 a pig from a local farmer. I can’t imagine anyone eating 100, unless you’re counting bugs.

        • Bethany says:

          Maureen that is so untrue. Have you ever even been to a small hobby farm? I don’t intend to be rude or snarky, but you are making some vast assumptions.

          Just because INDUSTRY does some things (like the awful treatment of baby roosters) does not mean you can just lump in all family farms with them. Many farms, ours included, are in place because we also feel sickened by the things that happen in the commercial food system. We just decided to take things into our own hands and behave responsibly and humanely instead of opting out all together.

          Yes, many baby cows are ripped away from their mothers, but not all (and especially not those farms who just have a family milk cow). Many commercial hatcheries throw the baby roosters into a garbage can to pile up on each other and suffocate, but that doesn’t mean a family farm that lets their hens raise chicks a couple times a year does that.

          Your numbers are also WAY off. Our entire family of 5 eats maybe 30 whole chickens a year plus one pork and half a beef (and eggs of course). How does that compare to the thousands of lives lost by rodents each time a soy field is harvested?

          • And do these cute little farms only source hens if they are guaranteed that none of their brothers were killed just after hatching? No, of course not.

            I don’t understand people who go on about what lovely lives animals lead on farms, who then are so happy to cut those lives short. In the wild, “prey” species have a reasonable chance of outrunning predators when they are in good health. Whereas being farmed by humans is a guarantee that an animal will be slaughtered when it reaches a certain weight or as soon as it is no longer useful.

            Re the number of animals killed accidentally, I think you should check out these figures: http://www.animalvisuals.org/projects/data/1mc. These demonstrate that eating vegan is the humane way. To say nothing of being better for the environment.

          • Jenaka says:

            One of my issues with people who argue for eating meat is the fact they are picky as to who they eat. Who here eats dogs and cats? Why do you feel it’s ok to eat a chicken and not a dog? I have a companion chicken but no dogs, would you be ok if I ate dogs? Many people are against cramming dogs in tiny wire cages at puppy mills but go along with the millions of chickens kept caged by the food industry. Why the double standard?

          • Alan says:

            Jenaka. I don’t care if you eat dog, heck, millions of them are killed every year by an outfit called “the humane society”.

        • Mati says:

          One steer feeds one person for more than two years.
          How many lives are destroyed to grow vegetarian protein via conventional agriculture? Are they worth less than the steer’s? Why?

          • Jenaka says:

            What about the insects you step on every day and the bacteria and viruses killed by medicine?

      • Serrah says:

        Although it would be super nice if animals were raised with love, that’s just not the way it is. So called “family farms” still end up killing their animals, animals who die the same way-cold, scared, and wanting to live just as much as you do. Regardless of how animals are raised, they’re still treated as commodities, which is speciesist and just plain wrong. Plus it’s been proven time and time again that humans don’t run as well on an animal-based diet. I mean the evidence is right in front of us, the leading cause of death in America is heart disease!

        • Dave says:

          Got the stats on how many vegetarians/vegans die in America each year due to heart disease? Where’s the (scientific) link to meat eating?

          Yup, didn’t think so.

        • Margaretrc says:

          We’re humans. It’s in our nature to eat animals because we evolved to thrive best if we include some animal protein in our diet. Animals supply us with nutrients we can’t get from plants. And just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean animals weren’t killed to bring food to your plate.

      • Linda McDowell says:

        Veganism is not a “cause” or any other fad or fancy. It is a way of seeing things like no other way that currently exists. You either “get it”, or you don’t. End of story really.

        • Jessie says:

          Linda, I think that many people “get” veganism and consciously decide not to partake in that lifestyle for many different *valid*reasons. To say that you either simply get it or not, implies that anyone who doesn’t partake in vegan lifestyle is less than in one way or another than someone who does. I don’t believe it is that simple. Nothing is. I also think that people believe that being vegan is a cause because many vegans chastise and pontificate to non-vegans quite often. There is a lot of criticism from the vegan community to those who choose to not be vegan, instead of understanding that people make their life choices for vastly different reasons.
          At no time will everyone have the same beliefs — ever.

        • Ginnie says:

          Haters gonna’ hate.

        • Alan says:

          Oh I get it, dearie, and I reject it as invalid.

      • DR. Coyne says:

        In nature, no animal dies of old age – they all become another animals lunch. And their demise is not peaceful. Man is an Omnivore — many people need to get over it .

      • “However, eggs from backyard ‘happy chickens,’ butter from grass fed cows, and meat from healthy grass and pasture raised animals is extremely healthy for humans and a necessity.”

        No, not a necessity at all.

        “If everyone would only use local, organic food including vegetables, eggs, butter and meat from local permaculture sustainable farms, all the reasons to be Vegan would no longer exist and everyone would be happy and healthy.”

        Completely incorrect. The animals would not be happy about being taken to slaughter and having their lives ended. The cows would not like their calves being taken away. Most of the brothers of the “happy” hens would still be killed soon after hatching. The cows would still be producing methane in dangerous quantities.

      • teachermom says:

        Good point. I’ve lived most of my life in the country. Our family raises our own chickens, cattle and have a huge vegetable garden each summer from which I can all kinds of yummy veggies to sustain us over the winter. It’s ironic to me that the organic trend that’s become popular over the last couple of decades has been the way my parents fed my family all along — and how I’ve always fed my kids.

    • LuzMaria Gomez says:

      I am a loving happy Vegan, I am 52 years old and have never being so healthy in my life! I never craved meat, or any animal product! My Dr, just congratulated me for being in great shape. I am a runner, yoga instructor and I feel amazing! Very sad that some people here insult us… I will forgive them, we are all one, and as a compassionate person I must ignore and understand that such comments only come from lack of compassion and a little ignorance. They come from their ego and they are out of context… Love all! Respect all!! We are all one <3 Very sad for this young woman who never got educated in to how to be a healthy Vegan…

      • Heather says:

        AGREED! honestly, I feel as if the biggest obstacle is lack of knowledge. your body does not need meat. meat does not make to healthier.. you crave it because society tells you to crave it. My whole family is vegan except my dog…which makes sense. my dog and I have a very different set of teeth… his canine teeth are made to rip, tear and shread meat… just like his short digestion tract is designed to break down meat… Our teeth are very different. we do not have the carnivore meat ripping teeth dogs do.. and we also don’t have the short digestion tract to easily break it down. instead, we have short teeth for grinding and chewing plant based, and a long digestion tract with different acidic amounts to properly absorb nutrients required by the body.

        Meat and animal biproducts are extremely harmful to our bodies and society. — please do more research on how meat, dairy etc. causes Cancers, and other ailments that simply DO NOT EXSIST in a person living a “perfected” whole-food plant based diet and lifestyle..

        while I understand it is not ideal for everyone to avoid animal products (because our society puts it in everything), an elephant just doesn’t start craving meat..think about it… its all in the amount you consume and if you eat properly!!! if you eat properly you don’t lack anything, and you also have a clear mind to truly differentiate what is healthy and not healthy.. instead of making up excuses as to why you fell off the wagon.. just another victim to global society. excuses excuses excuses.

        • Dave says:

          Care to back that up with any *actual* science?

          • why don’t YOU back it up with real science? better yet, read the REAL science online.

            anyhow ignore the plant based diet eaters. It isn’t about being healthy. being vegan is about ethics. If you don’t need to kill to live, WHY do it? Because you are selfish, culturally brainwashed, and gluttonous

        • Emma says:

          “My whole family is vegan except my dog…which makes sense. ” “an elephant just doesn’t start craving meat”

          These arguments makes no sense! As humans, we are inherently carnivores! We wouldn’t have evolved into modern man without the nutrients we got from other animals.

          Today’s modern technologies and access to plant variety allow us to live without the need for meat, sure. But it should not be considered “immoral” to crave what our ancestors craved and thrived on. We should be focused on advocating for more humane methods of raising those animals that will provide nutrition to a growing family or individual–not coming down on our fellow human because they choose to eat meat.

          The tone of these arguments are eerily sounding like a bunch of conservative brouhaha. Single-minded and definitely lacking in compassion. You’d think “vegans” would be better than that. I guess eating plant-based foods only doesn’t necessarily make you a better human.

          • Roy Watchorn says:

            It wasn’t the “nutrients” that people got from meat, it was the energy. Meat is a really dense source of calories, that’s why modern man is no longer 4 feet tall, it’s the extra energy that allowed us to grow and do more. Doesn’t make it the ideal source of energy.

          • Linda says:

            ” As humans, we are inherently carnivores! ”

            Also wrong.
            Inherent carnivores don’t eat plants too.
            Inherent herbivores don’t eat animals too.
            Inherent omnivores eat both animals and plants (and mushrooms and so on).

        • Ginnie says:

          Seriously. There is no one true diet.

        • amanda says:

          “Cancers, and other ailments that simply DO NOT EXSIST in a person living a “perfected” whole-food plant based diet and lifestyle..”

          Ha, tell that to vegetarian/vegan/fruitarian Steve Jobs…..

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Not to mention vegan/fruitarian Ross Horne, author of Cancerproof Your Body. He died of prostate cancer.

        • fartygirl says:

          Why can’t Alex just do what she wants? What right does anyone have to be up in her business? Leave her alone.

      • FRIDA says:

        Not all of us are supposed to be vegan. Maybe you are one and should be one. Please stop pounding your lifestyle on the rest of us while doing the typical vegan superiority dance.

        • Roy Watchorn says:

          No one’s supposed to be anything but as members of the same species we will generally respond in a similar way when putting the same things into our bodies. Saying someone is a vegan or vegetarian tells you very little about what they eat.

        • Um, Frida, I think you’ll find that meat eaters are the ones with the superiority complex, going round eating animals they consider so vastly inferior to them that their tastebuds outweigh the very lives of those animals.

        • Penelope Low says:

          It’s meat eaters who are the ones being indoctrinated into thinking that killing animals and eating them is “normal”. There is no money that the vegan society has to spend on propaganda. Just scientific studies to show that vegetables and whole foods (vitamins, phytonutrients, fiber = good for your health) meat and dairy (cholesterol, hormones, anti-biotics, GMOs = not nearly as good for your health).

          Being vegan is about choosing not to be a bully. Not killing an animal unnecessarily. Dominating and killing a creature because we can. I would not more feel entitled to doing a superiority dance because of this choice than if I had seen a stranger kicking a cat or a child and stopped it. It’s a no-brainer.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            I know, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution eating meat, and we need indoctrination to tell us to eat it. >.< Who indoctrinated that first fully carnivorous Cro-magnon or early homo?

            The health angle has been debunked. You need a better argument.

      • Ananda21 says:

        @LuzMaria and @Heather– im speaking as a veggie for 20 plus years and a celebrity health professional– There are some basic health aspects you all arent taking into consideration– there is something that is ‘metobolic typing’ in which some people just dont do as well on a veggie diet after some years– actually statistics show 70% or so of veggies and vegans go back to eating meat after 7-8 years…Do you think thats all due to them knowing not how to eat?? if so, thats not saying much about the veggie movement, now does it? It cant even show its people how to eat, so most of them go back to eating meat–
        I know people who were actual leaders and teachers in the vegan movement who after some yearts had to stop- hair falling out, cavities, mental issues etc– and these were the educators, taking people on retreats to tell them how to eat—A big gaping issue with vegan is that plant based fats arent full spectrum– they dont have DHA and they do not assimiliate fat soluble vitamins well at all, leading to deficiences and issues after some time with a lot of people– they say that a person can store their fat soluble vitamins for about 7-8 years- ironically thats about the time most people fade back to eating meat, because thats when most peoples stores finally run out..– I see a parallel here–
        There are some people whose body does better on a plant based diet (about 20-30% of the population)– but its ridiculous for those people to stand up and smugly say everyone is doing something wrong with those who feel they have to go back to eating meat or animal products (1/3 ignorant, 1/3 arrogant, 1/3 ridiculous)– just as its wrong/incorrect for an omnivore to say everyone needs to be an omnivore– But im hearing more and more stories like the girl in this article– in fact there are now industries of ex leader vegans/veggies who are there nurshing veg ans veggies who damaged their health– and it will continue to be this way— I hope we step out of dogma
        , sentiment, and fundamentalism– because unfor the veggie/vegan scenes are rife with it, and its what holds it down and makes it all look silly to everyone else– im saying this as a proud veggie as I want more from the movement and wish it the best, and I equally wish all omnivores the best also– no need to even classify…peace..

        • Chris says:

          Well said!!!

        • Cayce says:

          @ananda21 I couldn’t agree with you more!!
          I was a vegan for 6 months and have never felt worse. When I checked in with my functional medicine doctor, he encouraged me to stop being a vegan as my metabolism and body type would not be supported by a vegan diet.

        • Suzanne says:

          Well said! Perhaps longterm successful vegans are just plain genetically lucky, like the 30% of the world’s population that is lactase-persistent?

        • Roy Watchorn says:

          I would say that the it’s completetly down to people not knowing how to eat, especially as the vegetarian and vegan movement(s) are, for alot of people, about ethics rather than health. If plants could not provide complete nutrition then no-one would be succeeding on a 100% plant based diet long term and this is not the case.

    • Audrey says:

      I am sure it was very difficult to speak up. I wish you would have had blood work done. It would be interesting to see if you were anemic or deficient in any vitamins or minerals. A large percentage of vegans give up within 10 years due to health concerns. Your sudden cravings very might have been a true need versus a desire for animal protein. The fact that you are able to stand up with honesty about your path is wonderful. I applaud and support you!

      • Ah, yes, how convenient! Like every other account of someone going back to eating animals, there is no actual evidence of nutritional deficiency. Only a tale of vague “cravings”.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          “Only a tale of vague “cravings”.” and a significant improvement in health afterward.

          • Just waiting patiently for an ex-vegan to come up with, you know, some actual evidence. As opposed to the unproven claims you make. For example, you wrote, “Eating pastured animal foods instead of grains and beans saves lives. HUNDREDS of them.”

            You might want to check out this link: http://www.animalvisuals.org/projects/data/1mc

            And, if you spot any mistakes, let me know. The last time I directed paleos to this link, they started getting very huffy and said you could prove “anything” with statistics. Which was funny, because they had been trying to use statistics against me until that point.

            By the way, just curious. Why are there so many cotton paleo T-shirts about?

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            ‘Nilla,

            Yes, your mistake was easily spotted… It took me 4 minutes.

            From your link-

            “One conclusion of the Cornell study was that meat generally increases land requirements of a diet, but diets including a small amount of meat could result in less land required per capita than some high-fat vegetarian diets (that include milk and eggs) because of cattle converting forage on land unsuitable for crops into human-edible calories. It is probably true that raising ruminant animals on pasture unsuitable for crops would increase the total amount of human-edible calories in the food supply, but it is critical to point out that chicken, pork, and at least 85 percent of beef is fattened in a feedlot on corn grown on land that could be divided between growing food for direct human consumption and wildlife habitats.”

            So let’s try this again- pastured meat is… well… pastured, meaning that it doesn’t get “fattened in a feedlot on corn”.

            And again, the math is easy, one pastured cow takes ONE life.
            If you’re eating grains and legumes (which paleo dieters DON’T eat) you’re taking more lives (100s to thousands per acre) than those eating the cow.

            If you spot any mistakes, let me know.

          • First of all, please have the courtesy to get my name right.

            Secondly, perhaps if you gave the matter more than 5 minutes’ thought, you would realise that in most of the world “pastured” cattle cannot survive and thrive without supplemental feeding during the winter. And that hay has to be harvested. With machines.

            Thirdly, are you going to answer my question about T-shirts or not?

          • Andrea says:

            Huntress, maybe you should take more than four minutes to read the link? What you quoted has little relevance to the calculations the author used to determine the number of animals killed. Here you go:

            “To determine the number of animals directly killed to obtain one million human-edible calories from animal carcasses, the following formula was used:
            Na =Ct/(Ca x Y x W)

            where na is the number of animals killed, ct is the target number of food calories, ca is the number of calories per kilogram of each food, y is the yield of live weight to edible weight, and w is the average live weight of the animal. Calories per kilogram for each food were obtained from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, accessed through http://www.wolframalpha.com. Carcass yields were obtained from Wulf[6] and Kokoszynski[7] Average live weights were obtained from USDA statistics[8][9].”

            (So if the author is actually using grain-fed animals, the total animals killed would be higher, since grass-fed animals are lower in calories.)

            The calculation above is for animals slaughtered, not killed during harvest. That is discussed elsewhere.

            Personally, I think the number of animals killed in harvesting veggies and grains seems low, but there doesn’t seem to be many studies on that. If you know of any (other than what the author cites and uses for calculations), I’d be interested.

            You say:

            “And again, the math is easy, one pastured cow takes ONE life.”

            This is not true. Maybe it *can* be true, in a very particular circumstance, but generally it is not true. There are other animals killed in raising that one cow. The author uses numbers from Davis for calculating kills from harvest for animals. Davis is the dude who popularised the idea that pastured meat results in less death than veganism. Here’s an article that argues why Davis is wrong, in case you haven’t read it before:

            http://www.veganoutreach.org/enewsletter/matheny.html

            Depending on where you live, cows will need to spend a few months in a barn over the winter and be fed hay. Which is harvested mechanically and results in loss of life, just as when other crops are harvested. Farmers often need to protect livestock from predators, so let’s not forget the coyotes killed. This is just a couple of examples of how there is also ‘hidden’ animals deaths with raising pastured meat just as there is with crops.

            You accuse vegans of being blind to the fact that they are responsible for animal death, but you seem blind to the fact that you are responsible for more than just one cow’s death. A lot more, by some accounts. More than – gasp! – vegans.

            I think it’s a complicated issue and it’s always possible to poke holes into arguments. I have no doubt there are fair criticisms of the research that shows that veganism causes least harm and least death. There are so many variables to consider. But until someone can prove without a doubt that veganism causes more suffering and death than eating pastured meat, I’m feeling like sticking with the method that doesn’t involve a dead animal on my plate is the best route to go.

          • Mountain says:

            Hey ‘Nilla,

            First, she got your name right. The apostrophe replaces missing letters (in this case, “v” and “a”). That’s why she put it there.

            Second, you don’t have to kill any chickens to obtain 1 million calories of eggs. We raise chickens on our farm, and we don’t kill any of them. Ever. Not the roosters. Not the older hens. You know why? Well, in part because they’re awesome & I love them, but mainly because they are always economically useful to the farm. Because we don’t use the idiotic business model that factory farms use(and which far too many small farms follow unthinkingly).

            Also, we don’t feed them chicken feed, so they aren’t even responsible for the animal deaths involved in grain production, which are far higher than your linked website calculates– it doesn’t account for deaths due to loss of habitat, either temporary or permanent, and those are the majority of animal deaths from grain farming.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms Vanilla Rose,

            Though I’m pretty sure it isn’t your actual name, I will certainly use “Ms Vanilla Rose” if that suits your fancy. At least you were directly addressed, something you didn’t give anyone else in the ENTIRE THREAD the courtesy of.

            if you gave the matter more than 5 minutes’ thought, you would realise that in most of the world “pastured” cattle cannot survive and thrive without supplemental feeding during the winter. And that hay has to be harvested. With machines.

            No, it doesn’t. I live in New England and the family farm where I purchase my beef uses hand-haying methods for harvest. Do you have any idea where your food is grown? I’ve asked this several times, and it always comes back to a challenge about MY DIET, but I know exactly where all of my food comes from and how it’s grown/raised. I’d like to know what you know about yours.

            Thirdly, are you going to answer my question about T-shirts or not?

            Uuuummm… no. I don’t know anything about paleo t-shirts… and I’m not sure why you’d assume that I do. You’re on your own with that one.

            You see, this is the thing, would it really be that hard to stop looking at the industries and gauge each person individually? It doesn’t matter what “most” of an industry does if the individual you’re talking to doesn’t contribute to it. It’s really very simple. I’ll state it again for clarity. I’m an ethical omni and I eat pastured animal foods. These animals eat pasture their ENTIRE lives and their Winter hay needs aren’t met with harvest machinery that kills hundreds of animals. The diet I eat now takes fewer lives than my vegan diet took- and if your diet includes grains and legumes that you do not grow yourself or know to be hand harvested (it happens, but not often), it takes MANY fewer lives than your vegan diet too.

            So stop quoting generalities and industries and read what I’ve written.

            One life for my protein source.
            Many lives for vegetable proteins from machine-harvested row crops.

            I’d say do the math, but I’ve concluded that that is a waste of time.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Andrea

            “What you quoted has little relevance to the calculations the author used to determine the number of animals killed.”

            See above.

            you seem blind to the fact that you are responsible for more than just one cow’s death. A lot more, by some accounts

            Well it certainly is more than one cow- it’s about 1 per year. I don’t have any issues with taking lives for my diet. See above for the rest..

            But until someone can prove without a doubt that veganism causes more suffering and death than eating pastured meat, I’m feeling like sticking with the method that doesn’t involve a dead animal on my plate is the best route to go.

            Well, that is definitely the more comfortable route to go, I can’t say I blame you. lol

            As you said, “there are so many variables to consider”- if you’re genuine in your desire to take fewer lives, you’ll spend more time considering them and less time trying to defend not actually eating the animals you kill.

          • @ Paleo Huntress: You don’t have to call me “Ms Vanilla Rose”. Either Rose or Vanilla would suffice. I’m pretty sure your parents didn’t name you Paleo Huntress, either.

            If you’re going to argue that the meat you eat only eats hay harvested by hand, then I should, of course, point out that a lot of vegans grow much of their own food. This isn’t a practical option for me at the moment as I live in a flat with no garden. I used to grow some food at a place where I did volunteer work, that shut down because of government cutbacks. I then started a container garden outside the flats where I live, and that got vandalised.

            I suggest you might wish to google vegan-organic growing, VON, vegan permaculture, the Movement for Compassionate Living and/or Robert Hart’s Forest Garden before making any more sweeping assumptions.

            You refuse to answer my question about T-shirts. Is this because you’re embarrassed that most paleos don’t think about what they wear?

            @ Mountain: you wrote, “You don’t have to kill any chickens to obtain 1 million calories of eggs.”

            I would have laughed at that, had the reality not been so sad. You didn’t really read the link, did you? You will appreciate that, even if all the hens a person uses die of old age, those hens will have to be replaced. With new hens. And where do those chickens come from? Eggs. And what happens after the chickens peck their way out of their egg shells? Someone comes along to see whether they are male or female and kills most of the males.

            To ignore this basic fact shows that your view of egg farming is an incomplete one. You’re ignoring the parts of the picture which you do not want to see.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms Vanilla Rose

            I’m pretty sure your parents didn’t name you Paleo Huntress, either.

            Of course not, and I don’t call it my name nor get upset when people abbreviate it.

            “If you’re going to argue that the meat you eat only eats hay harvested by hand, then I should, of course, point out that a lot of vegans grow much of their own food. This isn’t a practical option for me at the moment as I live in a flat with no garden. I used to grow some food at a place where I did volunteer work, that shut down because of government cutbacks. I then started a container garden outside the flats where I live, and that got vandalised. I suggest you might wish to google vegan-organic growing, VON, vegan permaculture, the Movement for Compassionate Living and/or Robert Hart’s Forest Garden before making any more sweeping assumptions.

            lol You can’t help yourself can you? We’re not talking about a “movement”, we’re talking about MY diet, and yours… and you’ll note that I specifically write that some vegans grow their own grains and legumes so I would say that the “sweeping assumptions” are also yours. But let’s say you had the room to grow grains– would you also do the threshing and winnowing? Studies show that without machinery, there is more energy spent making grains edible than the grains themselves contain. But still, I leave open the possibility that a person could choose to do that.

            You refuse to answer my question about T-shirts. Is this because you’re embarrassed that most paleos don’t think about what they wear?

            OMG! Is THAT what you were getting at?! ~chuckling~ Another non-sequitur argument from someone who can’t hold up their end of the debate that they so confidently dashed into. I’m not part of any movement, I’m a married mom with teenage boys and I follow what is loosely defined as a primitive or paleo diet. In general though, as movements go, paleo people don’t mind taking lives for their diet and I don’t imagine any of them would lose much sleep being “embarrassed” over “paleo t-shirts”, whatever they are. Paleo promotes pastured foods because they’re healthier– that they are also more humane is gravy. My personal ethical concerns are leftover from my vegan days. I definitely wear cotton, though I haven’t purchased a new piece of apparel in a decade. (well that’s not entirely true, I did buy a couple of items as gifts at Christmas last year and I’m fortunate to get gratis bras and panties.) Can you say the same? Instead my family takes advantage of second-hand stores and recycle and free-cycle programs. As I mentioned in another area of the thread, I have a few leather pieces too, a jacket and a backpack that I purchased in a second hand stores so I didn’t contribute to the industry, but rather contributed to the funding that gets homeless vets off the street. They’re also pretty indestructible so I haven’t had to replace them in years.

            I have quite literally set up my family’s lives around living ethically and green. I don’t always succeed and I learn new things every day, but it is ever present for me. “When I know better, I do better”.

            Just so we can be clear, you take more lives with your vegan diet, because to take less “isn’t a practical option for you..” How many omnis do YOU give a pass to for eating eating animal food out of practicality? How many have you called lazy or selfish when they said as much?

            Grains and legumes are NOT REQUIRED– you could simply remove them from your diet. Of course, making up for those proteins with produce will COST you significantly more, and you’ll have to EAT significantly more and you’ll have to be more vigilant about planning, as fresh produce doesn’t keep as long. But isn’t it worth it to save those collateral lives?

            Perhaps it’s only worth it when you’re judging omnis from your sky-high pedestal?

            “You will appreciate that, even if all the hens a person uses die of old age, those hens will have to be replaced. With new hens. And where do those chickens come from? Eggs. And what happens after the chickens peck their way out of their egg shells? Someone comes along to see whether they are male or female and kills most of the males.”

            “You don’t have to kill any chickens to obtain 1 million calories of eggs.”

            Forgive me, but the irony cannot go without mention here- My husband grew up in typical house, not a farm. They had chickens, and ducks and geese… they ate the eggs and they ate the meat… and no animal was killed due to its gender… and the next generation of egg-layers hatched from their own eggs… but let’s say that an individual raises their own free-range hens for eggs and they HAVE to buy the hens from one of these places. In those next ten years, they will do so much less harm than the typical SADer. And I haven’t even reached the irony yet. Are you ready for it? Here is comes…

            The potential deaths related to buying hens aren’t deaths due to CONSUMPTION of the animal, they are COLLATERAL DEATHS that the backyard homesteader doesn’t intend to cause harm. Does this particular argument sound familiar?

            So why do the deaths caused by YOUR diet get a pass, but not the collateral deaths caused by our diets? I would have laughed at that, had the reality not been so ironic– well actually, I DID laugh at that, but you get the point.

            And let’s not forget-

            Pastured dairy is evil because it may cause collateral male cow deaths. Grains and beans get a pass for killing collateral field mice, ground-nesting birds, snakes and rabbits.
            Tuna production is evil because it may cause collateral porpoise deaths. Grains and beans get a pass for killing collateral ruminant pests.

            You’re ignoring the parts of the picture which you do not want to see.

            Wow! I’ll just let the irony in this one hang in the air for dramatic effect.

          • Andrea says:

            Huntress

            Your ‘see above’ comment means nothing. You were calling out the link as being not true because of the reference to a feedlot. I showed you that was irrelevant and that the numbers of animals killed quoted in that link *are* relevant for pastured meat. Whether or not in your particular circumstance you have limited these deaths is not relevant to whether or not the information presented in that link is true or not. Of course the link is not talking about you specifically. How could it? Just as the link is not talking about vegans who go out of their way to limit death due to harvest. There will always be exceptions.

            The point is that omnivores on this thread, including you, keep saying “one pastured cow, one death” or “one life for one acre of land” as if it was a Universal Truth. It is not.

            You said: “I don’t have any issues with taking lives for my diet.”

            Yet you go out of your way to make sure your meat is bought from a farm that doesn’t use machinery, hand tills crops, etc? Why bother if you have no issues with it?

            You said: “Well, that is definitely the more comfortable route to go, I can’t say I blame you. lol”

            Oh yes, it’s *much* more comfortable to be constantly investigating food sources, clothing options, and so on. Figuring out the best way to live our values (which covers more than animal rights) with the realities of raising a family with an omnivore, a vegan, two vegetarians and two celiacs, with limited income and different needs. Yes, yes, obviously I am taking the easy route. Please. I notice you didn’t try to provide any proof that veganism kills more animals than pastured meat. You just keep saying it and hoping it to be true.

            You said: “As you said, “there are so many variables to consider”- if you’re genuine in your desire to take fewer lives, you’ll spend more time considering them and less time trying to defend not actually eating the animals you kill.”

            Don’t worry, Huntress, I spend plenty of time considering my actions. But I won’t bother explaining them to you since the last time I saw a vegan do that here you accused them of being ‘full of crap’, so what’s the point? You seem to think you are the only one who carefully considers their choices? Your comments here and in response to Vanilla are obnoxious and self-righteous, something, ironically, omnivores love to accuse vegans of being.

            Look, you try hard to live according to your values. That’s great. So do a lot of other people. No one is perfect. I’m trying to live my life according to my values, which includes reducing as much animal suffering and death as possible, and since no one is providing any proof that veganism creates more animal suffering and death than pastured meat, I’ll stick with veganism – not because it’s comfortable, but because it makes sense.

          • Paleo Huntress wrote, “The potential deaths related to buying hens aren’t deaths due to CONSUMPTION of the animal, they are COLLATERAL DEATHS that the backyard homesteader doesn’t intend to cause harm. Does this particular argument sound familiar?”

            No, not really. I, and other vegans, are all in favour of measures that reduce collateral animal deaths, even though it has been demonstrated that Steven Davis (unintentionally, I am sure) exaggerated those deaths by not taking into account the ban on burning stubble. Whereas it is not possible to produce eggs on any significant scale without killing male chicks.

            If I had some land, the only grain I would grow would be sweetcorn. Not hard to harvest or process. I’ve seen people growing it in their front garden. But if individual vegans don’t want to eat grains, there are still fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.

            Out of what I am wearing now, I think the only items which are not second hand are my socks, knickers, hairslide, part of my earrings (the bulk being from an old necklace someone gave me) and spectacles.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Andrea,

            You were calling out the link as being not true because of the reference to a feedlot.

            I didn’t call it out as untrue, I actually QUOTED it.

            And we should probably try and be a little more genuine in our comparisons, if we’re looking at protein sources, we need to compare protein content. We can get calories anywhere. The average yield for soybeans is 2640 pounds/acre. Each pound of soybeans contains 49.4 grams of assimilable protein, or 130,416 grams per acre.

            The average yield for beef is 630 “finished” pounds of beef. My family also eats the cartilage, the organs, the marrow, the tallow, etc. But we’ll just count the meat itself. 92 grams per pound or 57,960 grams of assimilable protein per cow, or (38,640 grams per acre) as the cow used 1.5 acres.

            One and a half acres of soy produces 3.35 times as much assimilable protein as the beef. And yet, it will take literally dozens of lives in the planting and harvesting.

            “Animals living in and around agricultural fields are killed during field activities and the greater the number of field activities, the greater the number of field animals that die. A partial list of animals of the field in the USA include opossum, rock dove, house sparrow, European starling, black rat, Norway rat, house mouse, Chukar, gray partridge, ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, cottontail rabbit, gray-tailed vole, and numerous species of amphibians. In addition, production of most crops requires multiple field operations that may include plowing, disking, harrowing, planting, cultivating, applying herbicides and pesticides as well as harvesting.” ~S.L. Davis, Department of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University

            “The mowing alone of alfalfa caused a 50% decline in gray-tailed vole population.”

            “Cole and Batzli found that prairie vole populations averaged 99 per acre (244/ha) in alfalfa.”

            “Canada population ranged from 32 to 162 per acre (80 to 400/ha) over 1 year.”

            “Oregon, montane vole densities ranged from 200 to 500 per acre (500 to 1,250/ha) and may have reached 4,000 per acre (10,000/ha).”

            ~John M. O’Brien, Center for Wildlife Damage Management

            “Whether or not in your particular circumstance you have limited these deaths is not relevant to whether or not the information presented in that link is true or not.”

            Again, I didn’t actually challenge the link. Are you still able to see the conversation above?

            “Of course the link is not talking about you specifically. How could it? Just as the link is not talking about vegans who go out of their way to limit death due to harvest. There will always be exceptions.”

            ~smiles~ Precisely… finally… the point is recognized. To be clear, the particular vegan we’re discussing doesn’t go out of her way. And actually, that’s OK with me- I don’t go into forums and randomly attack people who make different choices- however, I’m up for the debate when my choices are attacked. Do not assume that because you are vegan you do less harm, cause less suffering or take fewer lives than an omni. You don’t know, because “there will always be exceptions.

            “The point is that omnivores on this thread, including you, keep saying “one pastured cow, one death” or “one life for one acre of land” as if it was a Universal Truth. It is not.

            You know what, you are right and it’s an oversimplification. My apologies for it. The family that owns the farm we get our beef from has said that he has killed 3 coyotes since they began running the farm just over a decade ago. They also lost a steer to a predator attack early on. I’m sure that there are a few other collateral deaths too- the do use some tractor equipment to move the hay and to patrol the pasture. I guess for me, the point is that these things are pretty equally matched in row-crop farming. If we could agree that the deliberate predator deaths in a cattle farm about match the deliberate ruminant deaths at a grain farm- all things being equal, when the “food” is harvested, the cow takes one additional life. The harvest will take 50% of the field mouse population (there are MANY other animals killed during the same harvest, but we can stick with the field mice for now.) That means in populations that range from 30-4000/acre, we have a kill count of 15-2000. So maybe you get lucky and you’re down at the low end with 15. That is STILL a harvest average of 4-5 additional deaths (for comparable protein), compared to a kill average of 1 additional death.

            You said: “I don’t have any issues with taking lives for my diet.”

            “Yet you go out of your way to make sure your meat is bought from a farm that doesn’t use machinery, hand tills crops, etc? Why bother if you have no issues with it?”

            That is a really thoughtful question- the answer is because I believe we are meant to kill and eat animals- but I also believe that should lead good lives. When I take a life to nourish my own, I want it to be with intent and respect. Killing them accidentally is far worse in my eyes, especially if I have other alternatives.

            Oh yes, it’s *much* more comfortable to be constantly investigating food sources, clothing options, and so on. Figuring out the best way to live our values (which covers more than animal rights) with the realities of raising a family with an omnivore, a vegan, two vegetarians and two celiacs, with limited income and different needs.”

            I believe you… I have many similar struggles in my own life. I’m going to suggest that there is a ‘forrest for the trees’ blindness going on. That you’re making it harder than it has to be because you’re hung up on the “flesh”, and the idea of doing that much more investigating to do the least harm as a vegan, would be overwhelming when you already have so much on your plate. But of course, only you can know that.

            ~Huntress

          • Andrea says:

            Huntress

            You said: “I didn’t call it out as untrue, I actually QUOTED it.”

            What are you talking about? I’m referring to when you said this (after quoting some of what was in the link):

            “So let’s try this again- pastured meat is… well… pastured, meaning that it doesn’t get “fattened in a feedlot on corn”.

            And again, the math is easy, one pastured cow takes ONE life.
            If you’re eating grains and legumes (which paleo dieters DON’T eat) you’re taking more lives (100s to thousands per acre) than those eating the cow.

            If you spot any mistakes, let me know.”

            It seems to me you are clearly suggesting the link’s conclusions are wrong because pastured meat is pastured and not on a feedlot, when that has nothing to do with how the calculations were made. You said you spotted the ‘mistake’ in 4 minutes. Are you saying you agree with the link’s conclusions then?

            Thank you for providing some calculations, however, the link I provided earlier also uses protein for calculations and disagrees with you. Here it is again for you:

            http://www.veganoutreach.org/enewsletter/matheny.html

            Here’s a link to another article that also criticizes Davis’s claims:

            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1253172

            The excerpts you quoted, except for one, say nothing about the number of deaths. Hardly helpful. If you read http://www.animalvisuals.org/projects/data/1mc you will see a discussion about this. The calculations on this page use Davis’s numbers (you know, the dude you just quoted) for deaths in harvest related to pasture animals and crops. Yes, Davis conceded that there are ‘accidental’ deaths with pasture animals too!

            You say: “~smiles~ Precisely… finally… the point is recognized. To be clear, the particular vegan we’re discussing doesn’t go out of her way.”

            Huh? What vegan are we discussing? I’m discussing the question of whether or not veganism causes more suffering and death than pasture meat.

            You said: “Do not assume that because you are vegan you do less harm, cause less suffering or take fewer lives than an omni. You don’t know, because “there will always be exceptions.” ”

            Right back at ya, Huntress.

            You said: “That is a really thoughtful question- the answer is because I believe we are meant to kill and eat animals- but I also believe that should lead good lives. When I take a life to nourish my own, I want it to be with intent and respect. Killing them accidentally is far worse in my eyes, especially if I have other alternatives.”

            That’s interesting. I would say killing animals on purpose, especially when I have other alternatives, is far worse. This is where we definitely disagree on basic ethics.

            You said: “I’m going to suggest that there is a ‘forrest for the trees’ blindness going on. That you’re making it harder than it has to be because you’re hung up on the “flesh”, and the idea of doing that much more investigating to do the least harm as a vegan, would be overwhelming when you already have so much on your plate. But of course, only you can know that.”

            Perhaps. But, to be honest, I would love an excuse to eat cheese and therefore feel quite open to being convinced. Gently, I suggest that since you were forced to turn away from veganism because of ill health, that perhaps you cannot accept that your diet is not as innocent as you would like it to be, so you cling to this idea of veganism causing more death (and we haven’t even touched on the suffering aspects of raising meat, even “humane” meat) to help ease your conscience. But, like you said, only you can know that.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms Vanilla Rose,

            I, and other vegans, are all in favour of measures that reduce collateral animal deaths, even though it has been demonstrated that Steven Davis (unintentionally, I am sure) exaggerated those deaths by not taking into account the ban on burning stubble. Whereas it is not possible to produce eggs on any significant scale without killing male chicks.

            Hmmm… so hundreds of thousands of lives is OK, as long as it isn’t millions of lives? Gotcha. I KNOW vegans are IN FAVOR of it, but how many are making the choices necessary to reduce suffering? So you’d grow sweet corn- who doesn’t love it? It absolutely WRECKS soil- it’s considered a nutrient hog for the few ears you’ll get, but hey, it’s tasty. It also doesn’t provide much protein, so where will you get your proteins? If you’re not going to grow legumes and grains so that you KNOW there are no harvesting deaths, I’m assuming you’re just going to keep buying the supermarket variety. But heck, as long as you’re “in favor” of such measures… you’re exempt. Somehow I suspect that omnis being in favor of humane living conditions for food animals doesn’t exempt them… am I right?

            Hypocrisy at its finest.

            “If individual vegans don’t want to eat grains, there are still fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.”

            Smacks forehead… seeds and legumes? Do you know what row crops are? “Your majesty, the vegans are starving, they don’t want to kill the animals while growing their grains…” “Well then, let them eat seeds and legumes!” Epic.

            “Out of what I am wearing now, I think the only items which are not second hand are my socks, knickers, hairslide, part of my earrings (the bulk being from an old necklace someone gave me) and spectacles.”

            Excellent! So I guess your snaky paleo comment didn’t hold any water after all, eh? Assumptions, assumptions…

        • hannah says:

          After I had been vegan for 7 years and was figting health problems I went to the doctor and got two nutrients checked. Two. Both were low. B12 and D, and I spent tons of time in the sun (and this was in San Diego near the end of the summer), had only not been supplementing B12 in any way for about 1.5 years, and ate organic produce unwashed, fermented foods, etc. (this is where many vegans say they can get B12). Who knows how my other nutrients would have been. I have been not vegan for about 1.5 years now and certainly feel better. I am still ironing out some health complaints, but am so happy to be through the worst of it.

          • Um, hate to break this to you, but the Vegan Society has been recommending B12 supplements for the past two decades.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Hannah,

            The vegan community is generally quick to point out that omnis can be deficient in B12 sometimes too- which is supposed to suggest in some bizarre way that that makes a diet even moredeficient in B12 a perfectly acceptable alternative. It’s the seatbelt argument, you know, some people who wear seat belts die in car accidents so that proves seat belts are unnecessary. However, look at the actual NUMBERS from that study-

            B12 deficiency was found in 68% of vegetarians, 83% of vegans and 5% of omnivores. Supplements never work as well as real, whole food. So eat your animal food and get your B12 naturally. Clearly that is already working far better for omnis.

            Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians | Am J Clin Nutr July 2003 vol. 78 no. 1 131-136

    • WM says:

      Steve:
      If you want the truth you need to go to the slaughter house yourself and see it with your own eyeballs. If every slaughter house has a glass walls, I am sure all of those greedy people will understand what they have been eating.

    • missy says:

      I am a vegan & have been for a very long time. I never, ever crave meat. But for those who do, there are wonderful alternatives to hamburger, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, salmon, turkey, chicken, etc. So it is not necessary to murder innocent animals.

      • Dave says:

        There is no alternative to good chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish or any other meat… only chemically processed junk.

        • Yeah, junk like peas and potatoes. Oh, the horror. Alas for meat-eaters, chunky peanut butter contains more protein per gramme than skinless chicken breast. And peas have more protein per calorie than lamb.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms Vanilla Rose,

            Chunky peanut butter comes from a legume, and the production of peanuts may be the most damaging of all legumes.

            “Alas for meat-eaters, chunky peanut butter contains more protein per gramme than skinless chicken breast. “

            No, it doesn’t.

            100 grams of chunky peanut butter contains 24 grams of protein

            100 grams of skinless chicken breast contains 31 grams of protein.

            “And peas have more protein per calorie than lamb.”

            No, they don’t.

            100 calories of lamb contains 13 grams of protein.

            100 calories of peas contain 6 grams of protein.

            It’s also worth mentioning that on top of containing less protein, as legumes, they contain protease inhibitors, meaning that the protein that they DO contain is significantly less bioavailable. They also contain phytate which binds the minerals they contain.

            Where do you get your information from? (I’m assuming it’s a vegan website?) Even though discussion rooms are valuable for getting and exploring new ideas, EVERYONE has a bias, and you need to find other resources to do your fact-checking, if accuracy matters to you.

          • Dave says:

            My comment was relating to products labeled as ‘meat alternatives’. The ingredients on a packet of ‘Tofurky’ are as follows:

            Water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed canola oil, organic tofu(water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), non-hexane extracted soy protein concentrate, salt, evaporated cane juice, vegetarian flavours, spices, black pepper, red pepper flakes, smoke flavour, onion powder, granulated garlic, autolyzed yeast extract, dehydrated bell pepper, vitamins and minerals [iron(iron amino acid chelate), zinc(zinc oxide), vitaminB12, panthothenic acid(calcium pantothenate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)]

            Apart from the water, salt & pepper, I wouldn’t want to put any of that stuff in my body. My food doesn’t need to be chemically enhanced with vitamins, lamb contains plenty of B12! And a nutrient comparison ‘per calorie’ is pointless on two completely different food types (peas and lamb)… do the math pound-for-pound and then you’re onto something.

          • zack says:

            Peanut butter doesn’t quench a meat craving. Just like meat doesn’t quench a spinach craving.

        • No. Not a vegan website. A bog standard site. I will look it up for you.

          @ Dave: I’ve never eaten tofurky. I don’t even think they sell it over here. But I did have a laugh when I was buying some vegan margarine and noticed that the dairy margarines sold alongside it (ie marketed to lacto-vegetarians and omnivores) actually had MORE vitamins added.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            You don’t need to look it up, Ms Vanilla Rose. Those are clickable links to the full nutrition panels for each of those foods from NutritionData.com. Of course, feel free if the urge strikes you- but I made getting the data as user friendly as is humanly possible.

          • Sorry about the delay. Here is the link: http://www.howmuchprotein.com/foods/

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Ms Vanilla Rose,

            OK, kewl.. according to this source, peanut butter (24.9) does have more protein than chicken breast (23.5), less than a gram more, but still more technically, so I’ll give it to you. Sadly though, for that fraction of an extra gram of protein, the peanut butter (586 per 100 grams) comes with 114 more calories than the chicken (462 per 100 grams) too- most of it from inflammatory poly oils. Interestingly, if we do the calculations on the protein per calorie here too, we find that the peanut butter has a mere .04 grams or protein per calorie and the chicken has over FIVE TIMES as much at .21 grams per calorie.

            As for the calorie comparison between peas and lamb, I think you should do your math again.

            According to your source-

            Peas contain .08 grams of protein per calorie

            and

            Lambs contains .17 grams of protein per calorie-

            In other words, the lamb contains more than TWICE the protein per calorie as the peas.

      • Rachel says:

        Beans or soy in the shape of a burger or bacon does not make it meat. If someone is craving meat they aren’t craving the something in the shape of a burger or sausage, their bodies are craving meat protein. Big difference.

        • LOL! So, if a former smoker craves nicotene, his or her body must really, really need a cigarette?

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            If a 13 year former smoker craves nicotine, his or her body probably needs a steak.

          • Oh, give it up! Nobody’s body needs a steak.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            It was a silly response, wasn’t it? I thought that’s what we were going for.

            So again, there are two distinct kinds of cravings- those that come from addiction and those that come from deficiency. An addiction-based craving will leave you craving again even after to give in to it. A deficiency-based craving will be satisfied after giving in.

            Alex recommends paying attention to the latter and you deliberately equating it with the former is disingenuous.

      • Mati says:

        No, they’re not wonderful alternatives. They’re more of the same, and they do not fill the need.

    • Heather says:

      I’ve been vegan for two decades and I always will be. There are just some things you know are wrong, no matter how much you try to rationalize them: eating animals, abusing children, raping women, and so on. We can’t make excuses to justify weaknesses–ethics take precedence over taste buds. I feel my healthiest when I eat wholesome vegan foods–not only because they are nutritious, but because I can eat them without guilt. You should always listen to your heart, not to cravings or other people’s apologist remarks. Being vegan is true compassion for animals–if you fall, get back up and be kind again.

      • BS says:

        Did you seriously just compare eating meat to rape and abusing children? that is jaw droppingly dumb.

        • JM says:

          Here’s something jaw droppingly dumb: to produce animals in factory quantities, it is necessary to rape them (artificial insemination without consent) and abuse them when they are children (because we have created such an unnaturally short short lifespan that they never actually reach adulthood).

      • Dave says:

        Carrots have feelings too you know! It’s been proven.

      • Lizzie says:

        This is one of the most offensive statements I’ve ever heard. I hope you take a good, long look at yourself and your absolutely disgusting, repulsive moral superiority.

        I’ve been a vegan for more than a decade, and greatly support anyone making that choice. However, I also applaud the wisdom of recognizing what your body wants and needs and honoring that. Being vegan is a choice; it’s not a requirement. It’s a way of living and eating. It does not inherently make you a “good person.”

        And while it’s fantastic to save the life of a chicken, or salmon, or cow – it’s an absolute atrocity to compare this to child abuse or rape. Get a grip on the impact you’re having in the world. You’re everything that’s disgusting and reprehensible about vegan culture. No wonder people thing we’re a bunch of sanctimonious, self-rightous jerks. You’re specimen #1.

        • Todd Wilson says:

          Why is murdering a chicken or salmon or cow, or raping a cow, less offensive than injuring a human? Why are humans more worthy of moral consideration? I’m seriously asking. Is it because we are human and so should favor other humans in terms of moral consideration. I’m a white human, should I grant white humans greater moral consideration than non-white humans? (Cue barrage of phony outrage) Who is acting morally superior?
          Veganism is not just a lifestyle or a diet for a lot of people. It is a philosophy that compels us to grant moral consideration to all animals, human and non-human.

          • Kevin K says:

            Then the vegan philosophy should likewise grant “moral consideration” to other humans whose world view differs from theirs. I’m amazed at how many comments on this thread throw around terms like murder, rape, child abuse, and cocaine addiction to make their point.

            I never realized before how much it sounds just like the anti-abortion crowd. They’ve defined what they disapprove of as being the moral equivalent to murder, and they’ll shout down anyone who disagrees. Kudos to Alexandra Jamieson for standing up with grace and eloquence.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            You cannot murder an animal.

            mur·der [mur-der]
            noun

            [T]he killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder) and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder)

          • Penelope Low says:

            Because meat-eaters have been indoctrinated into thinking it’s normal (socially acceptable) to take the lives of food animals. Therefore the do unto others concept doesn’t really apply here (because they are followers, not thinkers). Vegans are punished for thinking outside the box and not obediently eating what society has ordered them to eat. Some meat eaters are gullible enough to believe, despite numerous scientific studies showing the opposite, that they need animal products to thrive and their bones will crumble if they stop eating dairy, despite the fact that high osteoporosis rates correlate to high dairy consumption countries.

            Hmmm, Pythagoras, The Beatles, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci (and DiCaprio), Lincoln, Einstein, Gandhi, all vegetarians. People who dare to think for themselves.

            Do you want to be a leader or a follower?

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Wow, you quite literally copied and pasted that list, parantheses around DiCaprio and all, from a vegetarian website. Super impressive.

            “Do you want to be a leader or a follower?”

            You mean vegetarian leaders are different as leaders than all the omni leaders out there? (Hitler was a vegetarian too– does this mean you want to be like him?!) I mean, what about Ben Franklin and George Washington? What about Martin Luther King, Jr? What about Jefferson? What if we have more choices that those that you offer here? What if instead of just the two options you leave us with, that of a vegetarian leader or an omnivorous follower, we chose instead to be omnivorous leaders like the aforementioned?

            As an afterthought-

            John Lennon wasn’t a vegetarian, and he was most definitely a Beatle.

            At Cambridge University, Darwin joined the Gourmet Club, whose mission statement was to “go forth and eat as many rare and unusual animals as possible”. He and his university colleagues would eat all kinds of animals including bats, hedgehog, owls and similar anumals to discuss their taste. Of the 48 giant tortoises brought back on the Beagle by Darwin, not a single one actually made it off the ship. During his trip to South America, he ate everything he encountered — armadillo, agouti and “veal” too (which actually turend out to be puma.)

            Einstein died in 1955 and as late as 1953, he’d written a letter to a friend (Max Kariel) that stated, “I have eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience.” He may have become a vegetarian after that, but if so, the fact that he died so soon after doesn’t bode well for the cause.

            But the bottom line really is, what I’d rather be is compassionate and educated rather than indoctrinated. You’re more likely to do some fact-checking when your ’cause’ isn’t leading you around by the nose.

        • zack says:

          Thank you. You are like the vegans I know (off the internet)… you know… actually reasonable people.

          Seriously, thank you for your comment.

      • Mati says:

        It’s not about my taste buds. It’s about not having seizures.

      • says who says:

        Heather, I hope to God you have never killed a fly or a cockroach, you’ll go straight to hell if you have.
        Because, “There are just some things you know are wrong, no matter how much you try to rationalize them”
        Instead – Perhaps you ought to understand that everyone is beautiful and special, and we each have an individual mind that makes us unique to ourselves. Stop trying to squash that and make everyone confirm to your ideals. I don’t know Alex, but I applaud her for living her life to its fullest and enjoying everday that she has been givin to be here on God’s earth.

      • SaSSiNaTe says:

        Thank you. I feel bad that, having made a beautiful comment without hatred or judgement but simply relating your own experience, you are then insulted + judged by those who simply disagree with your decision to live a conscious + kind life. As far as i can see, you have told your compassionate side of the story simply + sweetly: how that can raise such vitriolic rage is beyond me…
        I’ve also spent a good hour reading most of the comments here, + notice a disturbing trend that sticks out like a sore thumb: continual remarks about vegans being “hateful”, “insulting”, “intolerant” etc. – yet when i read the comment(s) to which they’re referring i see no evidence of that! (in fact, mostly the exact opposite)…
        Those who are referring to vegans as ‘hateful’, ‘militant’ etc. + who read negativity into calm, loving words of honesty + wisdom coming from vegans seem to be the only ones expressing themselves with anger, condemnation + outrage!
        Believe me, your comment does not deserve to be attacked with such unkindness – and i, for one, thank you for YOUR courage in offering your point of view as a vegan with a beautiful + kind heart.
        If people are ‘shocked’ etc. at someone relating their personal, positive experience as a vegan (i.e. their truth!) need to seriously look at their own behavior + intolerance. It IS noticeable, + it’s not fair or nice.

    • My genuinely courageous girl! It is always for the betterment of others that you speak out. Fortunately in this instance you are helping yourself to an honestly coherent lifestyle as well as being exemplary for those who hear you! xoxoxo Mamma

    • Miles D says:

      This piece seems much more like a rationalization for caving to a bodily craving than a valid and sound argument for why someone should opt to not be vegan. If you care at all about animal suffering, then you should not kill animals for food, full stop. We do not *need* to eat meat, just like we don’t *need* to run 30mins a day, or *need* to have sex. Our cravings might be our bodies telling us that it would be biologically advantageous for us to act on the craving, although the cravings might also be biologically disastrous (see overeating and consuming copious amounts of sugary/fatty foods), but that something is biologically advantageous does not guarantee that it is moral in the sense that we ought to do it (you mention that all eating choices are inherently good, but the good you must have in mind is that such eating choices are biologically advantageous, rather than that such eating choices are inherently morally good). It would be biologically advantageous for me, as a male, to have sex with as many fertile partners as I could, regardless of whether or not those partners consented (aka rape), and yet no rational person endorses acting on this “craving.” The so called *needs* do not necessarily entail that we should act in order to fulfill those *needs* (see the “is,” “ought” distinction made famous by David Hume a couple centuries ago).

      The facts of the matter is that people do not *need* to eat meat. We may crave it, and I certainly do, but bodily cravings are neither necessarily good for us biologically speaking, or morally speaking. If we don’t *need* to eat meat and if unnecessary suffering is always morally bad, then we should not kill animals for food, full stop.

      • Miles D says:

        I should also add that I admire the courage needed in posting a secret confession, but I don’t find the argument given for the choice made to be very convincing.

        Being compassionate and accepting everyone is a great ideal, but in reality I’m fairly certain that no one believes it. If my body craved eating juicy little newborn human babies, would anyone cheer me on for acting on that craving (and even if someone did cheer me on, would he or she be right to do so?). We’re all accepting and compassionate up to a point, but our acceptance and compassion surely has a limit. We can rationalize all we like, but we should not pretend that all choices are equally good.

        • Dave says:

          I have a suggestion you can use to your biological advantage… find partners that consent and also benefit from sexual encounters. It’s great fun! Your needs are met and there’s no moral dilemma.

          I *need* to eat meat and I do, many times a day. What I don’t *need* is to push my views/preferences on anybody else.

          • Todd Wilson says:

            Then why are you pushing your views Dave?

          • Miles D says:

            While I admit that I hold a particular view about the morality of eating animals, my point is not promote my view, but to highlight a mistake in reasoning committed by the author of the article.

            You may think you need to eat meat, just like someone else might think they need to have lots of sex, but the empirical facts of the matter are that you do not need to do either of these things. To say otherwise is objectively false. Also, look up the “is,” “ought” distinction and both the red herring and ad hominem fallacies.

          • Miles D says:

            “I have a suggestion you can use to your biological advantage… find partners that consent and also benefit from sexual encounters. It’s great fun! Your needs are met and there’s no moral dilemma.”
            What does this reply have to do with killing animals to satisfy a taste preference? Consensual sex is morally ok, agreed. Does the fact that consensual sex is morally ok stem completely from the empirical fact that people like having consensual sex? Absolutely not.

            “I *need* to eat meat and I do, many times a day. What I don’t *need* is to push my views/preferences on anybody else.”
            Objectively speaking what you just claimed is false, unless by *need* you mean *want*. Also, you’re pushing your view that one ought to respect any view, regardless of how illogical it is, on me even as you pretend to be absolutely tolerant.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            I don’t eat animals to “satisfy a taste preference”, in fact, I miss grains and beans FAR MORE than I ever missed meat. However, grains and beans make me ill and meat makes me well, so I eat meat.

          • Miles D says:

            “I don’t eat animals to “satisfy a taste preference”, in fact, I miss grains and beans FAR MORE than I ever missed meat. However, grains and beans make me ill and meat makes me well, so I eat meat.”

            How do you know that the meat makes you well? Have you tried all the alternatives to meat and concluded that it is necessarily the meat that is making you well? I don’t have much to say to a person who is required to eat meat for health reasons, but I’ve never seen evidence to suggest that a person living in a developed country is required to eat meat in order to be healthy. If it isn’t the meat that is making you well and something else would suffice to make you well (nuts perhaps? assuming you’re talking about the protein requirement, or eggs so long as the chickens laying the eggs aren’t made to suffer unnecessarily, or lentils, or kale, etc.), then eating meat would still just be satisfying a taste preference.

          • Miles D says:

            In fairness I should probably not press the people who are making an honest effort to treat farm animals better than the industry as much as I do. I also shouldn’t be so hasty to conclude that no human living in a developed nation requires eating meat to be healthy. There’s ample evidence against the claim that meat is required, but I suppose there might be exceptions out there (though I’d feel compelled to argue that the animals should not be intentionally killed in order to meet the requirement).

            People like P. Huntress and the author of this blog are to be applauded for doing more than most to reduce animal suffering, but when justification is given in defense of eating intentionally killed animals, then that justification ought to be critically examined. I hope such examination does not push anyone to renounce a belief in reducing animal suffering completely.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            “How do you know that the meat makes you well?

            Because it DID. Because I went from a vegan diet to one with meat and I got well. That is how I know. How much time should a person put into finding an alternative to their own health? How much time should a person lose with their family and friends before it’s too much?

            Have you tried all the alternatives to meat and concluded that it is necessarily the meat that is making you well?

            Yes, it was meat alternatives that were making me ill.

            I’ve never seen evidence to suggest that a person living in a developed country is required to eat meat in order to be healthy.

            If I hadn’t grown up in a culture full of processed food and developed metabolic derangement, maybe I’d have been able to tolerate veganism. However, often times the damage is already done, and like it or not, I cannot eat all of the starches that come along with vegan protein sources without developing metabolic disease. Add to that that even ancestrally prepared grains and legumes were still a challenge to digest.

            There’s no question that that there are fruit and herbivorous sources of protein (as opposed to seed sources), but unless one is independently wealthy, a diet that gets all of its proteins without seeds will bankrupt you- especially with a family of 5. For example, one ounce of beef provides 7 grams of protein, but asparagus, which is one of the veggie protein superstars takes almost 2 CUPS to reach 7 grams, and that isn’t nearly as bioavailable, so we’d probably need closer to 3 CUPS. Or we could do 7 cups of spinach for that 7 grams…

            And still, this in no way addresses the collateral lives taken for row crop production- in the end, my diet still takes fewer lives NOW than it did when I was vegan. It doesn’t make sense to be amenable to a much higher death rate simply because you aren’t eating the flesh. I note too, that you didn’t address my comment further up about the collateral porpoise deaths that occur in tuna net-fishing. If the intent is all that matters, then perhaps vegans shouldn’t care all that much about those collateral deaths either.

            ~Huntress

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            “I note too, that you didn’t address my comment further up about the collateral porpoise deaths that occur in tuna net-fishing.”

            I spoke too soon, I see that you DID in fact respond further down . My apologies.

    • Smart Person says:

      Great post. To everyone who is arguing on this board: stop pushing your views on everyone else. You are not omniscient, your conclusions are based on your own experiences. If you feel the need to express your opinion you should realize it is just that, an OPINION. Live your life, let others live theirs, you only hurt your cause by being pushy. Don’t turn a smart movement into something viewed as “radical” by being an asshole.

    • Shawna says:

      I think the argument “eat what you want” is dangerous for a whole bunch of reasons. First, telling people, go ahead, eat what your body craves, eat what you want… Leads to all kinds of problems. I recently signed a petition regarding cruelty against dogs in asia. http://youtu.be/GVsnHAf8NA0
      So, to the diners in the dog restaurant, they are eating what they want… What their bodies crave. Your argument is very dangerous on many levels. Its great that you are being honest with yourself about diet but I think as human beings we still need to focus on the greatest good for the greatest number. Not just what we want to eat…it’s ethically and morally bankrupt.

      • Shawna-Lee says:

        I agree with Shawna that it is a slippery slope you are setting up for some people. I get the idea of eating what your body craves, but we do have to use our brains to make conscious healthy choices, or else I would be eating a chocolate-based diet and would have a very short lifespan.
        It’s great you’re being honest about your journey Alex because it’s never right to lie to yourself or to others, and I believe if some people feel they need to eat meat once in a while to “tune up” their bodies, that’s fine because they’re still doing a heck of a lot better than most, but I also believe that if you’re going to eat meat, eggs, dairy, you should put in the effort to raise the animals yourself and kill them yourself. It’s never right to pay someone else to take a life for you, let alone to take thousands of lives a day- slaughterhouse workers risk their lives and well-beings, become psychologically effected by their work (lack empathy), and are prone to criminal activity and domestic violence due to the nature of their work. Think about it, how would you feel if your only job was to methodically kill thousands of animals a day…all day every day? And they see with their own eyes what we “consumers” only see as statistics and the meat industry see as acceptable practice of the animals not properly stunned and left to suffer through the butchering process alive. What about them? They are your fellow human beings if you want to speak from a human rights perspective.
        If you believe your body truly needs meat to be healthy than take full responsibility for that choice. Sneaking off to the grocery store to buy meat is never the right thing to do, it’s a cop out and it’s irresponsible.
        I hear all the time that it’s “natural” to eat meat, and maybe back in hunter gatherer times, or for Inuits who can’t grow plants in snow, it is. Meat isn’t meant to be eaten 3 times a day by sedentary people who spend most of their time sitting in front of computers. It’s a saturated, concentrated food source meant to be eaten only by necessity and used mainly to store fuel over long periods of time because it takes a lot of energy to both hunt meat and digest it. Plants offer a quicker and lighter source of nutrients that coincides with our current way of living.
        Also, how is it natural to harshly confine animals, artificially inseminate them and “waste” baby male chicks, etc.? No other animal does this and we as humans have only done this very recently with respect to our history on this planet. As mentioned earlier, how is it natural for a select few people to be solely responsible for the slaughter of billions of animals a year? If you can’t kill it yourself, then don’t eat it.
        I’ve noticed that people of this time and society feel overly privileged and entitled, but lack responsibility. Hopefully that will change and I believe veganism is a great way to shed light on this problem and help facilitate that change.

    • Joe says:

      This is brilliant. I admire your courage and honesty.

  2. SFJ says:

    I don’t believe that any honest vegans are sneaking animal foods, seriously.
    And what you call your honesty is a betrayal, and a lack of self control, and more than anything else, ignorance.

    Now of corse there are some vegans who may on rare occasion eat something not vegan due to convenience, but I don’t think any secretly crave eating animals.

    You Alex are just a weak weak embarrassing person, a sellout to make it easier to get more people to join you, to make people more comfortable in killing and malnutrition of not only there own bodies but that of the domesticated millions raised solely out of greed to feed.

    Alex, you not only make vegans look bad, but you make humans look bad, by not having discipline or intelligence about your nutrition choices.

    • alice says:

      WOW! this is exactly what Alex is talking about when she mentions compassion and non-judgement. i find most (not all, mind you, but most) vegans to be the least tolerant and most self-righteous people when it comes to food around. and you, sadly, just proved my point. your name-calling and holier-than-thou attitude are what humans look bad, not eating scrambled eggs, for goodness sake.
      Alex, i’m sorry for this person’s reaction to you. you don’t deserve to be called names or carry the weight of disappointment of the whole human race on your shoulders.
      if this person is a vegan out of self-control, they clearly are not listening to their body or needs. being vegan resonates from within and shines out (as i see in my HAPPY vegan and LOVING vegan friends). there is no judgement or mean-spirit in them at all.
      this made me very sad to read.

      • Jules says:

        “i find most (not all, mind you, but most) vegans to be the least tolerant and most self-righteous people when it comes to food around.”

        hear hear.

        Alex – kudos to you in your journey, and thanks for sharing.

        • Susan H says:

          Not to mention angry, bitter and hostile. Sheesh people….eat some fat! Your brain is in melt down!

          • JeanM says:

            My thought exactly, Susan H! LOL!

          • Mary Ann says:

            Please, do not judge all of us :) I do not eat meat, and neither does my daughter, but I have 2 kiddos and a hubby who do! I believe everyone should do what feels right for their body, I believe most people could be consuming waaaay less meat than they do. I don’t like labels like Vegetarian, Vegans, Raw, etc. and Susan, I consume plenty of fat….coconut oil, hemp seeds and oil, olive oil, avocados, etc. Chill out peeps, in the end you have to live your life for YOU, not everyone else around you….the only thing that has bothered me is people who have been raw vegan and the next thing you know they are taking pics of themselves holding up hunks of animal flesh, knowing that almost all of their followers were Raw Vegans, a perfect example of that is the Raw Brahs….other than that, do what you need to do and stop all bashing!

          • Susan H says:

            Mary Ann- No offense was intended towards you. In my own personal experience people who are vegan tend to claim being the healthiest and happiest they’ve ever been in their life, which is interesting, because so many of them seem so hostile. But whatever. This country thrives on division. Republican/Democrat. Meat eater/vegan. Christian/atheist. And comments like the many posted here prove that point. Americans loves their labels, but when we are all 6 feet under, what difference is it going to make?

          • jason says:

            I’m vegan because I’m not selfish. I like the taste of meat but the idea of taking someone’s life (human or non-human) is just selfish and seeing selfish people try to justify their action is def frustrating.

          • May says:

            you obviously don’t understand nutrition. There is plenty of fat in a vegan diet, it just doesn’t come from animal sources.

          • Kate says:

            @Mary: but sadly, not much in the way of saturated fat, which, since your brain is made of cholesterol, is one of the many reasons why so many vegans are angry, hostile, irrational, and depressed. I know I was.

        • Melissa says:

          Maybe that’s because vegans don’t see it as being judgemental about FOOD but rather being passionate advocates for the animals turned into that food. There is no live and let live here. By definition, animal foods harm a feeling creature with emotions, a mind and intrinsic value. It’s not the same as being okay with someone eating raw or eating only bread or choosing one bean over another. It’s not simple and it’s not value free. Even in the most “humane” animal production, a living feeling creature has been brought into the world merely to be killed and used for our own selfish purposes. Folks who eat them are okay with that, for various reasons. Vegans are not. When omnivores are flip about it, referring to how we should respect their choices as they respect ours, it is hard to hold one’s tongue. Other animals are affected by those choices. Directly, intentionally, negatively affected. It’s far more than just accepting a different eating style.

          • Tamy says:

            Well said!

          • Gman says:

            Melissa, it is almost as sad as it is funny that someone as self-righteous as you, could be so completely clueless about what goes into what you eat. Sorry to have to be the one to burst your bubble, but animals have their habitat annihilated, suffer, and die to put food on your plate.

            Do tell, do you eat nothing but industrially produced pplant foods, grown with toxic and completely unsustainable chemical inputs, making your argument a joke, or do you eat organic foods, grown with animal inputs, making your entire argument beyond laughable.

            Sorry to have to be the one to inform you, but more than a million creatures can live on a single acre of perennial grassland. When that acre is cleared for rows of the shallow-rooted annuals of plant agriculture, soil vitality is devastated, the deep roots that had been maintaining soil structure and cycling nutrients throughout the ecosystem are gone, the habitat for all of those creatures is annihilated, and many of them die absolutely horrific deaths in the process. Conversely, if that same acre is used to sustainably pasture a ruminant, soil vitality is increased, native pollinator habitat is increased, and root systems actually grow deeper. Instead of obliterating the habitat for a million+ creatures, one animal lives a protected life, and eventually dies a painless, humane death.

            In other words, your diet causes a whole lot more animal death and suffering than someone who includes sustainably pastured ruminant meat in their diet, so get off your vegangelical high horse.

      • Rachel says:

        You are confusing it with CARING.. Vegans care about animals.. they would never give into any craves and eat THEIR FRIENDS.. Yup I’m Vegan and healthy.. and I care about animals.

        • I’m being abstract here but bear with me. Who said vegans cared about humans? Foremost they care about animals? Sometimes we are required to put one set of interests ahead of another in life. I’m a vegan. I use to like cheese. I know cheese tastes good to my tastebuds but my tastebuds really aren’t important compared to the suffering of another sentient being. What’s more, they’re not really good at making moral decisions either.

          • eliza says:

            You talk about taste buds like they are there for pleasure, but pleasure is only a by-product of their function. Taste buds (and their reactions to stimuli) serve an evolutionary purpose in the digestive system, which is to get a body what it needs and keep away nasty-tasting toxins. When you crave to taste something or take pleasure in tasting it, it is because your body has signaled its need for that nutritional component. Of course, we’ve (rightfully) come to distrust this signal because it’s been perverted and manipulated by the modern diet of processed foods, which exploits our permanent cravings for the things that used to be permanently scarce: sugar, fat, and salt.

            But in the case of someone like Alex, who does not in anyway seem to have had her taste buds reprogrammed by junk food, it’s safe to assume her cravings and the biologically programed reward center in her brain are giving her accurate indications of what her body needs. Judging those needs goes way beyond the topic of diet. Too many of us think we should be able to do everything on our own without relying on (and therefore being indebted to) anyone — not animals, not neighbors, not parents or bosses or mentors; we shouldn’t need any help, we shouldn’t need comfort, we shouldn’t need time to meditate or grieve or read or wander through forests, we shouldn’t desire this or that person or this or that flavor — we shouldn’t need certain combinations of proteins or certain mineral formulations. It is an egoistical delusion and a sickness.

            The most ironic thing about hostile vegans is that they like you claim to be putting nature first, but they are actually trying to escape and undermine everything that nature *is*, which is a sacred balance of gift giving and receiving. They want to extricate themselves from ecosystems and act like they can be separate from and superior to interdependence, but no species is. Telling yourself that you are just enables you to live *less* conscientiously by allowing you to believe you’ve made one good choice and that’s all you needed to do. But morality is much more dynamic than that.

            I fully respect the desire to eliminate suffering and spare life whenever possible, and my diet/lifestyle reflects that — but insisting a rigid, homogenized philosophy work for every body, condition, climate, culture, and lifestyle is not, in fact, “moral” much less compassionate. It is if anything a lazy substitute for accepting the massive weight of gratitude we should feel toward the plants and animals that enable us to live. It is the projection of our own fear of death, and our impulses to hoard, onto creatures that do not necessarily share those intellectual anxieties. In short, just because something works for you does not mean it works for everyone, and thinking otherwise is narcissistic.

            Alex, I say to you “Brava!” The veg(an) movement has been and still is an important step in raising awareness of the impact of dietary choices, but acknowledging that *we are animals* is an even greater leap toward recovering human humility, instincts, health, and harmony with our Earth family. Once we do that and figure out how to bring respect and reverence back into our relations, everyone — chicken eggs included — will be better off.

          • BIgrock says:

            I’m gettin a headache reading all this over think. OMG

      • sootedninjas says:

        I wonder if an attitude of “typical vegan” not all of course but as what was mentioned most of vegan like SFJ is a manifestation from the lack of consumption of good saturated fats and good grass fed meat.

        • Emma says:

          Proteins are our building-blocks – and important for keeping a sharp mind. There are ways to keep high levels of protein in a vegan body… but it’s hard, all the vegans I know are on minimum wage in a city that supports a high cost of living, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out many vegans are falling short of what they need. Which, yes, could manifest as hostility and knee-jerk reactions like this SFJ.

          • Miles D. says:

            “Proteins are our building-blocks – and important for keeping a sharp mind. There are ways to keep high levels of protein in a vegan body… but it’s hard, all the vegans I know are on minimum wage in a city that supports a high cost of living, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out many vegans are falling short of what they need. Which, yes, could manifest as hostility and knee-jerk reactions like this SFJ.”

            What a not so subtle ad hominen against vegans coupled with a hasty generalization from SFJ’s response. Also it’s really not all that difficult to maintain the recommended level of protein as a vegan, you just get the protein from other sources besides meat. Bowl of oatmeal with some almond milk and flax seed is nearly 25%, or more depending on how big you serving sizes are, of the daily recommended value. Have a tempeh sandwich for lunch or some beans for dinner and you’re set.

      • Heather says:

        WOW! i love how people complain about vegans being judgemental..yet tell them to eat fat, and act self-righteous.HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU!!! YOU ARE NO BETTER! JUST VERY UNEDUCATED! – blame vegans for being closed minded. go for it! the only thing we close our minds to is being told by uneducated people what is right and wrong for US.. Kudos SFJ! for speaking the truth! This article in GENERAL sheds a very uneducated outlook on true veganism.. no wonder Vegans are upset!

      • Serrah says:

        ” i find most (not all, mind you, but most) vegans to be the least tolerant and most self-righteous people when it comes to food around.”

        It does seems a bit self-righteous to categorize at least one million different people as non tolerant and self righteous. Just like in ANY group of people (including people who eat animals) there are going to be some nasty ones. I think it’s ridiculous to brush aside a group just because you have interacted with rude people. I’m willing to bet that most of the arrogant people you encounter are not vegan.

    • Beth says:

      You, SFJ, are a jackass! HER body, HER choice, HER life….you get that right? Go spread your hate somewhere else and worry about YOUR choices and not others!

      • Sean Parker says:

        Agreed! Though that’s putting it mildly.

        SFJ, what the heck is wrong with your distorted perception of reality? What makes this your business, or anyone’s for that matter? Alex is one of the most positive, prominent forces in the health food world today, attacking her hurts no one but the people she’s helping. Whether she is vegan or not means jack sh*t if she’s helping people tune into what their bodies need, which is what matters… right? Eating healthy. Your deranged, distorted view of meat being some kind of poison that turns the world into some dystopic hellhole would be laughable except that you feel the need to take your hate out on others. Yes, the meat industry is a frequently vile place, and the rampant animal cruelty is horrifying. What makes you think she’s going to be buying her meat from such a place when there are so many options to eat humanely-raised meat? Do you seriously believe that meat is better left wasted, kept to the animal and buried when it dies so that so no one can eat it — even when there’s such hunger in the world?

        From the tone of your comment, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if you’re lacking some needed nutrients yourself. All this talk about betrayal, keeping self-control in check, etc. makes me think that you deny yourself your own cravings. You might benefit from tuning into your body’s needs a bit, because this kind of filthy attitude is NOT healthy. And I don’t mean that to belittle you, I’m kind of serious.

        • SFJ says:

          It’s just an opinion, call it judgmental if you like, putting a negative conotation on an opinion becuase some one else has a spine and is willing to stand up for the planet and all it’s inhabitants, ha!

          I don’t care about the labels you want to put on me, I am not angry at you or anyone on this thread, i am only disappointed by the ‘giving in’. The lack of heart and effort. We live in a very comfortable lazy society for the most part, people who don’t care or who don’t know any better. Alex did, and she “changed her mind, and is trying to rationalize it, it’s spineless and corny, that’s all.

          what ever happened to INTEGRITY and standing up for what you believe in?

          calling people self righteous as an insult is silly, so we have a belief, and we have passion, and we think selfish choices especially at the expense of the planet are wrong.

          You who don’t have the passion for the planet we all share, as well as the animals that all live on it are lacking the self discipline and heart to do the right thing, OK, I get it, that’s your choice, fine.

          You want me to congratulate you for your selfish epiphany… aaaaa, no, not gonna happen.

          • Lauren says:

            It appears to me that what Alex believes in is the right of every person to be healthy in body as well as mind. If the body has the effrontery to need something the mind rejects it is not spineless to reconsider the path to health. It is foolish to refuse it, for the mind cannot exist without the body it inhabits.

            As much as I appreciate your concern for the lives we all share our planet with, “friend” might be stretching the relationship to cows just a titch. Respectful coexistence seems more reasonable. Unless of course your Bessie tells you all her secrets.

          • Matty says:

            I believe your mind was craving animal flesh but your body craving specific nutrients that you lacked, those nutritionist can definitely be obtained on a plant based diet.

        • Amber says:

          What makes it anyones business is she posted it freely, and on the internet! That’s giving permission for others to voice their opinions, no matter WHAT those opinions might be! Don’t like someone’s point of view? Don’t blog about it for the world to see!

        • Miles D. says:

          “Do you seriously believe that meat is better left wasted, kept to the animal and buried when it dies so that so no one can eat it — even when there’s such hunger in the world?”

          What do you mean wasted? The body of the animal would be broken down by micro organisms, if it wasn’t mostly eaten by other carnivorous animals (humans don’t have a monopoly on being able to eat animals), and then returned to soil to serve as nutrients for plants. Also, just because one is against intentionally killing animals for food does not entail that one is not for eating animals that have died of non-intentional causes.

          If you’re worried about world hunger, all the more reason to switch to veganism or vegetarianism. Raising animals for food is very inefficient energy-wise and often requires more space than plant-only agriculture. Millions of pounds of food are thrown out each day, much of it vegetable. Our problem isn’t that there aren’t enough animals to go around, far from it, our problem with feeding the hungry is distribution.

        • Serrah says:

          If everyone stopped eating meat for a day, the U.S. would save 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 billion pounds of crops, 70 million gallons of gas, 3 million acres of land, and 33 tons of antibiotics. Although I am sympathetic towards hungry people who don’t have any other options, I am not so apologetic towards the vast majority of people who are using a computer. I’m a good example; I have about $50 to spend on food on a good week for four people. If I can do it, most can.

          • Mati says:

            Industrial meat isn’t the only meat. If we lost animals as nutrient cyclers, the soil would be gone in no time. Prairies and bison co-evolved. Pastured animal husbandry builds soil and carbon capture capacity. Guess what wastes topsoil? Soy. Wheat. Corn.

          • Miles D says:

            What’s more important: preventing unnecessary suffering or preventing topsoil erosion? Also, sloppy and irresponsibly farming techniques seem to necessarily result in topsoil loss. Agriculture, in general, results in topsoil loss. If all forms of agriculture results in topsoil loss, but some forms of agriculture result in substantially more unnecessary suffering (and if unnecessary suffering is morally weightier than topsoil erosion, which prima facie seems to be the case), then we ought to focus on the forms of agriculture that do not result in substantially more unnecessary suffering.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Pastured animals no NOT result in the loss of topsoil so the entire argument is moot.

          • Miles D says:

            “Pastured animals no NOT result in the loss of topsoil so the entire argument is moot.”
            This is news to me (animals eating the plants that trap the topsoil don’t contribute to ANY topsoil loss? I suppose they might not if the animal died and was then broken down by micro-organisms to eventually become soil, but then we eat those pastured animals instead of letting them decompose), but even if it’s true the argument might still be salvaged if it’s the case that unnecessary suffering deserves more consideration than topsoil loss. Since it is prima facie the case that unnecessary suffering deserves more consideration than topsoil loss, the argument stands.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            Have you ever been to a farm with pastured cows? It’as not like the grass is tilled up for them, there is plenty of rooted plant-life remaining. Then their manure fertilizes the soil. At Joel Salatin’s farm, he moves the cows after a certain number of days and then brings the chickens in. He allows the cow patties to remain undisturbed for just the right amount of time and when the chickens get there, the insect larvae growing in the manure is ideal and provides the perfect feast for the chickens who spread the manure while scrounging out fat grubs and then leave behind their own manure. No, I’m sorry- your claims are going on what you imagine rather than what is true. The argument still fails.

          • Mountain says:

            Miles, they don’t eat the entire plant. The roots remain in the ground, and the plant remains alive to capture sunlight and grow some more. So, no, if the grazing is well-managed, not only is there no topsoil loss, it actually grows.

          • Miles D says:

            “Miles,

            Have you ever been to a farm with pastured cows? It’as not like the grass is tilled up for them, there is plenty of rooted plant-life remaining. Then their manure fertilizes the soil. At Joel Salatin’s farm, he moves the cows after a certain number of days and then brings the chickens in. He allows the cow patties to remain undisturbed for just the right amount of time and when the chickens get there, the insect larvae growing in the manure is ideal and provides the perfect feast for the chickens who spread the manure while scrounging out fat grubs and then leave behind their own manure. No, I’m sorry- your claims are going on what you imagine rather than what is true. The argument still fails.”

            To answer your question, yes I have (I grew up on a farm where we had about 10 pasture grazing cows) and even with extremely careful management techniques and a very small number animals I think it’s a bit brazen to suggest, without linking some empirical data gathered using rigorous and unbiased techniques, to claim that pastured grazing by animals does not contribute to topsoil loss at all.

            But again, even if it is the case that carefully managed pasture grazing does not contribute to top soil loss, the argument can still be salvaged. I already pointed out how, but I’ll make my point again. If unnecessary suffering is more important than topsoil loss, and prima facie unnecessary suffering is much more important that topsoil loss, then it would still be better to not raise small groups of cattle for food, since killing the animals unnecessarily harms them (of course you could get around this by not intentionally killing the cows), even though the alternatives contribute to topsoil loss. I’m willing, and I think everyone else should be too, to lose a little topsoil by responsibly row planting in order to avoid causing unnecessary suffering.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            “I think everyone else should be too, to lose a little topsoil by responsibly row planting in order to avoid causing unnecessary suffering.”

            I might agree, if it actually did.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            I’ll add too, it’s not a “little”…

            “Of these important environmental considerations, soil erosion may be the most significant, the United States has lost half of its topsoil since 1960 and we continue to lose topsoil 17 times faster than nature can replenish it. Some 90 percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil above replacement rates.” ~ The Fatal Harvest Reader

            Compared to crop agriculture, perennial pastures used for grazing can reduce erosion by 80 percent and markedly improve water quality.” ~Minnesota’s Land Stewardship Project.

            “Pastures and grazing lands sequester significant amounts of carbon, increasing it by about 20 percent compared to croplands. There is growing evidence that cattle ranching and pastoralism can have positive impacts on biodiversity.” ~York, The UN report

            “Managed grazing can also reduce the risk and extent of wildfire and improve wildlife habitat.” ~Karen Launchbaugh, Rangeland Ecologist

    • Kelly says:

      Actually it isn’t Alex making vegans look bad, SFJ – it is YOU with that attack. Typical.

    • Jill Cruz says:

      Here is that lack of compassion she is talking about. Wow.

    • This comment makes me so sad. I am not a vegan, but I am interested in the well being of all animals and our environment. Unfortunately, I think you, SFJ, are lacking the compassion that Alex believes so strongly in. She does not make humans look bad… nor does she look vegans look bad. I’m afraid that you have betrayed the cloak of compassion that so many vegans DO aspire for, and that’s really a shame. There is an epidemic of people feeling trapped, confused, and hopeless about health and food. We really do need to join forces for the cause of real food, humane animal practices, and respect to the land we live on. Weakness comes when we point fingers at others for doing what is their best. Alex is anything but weak. I think this post is brave and I’m sorry she’ll have to deal with lots of comments like yours.

    • R says:

      May you find the peace you’re seeking. I’m sorry you’re such a bitter and unhappy person.

    • Allison says:

      Calling someone weak and lacking self control is bullying. Your case for a vegan diet likens it to a nazi type of lifestyle, all or none. I had a friend once who is vegan, and he was in my mind 1, an anorexic, and 2, had major issues over control and was obsessive compulsive. He made being a vegan look like a severe form of OCD and I would imagine lots of other vegans are like that. You are obsessed over every little thing you consume and its exactly that: an obsession.

      Lighten up. We are all as INDIVIDUALS entitled to our own opinions and experiences. Belittling someone just because they choose to live their life differently from yours doesn’t make them wrong and you right, or vice versa. That is called the human experience, i.e. life, and we each have our own story. Get a life of your own and enjoy it, and stop judging others.

    • Kaitlin says:

      Ignorance at it’s finest. What works for one person may not work for another. Did you miss that whole bit about love and acceptance for EVERYONE?

    • Compassion, you might want to look up the meaning as you completely are lacking it.

      Alex is just being honest with us and if you don’t have anything nice to her then don’t say anything.

    • Allison says:

      There are “honest vegans” sneaking animal foods. Believe it. You stand in a very harsh judgement of Alex and you seem pretty sure that if someone doesn’t agree with you, they’re “weak, weak”. I’m sorry you can’t come from a place of open mindedness and try to reflect that maybe somewhere in your life something like this has happened to you, maybe not with food but in another way.

    • Lee says:

      SFJ, I love how eloquently you prove Alex’s point about the way that many vegans lack compassion for other human beings. Thank you for the wry laugh, and check your defensiveness. I believe that you might do well to examine your need to launch a nasty and emotional attack against such a forthright and respectful accounting of another person’s journey.

      Alex, thank you for this article. I too had experiences in which attempts to be a strict vegan compromised my health and well-being. I currently strive to eat a diet that is mostly plants, but I am unable to thrive without a measure of animal protein. I am glad that recognition is finally coming to the fact that not all people are physiologically suited for a complete absence of animal protein.

    • LeAnne says:

      SFJ, I don’t believe that you have any authority to judge what anyone eats other than yourself. And no where in the letter did Alex say that ALL vegans crave meat, she said that she did and only in this last year. I am an animal lover myself and am outraged by how they are treated but I am ashamed that someone such as yourself would say such harsh things to another persons choice for herself and only herself. Alex has given an enormous amount of great information to people on non animal alternatives for years and coached and helped people to find a way to best nurish themselves. To say that everyone should eat a certain way is to say that you should teach every child the same way regardless of their learning styles or disabilites, or that we should all worship the same religion or none of us should have religion at all. It was not easy for her to “come out” or even to change the way she eats. She said that she struggled with this for a year! Why would you say such hateful things?!! Especially to someone who has commited to helping so many people with their health and non animal alteratives. Are we supposed to beleive that you eat perfectly all of the time? I hope you do. I hope that you eat well and are very healty but this in no way gives you the right to be so hateful to someone. You are not a good representative to the vegan lifestyle. Who would want to associate with a lifestyle that practiced no tolerance?

      Alex, Thank you and please don’t listen to people who say negative things! You have personally helped me and have NEVER judged me. I never comment on anything like this but this post I could not ignore, espesially since I know how many people you have helped. So thank you for your letter, honesty and vulnerability.

    • ElcyIL says:

      Have you ever seen a finer example of IRONY??? SFJ’s response is comically so!

    • Amanda says:

      SFJ, I’m also sorry you’re a bitter and unhappy person. Please work on your understanding and compassion for human beings. No one is perfect, even you. And you’ve proved that by being so brash.

      Alex, I think you’re so brave for risking everything that you once believed, your business, and your followers to stand up to what you now believe to be true.
      To good health,
      Amanda

    • Katie says:

      No SFJ, YOU make vegans look bad. Comments such as yours are the reason so many either resist veganism or feel trapped by it. The entire point of the piece was COMPASSION towards ALL – humans, animals, and our own bodies. Give it a shot sometime. Maybe you’d be a happier person.

    • MariV says:

      @SFJ, I think you are the only one making vegans and humans look bad. Or maybe you were joking about everything you said? If not, you could use a dose of empathy! I, for one, think better of Alex for being brave and honest.

    • Jay says:

      SFJ, she is being honest and telling her readers about a decision she has made about her life. What makes you think that you can be a self righteous little prick and insult her? It is true what she says about compassion, and you obviously lack all types of compassion for other human beings and their decisions or choices, so how about practicing a bit of that?. I am not vegan by the way, I am Paleo, but yet I don’t go around in other people’s blogs judging their lifestyles even if I don’t agree. Seriously, get a life and stop trolling. By the way, YOU are making vegans look bad and you are so weak that you can’t even use your real name.

      Alex, thank you for your honesty and bravery and congratulations for listening to your body and doing what feels right for you.

    • Alex says:

      SFJ: HAHAHAH I love your line about lack of self-control. As if the being obsessive and uncompromising is inherently moral. This is a trait a lot of anorexics carry, that obsessive compulsive .. pleasure thwarting attitude. You haven’t figured it out you’re trapped inside your own boundaries. Namaste.

    • D says:

      Ha! You illustrated and exemplified the whole point SO perfectly, it’s hilariously ironic. Well done, Stereotypical Self-Righteous Zealot Person!

    • cj says:

      I LOVE that you all bit on SJF’s post. How outrageous SJF must be! Obviously, SJF is just intending to provoke rather than to engage in a reasoned discussion. Why do you all play the game so well?

      • SFJ says:

        SFJ
        FEBRUARY 27, 2013 AT 4:44 PM
        It’s just an opinion, call it judgmental if you like, putting a negative conotation on an opinion becuase some one else has a spine and is willing to stand up for the planet and all it’s inhabitants, ha!

        I don’t care about the labels you want to put on me, I am not angry at you or anyone on this thread, i am only disappointed by the ‘giving in’. The lack of heart and effort. We live in a very comfortable lazy society for the most part, people who don’t care or who don’t know any better. Alex did, and she “changed her mind, and is trying to rationalize it, it’s spineless and corny, that’s all.

        what ever happened to INTEGRITY and standing up for what you believe in?

        calling people self righteous as an insult is silly, so we have a belief, and we have passion, and we think selfish choices especially at the expense of the planet are wrong.

        You who don’t have the passion for the planet we all share, as well as the animals that all live on it are lacking the self discipline and heart to do the right thing, OK, I get it, that’s your choice, fine.

        You want me to congratulate you for your selfish epiphany… aaaaa, no, not gonna happen.

        • Conscious Compassion says:

          As our Consciousness expands we are present-ed with new ideas, beliefs, and paradigms that allow us to consider releasing old, outdated, negative and limiting beliefs, ideas, stories and paradigms.

          We usually begin by believing in something new, with a “Yes” or “No”, “All” or “Nothing” position…very strongly, focusing all of our attention on this….Not always a bad idea, otherwise we sense we might fall back into the old, outdated, and limiting ideas, beliefs and paradigms.

          We should take care though when choosing to devote a great deal (and sometimes all) of our energy to some belief or system of beliefs…

          Such as:
          I only eat _______…
          I don’t eat_______…
          I only drink _______…
          I don’t drink_______…
          I only believe _______…
          I don’t believe_______…
          I only_______…
          I don’t_______….

          Neil Kramer (who is extraordinarily btw…and the author of “The Unfoldment – The Organic Path to Clarity, Power and Transformation” a GREAT book)) has a great way of helping us with this:

          He says, allow new ideas, beliefs, advice from friends, ‘officials’, or experts, to be “feathers”.

          You can hold a feather for as long as it serves you – then as your Consciousness expands, you learn more, you grow, etc., you can easily release feathers that no longer serve you.

          But, if your beliefs become dogmas, “have tos”, stressful, fearful ideas that you feel you must live by, “push”, or force on others, or evangelize, you are carrying an anvil.

          That kind of weight can be very limiting. We begin to strongly defend our ideas and devote our lives to them, sometime even giving up our life for an ideal or belief…

          This can wear you down and prevent you from growing and expanding you Consciousness further….and, more importantly, prevent you from sharing healthy messages about the many gems you acquire as you continue to evolve your Consciousness.

          Love You! xo

    • Jaime says:

      SJF how dare you belittle someone that has shared their heart and soul like that. Who are we to judge for someones eating habits. I eat meat, yet I’m passionate about animal welfare and I’m anti fur and anti animal testing. Just because someone eats meat doesn’t mean they’re not compassionate caring environment, animal loving people. GOOD ON YOU ALEX! YOU’RE A BRAVE INSPIRATION LADY!!

      • nicole says:

        wait you “eat meat” but you like animal welfare and am anti fur and animals testing? that my friend is called selective compassion. so your makeup is not tested on animals, and instead of fur you wear leather? which is fur to the cows btw. what sort of animal welfare do you like? the ones where the pigs get 2 inches of extra room to wait to have their throats cut for “your” bacon??? wake up you can’t have it either way, you care for nothing but yourself actually. you may want to get educated, this is not about you, humans are the only species full of self absorption. that is why one species destroys all the billions of others. please eat what you will, but don’t pretend to give a shit about anyone but yourself.

    • Bert says:

      SFJ, you’re an idiot !
      Most Vegans return to eating meat because they listen to their bodies. I know cause I was vegetarian for 27 years. Towards the end I too was in denial about how my rising health problems and my super low fat diet were related. And sure enough after incorporating free range meat, eggs and raw dairy all my health related issues vanished. You wouldn’t feed your cat a vegetarian diet why would you do it to yourself ? Humans have eyes facing front for binocular vision in order to catch Wiley prey. We also have huge brains and do not have to graze all day. Our digestive tract is neither super long like vegetarian animals nor super short like carnivores. It’s just in between so we are omnivores which do much better on a high fat/low carb diet.
      Congratulation Alex !

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you for illustrating beautifully Alex’s point that more compassion and less judgmental behavior is necessary amongst the vegan culture.

      • Serrah says:

        But…but most vegans aren’t judgmental and are happy to explain their lifestyles to others…there are nasty people in every group…*hugs cat and cries out in frustration*

    • Joy says:

      SFJ, from now on I will make a point of eating your share of the meat as well as my own. I will think of you every time I munch on some bacon or fry some eggs and say to myself “this one’s for SFJ!”

      You’re welcome.

    • Patrick says:

      Wow. Just wow. True believer zealot unleashes neo puritanical condemnation!

      Ready to impose a scarlet letter now, too?

    • Elisa says:

      SFJ,

      I think it is you who is making vegans and humans look bad, by showing such lack of compassion and even a willingness to understand what one person’s inherent truth doesn’t have to fit in with yours or anyone else’s. It took a lot of strength for Alex to speak out on what was clearly a tough decision and confess to embarrassing moments, and all you can do is point fingers and try to what, shame her into being fully vegan?

      How can you preach caring for our world and animals, and then turn around and treat people this way? Please try to find in your heart the willingness to really care, to really love. Hate is the real illness, and embracing hate when preaching love and care is simply hypocritical.

    • Danielle says:

      I agree. It is a complete disappointment in your lack of commitment to what you have preached and sold to the public. Everyone has a choice to eat and be who they want, but you profited from your ideas that you can’t stick to. Lots of people have cravings they are called addicts. There is nothing wrong with you, this letter is a weak excuse for your desires to eat meat. I started to read this really being open minded that you were going to explain this hardship in your life resulting in consuming dead animals. Instead you are trying to again play on people’s emotions for this secrete desire and conflict you were experiencing. There are real problems in the world, you have seen some first hand, the disgusting industry and real struggle of lives, not your cravings. I’m sorry this letter is an insult, and is just going to make the true compassionate people come off as angry and closed minded because we stick to our convictions even when we don’t get a paycheck for it. Alex how could you coach people with their cravings if you don’t know how to coach your self? Danielle
      Vegan for 16 years before it was cool, or on Oprah and it was about animals.

      • Margaretrc says:

        Craving meat is not an addiction. It’s the body crying out for what it needs. Big difference. We’re born with it because of millions of years of evolution and the nutrients in meat that we can’t get from plant food at all or as easily. Get over it. You choose to ignore those cravings? Bully for you. Alex, you did the smart thing. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Not all meat eaters are indifferent to animal suffering. It is possible to eat meat and live responsibly. There are sources of humanely raised meat that are more kind to animals than huge farms raising mono crops of corn, soy and wheat. One way or another, humans have to kill animals to survive. Whether we kill them directly at the slaughterhouse or indirectly when we plow over land, killing thousands of animals that lived on that land, to plant huge fields of grains, we kill animals to survive. It’s a fact of life that holier-than-thou vegans like Danielle either ignore or don’t know (and don’t want to know.)

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Agreed. Am addictive craving leaves you craving still.

          A craving for something your body needs goes away when you pay attention to it.

    • Bethany says:

      Yeah… your post and attitude does NOTHING but solidify my opinion that vegans are generally self-important jerks who just go around pointing the finger at anyone who might make different decisions than they do.

    • Chrisodoodleschmoodle says:

      Alex,
      Welcome to the world of Real Food.

    • Paleo Huntress says:

      SFJ,

      “I was diagnosed as hypothyroid yesterday and given levothyroxine.”

      “Along with my thyroid my cholesterol was high.”

      “I’m not crazy about taking hormones but I do want my metabolism to speed back up again”

      ~~sfj, June 20, 2012, 30 Bananas a Day Sucks

      Not exactly glowing endorsements for your cause, but at least your consistent. Seeing that you’re willing to damage your own health for veganism makes it easier to understand you being intolerant of someone who isn’t.

  3. Angela says:

    Alex,
    Thank you for being so brave to “come out.” I had the same struggle many years ago (although I was never a vegan). Ultimately we have to listen our bodies and do what feels right FOR US. That’s the most important thing I have learned by being involved in this world of holistic health and healing — learning to listen to my body. Many years ago, my health was failing and I did not know why. It was hard but I allowed myself to be open to eating more animal products (albeit only humanely raised) and it helped. The majority of the issues that I had cleared up. It’s hard and there are so many politics and emotions involved, but again, the only person we need to please is ourselves.

    Be well in your journey,
    Angela

    • Jody says:

      You say they were humanely raised – are you naive enough to believe that they were also humanely slaughtered? That they weren’t in fear, that they didn’t bleed, that they didn’t suffer?

      • Paleo Huntress says:

        Jody,

        You accuse Angela of naivete, but you aren’t actually suggesting that a natural death is less violent or fearful are you? Have you ever watched Animal Planet? It’s the very old and the very young that are killed first. They are circled and snarled at, chased until they’re exhausted and then often times they are being eaten while still alive and screaming. I once saw footage of a predator literally tearing the half-born baby from the mother’s birth canal while still in the birth sack, and running off with it.

        Yes, we slaughter humanely.

  4. Michael says:

    This may be slightly graphic for Veggies and Vegans …
    I was Veggie for years before I was taken with cravings for meat. Not the tasty or anything, more the texture. I craved the feeling of it in my teeth, had dreams of me eating it with my hands like a savage.
    It started to feel more like I was ignoring an instinct than a craving, so I gave in.
    I now only eat meats that are local and humanely raised. I make it a point to know exactly where my meat comes from, even going out of my way to make sure the meat is as sustainable as possible.
    Thank you for your story Alexandra and for allowing me to share mine. :) <3

  5. Ana Carolina Zeri says:

    Dear Alex
    thanks for your post, it was the sanest thing I’ve read on this topic in ages!
    I like you even more now!
    cheers
    Ana

  6. AKwan says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with your perspective in this post.

    I have been vegan for a year now and have been doing very well, but if health issues started to crop up, I believe strongly that there would be a way to fix them without moving out of the vegan lifestyle. There seems to be an implied dichotomy in your post (vegan vs. health) which is not necessarily true. If self-adjusting with food doesn’t work, we are not without nutritionists and doctors that can look at our health and guide us to whole foods or supplements that can help us balance our health within the vegan lifestyle. Though bloodwork is not the be-all end all, going by the blood tests is generally a helpful path towards wellness.

    I do agree that people should not wallow in guilt, but isn’t all-around compassion one of your own values? Compassion towards yourself and compassion towards the animals should be included within that value of compassion.

    As for the happy chickens, I think it comes down to intent. Are her neighbors raising their chickens to use them for profit or to cherish them as pets/family? Are the neighbors going to send the chickens to slaughter when they’re old or will they bury them like they would a pet cat or dog? If the eggs are merely the happy side-benefit to having a chicken as a pet, eat as many happy eggs as you want. If the eggs are the main goal and the chickens will be deemed ‘useless’ once they have menopause, I don’t consider those happy eggs at all.

    I’m glad you don’t feel guilty anymore, but I don’t agree with this method of getting there.

    • Paleo Huntress says:

      Congratulations! I feel your pain. I too went vegan for health reasons and then stayed for ethical reasons. And like you, I initially felt really good, I even lost 25lbs! Then slowly over the next 2 years, the weight crept on again… I saw a vegan nutritionist every other week and she tweaked my eating plan and adjusted my calories- and never in my life was I so caught up in weighing and measuring food. Around the 18 month point I started to talk about my weight gain and how I wasn’t feeling good to my vegan friends and in the online vegan communities I frequented- and I was told that I just needed to “stick it out”, eat higher protein veggies, get more minerals, etc. that I just couldn’t “give in” to my “taste for meat”. So I stayed with it even longer… I was ashamed of myself and there was no shortage of pious militant vegans waiting to bash me for “failing veganism”. Failing veganism? Isn’t that laughable? Are all of the unhealthy omnis out there failing omnivorism?! At the two year mark almost exactly, I was referred to an endocrinologist and was diagnosed with type II diabetes. I was also hypertensive, had cholesterol over 300 and was exactly 300 pounds. I’d also been suffering with severe GERD for over a year. I’d had PCOS and needed fertility treatments for all three of my pregnancies. I was literally exhausted all the time… even though my blood work showed no deficiencies. I’d never felt worse in my life. I sat on his office and cried… and asked how it was possible. He said, “Your diet is killing you.” It might work for some, but it doesn’t work for you.

      Initially I went the Atkins route with eggs and cultured dairy as my proteins, but within a month or two I was in the paleo track. I was eating local, pastured animal foods daily, no grains or legumes, and was getting my starches from tubers and squashes. I felt GOOD almost instantly. In two and a half months, I was off all 3 of the medications I’d been taking and the endo couldn’t find any sign of the diabetes. My cholesterol was down over 100 points, the GERD was gone and I was having spontaneous menstrual periods again. Less than 11 months after the diagnosis, I’d lost 100 pounds, had a total cholesterol of just over 130 (with an ideal ratio), was having regular 28 day cycles (much to my husband’s chagrin since we were done growing our family, lol) and was finally disease free. It was like coming out of a long hibernation. My skin was clear for the first time too and I had enough energy for fitness again.

      Dietitians and nutritionists have their place, but wish-fulfillment does not guarantee good health as a vegan. Our bodies didn’t evolve as vegans, and though I believe there are some people who have the genetics required to do alright without animal foods, it’s just plain silly to suggest that all of any species can thrive on any diet other than their evolutionary diet.

      Like you, I’m still passionate about animal welfare, I source my animal foods from local farmers that I KNOW… I educate myself about animal testing and avoid products made using it. I don’t buy new leather but I do have pieces I purchase second-hand. And since I don’t eat grains and beans, I don’t contribute to the part of the industry responsible for decimating the animals collaterally. I’ve done the math, my current diet takes fewer lives than my vegan diet did- and that’s something to feel good about.

      Vegan failure to thrive is extremely common, but it’s the community’s “dirty little secret”, and the people with so much compassion for the animals are quick to beat you to a bloody pulp (metaphorically) for even mentioning a whisper of that failure. And sadly, new vegans are the harshest- they’re still in the honeymoon phase of a whole-food diet and they don’t yet understand that it wasn’t the meat making them ill, it was the fractured and garbage foods they got rid of with the meat.

      So I say, who cares if current vegans “agree” with us? Having their agreement isn’t worth giving up our health over. And their idyllic suggestions of peaceful, natural deaths never take into account that natural deaths are VIOLENT. Those laying hens will live LONGER in your care than they would if wild. They’ll be sheltered and well-fed, and even nursed back to health if they become ill. When they stop laying, I suppose you could let them roam wild so that a “natural” predator could make a meal of them, but that would be inhumane… lol… right? And then there is the fact that most every piece of vegetation we pu in our mouths is the product of animal labor and there i not such thing as not benefitting from the labors of animals. We are a PART of nature, not apart from nature. That was a hard lesson to learn. Kudos to you for being brave enough to come clean about the pitfalls of veganism.

      In good conscience,

      ~Huntress

      • AKwan says:

        Thank you for your reply, Huntress.

        If you don’t agree with me that is all right. I merely wanted to state my opinion. Your life is yours. My life is mine. Animals’ lives are their own.

        I still believe that despite perhaps being in the ‘honeymoon’ phase that you cite, there are nutritionists out there with a very good understanding of how to work within the vegan diet and give good health. Notice that I did not say all nutritionists or even most nutritionists.

        I did not intend to criticize Alexandra, merely to provide another perspective. It is always important to consider all sides of the story – especially when one’s actions impact others.

        What I have an issue with is giving animals life with the intent to have them dead. Now, when we have children, we celebrate their accomplishments, enjoy their lives, and mourn their eventual death. Domesticated animals for food aren’t subject to the same intent or treatment.

        It’s true that domesticated animals might die quickly or slowly in the wild, but that does not necessarily mean that we have a right to pre-determine their deaths.

        In any case, I wish you all wellness and health and compassion to all.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          AKwan,

          Regardless of the intent, they do get to LIVE out of the process. The animals that live on the farm I get my animal food from live pretty idyllic lives. Pre-determined death or not, without us, they wouldn’t live at all.

          • AKwan says:

            Though this may be a controversial opinion, I’d rather they’d not lived at all if they lived to die. I do not have a justification for this opinion as it delves too far into philosophy for me to understand. The above is simply a feeling that I have on the subject.

            I enjoyed conversing with you, Huntress.

            Have a great day!

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            AKwan,

            We all live to die. What you do with the life while you’re living it is what matters. As a human being, if I were to learn that I’d been specially “bred” for something, let’s say organ doning for example, I’d still be grateful for the life I had, while I had it. Nature is bigger than we are- and she doesn’t care what our plans are or what our intentions are. Life goes on with or without us. I believe that any animal living a good life would take that life, even if short, over never having lived at all.

            I hope yours is a great day as well.

            ~Huntress

          • Miles D. says:

            ” I believe that any animal living a good life would take that life, even if short, over never having lived at all.”

            Fair enough, but what if that animal had the option to lead a good longer life than a good shorter one? We artificially, and somewhat arbitrarily, decide how long the animals we raise for food get to live (which is most often well short of the animal’s *natural* life span), so let us not pretend like we’re doing them some great favor by allowing them to exist for even a short period of time. Nature is uncaring, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow suit.

            Also, “we all live to die” is complete tripe. No rational person “lives to die.” Do you wake up every morning and think “Well I’d better live today so that I can die at some point in the future.”? We all die, that’s a fact of being mortal, but only irrational people “live to die.”

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            I’m not suggeting we’re doing the animals a favor, I’m saying merely that to suggest that an animal would choose to never exist at all over living a shorter life is disingenuous. Plus, no one actually knows what the “natural” lifespan is of a chicken or a beef cow, as these animals have never lived wild. Have you ever know a person who was the product of rape? I have… do you think they’d choose not to live because their father’s ‘intentions’ were violence against their mother? No.

            I couldn’t agree more that we don’t have to follow suit with nature’s cruelty- and we don’t. We take care of the animals, protect them, nourish them, provide them with everything that nature would leave it to them to find or die. We do better than nature in this sense… and, when the end of their life comes, those who care about animal welfare, take it in a far less frightening and violent manner than nature ever would.

            We are in agreement. =)

            ~Huntress

          • Miles D says:

            P. Huntress,

            I thank you for the thoughtful reply, but I strongly disagree that “We are in agreement.”

            Your rape example is not particularly relevant since the only analogy between a human child that was conceived via non-consensual intercourse and the lives of farm animals is that the majority of animals humans raise for food are conceived non-consensually. We can ask a child of rape whether or not he or she would rather have not existed at all and reasonably expect said child to answer that he or she would choose existence over non-existence. However, we would also not be shocked to learn that if the the existence was going to be one composed of mostly pain and misery, then the child would rather not exist at all, and if the child was given the option to live a long life or a short life, all other things being equal, that the child would opt for the long life. In the case of farm animals I think a case can be made that the lives of most farm animals is a life not worth living since the life is one of mostly pain and misery. Even in the cases which a farm animal is treated with the respected warranted by a living organism nearly every farm animal is killed well before the natural (and by natural I mean being divorced from human intentional interference) end of their lifespans for no other reasons than to satisfy the human preference for eating young flesh and to maximize profits. Also I find your claim that no cow or chicken has ever lived in wild to be extremely suspect given the evolutionary history of the animals coupled with the fact that chickens and cows do sometimes escape the farm early on in their lives never to return. In summary it’s reasonable to expect that an animal would respond with an emphatic yes, if animals could respond in this way, to the question of whether or not the animal would rather not exist or exist well for a short period of time. But it is also reasonable to suspect that the animal would respond with an equally emphatic yes to question of whether or not that animal would rather live out a natural lifespan or be arbitrarily killed at some point to satisfy a taste preference of humans.

            To your point about humans being less cruel than nature, I understand that some humans treat some farm animals as living organized deserve to be treated, but the vast majority do not and I would further posit that nature cannot be cruel with respect to animals, while humans are nearly always cruel to farm animals, even when the farm animals are treated with some modicum of respect. I take cruelty to be unnecessary harm and it is unnecessary to intentionally kill farm animals well before their natural lifespans, and killing most certainly harms the animals, therefore every act of intentionally killing a farm animal before its time is cruel. The situation you’ve described sounds an awful (word chosen intentionally) lot like mercy killing seniors in hospitals and nursing homes, except instead of seniors we’re killing the babies and the teenagers. In no way do I agree that it is merciful or kind to care for an animal for a few years and then surprise the animal with a quick death in order to satisfy a taste preference of human beings. Imagine trying to explain your actions to this animal that you claim to care for. “Doris I know you’ve served the family well these past few years by producing milk for us to drink and for providing a few male calves for us to send off to slaughter, but you’re not producing as much as you once did and so we’ve decided that we’re going to kill and eat you, because we like how you taste and you taste even better young than old. Sorry.”

          • Miles D says:

            I will add as a further clarifying point that doing better than the worst, does not necessarily mean that what you did was good or right.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            I think it would be helpful if we could address one issue at a time. We started with CAFOs and we agreed they are repugnant, neither of us supports that industry. Now, we’ve moved onto humanely raised animals where the existence of the animal is NOT “going to be one composed of mostly pain and misery”– and whether they would prefer to live a shorter happy existence than no existence at all.

            How long is a farm animal’s “time”? Domesticated food animals live longer on farms than they would wild, so how do we decide what their “time” is?

            “Imagine trying to explain your actions to this animal that you claim to care for.”

            Let’s go back to the gross number of animal lives taken for our food. Someone eating a primitive-style diet for example, takes ONE life for an acre of land- and that gives them close to 1000 pounds of food and they do not eat the row crops responsible for up to several hundred lives per acre of grains and legumes. The usual argument is that it’s different when you kill an animal on purpose than when you kill it accidentally… but is it? Tuna fisherman don’t kill porpoises on purpose, but you won’t find many vegans giving them a pass for it. Instead they say, “You don’t NEED to eat tuna.”

            And that is so true- but I need to eat something… as do you. So imagine trying to explain your actions to the thousands of animals who’ll give their lives for that same acre of land… you might say… what to them? “I know you all want to live, and I promise not to kill you ON PURPOSE- but hundreds of you will still die… and if it’s any consolation, I won’t EVER eat your flesh.”

            ???

            The only person your intent matters to is YOU. An animal doesn’t care about your vegan ethics or whether or not there was forethought or intent- dead is dead. We take life to have life. ,And the lives taken accidentally are just as significant as those taken on purpose- it is only vegans who appear unable to see that or who are unwilling to take responsibility for it.

            Sorry.

            ~Huntress

          • Miles D says:

            Excellent response. I will respond to your points in kind.

            Miles,

            I think it would be helpful if we could address one issue at a time. We started with CAFOs and we agreed they are repugnant, neither of us supports that industry. Now, we’ve moved onto humanely raised animals where the existence of the animal is NOT “going to be one composed of mostly pain and misery”– and whether they would prefer to live a shorter happy existence than no existence at all.

            *Miles* We’re in agreement about the CAFOs, but you’re still laboring under the misconception that it’s an exclusive choice that the animals we raise for food either get to live a short good life, or not life at all. We choose to kill them, but we don’t have to in the cases of animals raised for food.

            How long is a farm animal’s “time”? Domesticated food animals live longer on farms than they would wild, so how do we decide what their “time” is?
            *Miles* We can’t, that’s the point. Granted we actually make a judgment about when the time of a farm animal’s death is, but such a choice can never be representative of “their time” as I described it.

            “Imagine trying to explain your actions to this animal that you claim to care for.”

            Let’s go back to the gross number of animal lives taken for our food. Someone eating a primitive-style diet for example, takes ONE life for an acre of land- and that gives them close to 1000 pounds of food and they do not eat the row crops responsible for up to several hundred lives per acre of grains and legumes. The usual argument is that it’s different when you kill an animal on purpose than when you kill it accidentally… but is it? Tuna fisherman don’t kill porpoises on purpose, but you won’t find many vegans giving them a pass for it. Instead they say, “You don’t NEED to eat tuna.”
            *Miles* Assuming this primitive eater is taking the life a cow as opposed to a chicken, then ok. One skilled person might get 1000 pounds of food from 1 animal (I say might, but in actuality the cow would have to be enormous and composed entirely of flesh, which no cow is). At this point I’d like some clarification on what the couple hundred lives per acre are. Are we talking plants, or rodents, worms, insects and so forth? The plants don’t worry me much, but the sentient animals are valid targets of consideration (some folks might make a quality vs quantity distinction here, but I won’t go that route). If some forms of plant farming take many more lives than forms of animal husbandry, then we should probably take measures to improve the plant farming (and not just conclude that if animal death is unavoidable that we should just kill really big animals to feed ourselves).

            To your claim that there’s no difference between intentional and non-intentional killing, I disagree and think you probably do as well. There’s an obvious moral difference between killing something with the intention to kill and killing something accidentally. The consequence is the same for the thing killed, but it makes a difference to the moral appraisal of the act whether or not the killing was intentional. Think murder vs. manslaughter. Both are deplorable, no doubt, but murder is so much the worse because one intends to kill.

            And that is so true- but I need to eat something… as do you. So imagine trying to explain your actions to the thousands of animals who’ll give their lives for that same acre of land… you might say… what to them? “I know you all want to live, and I promise not to kill you ON PURPOSE- but hundreds of you will still die… and if it’s any consolation, I won’t EVER eat your flesh.”
            *Miles* This is an excellent point (although you move from hundreds of lives to thousands of lives without much explanation), but it only holds if there’s no difference between intentional killing and non-intentional killing. I think there is a difference. So we might just have to agree to disagree here if you truly believe there’s no difference between killing with intent vs killing without intent. Also, I think the conversation has a decidedly different tone in the case of the farm animal, vs the field animal. In the case of the farm animal, it’s obviously unnecessary to kill the animal you’ve cared for, but in the case of the field animal it may, as you rightly point out, be necessary to kill the animal in order to feed people. Now I freely admit to having a slight irrational preference for human life over animal life, and I am only confident that unnecessary suffering is always morally wrong. So if it’s necessary to kill some animals to feed people, then it’s tragic, but so be it. Raising animals for food is, however, completely unnecessary.

            ???

            The only person your intent matters to is YOU. An animal doesn’t care about your vegan ethics or whether or not there was forethought or intent- dead is dead. We take life to have life. ,And the lives taken accidentally are just as significant as those taken on purpose- it is only vegans who appear unable to see that or who are unwilling to take responsibility for it.
            *Miles* Your first sentence here I take to be false. It’s true that animals don’t care about ethics, they’re not moral agents so how could they?, but my intentions matter not just to me, but to other people and the rules of moral appraisal. I consider it an uncontroversial claim that intentions do matter when it comes to ethics, not just to individual people but to all people. We find a lack of morally repugnant intentions to be a mitigating factor for morally repugnant acts that we do not personally commit. So if intentions make a difference with respect to the moral appraisal of human actions, why would intentions not make a difference in the case of human actions towards farm animals? If I offered two explanation for killing an animal, one in which I killed the animal just to watch it die and another in which I explain that I killed the animal to feed my starving family, would you not think that my intentions made a difference?

            Sorry.
            *Miles* No apology necessary. This is a great response (I especially like what you said about the significance of a life lost not depending on intention), just mistaken at points.

            ~Huntress

          • Miles D says:

            “And that is so true- but I need to eat something… as do you. So imagine trying to explain your actions to the thousands of animals who’ll give their lives for that same acre of land… you might say… what to them? ‘I know you all want to live, and I promise not to kill you ON PURPOSE- but hundreds of you will still die… and if it’s any consolation, I won’t EVER eat your flesh.’ ”

            I meant to respond to the bit about flesh eating in my other reply, but sense I missed it I’ll take the opportunity here.

            For animals that die from non-intentional causes I see nothing obviously morally problematic about eating the flesh of that animal, rather I’m concerned with unnecessary suffering. If an accidental killing results in the possible waste of flesh (which seems unlikely given how bacteria and other animals make use of flesh) then I think it might even be obligatory to eat that flesh.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Miles,

            One skilled person might get 1000 pounds of food from 1 animal (I say might, but in actuality the cow would have to be enormous and composed entirely of flesh, which no cow is).

            The industry has what it considers to be “sale-able cuts” but as someone else mentioned in this thread, most people into ethical and sustainable farming make use of the entire animal. The fat slabs are of particular value. All of the organ meat is used, I use the marrow and make bone-broths- I make stock form the connective tissue- nothing gets wasted. You’ll note that I didn’t say 1000lbs of “protein”. It’s probably important to note that even the highest protein vegetable foods is still significantly higher are carbohydrate.

            I’d like some clarification on what the couple hundred lives per acre are. Are we talking plants, or rodents, worms, insects and so forth?

            I’m not looking at insects or plants- but rather rodents, birds, snakes, salamanders, and even large herbivorous animals who are routinely shot by farmers. Studies show the vole (field mouse) population is reduced by half by a combine harvest. Vole populations vary, but estimates are between 100 and 2000 per acre of planted land. Organic rice is estimated to cost 2 lives per square foot of rice planting. Conventional rice as many as 5. And these are only the harvest deaths, not the tilling, planting, traps, posions, shotguns or other “pest control” methods used by produce farmers.

            If some forms of plant farming take many more lives than forms of animal husbandry, then we should probably take measures to improve the plant farming (and not just conclude that if animal death is unavoidable that we should just kill really big animals to feed ourselves).

            Agreed. That is why besides adding animal foods to my diet, I removed row crops from it. I also get to know my local farmers through the farmers markets here and buy from those who utilize no-till methods for other produce.

            To your claim that there’s no difference between intentional and non-intentional killing, I disagree and think you probably do as well.

            I didn’t actually make this claim- I said it doesn’t matter to the animals that are dying for the distinction.

            There’s an obvious moral difference between killing something with the intention to kill and killing something accidentally.”

            I agree… but once you KNOW that your choices are causing countless collateral deaths, if you have other options, (and you do), if you continue to take those lives, you become responsible. If’ I’m walking around outdoors and I step on an insect and it dies, i can’t avoid that- I have to walk on the ground. If instead I’m going to argue that there is a moral obligation to save lives and I continue taking them “accidentally”, is that really a moral/ethical choice? Only you can answer that for yourself.

            Think murder vs. manslaughter. Both are deplorable, no doubt, but murder is so much the worse because one intends to kill.

            True… and yet these days, we recognize that there’s a difference between a car slipping on a patch of ice and killing a pedestrian, and a drunk driver killing a pedestrian- because even though the drunk driver didn’t intend to kill, he DID make the choice to drink and then drive… meaning he has to take responsibility for the actions that caused the death, even if the death wasn’t his intent. He will likely serve jail-time whereas the driver behind the wheel during the truly accidental death will likely not.

            So if it’s necessary to kill some animals to feed people, then it’s tragic, but so be it. Raising animals for food is, however, completely unnecessary.

            Again, significantly more lives by accident. That distinction doesn’t matter to the animals. Those of us who believe we have the moral duty to “put an end” to the actions we consider morally reprehensible rarely look beyond that end to who and what will be effected by that change. For example, there are folks who are basically endentured slaves working in sweatshops in China to produce cheap goods. I believe it should matter to us if someone is harmed while making these goods. So lets say our actions shut them down- and now most of those workers not only have nowhere to live, but cannot feed their families. We get all puffed up with pride over the good thing we did and all they know is that they went from the frying pan into the fire. If you want to eschew animal foods because you cannot condone the deaths of the animals, then YOU be the one to go to the expense of eating an animal-free diet that doesn’t kill even more animals. Your morals and ethics need to go beyond that single first step to a place where you’re actually DOING GOOD overall, and not just feeling good about a choice that doesn’t actually help the animals (as a whole).

            “For animals that die from non-intentional causes I see nothing obviously morally problematic about eating the flesh of that animal, rather I’m concerned with unnecessary suffering. If an accidental killing results in the possible waste of flesh (which seems unlikely given how bacteria and other animals make use of flesh) then I think it might even be obligatory to eat that flesh.”

            I happen to agree that nothing in nature is wasted. In my eyes, if you’re going to make an argument about lives lost, than it doesn’t matter whether they’re eaten or not- but it does matter to many vegans I’ve met. If anything, it seems less respectful of an animal’s sacrifice to leave it to rot, even though all kinds of microorganisms need to eat as well. And I think it’s kewl that you see value in consuming animals that died accidentally- though I don’t imagine there are many vegans who’d be willing to take home the deer they hit and eat it. It’s too bad really.

            A note about formatting- if you want to highlight the snippet you’re responding to, type-

            snippet goes here

            There should be no spaces between the greater/less-than symbols and the “blockquote”- If I typed them correctly, they become invisible in the formatting and you won’t be able to see them.

            I appreciate your thoughtful response and find myself enjoying this exchange. Thank you.

            Best!

            ~Huntress

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Well how funny is that- apparently this server allows some unconventional tags- try this maybe-
            snippet goes here (no space between block and quote when you use it)

            if that doesn’t show, try this-

            >blockquote/blockquote< (reverse the greater/less than symbols so they appear similar to parentheses around the word 'blockquote'. If neither of these options shows, I'm not going to take up any more blog space with the direction. I thought it might be helpful for these longer comments.

          • Miles D says:

            I appreciate your thoughtful response and find myself enjoying this exchange. Thank you.

            Best!

            ~Huntress

            As am I! Attempting to fix my formatting, will reply to your longer post in more detail after I get back home and eat.

          • Miles D. says:

            So let me start off by saying that some of my posts directed towards you have been more antagonistic than what was warranted. I was far too cheeky in my reply about your claim that meat was essential to your personal health. I also want to say that I realize that it’s easier in a lot of ways for me to make arguments con killing animals for food as a 20 something single than it is for someone who has a family to take care of, and I respect those family leaders all the more who put in the effort to make better food choices (if I could convince my father to be as responsible as you are when it comes to picking out his food, then I’d consider this chapter of my life a success).

            But enough of this empathy and respect crap, back to the arguments =)

            The industry has what it considers to be “sale-able cuts” but as someone else mentioned in this thread, most people into ethical and sustainable farming make use of the entire animal. The fat slabs are of particular value. All of the organ meat is used, I use the marrow and make bone-broths- I make stock form the connective tissue- nothing gets wasted. You’ll note that I didn’t say 1000lbs of “protein”. It’s probably important to note that even the highest protein vegetable foods is still significantly higher are carbohydrate.

            Apologies I mistakenly read the 1000 pounds of food as coming from one animal and not the one acre that you actually wrote (although please tell me you don’t eat the stomach, brains, or lungs). In addition I will admit that there is something really intuitively appealing to me about using the whole of animal to serve some end, whether that be for food, clothing, or otherwise, but then again my intuitions are often mistaken =P.

            Agreed. That is why besides adding animal foods to my diet, I removed row crops from it. I also get to know my local farmers through the farmers markets here and buy from those who utilize no-till methods for other produce.

            Still an excellent point about the number of animals killed during the process of growing large amounts of crops. I too try to get as much of my food from farmers markets, but it gets to be cost prohibitive. I’m not sure I could survive, given my poverty level yearly income, if I didn’t purchase anything in a box or bag. And unfortunately when it’s my survival vs. my rational ethics, my survival usually wins. However, my hope is that at some point in the future I can get all of my food from no-till sources.

            I didn’t actually make this claim- I said it doesn’t matter to the animals that are dying for the distinction.

            Sorry for the straw-man, but I think I was justified in interpreting you to claim that there’s no moral difference between intentional and non-intentional killing given the following two claims: “The usual argument is that it’s different when you kill an animal on purpose than when you kill it accidentally… but is it?” and “The only person your intent matters to is YOU.”

            I agree… but once you KNOW that your choices are causing countless collateral deaths, if you have other options, (and you do), if you continue to take those lives, you become responsible. If’ I’m walking around outdoors and I step on an insect and it dies, i can’t avoid that- I have to walk on the ground. If instead I’m going to argue that there is a moral obligation to save lives and I continue taking them “accidentally”, is that really a moral/ethical choice? Only you can answer that for yourself.

            Excellent point. But I might reply that this leads to absurd requirements for moral action. I know that just by walking, biking, driving, running a furnace, or putting up glass windows I stand a very high likelihood of killing sentient animals. However, even though I know my everyday actions will lead to suffering, I don’t commit myself to paralysis since the suffering seems necessary to my existence and it’s unintentional (I see no relevant moral distinction between the accidental and unintentional aspect of the action once I’ve learned that I can accidentally produce suffering). Some animal suffering is necessary for individual humans to exist, and even more suffering is necessary for billions of humans to exist. I admit that I am contributing to lots of animal death, unintentionally, whenever I buy a box of cereal and I could certainly do better on this score. However, thinking globally, row planting might be the only viable way to insure that the human population gets fed, without requiring that everyone invest lots of time and resources into farming their own food (which also runs into issues of available land). If it’s necessary to do something immoral, I’m inclined to give up the claim that what was done is immoral. Individually I might be able to avoid the animal death associated with large scale plant based agriculture, but I’m not sure the same can be said for the entire human race. Still we could do better about plant based agriculture when it comes to killing animals unintentionally.

            True… and yet these days, we recognize that there’s a difference between a car slipping on a patch of ice and killing a pedestrian, and a drunk driver killing a pedestrian- because even though the drunk driver didn’t intend to kill, he DID make the choice to drink and then drive… meaning he has to take responsibility for the actions that caused the death, even if the death wasn’t his intent. He will likely serve jail-time whereas the driver behind the wheel during the truly accidental death will likely not.

            The difference, I take it, is that in the case of drunk driving we think there’s a stronger link between the act of drinking and causing a death than in the case of driving on slippery roads and causing a death (though truth be told I think the link is equally strong between the 2 cases if one knows the road is especially icy). I think you’ve got something here with the case of large scale till farming. There is an extremely strong link between till farming and animal death, so maybe we ought to re-evaluate how we grow our plant food (we could certainly do away with lots of corn and soybeans that go to feed the animals we raise for slaughter). Then again I might rather be a mass manslaughterist (not a word) than a multiple murderer (although both are deplorable).

            Again, significantly more lives by accident. That distinction doesn’t matter to the animals. Those of us who believe we have the moral duty to “put an end” to the actions we consider morally reprehensible rarely look beyond that end to who and what will be effected by that change. For example, there are folks who are basically endentured slaves working in sweatshops in China to produce cheap goods. I believe it should matter to us if someone is harmed while making these goods. So lets say our actions shut them down- and now most of those workers not only have nowhere to live, but cannot feed their families. We get all puffed up with pride over the good thing we did and all they know is that they went from the frying pan into the fire. If you want to eschew animal foods because you cannot condone the deaths of the animals, then YOU be the one to go to the expense of eating an animal-free diet that doesn’t kill even more animals. Your morals and ethics need to go beyond that single first step to a place where you’re actually DOING GOOD overall, and not just feeling good about a choice that doesn’t actually help the animals (as a whole).

            This is an uppercut to anyone solely concerned with not killing animals. If one’s goal is only to avoid killing animals, intentionally or non-intentionally, then it would seem far better to eat pasture raised animals and avoid till produced plants (though it would be even better still to just avoid eating any animal and eat non-till produced plants+eggs). However, I’m not one of those folks who is only interested in preventing animal killings (the intention distinction doesn’t matter to the animals, but it seems to matter to morality), and I’m ok with the consequences of ending the practice of intentionally killing animals for food. I know that ending the intentional killing of animals is going to result in quite a few people losing their jobs and not being able to support their families. I’m ok with that if it reduces unnecessary suffering. No one should make a living on the unnecessary suffering of others. I’m less interested in saving animal lives (I could better spend my time trying to save human lives I think), than I am in combating unnecessary suffering. It would be great if everyone had the funds, the land, and the knowledge to grow their own plants to eat and maybe raise some animals to supplement the diet with eggs and meat from animals that die of non-intentional causes, but I don’t think this is feasible. What does seem feasible is not intentionally killing cows, chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, and all those other animals we raise for food. This I think, if the goal is ending unnecessary suffering, is where we ought to focus our efforts, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the animal deaths that result from till farming either.

      • Dave says:

        Very well written, I completely agree!

      • mezzo says:

        Exactly. Our bodies aren’t designed to eat a vegan diet just as rabbits and cows are not designed to eat meat. They get sick if you force them. A cat gets sick if you feed it grain, it is a carnivore.

        • Miles D says:

          “Exactly. Our bodies aren’t designed to eat a vegan diet just as rabbits and cows are not designed to eat meat. They get sick if you force them. A cat gets sick if you feed it grain, it is a carnivore.”

          Cats are carnivores, humans are omnivores. There’s a relevant difference. Our bodies are designed to get nutrients from either plants or animals. However, the empirical facts about human evolutionary history do not provide decisive moral reasons to align our actions with that evolutionary history. The fact that we are omnivores does not necessarily entail that we ought to be omnivores any more than the fact that 18th century Americans were slavers necessarily entailed that they ought to be slavers.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            I think it’s important to consider that the reason we evolved as omnivores is because we needed something from BOTH plant and animal foods. Not that it had to be both every day or even often, but that the ideal includes some varying level of both.

          • Miles D says:

            Trying your formatting suggestion.

            It’s a good point that biologically speaking we were selected to eat both for optimum efficiency, but the objection still stands that just because we evolved to eat both, doesn’t necessarily mean we should eat both. The proponent of the evolutionary history argument needs to provide more than just the facts of our evolutionary history to arrive at the conclusion that we ought to continue with the results of that history.

          • Miles D. says:

            Also,P. Huntress, if you want to take our discussion off the blog board feel free to hit me up at milesdecoster@yahoo.com. I’m trusting you, and others on this board, not to spam this address with penis enlargement ads or hate.

    • Ann says:

      The chickens are laying the eggs whether they are pets or not. Why shouldn’t we eat them?

      • AKwan says:

        It’s all a matter of intent. Chickens do lay eggs no matter what, but the difference is this:

        If I buy eggs from someone who treats their chickens as production facilities for eggs and chicken flesh, then I am providing them with economic incentives to continue raising chickens and eventually to kill them for flesh.

        If I buy eggs from someone who treats their chickens as pets, then I am providing them with a little money, but the chickens will still live out their lives, even after they cannot lay eggs anymore.

        They’re still eggs, but we’re encouraging certain types of behavior and treatment of chickens depending on what we buy.

      • Chickens don’t just lay eggs all the time. Not naturally. A chicken is just like wild ducks or any other bird. In nature, they lay enough eggs to hatch and then they stop laying. At least they do under natural conditions. When a hen’s eggs are removed every day, she never has enough eggs to care for and hatch, so she keeps laying. In a futile attempt to reproduce, her depleted body will lay as many as 260 eggs a year … in a natural situation, she would lay about a dozen eggs a year.

        And in related news … cow’s have to be made pregnant each year in order to produce milk. They don’t just produce milk all the time, either. Their female calves are used as dairy cows themselves and the male calves will be killed right away or sent for veal.

        • Bethany says:

          I don’t know where your information comes from, but I actually have chickens and I can tell you – they don’t just stop laying eggs when they’ve laid enough to hatch. In fact, I do a happy dance when one of my hens goes “broody” so that she’ll actually sit on a nest. 90% of the time, the chickens want to lay their egg and then go out and eat more bugs. If a hen’s eggs aren’t removed, she just ends up with a gigantic pile of eggs which continues to grow until it’s uncomfortable to sit on at which point she’ll find a new spot to lay her eggs.

          It might have been that a long time ago, way back on the evolutionary ladder when chickens were still those wild jungle fowl they have descended from, that those particular birds (who do still exist in the wild) would only lay enough to hatch – but today is today, and today’s chickens are today’s chickens. Should we just let them all die out? Should we just let them all go free and watch idly as they die horrific deaths being ripped apart and eaten alive by predators? And yes – that really DOES happen in the wild.

          And oh also – in other related news, cows will become pregnant every year in nature as well. They are animals, they have instincts, and they follow them. As the one poster above said, bulls do not go down to the corner pharmacy to pick up a box of condoms when they are ready to do their thing. Male calves are sometimes killed right away or sent away for veal in a *commercial* setting but not all settings, particularly not a small family farm. In a small family farm, usually the baby gets what milk they want and the farmer gets what’s left. You are making a lot of generalizations here that might be true in the commercial food system but are certainly not true across the board.

          • AKwan says:

            I do agree that most of the things said about the middle-ground of dairy and eggs are generally descriptions of the commercial food system and not necessarily that of a small family farm. I believe that if there is no slaughter of the animals at the end, then there can be cases where drinking their milk or eating their eggs can be considered fully compassionate.

            As I said earlier, it’s a matter of intent. Are the dairy and eggs a happy side-benefit to having these animals in your life or will these animals be treated as mere production facilities? After the milk has dried up or the eggs aren’t coming out anymore, will the animals be killed or deemed worthless?

            Thank you for your clarification, Bethany. It’s helpful to know more about the non-commercial food system.

          • Andrea says:

            What happens to a male calf in a family farm setting?

          • Bethany says:

            Well, firstly remember I am not a vegan, so one thing we obviously will disagree on is the value of an animal’s life. I simply do not view an animal’s life equal to a human’s life. Given my soy allergy and a general unhealthiness without a high portion of my diet from saturated animal fats, I cannot and will not sacrifice my health for the sake of not killing animals.

            Yes – I will agree that many people can lead healthy lives as vegans, but I am one who cannot. Diet is not a one-size-fits-all deal, and there truly are a large number of folks who cannot thrive on a diet that is completely excluding all animal foods.

            I also strongly believe in a local food economy – which is impossible on a vegan diet unless one lives in a tropical setting which I do not. In the example of saturated fat, for instance, the only vegan sources are coconut oil and palm oil. Even if I bought oils that were sustainably grown without the destruction of Orangutan habitat, the fact remains that it is a higher burden on the planet for me to import those fats. There is also a lot of processing that goes into the harvesting and production of those tropical oils, especially if I don’t want everything to taste like coconuts. I do consume some coconut oil every day, but it is more as a supplement and a weight loss aid (I have lost nearly 100lbs and gained a lot of strength on a low-grain high saturated fat diet).

            Contrast that with my usual fats – butter and of course lard that I rendered myself from pigs we raised on pasture here at the farm. They were pampered during their life, fed locally grown food (we grind the feed ourselves), had a nice spacious pasture (which would really be unusable for anything else) with plenty of shade trees and fun places to root around in. At butchering time they weren’t taken to a slaughterhouse – a single bullet to the head and they were done. Do you really, truly believe that using commercially processed coconut oil or palm oil is less impact on the world than my own home-produced and rendered lard?

            Regarding the milk calves and non-laying hens – while I can’t speak for all family farms, in our world the hens would become chicken soup when they are no longer laying. Male calves from the milk cow would either be sold as bulls if they are well-bred or would become beef steers to be raised on pasture and butchered at 2 years old.

            So – you might say I’m not compassionate, and of course you are entitled to your opinion. But speaking as a person who 1. cannot live a healthy life without animal products and 2. does not believe that killing an animal is wrong in and of itself, I believe we are doing things as compassionately as we could.

            I DO believe strongly that it is unethical to cause suffering for anything that can feel it, which is one big motivator for what we are doing here on our farm – we are working on becoming a local meat and egg producer so other people have the opportunity to opt out of the commercial food system. Not everyone is able to raise their own food, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be available.

            So many people see the atrocities that happen in the commercial animal system and want to opt out – but we’ve taken the third option.

          • Pam says:

            Andrea, I treat male calves the same way I treat female calves. They spend the first 6-10 months being raised by their mothers then they are either weaned with a ring that rests in the nose, or they are sold. Some people buy them as pets, some buy them to raise up for meat. I vet the homes that I sell them to and I am always available to answer questions and give advice. I do care about my boys, even knowing that they are going to be eaten.
            Bethany, it’s like you took the words right out of my mouth. I do say you are compassionate. The definition of compassion is not “avoiding killing anything”. Compassion is feeling the distress of others and seeking to alleviate it. You’ve done that by making sure your food does not suffer on it’s way to your plate.

      • Serrah says:

        Because it’s treating the animals as only commodities and not beings with personalities. It’s kind of speciesist. If I were to suddenly pop out eggs, I don’t think anyone would be rushing to eat them just because they were there.

    • Alison says:

      I must agree with Akwan. I have never had the experience you have had, of craving meat and animal foods. If I had those strong cravings, I would definitely get my blood tested to figure out what was the cause of them.

      I have had strong cravings for alcohol and cigarettes, but didn’t think they were a sign of something my body ‘needed’.

      However, of course constant unrelenting cravings are signaling something very wrong, and I don’t judge you for taking the steps you felt necessary to remedy this. However, I just feel that there were other options available to you, such as supplementation to fix whatever it was that was wrong.

      It sounds from your article like you don’t quite know the cause of your cravings, but to me it seems self evident that there was something unbalanced in your system, and animal foods are for the moment giving you something you were not getting, but without knowing what it IS you were missing, how could you know what other paths may have been available to you that would have solved your health issues, eliminated the cravings, and allowed you to continue on your heart centered path?

      I wish you well and I definitely don’t think anyone should have to live in shame or develop eating disorders, and I have a lot of sympathy with this as I experienced something very similar in my path trying to be a 100% raw vegan (which simply did not work out for me). However, a well balanced vegan diet, with supplementation where necessary I find to be ideal.

      Wishing you all the best, Alison

  7. Ali Shapiro says:

    Kudos, kudos, and more kudos to you Alexandra. Those of us who aren’t into the dieting dogma welcome you with loving, open arms. Yes, compassion must abound everywhere, including for ourselves. So glad you made the leap to trust yourself! That is the most healing thing any of us can do. XO

  8. danielle says:

    hello,
    millions of thanks for sharing this! i have been following you for years but have been afraid to comment because i eat a varied diet, and try to be intuitive. i tried to be vegan 20 years ago and was never able to make it past a few weeks without feeling very weak and off balance, so i’ve always felt like i was “failure” at being vegan and looked up to you as a vegan role model. the fact that you have shared this really makes me feel so happy for you and better about myself.
    you are such a blessing in our world, if you only knew… and a huge blessing to me.
    peace and thanks to you my friend,
    danielle anne

    • Serrah says:

      Just because you felt sick, you left? There are nutritionists and doctors that will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need, and if you are eating vegan correctly, the only vitamin you would need is B-12. I think you should have given it another go. (my sister is a nutritionist)

  9. Sonja says:

    Thank you so much for exposing yourself. I’ve been on a food journey
    For quite a while now I was being manic about it all. I’m now
    Going to relax and enjoy it the journey of being a better me
    Thank you for saying its ok to eat meat etc when you crave it. I want to
    Be able to go to a restaurant and enjoy myself instead of being afraid o
    everything that I might be putting into my mouth. Brava Alex!

  10. April Mincey says:

    I didn’t read your work, and I’m certainly glad for it now.
    You said it yourself.. “I did it for my health”.
    No moral vegan turns their back on animals.
    You’re one who supposedly KNOWS of the terror and pain a being must endure, especially in our country’s factory ‘farms’. However, you would rather feel “free and connected again” while satisfying your “cravings”?!!
    You also know of the chemicals and fake ingredients that make flesh seem appealing to some. -Or do you just “salivate” over pure, cooking flesh?
    Good luck feeding the colon cancer, heart disease, or whatever else could lead you to a long and painful departure from this world. -One can only hope it’s half the experience of the innocent animals on your plate.
    Learn something about nutrition (seriously?!), give your body what it needs (EASILY on a plant-based diet) and then rethink this shamefully-selfish and evil decision.

    • Jill Cruz says:

      There are many sources of high-quality meat that are not from factory farms. It never ceases to amaze me how an entire movement, which is based on compassion, can be so ruthless and, well, not compassionate. Humans were meant to eat meat. Of course we salivate over this highly nutrient-dense food.

    • Foximaiden says:

      You may want to check out rawfoodsos.com and learn something about nutrtion yourself; the health claims you are making are not accurate. Unfortunately you probably can’t educate your way out of your judgmental and nasty nature though :(

    • Eliza says:

      We need to cut the vegans a break because they are undernourished and stressed out by it. People who feel well and are happy with their choices are much less likely to bully others like thus.
      Do vegans feed their dogs and cats meat? If so they are still supporting the commercial meat industry. If not they are being cruel to their companion animals by refusing them the foods they need to live and be healthy. Face it folks animals eat animals to survive. Even herbivores eat insects as they graze. And plants are living things too.

      • PDXVegan1313 says:

        Um yeah, you belittling vegans by saying that we are “undernourished” and “stressed” is no less bullying or any more intelligent than the comments you are complaining about. Clearly you have nothing of any value to say so please just don’t bother speaking.

        And PS many vegans feed their pets a vegan diet that is perfectly in line with their own morals. So again I ask you to refrain from speaking unless you have a valid point or intelligent thought.

        • bc says:

          If you are feeding your cat or ferret and such like a vegan diet, and even, to a degree, your dog, then you are being cruel to your companion animals. Animals like cats and ferrets are obligate carnivores. This means that they lack the digestive systems needed to extract the amino acids of life from plant matter. Dogs that are not fed meat must have their diet carefully monitored to insure that they get all the nutrition they need. While many wild dogs, like wolves and coyotes, will eat a lot of vegetable matter (and can extract nutrients from it) when meat is not available they are preferential carnivores. That is to say, vegetables are a secondary choice when meat is not available.

          We need to honor the natures we each are given.

      • Serrah says:

        Well that was pretty untrue and close minded. I have been vegan for five years, and I just finished my third marathon. How high up is that horse of yours?

    • FRIDA says:

      You are exactly why I do not want to be a vegan. See what it does to you? Angry, bitter, mean. No thanks.

    • Fred says:

      My answer toy you is two words, you may have a go at guessing which ones. BTW many vegans die of cancer too

  11. Robin says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. My diet has run the gammut. I’ve struggled with eating disorders my whole life. One thing that has turned me off the vegan community (not the vegan lifestyle) is the sanctimonious attitude many vegans have. It’s not easy for everyone, and our culture certainly does not make it simple to adopt a completly vegan lifestyle. Also, not everyone shares the viewpoint that eating animals is wrong. I never have felt morally inferior for eating meat. I do believe, for good health, reducing or eliminating it is necessary. My family is in that process now, but my husband and son will never give up meat entirely. I like Dr. Fuhrman’s philosophy – eat mostly vegetables, round it out with meat as a condiment if you want to. There’s no morality associated with it. If you eat meat as a condiment, you can surely afford to purchase it from local farms and Whole Foods. I certainly don’t feel any guilt for that.

    Given what you do and whom you’ve been associated with, I know this was very difficult for you. I respect your honestly and hope that your business will continue to thrive.

  12. JackieMac says:

    BRAVO!!! That’s really all I have to say.

  13. Hi Alex, I completely support you in staying authentic and listening to your body. It reaffirms that this is a journey and not a destination. In 2011, for health reasons I went to a mostly raw and vegan lifestyle. Now I am also listening to my body and occasionally have eggs, bison, grass fed beef, or wild salmon in just the amount my body requires. I have found that a little bit is all I ever needed. That’s consciousness I didn’t have before. I am so glad you are supporting yourself and have the courage to speak your truth. Blessings to you and to your health!

  14. Loretta Kane says:

    While I believe that the vegan diet and lifestyle is good and healthful — at least for me. I also acknowledge that it’s not for everyone. And each of us has to be given the room to make decisions for our own lives and bodies — without shame or guilt or persecution. I understand how difficult this decision must have been for you. I’m very sorry that your struggle was made worse by fear of attacks.

    I also understand how the vegan vanguard will feel upon receiving this news. They will have their own fear. They know that opponents of veganism and sustainable food will point to you as an example and — even more damaging — as proof that eating a vegan diet is not healthful, not sustainable, not good. Every vegan has had to respond to well-meaning inquiries about the health impact of veganism and barbed attacks from the agri-industry PR machine that is determined to build addictions to the cheap pseudo-foods that they peddle.

    I believe in your sincere commitment to compassion, kindness and the environment. I believe that you are the only one who should decide what you eat. And I am saddened that some proponents of kindness and compassion for nonhuman animals will not show you that same kindness and compassion. Those of us who choose to be vegan for ethical reasons must treat all animals with respect, kindness and compassion — including humans.

    Thank you for being honest and truthful. Please do help refute those who will use your experience to attack vegans and veganism.

    All the best to you. Namaste.

    • Ashley F. says:

      Loretta, this is the most compassionate and thoughtful reply I’ve seen on this topic. As a fellow vegan who shares your thoughts on this subject, thank you for doing the community a solid and keeping it classy.

    • Lynda E. says:

      Thank you Loretta for speaking clearly and kindly. This is exactly what I wanted to say as well, but you said it better than I ever could. Alexandra, I’m glad that you are able to be honest now and live your life the way you see fit. It’s very hard when we’ve built our identity around something and then that something changes. You have to live your life for you though and not all your fans. The people who matter will still be there for you. =)

    • LeAnne says:

      Thank you for your example on how to disagree with someone.

    • Mike says:

      Loretta, This world needs more compassionate people like yourself. Thank you for your great response.

  15. Claudia says:

    Bless you, Alex, for sharing this struggle – I am more of a fan today than I have ever been!!!

  16. All I can say is “WOW”, Alex! You are a tremendous woman & coming out to say you are no longer vegan is simply incredible. Eating a completely vegan lifestyle, I believe, is not nourishing. Eating whole, unprocessed, local, organic foods rich in nutrients is what our bodies have evolved to long for.
    Thank you for this post and keeping it real! <3

    • Jack Johanson says:

      Kristen,

      The issue is that what you believe regarding a vegan diet isn’t based on science or fact, it’s a personal belief. You cannot be swayed as you feel you know best even though factual evidence shows your contention to be incorrect.

  17. Sara says:

    Hi Alex,
    I commend you for your honesty. After all, you teach people to listen to their bodies. You must do the same for yourself. I was vegitarian and sometimes vegan for several years and did lose weight but just did not feel like I was thriving. I am now fine and proud to be flexitarian. Good luck to you and I will continue to follow you as always.

  18. Jamin says:

    Great Post, Alex — Thanks for sharing!

  19. Kelly says:

    Alex,
    I am so inspired by your story. As a health coach clients want a one size fits all recipe and I can’t give it to them. I see friends who are plant based get nasty about others who eat meat and I find myself wondering if they have all the answers. They think they are soo right about vegan-ism. I myself listen to my body. I am primarily “vegan” but if the need arises which is does mostly once a week, to eat meat, I do. I can see the need pop up during the winter months more so than the hot months. Its about finding balance. Thank you for coming out and sharing your story. Wishing you the best.

  20. Jbugg says:

    I think we all have choices to make, and you made the best choice for yourself.
    You are very brave to tell people, who really don’t have any business knowing, that you have changed your personal diet. Anyone who has a problem with how you deal with your personal diet can pack sand. You have to take care of yourself and your child however you deem fit.
    I fully support you for “coming out” although it really wasn’t necessary..it just opens you up to a lot of unnecessary hateful words from “militant” vegans. I am not a militant vegan…I believe people have choices and it’s not my job or place to judge those choices.

  21. Kimberly says:

    Alex,

    Thank you for your honesty. You’ve always advocated for more vegetables and healthier eating.

    People who are trying to beat you up for what is right for you, your body and your health need to look at how ugly they are even if they are vegan.

    People need to listen to their bodies more and when their bodies aren’t functioning the way it should, it’s time reassess and not lay the big guilt trip on. Vegans and vegetarians need to stop with the superior-than-thou attitudes and bullying over former vegans/vegetarians – that’s how you perpetuate eating disorders. And you’re a bully.

    I’ve read a few blog posts by other former vegans who were vegans for years until, for whatever reason, they’re bodies began to crave meat. These individuals adjusted their diets to include more this or that, consulted multitudes of nutritionists to help and the answer is veganism didn’t work for them anymore. I had a friend who became vegan and no matter how he tried his body could not sustain it and began to malfunction. He had to stop before he became very sick.

    For those who can be happily vegan or vegetarian, congratulations and be happy but don’t bully and harass anyone else for their choices. You make veganism ugly.

  22. Kristina says:

    Hi Alex,

    Thank you for your honesty, authenticity and bravery. I believe you know you better than anyone else, and that this decision is not one that you made lightly, carelessly or out of weakness. You have nothing to feel guilty about nor should you feel shame for choosing what is best for your body. Kudos for sharing your struggles so others can be free to live their own truth.

    In love and sisterhood,
    Kristina

  23. Awareness(!)

    THANK YOU for your courageous honesty. So respectable to evolve further into self-awareness, while maintaining awareness all around you. THIS IS THE WORK.

    Namaste, Dear One.

  24. Fefe from texas says:

    Alex,
    I applaud you being real! I was veg for 8 months and felt good for a while. I ended up having a dream about a steak and felt like it was my body telling me something. Do not let others make you feel bad. You need to listen to yourself and your body and do what you feel is best. Good luck on your omnivore journey. Those of us with understanding will follow your lead.

  25. Michele says:

    How can you still care about animals if you eat them?

    I don’t think you were ever really vegan

    I think I will bin all your books that I bought

    • Mark says:

      Perhaps it’s because someone cares about their health, that they eat animals. I care for animals, but eat them. To not do so, would be to deny my body what it needs to thrive.

  26. Hello Alex:

    THANK YOU so much for sharing this. I am a holistic health coach, personal trainer and yoga instructor. I have been going through the exact same process and have felt shameful that I am craving animal protein. One day recently, I just said “f” it and gave into my cravings and have felt mixed emotions about it. (I ate happy chicken). I have not had a burger in years but am seriously craving one. I appreciate your candor about this issue and am so proud of you for coming out and sharing this secret with us. You are an amazing person and I wish you all the best on YOUR personal journey! Thank you again.

  27. Jaime says:

    Alex, life is a journey. This is the latest chapter of yours. Life is all about balance. It rarely fits an exact ideal that we’d love it to fit. This is real life. You craved some meat. Eat it, girl. Ignore these naysayers who think they can see the chemistry in their bodies and know exactly what each cell and organ needs right now. We’re human. The goal is to always strive for balance. I doubt you are eating double cheeseburgers every day….

    I love a word another commenter used: “Flexitarian.” Beautiful.

    Whether you eat a filet of fish now and then doesn’t change the usefulness of your work. Your recipes are fantastic. Love and health to you.

  28. Stanzi says:

    Alex! I had the same experience 2 years ago. Its all about shame, isn’t it. An emotion that does no one good!

    And yes, one can still live a conscious life while consuming animal foods. I sure do! I still consider myself a raw foodist as I eat a majority of raw fruits and vegetables, but do consume animal products when my body tells me to – from a farm and people I know and respect.

    There is a phenomenal farm up here in Cold Spring, NY named Glynwood (www.glynwood.org). They are changing the food system! I welcome you to come visit and see the animals, the practices and take a look at the amazing vegetable gardens and meet the awesome staff. The Spring Sheepshearing Day is Sunday, May 5th.

    Congratulations to you for being so open and living your life fully! You are supported and loved! xoxo

  29. Nicole says:

    Alex, this is a wonderful piece. I couldn’t agree more with you. I’ve been a strict vegetarian for a decade; however during my current pregnancy I started craving meat and recently gave in to those cravings. The emotions I felt were unreal, I felt a huge amount of guilt and shame for consuming meat, yet my body responded differently. Physically I had been feeling quite low during this pregnancy and something happened when I started eating meat again, I started to feel better. My midwife commended me for listening to my body, but I still felt like I was betraying a cause that is extremely important to me. I think you’re right, as individuals, we do have different needs. We still can listen to our bodies, give it the energy it needs and still practice compassion and honor toward animals. Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. robin says:

    Brava.
    I feel the same way, the guilt is unhealthy. It’s ok to be mostly vegan, or as vegan as you want to be. It still saves lots of animal suffering.
    Thanks for being so honest.

  31. Elisabeth Gibson says:

    Good for you, Alex! What I find sad, is that you had to come around to the conclusion that, as humans, we naturally eat meat. Don’t misunderstand me; I think that not eating meat because you’re worried that it’s tainted and/or, it’s been raised under destructive circumstances is perfectly reasonable. This is the reasoning of the vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventist. As an aside: I believe that it’s ridiculous and pompous to assume that there is no suffering in the plant kingdom merely because we don’t have the capacity to measure it. Meat, eggs, and dairy raised correctly is an industry my family wants to (and does) support. I hope that your journey to find sustainable and healthy sources is a just as joyous as ours has been.

  32. Ashley says:

    Alex, I think this is excellent.

    I believe that our bodies are ever changing. What works for us today my not work tomorrow. The key is having that awareness and truly listening to your body (i.e. stop analyzing/thinking so much!). So very happy that you did. I strive to do this daily and not eat things because ‘that is what I eat’ or ‘that is what I *should* eat.’

    Eat what makes your body feel its best. For me, this varies from vegan, to raw, to primal – which I have now come to just call ‘Eating Real.’

    There are some weeks where I am way more on the raw side. Others, I am more primal eating more fish, prosciutto, game and others where I am more vegan, filling up on homemade oat bread. It’s all an individual journey and we can only hope to help guide one another to find this awareness. I am continuously learning what works well for my body, and I believe this learning and adapting is constant based not only on our bodies but other elements such as geography and seasons.

    Take care,

    Ashley

  33. kristin says:

    Alex, I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I’ve been getting your emails for awhile now. I was so surprised when I got the first one where you asked for my thoughts about food, and I replied to it, and YOU REPLIED BACK! It told me that you were very serious about people and helping them, and that this wasn’t just about money.

    Please, please do not feel hurt by the nasty comments you will (and have already!) get. As you pointed out, we have somehow made food a moral issue, and we attack and hate ourselves from every possible side. Food is just that — nutrition. We require it to continue to exist. We need to eat what our bodies require for optimum health — and NO ONE’S BODY IS THE SAME. We should be responsible and thoughtful about what we choose to eat and what its impact on the planet is. You have been thoughtful, you are thoughtful, and you will be thoughtful. It is your nature. Unfortunately (particularly in the face of our modern technology, which allows instant [kneejerk] response and a great deal of [handy, cloaking] anonymity), others will feel they need to decide your life for you. And they will say things they would never have the gall to say to your face.

    Carry on. I respect you, as several others have commented, more than ever! kristin

  34. Rachel says:

    I think to each his own – as long as you are honest to yourself. I think SFJ who commented earlier should probably get a stick of compassion and leave the nasty comments out – you can agree to disagree without making someone feel worse. Good for you and keep teaching healthy lifestyle living from what ever place you are in life.

  35. Kelly says:

    Wow! I’m impressed by your honesty and reasonableness. You’re not alone. I’ve met several people over the years that were serious vegans, and at around 40 they had some sort of health crisis that made it necessary for them to eat meat again. (Sometimes people with many food sensitivities can only eat meat and veg and no grain. Cut grain out of a vegan diet and it becomes nearly impossible for some people to thrive. i.e. Specific Carbohydrate Diet)

    It’s funny, I was just having a conversation with a dear vegan friend that relates to this. (btw, I’m not vegan, but I think everybody is unique and some thrive on a vegan diet and others actually need animal protein.) She was trying to explain how, even though she is very devoted to being vegan for moral reasons, she has always felt uncomfortable around the vegan “community” in our area. She had a hard time explaining, and then she blurted it out that it was because they were super judgey about people that weren’t vegan and she didn’t enjoy sitting around with them dissecting the catechism of veganism for hours on end.

    I guess that veganism is a religion to some people and they want to convert the world. To others it is just a way to health. And to others it is a stepping stone to healing, with alternate routes along the way.

    I respect you for your new choice and for having the courage to voice it.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. Christina says:

    Alex,
    This is my first time here and it’s because of this post. I have struggled with my weight for years but have never attempted going vegan or even vegetarian because I like very few fruits/vegetables and dislike any kind of juice. That being said, I applaud you for realizing one “diet” is not right for everyone. Each body is different and needs different things to be healthy. I believe: We are carnivores and need meat (in some form) to truly be healthy, but whatever works for you, works. period.
    Shame on the supposed “moral vegans” that have commented for not being supportive of all creatures in their struggles. You are neither weak or immoral by making a conscious decision to honor your body and give it what it craves. Eating meat that is raised organically and ‘processed’ humanely is just as ethical & environmentally conscious as being vegan.
    I will keep reading because of your openness & honesty.
    ~C

  37. Wonderful post!

    Thank you for being brave enough to follow your own instincts and share it with the world.

  38. klem says:

    How can all you people stand yourselves? You were vegan for multiple reason but once you know how cattle, chickens and pigs are treated, and how they are slaughtered and gutted in the most horrific way, how can you eat meat at all? All you people who fell off the wagon and began eating meat again, you must understand the horror that these animals endure. They are carted to the slaughter house in big trailers, they have to be dragged into the killing rooms, they fight it every step of the way, they are terrified because they know they are about to be killed, the shear horror is appalling. You can see it in their eyes, they know. Then they are gutted before their hearts have even stopped beating, virtually gutted alive. The blood and the gore must be absolutely horrendous, but later we see the burger and steaks all nicely wrapped and presented in the grocery store. How can you people live with yourselves?

    • Paleo Huntress says:

      Klem,

      I think it’s tragic that so many vegans cannot differentiate between conventional animal foods and anything else. When I mention that veganism made me ill, the first response I get was that my diet must have been filled with soda and potato chips, and that not all vegans eat junk food. This tells me that most vegans are capable of differentiating between different types of vegan foods, so their insistence on lumping all animal foods together is puzzling and can only be interpreted as an appeal to emotion rather than rational thought.

      What is appalling is that you would make an accusation such as this when the author has clearly stated that she doesn’t contribute to the conventional animal food industry. It’s easier to have a productive conversation when you’re making an attempt at being genuine.

      ~Huntress

    • KD says:

      Not every meat eater supports the factory farming that you are describing. I eat only local, organic, pastured meat. These animals are born and raised in the pasture and are slaughtered on the same property. No antibiotics or hormones. No terrifying trips in a trailer. No gruesome slaughter practices. And the best part is that I am supporting my local economy in a sustainable and humane way. So, before you go crucifying every meat eater because you think factory farming is the only way, please do us all a favor and know what you’re talking about first.

      • Sal says:

        Hi KD,
        Just a note on that, clearly a factory farmed animal’s life is hell from the offset, but to think a ‘humane’ upbringing is any less stressful on the animal just isn’t true and I know because I have sheep and pigs that live with me. I’m not sure what your direct experience is with farm animals but trust me, the last thing you want is a sick pig because they will fight any kind of treatment/intervention, even when it is for their own good. Their will to live is as strong as I have seen in any person in my life. My (non vegan) vet also relayed to me the sights and sounds of pigs going to slaughter and he said it was awful (any slaughter), they run because they think they are free and thats when they get them, you cannot kill a pig easily and without some degree of suffering no matter what your methods . Also Sheep are the most stressy animals, they are frightened of most humans/things and will run and flock together when faced with any threat, and that includes the slaughterman/woman. What I’m saying is you don’t have to have a horrific ride to your death to make it horrific, you don’t have to have a bullish, thoughtless slaughterer, the moments up to death alone can be enough.

        • Pam says:

          When we slaughtered our pigs last fall (in the pasture they lived in all summer) it was one bullet to the brain and the first one was dead. The second pig walked right up to the dead one to see what was going on. One bullet and he was dead. Really terrifying right?

          • Rebecca says:

            If that’s true, why do we get so upset over humans who are killed but “don’t see it coming”?

          • Pam says:

            Rebecca, I don’t see the relevance your comment has. We aren’t talking about people. Animals are not people, no matter how badly you wish it was so.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Sal,

          The life of a WILD animal is stressful. Have you ever heard a pig squeal/scream when it was being chased down by a predator? Can we find something unsavory about almost every scenario involving animals? Of course we can- but we also need context and perspective.

    • MAC says:

      And they taste delicious, every part of the animal!

    • Betsy says:

      I agree that conventionally raised meat in CAFO’s are inhumanely treated and slaughtered in the most horrendous fashion.

      However, as to the “immorality” of eating meat period……have you ever watched a nature program? Seen lions and tigers take down gazelles and antelopes, tearing into their bodies to begin eating before the animal is even dead? Do you think that these animals are immoral for doing what nature designed them to do? Want to start a campaign to convert all animals to only eat grass? The very notion is absurd.

      Also absurd is the notion that humans aren’t animals and don’t need meat. Humans are omnivores. We need a mix of both animal and plant nutrients. The vegans will deny it tooth and nail but there are nutrients we need that are only bioavailable in meat products, and no plant or supplement equivalent is going to synergise correctly in our body without it.

      I could explain about humanely raised, small farm meat practices, but to people like you, who are horrified at just the mere thought of eating an egg or animal flesh, it will make no difference because you fail to see the difference between humanely raised and inhumanely raised. To that end, we must agree to disagree because we will never see eye to eye. Alex here has been very brave to be honest about her new-found awareness about food, and what works for her is obviously not going to work for you. The best course of action, then, is to take your self-righteousness about flesh eating to a forum where it is welcomed.

      • Caitlin says:

        We are living the truth of a humanely raised animal protein source. If anything else, being close to your food, makes you respect animals more! You’re INVESTED in their well being.

    • JB says:

      You give us such a graphic image klem, but what about all the small critters that must die for the vegetables and fruits that have to be planted year after year by tractors running over them or being caught up as the fields are tilled and harvested? Vegans and vegetarians aren’t so innocent either.

      • Jack Johanson says:

        Veganism and vegetarianism isn’t about being perfect, it’s about reducing suffering. To not harm any living thing, you would have to not more, not breath, not eat. We all acknowledge this as impossible. Trying to live a life causing the least amount of pain and death is the aim. Your contention is as silly as the angry vegans wasting their “breath” here.

    • Pam says:

      I’ve never once dragged any of my animals to a slaughter house much less gutted one while it was still alive. And the only time any of my hens are stressed is when they are being chased by a randy rooster.

  39. Jill Cruz says:

    Good job! Listening to your body is so important. And we are not all the same. Thanks for pointing out that very obvious fact that often is left unsaid in so many conversations about food and healthy eating.

  40. Kelly says:

    “moral vegans” – ugh.

  41. Miriam says:

    Alex – Good luck in your new journey. It is brave to come out to the vegan community who do like to rally around celebrities to help us justify our eating habits. As you know, it’s hard living in a society of McDonald’s and Burger King’s and all their money and power and to say that we will not eat that way. I’m glad that you’ll still be promoting a healthy lifestyle and a compassionate one. Wow. Again, good luck. This post took real courage. Take care.

  42. Ben says:

    Alex
    Does this mean you are going to eat like Morgan in Supersize me now?

  43. Angela says:

    Hello Alex,
    I’ve followed your work for several years and you’ve always seemed like a compassionate person. Although it always sucks as a vegan to hear of someone giving it up (I’m an ethical vegan and couldn’t imagine eating animals again), why would I or other vegans want someone to be miserable as a vegan? That’s not good, either.
    I support you, as long as you don’t start badmouthing vegans/vegainism like so many have before you. We are already up against so much scrutiny, it’s just terrible when a former vegan adds fuel to that.
    I’m sure you’ll find many meat-eaters to congratulate you, so don’t worry about that.

  44. Tricia says:

    Hi Alex,

    I am so glad you wrote this piece and I agree with you. I hadn’t eaten beef/chicken/pork in about 4 years, I always ate eggs and fish, and started eating meat again about 2 years ago. I have a condition called Ulcerative Colitis and became VERY ill and could hardly eat anything for months, because of this I started to rethink restricting myself from certain foods. That is when both my husband (a vegetarian for about 7 years) and myself both decided to eat meat again but in a responsible way. How do we do that? We try to know about the animals we eat, where they came from, how they were cared for, etc. We try to eat biodynamic, organic, grassfed beef but of course we can’t always do that and have slipped, but for the most part we try to be aware of the animals we are eating. We have also learned to use the entire animal, for example when we roast a whole chicken we eat the entire thing and then use the rest, bones, etc. to make stock that we freeze and use another time, nothing is wasted. I think there can be a happy balance between being a vegetarian and eating meat, as I said responsibly.
    Thank you for your honesty!

  45. Jeanine says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! More compassion and honesty are needed in this world.

  46. Alex,
    First time visitor of your blog, and this was a beautiful post. You’re so brave and courageous to “come out” in this way. Don’t mind the negative dogmatic people out there, you do what’s right for you. Praise!

  47. Lena says:

    Hi Alex.
    Thanks for sharing!
    First of all: I don’t feel “betrayed”. Not at all. Because what you taught me was to listen to my body and give it what it needs and avoid what doesn’t feel good.
    I have missed on coming back to you about my progress I made since last year RRR, so let me tell you now.
    As a consequence of your suggestion to listen to my body, I cut out dairy, eggs and sugar in my everyday life. (Fish and meat I don’t eat anyways as I don’t feel good about the way the animals are treated and crammed with antibiotics and that doesn’t seem healthy to me.) My skin is now clear, I have lots and lots of energy and I feel much more peaceful and content with myself and my body image.
    However, I do eat dairy, eggs and sugar once in a while. That makes life easy for me and for my friends and family! For example, when I am invited and there’s not much else to eat, or when there’s a birthday cake to share. Or when I really, really want a piece of chocolate. Or when my roommate’s making pizza with cheese, that smells and tastes unbelievably good. I’ll go for it and have a piece. One piece of pizza or cake or chocolate every once in a while won’t harm me. (I still don’t eat meat and fish, although my other roommate makes delicious meatballs. I don’t crave meat at all so I can resist.)
    And I feel great because I can make responsible decisions.
    I believe we should not forbid ourselves to eat this or that. We should eat what makes us feel great and healthy in every way, physically and mentally. As I said, for me, that means in these days no dairy, eggs, meat, fish and sugar in my everyday life. Things may change. Because we change, our bodies change. That’s fine.
    I want to thank you for helping me changing my life and eating habits. I am all happy and healthy.
    Please don’t be concerned about “betraying” people. You are being honest and therefor authentic. Authenticity is one of the most important characteristics I can think of that a teacher should have!
    Alex, good luck to you.
    “This above all: To thine self be true and it must follow, as night the day; thou canst not then be false to anyone.”
    Many greetings from Germany! Lena

  48. Terri says:

    Way to go, Alex! How liberating! I’m inspired!

  49. The question that is highlighted in your post is “Can one be a vegan long term for health reasons alone?”
    Some would argue that just not eating animals does not mean vegan. Being vegan is a lifestyle where you strive to make the the choice that causes the least sufferring. What you have done is say that the interests of animals and their suffering is less of value than your cravings and self control. Were you suffering? Was your suffering greater than those animals you now consume?

    Everyone struggles. We are all on a path. I hope that you are able to overcome your obstacles and come back to the path of compassion.

    • Dawn says:

      In other words you are saying that veganism is a belief system or religion. Religious fundamentalism is never good and has been used to justify all sorts of unethical behavior–towards humans.

      Even the Dalai Lama eats animal foods, and arguably there is no greater authority on suffering and self control.

      • Well, of course veganism is a philosophy. It’s based on the ahimsa principles of non violence. Since when is being non violent a bad idea? When is choosing the option of causing the least harm a bad decision? Really….. you are trying to lump a philosophy of non violence with religious fundamentalism? Seriously?

        • Kristen says:

          Any fundamentalism, is placing your “fundamental” belief system above all else, (including your health). They all also lead to ostracism, by the most ideallogical, to anyone who differentiates from those ideoligies. How is that different? You believe in living a certain way for a “higher purpose”. Yes, you are the same…own it.

    • Erica says:

      “What you have done is say that the interests of animals and their suffering is less of value than your cravings and self control.” I don’t agree with this at all. What I heard in Alex’s letter was that she is making the choice that best allows her to take care of herself. If we do not take care of ourselves first, then we can not be of service to others in the word. This is not about self control. Clearly, Alex is not a weak person. This is about nourishment. I do wish that vegan fundamentalists could have as much concern and compassion for their fellow man as they do for their fellow animal.

  50. Mike says:

    Kudos to you. Eating should be instinctual and natural. Too many people try to make some sort of religion out of food. It’s not like a vegan diet is without loss of life. Conventional farming methods being what they are. Good luck on your journey. I recommend the grass fed sirloin.

  51. Bobbi says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I became vegetarian (if I could give up cheese I would have been vegan) for 2.5 years. I changed my diet in search of better health but found the complete opposite. I am still working on “undoing” the damage it did to my body. But it is changing slowly every day. :) Thank you for having the courage to stand up and tell your story. I have never been to this blog before but I plan on following you now. :)

  52. I flirted with veganism in an attempt to heal an autoimmune disorder, but found that I only got worse. I listened to my body and my conscience and found sustainable, pasture-raised meats and eggs. So impressed by the courage and authenticity of this post.

  53. Alex,

    Thanks for sharing this so openly! I experienced similar guilt/shame cycles with food throughout several evolutions of my style of eating. I admire your courage and am sending you lots of love. :)

  54. C.M. Cole says:

    I applaud you for listening to your body, and not just a list of rules and regulations.
    As shown from previous comments, there are a lot of people for whom compassion is a “buzz word” but not lived out in real life. That is more telling than they may think. I have noted that there are those who follow {insert method of eating here} (which means just about any particular menu) who have a self-righteous attitude against any who diverge from “their” way of thinking, and of course they are RIGHT. Glad you found what works for you and your body, regardless of the dissenters.

  55. Marianne says:

    Alex – I am so happy for you finding what your body needs and answering it. That is the truly healthy life – to understand and listen to you body telling you what you need. Few people know that only a portion of the population have the ability to thrive on a vegan diet. Yes, you found relief from the Standard American Diet (SAD), and a vegan diet helped detox the poisons from your body. But once that finished, your body told you what it needed, and you answered it. I hope you look into the Weston A Price approach to the diet, where you eat traditional foods, pastured meat, and healthy fats. You will be happier. Bravo for your courage. Do what is right for you!

  56. Suz says:

    Wow to the rude comments! Exactly proves why it was so hard to express your feelings sooner. Loved this! This is your life, your body, your health, so it is your choice.

  57. Cindy says:

    Alex, I was in one of your “Healthy Heart” classes awhile back. I so appreciate your honesty and can only imagine how hard this must be for you. I go back and forth with the Vegan diet. I get all the newsletters from Dr. McDougall, Dr. Barnard, FOK, etc., etc., and whenever I get off track I too will feel guilty! I’ve struggled with this for a long time, “What really is best for “my” body?” Having had a lot of stomach issues for sometime and this past Holiday Season went through about every test the Gastroenterologist could put me through. The doctor came to the conclusion that I’m probably into “Celiac” disease & possibly have other food intolerances. He just couldn’t get the positive biopsy from my colonoscopy and if they don’t get just the right spot, it can be missed. The genetic tests, etc. all came out positive. I had ulcers in my stomach & colon, lots of inflammation and was pretty irritated from my esophagus, stomach through to my colon. Dairy has bothered me for years, so I have stayed away from that. I was thinkiing wheat was bothering me, but never went really strict with getting out all the gluten. (which I’ve found out is in “everything” including lipstick, body/facial creams, toothpaste, hairspray etc. etc. Ugh!) At Christmas time I came across JJ Virgin on a PBS program, which I found interesting & so much sounded like me. Then I listened the interview that you had recorded with her also. I got her book right after the Holidays knowing I had some food allergies/intolerance. Happy to say that for the 1st time in years the scale moved downward & I dropped 12lbs. Needless to say this has given me great incentive! Have started adding a few of the top foods back into my diet recently, but still thinking “plant strong”, “whole” foods, staying away from “processed stuff”. Even in the “gluten free” section there’s a lot of processed junk! I noticed last week after eating an egg white omelet with veggies/no cheese when going out to breakfast , my stomach actually felt great afterwards (and it rarely does). Even felt like I had a little more energy afterwards. Haven’t been a big meat eater for years, but like you, I was starting to “crave” it now & then. Another interesting thing for me was that my stool seemed to be better when I ate some meat or eggs???? Having constant pain & stomach discomfort for so long & bowel issues is not fun! So, it’s my mission and journey to to figure out what really is best for “me”, and finally be at peace with it.

    Reading your post today, has freed me in a sense. I agree we all have to find our own way of eating, be true to ourselves. After all, we don’t all fit into one mold, our creator made us all unique. Think of how boring would our world be if we were all exactly alike!
    Yes, you will get a lot of flack from some, (and I see here your already have) but I think your honesty will draw more to you… than away from you! Having gone through one of your 8 week classes, I know you are a very compassionate person with a heart to help others. You have a calming and non-judgmental demeanor, that puts others at ease. I’m confident this is only a bump in the road, and a small stepping stone in your greater journey to help others. I admire you even more, since I know how difficult this was for you to put out there publicly. You’ve got my support and I’m standing alongside you as my friend and mentor! Hugs <3

  58. Jennifer says:

    I read many of the comments above. It is interesting how our food is really not considered “food” anymore. If we were to take away all the Whole Foods stores, the HEB’s, the mail order catalogs and simply live off of the land to survive- I am quite confident food would become “food” again. Tofu would be hard to come by in most areas. Seaweed darn near impossible to attain. Grains, etc. etc. We would be eating seasonal fruits, veggies, roots, grasses and meat. And, it is fine if you would prefer not to kill an animal to survive but even the best vegan would begin to have cravings they may be ashamed of. We do have a food chain. Last time I checked, we were at the top….we have alot of real food to choose from :) I know it stings to recieve stabs from those that disagree with us. But, as the world turns, we can try to be compassionate and kind to our enemies and make choices that improve our personal well being and those around us. Thank you for sharing honestly!

    • Bethany says:

      I love this perspective – I also feel this way myself. In terms of the vegan diet I think there are very few places in this world where a vegan could completely sustain themselves on food that was produced there locally. Many of the foods and supplements that vegans have to consume to be remotely balanced nutritionally come from all over the place geographically.

  59. Gina says:

    You are brave. I applaud you for listening to your body and giving it what it wants. I’ve been eating a caveman diet now for some time and have been thriving. You can still eat all of those wonderful vegan veggie recipes and just add a few ounces of wild caught fish, grassfed beef, or organic chicken! We are carnivores. Everything about the way our bodies are designed says so.
    Cheers to you,
    Gina

  60. Kristi says:

    Oh my word! I have been afraid to tell YOU that I am no longer vegan! What if we stopped being afraid that we would be judged (even by friends) and felt confident that even if we weren’t understood, we’d be supported for the individuals we are? I do support you, Alex, and am sorry we both had to go through the guilt and shame of doing what we felt to be right. For me, being vegan cured my bad cholesterol, but more importantly, led me on a path of discovery and knowledge. “How did I let my body get this sick and what can I do to keep myself – and now my children – healthy?” Shouldn’t this be the focus of any eating plan? We now eat organic, local vegetables and fruits, with local, organic, pastured meats; raw, pastured milk; and wild-caught fish. We have healed Blanche’s cavities with this diet! And I remain healthy. Thanks for your honesty and care. You are a BETTER teacher because of your journey and I continue to wish you the best!

    • Alex says:

      Thank you for sharing your truth with all of us, Kristi!
      It has been truly heart warming to hear from old friends (and lots of new ones) who are supportive of my
      message today.
      I’m so profoundly inspired by the responses today – to keep helping anyone and everyone who wants to find the
      best path forward for their body. All my love to you ~ A

  61. Victoria says:

    Thank you for sharing your honesty with all of us. I have never understood why people take such a vested interest in what other people eat. Though, I am not vegan myself, I have several friends and family members who are. There is no judgement, and we are accommodating to each other. What you eat is nobody’s business, especially to people you don’t even know. If they are that upset, they have their own issues to deal with.

    I also agree that if we are consuming animal products, it should be from healthy, ethically raised meat. Not only for our health, but for the good of the animals, as they are not objects, but living, breathing beings.

  62. Dave says:

    Thank you for sharing your story knowing full well that you’d be attacked for doing so. Both of my daughters were vegetarians for several years. Both noticed a decline in their health even though they did everything ‘right’. My wife and I went primal 4 years ago and my daughters and their families followed shortly after. No grains, no beans, no sugar, organic veggies, local/pastured meat, raw milk etc. My daughters health improved immediately. One discovered she can’t eat grains, nightshades, dairy. The other found grains affects her digestively as well as mentally. Our one grandson has CF and his congestion improved with the elimination of grains. The other grandson also has reactions to gluten and dairy. They all love good meat and raw milk (herd share). We aren’t all cast from one genetic mold. Some can shrive as a vegan, other can’t. Let’s all just get along.

  63. Julie says:

    Hi Alex,
    Congrats for owning up to your truth – for making the difficult (but ultimately freeing) decision to come clean about who you really are.
    As someone who was a raw food vegan for a year and have tried every different diet and lifestyle to gain health and vitality, I became really tired identifying myself by what I ate! I didn’t want to BE a vegan or an omivore…just want to be a happy, healthy and compasionate HUMAN BEING. That’s hard enough, right?
    So, you GO girl and remember to have compassion for those who feel so threatened by your post that they have to spew hatred at you…they are really self haters and that has to be really uncomfortable and sad for them.
    : )

  64. Chris Wark says:

    Good for you Alexandra!
    Coming out of the vegan closet can be really tough.
    There’s a lot of vegan dogma out there insisting that it’s “the healthiest diet for the planet” etc.

    It’s a great healing and detox diet short term, but the reality is many people cannot thrive on a vegan diet long term. I was raw vegan for 90 days to heal myself of cancer back in 2004, after 90 days my naturopath added some cooked food and clean meats back into my diet. That was what I needed to rebuild my body and thrive.

  65. Christopher Haddock says:

    Good for you…it must have taken a lot of courage to be honest about how veganism was impacting your well being. Just FYI, every vegan who “quits” receives the criticism “you must have never really been vegan”. IMHO that portrays a cult mentality. Here is a website (you’ve probably seen it) which catalogues famous ex-vegans: http://letthemeatmeat.com/tagged/ExVegans

  66. Lydia says:

    Thanks for the honesty in this post, I know it took alot of courage to to make a different statement than you had been. I read the responses and I find it interesting that a few of the commenters seem to only have compassion other creatures of this planet. Food dictocrats are much like other dictocrats in our socieity. Thier way is the only way and if someone does do another way then they must be bad, inferior, uneducated, immoral, without intelliegence, no dicipline, blah, blah, blah……

    I get that they may believe to eat animals is an immoral act but what about the plants? Yes, plants do have a certain level of intelligence too and have feelings. Read the Secret Life of Plants and then ask yourself what you will eat? Maybe only fruits and vegetables that have fallen from the vine or tree on thier own. As an avid gardener i would not suggest that at all. Once they have fallen on thier own they are mostly past the consumption stage but are great for saving seed for the next harvest. It is time to be rid of the shame, it only effects the one expereincing it. It is also time to be done with judgement and intolerance. Instead we can demonstrate discernment and acceptance. Yes, it is time to stop telling others how they should live and condeming those who don’t. My grandma called this kind of person a busy body. It is time to mind the home front and let others do the same.

  67. Meg says:

    Just awesome, Alex. I went through the same thing, and I applaud you for speaking your truth!

  68. Meghan says:

    This is beautiful.
    Props to someone courageous enough to recognize there is not a stop point for growth. We continually need to examine our bodies, our choices in food & lifestyle and how we are reacting to it.
    Well done you, I wish you great success on your journey to better health.

  69. Kaitlin says:

    Kudos to you for sharing your story! I wholeheartedly agree that as our bodies change and grow, so do our dietary needs. Listening to your body and giving it the things it needs is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

    I’ve been living a mostly Paleo lifestyle for the past year and have never felt better within myself. While I was never vegan/vegetarian before, I am friends with plenty of them. The comments I had to hear when I first made the switch (and even sometimes still!) were both hilarious and tiresome. I refuse to eat meat that isn’t raised in humane ways and fed a diet that’s appropriate for that specific animal. I’m a completely eco-conscious person in every way, but I support local farms who supply my dinners and are passionate about the animals they’re raising.

    Be true to yourself and what YOU need. That alone is a health move that only you can make.

  70. Melody Kiersz says:

    Dearest Alex,
    Thank you for your courage and candor. It’s ridiculous that we have created an environment where changing your food habits creates such an uproar, and the action you took today is a step towards changing that. Thank you, and thank you for walking your talk about listening to our body.
    I personally have never been vegan. I tried vegetarianism but felt sad and depleted. My body thrives on a mostly plant-based diet, and I listen to it when it asks for animal products. In my view, this is true compassion (along with making conscious choices about the sources of ALL my food). Denying my body of what it needs to thrive is creating suffering just the same.
    Perhaps this is a trend, after years of eating a detoxifying diet the body is ready to incorporate animal products in a healthy way? Lately, I’ve had many long-time vegan friends who spoke of their battles with their body’s cravings for meat or eggs for a whole, and they’re finally listening and adding a little of them to their diet. They’re feeling stronger and more balanced (not to say this is the case with everyone. I believe vegan ism works for some people all the time, for others just for a while, and for some of us it doesn’t work at all).
    There are no static answers in life, just an answer for each moment. Pretending otherwise (perhaps out of a need for control and stability?) is being out of touch with the fluctuations of reality.
    Bravo for listening to your body and finding your answers in each moment!

    I also wanted to thank the vegans on this thread that showed real compassion. You’re a shining example.

    Love and gratitude to all,

    Melody

  71. Dana says:

    You’re almost there. But not quite.

    If a particular dietary pattern forces the eater to consume supplements in order to get enough of a nutrient to be healthy, that’s not the way that person should eat.

    There is no way you can be a vegan, NOT take supplements, and stay healthy for the rest of your life. None. Period.

    Being vegan can be healthy in the short term if you are eating whole foods, don’t rely on soy and drop junk food entirely. Granted. But in the long term you will suffer deficiency diseases and kill yourself early.

    People can argue about this all they want but they’re on the wrong side of science. And this isn’t about protein, either, though protein is an issue.

    It’s about the essential fatty acids and how some people must get them from animal sources since they lack one or more enzymes to convert the plant versions.

    It’s about how people are poor converters of the fat-soluble-vitamin plant precursors like K1 and D2 and beta carotene. (I am a poor converter of beta carotene. If I don’t get retinol, preformed vitamin A, I suffer from excessively heavy periods that keep me confined at home. This is not unusual; in developing countries, relief workers cure heavy periods by giving women vitamin A, and have done since the late seventies.)

    It’s about how minerals are more bioavailable when they come from animals–especially heme iron.

    It’s about how the lifespan of omega-3s is best protected by the presence of saturated fats, and animal food is a more sustainable source of saturated fat since you don’t have to import it from a coconut-growing country (coconut oil) or kill orangutans to obtain it (palm oil).

    And of course, speaking of sustainability, if you don’t use animals in agriculture, you have two other options: (1) petroleum inputs, and (2) slave labor. Sooner or later the oil will run out. Do we bring back agricultural slavery, or do we acknowledge that animal input of both labor and materials is vital to feeding our population?

    We do want a better world, yes. But we need to get our heads on straight about what it will take to get there.

    Good luck on your journey.

  72. Mama says:

    Hi, Alex. Thanks for sharing your evolution with us and for so succinctly explaining your point-of-view. I faced similar attacks to Ellen several years ago when I wrote on my vegetarian blog that fish could be a good “transition food” for those still easing their way into a vegetarian lifestyle. I was shocked that people who don’t consume red meat could be so militant, violent and fierce with other human beings. Compassion is the art of showing love and respect to those with whom you may not agree. I saw very little of it from fellow vegetarians in that instance.

    At present I am coming off a pregnancy in which the cravings took me down, big time. I am juicing every day and doing the “Clean” diet, inspired in part by your first book and in part by Kris Carr. But I am also older and a bit wiser now. I go into meditation and I listen to my body. My body says it is loving the green juices and the lack of wheat and dairy in my diet. It also says that on occasion (read PMS) it really needs a bit of meat. Well, I see my two contradictory sides: the side that loves tofu and flax oil and chia seed smoothies and the side that says “Yes, please” when I think about a ham sandwich. I know that healing from years of unfood-like substances disguised as food requires whole food, vegan living and I also know that I get weak and tired and generally unpleasant when I go for years without meat.

    My husband and I, both very well-informed health food junkies, who make our own kefir and kombucha and sauerkraut, also have come to the final conclusion, (based on our own experiences of vegan and raw foods living, as well as the experiences of friends) that any extreme is unhealthy and unsustainable in the long run. Years of raw food living make people look and feel weak and sickly. Years of shovelling burgers, pasta, fried fish and pizza down your throat make your look bloated, splotchy and cranky. But, what is the middle way? That is what we asked ourselves.

    The answer for our family is taking the “Meatless Monday” and flipping it a bit. We both talked about the beautiful Sunday dinners that our families used to enjoy when we were kids and decided that Sundays would be the day that we make a big meal to share and it can include wheat or meat or dairy – the rest of the week we are vegetarian and gluten-free. This works for us, makes us enjoy life more and takes away the stress of beating ourselves up when seasonal or other cravings rear their heads.

    Thanks for your courage and for confirming for me that a person can be mindful and healthy and balanced in their ways, all at the same time.

    Many blessings to you and your son on your continued journey with healthful living.

  73. Liz says:

    Compassion for the animals but none for a fellow human being. Wow.

  74. Fiona says:

    So glad to hear you are listening to your body. It can be so hard sometimes especially when you think you are already doing the “right” thing. I had a similar experience, after a decade of being vegetarian, mostly though not intensely vegan I was tired, sick and no longer healthy. My naturopath highly recommended quitting all soy ( as I now had a thyriod issue) and that I add back meat into my diet. It took me 2 years to take the leap but now, a decade later I know the change was right and my body is much healthier for it.

  75. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal journey with us. Life is all about balance, in one form or another, and surviving isn’t the same as thriving. I know your story will touch many people and that is something powerful.

    Shame on the militants for lambasting Ms. Jamieson for doing what is right for her health and well being. If they want to get all technical, all food is murder. Plants are no less alive than animals. They eat, drink, breathe, reproduce, and even show signs of suffering and healing. You can’t take an allegedly moral high ground when you kill to survive, same as anyone. When these self-righteous folks stop consuming ALL living things, then they can claim moral superiority. Let’s see how well that turns out.

  76. Lisa Nigro says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you….

    I thought I was losing my mind when something very similar happened to me. I was doing a ton of raw food and eating clean but I started having dreams about burgers. I thought it was funny at first and just my mind playing tricks on me however the cravings were ridiculous during the daytime hours too. Then one day, my co-workers were a bit mortified when I walked across the street and ordered a hamburger rare with no bun. The minute the owner handed me the plate I took it with my bare hands and ate it within seconds. Do you know what happened?
    My body, and I am not exaggerating, took the deepest breath of its life. I totally calmed down and I was a bit in shock. Today I am a flexitarian because I am still trying to discover what is best for me.

  77. Dan Mims says:

    Hi Alex, you and I have met a couple of times, though not terribly recently. I first want to thank you for the work you’ve done on behalf of other animals, who need strong human voices as much as ever.

    I believe that, as animals, we all—humans and non-humans—have a right to consume what we must in order to preserve our own lives and, by extension, to preserve the environment that gives us all life.

    That said, we humans have a moral obligation, because we have the capacity, to assess those standards logically and in complete good faith. Certain statements you have made here lead me to believe that, in this case, you haven’t met that obligation.

    “I began to see my cravings for animal foods from a different angle. It wasn’t immoral or wrong. It just was. In fact, I came to believe that trusting your body, living your truth, whether it be vegan, part-time vegan, flexitarian or carnivore is all inherently good.”

    You’ve stated here that something’s feeling right makes it morally right. But that isn’t morality; that’s a license to do whatever you say you want to do. As a moral principle, that’s a license for any of us, if it just feels right, to kill, rape, steal (etc.)—incidentally, the violent acts at the crux of meat production. This is a principle you would never accept in application to human-only interactions. That’s not enlightenment; it’s just species-ism.

    Moreover, I don’t see how “orthorexia” applies any better to your previous desire to eat plant-based foods for health-focused reasons than it does to your new desire to eat animal-based foods for health-focused reasons. Indeed, eating animals is far more harmful to others and to the environment than eating plants, so it takes a deeper pathology to rationalize the greater moral costs of eating animals.

    More than anything, you’ve made it clear that feelings of guilt and shame are driving your eating decisions now. I can relate, having tremendous feelings of guilt and shame myself about the unenlightened and eminently harmful life I used to lead, the one in which I ate pounds and pounds of animals each week. But I think it’s a terrible mistake to respond to your own mental suffering by helping others rationalize the infliction of much graver sufferings than yours or mine upon other sensitive animals.

    Sincerely,
    Dan Mims

    • Alyssa says:

      Dan, your comment is ignorant and insensitive. Her cravings were her body telling her that at this point in her life, she needs animal products to be healthy. Comparing that to killing, raping, or stealing is simply ridiculous. Unless, of course, you feel that YOU need to kill, rape, or steal, in order to be healthy. In that case, I think you’ve got bigger problems to worry about.

      Also, your comment about guilt and shame doesn’t make much sense in light of her post. If she were to continue being vegan, THAT would be the product of guilt and shame (imposed upon her by people like you, I might add). Her decision to eat animal products is clearly the result of her deciding to leave behind the guilt and shame, and eat what’s right for her body.

      Alex, I just want to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for writing this post. I used to be vegetarian, then vegan, then gluten free, and now paleo, because that’s what works best for my body. I respect EVERYONE’S decisions about what to eat, regardless of what they are, because who am I to judge what works best for someone else? If there were more people like you, the world would be a much, much better place.

      • karen says:

        No,her cravings were her body’s way of telling her she likes the way meat tastes. You really believe everything you crave is something your body needs? Really?!

    • Maureen says:

      Very well put, Dan; thank you.

  78. Cara says:

    What we put in our bodies is one of the most personal, intimate decisions we can make. It sounds like you made the choice to eat animal products with a lot of careful thought. Labels can be so restricting – I compare the vegan/carnivore labels to gay/straight. Can one call oneself vegan while occasionally eating an egg? Can someone call themselves straight if they’ve ever kissed someone of the same sex? I think that labels are great for feeling like a member of a group but when they become so rigid they stop serving a purpose. I eat 99.5% vegan – just because a couple of times a year I consume an animal product doesn’t mean I’m a carnivore, a flexitarian, a fallen vegan… it means I’m human.

  79. Terry says:

    Good for you for having the courage to live vegan if that is what it took for you to get well. Good for you for facing your struggle, processing it and coming to a healthy conclusion. Good for you for developing the courage to open and profess your new-found awareness that your body needs another kind of protein (and all the other nutrients of meats). I hope you were able to brace yourself for the onslaught of the self-righteous hypocrites who have posted and will post regarding your announcement. There is a very true proverb, “Out of the abundance f the heart, the mouth speaks.” So while these detractors shoot the pointing finger at you, they are trumpeting their own deficiencies in compassion, acceptance, tolerance, understanding, etc.

    This whole “compassion” issue is interesting. Animals don’t have to be violently killed in order to be part of our diet. All animal death is not and need not b violent. But how about a little perspective?? If you believe that humans are only animals, why should they (humans) be so very different in their natural diet than myriads of other animals? Humans deserve the same right to eat as every other carnivore and omnivore out there. You cannot change the entire planet, simply because you have your mind bent around some “compassionate” cause to spare this or that set of animals. Lack of awareness of your own larger environment is a big part of it, as well as a real lack of awareness of your own biological needs. Part of that understanding is balance. Balance. You can get too much or too little of almost anything.

    • Maureen says:

      Umm, how do animals become part of our diet if not killed violently, Terry? Is there a “nice” way of killing? If one can live without harming anyone else (and I don’t believe this post said she was unhelathy or deficient in nutrients, jsut that she “craved” meat), why wouldn’t one?

      • Bethany says:

        So if someone died a quick, painless death where one minute they were walking around happy as a clam, and next minute they were dead, would you be upset about how violently and painfully they were killed? I imagine you would be a lot more likely to think “at least they died quickly.”

        I’ve butchered my own chickens. They never even know it’s happening. On the other hand, I’ve seen what can happen when a wild animal gets a hold of a chicken, and it isn’t pretty. How on earth would it be okay for an omnivorous raccoon to steal away a chicken and eat it alive (this actually happened to one of my hens), but not okay for an omnivorous human to quickly decapitate a chicken so that it feels no pain?

        • Andrea says:

          The raccoon needs meat to survive. It doesn’t know any other way. Most humans don’t need meat to survive (at this time in history), so why eat it if you can avoid it?

          I don’t think anyone needs to beat themselves up for not being 100% vegan. I suspect most people going the ‘ethical meat’ route eat a lot less meat than the average American. That’s great – it means less animal suffering and death. This is a good thing! Zero suffering and death is not possible; minimising suffering and death is my goal, and the best way I know to do that is veganism.

  80. Abe says:

    Congratulations in your decision of been more human, you just added life to your years, but remember not to purchase store bough meat, eggs, cheese, milk, bacon, juice, they are contaminated, buy from your local farmer, make it your own, organic grass fed beef from people you know, eggs with no soy or corn fed, pasture raised, no restaurants and more bone broth(gelatin) and organ meats over muscle meat, no more SOY, if you are vegan and need any supplements for any deficiencies, then that should tell you is not suitable for your body. You know the drill, is just a reminder.

  81. jany says:

    Very nice. in Islam we are thought to do everything in moderation.welcome to eating meat again. its funny we have a prophetic saying that many of the people not eating meat for more then 40 days will start misbehavior. n that’s just how sfj is acting. its about being honest with the self. U were always nice n will not be even happier n wiwhich will result in you being nicer honest withurslef . love u n laken much

  82. Michelle says:

    This must have been so difficult for you to write. I applaud you for your bravery and your honesty.

  83. jany says:

    I meant you will now be even happier *

  84. Jackie says:

    I also have to respectfully disagree. I get that being vegan can sometimes be a struggle, but to justify eating animals and animal products because you crave it just seems wrong to me. I crave cookies and candy sometimes, but it doesn’t mean my body needs it. Many of you seem to be more angry at vegans for being the voice for animals, but if not us, then who? Who will make sure the animals have a say in what happens to them and how they are treated? Many of you say that we should let everyone do what is “best for them”, well what about the animals? What is best for them? They don’t have a choice and they can’t speak up for themselves. This all makes me very sad. I am so sorry that you decided to no longer be vegan, Alex. But you are free to make your choice. Unfortunatley, the animals don’t have this luxury and they are not free to decide their fate. :(

    • Amy says:

      Playing devil’s advocate here: Who is the voice for the plants that sustain your life? What’s best for them? Do they not deserve the same life and respect as animals? They don’t have a choice and can’t speak for themselves either. You are free to make YOUR own choices (as is everyone), but plants don’t have that luxury and are not free to decide their fate. Is sparing the life of one type of living being somehow superior to that of others? Plants react to injury and show signs of suffering too. They even develop scar tissues and show signs of healing like other living creatures. Why is it ok to kill and eat them, but not other living things? Who gets to make that moral judgement and pronounce sentence? Is it because they are eyeless and you can’t see their pain in there? Is it because you can’t hear them scream in terror, pain, or sadness? Who is ANYONE to judge the rights of other living beings? No matter how you state it, eating to live is killing other living beings, whether furry, feathered, scaled, or leafy. It’s all death for survival.

      • diane conlin says:

        Amy, plants have no central nervous system and they are not sentinent beings.

        • Mama says:

          I beg to disagree. Read The Secret Life of Plants.

        • patrice says:

          I’ve never understood this argument. My question is how do you *know* plants are not sentient beings? It is known that plants respond to either positive or negative environments. They can react to sound, light, etc. How do you know that they aren’t sentient just because they don’t communicate the same way as humans? Whenever somebody brings up Amy’s point, that is almost always the answer I’ve seen “plants have no central nervous system and they are not sentient beings” yet that somehow makes it okay to kill them? Why them and not animals? Why does the existence of a central nervous system matter?

          Amy, I agree with your point 100%.

          I find it interesting that the one group of people who espouse compassion on the animals can be so cruel and vitriolic to other humans who don’t eat exactly or believe as they do.

          Alex, thank you so much for this article. I applaud your bravery and willingness to “come out of the closet.”

          • Maureen says:

            This is a stupid argument you are making, and a very common one that meat eaters like to throw at vegans. No-one feels bad about pulling up a lettuce or picking an apple, but how many of you would have the guts to walk into a slaughter house and watch the terror of the animals you are going to eat? Not many. You cannot seriously regard a carrot and a cow or pig being remotely comparable in terms of feelings or sentience. However, if you actually did, that is even more reason to become a vegan. It takes many many pounds of plant protein (which must be fed to animals) to produce one pound of animal protein. Very wasteful. (And all while children are starving to death because the food they could have eaten is being fed to cattle in another country). So vegans are saving a lot more plants as they aren’t responsible for all plant “deaths” to feed animals that are going to become “meat”.

          • Holly says:

            I too agree that plants don’t have central nervous systems, thus don’t feel pain; however, years ago I had a Biology Prof once say that plants do feel pain. I sort of believed that professor’s theory so I felt bad for the plants, but realized I needed to eat something to sustain myself which was going to be plants since there was no way I was going to kill/eat my fellow animals. After thinking about it critically thought I realized that even ‘if’ plants felt pain, similarly to we animals (humans included since we are animals), then by eating a vegan diet in actuality we are killing/harming less plants. Vegans kill less plants than meat-eaters and that’s because we remove the middle-person (so to speak), by not paying into the demand to have farmed-animals bred thus needing to feed them plants so that later we can eat the animals. So eating plants over eating animals kills/harms fewer plants. Obviously I’m a vegan (ethical vegan). I love ALL animals, including humans.

          • Holly says:

            Oh sorry, Maureen, I just read your comment above and realized I was just reiterating what you said. Yay Vegans! :)

    • I want to thank all the vegan’s with a purpose to save and protect the animals from harmful treatment and to engage in promoting good health. You have done an exceptional job over the past twenty years expanding our views on health in two ways! One, your passion and love has inspired so many of us to rethink our a own personal health, and you have put us on alert to care about ourselves and others. Hooray! And two, you have certainly brought the cruel condition some of these animals suffering to the forefront of consciousness that has allowed the farmers and ranchers and slaughter houses to rethink their own compassionate nature. Again Hooray.

      And Alex, you too have done an exceptional job introducing us to a passionate community that does care about health, both personally and planetary. All and all, you have served as a guide in exploring and expanding consciousness, in health and well being and now in acceptance! Hooray for you too.

      As I drink my coffee and read all the post in total wonderment, I am left with only one thought, you all could be right… Each perspective, belief and personal understanding rings true on some level. So for me the greatest pleasure is the knowing that cracks in the veils have advanced us forward in a bigger thing called, awareness!

      And after all, isn’t that what’s really going on here. Just a huge breath of awareness from both parts. Good job you guys for all your hard work opening a new perspectives, awaking, and promoting peace from all sides.

      Seriously thanks

    • Holly says:

      Dear Jackie and Alex,
      Jackie, I love what you said here. Very poignant questions. I’m an ethical vegan am solely vegan for the animals.
      Whenever I hear people say ‘it’s their choice’ or ‘live and let live’, especially that ‘live and let live’ line, I think that the individual saying that really means “I want to live how I want to live regardless of if I harm another”. So I now hate that expression ‘live and let live’ because it’s a selfish statement. I’ve changed that statement around and say “I believe in the true meaning of ‘live and let live’”.
      Alex, I think in your heart you feel better about being Vegan. Yes, there are a lot of judgey vegans out there, so I understand your fear of letting others down, etc. However, if you put that aside the person/people whom are being let down or harmed are not folks from the vegan community, but are the animals. Yes, it’s hard sometimes (I’ve been vegan for 10 years, vegetarian for 10 years before that, and not eating red meat for 5 years before that), I have cravings lots but find alternatives that don’t cause harm or killing of another fellow being. There are temptations everywhere in life, not just food-related, so I have to put boundaries on them as well. Go Vegan. :)

    • Holly says:

      Sorry I think I responded under the wrong comment. This is for Jackie (and Alex).
      Dear Jackie and Alex,
      Jackie, I love what you said here. Very poignant questions. I’m an ethical vegan am solely vegan for the animals.
      Whenever I hear people say ‘it’s their choice’ or ‘live and let live’, especially that ‘live and let live’ line, I think that the individual saying that really means “I want to live how I want to live regardless of if I harm another”. So I now hate that expression ‘live and let live’ because it’s a selfish statement. I’ve changed that statement around and say “I believe in the true meaning of ‘live and let live’”.
      Alex, I think in your heart you feel better about being Vegan. Yes, there are a lot of judgey vegans out there, so I understand your fear of letting others down, etc. However, if you put that aside the person/people whom are being let down or harmed are not folks from the vegan community, but are the animals. Yes, it’s hard sometimes (I’ve been vegan for 10 years, vegetarian for 10 years before that, and not eating red meat for 5 years before that), I have cravings lots but find alternatives that don’t cause harm or killing of another fellow being. There are temptations everywhere in life, not just food-related, so I have to put boundaries on them as well. Go Vegan. :)

  85. solstice says:

    Bravo! My own journey started when I became vegetarian…and rightfully so as I was working for the USDA and saw first hand some of the disasters in the animal/meat industry. I became heavily reliant on grains and dabbled in soy alternatives for years. I convinced myself that meat was gross and that people were inhumane to perpetuate eating it…especially when I knew how it was raised in factory settings. Fast forward nearly a decade: battled IBS, took on juice fasting for healing, had chronic yeast infections, etc. One Thanksgiving after eschewing the turkey at my in-laws, we stopped to visit friends. These friends had cooked up a free-range, ethically treated bird and right then and there told them that I wanted to try some. Everyone was shocked—but it was the best damn turkey I’d ever eaten! That’s when the tide turned and I realized there is a real difference when you can source your meat from local farms, raise your own and hunt for your own. I have done a 360 and can honestly say this is the best decision I’ve ever made for my body. We now raise our own chickens, hunt our own deer (killing and butchering your own hunted animal is truly primal and what has sustained man for all of these years—and it can be quite spiritual and compassionate as well) and source meats from local pastured animals. I have come a long way since those first years of eschewing meat—i can hardly recognize myself!

    Listening to your body without judgement is the right path for all of us. It is a continually journey! Blessings!

  86. Rebecca says:

    I have felt exactly the same way, albeit on a shorter time line. I turned to some wonderful vegan spokespeople for guidance when I first began to turn my health around with my diet and the changes were immense. The more I researched however, the more I began to wonder if any of those spokespeople ever went toward eating humanely raised animals at times. It makes me feel supported to know there are others who feel the same way about honoring their own bodies. A heartfelt THANK YOU for this letter!

  87. Martha says:

    Alex,

    Bravo! Congratulations on your willingness to live your truth. Not an easy decision in our extreme, violent, hostile , shame-driven world. I applaud you and bow to your courage. May your compassion be returned to you one thousand fold.

  88. Heather says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring story! I was also, briefly, a vegan – for the very same reasons (my health, animal rights, the environment, etc). I managed a vegetarian lifestyle for many years without too many issues but my veganism only lasted for about a year until I began feeling very ill. I was tired, bruised easily, and just generally had NO energy. I also began CRAVING meat, something fierce! I am very familiar with how vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters ALL shun one another. Within my family there are hunters, fishermen, homesteaders, one organic farmer, and just about everyone has a big summer garden. I felt that for the first time in my life, my vegan lifestyle actually drew me further away from the Earth. Some vegans would actually prefer to wear shoes made of vinyl than leather… HOW does that make sense? I grew up in Florida and we did not have much money so we lived off of the land as much as possible. Most of our animal protein came from the ocean but we also raised chickens and hogs, in addition to some hunted deer meat and an occasional turkey each fall. I denounced my childhood eating habits when I was a vegetarian and vegan. I might also mention that I have practiced yoga for many years. One of the goals of yoga is to gain self awareness and really LISTEN to what your body is telling you. Once I began craving meat, the proverbial lightbulb flashed over my head! I too realized my human animal and could no longer deny it. I feel that my journey has taken me full circle and I now have a deeper pride of my roots. How many people nowadays can say that, as a child, they had fun running with their chickens, collecting eggs for breakfast, and regularly eating free-range chicken /venison/ pork for dinner? We also had to learn how to fish and throw a casting net but harvesting oysters was my favorite! YUM!! Just like my native american ancestors, I honor the animals whose lives were sacrificed for my nourishment because I know, without a doubt in my mind, that I couldn’t live without them. Peace!

  89. Sharon A says:

    Bravo for having the courage to listen to your body and the courage to acknowledge this publically. Very well said!

  90. Clare McNally says:

    Hello, it is 347am I was using my phone to get back to sleep and saw this post – cant believe the number of replies. 1. I think SFJ should be removed from the site. Opinion and debate welcome, hate and mean-spirit doesn’t fit here. 2. I think you should do what is right for you. I’ve followed your work for 3 years, love eating a plant based diet and can’t imagine eating flesh, but then I don’t think I’m completely healed yet. Well done for your honesty and listening to your body. I’ll still get super excited when you comment on my FB regardless of what you ate for dinner! Love and smiles, Clare.

  91. I for one applaud you for being honest and doing what is natural and listening to what your body is telling you. I know how hard it is to make that decision, and it takes even more to come out and announce it to the world. I had not come across your site until now when this was referenced on a Paleo site I follow. I wish you the best of luck in this, and please do not let the few negitivites make this hard on you, people need to remember that the human body was not made with a cookie cutter process and one diet does not fit all. What works for one might not work for you and just know that there are many that support you fully.

  92. Jessie says:

    I was linked here through gerilynburnett.com ‘s Facebook page, and I have to say I’m proud of you! I personally follow (as closely as I can) a Paleo diet, which encourages vegetables and happy, well-treated, grainlessly fed animals. You are absolutely correct when you say you should listen to your body. Both my favorite vegans and Paleo-folks encourage that and I think that is the healthiest way to live your life, and I hope no one talks you out of it. From my personal experience, I go through periods where I do and don’t want animal products and I feel good by listening to my literal and figurative guts. Brava, girl. Follow your senses. They’re there for a reason.

  93. Melissa says:

    Last year, Alex helped me in my transition to veganism, undertaken for a combination of ethical and health concerns. She spent her time being supportive, not judging me. I am a stronger person with a better life now because of her. I wish for her the same health and support that she offered to me. Alex, thank you for everything. I know from experience that anyone who works with you is very fortunate. A person doesn’t need the label ‘vegan’ to be a caring, intelligent professional with an earnest desire to help others.

  94. Kallie says:

    Alex,
    I’m disappointed by this post. I certainly don’t think that you’re a weak, selfish person. I’m an ethical vegan who absolutely understands that cravings happen and can be overwhelming, so my comment isn’t coming from a place of judgement.

    There are quite a few things in your post I take issue with. Firstly, I agree with you that we’re pressured by the media to see our food choices, as they affect our weight and health, as moral issues. And I agree with you that this perspective is misguided. But that doesn’t mean that your food choices don’t have moral implications. If you make a food choice that causes you to gain weight, your choice has nothing to do with morality. If you make a food choice that causes another creature suffering and loss of life, that unquestionably involves morality. You’re right: craving animal products isn’t immoral. Acting on those cravings is a different story. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for eating animal products, but you can’t deny that morality is involved in our food choices in some way.

    Secondly, you say that you believe “you can love and care about animal welfare and still consume them.” You might claim that you love and care about animals. But you can’t be consistent with that perspective if you eat them. An abusive husband might feel that he cares about and loves his wife. That goes out the window the second that he hits her. He might honestly feel those emotions of love and caring. But he’s certainly not acting in line with them.

    Thirdly, unless I’ve misread this post, you’ve gone back to eating animal products because of food cravings. You haven’t listed any actual health problems you’ve been having on the vegan diet. You just wanted animal flesh and secretions. Fine. But I feel that in the above post you are proposing this as a health problem. As though you must have been missing something because you were craving these things. Here are some things I frequently crave: greasy, crispy fries, Dr. Pepper, chocolate, Cheetos, Snickers, sugary cupcakes, puff pastry, and gin. I don’t think my body is lacking in any of these things. Some other things I frequently crave: kale, carrots, sprouts, oatmeal, hummous, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, and blueberries. Sometimes listening to your body is beneficial. Sometimes it isn’t.

    I certainly understand your comments about the judgemental behaviour of some vegans, and I empathise. And being a vegan in a carnist world can be a bitch. But I am disappointed in this post, certainly partly because you’re no longer vegan, but largely because I think you’ve misrepresented the issue here. Your cravings are a personal issue that are in contrast with your values and your beliefs about health. And that’s a difficult position to be in. But my congratulating yourself for choosing not to live in line with your beliefs anymore, you will have given fuel to a corrupt fire, and encouraged other vegans and potential vegans who would thrive on this diet not to follow it.

    • Dan Canon says:

      Exactly what Kallie said.

    • Allison Thompson says:

      A judgemental vegan…real original.

      Craving what your body needs is not in your brain such as when you crave fries and Cheetos. It’s your body telling you by how you feel physically. Maybe you haven’t learned how to listen to what your body really needs.

    • Paleo Huntress says:

      Kallie,

      We don’t live in a carnist world, and people who include animal products in their diets aren’t carnivores, but OMNIVORES. Alex isn’t accountable to anyone but herself– it isn’t her responsibility to inspire new vegans– and the culture of secrecy that is status quo and that you’re promoting by scolding her for not keeping it to herself is EXACTLY what causes so many vegans to stay with veganism long after their bodies have told them it’s making them sick.

      What matters is the quality of the food, how and where it was grown and whether or not it’s ‘whole’. Focussing on leaving out meat instead is tragic, and akin to prim parents refusing to allow their child sex ed or “safe sex” and pretending the only option is abstinence. Ugh… shades of gray… you need to learn to see them.

      Shame on you. YOU are the insidious, ugly, undercurrent of shame that’s wrong with veganism.

      ~Huntress

    • Amy says:

      I have to respectfully disagree with your comment.

      I think that most vegans and those that choose a whole foods omnivorous diet have more in common than they acknowledge. Both care about health, both care about animal welfare, both care about the environment.

      To think that being vegan means you are not involved in any loss of life to obtain your foods is being naive. To exist is to kill. Entire ecosystems have been killed in order to produce crops like wheat, corn, and soy that are often found in a vegan diet.

      Plus, a craving for unhealthy foods can mean that the body is deficient in something and is desperately seeking nutrients. And a mental craving for something is very different than a physical craving for a food. A physical craving is much much deeper.

      • Kallie says:

        Amy,

        Thanks for your comment. Of course vegans and people following a whole-food diet have stuff in common. And I think most people care about those thinks you mentioned. To exist is to kill, yes. To some extent. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to kill as little as we can. Veganism is one way to try to reduce the negative impact we can have in the world. That’s not to say that I think I personally cause less harm overall in my life than a carnist (note, that word is carnist not carnivore). But I try to do my best.

        As far as I’m aware, contemporary research suggests that food cravings are actually not linked to specific nutrient difficiencies, suggesting that cultural and emotional factors are to blame instead. I’d like to read any research you have on the subject though.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Kallie,

          I’m familiar with the term ‘Carnist’, though it’s a made-up word intended to be inflammatory toward omnis. If you merely wanted to make the distinction, “omnivore” is the perfect word. As I said, we don’t live in a carnist world, we live in THE world.

          You might find this study interesting, though you’ll need to see the full text.

          Pica and Nutrition
          Annual Review of Nutrition
          Vol. 2: 303-322 (Volume publication date July 1982)
          DOI: 10.1146/annurev.nu.02.070182.001511

          “Pica has been hypothetized to be a craving generated by nutrient deficiency. Attempts to link pica with nutritional states have concentrated on iron . Several studies agree that iron deficiencies impact pica.”

          • Jeff says:

            If you’re not familiar with the term, how on earth can you know that it’s a word intended to be inflammatory to omnivores? You don’t even know what it means! It was a term coined by social psychologist Melanie Joy, and here’s how she defines it:

            “Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism; “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” denotes a belief system. Most people view eating animals as a given, rather than a choice; in meat-eating cultures around the world people typically don’t think about why they find the flesh of some animals disgusting and the flesh of other animals appetizing, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity for survival, as is the case in much of the world today, it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.” (taken from her Web site carnism.com)

            In my opinion the term “speciesism,” which already existed, covers pretty much the same thing. Anyway, she elaborates on the concept and her views on the development and maintenance of the attitudes that lead people in a given culture to eat (certain) animals while shunning the flesh of others here:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vWbV9FPo_Q

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Jeff,

            What I wrote is that I’m “familiar” with the term, not “unfamiliar”. Thank you though for attempting to set me straight- as I said, it is only used in instances where one wants to enflame an omnivore in a debate. Otherwise, “omnivore” works perfectly.

          • Linda says:

            Who is a carnist or carnivore? That means eating no plants, right?

          • Jeff says:

            Huntress, I misread what you wrote about being familiar with the term carnist because the rest of what you wrote made it sound like you’re NOT familiar with it. Your response pointing out my error only further suggests that you don’t understand what the term means. It was a term coined by social psychologist Melanie Joy to refer to the culturally promulgated belief system that is used to justify eating certain animals. For anyone who is interested in understanding further what it means, her Web site is http://www.carnism.com.

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Lather, rinse, repeat, Jeff.

            “As I said, it is only used in instances where one wants to enflame an omnivore in a debate. Otherwise, “omnivore” works perfectly.

            Again.

  95. Aurora says:

    Good on you. Powerful story. May it free more people to live their vibrant Truth outloud.

  96. Yoli Ouiya says:

    Best thing I’ve read all day. Love you lady!

  97. Good for you. A chosen diet is one thing, people beating the drums of a chosen dietary religion is quite another.
    As you say, compassion is partially understanding that there are many realities in the world and avoiding universal prescriptions. I know how hard it can be to take criticism, but please do your best to ignore the angriest responses here. It is probably just jealousy about bacon. :) This was a lovely coming out post. Best of luck going forward.

  98. Betty says:

    Personally I think you should eat whatever you need. I have been a vegetarian for 4 years March 6. During my first year I went through a craving for fish and so I ate fish for 1 month. I decided that is what it had to be. After that month I gagged on it and I haven’t been able to eat meat since. However, I never gave up dairy or eggs. My body needs them. If anyone is upset with you I think it is because you didn’t announce your cravings right away in a blog. You hid them. So for that they feel betrayal. There isn’t anything wrong with giving your body what it needs. When I decided to eat fish I came out with it right away and then when I went back to being a vegetarian I once again announced myself. There isn’t anything wrong with taking care of yourself. I just get the feeling those who are attacking you feel betrayed because you hid it. They may also be angry because you have made your career about being a vegan and now you can’t be so they feel you lied to them. You were the go to girl for vegans so by not being a vegan who is the new go to girl? You were the only one who represented the vegan community. You were their idol. You weren’t just another Jillian Michaels or the other top TV health/chef people, you were special. You were a step above the rest. Do what you have to do for you and the rest will work itself out. You are very talented and now you just have to change your “brand” a bit. I spoke to you one time on the phone. You are a sweet lady. Best of luck to you…..it will work out.

  99. Christy says:

    I think that your confession mirrors how so many of us feel or have felt about the struggle between animal rights and our own health. I was vegan for two years, was overweight for the only time in my life, developed acne, and became severely mentally ill. I added dairy and eggs back into my diet and felt much better. But over time, my mental health became very, very bad again. I craved clams, oysters, and mussels, and I started to eat them at least once a week. My mental health is much better now, though admittedly not perfect. It can be terrifying to feel trapped in a diet that is also a community. I don’t label myself anymore by the types of food that I eat. Most of my food is local, organic and plant-based, but I refuse to feel guilty eating the eggs from “happy chickens” that make me feel like I can face another day or the sardines that calm my anxiety. Many people do well on a vegan diet, but I am not one of them. Thank you for your honesty, Alex. You have freed so many people.

  100. Terri S. says:

    I am beginning to think the spiteful vegetarians are just hungry. :)

    On a serious note, I can not do soy at all. My body doesn’t like it and with a family history of early onset breast cancer, my doctor doesn’t want me on it either. Plus the fact that it is one of the top GMO’s really makes it a no go. And as for vitamins, I am allergic to corn. Guess what is in every vitamin I have found. Yep, corn or a corn diriviative.

    It is about choice. We all need to listen to our bodies. Vegan is not right for everyone. I do support finding grass fed beef, organic free range eggs etc.

    I came across your blog today and just had to let you know, good for you.

  101. Mike G says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles about the guilt around the desire to eat meat. It takes a lot of courage knowing the possible backlash. I respect your honesty and integrity surrounding your personal discoveries and awareness. The world needs more people like you.

  102. Anisa says:

    I have had a very similar experience. Being vegetarian for a significant part of my life mainly because I thought it was the healthiest thing I could do for my body. And I would consider myself a “healthy” vegetarian, eating mainly whole foods with plenty of protein but still ate soy and grains. My health began to deteriorate at age 18! 3 years later, I’m finally seeing significant improvements. I’ve been eating paleo for almost a year now. Whole-foods, grass-fed/pastured meats, eggs, wild-caught fish, nuts and healthy fats. I’m feeling immensely better and have the same ideals as vegans. My view of respecting animal welfare is to allow them to live naturally but understanding there is a circle of life where we need animals for optimal life. I applaud you on coming out of the closet and wish you continued success in your pursuits.

  103. sharon says:

    I believe vegan is healthier, however, if one must eat animals at least eat happy, healthy ones. free range, well fed with no chemicals or drugs. to me, eggs don’t count unless they are fertilized. honey the same. bee poop. that’s not harming the bee.
    everyone one should do what the believe to be appropriate for themselves.
    you go ALEX!!!

    • Abby Bean says:

      well if unfertilized eggs don’t count for you, sharon, why then should they count do the poor, defenseless, tortured, creatures they’re stolen from? You should do a little more research before assuming the propaganda you’ve been swallowing is true. Happy, healthy animals? Good luck with that.

    • Rachel says:

      No such thing as “free range” they are still crammed inside a barn.. they just have to leave the barn door open.. still dark, still no way to get to the door, still thrown, still beaks cut off so they can’t defend themselves, still killed after a short life of confinement.. “happy” no not happy more like “slavery”… because of the egg production millions of male chicks are crushed daily because no use for them.. And plus it is their embryo / menstrual style.. .. The honey is bees vomit.. they make it for themselves and their families to eat for during their off seasons for their survival.. And the “Bee keepers”.. buy (YES BUY!) a queen bee to keep the other bees there to make honey.. They are bought with their wings broken off so they can’t leave the hive.. when they die, which is short life, they are replaced with another one.. Have you tried agave nectar? .. REALLY GOOD!!! .. Oh and tofu scramble.. YUMMM!!!!!

      • Terri S. says:

        I have a friend who has 4 chickens and I get my eggs from her. They are free range and are not stuck in a barn. They also still have their beaks.

        As for Tofu, there are a lot of people that can not eat it or tolerate it. Also, maybe you should research the early onset of estrogen positive breast cancer. Many of the people with it once had a diet high in soy. So, it’s ok to kill people but not to eat an unfertalized egg??

      • Dawn says:

        You should study beekeeping before you make such incorrect statements. If bees couldn’t leave the hive, they couldn’t make honey from the pollen they collect, and they would die pretty quickly because without intact wings, they couldn’t keep warm.

        I don’t know why vegans always assume that the factory model is the only way to produce food. There are plenty of sources in the U.S. for sustainably, humanely raised eggs, dairy, meat and honey. Most ex-vegans typically source the most humane and local sources they can find.

        It is completely possible to get your meat, eggs and dairy from animals raised in open pasture on green grass in humane conditions that far exceed what they would find in the wild.

        And most beekeepers I know wouldn’t think of depriving their bees of the honey they need to sustain themselves and their young for the winter. That’s a recipe for no more bees. Good thing bees typically make HUGE surplus beyond what they need.

        • Heather says:

          It’s probably because the factory model makes up 90%+ of the US meat supply. While it’s not the only way, it is the reality that the vast majority of animals are not raised in the “happy” conditions that the people here are espousing.

          • Bethany says:

            Yes you are absolutely correct on that. But the problem is when you paint ALL animal product consumption with the same brush just because most people are doing it wrong. For example, my family and I have taken a very opposite direction, and have established a small farm where we are now able to produce meat and eggs for our local community that are raised sustainably, in natural conditions, fed a normal diet for their species. So now we are part of that 10% that is opting out of the commercial food system and through us, more people are able to take part by buying our eggs and meat.

      • Paleo Huntress says:

        Rachel,

        Agave nectar is higher in free fructose than HFCS and most definitely isn’t a good food.

      • Bethany says:

        no such thing as free range hens? Are you going to be the one who comes to clean all the chicken poop off my back deck from my “not-free-range” chickens?

        Come on people… let’s all hold hands, sing kumbaya, and realize WE ALL HATE THE COMMERCIAL FOOD SYSTEM.

      • Bethany says:

        oh… bees with their wings broken off? That was a joke, right? I’ll spare you the “how life works” monologue since someone already explained how honey is actually made.

        This is exactly one of the problems with a fundamentalist all-or-nothing viewpoint – someone in your “circle” tells you something, you take it as gospel and don’t even check facts to see if it’s true. All it does is make your circle look foolish.

  104. Karen Seligman says:

    Alex, you are missing one important thing here…Animals don’t belong to us and never should. Thats the reason I can’t respect you or anyones choice to consume animal products. Your CHOICE has a victim, and the victim is completely ignored. http://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-psychology/five-reasons-why-meat-eating-cannot-be-considered-a-personal-choice/The victim.

    • Dawn says:

      I assume you are also totally against owning pets then, because that would be ethically consistent.

    • Bethany says:

      I would also assume you are not pro-choice….

      • Jeff says:

        Bethany, what does one’s stance on abortion have to do with this? Fetuses are not sentient beings, at least not by the time when abortions are performed. There is no inconsistency whatsoever between believing that animals should have rights because they are sentient beings who can experience pain and suffering and fear death and believing that women should have the right to control their own bodies. In fact, the dairy and egg industries by definition deny female cows and chickens control over their own bodies, so being pro-choice and opposing forcing cows and chickens to spend their reproductive years being milk and egg factories are completely consistent.

        Regarding pets, yes, ethical vegans do not believe animals should be bred for the purpose of serving as companions for humans. But domesticated animals who already exist should be lovingly cared for, whether they are former farm animals who were rescued from slaughter or the species of animals regarded as pets.

    • Gman says:

      Sorry to have to be the one to inform you Karen Seligman, but YOUR choice has victims. Millions of them. In fact, more than a million creatures can live on a single acre of perennial grassland. When that land is cleared for rows of the shallow-rooted annuals of plant ag in order to put food on your plate, the habitat for all of those creatures is obliterated, and many of them die absolutely horrific deaths in the process, being crushed, plowed under, and ripped apart limb from limb. Those are the victims that YOU have completely ignored.

      As a matter of fact, if that very same acre is used for sustainable pasturing, instead of annihilating the habitat for more than a million creatures and decimating the soil, the land is teeming with life. Root systems grow deeper, and soil vitality massively increases, distributing nutrients across the entire ecosystem. Native pollinator habitat also increases, resulting in a significant net gain of life.

      In other words Karen, your claims that your diet has no victims, and that your diet is the only morally acceptable choice, are both fallacious and unconscionably hypocritical. As a matter of fact, biodiversity, meaning a mix of both plants and animals that mirrors the balance in natural systems, is the cornerstone of every major form of sustainable agriculture.

  105. Ethan says:

    Everyone needs to calm down. All Alex has told us here is that she was never really a vegan. She is a person who was eating a plant-based, vegan diet for a while and now she’s back to corpse-munching. There’s a BIG difference between a vegan and someone who eat a plant based vegan diet. A vegan is one who rejects violence towards all animal and for moral and ethical motivations, eats a strictly plant-based diet. The diet is but one aspect of being vegan. A person who eats a plant-based vegan diet for “the environment” or “to better my health” may be inadvertently helping reduce violence and exploitation of animals, but they’re not vegan. They may continue to wear leather, wool, silk or fur. BOTTOM LINE: Anyone who is a ex-vegan was never truly a vegan in the first place.

  106. sherri says:

    one point that has been left out in all of these comments is that even for a vegan to eat something must die. it seems that for the most dogmatic vegans it is the death that is the issue, not the suffering. if it were only the suffering they would be fine with “happy chickens”. most are fine with that, for others. but the most violently dogmatic vegans judge others for eating any animal based food. so — my point is that even eating only a plant based diet, animals must die for you. field mice and foxes that need the field mice to eat. yes, when a field is plowed for your vegetables, nests of small animals are tilled up and destroyed. and how about the destruction of insects, including bees. without insects this planet will teeter and die. we need to keep the balance of supporting insects, and not killing them. vegans have no sense of that. they hold so much on their soul, i cannot see expecting them to hold any more. i wish for all vegans to let go of that burden. it seems that vegans are those on the planet who are the most likely to be disconnected with the true nature of humans as animals. denying something loudly and passionately for years, will never make it so, if it is not.

    • Amy says:

      YES!!! This is the point I was trying to make above. Very well put!

    • Agreed! having grown up on a farm I can tell you when my Dad plowed/combined etc for soy, wheat and corn lots of small animals would die. So to the vegans on here–the only way you can not be responsible for the killing of animals would be to grow all of your own food and very carefully not kill anything–but then much of your crops would be eaten by bugs and animals so you would end up starving! I was vegan from around 1982 to 1988–had to add animal foods for my health.

  107. Ruvi says:

    Where is all this shame and fear coming from? I’ve been an omnivore most of my life and switched to veg then vegan then raw in a quest to heal my body. I became so, so ill I thought I was going to die. Becoming pregnant again saved me and I returned to an omnivore diet. I never felt guilt or shame about doing the right thing for my body and health.I wonder how many moral vegans who abhor the idea of killing an animal for nourishment are okay with killing a baby for convenience?

  108. Abby Bean says:

    It’s obvious, Alex, that you are trying to sell yourself as a brand. Unsatisfied with the results (noteriety? fame? spoils?) from the vegan community, you have decided to go a different way; ethics and compassion obviously have not entered into the equation of your decision. Someone who abandons veganism was never really vegan in the first place; you followed a plant-based diet for health reasons, made some money off it (3 books, etc.), and then bailed. It’s no loss to the vegan community; it’s the animals that will continue to suffer from your selfishness and the ignorance of those who think you can exploit animals for food, “textiles”, and entertainment in any way other than cruel: speciesism at its finest. For shame.

    • Dawn says:

      Religious fundamentalists are so tiresome, whether they are telling you you are going to burn in hell for divorcing your spouse, using birth control, or eating meat. Such dogmatic condemnation and lack of compassion really says something about the sense of self-righteousness of the accuser. So unattractive!

      And hurling insults, well that’s just trolling. I just don’t get why people get so mad about the choices OTHER people make. Lose the co-dependence already!

      • Heather says:

        IMO is not so much akin to religious dogma as much it is a moral imperative. In the same way that we just know that things like rape and murder are wrong without having to tie it to a particular doctrine or higher purpose, people that believe similarly about the use and abuse of animals are never going to be OK with this sort of admission, let alone think it courageous or admirable. In my head the main difference here is that the animal rights belief is not shared by the majority. That doesn’t mean that we can’t ALL choose to extend compassion to those with the opposing viewpoint.

  109. Sara says:

    “People can still love animals and care about protecting the environment AND honor their own animal bodies and consume the foods that they need. I believe there are many paths to health. I believe you can love and care about animal welfare and still consume them. I believe that a vegan, whole-foods diet saved my life and is a delicious, valid, healthy style of eating for many people. I believe that a vegan diet should be promoted as one of many possible ways to get the body and life that people crave.”

    THIS!!!! These quotes are what I find most inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for these words. I am not a vegan, but I have enormous respect for my vegan friends and the choices they make. I make different choices, and they respect my choices, because we know that our individual choices are coming from the same place – a desire to eat in a healthy way for our individual bodies and with a mindful and compassionate heart towards all life (plant and animal – including the human animal) and the well being of the planet as a whole. There is so much animosity and judgment in my opinion that is coming from both “sides,” and it is doing far more harm than good. It is dividing those of us who care about whole, organic, healthy foods when we should be working together to help everyone have the means to *make* these choices.

    Thank you for affirming that the best we can do is to make informed choices for ourselves by doing our own research and listening to our own bodies and our own hearts.

  110. Steve F says:

    What a great article Alex! Great job of using common sense and listening to your body, as opposed to being just another sheep following the herd. I have spent my entire 53 years of life trying to learn to eat a healthy diet in an attempt to be the first male in my family (both sides) to make it to age 70 without dying of a heart attack. I first attempted extreme amounts of exercise, up to and including the Ironman Triathlon, thinking that was the answer but slowly and steadily my blood pressure and cholesterol/trigylcerides kept creeping up higher until my Doctor told me I needed to go on medication to keep it under control. I responded by becoming a strict Vegan and remained that way for a year, at which time I went back to the Doctor and found that my lipid panel had remained virtually unchanged. Additionally I never felt worse in my life and even looked horrible. I am now a year into a Paleo way of eating, raise my own laying hens, grow my own fruit and vegetables and buy all meat from neighbors that have their animals grazing on grass every day. My blood work has never been better, my Doctor congratulated me after a 6-month check-up and told me meds would no longer be needed. Equally as important, I have never felt healthier and even though I thought I was already at an optimum weight, I have lost 17 pounds. Oh, and by the way, all of this was accomplished with almost no exercise (I gave up endurance sports) other that working here around my mini-farm.

  111. prolibertate says:

    Another opportunistic poser predictably capitalizing off of the vegan label. People, she makes it clear she hijacked the vegan label for a health benefit, so it is not a surprise that this weak and tiredly unoriginal recidivism occurred. No surprise of the overwhelming support from the self-absorbed “in crowd” still stuck in their ways. Ignore the grandstander. She isn’t worth getting upset over. She isn’t the first, and she most assuredly won’t be the last. She was never a vegan. Vegan isn’t a diet.

    • Dawn says:

      No, veganism isn’t a diet for you. It seems to be a proselytizing, fundamentalist religion (a la Westboro Baptist Church and their ilk). Apparently eating only plants for 13 years before lapsing isn’t good enough for the religious fanatics, and never will be. You wouldn’t be fanatics if it was.

      The trouble with religious fundamentalism in any form is that it is utterly hypocritical and completely lacking in compassion for anyone who doesn’t follow the exact doctrine. You accuse of self-absorption while demonstrating it. You accuse of a lack of compassion while demonstrating it. But by definition, fanatics cannot see the hypocrisy in their ways; that’s what makes them fanatics.

      Fundamentalist Christian, Muslim, Vegan, it’s all the same. Whether you use birth control, do yoga, divorce your spouse, uncover your head, or–gasp–eat meat, you’re going straight to hell, and only the righteous (like you) are right and will gain the kingdom of heaven. Everyone else is an infidel, a sinner, undeserving of kindness, compassion or understanding.

      Most of us (regardless of the diet we choose) grew out of such black or white fundamentalist thinking into adults who don’t need to judge and condemn others to feel better about ourselves or to justify our own beliefs.

      • Pro Libertate says:

        Dawn, comparing one to a fundamentalist for having ethics is absurd. Ethics towards other individuals in a socially just society requires some losers. Rapists are losers, murderers are losers. Child molesters are losers. Elder and child abusers are losers. Get the drift? Some things are changing, and a vegan shift for the recognition of animals not to be exploited and consumed unnecessarily is for the better. So, just recognize the trend, this is 2013 and today’s vegan is the woman of the early 1900′s striving for suffrage, today’s vegan is the civil rights activist of the 1960′s, today’s vegan is the 1980′s gay rights advocate. This isn’t about fundamentalism, it isn’t a religion; it is about social justice.

        Some critical thinking and a better understanding of human nutrition would go a long way for you.

        • Maureen says:

          Very well put, Pro-Libertate.

        • Diverse says:

          Sorry, but I call bullshit on this whole argument.

          Veganism is largely a white, middle class diversion, and smacks strongly of cultural elitism and indeed, cultural genocide. To think that thousands of years of wildly diverse food traditions and foodways in every corner of the world will be ameliorated through the global enlightenment of a privileged few white, middle class elitists is, frankly, sickening. That the thousands of years of culinary traditions will be swept away in a tide of flaxseed oil, sea vegetabes, quinoa and kale chips is laughable, and will NEVER happen.

          Only people with a wide variety of easily accessed foods and food supplements have the privilege to choose such a rarefied diet and have the audacity to pass judgement on the rest of the world, wherever they are. And despite the fact that no human population, ever in the history of the whole world, has ever chosen a vegan diet to sustain them, you would still choose to pass judgement on all those who choose not to take on such folly.

          I suggest that you, and all your vegan kin, look to the stellar work being done across the globe in sustainable agriculture if you are serious about healing the world. I would suggest that Joel Salatin does more to save the planet before he eats his breakfast in the morning than you would in years of chatroom pontificating and trips to Wholefoods for your convoluted vegan sancti-food.

          • Pro Libertate says:

            Diverse,
            While you erroneously think you have the American vegan demographic pegged, I call “bullshit” on the fallacious meme that all vegans condemn all non-vegans equally around the world as you have contrived. I definitely have a problem with people who know all about why it is important to be vegan, how to be vegan and have the access and means, and just don’t care….which is the case of she who shall not be named.
            Just to dispel anther one of your fallacious claims; you should know that of the 13 years I have been vegan, the last 3 years have been living at poverty level income. It isn’t a secret that growing your own food, bartering with your network, supporting CSA’s and buying in bulk can save money or how affordable, delicious and nutritious organic, non-GMO, grains and legumes are. Only someone with such a poverty of imagination, innovation, ambition or a vested interest in the status quo, ignorantly (or perhaps subversively) wields such spurious memes (as you have above) as if they are battle clubs of justified authority. That is pure, unequivocal “bullshit” at its finest.
            You are obviously ignorant of people who have been around for centuries, with populations in the millions, like Jains, or Buddhists, that have an ancient value system they refer to as ahimsa, which is; “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.” You are obviously ignorant that at least 2 billion of the 7 billion impoverished people of the world exist entirely off of plants (although, more so out of lack of options than ethics and may still be starving out of a lack of availability/abundance to sustain them) because it is a scientific fact that plants take less resources to feed people than animals. It is a fallacy that eating animals is a “luxury” per se and undeniably cruel to kill a perfectly healthy sentient individual for an unnecessary taste preference, but it is a fact that many of the world’s poor cannot afford animals.
            You are obviously ignorant to the fact that with this massive human exponential human population growth that has occurred only in the last 80 years that we will exhaust the oceans of fish within the next 20 years. You are obviously ignorant to the fact 200-300 species are going extinct per day, equaling 20,000 to 30,000 species extinctions per year. You are obviously ignorant that a vegan shift is the only way humanity is going to maintain an existence on this planet due to the ecological pressures occurring from our exploding population growth, and intensive exploitative methods destroying our precious resources. We are already in a state of overshoot. We are already in a state of draw down.
            The fact is every human can be vegan. There is no human biological need that plants, fungi, algae and bacteria cannot meet. It is merely a matter of providing the education and resources to globally enable that reality. Is it highly complex? Absolutely. Will it require a lot of work and diplomacy? Yep. With modern technology, we can move empowering ideas and resources enabling and facilitating rapid change around the world faster than ever before. And frankly, it is going to take the priority tantamount to a wartime mobilization effort NOW to salvage the mess we have made, post industrialization.
            It smacks of ignorance and hypocrisy when you talk about elitist vegans and suggest purchasing anything that comes out of the Salatin ranch at upwards of 25$ for a pound of flesh. Really, who but the elite can afford those prices? Nothing spells elitism like a $75.00 meal for a Slow Foods dinner fundraiser funding a romp to Italy for something as noble as a foodie cooking competition. Nothing spells elitism like at $14 pint of free range icecream. It smacks of comprehensive and unmitigated idiocy that you could possibly assert any idea of how productive I am on any level since you literally have no idea who you are talking to or what I do.
            Whining about my (or any vegan) supposed lack of compassion towards said poser, especially from any of those who extoll the perverted virtue of succumbing to self-serving cravings (while failing to consult a plant based diet expert on what it could mean or how to overcome it), and fallaciously suggesting that killing perfectly innocent, healthy, young, sentient individuals can be done “humanely” while the animals and the rest of the world burns in their wake, as if killing someone unnecessarily is something to be proud of, is nothing short of obscene and hardly worth dignifying with an answer. A vegan owes an informed, with plenty of means and access “ex-vegan” poser misrepresenting the vegan community about as much “respect” and “compassion” any Good Samaritan owes a child molester. What is worse, in the case of animals, is that all the innocent victims are often being tortured, horrified and killed in addition to being sexually assaulted. Have you ever been to farm or a livestock auction? I have.
            Sell the hypocrisy and the whining about compassion “bullshit” somewhere else and go take a good hard look in the mirror, and figure out what is it about love, peace, thriving health, delicious food, sustainability and social justice that has you so frightened that you will outright lie to validate yourself, because frankly Diversity, it is your ilk that are going to be responsible for leaving the diverse peoples of the world helpless when the whole system collapses from apathetic, greedy, disabling, whiners posing as champions of so called diversity. Really what is your action plan for impending the collapse of the ocean? Enjoy it while you can? Do your entire existence hinge off of eating fish? How about those cultures that do live predominantly off of fish? Do you even give a shit that they will have NO infrastructure to cope with this reality if we continue to pretend that culture matters over all else? Is it more important for their culture to suffer famine and die off? Are you completely ignorant that there are healthy plant based alternatives to favorite cultural foods? (Yes, there are!! Expertly developed over many years by the very cultures, such as Buddhism, to continue to enjoy cultural favorites! Wouldn’t you want to know that your sources of food and potable water were rapidly disappearing because of unsustainable practices? Why don’t you stop with the impoverished, myopic, mentality and start with some intellectual honesty, develop an attitude of accountability and some solid determination to live responsibly and ethically? The best thing people like you can do is figure out how to let people who don’t know what is happening, know exactly what is happening, and to help them shift and be prepared, instead of allowing their traditions to drive them to obviously falling off the cliff of ecological collapse and ignorance.

            I’m going to invite you to take a challenge, one that actually recognizes not only the sentience, yes animals are sentient http://fcmconference.org/img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf It is clear that the lack of ethics and egocentric approach to the world is causing a catastrophic draw down and collapse for all sentient life. The challenge is called the NASA Million Dollar Family Challenge and in it, you are to pretend 3 things 1) You work for NASA and you need to solve a serious problem called ecological collapse from livestock production. 2) You will get paid 1 million dollars for the best vegan solution and 3) that the individuals you refer to as food are family members you actually care about. Show us how brilliant you can be.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Pro Libertate,

          Let’s engage in some critical debate based on our critical thinking. What steps do you take to reduce the animal suffering caused by your diet?

          • Pro Libertate says:

            Hi PH-
            I take many, but we will start with three:
            1) learning to produce my own food
            2) sharing the information and skills of sustainable veganic farming
            3) delivering educational seminars on making a vegan shift and help farmers transition to sustainable veganic farming practices.

            Veganic Agriculture Network
            http://www.goveganic.net/

            Growing Green: Organic Animal Free Techniques
            http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Green-Animal-Free-Organic-Techniques/dp/1933392495

            Ian Tollhurst on Veganic Stock Free Farming
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_eq0V5PBcA

            Making the Connection:
            http://vimeo.com/15849273

            You?

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Awesome! I think you’re full of crap cuz you didn’t mention any of it until challenged, but I’m willing to accept it at face value.

            I’m avoiding the foods with the highest kill rates (grains and legumes), buying my animal foods from a local farm that raises them on pasture, growing my own produce all summer long and buying at the farmer’s market from the farmers that use no-till methods.

            And I was even doing it before you spent 5 minutes in Google. ;-)

          • Pro Libertate says:

            Well that would certainly suit your self validating needs PH. Why should I have had to have previously mentioned it? Do you actually think I have the same self-validation needs? Perhaps you should consider seeking therapy.

            So, about that “vegan” nutritionist you were seeing, please share with the community their name and practice data. We need to know who isn’t effective out there and ensure they get the proper CME if they are actually going to call themselves a “vegan” nutritionist.

            You outed yourself with your conditions, you were definitely battling health issues long before you took on a vegan diet (see, once again some Paleo person who didn’t do it for the animals- no surprise) and reading between the lines, the “vegan” nutritionist you saw was really a weight watchers program, because true plant-based diet experts don’t ever suggest measuring and weighing or portion control. Those are the tell tale tactics of the weight watchers program.

            You know, what does it say about a person whose best defense of their decisions is to attempt to contrive hypocrisy in others?

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            Pro Libertate,

            “Why should I have had to have previously mentioned it? Do you actually think I have the same self-validation needs? “

            Do I think you have self-validation needs? Oh hell yeah… considering all of the bashing you did. What’s funny though is that you didn’t bash any of the vegans eating a high-casualty diet– and that tells me that that’s because that is your diet too, and you didn’t know any better.

            Enter Google.

            But in the end, if you eat fewer grains and beans in your self-righteous quest to end animal deaths, I’ve done a good thing– so you’re welcome.

            ~Huntress

        • Linda says:

          “So, just recognize the trend, this is 2013 and today’s vegan is the woman of the early 1900′s striving for suffrage.”

          Not unless today’s vegan is a cow or pig or fish herself, the way the woman of the early 1900s striving for suffrage was striving for her own suffrage.

  112. Cheryl says:

    Dear Alex,

    Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your truth. Many of us search long and hard to find a way to live a purposeful, peaceful, and truthful life. I admire you for listening to your body and finding what works best for you at this time.

    As a former client, I do not feel betrayed in the least. The lessons you wrote about in your journey are lessons you taught me. You asked me time and again to listen to my body, and I did. We also had many talks beyond food. Most of those talks were grounded in finding a place where I could feel at peace with myself and let go of guilt. These bad feelings not only weighed me down in pounds, but weighed heavy on my spirit and heart.

    I am so proud of you for continuing to follow your own advice. Only you live in your body and walk your path. You, more than most know how to listen to and properly feed your body and soul. I’m sorry if others disagree with your choice, but they don’t live your life. No matter if you eat broccoli or fish, you remain a remarkably beautiful, strong, passionate person both inside and out. Please know you have a community who will support you the way you have supported us.

    Best wishes always,
    Cheryl

  113. Rachel says:

    Being Vegan is healthy.. eating meat is so not healthy.. And plus if you care about animals.. how can you eat them?.. There is no way I would ever go back to eating an animal.. a fish.. milk (product) that was cause of a Cow being artificially impregnated year after year, giving birth to a calf and each year they are taken away from her so that the milk can be stolen for humans instead.. and that baby is killed sold as veal.. After 5 years and can’t produce anymore milk.. that Cow is murdered too.. And to think of what takes place in slaughterhouses is sicking.. And yet you are selfishly going back to eating them.. And bothered by how much Vegans care and are bothered that you went back to eating “those that you still feel compassionate about”.. You know it was healthy/ kind to be Vegan or else you would not have tried it.. and now feeling embarrassed about stopping it.

  114. Frank Black says:

    Alex:

    I’ve never been one to make Veganism a religion rather than a choice. I DO, however, make the treatment of living things a religion. Meaning, how we treat all sentient beings reflects on our spiritual, moral and ethical evolution. I’ve often stated that if I were to become lost whilst on a walk in the woods and suddenly heard the snorts and guttural growls of wolves around me, I’d be frightened; but I wouldn’t feel discriminated against. It wouldn’t be personal, it is just “business”. If the wolves decided I was a tasty morsel, I could live (die) with that. But, keeping me in a cage, keeping me pregnant (if I were a woman) for milk, keeping me a prisoner for their own selfish aims… well, that I could NOT accept. So, I’d say to hone your hunting skills, put on the camouflage and release the guilt. Animals eat animals. Bugs eat bugs. Birds eat bugs. Fish eat fish. Etc. But, they don’t imprison them and deny them their lives and dignity. We all have a right to live and thrive and exist. No one has the right to imprison, belittle or commodify. A cow is no less valuable than a human. As I’ve adored you this long, I don’t see that changing. Your wonderful husband and I are both red-heads and both think you are swell. Keep up the good work and give yourself grace.

    Your fan,

    Frank Black

  115. Tasha says:

    For at least 8 days a month my body craves all kinds of nasty foods: potato chips, French fries, cakes and chocolate, etc (and not the organic, vegan, natural… ones). And when I say “crave” it means I’ll go to any store at any time day or night and won’t stop being obsessed until I give in. But that’s the problem. Not just the shame part, but gained weight along with skin problems that thrives short afterwards or the decrease in energy and overall not feeling so light and chirpy. Although “a give in” approach to fighting temptations has its perks and seems very enticing, it is not an answer to every urge we have. Body might know better or you might have some serious problems with hormones or psychological problem. Of body always knew better we would’ve be having so many des eases that come from regular body functions stopping actually function proper.

  116. Brenda says:

    Alex, wow! this is huge news, but I think it’s great that you are speaking about it and you are doing what’s right for YOUR body. Congratulations!

  117. Rachel says:

    Fruit, Vegetables, nuts (if not allergic to them), leafy greens, grains.. Are healthy for EVERYONE.. Vegan food is SO GOOD… no reason to crave anything that isn’t Vegan.. I get sick even thinking about meat/fish/ dairy.. And if it gets on my plate by mistake.. I get bothered by it.. and send it back.. But that doesn’t happen to often for I mostly just go to Vegan restaurants.

  118. john says:

    Compassion is not about being uncritical of others out of fear of upsetting them. Compassion is about not causing death and suffering. There are no people who are unable to be vegan, blood type, ethnicity etc. make no real difference the human body is basically a herbivore.
    You chose to eat animals again because you wanted to. The health argument is an not an excuse, there is nothing you need from animals.
    The mind can play many tricks and make us crave anything. A person who has not smoked for 20 years may crave a cigarette. It doesn’t mean anything. You should use your will to be who you would want to be, not give in to any craving you happen to have.

    The real tragedy here is that many potential vegans could be put off doing the right thing because of you Alex. People are weak and tend to look for excuses for falling back into old behaviors rather than put in the effort to change.

    I urge you to reconsider.
    Maybe you should checkout some vegan websites, find some new vegan recipes. Look at the horror that is killing animals, perhaps work at a slaughter house if you think it’s all cool.

    • Alyssa says:

      This is false. I could not, and cannot, be a vegan, purely for health reasons. And there are no websites, studies, facts, or philosophies that you or anyone else can cite to prove MY personal experience wrong.

      (Incidentally, I could cite quite a few studies and facts that prove YOUR assertion that “the human body is basically a herbivore” wrong.)

    • Amy says:

      Or it could simply be that humans are omnivores…and no long standing traditional culture has ever been found to be purely vegan.

    • Dawn says:

      This is patently false. I am one of millions of people who lacks the enzyme to convert plant Omega-3s to DHA and EPA, and these are essential nutrients. I also am an extremely poor converter of beta carotene into Vitamin A, and need to get it in its preformed, animal form or I experience serious deficiencies. And then there is B-12…

      I am allergic to ALL grains and ALL beans except Navy, as well as most nuts and ALL tropical fruits (except coconut). Also allergic to soy and a bunch of other vegetables, including spinach, celery and nightshades. Do tell me what I should eat to have a healthy balanced, vegan diet given all these constraints?

      Furthermore, there isn’t an anthropologist worth her salt who would say humans were herbivores. She’d be laughed right out of the university she worked in! Saying humans are herbivores is like saying there’s no proof of global warming. Science denial at its finest.

      Even the Vegetarian Resource Group makes it clear that we are anatomically omnivorous, much more like bears or pigs than cows or rabbits, and that calling humans herbivores undermines the case for vegetarianism because it is inaccurate.

    • SPOT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! compassion is not about sugar coating ANYTHING although that is how people try to shut the truth speakers up; by calling upon that “aren’t you supposed to be compassionate and understand why I cannot stop eating meat? Aren’t you supposed to be tolerant of ME eating animals? aren’t you supposed to be NON judgemental? afterall, being vegan is about loving everyone.” NO!!!!!!! it’s about trying to SUCK less, and removing one’s self from the role of the OPPRESSOR as much as possile.

  119. Melinda says:

    Good for you! There is a book called The Vegetarian Myth, that you may be interested in. I liked reading about your journey to true health, though we are not really animals as we can reason like you did as you retrained your brain to believe differently about eating. Hooray!

  120. Mary says:

    A few points:

    1) If one eats a plant-based diet for health reasons, they are not a vegan. Veganism is about so much more than what you eat. It’s about living a life that is in line with one’s moral beliefs.

    2) Saying that we should eat meat because we crave it and therefore that it must be our bodies way of telling us that it’s something we need is absurd. I crave sugar, does that mean that I need sugar in my diet? No, it doesn’t.

    3) Veganism is an extremely healthy way to eat. Vegans have been shown to have less heart disease, lower cholesterol & blood pressure.

    4) The reason that so many vegans were upset when Ellen Degeneris said that she eats eggs is because by definition, that makes her not vegan. Thereby blurring the very definition of what veganism is, which many people already don’t understand. I am sure there were some vegans that were not “compassionate” in their response. Just as a lot of others here were not compassionate towards SFJ in the earlier comments.

    5) You stated: “I believe humans are animals. And some animals need to eat other animals to be healthy. Some do not.
    And I believe in the innate kindness of people. And that by having compassion for each other, no matter how we eat, we are creating a new food culture, and a better world.”

    You’re right, some animals do need to eat other animals to be healthy. They’re called obligate carnivores. Humans are not obligate carnivores. And continuing to eat animals at the rate that we are doing so is pure disaster for the planet, so no, we are not creating a better world by continuing to eat animals.

  121. Marco says:

    I am so distraught, I better go chomp on some animal products to overcome my anxiety. Peace to you and our fellow Earthlings.

  122. Jewel says:

    You have to be kidding me. Blaming veganism and not just accepting that you suck? What a cop out. It’s your fault, not veganism’s fault. Back off and shut your glutinous trap.

  123. Allison Thompson says:

    Words cannot express how much this article made me feel happy! I have struggled with the issue of eating meat as well. I tried to go vegan twice in my life and both times I became extremely ill. I have Crohn’s Disease and treat it using a holistic approach. Due to my obsession with animals I felt I could not eat them and love them at the same time. But my body told me otherwise. I now eat chicken and fish and eggs and honestly, they help my health so much. Thank you for your article and for coming clean with the rest of us. :-)

  124. Chris says:

    The only problem I have with this is that you state “My body had a craving”.. Which you very well know isn’t true. You should have been honest, not try to make it seem nonchalant, and said “I just wanted to eat meat.” Because we all know that’s why you started again. Which by the way, is totally your decision.. Just don’t coat what you’re saying. You have this great platform.. Use it wisely.

  125. Mark says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sure it was not easy, especially given what you do for a living. However, the honesty is important and the life lessons associated with your own experiences are things we all can relate to for sure.

  126. Desdemona says:

    You can obviously choose to eat what or whomever you want, but I strongly recommend that you consider enrolling in some sort of basic writing workshop. Yikes.

  127. Maureen says:

    It all depends son the reason someone becomes “vegan” in the first place. If the reason is improved health, rather than a deep moral conviction, then of course you are going to give in to cravings and it is never going to last. The you are not really a vegan, but rather you are following a plant based diet.
    If on the other hand, you are appalled by animal suffering and believe that all beings deserve to live without being needlessly slaughtered for our taste buds and cravings, and you want to live your life without causing harm and not have anyone suffer and die for you, then you won’t eat animals again.

    • SK says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. For those of us who have the eating habits we do because we cannot abide to consume another creature’s dead flesh , then we can’t understand these cravings. For me, avoiding animal products in terms of my diet was the last step. I had been refusing to buy animal tested products, or wear animal by products for a decade before I felt I was educated enough in nutrition to remove them from my diet. I have never been healthier or happier and have only had one dream about meat- and in the dream I was trying to eat a piece of ham and was so disgusted by sliminess that I woke up and was so relieved to find out I didn’t really eat it ;) Animals aren’t food. There is nothing we need in our diets that we can’t get elsewhere. If a craving was strong enough to give in to it after all this time then I don’t think Alex could have called herself a vegan. For vegans, it’s not about just food, it’s about awareness and compassion and a desire to not destroy the planet with domesticated raising of animals for food and dairy. Like you said, without the “why” of a vegan diet, then you’re just following a plant-based one for health reasons. I don’t want to make Alex feel bad but I really want to just make a big sign that said “VEGAN- UR DOING IT WRONG” :(

  128. Jennifer says:

    Reading this just makes me want to speak my truth as well. I followed a vegan diet for a year and shared many of your experiences of being a part of the vegan culture and having a bit of an internal struggle with it once I began to have cravings for non-vegan foods. At the end of my vegan year I was 20+lbs heavier and felt not so great. I was craving meat and eggs and felt like a failure. My doctor encouraged me to leave the vegan extreme for a while and experiment with other methods to find what works best for my body. I’m still working on things currently and also addressing an overeating disorder. But I feel healthier and can say that in our culture of extremes I know that I am healthier with moderation.
    Thank you for speaking out about this. In so many ways I feel this is similar to parts of my journey. It is encouraging to see that I’m not alone and that there are shared experiences out there. Reading what you’ve written here means so much to me.

  129. Karen says:

    So you eat meat again because you like the taste. Yup,totally disappointed.My body craves chocolate and cookies so I guess I need them. And no,you can’t care about animals and eat them

  130. nicole says:

    Wow selfish much? of course you did it for health, no one is an ex-vegan you should change to wording to no longer plant-based diet person wanna know why? because veganism is not about you it is about the billions of suffering tormented animals murdered and tortured for food, entertainment, clothing, etc per year. So you are one of the worst people in humanity….you know the truth and turned your back on other beings suffering. I could give a crap less about you, i do wish you would change the heading though, veganism is not about food, ever.

  131. Gwen says:

    You rock Alex. ;-)

  132. James says:

    “eggs don’t count unless they are fertilized.”
    To get hens you need fertilized eggs, half of those that hatch are males that can’t lay. So these male chicks are ground up alive, or gassed. Killing a rooster for each exploited hen doesn’t count?

    “honey the same. bee poop. that’s not harming the bee.”
    Actually, honey isn’t bee poop. It is the food they make for winter. We steal it from them, replacing it with inferior sugar water for them to feed on. It’s like me coming into your home, taking your TV, and replacing it with a crappy doodle I made. The honey industry isn’t as innocent as it has people believe.

    Instead of being failing health “vegans”, read up on the issues and become ethical vegans instead. Don’t do things half-assed, and don’t cheat, because you aren’t cheating simply yourself, you are cheating the ones whom are exploited and that is not your call to make.

  133. Anthony Q says:

    Fundamentalism of any sort breeds shame. Shame breeds self-contempt and lack of compassion for others. Then there is violence of all sorts. How many times must we see it, and in how many aspects in the llves conscious beings must we witness this, in order to get it?

  134. Lena Buhr says:

    So good to read ♥ after a couple of weeks only on 811-diet, feeling really good and losing a lot of weight; my teeth starts to hurt really bad. tried the diet a couple of times and the same thing happens. I can eat fruit to some extent, and my body craves it or aI’ll get constipated but now I avoid bananas and dates, eat more berries and sunflower seeds for fibre. Wheat and soy is a no go – severly intolerant so I was force to eat a paleo diet anyway. I found out after all these time that broth, berries and sunflower seeds works just fine :)

  135. Thank you so much for articulating what has been going on in my mind for so long! It’s like being vegan has taken over to the extent we feel like someone’s going to take our membership card if we crave something, eat something or don’t go along with the often militant party line. To that end, compassion is lacking and I’ve already tackled one eating disorder; I don’t want to create another because some group is tellin me what to eat.

    Again, thank you for being honest and vulnerable. That has given me the confidence to embrace who I am as well! (Even if that means disappointing a few people.)

  136. amy h says:

    It’s all about doing what is best for your body, and each body is different. There is an eye-opening interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride that I recently listened to. She has the hard science behind how our bodies process food and how our bodies are reacting to all of the food we’re eating… causing us to have digestive issues, food allergies, even mental issues like depression and ADD/ADHD. Very fascinating! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYJkS3ZBqos&feature=share

  137. Mark says:

    Has anyone stopped to think why bacon and egg yolks taste so good?

  138. EWD says:

    So Alex’s cravings are stronger than her convictions. For most people, this would be a private shortcoming. But since Alex has established herself as a leader, she’ll encourage others to compromise their principals along with her. What a shame. She must have known that, through her own example, she would be encouraging her (thousands?) of followers to also eat meat. And, many of Alex’s followers are also probably leaders to their friends and family. How could she, as someone who recognizes how cruel, wasteful and unhealthy meat eating is, set this domino-effect of compromise into play? On top of it all, her posting reads as a plea for sympathy. After all that damage, you would think she woud be content with acceptance, but it seems she wants more than that. She wants our continued respect and praise. I can’t give her that.

    • Dawn says:

      She never once asked anyone to compromise their principles. She merely suggested that we each listen to our own bodies (as well as our lab tests) for our own truths, and make decisions about what we eat for ourselves without fear of recrimination from the fundamentalist Food Police.

      She makes a plea for compassion not sympathy. Apparently you cannot tell the difference because according to your words above, you seem to be grossly lacking in both. Most religious fanatics are, because there is only one correct path to them. Everyone else is a heretic to be stoned to death–with words if nothing else.

      It is completely possible to be compassionate towards animals and the earth without losing your ability to be equally compassionate toward your fellow humans who make different choices. If you worked on that, your religious message would probably be better received.

  139. Barbara says:

    Kudos to you, Alex, for speaking your truth.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for over 40 years. Tried a vegan diet, and it just wasn’t for me. so I eat dairy with no qualms.

    What astonishes me is the holier-than-thou, more-moral-than-you attitude that the majority of vegans and vegetarians I have met display. There is nothing unethical or immoral about eating animals. Making them suffer while alive, and die painfully, is wrong. I could never eat meat again, because it would make me sad to think of the animal dying for me, however, I have absolutely no problem with anyone else who eats meat. My husband and daughter are both omnivores, and I’m fine with that. I gave my daughter the freedom to choose as she was growing up, and don’t feel the least bit conflicted.

    No one should feel “betrayed” because you hid your cravings for meat. That’s just silly. You don’t have to expose your entire life on your blog.

    A vegan diet, vegetarian diet, omnivore or carnivore diet is either good for you, or not. It is a personal choice, and a personal health choice. To judge someone else for their food choices is an ego-stroke and nothing else.

    Don’t listen to the haters. They’re compensating for their own self-hate and fear.

    • John V. Brennan says:

      …and Kudos to you… i was just forming the thought, and a split second passed, and I saw this…..

      “A vegan diet, vegetarian diet, omnivore or carnivore diet is either good for you, or not. It is a personal choice, and a personal health choice. To judge someone else for their food choices is an ego-stroke and nothing else.”

      …Equal Rights for All! …which, I believe, also includes Eaters.

  140. Cheryl says:

    Alex, I absolutely love this post. You are so courageous. The compassion that you’re showing for yourself–and anyone else dealing with this same issue–is powerful and beyond inspiring. I feel honored to know you. Thank you for sharing. xo!

  141. Gia says:

    Seriously, boo. Majorly.. boo.
    You had cravings. So do ALL of us.
    We don’t eat animals because we know we don’t have to fill our bellies with their bodies to eat and feel good.
    We all have cravings.
    What a pussy post and a pussy move.
    Blech. You lost a ton of fans.

    • Cheryl says:

      Wow,
      Regardless of your vegan views, Alex is a person with feelings. Your comments are revolting. You can have your opinions and choose to live your life the way you feel is best, but you don’t have to punch her in the gut with your gross language. Reading all the vegan outrage on this blog is horrid. I had no idea a community who preaches compassion is so filled with a pulpit full of hate. Listen to yourselves. Would you say this if you had a daughter who decided she wanted to try a piece of salmon? Would you call her a pussy? Would you say that to your grandmother who most likely ate meat? How rude! However, I truly do have compassion and accept your choice to live a vegan life even though I don’t. I will pray you find the peace to accept others who don’t share your views, and I respect your choice to be a vegan…..but go wash your foul mouth out!

    • Kate says:

      Or maybe she was smart enough to listen to her body demanding real nutrition for a change, and to accept the reality of the positive results.

      Why do you hate yourself so much, Gia? Why do you hate your body, and other women’s bodies? Why would you use your body to insult other people, or imagine that someone should be ashamed to be compared to a vulva or vagina?

  142. Lori says:

    Thank you for sharing. you letter is beautifully written. I was a vegitarian for 12 years- but when i was pregnant with my first child i had horrible cravings for meat and some health issues that went along with it. My doctor highly suggested I listen to my body and add animal protein back into my diet. It is amazing how much it helped me (and my daughter) i have never added red meat back in but i do find myself craving it occasionally. Maybe i will try some game meat the next time i am offered it .

  143. vlang77 / Vicki says:

    Hi Alex; I enjoy your column! Do what is best for you. We all strive to have a healthy body and spirit. If that includes the occasional meat-eating or scrambled egg, so be it. I’m buying more organic products for the family thanks to your insight. Keep up the good work!

  144. SFJ says:

    so Alex you’ve made so many people so comfortable here ;-) that’s nice for their day, not so for their health, the animals health, or the planets health, but that’s your priority making your fans happy and your own cravings subside. understood, I will stay away of some place i really have no business anyway, just trying to provoke a little more intelligence and integrity, sorry for the violence it seemed to bring out in so many.

    for the record i’m a 50 year old vegan who has been so for over 20 years, not angry at anything other than greed on the planet as practiced by so many, love a nice sunset and a nice walk, as well as a nice meal that doesn’t take advantage of the animals or destroy the planet.

    Namaste.

  145. Vivi says:

    Talking from a vegan perspective, I think that us vegans put so much energy into being strict about our choices that when we hear that a fellow vegan is starting to eat animal products again we experience this sense of disappointment and betrayal. It is not easy being vegan so we see this person as some sort of deserter, someone too weak to handle “it”.

    I think that everybody has the right to eat whatever they want and I give this doctor credit for telling the truth. I ended up at this website because I was looking for a “vegan doctor in NYC” and this is no longer the case. I will respect this doctor even more if she stops offering counseling for vegans because she is not capable to doing it anymore.

    Good luck on your journey.

  146. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this! Nothing but love and support for you. I’ve been coming off the bumpy Orthorexic wagon for a while, myself. I truly appreciated your remarks on: “tuning into the body instead of [your] thoughts…” very, very helpful.

  147. Jason Boehm says:

    I rarely chime into these forums, but felt compelled to after reading some of these comments.

    What Alex did is incredibly brave. I admire her so much for honoring her convictions and listening to her body’s needs rather than cling to a way of eating that no longer worked for her.

    I am a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist who has worked with thousands of clients. I have seen the cravings Alex experienced for meat numerous times in my own clients.

    That craving is something deeper than an urge for something sweet. Oftentimes when someone craves meat or other animal foods, they are deficient in certain nutrients like zinc, iron, and B12 that are most prevalent and best absorbed in animal foods.

    I do nutrient testing in my practice. Almost every vegan and vegetarian that comes in is deficient, for instance, in zinc.

    They also crave animal protein, which is the protein best absorbed in our bodies. The amino acid composition of animal foods is far superior overall to plant foods.

    Vegans and vegetarians who crave meat also need conditionally essential nutrients. “Conditionally essential” means under certain circumstances, your body cannot make them from raw materials. Carnitine, for instance, is a nutrient that shuttles fatty acids into your mitochondria for energy. Vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in carnitine.

    I could go on, but you get the point. A craving for meat is far different than a craving for chocolate chip cookies.

    • Sonal says:

      Hi Jason

      Just as a disclaimer, neither what you or I write here can be taken as evidence for either side of the argument since our observations may not be representative of general populations. The vegans coming to you may only be ones who are not careful about balanced diets the way many other vegans are. Thus you might draw a conclusion that all vegans are deficient when actually you might just have not met the non-deficient ones.

      I am from India, born into a majorly vegetarian community. That means that even the ancestors of many members of my community have been practicing strict vegetarianism for generations and many are/were lifelong strict vegetarians. I have never heard any of these people complain about a craving for meat. In fact, most feel extremely repulsed by it. I have heard of some who don’t even eat mushrooms because they dislike the chewy texture. Since my community has thrived for so many generations on a vegetarian diet, I find it difficult to conclude that meat cravings are a signalling of the body’s deficiencies. It seems more of a cultural conditioning.

      • Linda says:

        Alex was vegan, not vegetarian. Maybe if she drank milk and ate yoghurt and ghee like many strict vegetarians in India do, having the animal proteins from the milk and yoghurt and ghee would have prevented her cravings for meat?

        • Sonal says:

          Before the white revolution in India, milk was a luxury for a fortunate few. for the poor villagers, it wasn’t affordable. Milk and milk products were not consumed year round and were a seasonal addition to the diets of the wealthier villagers. My point is that nothing ever provoked a “meat craving”. there was no instinct that told these people that they must consume meat. They never did and they didn’t regret it and they lived long lives. So this whole concept of craving for meat seems more of a cultural thing than a bodily signal. Its something the westerners have grown up with and it’s cultural significance and memories associated with it might be difficult to shake off.

          • Linda says:

            My mistake. I musta been thinking of some other part of India (the one where the Sanskrit word for milkmaid was applied to *so many* young women that it became the root of the English word for daughter).

          • Paleo Huntress says:

            “My point is that nothing ever provoked a “meat craving”. there was no instinct that told these people that they must consume meat. They never did and they didn’t regret it and they lived long lives. “

            How on Earth could you POSSIBLY know, what people you’ve never met, craved or regretted?

  148. Alex, it’s your choice.

    I am an abolitionist vegan. A very ardent one at that. And I believe that if you were more focused on the use of animals from the start of your vegan journey this would have been a more difficult decision to make. We can all agree that that behaviours towards certain beings with certain interests ought to open to moral scrutiny. Eating–or, particularly, using–animals is certainly one of these phenomenon. I’d like to hear your take on how you justify the use of animals. It’s not for your survival, so what is it?

  149. Marian says:

    Dear Alex,
    Blessings to you and thank you for your courage & honesty!
    As several have expressed:
    Life is a journey! We are constantly seeking a path that is right for us.
    My life is continuously evolving as I become a wiser more mature woman. What I believed in the past; I may not necessarily believe today…this is the journey. What I may believe in the future will be revealed to me as I continue to grow and experience life!
    I believe in Love & Tolerance to all people even if my belief is different from theirs! I am just a humble human being trying to learn and understand what is right for me in this great big Universe.
    TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE!

  150. Shannon says:

    I confess I’m disappointed, but I am happy for you and your realization. No matter what others say, it’s about being happy with yourself. Take care.

  151. Robin says:

    Alex, it takes such strength to write something like this. My heart goes out to you, I hope you have many good friends around to bolster you against all that the haters may bring. I’m glad to hear more and more people acknowledging that we can listen to our own bodies and take them seriously, and that we can eat well for ourselves, for animals, and for the planet, on an omnivorous diet.

    I wrote about my own journey from veganism and 20+ years of vegetarianism here, and my story is very similar to yours:
    http://ironmom.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-escape-from-vegetarianism.html

    Like you, it was one of the hardest posts I ever sat down to write, but I think it’s good that a growing number of people have stood up to state their own truth about the health of their bodies.

  152. Tiffany says:

    I don’t think you were ever vegan in the first place. You were eating foods that don’t contain animal products, but that’s just the food, not the lifestyle. Vegan means choosing a LIFE that doesn’t use or exploit animals. You don’t give it up when you have a craving for a burger and pontificate on the pletora of philosophical musings that lead your body’s voice to sing for meat. You remember what a factory farm looks like, what it means for a loving, sentient cow to be tortured from birth and you suck it up and grill up a lentil burger. That’s a vegan.

  153. Paul S says:

    Awesome Alexandra…. Like with many things in life the opposite of what we despise isn’t always the solution, instead compromise. I have been an avid reader of Mark Sisson for several years, as well as reading your blogs, and many other health and diet articles. Cravings are one of 3 things, an addiction, a guilty pleasure or simply and instinct telling us something is missing. In my own person quest to find health (not an easy journey) I have myself come to one conclusion. For centuries our species has subsisted on a fairly simple formula, one that existed in our parents lifestyles and was the norm for most of our grandparents. A typical meal would consist of a portion of meat, a side of vegetables and a starch either rice or potatoes. Rarely was bread served, and people were leaner, less stressed and as a whole healthier.

    From a morality standpoint, there exists a huge hill to climb, but one that I think would be better met by showing the right way to ethically raise animals for human consumption. Not only would the animals be treated better they would provide a healthier food source. Agriculture in the U.S. needs to change, but it needs to nestle in to the gray area, not black or white.

  154. OneVoice says:

    You want judgment? Have fun with your eventual cancer, you pathetic waste of air. I hope that every time you consume your precious meat you can hear and feel the pain of the animals that suffered due to your lack of willpower that you call “cravings.” You make me sick. I hope you get cancer, and I hope your family cries. Die cunt.

  155. Lynne I says:

    Good for you Alex! It takes courage to make a change and listen to your body! I firmly believe that humans were made to eat meat-it doesn’t make us cruel or immoral!! As long as you know where your meat comes from, and how those animals were treated, it can be just as sustainable! Cheers to those who say they are vibrantly healthy without it, good for them I suppose. But if we follow the traditional diets of our ancestors, we will see that they truly thrived without disease when they ate lots of pastured, free range grass fed meat, fish, animal products with a huge emphasis on the importance of healthy fats! I also am a “reformed vegetarian” after also listening to my body and deciding to slowly implement the guidance of our ancestors…Please see Weston A Price Foundation http://www.westonaprice.org/ for more information on how traditional diets are guiding a healthy nutritional path for many people! Try it out and share with your friends! …. I’ve been following these nutritional guidelines for years, and have never felt or looked better!

  156. lisa says:

    Hi Alex,
    I’m surprised and overjoyed to hear you share your truth. As a leader and teacher transparency is underrated! We leaders and coaches are humans and the minute we think we have all the answers for everyone else…well…SCARY kool-aid drinking times ahead, LOL!
    I was a vegan for 7 years in my 20′s and without going in to detail, had a similar experience, to yours Alex. I eventually added animal protein because I didn’t FEEL RIGHT: I was overweight, tired, anemic and hungry ALL the time. Perhaps I’m setting myself up for a vegan attack but “YES, I WAS DOING IT RIGHT” I know how this kind of conversation can roll and I’m not interested in arguing ; )…Anyway, years later I am 48 feel better and I am healthier than I was in my 20′s. I am a health and weight loss coach, and what I know for sure: At different times in our lives eating certain ways can serve us VERY well. Everyone will be happy to tell us what to eat, what to drink and what to think, but you know what? If we are in tune and in touch with ourselves, our bodies insist on what serves us best INDIVIDUALLY to eat. There are studies that support both eating meat and not eating meat…what about soy? How controversial is THAT right now. For every arguement there is a counter arguement for the most part with the excepting of Michael Pollan’s: “Eat Whole Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants…” This is kind of like the non bible version of: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” I don’t see much of an argument for what Michael says and it keeps things pretty central and simple. The argument comparing craving sugar to craving animal protein…..well here’s how to know: Eat some sugar (GASP!). See how you feel. See how you feel for the rest of the day. Do it for a while SEE HOW YOU FEEL…is that workin’ for you? Same thing with animal protein and many other so-called “bad foods”. I’m not talking about over processed total junk for here. I am talking about splitting hairs over every little thing we put in our mouths. After jumping on food band wagons as they’ve come and gone, I’ve landed in a very comfortable and healthy place and Alex, thank you so much for sharing as you live and learn. That is what makes you someone worthy of leadership, not staunch inflexibility. xoxo.

  157. Kat says:

    I’m glad to see that the militant vegans are far out numbered in these posts. The truth is something dies so that we can live, be it a carrot or a cow. The key that I have found for ‘myself’ is gratitude to the beings that make my existence possible and of caring for their needs.

  158. Rachel says:

    It would have been nice if you had some sort of medical documentation (blood tests, etc.) that showed *why* your body had to have meat to be healthy~~but you don’t. And you won’t…ever. It was just a “feeling” you had, I suppose.

    I agree with others who have said anyone who chooses to eat a plant-based diet for health reasons is not a vegan. And those are the ones who will be switching over to the next new “fad” diet the moment they feel a little fat, a little tired, a little whatever. Very typical of the majority of our population, especially in America.

    You’ve made the day of lots of people here who are looking for justification on eating meat (and if you think about it, that right there shows that we are not *meant* to eat it~~surely a lion or tiger or bear does not need justification? But humans must constantly grapple with their consciences and for that alone I say, we are herbivores).

    Good luck to you.

  159. Chris says:

    I used to smoke and get INTENSE cravings for a cig sometimes. Giving in wouldn’t be “listening” to my body, it’s not using my head. Call it what you want.. It’s just giving up. You were never a vegan for the right reasons anyway. Choosing a LIFE that DOES NOT EXPLOIT OR HARM ANIMALS is what a real vegan is. You did is purely and solely for health and vanity. So please STOP saying you were “listing to your body” or ” your body was craving it.” Crackheads use that mentality as well.

    • Holly says:

      Hi Chris and Alex,

      Chris, I agree with you mostly, but, perhaps I’d be a tiny bit more lenient. I’m a vegan animal rights activist and solely went vegan for ethical reasons. I went vegan 10+ years ago, and I was vegetarian for 10 years before that and stopped eating red meat 5 years before that… so for me it was a gradual process.
      Alex, while I can have compassion for you and your ethical dilemma you struggled with there is one thing that you seemed to have forgotten and that is just because we, our bodies, have cravings doesn’t mean we should give in to them. I am Blood Type O which according to folks who follow eating for your Blood Types is the ‘meat-eating blood’, and although I don’t believe in that theory per se, I do think there’s something to it because I CRAVE a high-protein and a high-carb diet. So I eat tons of high-protein vegan foods and hardly eat any vegetables or fruits (haha– crazy sounding since I’m vegan). I’m eating more veggies now though since it’s healthy even though my body doesn’t crave it. I will always be vegan because I love animals. If you truly love and care about ALL animals you don’t eat them. If I ate chickens, fish, pigs, etc., then I could not save I love them or respect them, especially when it all boils down to superficial taste-buds (or what our body is craving). Really, taste buds can’t compare to one’s life (i.e. the pig’s life who we just ate). However, although I am vegan to be truthful here (and I understand, Alex, that it was difficult for you to be open this way), sometimes I cheat and have a cookie that’s not vegan or a muffin that’s not vegan if Tim Hortons is out of their low-fat muffins. I do understand what you mean about worrying that fellow vegans will judge you for that, and I joke and call them the vegan police. So although I might cheat a tiny bit (I wouldn’t eat a block of cheese or anything, but I might cheat once in a blue moon with regards to some baking ingredients), I will not eat an animal, thus be a non-vegetarian, because I have will-power to refrain from that just as I wouldn’t eat my cat or dog. To this day I still have cravings for dairy (even though it’s gross as I know it’s animal secretions).

      Aside from having food cravings I’ve also had cravings/temptations for other things in the past (which I won’t explain since it is considered immoral — just note that it isn’t something illegal). But I do my best to have the will-power to not cave in since those cravings/temptations harm others. Therefore, just because I have cravings, doesn’t mean I give into them when I know they harm another. If I have cravings that only harm myself (like smoking or eating junk food, or not eating healthy as I’m a bit of a junk-food vegan, or drinking too much alcohol, etc.) then that’s another story because then it’s only harming myself. Vegans who go vegan mainly for health reasons is not the same thing as vegans who are vegan for ethical reasons (animal rights, environmentalism, human rights), so falling off the wagon would be more like cheating on one’s diet as there is no moral ethical dilemma there. Although I sense that you did/do struggle with the moral ethical dilemma since you have excused yourself often for feeling the need to give into your cravings, thus you were trying to justify something that you seem to feel is immoral. Cravings, temptations, not having enough will-power or discipline, etc. is all normal and common among we non-perfect human-beings, but if we know deep in our hearts that what we are doing isn’t right (as you wouldn’t eat a dog/cat, Alex, or eat another human being because you know it would be causing harm to them) then we have to find alternatives than giving into that temptation that harms another. I know several ethical vegans who like the taste of meat too, but just because they like the taste of it doesn’t mean they go out and eat it, so instead they eat those fake-veggie-meats. I eat fake-cheese since dairy was/is my weakness. I don’t think you should worry about being judged, and I completely understand and can empathize about not feeling you have the will-power or think it’s hard (as I have meat-eating friends that feel that way and I love them and know they are still wonderful people, albeit they don’t love ALL animals, just cats and dogs and other non-food-animals). Alex, I think that deep down as a vegan for 13 years you know that your taste-buds or giving into your body’s cravings is not an excuse to harm another, hence that is why you have been conflicted. Your intuition/gut wasn’t telling you to give in to your body’s cravings, your intuition/gut was just trying to show you that you are human and you have certain urges, BUT you also have the brain to decipher which path to take… one that causes harm (eating animals) or one that refrains from causing harm (not eating animals and finding replacements for your cravings). Imagine if we humans all lived by that philosophy of giving in to our cravings and our biological urges… we’d have no boundaries at all. Alex, just because you’ve given into your temptations/cravings doesn’t define you, as perhaps you are a wonderful person otherwise (I don’t believe that one’s actions define them as there are so many facets to one’s overall life), but you and all of us should always remember that the actions we choose in life can either harm others or help others. Go Vegan! :)

    • Serrah says:

      I want to hug you and show this comment to some other commenters who claim she is making the logical choice.

  160. John V. Brennan says:

    I support equal rights for EVERYONE including but not limited to… uhhh… EATERS! …People shouldn’t feel guilty about what they’re eating. People shouldn’t criticize or judge, or get angry about, what others are eating… Does anybody really want to spend their precious few Life Moments with feelings such as Anger or Guilt… about Food Choices??? Have your beliefs and policies, and allow others to have their beliefs and policies, and make the more important goal of Peace, and Peace of Mind, as your Issue. I almost can’t believe I have to make those statements. Debates about right and wrong Food Choices… It’s Silly, Ridiculous, and just about immature. ALL of that judgmental, holier-than-thow, nonsense has to go by the wayside… it’s disturbing to society, lacks the goal of Peace, Peaceful Human interaction, and certainly doesn’t support the practice of “Kindness”… if a person wants a good cause to support… then support ACCEPTANCE, Kindness, Understanding, Compassion, Peace, and Love… these silly Right and Wrong Diet Wars need to stop already….. move on… just about embarrassing… sheesh!

    …JUST EAT… whatever…

  161. Allison says:

    You are a fraud and a coward, being celebrated by people who will applaud anything that lets them off the hook for making selfish, irresponsible choices. Shame on you.

    • Ulrike says:

      Why beeing ashamed? Alex finally found out that a vegan lifestyle -though it sounds good- is not as great as it seems. If she ever was hard on nonvegas this would be the right day to apologise. But apart from that I see no reason for shame.
      If I had the choice between having a good and save life and a violent but fast death or an unsave live plus hunger with a natural death including longer suffering I might well want the first. (I know how an unsave live and suffering feel… and nature is often cruel) I do not mind keeping animals for food, as long as one keeps them in a way that the animals feel good until their (not to early) death. Sorry, by the way, my English is far from perfect, but I hope you will understand what I am trying to say.
      Besides I am glad Alex adresses the point of carvings openly. The vegan lifestyle does not work out for most people I have met. And to me (beeing a medical doctor) many vegetarians and especially vegans do not look healhy, though I have not been able to find out what substance specifically they lack.

  162. marg says:

    I certainly support you deciding for yourself what to eat. What I don’t support is your logic in this post. Just be honest – you wanted to eat animal products, you don’t need them. It’s selfish – every one of us make selfish choices every day. Just own that rather than trying to justify your decision with faulty logic.

    Cravings: Cravings are not a reasonable basis for making choices. We all crave things that aren’t good for us – sugar, fat, bacon, caffeine, drugs, alcohol, sex with someone we maybe shouldn’t sleep with, sitting outside without sunscreen, and the list goes on and on. Craving something does not mean one needs it. In fact, it’s often the opposite. Additionally, cravings are not an adequate justification for causing suffering. I know that every animal on Earth values its life as much as I value mine. My cravings don’t give me the right to treat other livings things in any way I wouldn’t want to be treated.

    “Innate knowing” and “trusting our bodies”: This is well-intentioned nonsense. We don’t have a whole lot of innate knowing in this culture, no matter how much self-actualization we do. Our culture – fueled by countless marketing messages – fuels what we “know” and what we crave. I am originally from India, where the entire country used to be almost entirely vegan or vegetarian, though those numbers have dropped over time. Guess what? I didn’t crave meat products until I came to know they existed and until they were marketed to me in certain ways as Western food chains expanded in India. You know how some American vegans and vegetarians eat soy hotdogs? India doesn’t have those. It’s because American cravings were and “innate” knowledge that you tell people to trust has been formed by food culture and marketing from when you were born. People don’t crave hotdogs in places where they don’t yet exist. There’s nothing innate about it. We get so many unhealthy messages about food in America – fueled by the industrial food industry’s massive marketing and lobbying budget – that it is in fact often disastrous advice to trust one’s cravings or to pretend that we have some “innate knowing.”

    Just be honest about selfishness: Just admit that you are putting your own WANT/craving (not need) for meat above the suffering of animals. It’s much more honest than the twisted logic in this post. We all make selfish choices that put our needs above the needs of Earth, animals and our friends and family. I sometimes drive a car, which harms the environment, when I could walk or take the bus. There is no good justification – I just prefer the convenience and am being selfish. I use more paper towels than I should when I know better – I could just use a washable rag. But it’s convenient and I’m making the choice to put my fickle desires above the environment and saving money. I sometimes get a huge craving for a dairy product or meat, and on rare occasion, I indulge that. But it’s not based on some holier-than-though “innate knowledge.” It’s not a need. I know better. I know that most animal products in our food chain involve the animals being tortured from the moment they are born until they die. I know it’s not good for the environment. I know that even if an animal is “humanely raised” it still would rather not give up its life to be eaten by me and it still would rather not give its milk to me. I know I wouldn’t want to be milked to feed another animal, and I wouldn’t want to die (even after living a very humane life so far) to feed someone else. I know I can be perfectly healthy and all my nutritional needs can be met without consuming animal products. So, when I indulge in an animal product, I’m honest about it. I feel a little guilty, and I should. I feel bad that I participated in something dying because I craved the taste or gave into an urge. I feel bad that, even though my theoretical beliefs say otherwise, my actions indicated that I have dominion over other creatures. This is at least honest. Admit we aren’t perfect and admit the true motivations behind our actions.

    “Inherently good:” Perhaps the most troubling part of your post is this idea that all food choices are inherently good. Really?! Again, people can eat whatever they want. My food choices are not perfect from a health perspective or an ethical perspective. But I’m not going to pretend they are “inherently good” or that there isn’t a moral element. How can there not be an ethical component to killing something so you can eat it? How can every aspect of our industrial food chain and the destruction of the environment not have an ethical component. All of our choices have an ethical/moral component – how our clothing is made, how our electronics are made, how people are paid and treated at the companies we support with every dollar we spend, how our tax dollars are spent, and I could list a million things here… Please don’t hide behind nonsense of everything being “inherently good.” I have a few leather items, and it’s not “inherently good” just because I want to feel good about myself and we live with a mantra of judging being bad. Those leather items involved suffering, and I own them based on vanity and giving into cultural messages around fashion and materialism. At least I’m being honest about my less-than-perfect choices rather than pretending there isn’t an ethical element. When I choose to eat an animal product, the animal has to give up its life, possibly suffer throughout its entire life (in the case of less-humanely raised animals), or surrender its life to mainly existing to meet my desires (even in the case of a “humanely” raised dairy animal, for example). This makes my choice to eat animal products harmful and self-centered. Yet, sometimes I choose to be harmful and self-centered. As I said, I’m not perfect. But again, just embrace that imperfection and immorality rather than hiding behind some vague claim that everything is “inherently good.”

    Finally, I don’t understand why so many people are calling you brave and courageous for this post. You’ve made thousands of dollars (maybe millions) off spreading a vegan message. I consider being honest about your food identity to just be the most basic, decent thing to do. A requirement in fact – especially when one is a public figure and when not sharing information would essentially be a form of lying. Lying or making public misrepresentations is unethical. Making money off of lying or misrepresentations is even worse. Telling the truth is just the basis of decent human behavior. It’s really not something that’s heroic or brave or courageous.

    Again, please eat whatever you want. Just be honest about the motivation and the ugly part of the less-than-deal choices that we all make. And don’t sugar-coat those less-than-ideal choices with false notions of inherent goodness or health or supposedly out-of-our-control cravings.

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you, Marg, excellent commentary.

      There are so few people who have great wisdom and share it because they feel it is the good and correct thing to do, not as a way to make a living. One of those people is Dr. Michael Greger. His book is available (for FREE) on Amazon~~it is called “Carbophobia.” He doesn’t sell supplements or dvds. He is an awesome human being.

      • Nicely put… I know this ‘coming out’ moment is fueled with many factions, but honestly, the money she made selling a vegan lifestyle, and now saying its intuition, and the whole ‘coming out’ celebration it also weird and saying that everything you eat is good…

        Well it just hurts when someone who has taken food guru status, then just turns mid stream with a simple craving motivation. It doesn’t matter to me personally, but i can see how others are hurt by this… I bet some people feel betrayed, some feel foolish, and others are just in shock… I just find it weird that she needed to dump the Vegans, instead of just living with imperfection and live like you, and give in once in a while and live with it…

        • Serrah says:

          I smiled after reading this comment because it is exactly how I feel. Of course vegans are going to be upset, she masqueraded as a vegan guru for a while and I know I looked up to her. Cravings aren’t worth cruelty. I think that should go on a t shirt.

    • Marg, very well stated points you made.

    • Natalia says:

      Marg, thanks for the excellent post.

    • Mary says:

      Truth is truth…thank you

    • Karen says:

      Well done! As for “inherently good’ ‘listen to your body’ ‘stand in your truth’,etc, do people really speak this way? I hear a lot of Oprah speak in this post and in the comments.

      • Rachel says:

        I agree! The cliche of it all is just so…cliched, lol. Just gussied-up rationalizations if you ask me. Put it on a pedestal and it almost sounds righteous!!

        My body is so intelligent, I speak to my own truth, I live by my own rules…blah, blah, blah…AD NAUSEUM.

        Translated: I’m addicted to meat and cheese and so I’m going to eat it and then make up all kinds of excuses as to why I *should* eat it. When there are NONE.

    • JC says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with marg. Having cravings IN NO WAY means you must act on them, or that it’s right or truthful or good to act on them. Often the reverse is true. My belief that it is wrong to kill animals unnecessarily would never be outweighed by mere cravings (which surely could be met in a way consistant with my ethics by any of the amazing analogues out there. Very sad that this woman puts her cravings above the lives of animals, claims that she does this in the name of truth and honesty and then demands applause for this selfish choice. I agree that vegans can be bizarrely and horribly judgmental and i hate that about the vegan communitty. But this woman’s decision to eat animals is, with respect, simply a decision to support killing for her own enjoyment. This has nothing to do with ‘happy hen’ eggs , which i fully support. I may have missed it but i dont recall the letter saying that she was choosing happy hen eggs or free range meat. Living a cruelty-free lifestyle is amazingly easy. Very sad this woman chooses to change

      • JC says:

        PS Just curious – in terms of this bizarre logic this woman uses that cravings equal a need, truth, honesty, innate knowing, our bodies telling us what is right etc etc: so how does this work in relation to people’s very real, very intense cravings for eg cigarettes? Cravings tell us what we want, not what we need or what’s good for us, and at least a craving for cigarettes only harms our own lives (generally speaking) – unlike cravings for animal products which entails harm to other living beings. Anyway – there is so much wrong with Alexandra’s justification for her actions that it’s not even really worth thinking about. The fact that she bashes vegans in the process is what annoys me – I, as a vegan, am simply trying to live a cruelty-free life. I am harming no one in doing so. But she accuses me as a vegan of being judgmental simply because SOME vegans are. Well hello – some carnivores are judgmental (just a bit). So it’s not specific to vegans. So let me continue to live my cruelty-free lifestyle without criticising me, just to make yourself feel better about a decision to support the killing of animals. And dont dress it us as anything but this, that is just being dishonest. I really don’t care what you do, what you eat etc – what I can’t accept is that you want to dress it up as something honourable, when it is anything but. Good luck to you, enjoy your meat, eggs and dairy, and I will continue to be completely at ease with myself and my choices knowing that my choices do not entail any torture or killing of animals. That’s the bottom line for me – the animals, not my cravings. All the best. xxx

        • Rachel says:

          You said it perfectly~~thank you.

          It’s so funny how many times I’ve seen people in this thread make these sweeping generalizations about vegans as if all vegans are made of the same DNA, lol. And as if *no* meat-eater were ever mean or judgmental or annoying! And since they make up 99.9% of the population, odds are pretty good there are some nasty ones out there.

          In addition, this is the internet and who knows what all these anonymous people *really* eat, anyway! There could be people saying they are vegans who are not (and are purposely trying to make the “group” look bad and vice versa).

          But how easily some folks will paint an entire group with one broad brush. That is what happens when you fear something you don’t understand. Much like racism, homophobia, etc.

    • Serrah says:

      so much love and admiration for this comment and for you, keep fighting the good fight:)

  163. lucky us says:

    Aren’t we lucky we all have so many choices. Thanks mum for giving birth to me in a country where:
    1) I have access to the internat to have these discussions without fear of persecution
    2) I have enough money to provide me with the options to eat expensive whole foods or not
    3) To have never known starvation in any form whatsoever
    I’ll eat to that, no matter whats on the table.

  164. Scott says:

    The body “tells you” it needs a lot of things. It is programmed to survive, and calorie dense flesh is a great way to do that.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re happy and all – I guess as long as you’re happy it doesn’t matter how many are made to live horrible lives, right?

    …right?

    Enjoy every bite.

    ps. don’t try to compare yourself to Ellen.

  165. rmalieckal says:

    I find this article so sad. Is it always easy to be vegan? Of course not. But it’s always worth it, whether for the benefit to my health or – far more importantly – to spare animals from suffering. If I ever get a craving, I find I can quickly satisfy it with Gardein or Field Roast, or one of a dozen other products on the market. No craving is worth the death of another living being

  166. Marcy Swenson says:

    Alex, I’m an old SF friend of Bob’s. I’ve never met you, but this makes me love you immediately for your honesty, your vulnerability, and your willingness to stand for what you believe, even as that changes out from under you. Big hugs, and hats off to you for your bravery. Bob chose well. :-)

    Xoxo, Marcy

  167. Marianne says:

    Thank you for this Alex. This only makes me like and respect you even more. I have been following you for years and even tried “eating vegan” for a while, but I just couldn’t do it. I cook professionally, and limiting your diet to only plant-based products takes away one of life’s greatest pleasures. A balanced, fresh, organic diet (including meat) is the way to go!

  168. Paula M. says:

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t see how it is “brave” or “honest” to make lame excuses for eating the broken bodies of animals who did not want to die. Perhaps instead of listening to your body, you should listen to your heart.

  169. Tim says:

    Alex, Congrats to you on choosing what is right for you and your body. To all the vegans who now hate you because you left their cult of insanity, you people are clueless. Typical vegan argument, you’re a failure, you were never a vegan to begin with, you’re doing it wrong. WTF is wrong with you…Oh I know. You lack the sufficient nutrients to make rational and compassionate decisions towards other humans. You love animals so much , but have no clue what it means to be human. You hate and hate anyone who eats meat think you are high and mighty, and guess what, you will be the first to go when natural selection takes over. Your soy riddled bodies are so broken that you lack the intelligence to have a compassionate conversation, and the amount of inflammation and gut problems you ALL HAVE is working very hard on breaking down your body and killing you slowly!! Alex gave in to her human cravings. The craving for meat is necessary, the need for eating meat is CRITICAL to being healthy and for all your talk about being healthy, you are not healthy in your mind. Lack of animal fat does this to humans.

    Happy humanely raised animals and wild animals are without a doubt the greatest food source on this planet. Nose to tail!!

    Alex the only thing you did wrong was giving up meat for so long. I’m so very happy that you came to your (senses) and realized that you needed to eat meat again. Vegetables have a place, fruits have a place, but without animal protein, we are not complete as humans. Period. You may thrive for a time, you may feel awesome for a time, but eventually if you are honest with yourself, you will know that having IBS, Crohns, bad skin, bad teeth, bad hair, joint pain, acid reflux, diabetes, (oh yes vegans get all this) if you are honest then you might look past your stupid egos and realize that eating meat, and eliminating all those grains/legumes(soy) and processed packaged crap frankenfoods might just save your life.

    You vegans are delusional and telling those who stray away from your cult that they were never “vegan” or “your doing it wrong” makes you look more stupid than anything else. It’s quite sad to read such hate towards someone who leaves your cult. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. PEACE AND BACON FOR ALL!

  170. Nick Kokoshis says:

    It’s an interesting subject, and a story I’ve heard before. I’ve been vegetarian for 36 years, so that means I’ve always had access to the fats and protein in animal proteins (dairy and eggs) and could pretty much approximate omnivorous diets, but I also had all the beans and veggies and fruit and super-foods that most typical Americans missed, and I tried to avoid the worst of the junk foods and find healthier desserts. I got into it from yoga, and yogis also thought a wide range of dairy products was a good thing for a vegetarian (although the medical doctor yogi I studied with over time went vegan and then pesca-vegetarian, eating fish) so when veganism become in vogue in the 1980s as the animal rights movement exploded, I resisted the peer pressure and stuck with vegetarianism while dabbling in the new vegan options that were arising, and I like a lot of them such as all the new vegan milks. The longest I was ever vegan was 7 weeks for Lent, but I intended to go back unless something earth shattering happened. When I started fitness training a couple years ago, I really upped the protein from egg whites (incredible amounts of usable protein and no cholesterol) and whey (25 grams of protein in one 8 ounce glass). It was a real kick in the ass, so to speak, but I also know there are many muscle-bound vegan athletes. A lot of the scientific information vegans put forth about human anatomy is pure myth; it’s pseudo-science really, and I know cuz most of this was started in the 70s when I became vegetarian. The reality is that humans evolved as omnivores which is why we can get by on everything from artic diets to tropical diets. And scientists have only recently begun to understand how big a role genetics plays in how we utilize nutrients from various sources, and the role genetics plays in longevity. When I was working in supplements department, I met a woman who really wanted to be a vegetarian, but had a genetic condition that she said made it impossible. At first I thought dairy and eggs could solve her problem, but there wasn’t enough of the nutrient she needed in them. Even when i suggested she just eat fish and not worry, she had this pained look in her face– she really didn’t want to eat meat, so I knew she was not bullshitting me or coming up with an excuse, which is what many are claiming Alex is doing. I take her at her word; I’m not in her body and I don’t know how she feels, and it seems to me she tried everything she could to correct the problems with vegan products. Ultimately, I think humans are almost constantly experimenting with diet, and lot of these specialized diets self-select– meaning that the people they work for tend to stick with them because they feel good, but then they just assume that everyone will feel the same on their diet. A lot of time these extreme diets can be good for cleansing but long term will lead to deficiencies. I just watched that great documentary FAT SICK AND NEARLY DEAD, where a guy cures himself and others with long juice fasts followed by months of veganism, but after looking him up on line, I see he’s basically a omnivore now, eating a lot of fish. I believe vegans hold the upper hand on ethics in regards to how animals are treated (I mean, they have NOTHING to do with those products, how they are raised or killed!), but I’ve also known farmers that raise their animals humanely. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make the world a more humane place.

  171. Joanne says:

    I’m shocked that you never even mentioned getting blood test or consulting an actual nutritionist. I can’t trust anyone who uses “feeling” rather than actual science to identify their health issues. From what I read, you didn’t have any issues other than some cravings. It’s problematic when people start to diagnose their own health because of random indicators like “cravings”. People say they crave protein all the time but those who actually have protein deficiency never have any “cravings”. All this sounds to me like a bunch of wishy washy touchy feely excuse for wanting to just eat whatever you want. If you were actually interested in your health, you would have consulted a professional and got to the bottom of the cause of your “cravings”. But the truth is, there was nothing wrong with you. You just wanted to do what is convenient. It’s okay to live honestly and say that. Just don’t hide behind the veil of “health” or what “feels good to my body”. Nutrition information is already confusing enough with the food industry, the media and whoever else out there manipulating data. You do not need to add another level of confusion. Just be honest about why you changed your diet. No one is really that interested in what you do and why you do it. If you can’t live with that then go see a shrink. Just don’t make up fairy tales to make yourself feel better.

  172. marg says:

    Hmmm, having read through many comments I’m getting worried that you are going to use this process to get undeserved sympathy for yourself. These comments are being moderated. And yet a comment was published in which someone called you a “cunt.” Seriously? If there were ever a use for the moderation function, is it not to filter out comments in which women are called cunts? I’m all for open debates and airing out differences, and I support publishing comments that strongly disagree with you. But the only reason I imagine that someone would publish a cunt-calling comment is to show “poor me, I’m being attacked” and “look how insane vegans are.”

    There’s nothing particularly mean or militant or unreasonable about vegans as a whole. You aren’t a martyr or a victim or some big hero for “coming out” as a non-vegan. Just about everything on the internet gets some crazy response. Please don’t use the crazy responses to solicit pity for yourself.

    Want to get 1000 times the negative comments? Publish and article in the mainstream press about being vegan or vegetarian. You’ll get called a cunt many times over. You’ll also get called a communist, a nazi, and worse. Dare to tell people to have healthier school lunches or that they can’t sell soda in unlimited qualities and you’ll get called every swearword in our language. Meat eaters, dairy eaters, processed food eaters, and those who otherwise cling to mainstream American food culture are just as mean and militant as anyone else is about food. They just don’t have to confront it in themselves because they are the mainstream.

    You aren’t a bad person for choosing to eat some animal products. As I said above, you also aren’t a hero or courageous or special for telling the truth and not being misleading about your eating habits as someone who has been public about her eating habits – it’s just basic decency. And you aren’t a martyr or a victim due to a bunch of negative comments on here by anonymous people on the internet. Please stop trying to feed that sentiment by publishing comments featuring terms like “cunt.”

    • Wow your insight gives such relief in this crazy topic.
      “I am no longer Vegan”, seriously how pot-stirring is that statement n itself. Maybe a little transparent…I think she might want the attention for a newer and bigger fan base. Maybe vegans market was too limited and she decided to branch out… idk

  173. patrice says:

    Wow, why all the hateful comments from the militant vegans here? Alex says she is no longer a vegan and y’all act like it’s the end of the world. What’s up with that? One thing I’ll never understand is why (some? most?) vegans tend to be the most intolerant, vitriolic, judgmental people around, yet they claim to be the only ones caring about animals and having compassion. Here is a hint…. That’s really not the best way to get your message across to “unenlightened corpse eaters” as you call us omnivores.

    It truly is possible to have a deep love and respect for all of life – that includes both the plants and animals – and still be an omnivore. Yes, it is possible to get your meat from pasture raised farms that don’t mistreat their animals and feed them a species appropriate diet. Factory farming doesn’t have to come into play. I’m curious as to why (most?) vegans tend to get hot and bothered and holier-than-thou by somebody not eating the exact same diet as them?

    • Gordon Kelley says:

      “I’m curious as to why (most?) vegans tend to get hot and bothered and holier-than-thou by somebody not eating the exact same diet as them?”

      You really don’t get it. It’s not about an exact same diet. It’s about suffering. The way nearly all animals are treated in our food system is the moral and ethical equivalent of human slavery. Imagine your choice of two restaurants, one that treats its workers well and one that employs slavery. Your friend tries to get you to go to the slave-owners restaurant but you’re horrified by slavery and refuse. Your friend doesn’t understand why you are bothered by their food choices. Their choice of FOOD isn’t the point, the point is that they are consuming food made with completely unacceptable, morally reprehensible practices and that’s why you don’t want to go to the restaurant with slaves in the kitchen.

      If you saw someone kicking the hell out of a puppy right in front of you then killing it and serving it to you, would you be upset? This is the situation of vegans in an omnivore’s world. While I completely agree that avoiding the angry vegan stereotype in our communication with omnivores is key to helping change people’s behavior, feeling angry and bothered by seeing people turn a blind eye to intense suffering is entirely reasonable.

      As another person aptly put it, “today’s vegan is the woman of the early 1900′s striving for suffrage, today’s vegan is the civil rights activist of the 1960′s, today’s vegan is the 1980′s gay rights advocate. This isn’t about fundamentalism, it isn’t a religion; it is about social justice.”

      I hope that by helping you understand that vegans view how we treat animals as the moral equivalent of human slavery helps you understand why others’ “diet choices” can be profoundly upsetting.

      • Linda says:

        “As another person aptly put it, “today’s vegan is the woman of the early 1900′s striving for suffrage, today’s vegan is the civil rights activist of the 1960′s, today’s vegan is the 1980′s gay rights advocate.”

        The woman of the early 1900s striking for suffrage was *in* the group she fought for.

        Not every activist in the early 1900s women’s suffrage movement was male. Some of them were women standing up for themselves. Not every activist in the 1960s civil rights movement was white. Not every activist in the 1980s gay rights movement was heterosexual. All activists in the 2010s veganism movement are human beings.

      • Linda says:

        Read http://www.social-ecology.org/2005/01/ambiguities-of-animal-rights/

        “The central analogy to the civil rights movement and the women’s movement is trivializing and ahistorical. Both of those social movements were initiated and driven by members of the dispossessed and excluded groups themselves, not by benevolent men or white people acting on their behalf. “

  174. Sheri B says:

    Wow! Your post is eye opening; and the replies even more so. How can people be so MEAN?! It is nobody else’s place to criticize in such hostile terms. What makes someone think that cruel words are okay, but,that eating meat is a heinous crime? Perhaps some of them are suffering themselves from secret cravings. Others may just be suffering from self righteousness. The thing is… now I realize I am speaking to a long term vegan here…but… this is the sort of thing that causes the omnivores of our world to believe vegans are extremists (aka- it kind of cancels their vote). My feelings, as a mother and a consumer, are that we should honor any creature that gives us milk or eggs (or, yes, even meat), by not being wasteful and by making the most out of all that we have. Eat well, treat yourself with the same kindness you’d surely show to any other creature and tend the earth in gently manner.

    • Kerry says:

      Sheri. To get the milk you drink in your coffee, a mother cow has her baby taken away when only a couple of days old and she cries and grieves for a long time. This is done to her many times in her life. To get the eggs you eat baby yellow male chicks are dropped alive into grinders. To eat the chicken you get chickens are strung up by their feet on a conveyor belt, sent towards a wire to (hopefully) be beheaded then plunged into boiling water. As much as an estimated 20% avoid the wire and are plunged alive into the water. To get the pork on your plate, pigs (which are closest to us genetically and highly intelligent) are kept in small crates so they can’t do anything much other than stand or squat. To get the veal you eat baby calves are kept so they can’t move because lean muscle is not what is wanted and they are fed iron deprived food to keep their flesh pale. Fois gras is produced by the goose being kept so it can’t move, fed until it wishes to throw up and having a collar put around its neck so it can’t to make the liver engorged.. If you choose clothing or anything that has a fur component there is an 80% chance the animal it came from was literally skinned alive. And you call me extremist!

      • Jeff says:

        Exactly. Sherry, if you think that mere words compare in cruelty to what is done to the animals (or their secretions) that wind up being most people’s food, you really don’t get it. Granted, hostile language and name-calling is not conducive to getting that point across and I wish the vegans who do that wouldn’t, but it results from justifiable anger at the exploitation of animals that, as far as we know from current nutrition science, is completely unnecessary for good human health.

        • Paleo Huntress says:

          Those of us who need, laugh at those of you who say there’s no such thing. How blissful is the life of the pious vegan who finds himself able to thrive on a vegan diet, for in his microcosm of a world, there is no room for diversity.