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They won't let me go vegan

Discussion in 'Support' started by Llama, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Hi. I'm brand new to this website and never ever thought I'd be signing up to something like this, but here I am. I'm going to try and shorten this because I have got a lot to say.

    So I've been a full vegetarian for about two months (pescatarian for about six months before that) and I have no idea why I didn't do it sooner. I just never really thought about it and I feel bad for that now, but that's the past and it can't be changed. I ultimately went full vegetarian because I no longer wanted to eat animals when I didn't need to, and some of the ways farm animals are treated is terrible (even though I'm in the UK which has the 'best' animal welfare standards in the world). So I felt good about going veggie.

    When I had first announced to my mum that I was just going to become pescatarian, she got irritated with me, telling me that I was making things awkward and being picky and making everything harder for her. I was so annoyed but I still did it. Surprisingly, she was slightly less annoyed when I told her I was going full veggie. But she got annoyed again when I said I would only eat eggs that were properly, definitely free range (which I DO know they are), but still, it isn't natural is it? Anyway...

    The main reason I came here is because I have anorexia. Not going to deny it. I was in hospital with it for a while (discharged 4 months ago) but I'm on a community treatment order so I have to stay above a certain BMI, continue going to an eating disorders centre for support etc etc. But I'm struggling. I've been on a meal plan for over a year and right now I'm not quite eating everything on it. Everyone keeps telling me the same things over and over, like 'you need to do it, you need to stay out of hospital and keep going to college' both of which I want to do so much, but for some reason it doesn't quite motivate me, it's like there's something missing. I do a wildlife-based course at college, so I've learnt loads of stuff about the environment and also the impacts of farming on global warming, so it's quite clear why I've become so aware of what I'm eating and what's detrimental to animals and the environment.

    I feel like the only thing that would motivate me enough and make me feel good about myself would be to go vegan. I always thought that going vegan after/during an ED was stupid (probably because all these people seemed to eat only raw, super healthy, sugar free, low fat, and virtually carb free food) and that it wouldn't help with recovery but now I can see why it does! It's not just about you. It's about the world.

    But there's about 0.00001% chance of anyone (i.e. parents, dietician, counsellor etc.) letting me become vegan. Probably because they think there's a huge lack of nutrients and vitamins and that I'm just trying to restrict my calories. I'm not, for once (woah, did I just say that??). My dietician, counsellor, and parents all think that veganism is utter rubbish and very unhealthy. Yes, a qualified dietician who obviously hasn't been taught properly. But I really really think veganism would help me stay out of hospital. I love all the natural foods, all the fruit and veg and nuts and pulses and grains etc. as well as chocolate and cake and biscuits (obviously) and I feel goodish when I eat them (as oppose to milk and yoghurt and eggs and lots of possessed foods), and that's how I think I want to feel, not guilty for eating animal products and other rubbish.

    SO, does anyone have any ideas as to how I can try and convince them? Because although I haven't directly asked if I can, I've hinted, but whenever I do that they just seem to pounce on me and tell me veganism is bad. I don't think I've got much chance of convincing them but I have to try!! So any advice?

    Llama <-- that's a sheep, but shhh....

    P.s. Sorry for the ridiculously long ramble, I don't like taking up people's time . I'll just go eat my vegan lentil Dahl and basmati rice (which I chose!!) and hopefully feel quite good (and then bad again, when I have to have a yoghurt for dessert☹).
     
  2. Lux
    Cheerful

    Lux Member

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    Sorry to hear about your struggles with anorexia. I used to have an eating disorder myself and my little brother was diagnosed and hospitalised with anorexia as well when he was younger so I know a bit about how it affects you, but also a family. Sounds like your mum is worried about you and of course we can't blame her for that. When my brother was struggling the most my mum was so desperate and the rest of us felt so powerless. I think that fear sometimes makes you lash out and almost by default turn down anything that feels unfamiliar or has to do with removing foods.

    The only thing I could think of really is to maybe make a deal with them allowing you to try, and get a chance to prove to them, that you're looking to do this for your health and as a way to eat proper well balanced meals and then you all sit down and evaluate after for example 2 weeks? If you have gained weight in that time and you're more energetic and feel well, maybe they would see the benefit of it then?

    You could also ask your parents to watch some documentaries on the health benefits, like What the Health or similar ones on Netflix or youtube. A lot of people don't really understand what a vegan diet is and believe that we need meat and other animal products in order to get all of our nutrients and vitamins. Of course that's not true, but it's not at all uncommon for people to believe so.
     
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  3. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Thank you for your quick reply!

    I've written a letter (because I'm really shy and not good at talking to people) for my counsellor (I keep referring to her as a counsellor... I don't know what she is really. Nurse?). I've basically written about all the stuff that I wrote about in this post, just much shorter because she knows all my background info and stuff. So I'll give that to her on Monday but I doubt she'll even consider it.

    If I asked my parents to watch documentaries or short videos on YouTube (don't have Netflix) they probably wouldn't do it so I think I'll find some good videos and websites myself and send them the links and tell them to watch them. Again, my parents are so stubborn on the matter. Whether that's because they think veganism is stupid and nonsense or that they think I'll lose a lot of weight and get readmitted, I don't know. But it doesn't half frustrate me!! I'm going to send her some links whilst I'm at college tomorrow.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Hi again. I sent my mum a few links to videos and the Vegan Society website and at first she really dismissed it and sent me a long text telling me that I would die if I went vegan because there would be 'virtually nothing/sod all you can eat'. I was going to reply but then my phone battery died, but when I saw her later, she showed me the text that she sent straight after that one, apologising. She said we should have a discussion about it so we did. She's still not that convinced and I think she thinks I will just use it as an excuse to eat less calories (even though that isn't my reason). But she opened up to the idea a little bit more and we discussed what types of things I could eat, especially quick things for desserts and stuff (my mum is quite lazy with food; she can't even be bothered to make some toast for breakfast lol, only cereal). So I have to be able to get hold of fast dessert things (I do bake, so I could bake stuff).

    But things are looking up a bit!! She's not exactly said no, which is a start! She is considering it and thinking how we will work it out and she said that she wanted me to do it gradually though (though I don't know why as I already know about the nutrients in things). But anyway, fingers crossed!!
     
  5. Lux
    Cheerful

    Lux Member

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    Hi! That sounds like a small step forward for sure. I'm so happy you dared send her some info on it and that you had a conversation about it at least. That's better than nothing. Maybe suggest sitting down together to do a one week or two week long meal plan? So plan out breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and dessert together for all days of the weeks and really show her that you're not doing this to avoid meals, but to find a healthy way to feed yourself the nutrients you need. I'm sure that is all your mum wants at this stage - for you to be healthy. For so many people, your mum included by the sounds of things, this is a whole new world of eating and with anything new comes a natural resistance if people don't have an open enough mind. If your mum can't imagine the benefits for you, then I would try to actually show her. Ask if this could be a project you do together, because going vegan isn't going to magically make your eating disorder go away. You're going to need your mum to be on your team here. Go food shopping together, talk about the different choices and learn together. She won't have to eat like you of course but if you make this transition a team effort and you involve her she will most likely feel less like you're going behind her back or like you're plotting to get out of eating, but like you're being open and honest about your relationship to food and how it needs to change but also how you believe you really could change your mindset if what you ate was plantbased because it matters to you.

    I'm cheering you on! I hope it goes well. Keep us in the loop. :)
     
  6. poivron

    poivron Active Member

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    You can have cereal with soymilk! Try Silk Original Soymilk; I think it's delicious with cereal. But some brands of cereal are not vegan. Check the box to make sure it doesn't have whey or anything with the word "casein" in it. Special K, for example, is not vegan.

    Also, if you're in the U.S., you could look into Gardein products. They're usually very easy to prepare. My favorites are the crabless cakes, the fishless filets, the meatless meatballs, the chick'n scallopini, the beefless burger, and the beefless ground. It's best not to have too much of these (they contain isolated soy protein, which is unhealthy if you eat more than 3-5 servings a day), but if your mom hates cooking, they might help.

    Vegan doesn't have to mean low in calories. There are tons of nutritious foods you can eat like beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, kale, blueberries, and avocado, just to mention a random few. If you haven't done so already, suggest that your mother watch Dr. Michael Greger's speech entitled "How Not to Die" on YouTube. He also has a book by the same title. That will probably convince her of how healthy a vegan diet can be.

    And finally, here is a chocolate mousse recipe. It's made with ripe avocado. I discovered it last week and made it a few days ago. It's amazing.
    https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2015/10/15/avocado-chocolate-mousse-vegan-healthy/
    ETA: I made this again yesterday, and my husband woke up in the middle of the night with horrible acid reflux. I think there is way too much cocoa in it. Next time, I will try it with half as much cocoa, or even less. This is the problem with getting recipes off the internet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  7. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    I never expected so much support! Thank you!

    Poivron, yes I could have cereal with soya milk and actually, for the first time ever I have some soya milk in the fridge. And some soya yoghurt. Only because yesterday I decided to bake my first ever vegan cake (vegan lemon poppy seed bundt cake! Yum). I used the soya stuff for the cake but I know my mum won't let me have soya milk on my cereal just yet. She won't go that far. Plus, she'll say there's not enough calories in it ☹. Just going to say, my lemon poppy seed bundt cake (never used my bundt tin before) turned out quite good and was super tasty!!! Not as good as non vegan but it definitely passed muster (even though I used really lumpy apple sauce so there's big chunks of apple in it, but at least I know for next time).

    I would like to show my mum (or my dad, for that matter) some more videos or documentaries, but I don't want to annoy them and be constantly pestering them about it. Also, I had quite a good, long conversation with my mum this morning and I tactfully asked her if she ever felt bad eating meat and if taste and flavour overruled compassion. She said it did a bit and that she was a bad person for it (of course I told her she wasn't a bad person ). So I don't want to make her feel guilty and bad. I don't want her to hate me .

    My mum and dad don't hate cooking, they just get a bit flustered because we only ever seem to pick what we are having for dinner on the night, a couple of hours before we cook it lol. We go through phases of planning meals for a week but we've never really kept it up. We're going to start it again next week so we don't get so flustered and we have to go to the shop less (we go pretty much every day. Not so good). I'm in the UK by the way ☺.

    Llama
     
  8. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Lux, I wish it could be a project that me and my mum do together but there is no chance of her even going vegetarian, let alone vegan. No chance. No matter how much I tell her about animal welfare and global warming, she says I'm not going to make her change because she likes the taste of meat and she loves poached eggs on toast and milk in her tea and all sorts of other things (which I do to, but I know I can live without). So unfortunately it's not an option for us to do it together. I think the majority of our meals are vegan anyway as I hate creamy sauces and don't really have a lot of eggs in my dinners. And she does enjoy it when we cook tasty vegan meals from scratch. Just obviously not enough for her to give up meat .

    I guess it would be something I have to sort of show her myself to prove it's very doable. I know it wouldn't make my eating disorder go away completely, I don't know what will. I'm just hoping it would help me develop a better relationship with food and keep me out of hospital because I haven't mentioned... I am so close to being readmitted as an inpatient! Last week at my weekly appointment at this ED centre, they practically started planning my admission and asking whether I would prefer the unit I was in before or a new unit and they were writing everything down!! If my BMI isn't back above a certain number when I next go on Monday... then I don't know, I think they might readmit me, and it's looking pretty likely . I don't want to go back, I have college and I worked so hard for it!

    Sorry for going on about my life so much, I'm just struggling a bit right now.

    Llama
     
  9. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Hi llama, I think it's great that you went vegetarian. I went vegetarian at the age of 35. I'm always impressed by people who were smart enough to work it out at a younger age.

    People's attitudes change over time, believe me, and more than you think. But in the short term, they won't change. Perhaps in a few years you will be 100% vegan and your Mom will be a flexitarian or reducetarian or whatever. It seems hard to believe now, but you never know.

    To put on weight, nuts are healthy and fattening. Almonds contains needed calcium for vegans, and walnuts contains omega 3, so they are worth considering.

    Also, obviously you need to work at making sure at getting enough calories each day just eating more total food. However please keep in mind I don't have any experience with eating disorders so I can't really advise about that but it sounds like you are already heading in the right direction and a positive mental attitude and open communication with all parties will help.

    I suggest you tell your parents that you can agree to go mostly vegan, but not a strict vegan (e.g. eating some cake with eggs from time to time), and that this is conditional on you not losing weight. Then, work on putting on a bit of weight.

    If you cut out all meat, fish and eggs you've removed most of the animal cruelty, then work to cut out cheese and butter and milk, and, eventually, products containing dairy.

    As you transition to a more vegan diet, the total food you need to eat will likely increase due to the lower fat content, so you need to eat more snacks or larger portions. Well, probably. Of course, it depends a little on exactly what you are eating.
     
  10. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Oh my god, crazy, stressful, horrible weekend, unsure of whats even going to happen tomorrow. Literally don't know so I'll update tomorrow at some point!!
     
  11. Lux
    Cheerful

    Lux Member

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    I totally get what you mean re your mum and I didn't quite mean it like that. I don't think you should aim for trying to make her go vegan with you, but I think it could be helpful if you sat down and made your meal plan together. Allow her to be part of the project in that sense so that she can see that you're not doing this to skip meals. Share your game plan with her. As someone who's lived with an anorexic brother I know that there is nothing worse than feeling like you have no insight into what's going on and you feel like you're being tricked as the person struggling is telling you they're doing what they can and at the same time as a family member you can tell that they're not gaining weight. If you and your mum could sit down and plan out your meals for a week or two and then go to the supermarket together to make this happen she can see that you're serious and that you're trying to get excited about food and nutrition again. For my brother that was really what saved him in the end. He got really into fitness so he started to think of food as fuel to make himself go further and faster and that is his reason for eating now. He will never be the type to find pleasure in eating but he has figured out the science aspect of food and energy and that's what's making him eat. If you can prove to your mum that this will be your why for eating and working on becoming a healthy weight again I'm sure she won't care in the end if you're surviving on peanut butter and veggies or if you do it on eggs and chicken, you know? Though she might not ever want to be a vegan herself I'm sure that her main concern at the moment is to see you healthy and well and how you get there will be less important to her at the end of the day.
     
  12. poivron

    poivron Active Member

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    Is everything OK, Llama?

    Jaime makes an excellent point. This doesn't have to be all or nothing overnight. If going vegan overnight is causing you to lose too much weight too quickly, you could cut out pork, chicken, and eggs. That's where most of the suffering is. After that, once your weight is stable and you've gotten used to your new way of eating, you could cut out milk, then fish, then beef, and then cheese, one step at a time.

    I totally understand about not wanting to overwhelm your mother with videos. I just wanted to mention Dr. Greger because he's a respected doctor who knows a huge amount about the latest research on nutrition. If you're ever curious about a question of nutrition, his site (http://nutritionfacts.org) is a great resource.

    Finally, you mentioned counselling. I haven't had eating disorders, but I've struggled with depression and anxiety, and finding a good therapist and working with her over time on my issues was what saved me. If your current counsellor isn't helping you (for example, if s/he doesn't seem to understand your perspective or doesn't seem to care), then you might want to talk to your mother about trying someone else. In my case, the first person I saw was a psychiatrist who wasn't very good. He put me on medication, but I didn't feel he really understood or cared about my problems. Then, my health insurance changed, so I went to another psychiatrist, who referred me to a psychologist I've been working with every since. It's worth the trouble to find the right person.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  13. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Hope you are doing OK and look forward to seeing your update so we can help you.
     
  14. Lux
    Cheerful

    Lux Member

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    Any news? Hope you're alright! x
     
  15. Soffiare

    Soffiare Member

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    I believe that talking to your mum and her being willing to listen is a big step. I know every ED is different but I understand that veganism could be a motivation to actually eat more and better and something that would help you feel good about yourself. While for a regular person it would mean restricting several things, for someone with an ED it may actually mean expanding the diet which can be a challenge in itself.
    Parents can be hard specially after seeing you go through the worst of an ED :confused: so you should be very confident when talking to them and be prepared for any concern they may have
    I wish you the best and please know that if you need anyone who is going through something similar I am always willing to talk :)
     
  16. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Well. It's nine months later and it's been the worst nine months of my entire life. I was readmitted. I was tubed. I was forced to eat none vegan food and what I didn't eat went down my tube. And it's still that way. I'm going to still be there for Christmas, albeit on overnight leave at home . So now I'm fat. And I mean really fat. It's so disgusting and I'm constantly ashamed. I've taken to wrapping a scarf around my waist so it covers my thighs because they are so huge. They are making me worse, not better. Mental health services are useless. They are just clueless.

    Anyway, enough ranting, just thought I'd give a very belated update haha. On the bright side, my parents are all for me being vegan and although they will never ever go vegan, we've made lots of meals and baked goods that they have loved !
     
  17. TofuRobot
    Cold

    TofuRobot Active Member

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    @Llama - I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. (((((HUGS)))) I am happy to hear, though, that your parents are supportive of your choices - you need all the support you can get, I am sure!! Sending much love, light, and healing energy your way
     
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  18. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    I'm sorry to hear you are not doing well.

    But maybe your body is a lot more attractive than you think? You don't need to be ashamed of your body.

    Best of luck to you!
     
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  19. Forest Nymph
    Relieved

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    Llama, I'm sorry to hear this happened to you. While I understand part of the treatment is to make sure you eat enough, they should do that in a way that honors your ethics. Force feeding someone animal products against their will is dehumanizing.

    It's probably good that you have put on weight even if it seems like you are fat, I doubt they'd make you stay at the unit if you really were overweight.

    If your parents are fine with you being vegan aren't they legally allowed to ask that your requests for vegan food be honored?
     
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  20. Llama
    Worried

    Llama Member

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    Forest Nymph, alas, no. I am sectioned, so anything they want, they get their own way. I begged and begged to stay vegan and promised I could gain weight on a vegan diet but they were having none of it. It's all 'but all of our studies say you can't gain weight on a vegan diet and we are professionals and we know you can't'. I told them that I'd read all over the internet about people who have recovered from eating disorders by becoming vegan but they just said 'most of the things you read on the internet aren't true'. HA. As if people are going to write positive blogs about veganism and recovery and help others who are struggling but none of it be true. The medics and all the other staff need to open up their eyes to the real world and move away from all the fixed medical information. They are so fixed and they won't budge.

    There's so much going on right now with my bloods but I don't know if that's a post I should make on here, on WeBiteBack (ED recovery website), or somewhere else. But I totally give up with this place, they are useless.

    Thank you for all the nice comments everybody :blush:. I'm ploughing my way through AND this year I got my first vegan advent calendar! Yes I'm an adult and I still buy advent calendars, get over it ;). I cannot have Christmas without an advent calendar and I'm so happy to have a vegan one this year :blush:.
     
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