The Accidental Vegan

The Accidental Vegan

For most I’ve my life I’ve battled some form of anxiety or depression – or something like it. I’ve actually been “diagnosed” a wide range of “things” but in the end, sometimes I just feel like the blob in the Zoloft commercials. As a result, I’ve sampled several types of prescription medications, which have led to fun things like weight gain, other changes in mood, and just sheer exhaustion. Earlier this year I decided to see a naturopath to explore other options. Though in the end that wasn’t the right option for me, in the process my doctor ran an allergy test to see what kind of environmental factors were stressing my body out. The result?

I should be living in a bubble.

The list of food allergies includes things like all dairy (milk, cheese, even goat milk), eggs, soy, red meat, lamb, most beans, and gluten. My reaction to these foods range from no symptoms from eating one slice of bread to slightly dizzy after eating a few eggs to hating life for several hours if I eat pizza or a cheeseburger. And let’s not talk about what happens if I drink a 2% latte. (Soy is rarely better.)

Though some of the allergies are negotiable in small doses (like gluten or eggs), almost the entirety of the allergies effectively makes me limited to a Vegan diet, except for chicken (except eggs), poultry, and pork. The problem is, before I started my “allergy diet” I actually avoided meat, sticking with soy substitutes whenever possible. (Little known fact: I was actually vegetarian for almost two years between late 2008-late 2010.) However, that option is now out. There is no benefit to eating chicken that you can’t find in vegetables, especially considering those vegetables are less likely to carry stressed hormones and bacteria.

I am still adapting to living with allergies after learning of their existence about six months ago, and avoiding the allergens for the most part has made a significant impact in how I feel. However, I sometimes inadvertently (and sometimes consciously) make myself sick because I haven’t prepared for a complete meal or even gone grocery shopping for the week. After it occurred to me that except for continuing to eat chicken (and occasionally bacon) I am already restricted to a Vegan lifestyle, albeit completely by accident, so I’m now taking this opportunity to learn more about the true vegan lifestyle and diet and how it fits with mine. And thanks so social media tools like Pinterest, Twitter and the dozens and dozens of blogs about vegan theory (and vegan food!), it should be easier than ever to decide if it really is the healthiest option – all moral issues aside.

Do you restrict your diet to certain foods for a specific reason? What social media tools or resources help you?

Zoloft image via Square Footage Films