Previously we had been vegan for almost 4 years and before that vegetarian for 2-3 years. Only 6 months ago we questioned the vegan lifestyle and decided to quit it. At the time this decision was a big move. Being vegan is more of a lifestyle than simply being vegetarian. Being vegan applies not just to the selection of food selection, but also to materials for clothing, shoes, and accessories, avoiding movies with animal actors, and comes with a set social groups with hard views on certain subjects.
The decision to eat vegetarian was made primarily due to concerns about the long term effects of the vegan diet on the body. The longitudinal studies are described in the articles above and apply to a wide range of participants. They highlighted the damage of vegan diets on bone density. Some empirical evidence indicate that the vegan diet can also be connected with serious health issues, including weaker bones and teeth, nerve damage, and hair loss.
The move from being vegan to vegetarian was liberating in so far as it opened up a whole new set of options for food, making many nutrients more easily accessible and absorbed more easily into the body. This has made food more fun and more nutritious. In our own experience, we found that since eating a vegetarian diet we have had a lot more energy without relying on a constant flood of coffee. We still drink coffee but not to the same degree. We also found exercising less draining and recovery after exercise faster without the “dead” feeling the following day.
Since then we have gone one step further. Last week we decided to occasionally eat meat and intend to do so every few weeks, rather than making it a regular event. Again the decision to eat meat is based on the need for nutrition. There are various amino acids and other nutrients that are more difficult to source from vegetarian options.
Mentally these have represented large changes that require leaping large mental hurdles by focusing on health and nutrition concerns. Becoming vegetarian is consistent with the ‘Food of the Bodhisattvas’ but does not follow the ideal. Becoming a meat eater is not consistent, but by making it an infrequent event we hope that we follow the intention of the ‘Food of the Bodhisattvas’. We are trying to not be attached to labels like being “vegan”, being “vegetarian”, or being a “meat eater”. Instead, we are treating our diet changes as a way of caring for our bodies but still harming as few beings as possible.