Archive for February, 2013

Vegan again?

Once again I am contemplating veganism. But in a different manner. I truly do want to be vegan and part of me wants to do that now, but there’s a catch. I don’t want to be vegan for my eating disorder and for that reason I want to put off a switch to veganism. Surprised? It surprised me too actually.

First, why do I truly want to be vegan?

Environment–raising meat is hard on the environment. Particularly the way it is done for cheap, easy-to-get meat. In addition to adding more carbon to the atmosphere, livestock themselves can be very hard on the environment. Cattle ruin creeks, trample ground, can eat/destroy natural plants.

Animals–I grew up on a farm and for years and years I thought animals were treated well because I thought all meat, dairy, etc was raised the way my parents did it. That is very wrong. My family treated the animals well, didn’t use unnecessary antibiotics/additives/growth hormones, and fed them grain we grew (no animal byproducts). This is a rarity and probably is only done by a handful of small family or organic farms. Other than eating only eggs/dairy/meat that came from my parents of other “approved” farms there is no way to guarantee that the animals were properly treated.

Health–A vegan diet (done properly) is one of-if not the most-healthy diet possible.

Other benefits–being vegan requires planning and more meal preparation. So there are some side benefits of having fewer processed foods and more home-cooked and whole foods. I also really like cooking and baking and being involved in food preparation. It’s almost a “spiritual” thing to me: to take simple, basic ingredients and through my work create something delicious and wholesome. These benefits of course aren’t exclusive to a vegan diet which is why I consider them to be more “fringe” benefits.

Why don’t I want to be vegan now?

Abusing it–I don’t want veganism to be an excuse to restrict my food. And while I wouldn’t switch to veganism with that intent I am of the mindset now¬†that I would want to abuse it and use it as an excuse to avoid foods and restrict. And abusing it now means I would probably spend the rest of my life overcoming that.

Judgement–along the same lines. Anyone who knows me now would assume my switch to a vegan diet is from the eating disorder and then I would abuse it, confirm those judgements and assumptions, and ruin my chances of properly being vegan when I am healthy.

My reasoning laid out. I’m not sure what the next step is though. In some ways I think that being vegan and the connection with food etc could help me have a healthier relationship with it. But that is a very large risk. On the other hand part of my thinking in avoiding a vegan diet is that I can stay sick for the time without ruining my chances to be properly/healthfully vegan later.

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I’ve always had this crazy dream, but I don’t tell people because it just seems strange considering where I am right now.

For a long time I have dreamed of starting an eating disorder treatment center in my home state.

Perhaps it’s not all that strange. There are a lot of people with eating disorders that talk of wanting to be therapists or nurses and work with eating disorder patients. So, in addition to being not strange it might even be a bit cliche.

I have a dream of starting a center that doesn’t just treat patients but also is a research hub. The research on truly effective treatment of eating disorders is lacking and I would like to add to that body. I am also interested in how to manage severe eating disorders in a community/outpatient setting.

And our state could certainly use more eating disorder services. Currently the only intensive treatment is located at the academic medical center I am at which has only 8 inpatient beds (located on a general psych unit) and 10 partial spots. The waitlist gets extremely long at times. And finding outpatient therapists with eating disorder experience outside the university is difficult.

A medical school admission gets me one step closer to achieving this dream. Right now my biggest obstacle is myself and getting out of this *** disorder.

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