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My Plant-Based Journey

Addressing the Questions & Concerns About Stepping Away from Veganism

June 25, 2014

I want to begin this post by saying a huge and resounding THANK YOU to the wonderful thousands of you who shared your support, understanding, acceptance and love with me about my decision to step away from veganism. I am blown away at the vast majority of positivity and am humbled by the amount of you who have been (and continue to be) in my shoes with very similar stories.

I shared my story because this blog has always been, and will always be, a place for honesty. I wanted to connect with others who have experienced similar journeys with a 100% plant-based diet, with restriction, stomach problems, health issues and/or an “all or nothing” mentality. I also wanted to start promoting what I have been preaching for a long time – doing what’s best for YOUR body, not doing what works for the person next to you.

Shed the labels. They’re so confining.

All of that aside, I know there are many questions and confusions out there and I’m going to clear up as many as I can in this post.


Before I get into it… I want to point out that the overwhelming majority of negativity has come from the High Carb Low Fat (80/10/10) vegan community, which makes me incredibly sad. I know there are so many amazing people in that community living in great health with wonderful intentions, so the angry closed-minded bunch who feel compelled to judge (nastily) those who are exploring other options are making an unfortunately bad name for the community.

That’s what always stood between me and the label of “veganism” – I was never willing to say that my diet was the RIGHT diet or that my diet was the BETTER way to live or the only key to health. In that sense, I am extremely relieved to be dissociating from the label.

People who lash out at others for the way that they live their lives are dealing with horrible insecurity issues and I feel very sorry for them. I also feel sorry because they make a bad name for veganism when it’s not the label itself being so exclusive – it’s a small percentage of the people behind it with unfortunately loud voices.

*** I am still going to be eating a very plant-heavy diet, so you’re attacking the wrong girl, HCLF peeps!


(And, I just have to say it… if it took you this long to realize that I was a “vegan” who ate honey, guess what… the world was spinning the whoooole time and no one got hurt.)


Q: What’s going to happen to the name ‘The Blonde Vegan’?

A: As I stated in my original post, I am going to be changing the name. I am devastated to part with it, because I am so connected to the name after building a brand around it for the last year. Those of you who know me personally know that the blog has become not only a career for me but an extension of who I am, so changing the name ‘The Blonde Vegan’ means changing a brand name that is going to be present in my life inside and out of the blogging world. I am trying to take my time with this to make sure the new name expresses something I love and stand for, even though I want to change it as soon as possible so as not to create mixed messages. I am accepting (and dying for!!!) suggestions, so please send them through the Contact form if you have ideas.


Q: What’s going to happen to TBV Apparel?

A: TBV Apparel is not going anywhere. The clothing line has been an extremely fun and exciting new endeavor, and my dietary preferences have nothing to do with that. The name TBV Apparel may potentially change along with the change of the blog name, or it might stay the same. TBV, in my mind, has always encompassed so much more than ‘The Blonde Vegan.’ TBV serves to express a milestone in my life and also stands for three words that are dear to my heart: Truth, Balance & Virtue. The line is still ethical, sustainable and organic. Nothing about our guidelines has changed.

The awesome thing here is that we can expand TBV Apparel and include a wider range of t-shirt phrases to reach even more people (woo!!!). The vegan phrases are not going away. To those who are not okay with supporting a business run by someone who does not eat a 100% vegan or plant-based diet, know that you do not need to. Our views are obviously quite different if that’s what you are basing your judgments off of. There are plenty of (awesome!!) vegan designers you can purchase clothing from. I can’t imagine why someone’s dietary preferences would affect their business integrity, but to each their own.


Q: I’m really disappointed that you’re no longer vegan because I really looked up to you in my vegan journey, and that’s the main reason why I followed you.

A: I have a lot of compassion and sadness about the people who I have touched or influenced to go vegan. I do apologize from the bottom of my heart if it saddens you that my journey has shifted. I get that — I follow people who I feel very closely connected to, and change can be super difficult. I will still be eating a very healthy diet with tons of fruits, veggies, grains, legumes and nuts!!! My blog will still have yummy dairy-free smoothie recipes and a whole lot of oats, veggies, fruit plates, etc. I’m still the same girl you’ve always known, I just eat a couple more things now. If my veganism was the ONLY reason you followed me, then sadly we will have to part ways. But I do hope you were following for personality reasons (and health!!! I’m still a health nut) as well so we can keep hangin’ out.


Q: Veganism isn’t to blame for your health problems or your eating disorder, your restriction was. How can you associate veganism with developing health issues?

A: Let me make this very clear, I am NOT blaming veganism for the disordered eating habits that I developed. There are countless fabulous ways to maintain a balanced vegan diet and live a healthy lifestyle. Those who read this blog know that I have a very extreme personality, and the combination of my personality with the restriction of an entirely plant-based diet pushed me over the edge. I became deficient in a variety of vitamins, and my hormones were all out of whack because of what I was eating and more importantly, what I was not eating. For me, it wasn’t working. Mentally, I need to let go of the restriction for now. I shared the intensely personal details of my orthorexia to show that veganism was not the problem – it was an internal struggle that manifested through veganism.

I do not want to alienate the vegan or plant-based community. I will still be eating a highly predominantly plant-based diet, and I respect the hell out of people who maintain a 100% plant-based diet.


Q: Will there be non-vegan recipes on the blog now?

A: You tell me! What do you want to see? Right now I am barely getting the hang of flipping eggs again, but I am more than willing and excited to experiment to bring you a whole new TBV.


Q: Veganism isn’t about health, it’s about being compassionate toward all living beings. How can you go back to eating animal protein?

A: My plant-based diet was always practiced first and foremost for health reasons, and the fact that it was a compassionate diet toward all living beings was a fantastic added bonus. Those who know me and those who read the blog regularly know that health was always my main agenda. I became very passionate about the cause in all sorts of ways while I was living a plant-based lifestyle, and my eyes were especially opened to the cruelties of factory farming and the lies that the food industry hides behind. Those views have not changed, and I will be seeking out farm fresh, organic, hormone-free and cage-free animal protein.


Q: How can you say there is such a thing as cage-free and farm fresh when the food industry lies about labeling all the time?

A: I am not your average practitioner of the Standard American Diet (at all) – please keep in mind that health is my number one priority, I have done countless amounts of research and I am surrounded with amazing influencers in the organic food industry. Just because I am exploring new options doesn’t mean I’m going hog wild and scarfing down hamburgers from chain restaurants. I am being extremely careful, and am working closely with farmers and certified organic restaurants that I trust.


Q: How can you call yourself compassionate when you are okay with eating an innocent sentient being (and/or their byproducts)?

A: Here’s my answer to you, plain and simple: it breaks my heart that people who identify with the term “vegan,” people who believe wholeheartedly that they are making the most ethical choices, will willfully attack another human (animal) about their dietary choices. That’s not compassionate. So if you’re going to call me unethical for experimenting with free-range eggs and wild fish, I am going to call you unethical for being cruel and judgmental toward another living being who is trying to do what works for her body. And if you’re going to tell me, “I’m not being negative, I’m just trying to tell you what is right,” then please take your head out of your closed-minded space and open your eyes to the fact that there are HUNDREDS of ways to live a well-intentioned life, and yours is only one of them.


Q: Don’t you realize that you’re influencing thousands of people to reintroduce animal protein into their diet because it worked for you?

A: Come on, guys. Give my followers and blog readers more credit than that! We are all our own people. Some people may be inspired to make changes in their diet because they were also as afraid as I was to step away from a label, and many people will not. Many people may do it on their own in due time. Many will not. It’s not my business, or anyone else’s, how or why people make those choices. All I do know is that when someone makes a decision based on what they feel their body needs, I will be there to support them.


Q: I’d like to see you go out and kill an animal with your bare hands and then try to eat it.

A: Like I said, I will only be eating humane animal protein. On another note, I’m laughing out loud thinking about me trying to hunt.


Q: You’re just cashing in on the vegan movement to make money and/or get attention.

A: Cashing in, nope. Making money, nope. Do you think it’s every girl’s dream to publicly announce that she is no longer living a lifestyle she once passionately promoted? I am eager for this attention to pass, so I can sleep again, go through a normal day and start focusing on moving the brand forward. The money I’ve made through the blog and TBV Apparel was always based so much more around lifestyle than dietary preferences, so yet again, we differ.


Q: You’re making a bad name for veganism because you got bored with it. Or, my favorite, you got “hungry.”

A: I am not making a bad name for veganism, because I never blamed veganism for causing me issues. I am stepping away from it for a whole host of reasons. I didn’t get bored with it and I certainly didn’t get hungry (lol), I started listening to my body. Which was a beautiful thing for me mentally, physically and spiritually. It does kiiiinda sorta make a bad name for veganism when you police people about their dietary choices, though.


Okay, there you have it for now! I apologize if the tone of this post came across as frustrated or negative in any point, but now all my views are out there and I feel good about that. If this post was geared toward the amazingly supportive individuals who have been there every step of the way, I would have been able to stop at the first paragraph.

Now… enough is enough. Back to FOOD tomorrow, and a super duper fun giveaway!

And… help me think of names!!! My insomnia is raging!!!