My Journey Back to Plant Based: From 2013 to Now
Hellllo my loves! How is everyone’s weekend going?
I am writing to you from beautiful NYC today – looking out the window at the grey, gloomy day outside but so grateful to be back in this city with such electricity and energy. The city where I started blogging 7 years ago, which is so special and always brings me back to the roots of why I started blogging in the first place.
It’s also pretty wild how things come full circle. When I began my blog in 2013, I was writing about vegan food and recipes and how passionate I was about the vegan lifestyle. I leaned toward more of a raw food lifestyle with lots of smoothies and juices, and I was extreeeemely excited every day to wake up and live that way.
For a few years in between then and now, I went on quite the journey. I feel like I have really grown up alongside you guys since starting this blog. So if you’ve been following from the beginning, then you really know me. Like not just Internet know me, but know me know me. If you’ve been here since the beginning then you know, for a few years I stopped being vegan and simultaneously went through a health crisis that escalated and then exploded in 2017.
MY NYC VEGAN DAYS //
In my recovery from Lyme disease and mold toxicity for the last two years, I have been guided back toward a plant based diet. But this time, in an even more healing way. It’s so cool to me that my body lead me toward veganism when I was younger to try to combat stomach issues and live my healthiest life, and even though I wasn’t armed with the same knowledge I have now — intuitively I knew what I was doing was good for me.
For a few years I absolutely loved living that way. I started my blog, and after about a year of blogging every day the noise got loud… really loud. There were so many different opinions of life, diet, wellness, even of me. I had a friend here in NYC who had an eating disorder, and in hearing her speak about it I started thinking maybe I had one too. I expressed this to the people closest to me, started seeing a therapist, and started working on the deep roots of my issues that went way, way beyond food. (Side note, I have been in and out of therapy since I was about 4, so this was not new to me.)
Then I wrote a book about it, as one does. (Lol.) Now looking back on it… I really, truly have so much compassion for that young girl. It pains me deeply to think about what I was going through during that time, and I am not talking about the food. I’m talking about being slaughtered in the media and by the vegan community, the family drama, moving across the country back to LA, feeling sicker than hell, and overall feeling very alone.
HOW I FEEL NOW //
Now I know in my heart that what I was struggling with was not an eating disorder. This may be a controversial topic. True, I had a lot to learn about food and how to eat a balanced plant-based diet that nourished and satiated my body. But my love of health was not a bad thing — it was such a positive outlet for me, such a therapeutic and enjoyable thing. I loved cooking, using food as medicine, trying vegan restaurants, leading people through cleanse programs, visiting animal sanctuaries, making a name for myself in the NYC plant based community.
In fact, straying from that life was detrimental for me. It’s not about the food, but rather the principles behind the food. I felt that if I was recovering from an eating disorder, I needed to eat everything and anything in order to prove to others that I was healed. My life was so public, I was constantly getting so much judgment, and I felt like it made sense to swing the “opposite way” from the vegan life.
I also started seeing nutritionists who heavily encouraged me to eat paleo and then keto and to cut out the carbs and fruit to get back in balance. My hormones were out of whack, I had cystic acne and I was tired all the time. I mean, ALL of the time. And guess what? Those are all symptoms of Lyme disease. I was also deeply unhappy, at least 20 pounds heavier than my body is naturally, and every muscle and joint was in pain ALL of the time.
Once I started dating Jonathan he started noticing little things about me that I had never pinpointed on my own because I had so many blinders on. He noticed that I felt better when I ate plant based foods, that I had a major love for health and the vegan lifestyle, that I consistently overate foods that made me sick when I was stressed, and that my heart was yearning to be vegan again but I was so nervous about it because of the entire journey I had been through in such a public way.
GOING BACK TO PLANT BASED //
Jonathan has a major intuition when it comes to me. Through his eyes, I ended up learning a lot about myself — it goes far deeper than what I have mentioned above but it has influenced my life in the most beautiful of ways. Also, other dear friends in my life who are deeply intuitive would bring up at RANDOM, “You should be vegan again, it would be good for you,” (during healing sessions and just in random conversation) and ultimately I made the decision on my own and it kind of just… happened.
I started eating fully plant based again in the winter of 2017 and have never looked back. As I said, it literally just happened that way. I was in Bali with Jonathan and it became exceptionally clear to us both that certain foods made me incredibly sick and certain foods made me thrive. The foods that made me thrive were all plant foods. The foods that made me sick were animal products. I made a pact to myself on that trip I would stop with the self-sabotage and with eating so many foods that did not serve me or my optimal health.
Months passed, and I was growing very very ill with Lyme disease that had been as yet undiagnosed. Then once I was finally diagnosed with what had truly been plaguing me for all this time, not only was my plant based diet extremely supportive to my healing, but I ended up serendipitously learning about the SOS-free (salt oil sugar free) way of life, which takes the anti-inflammatory healing benefits of the plant based lifestyle to the next level.
Plants then not only became my diet but my little healers. Herbs, plant based foods, and specific combinations of foods (like spirulina and cilantro to detox heavy metals, wormwood to kill parasites, potatoes for L-Lysine to kill viruses) have been the absolute biggest assets on my healing journey. Not to mention, they make me happy. Happiness and belief is such a huge part of healing, and the deep belief I have in their healing properties is such a big part of how far I have come.
Eating a delicious meal at XYST, a new Matthew Kenney restaurant in NYC!
HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER //
All of this has only guided me to know in my heart that the plant based life found me when I was young for a reason, so I could learn all about it and in some ways learn how not to do it (i.e. not eating enough or having enough variety and thus getting deficient in certain nutrients), learn to create recipes that I love, and also create a brand based off of plant based cooking.
It’s all wild, really, when you think about the ways things are all so interconnected and meant to be. Some people on the outside looking in may think the opposite- that because I stopped being vegan for a few years and had a bad experience with the vegan community during that time, that how could that lifestyle be healing to me now?
But that’s the thing about the outside looking in… you never see the full picture. It’s impossible to know what someone is really going through, even when they share quite a few bits and pieces of their lives with you online.
Now that I am finally healing, because healing holistically (and healing in general) takes time, the passion I have for the plant based & SOS-free lifestyle is off the charts. I have also started food combining which has been a crucial piece for me, which has helped with the chronic bloat and indigestion I have experienced for pretty much my entire life.
Food combining is something I did years ago as well, studying the work of Natalia Rose & Gil Jacobs back when I was living in NYC- but again it’s something I shunned for a while when I was in the dark place of just trying to “be normal” or “eat normally.” It’s so sad for me to think of myself struggling through it all, walking away from lifestyles that had healed me, but it is all part of my journey.
And now, being back in NYC, where it all began — it’s very cool to see how things have come full circle. The plant based way of life has come back into my existence in the most beautiful, organic way. I couldn’t have planned any of this or guessed that it would happen, and while in a way I wish those darker times had gone differently for me, I know I learned from them and they will make me appreciate the lighter times a hundred times over.
I am so passionate about the plant-based life I could burst into a million pieces talking about it. Getting my family and my friends to even lean toward more of a plant-based lifestyle is one of the biggest accomplishments in my heart because I truly believe it’s the healthiest way to live and the best we can possibly be to our bodies.
Do I shy away from using the term “vegan” after the way the vegan community treated me during my days of trying to figure it all out? ABSOLUTELY. I tend to call myself “plant based” because there is less dogma around it. You will see me using the word vegan here and there because I do identify with being vegan but there is a lot of judgment from the vegan community that you will never see me spread or be a part of.
I still believe to each their own, and if you can incorporate more plants into your life in whichever way suits you then I will be happy.
I would absolutely love to share more plant based & SOS-free recipes with you in my healing program, Detox Your Life, which is a 22 day journey of eating plant based, SOS-free, food combining, detoxing (in healthy and safe ways- that include food!), and all around cleaning up your life. The program will be available until 2/14, and then the cart will close and we will begin the detox together on 2/16! SO excited!!
If you have any questions, leave them below. And I said, if you can incorporate more plants and leafy greens into your day then I am happy. 🙂 I wouldn’t change my journey for anything even though it definitely got rough there for a while. I love being back in NYC and reminiscing on it all… so grateful. So grateful for all of you sticking with me through this entire journey, too!
I will be sharing my NYC vegan faves soon and going deeper on all of this- but I felt so inspired to share my journey from then to now for those who may not know. I cannot wait to go deeper on all of this one day very soon. In a book? I think yes. 🙂