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connection between eatng disorders and veganism

Hey y'all...gee, its been so long since Ive posted on here really, I almost feel like I should introduce myself. haha.

So i have not been on here in a while (in a big part) because well, at first I was doing so terribly with my eating disoder that i just didn't have the interst...and then when i started doing better with my ED I found i need to limit my time on here because it triggered me with my ED... :ouch:

Anyways, right now I am recovering and doing really, really well...so I ventured over here because I feel like being vegan present some unique challenges to recovery from an eating disoder. It also presented some unique benefits.

Well, now that i am doing so well, I am feeling strong enough to do something to contribute to the world...and i the way I am choosing to do that is by making a website that talks about the issues specific to ED patients who also follow strict vegetarian diets.

Anyways, i was hoping that you vegwebbers can help me generate some ideas about this (I'm not doing this to make money, by the way...lol) You can either elaborate on one of the points I list or say something all your own...Heres some of the things i have thought of that are unique in the world of vegetarians with eating disorders...

-The social pressures from fellow veggies (pressure if you stop veganism, pressures about eating organic, pressures about eliminating oils, pressures about eating raw, pressures to refrain from eating processed foods) not necessarily bad things in and of themselves but can go haywire with an ED, especially if you are only caving to those pressures because you think you *should* and not because you have deeply personal feelings about it.

-At the same time there may be pressures from your treatment team to abandon the vegan diet because they assume that your being vegan is simply part of the ED. This caused (me) to feel very threatened, as if they are suggesting i renounce Christ or something (I'm Christian, but my veganism is almost as intimate to me as my faith) I know a lot of vegans who feel threatend by this

-finding a dietitian who can help with both EDS AND allows a vegan diet for ED patients

-Extreme self condemnation if you "mess up" on the vegan diet

-When you are at the stage of recovery where you require weigh gain and re-feeding its hard to find meals that are high in calories but not too bulky (obviously "bulk" is an issue if you are at the stage where re-feeding is necessary)

-Finding vegan alteranatives to the shit they want to run through your naso-gastric tube, or that you are supposed to drink as "supplements" to help with weight gain(I'm begining to compile recipes for this stuff and look for vegan options to these things...I know of a few, from my experiences :err:)

-making decisions about weather to enter hospitals that will not allow vegan diets or sometimes even vegetarian diets. (Very few centers allow it and they can be hard to get into because of money and insurance.) I personally had a very hard time coming to grips with this my most recent relapse. And I have known many vegetarians who would not submit to this option.

-coping with being required to eat non veg things as part of recovery

-SEPERATING THE ED FROM THE VEGANISM!!!

-A MAJOR advantage of recovering with veganism is that it gave me a sense of purpose to recover and a goal. I also fought harder to recover to prove that my veganism was not the same as my ED.

anyways, these are some of the ideas I have...for each idea I talk about possible solutions and re frame ways of thinking about it... i feel like now that i am doing so well in recovery, some of the things that were barriers to my getting well now feel so much clearer. Ive also done loads and loads of research about what how to get a veg RD, what treatment centers allow veganism and all the rest.

Its going to be a very balanced and compassionate website..nothing extreme :)>>>

Okay, so i need your thoughts and ideas...from people with EDs and people who do not have EDs...but i do have one request...PLEASE do NOT use this thread as a place to update your status about how you are doing with your ED or especially to talk about the current use of your eating disorder (you can post those things in the "eating disorder" thread ) I know sometimes we just need to vent, nd I know I said I am doing well in recovery...but I really think something like that would trigger me to start thinking ED thoughts and I need my first expereicne back in the health and fitness board to be safe for me..THANK YOU!!!

i think u have some good ideas... especially about listing vegan supporting health care providers and such... i like the idea of creating recipes for that food they force feed you... i know it would be hard for me to eat something that went against my ethics... great ideas but i don't like how many people try to connect EDs with vegans... i think that is not cool... i do see that people who suffer from anorexia might use veganism as an excuse not to eat things... but i really think this subject is annoying and misleading and tarnishes other vegans reputation... to each his/her own though

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welcome back vhz! glad to hear things are going better for you. I really appreciate you posting this and starting the blog sounds like an awesome idea. I know that veg*nism and EDs don't necessarily go hand in hand, but it's become clear to me recently how much of a need there is for resources and services for people who don't want to quit their veg diets/lifestyles, but are seeking support due to an ED. Hopefully this will help people become more aware of the issues at hand between veganism and EDs and maybe there will eventually be more options available to folks who might otherwise not want or be able to use these services.  ;)b

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... great ideas but i don't like how many people try to connect EDs with vegans... i think that is not cool... i do see that people who suffer from anorexia might use veganism as an excuse not to eat things... but i really think this subject is annoying and misleading and tarnishes other vegans reputation... to each his/her own though

I sense you annoyance with this topic. As a vegan, I aggree that it is frusterating that these two things are often viewed as coming together...However, I dont think that as a community of vegans it is helpful for us to pretend that this is not a significant trend anymore. The fact of the matter is that there is a high eating disorder population within the vegetarian community. By addressing this headon Im hoping that folks with EDs will find the support to seek recovery and become examples of healthy vegans...additionally those with eating disorders who use veganism to mask their ED will tend to drift away from the vegan title as they recover.....thank you for the props on the recipie and treatment ideas :)

Hey Tino_Bambino! long time no see...:) Well Im glad you think you too can bennifit from a website like this. i'll let you know when its up and running.

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VHZ! So glad to hear you're doing okay. :)

I really resonate with the first and ninth points - I really struggle with trying to keep from being peer pressured into dietary changes... even by imagined peer pressure. Reading raw-food blogs has been known to make me feel threatened/get all defensive. At the same time, one of those raw blogs suggested that those recovering from eating disorders can channel their 'restrictive' tendencies into making healthy food choices. I don't know if I fully agree with the recovery-via-orthorexia idea, but I think it may work for some people. I know that I can feel better about eating 'special' food even if it is relatively quite rich.

When I was in treatment, I had to really sink-or-swim. I either had to pretty much recover-on-the-spot or be forced into hospital and at least temporarily give up veganism. I decided that veganism was more important and forced myself to choke down some avocados. I'm actually not sure if I would have been as determined to get better if something as close to my heart hadn't come under threat. Of course, two years later and I've relapsed somewhat... but at the back of my head it keeps me sane to know for sure that I have one conviction that's stronger than disease.

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hey vhz - it is good to see you back.

it makes me sad that care facilities cannot separate ed "veggies" from veggies with ed's. you're right, it's two very different things. i wonder if contacting a doctor that promotes vegan diets can be helpful in generating some information/ways for facilities to help veg*ns with eds. i was reading about dr. furhman (i always spell that wrong - he wrote eat to live) and how a family contacted him after one of his fans/plan followers was hospitalized and put on feeding tubes after an accident. he was talking about how he worked with the hospital to make nutrient rich, healing whole food shakes to use with the feeding system. if anything, if they do have interest (or know of people/projects to direct you towards) in working on helping vegs recovering from eds... that's great stuff.

i was thinking about your comment re: finding support in a community that is judging (or seen as judging/has some judging members) of how one "does" vegan while wanting to avoid discussions of eds as to not be triggered into undesired behaviors. perhaps, if you need/want to, you could create a private blog or place online (separate from your site) and invite people you know who can be supportive of you as you recover, including friends from here. it might help you get your "yay yay vegan power!" strength you need while keeping you from threads/topics that are sensitive for you.

i think it is helpful to think of veganism as a way of life and not a rule book. i think many on the site think of me as a "good vegan" but i mess up every once in a while. it happens and i try not to let it bother me. perfection is a very evil thing for many of us. i'm sure many others fuck up at times too but don't talk about it because we don't want some troll shit storming us or some random person we know being an ass about it. as vegans, i think we are held to a higher level of accountability by others (esp non vegans) and that can be trying at times. but in the end, any small lapses we have make us strong and we're still doing a hell of a lot more for the animals than those who eat animals. they have no grounds to fault us since they don't even care enough to try in a real way.

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Welcome back VHZ! I have really missed you <3 I think your idea is great! I don't have anything staggering to contribute right now but I wanted to throw in my support to you <3 <3 good luck and let me know if I can help!

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I think you are completely right about separating the ED from the veganism and let your support team know that. I sometimes struggle with that and have to ask myself is it the eating disorder talking or do I want to eat that. So I think if you are at a good stage in recovery and you let your support team know that it isn't the ED talking then I think they would understand.  I guess you also have to realize that they want what is best for you and want you to recover so don't try to be frightened by it. They want to make sure its not the ED.The problem with having a vegetarian meal option at recovery places is that people are still very sick and they may choose that option bc they think its less cals or whatever. I went to a place that offered vegetarian and regular meals and alot of the girls chose vegetarian even though I knew they weren't vegetarian. So, I think that is why nutritionists and therapists have to question the veganism. Also, hospitals order their food through wholesale buyers and I would imagine that there aren't that many vegetarian options and it would be expensive. I really think this is a good thing to challenge, though tough, i mean hospitals should have healthier vegan options besides cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets, it is a hospital after all.

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Good for you for taking the initiative to put together a page on distinguishing between ED behaviour and Veganism.
Recovery centers are really closed minded as far as this situation is concerned and it can lead directly to relapse if the pressures are too high. While the funding for such organizations can truly be cause of some of the crass attitudes, I also see lack of true dedication as another part of the issue. EDs should not be looked on as a purely nutritionally disordered practice, otherwise the healing will be entirely superficial and eventually lead to relapse. The feminist literature on ED phenomenon guides one to the realization that EDs are mere techniques in expressing a greater political and social stress. On that note, it should be pretty obvious that conflating veganism with EDs is counter intuative to recovery. Veganism itself is ostracized enough for being a lifestyle that does not conform to the norms of our society. If recovery centers would focus on things other than what food a person eats, and on how to promote a better sense of confidence, self-esteem, and emotional wellness, then women (and men) would be better set to tackle their own inner problems with eating and much deeper distresses.
As far as meals with bulk go, I advocate repeated snacks, a whole grain bagel with nut butter and banana slices for breakfast, burritos with guacamole, etc. That and letting a person build up their own menu from a skeleton base and work at feeding themselves, rather than being force fed.
I would love to be of help, so feel free to contact me at anytime.

Good luck,

Eribassist

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