All About Food - Veganism, Diet Culture, the Clean Program

Releasing the fact that I was so focused on food for years of my life has been an interesting and very imperfect journey. I went vegan and found intuitive eating around the same time. They were both very important in the culmination of developing a healthier relationship with food.

I grew up in the thick weeds of diet culture and that has shaped experiences that I have to this very day.

Those early months of intuitive eating and veganism really were so great. I look back on that time with a deep sense of comfort in getting to experience that part of my journey in the way that I did. But everything is in a constant ebb and flow and this was no exception. It has ebbed and flowed continuously for a few years now, but I must say that the positives have greatly outweighed the negatives. Still, when I’m feeling discontent with my relationship with food it is a struggle. Sure, I see it in a different and much more compassionate light than I did years ago but it is still something that oftentimes makes me want to scream.

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When I went vegan and everything with food was sunshine and rainbows I found myself interested in the food blogging life. And I dove deep. I was a “food blogger” for about 4 years. Sure, now I was eating cupcakes and documenting all of the various restaurants that I was eating at but I was still very much in the mindset of food every day, and often, all the time. But when you’re eating cupcakes and talking about how much you enjoy all of these restaurants that you get to go to all the time it is perceived in a much more positive (and “healthy”) light than that of diet culture.

And so that’s how it went until it couldn’t go that way anymore. And when I mean that it couldn’t go that way anymore I mean in the aspect of my mental health. I just transferred one unhealthy coping mechanism (restricted eating, diet culture, etc.) to another (all food, all the time). I wasn’t necessarily in an unhealthy relationship with food at this point, but I definitely wasn’t my most aligned either. I was sticking to veganism because that’s something I clung to very much so due to ethics. In the year prior to letting go of veganism when I began to consider doing so I really felt unsettled being so connected to food and having my identity online perceived as this vegan food blogging person. And that’s when everything really started to get shaken up.

I backed away from blogging and sharing my life online months before I stepped away from veganism but looking back I can see how it is all so deeply connected. By clinging to these identities of a vegan and a food blogger and having my life revolve so deeply around both aspects really left me so unsettled when I stepped away from each of them, especially doing it separately.

Taking a break from blogging was really hard for me because it was/is something that I truly enjoy so very much. I took time to processes that and truly take the break that I needed and once I was in a good place with that I did the same thing to myself again, this time with veganism.

I was terrified to walk away from veganism because there is so much there that I don’t even know how to encapsulate into a paragraph that portrays the exact things that I feel and want to express.

I don’t necessarily blame veganism for my health issues. But I also don’t believe that veganism is the right diet for everyone. Or even most people, but hey, to each their own. And just saying that makes me cringe because it is something that I very deeply believed for so long. Veganism did nothing but bring positive things into my life until my health started to fall apart. I could sit here and list all of the amazing things that I have gained from my 5+ years of veganism, but I don’t see a point in doing so because the fact of the matter is that it simply didn’t work for me and walking away from it feels exactly like walking away from a long term relationship that was good, but not great. Sure, that seems dramatic but that is exactly how it feels for me.

And now that I’ve been a non-vegan person in the world for about 4 months I find that I have been catapulted right back into the diet culture weeds.

I just finished up the Clean Program last week and while I stuck to the program perfectly, when I completed it I found all of this stuff come right back to me. Sure, the cleanse was okay. I didn’t have a super amazing experience though. I thought this post was going to be a recap of my experience on the Clean Program because I thought that I was going to have this super awesomely amazing experience like all of these people I see preaching about it online. But alas, that has not been the case and the money spent to do the cleanse really wasn’t money that I felt was well spent. So it’s disappointing to me that the whole 21 days were pretty blah and then I come off of the cleanse and I’m blasted with all of this stuff that I thought I’ve overcome but haven’t and I just think that it’s really important to note that you can put any name onto a restrictive diet but at the end of the day it is still a restrictive diet. And when you come off of that diet then your issues will still be there. It happened to me with veganism (even though I know that veganism is a lifestyle or whatever you want to call it) and it happened to me with the Clean Program AND it happened to me when I saw my most previous functional medicine doctor who had me on such a restrictive diet that I can’t believe I lasted on it as long as I did. And after all of this I am tired of it. Each time I’m appalled by the fact that I “should have known better.” But then I realize and understand that this is all part of the process and experience that I’m supposed to go through for whatever reason, I’m not exactly sure yet. But I’m sure there is one. And I’m just here still trying to process the fact that I’m not vegan anymore and I’m eating fish, chicken, and eggs and it’s still so weird to me and my Starbucks cup that is sitting on the desk beside me is filled with green tea and stamped with a VEGAN sticker that I put there so long ago when I was a different person.

When I was a different person.

I just need to sit with that because I never in a million years thought I would be a non-vegan person ever again.

Yet, here we are.

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I don’t even think I’ve changed that much. I just eat some different things now and if anything, I’m way more compassionate and filled with empathy for those who have been through a similar experience. But at the same time, I just feel so different. A deeply profound ethical belief that I have held for so long has basically been ripped from me and I was the one who did it to myself. Now I’m in this strange limbo place where I still want to/need to have these ethical beliefs and I can’t unlearn what I know about the animal agriculture industry but I also can’t keep being vegan because my body so strongly told me no.

I don’t have a pretty bow to wrap this post up with and I don’t have an inspiring message to tack on to the ending here. All that I have is my experience that I am feeling called to share. I didn’t plan to write this post. I sat down to write about the Clean Program and give a recap of each week/day throughout the experience. But this is what came from that intention and I believe that this is what I need to share. So here it is. And here I am, still trying to figure out what this all looks like for me and how to be in a good place with it.

New Years Resolutions + A Life Update

I feel like I should have made a New Years Resolution to share more blog posts in 2019. That just seems like it’ll stress me out though. But I do have intentions to share more this year! It’s been over a year since I have consistently shared on here and I do miss it. What’s very interesting to me is that I don’t miss recipe creation at all. Occasionally I take pictures of my food and only share them half of the time but the food blogger life in general isn’t something that I miss after a year of doing it zero times. That really solidifies the fact that my decision to step away from it was the right decision. I have thought a lot about how blogging isn’t “as big as it used to be.” But writing is something that I still enjoy and I think I’m going to keep blogging here for a long time.

So if I’m not revolving my life around food blogging then what the heck am I doing?! Well I’m embarking on a New Years Cleanse. When I tell people that I’m on a cleanse I cringe because it’s just one of those things that is so typical and overrated in January. But here I am!! And with good reason because this isn’t just any cleanse, I’m doing the Clean Program. So far I’m only on day 5 out of 21 so I’m not going to talk too much about my experience because I want to do a recap post at the end of the 21 days. I did want to share now because I’m excited and this is going to be my life for the entire month of January!

What is the Clean Program?

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It’s 21 days of shakes for breakfast and dinner with a fulfilling lunch of veggies, fat, and protein. It’s ultimately an elimination diet that is easy to follow and doesn’t leave you stressed out or starving. Each meal is enhanced with supplements and a daily probiotic to reap the full benefits of detoxing and bringing your body back to balance.

I ordered it back in November and I knew that I’d be waiting until January to start because Christmas. Yes I ate all of the sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls and yes I FELT IT. I have basically been feeling it since the middle of December.
I have been really looking forward to getting Clean this month. And that’s where I’m going to leave it because I want to do a full recap post once I’m done!

In other news, I wanted to share my New Years goals and intentions. I’m a big New Years person in the aspect of loving a fresh start. I don’t go out, I don’t get drunk, I don’t stay up until midnight; basically I like to do things my way. This time around I spent the day cleaning out every single drawer and closet. I got rid of so much stuff and reorganized everything I own. It felt good! Then I wrote out a recap of 2018, made a vision board for 2019, read a book, and went to sleep! I woke up on New Years Day and wrote out my goals and intentions, did yoga, meditated, and just set up things that I wanted to put in place this year.

When setting my goals and intentions I really thought about them and tried to put things in place that I could actively work on throughout the year as well as things that I could achieve by doing them and checking off the box. I like to set goals and intentions because I think of a goal as something that can be achieved and an intention is something to actively continue to work on. For example; a goal would be to run a marathon because once you run a marathon then the goal is complete, and an intention is to become a runner because becoming a runner has no end point, it’s something that you actively do on each day, week, month, etc. to keep up the act of being a runner.

Make sense?! Good!

I like the idea of creating both because sometimes it just feels good to reach a goal, check it off, and come up with a new one. And other times it feels dang good to continuously work on bettering yourself through an intention that is set.

I personally believe that distinguishing the difference between the two is important because then you can get even clearer on the thing that you want to bring into your life. It helps to hold me accountable and feels much more aligned!

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Okay. Goals and resolutions, here we go!

2019 Goals and Intentions

  • Run a marathon

    This has been a goal of mine for probably close to 15 years. It’s so massive to me that I just keep putting it off to the point that I bought a marathon related shirt like 10 years ago that I am saving to wear once I run the actual marathon and it is still in the back of my workout clothes drawer with the tags on it. Ten years of a shirt sitting in my drawer with the tags still on it! That has to change, not just because of the shirt, because this is a goal that means a lot to me and one that I no longer want to put off. I’m doing it and I think that it is going to be a hard, rewarding, challenging, growth inducing, fun, miserable, fantastic experience. The actual marathon isn’t what has made me hesitant all these years, it’s the training process. The hours each week put into something that adds up to something will be over in a few short (okay, probably long) hours. It’s a commitment, and it’s one that I am ready to make. I’ve really been working to simplify my life to the point where I am able to make the proper space for this goal. I’m going to officially start training in March but I have already begun to start to get my ducks in a row and work on building my strength up prior to then. I’m excited. I think that I might do biweekly or monthly recaps of my training process. Stay tuned!

  • Read 40 books

    Last year I read 36 books and I was pushing it to get them done by December 31. This year I want to challenge myself a little bit more and try for 40. I love reading and I have so many books that I want to read. Plus, I got a Kindle for Christmas so I’m set in the book department. Forty books, here I come!

  • Meditate 15 minutes every day

    I’ve been consistently meditating for about 2 years now. I’m a 10 minute meditator through and through. I’ve tried to up it to 20 minutes (my personal goal) but I just can’t seem to be consistent with it. This year my goal is 15 minutes. An extra 5 minutes seems a lot more doable than an extra 10, even though it’s not that much different. Also, if I don’t have the time in the morning I’m allowing myself to be able to break up those minutes into multiple meditation sessions in hopes to help myself make it a more successful endeavor.

  • Write 1,000 words per week

    Okay, 1,000 words doesn’t seem like a lot but I’ve tried to set bigger writing goals and I just can’t make it happen. Just like the 15 minutes of meditation, I’m really working on building foundations that I can grow upon in the future. If I set a higher goal that 1,000 words per week it is simply overwhelming and ends up in the resolution grave yard with so many other great intentions. So a foundation it is, something that I feel good about completing and feels good.

  • Try SUP yoga

    I was so close to accomplishing this last year but a rainy morning was the barrier between being able to check this one off. Of course, I did wait to attempt this until the last class of the season that happened to be rained out so I definitely could have done better. But it was a good learning experience (for something I already knew, but ya know) for this year. I’ll be out there as soon as the flowers bloom and the lake is semi warm enough to potentially fall into so that I can try SUP yoga.

  • Go to Kennywood

    For those of you that aren’t familiar with Pittsburgh, Kennywood is an amusement park. I haven’t been there since my senior year of high school. I don’t even know if I’d consider myself an amusement park person (whatever that is!) but I want to do more fun things and this seems like it would/could be a fun thing to do. Kennywood was a similar experience to SUP yoga last year. I tried for a few weekends near the end of the season and the weather just wasn’t cutting it. It looks like I’ll be busy once the weather breaks this year!

  • Hike Mount Washington and/or Whiteface Mountain

    Self explanatory. This one will take some logistical planning because I like 10 hours away from Mount Washington and 8 hours away from Whiteface so it’s not like I can do a quick day trip. But I really want to hike Mount Washington this year. So I’m going to roll with the “where there’s a will, there’s a way” mentality on this one! And yeah, this is definitely another one of those warm summer day adventure for me!

  • Shenandoah National Park - Twice!

    I’ve been going to Shenandoah for 4-5 years now and more recently I’ve made it multiple times per year. It’s a short 4 hours away and something that I really want to experience more of which is why I want to go at least twice in the coming year. The familiarity of it as well as the silence and beauty of the park as a whole has me captivated to the point where I feel drawn to go back again and again.

  • Slow down

    Now for the more intentional portion of the resolutions. Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. I don’t even know how, honestly. I thought I did this last year but looking back I just transferred my busy nature from one aspect of life to another. I haven’t been the best at this yet this year, but it’s something that I am working on improving which is exactly what I expected. It’s a process and I don’t think I’ll reach an end goal. I have been a “doer” forever and I think that it will take me a long time to chill out with things. I don’t think I’ll ever be a super chill person, but I definitely think that there is room for improvements.

  • Simplify

    I think we’re all guilty of filling our lives with things that really don’t serve us. Whether it’s because we feel like we “should” do the thing or we think that something is serving us that really isn’t, our lives are busy to an extent that I don’t want to participate in anymore. I want to really focus in on things that I align with and that I feel good about. I think that this blog post sums up what I’m trying to cultivate pretty well.

  • Continue to HEAL

    Keep up with my detox foot baths, saunas, exercise, sleep, diet, etc. Basically, listen to my body and take steps towards healing and feeling better every. single. day. I feel heaps better than I did last year but I still have a ways to go. And this is also one fo those things where I don’t think that I’ll reach “healed.” But I do want to keep on keeping on with all of the wellness based things that I’ve added into my life over the past year.


There we go! That’s what I’m intending to bring into my life this year. I’m most excited about the marathon as it’s something that will take up a ton of my time for about half of the year. When I set these resolutions I sat down and really thought about what I want to look back and have cultivated in 2019. I know I’m super late with sharing my resolutions but I had something that I was waiting to get back to make sure that I could run the marathon this year before I shared. Obviously, I can. And even though it is late, I don’t think that it’s too late to put new practices or goals into place. You don’t have to wait until New Years to change your life. The only thing that you need to change your life is a deep desire to do so.

I hope that you’re having a great January and are sticking to those resolutions that you set on the 1st.

I’ll be back soon with a recap of the Clean Program once I finish it up and probably a post about my diet since stepping away from veganism. Maybe I’ll share some more thoughts about my marathon training and a little recap of my relationship with running.

Anything else you want to hear about?
Let me know!

Happy (belated) New Year!


I'm No Longer Vegan - Eating Meat Again

Here’s the deal. It’s no secret that I haven’t been feeling well for a long time. If you know anything about me and my life lately then you know this; I’ve tried everything under the sun. I’ve spent so much time and even more money on trying to figure things out and heal my body. It’s just not working. I know healing takes time, I’ve been trying to heal my body for years now. And the fact that I’m only getting worse means that I have to do things that I haven’t tried yet. Before we get any deeper into this I’ll just come out and say it.

I’m going to try to eat meat again.

I truly never thought that I would say that. I never even wanted that. I don’t even want that now. But here’s the thing, I must try whatever I can to heal my body. This isn’t something I have done for over 5 years and that fact alone makes me feel like it’s something that is worth a shot.

This is hard for me for many reasons. I initially went vegan for the ethics. I still feel a strong connection to those ethics. Eating meat again has been a struggle that I know I need to pursue.

It all started in 2017. From 2013 when I first went vegan to the end of 2016 I felt good. I was gluten free and vegan, and I’d say I was thriving. Something changed in the beginning of 2017 and I don’t know what it was but I wasn’t thriving anymore, not in the least. I was struggling, bad. I saw doctors, had blood levels tested, and nothing gave me answers. I eventually started eating gluten again and it didn’t make me feel worse so I kept doing it. Around the same time I started to think about meat. I didn’t crave it or want it, but it just kept popping up in my radar. I saw other bloggers drop the vegan label and begin to eat meat again. It sparked a curiosity in me. I connected with one or two of these bloggers via email and their kindness really helped me to take off my vegan blinders and see new perspectives.

That’s the thing, when you first become vegan all of the information seems so shocking and appalls you to the point where you feel this deep desire to share your knowledge with everyone else. It’s traumatic in a way, really. I get why certain vegans can act the way that they do. I really get it. But I also don’t think that it’s necessarily a good perspective or way to be in the world. If it wasn’t for the hardcore vegans and the people who make the fact that I have been vegan for the past five years such a big deal, then I wouldn’t be writing this secretly and not knowing when I’d be sharing it.

Anyways, it’s 2017 and I’m just pondering the idea of eating meat but not really having any desire to seek it out. I was never a big meat eater anyways. I didn’t like any meats except chicken and turkey. So giving up meat wasn’t a huge deal to me. I started to follow Instagram accounts that ate meat. Before this I only followed exclusively vegan accounts. It sounds stupid, but now I was open to the idea of having some content including meat on my feed. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but I can look back and see that it was somewhat preparatory for me. Seeing that others were eating primarily plant based with some meat in their diet was something that I really think helped me to transform my views even more. Fast forward to this year when my health is at an all time low. I thought about meat casually but it was something truly didn’t think would happen. September rolls around and things amp up a notch. Now I’m thinking about it and actually considering it. It’s interesting to me because on one hand I have no desire and because of ethics, but on the other hand I am sick af and I am educating myself on responsible meat consumption. I feel like I am being ripped in two.

Ultimately, I know what I need to do. And that is to try to eat meat. That’s what I need to do and I know that because that’s how I feel. I’ve educated myself enough to know that some meat consumption is probably not going to have any ill affects on me. I actually see responsible meat consumption as being better than eating massive amounts of wheat and soy replacements in regards to health. I always hear, “There’s so many good alternatives to replace animal products,” which is true but also, no. Eating mass amounts of soy and gluten based products isn’t healthy and for someone like me who is struggling with health issues, consuming those things in such a large amount will not do anything to help me heal.

I have been in a vegan bubble for 5 years. Vegan restaurants, which are still 10/10, vegan friends, I’ve built everything that this website is off of vegan related things. It’s not like I’m going to be completely changing things, but I know that I need to be honest about this journey for myself and for those who are going through the same thing. Because that’s the thing, this is much more popular than I believe is realized. People who have plastered themselves with the vegan label realize that it’s not working for them, for whatever reason. And that’s okay, but the vegan community can be so harsh that it’s absolutely terrifying to share what you’re going through.

I don’t have an answer for how to handle this. But I’m doing it the best that I can. And all I’m saying is that if you harshly judge people for what they eat then you need to take a long look at yourself. I’ve been in both shoes and now I see things so much differently than I did as a new vegan wanting to share the message. I get both sides. But when you spend an entire year sick then you’ll try things you thought you’d never do. Well at least I will.

This is just a post to share that I’m no longer vegan. I’m eating meat again. It sounds like not a big deal when I type it but it’s kind of a big deal to me. I’m not sure if it’s helping me yet, it’s too early to tell. But I’m trying to heal and I’m hoping that it is something that can help progress me further down the healing path.

If you have any (nice, genuine) questions, please reach out. Please don’t reach out if you’re going to suggest I didn’t “do veganism right,” that I need to try to remove oil, or something else along those lines. I’ve tried tons of diets within the vegan diet. I’m aware of all of the vegan doctors, documentaries, and research conducted. This is my choice and it has been a tough one. I welcome curiosity and non-judgemental questions or comments. Also, be on the lookout for future posts as I document this journey on the other side of a big part of my life. Thanks for reading. xx