February 18

Stories from People Who Have Given up Vegan Diets

Sustainable Living


This is as much a bookmark page for my own reference as anything else. It will help to counter the frequent claim that “Everyone can thrive on a vegan diet.” My intention is not to bash anyone for their life choice, but to show up that universal claim as untrue.

I’m sure that some people do okay on a whole plant-based diet, at least for a while. Some may even thrive! But I’ve been coming across too many testimonies from people who’ve felt literally driven by their own bodies to go back to a more natural omnivore diet that they cannot all be dismissed as just being bad or failed vegans.

After all, if a vegan diet were natural for homo sapiens, it ought to be really difficult to mess it up, even in the long term!


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About the author 

Ben Hunt

My job is to look at the world and wonder... "How can we make things better?"

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  1. I was vegan for five years and I thought I was doing everything right. All I ate was vegies, fruit, legumes, rice etc.. no processed foods and I used to eat raw cacao, spirulina and all that stuff every day.
    At the end of last year I got tonsillitis followed by glandular fever two weeks later. My doctor immediately did blood tests after I told her I was vegan.
    The blood test results reveales extremely low levels of iron and vitamin D, which was causing my immune system to fail. She then suggested a pap smear test.
    The pap smear test came back with abnormalities and an HPV positive reading. I was terrified. I had to have a colposcopy and a biopsy taken of my cervix to test for cervical cancer.
    Basicly, because of my vegan diet my body was not able to fight off the HPV and it had persisted, which caused cell changes in my cervical cells. Biopsy results were good- no cancer but I have to have regular check ups until the HPV is gone.
    I had a big fillet steak when I got home and have been eating meat since. It’s now four months later and another blood test last week showed my iron levels are almost normal now and my body is able to fight infections again.
    Being vegan literally almost gave me cancer.

  2. Elizabeth, is there a chance you could have gotten more sunlight, and also focused on getting more iron-rich plant foods into your diet? Beside providing iron, are there any other advantages to eating fish and meat? Have you checked your cholesterol levels and kidney function now that you are back on animal protein?

      1. B12, carnosine, taurine, DHA, creatine all thought to be brain protective. D3 is more easily absorbed than D2. Plant sources of ALA are poorly converted to DHA. Cholesterol isn’t the enemy, and recent research has shown that it has been vulcanized needlessly. Chronic kidney disease patients actually need to avoid certain plants, and not meat.

  3. Thought I’d share a snippet of my adventures with plant based diets. After getting swept up by all the marketing and hype around plant based diets, being a health conscious individual, I jumped in 100%. I went from eating significant amounts of meat and veggies to nothing but the oft touted whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. After hearing so many stories of others doing the same thing and experiencing incredible energy, transformed health, clear thinking, and many other benefits, I figured it was only a matter of time until they all started kicking in for me. Sadly, I never felt any of the so called benefits.

    What I did get to experience was: never ending hunger despite eating massive amounts of food, weight gain to the tune of thirty pounds from said massive amounts of food, drastically lowered energy due to at least in part worse sleep from the hunger and weight gain, thin hair, a stomach so constantly bloated that I looked like a pregnant man, at the risk of TMI, insane bathroom trips (I’m talking going through half a roll of TP in one go), and other deleterious side effects.

    Despite all that, I continued to try to make it work, and things only got worse. It took a few different Registered Dietitians to bring me back to sanity: that lean meats are not dangerous foods and in fact play an important role in most diets. It’s also through RDs that I learned not everyone can do well eating loads of plants foods due to FODMAPS, which basically means one has trouble digesting many kinds of legumes, vegetables, and some grains. Now that I’ve been back to eating lean meats and grains and legumes in smaller portions, everything is back to normal. I can now go several hours without feeling intense hunger, my energy is back up, my weight dropped back down and all is right with the world.

    I hope other can find this helpful.

    1. Thanks Zach. It’s not an uncommon story. I would suggest that fatty meat will be even better than eating lean. Animal fat can provide all your energy and in a far more steady flow than you’ll get from carbs. Also, eating a high amount of fatty meat does not contribute to atherosclerosis, heart disease, or cancer.

  4. Everyone CAN be vegan, but not everyone WANTS to be – to put in the sacrifice to stick with it long-term. Giving up some elements of convenience is a sacrifice and humans can be more than a little bit inherently selfish. Animal products are addictive (habitually more than anything) and it’s hard to give that up and stick with it if you were raised eating them 3 times a day for most of your life.

    Unfortunately a lot of people get sucked up into the hype and marketing of plant-based diets rather than focusing on the animals themselves and the inherent suffering that is involved in making their bodies into lifeless products to be consumed. If people focused more on the victims and less on petty shit like their taste preferences and convenience then we would have less ‘vegans’ doing a 180. Veganism is an ethical philosophy which which hopes to alleviate animal suffering through consistent action. What veganism is not: a popularity contest, a weightloss diet, Instagramable food pics or way to virtue signal etc. – but unfortunately it seems like many people treat it this way.

    1. Yes, everyone CAN be vegan, but not long-term. It eventually destroys your health. I have seen enough people come out the other side to be 100% convinced of this.

      Your diet and your health should not be sacrifices.

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