Vegan diets are an interesting case, because not only are they physical, food-based choices, they also have a mental and ethical component. People choose to become vegan not just for health reasons but also for philosophical reasons.
As many of us may have experienced, vegans can be quite intense when it comes to their beliefs. They even have their own nickname, “vegangelicals.” Why not look it up if you’re unsure, you can’t make that stuff up.
So, the healthiest way to stop following a vegan diet would have to take into account not only the physical side of what someone is eating, but also the mental shift they will have to take in order to stop following a vegan diet.
Physical considerations of switching diets
On the physical side, it is best to still limit the amount of meat, dairy and animal by-products you are eating. Anecdotal evidence has shown that certain people cannot maintain a vegan diet, their bodies just need meat and in a way this makes sense – humans evolved over thousands of years to eat meat and get nutrients from it. What has happened now though, is that modern farming practices and modern society have changed the way we eat meat.
Whereas before, all meat products would have been what we now deem to be free-range, now many meat products are factory farmed, under dubious practices. This not only leads to horrible conditions for the animals, but meat products that are less healthy for the consumer. If you were trying to find the healthiest way to stop following a vegan diet, the best suggestion would be to start introducing small amounts of meat, dairy and eggs into your diet. As long as you ensure that these products are free-range and of the highest standard, you shouldn’t find that you suffer too much with them.
What needs to be remembered too is that by and large, we just eat too much meat in the Western diet. According to many dieticians, a healthy serving of meat or protein per meal is roughly the size of your palm. When last did you see steak that was that small? Probably never. Many other foods are sources of protein too; nuts and pulses can help us reach our optimum protein intake per day, leaving a small amount of the protein requirement to be achieved through eating meat.
Mental considerations of switching diets
Putting these physical, food issues aside (even eating too many eggs could lead to an increase in cholesterol), one of the healthiest ways to stop following vegan diets, is to prepare yourself mentally. As veganism is very often an ethical and philosophical choice, it can lead to much internal and even external conflict when you stop.
When you stop following a vegan diet, you may find that many of your vegan friends shun you, or outright insult you. You may also find that you battle with yourself. If you have spent a long time convinced that eating or consuming any animal products is wrong, it is quite difficult to turn around and suddenly not have a problem with it. But the fact remains, if you are one of those people whose body literally cannot sustain a vegan diet, you have to find a healthy way to stop.
Go easy on yourself; it’s never easy for human beings to re-evaluate the things that they once held so dear. It will take time to get over the fact that you have started to eat animal products, but every person is an individual and every individual has specific needs that must be fulfilled. Yes, vegan diets can be healthy and great for some people, but if you aren’t one of those people; you have to find the healthiest way to stop following a vegan diet. The way that works best for you.