October 23, 2010

Possible Changes

I've been apprehensive to write this post because I was afraid of what people would think. I didn't want to turn readers away or let people down. Well, I really need to put things out there and see what people think. At the very least, I need to write this all out to help rationalize it in my own head.

I'm seriously considering re-adding dairy (and possibly eggs, one day) into my diet. However, it would be goat dairy, not cow's.  It will also only be organic, free-range, and preferably local.

Honestly, it kind of scares me just writing it. I love being vegan; it's healthy, fun and challenging to create vegan dishes. However, I'm not so sure if it's the healthiest option for me anymore. There's something I haven't discussed here before, and that's my period. I know it's a sensitive and personal matter, so I won't delve into it too much, but the gist is that I haven't had my period in months. I thought it was due to the drastic weight loss, but a nutritionist told me that I should have gotten it back within a few months. It's now been almost a year. I've played around with my diet some by adding more fats and protein, but it hasn't come back yet. I've also started eating more calories to account for my daily exercise. I'm not sure if nuts/nut butter, avocados, protein powder, etc are doing enough. I'm worried about what this means for my reproductive health, obviously, but also my bone density. I'd like to play around with my diet some more, by adding more fat, calcium, protein and healthy cholesterol. Enter: goat dairy (and possibly eggs). I'd rather try doing all that I can naturally before I turn to supplements or birth control. I'm scared, though. I've put so much into being vegan that I don't want to feel guilty and I don't want people to view me negatively. I'm also scared about what will happen to my body or overall health if I start eating dairy and/or eggs again.

On a less serious note, I've always wanted to try goat products. In fact, there are a lot of things I've wanted to try since getting heavily into food and cooking that I haven't been able to because of being vegan. I know it seems silly, but I'd like to be able to eat things that I want. I like experiencing new things, new dishes and types of cuisine, but I'm currently limiting myself.

Please don't be angry with me. I'm really struggling with all of this. If you can offer any tips or advice, I'd appreciate it greatly.

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  1. Hi there! I am a fairly new reader and have enjoyed reading almost every single one of your posts. Yes, I actually went back and started from the beginning. No, I do not really have a life. :)

    I just wanted to say that whatever decision you make will be the right one, because it is for YOU. This blog is about YOUR health, and YOUR life. Not all of ours. Whatever opinions other people have about your decision is their own choice, but ultimately, you know what's best for you.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do! You'll be sure to have loyal readers regardless.

  2. Hey girl - I think being vegan or vegetarian is personal. No one should ever make someone else feel bad for being or not being vegan. Period. You have to do what is right for you, especially when it comes to your health. One of the reasons I am not fully vegan is I need the protein from things like Greek yogurt with the way I workout. I can't seem to get in enough unless I'm eating some dairy. Plus, as a woman, calcium is crucial. I know there are people who will whole-heartedly disagree. And that's fine. But I will always stand by this: you must do what is best for YOU and not for anyone else.

    I hate that you feel like you have to even justify it because you shouldn't have to. But that's just my opinion ;-) Hugs!

  3. Hello there. I've been reading your blog for awhile but have never commented. I just wanted to write here to tell you I've struggled with the same thing as far as being vegan and then slowly edging back into more of a vegetarian (vegan when i can, but i do eat cheese now and eggs that are from a local farm).

    I felt guilty about the switch at first too, although I don't know why. I guess it was because I set out to be fully vegan and didn't want to backtrack. I also worried about how my body would react to dairy and eggs (btw, i did not have any problems.) But honestly, I think returning to vegetarianism was a good choice for me. Learning everything you have learned about eating a vegan diet is wonderful, and that doesn't mean that you still can't eat mostly vegan if you want to. But I see nothing wrong with eating eggs or cheese, etc. especially if you keep a watchful eye on where the food comes from.

    It's your own personal choice and I can tell you that I would read your blog either way. Do what you think is best for you, it's nobody else's place to instill guilt on you, and honestly I don't think your readership would do that to you (I hope). Try something new, and most importantly, take care of yourself! I think we are all supportive of that. And think of all the new possibilities for recipes! :-)

  4. I recently struggled with the switch from veganism back to vegetarianism. It's no one's life but your own. You are informed of healthy diet choices, and you will still lead a healthy lifestyle even if you reincorporate dairy back into your life. If someone decides to stop following your blog because of a personal decision you had to make, then you're better off. We all want to see you healthy and happy!

  5. @grace

    Hi Grace! Thanks so much for the heartfelt comment. I have a question: how did you start integrating dairy back into your diet? Did you start slow or eat a certain thing, or just go for it? I plan on purchasing some goat cheese or goat yogurt this weekend but beyond that I'm lost.

  6. @Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Thank you Heather. I always look forward to what you have to say. I also think calcium is very crucial, especially for women.

  7. @Sarah A.

    Thank you so much Sarah! I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog since the beginning. :D

    You're right. My health comes before anything. I'm just so apprehensive for some reason and I don't know why.

  8. @Marissa

    Thank you; you're absolutely right. How did you go about incorporating dairy back into your diet, if you don't mind me asking?

  9. @Krystina


    I integrated dairy into my diet at a fairly slow pace. Mostly, I thought about certain things I could eat and listened to what my body told me. I was pretty weirded out about starting to eat eggs again, so I started by eating eggs overhard or boiled, to get away from the runny yolk that just seemed to gross me out. The more and more I ate eggs, the less I worried. You may even want to start eating things that are made with eggs instead of just eggs on their own at first.

    I pretty much started to eat cheese fairly fast, but poked around with different kinds and, again, listened to how my body was responding.

    To this day, I drink soy milk and use that for cereal and stuff. I don't think cow milk is the best thing for me so I stay away from it, but I'm intrigued by your idea to try goat's milk. Seems like that might be a good choice.

    I will say that it seems easier, socially, for me to be a vegetarian. I was amazed at how many more options there were once I strayed away from strict veganism. I agree with the other commenters though, in that because you're very health conscious already, you'll be able to sort out the good dairy/eggs from the bad.

    Glad I could help! If you have any more questions, I am more than happy to oblige.

  10. @grace

    Thank you for all your tips, Grace. I'm still unsure about eggs, but I think the idea of them cooked gently (poached, baked, etc) appeals to me more than hard boiled because the smell of boiled eggs really bothers me. I'm also not sure if I want to start eating eggs, but I'll decide over time.

    I plan on using non-dairy milk still, but start slowly integrating goat products into my diet. I like that you say you listened to your body - I plan to eat intuitively as well.

    I can imagine it's a lot easier. Now some people are kind of condescending when I try to explain my lifestyle, but when I was just a vegetarian no one questioned it.

    Thanks again. <3

  11. dear krystina,
    i know it sounds weird, but could you let us know if you get your period again after integrating dairy back into your diet? it's because i (and maybe others) have the same problem! haven't gotten my period in months. and i'm not even fully vegan, i eat eggs! i know i should go see a doctor, but i am afraid that he'll just tell me how being vegan is unhealthy in general...
    i'll definately keep reading your blog, no matter which way you choose!

  12. @Anonymous

    Mira, I'll definitely keep you all posted. If I find out any other information that may help I'll let you know.

  13. Hi Krystina, I'm another who reads your blog but never posts. I do enjoy your blog and you are an inspiration. I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian but I eat vegan quite a bit too, as too much of the ovo-lacto isn't the best for me. Anyway, I want to add to what others are saying. It won't bother me a bit. If you are concerned about your readers, maybe add tags so folks can search for vegan, and whatnot. But YOU come before your readers. :)

    Good luck with your quest! You live a very healthy lifestyle and I am confident you will figure this out.

  14. Hi Krystina! I don't think anyone will fault you or think bad of you if you add dairy back into your diet. You have to do what is right for you and your body. I have been a vegan since March, and was a vegetarian for about a month before that. The dairy that I consumed was goat. I love goat cheese and that was the one thing that was very hard for me to give up, but it was what I finally decided what I wanted to do.
    I got my goats milk from a local farm that raises everything organic. The goat milk came from nubian goats. It's by far the best goats milk. If you have anyone local that you can get that kind of goats milk from, I would suggest you try it. It's doesn't have any kind of smell and is very mild tasting. My husband even like it, and that is saying a lot.
    I would suggest you slowly add the products back into your diet so that it doesn't make you sick. Good luck with eveything. Keep us posted on how things are going!

  15. I've been reading your blog since you started but never commented because I don't actually blog... but I want to comment now to say that I've been having the same problem regarding my period. After a full year of no flow, I went to see my gyno, had my blood tested, and was told that my being vegan was basically irrelevant because I'm completely healthy otherwise. I suggest having your blood tested to make sure all your nutrient levels are up to par.

    Also, I think it should be totally up to you whether you're going to be completely vegan or not. You shouldn't feel like you have to make excuses! It's your body and your diet! Do what feels right :)

  16. I knew I couldn't be the only one with the period problem! I am so grateful to you for posting about this! It is kind of embarrassing but I think it has been about a year since I've had mine. I don't want to give up veganism but I'm not really sure what to do. I sort of feel like less of a woman.. I've talked to two doctors about it and all they say is that my BMI is too low but they can put me on hormone regulators (birth control). I know not having a period is clearly unhealthy as it leaches calcium from our bones and I've tried gaining weight but it is difficult both mentally and physically. Definitely let us know how it works out.

    In addition, this is your life and your health! I can't imagine anyone being put off by your decision to re-add dairy into your diet.

    Thank you. <3

  17. i don't want to be too repetitive, but basically, i have the same opinion as everyone else. it's totally up to you! only you can make this decision and it is certainly not anyone's place to judge your decisions for your health. i really love your blog and i will still be a loyal reader, lacto-ovo, vegan, whatever.

  18. Hi Krystina!
    First I love your blog and your story, Its so inspiring! I recently went through the same sort of thing. I was vegan and moved to college and a big part of socializing is eating and I really felt restricted. I found myself wanting to try the frozen yogurt and I struggled with it for a little while but then I just decided to have some. I was back on dairy for about 2 weeks and I'm going back off it. This is cow's dairy so it will be different then goats, but I got headaches and terrible stomach aches which I haven't had in forever. What helped make that decision though was knowing that I could have it if I really wanted to, but I have the choice. That has helped me not feel so restrictive. Its not that I'm restricted its that I'm choosing to do what is best for me. I hope you the best in whatever you choose! :)

  19. Your food choices are personally and you need to do you what you need to do for your health. I don't think people will look at your negatively at all. Just follow your heart!

  20. Hey Krystina!

    I don't have any tips or advice for you, but I do have to say that regardless of what decision you make, I'll be a loyal and supportive reader :) I'm also working eggs and cheese back into my diet as well, and I couldn't be happier. Whatever you decide in the name of your health is your decision and I know that if you listen to your body and strive to do right by it, everything's going to work out just fine!

  21. I have considered eggs before; but so far I haven't indulged. Eggs kind of freak me out; but I can tell my body is not reacting well to being on a diet that's based on carbohydrates (all our protein sources that aren't pure fat...well, they're carbs and that's just not good). I feel you lady. There's another famous vegan blogger out here in the blogospher that started eating meat again about 2 months ago now..i'm waiting for her to tell everyone on her blog. You have to do what is best for you and what is right for your body. No one else is living your life-you have to take care of you!

  22. @The Kuntrageous Vegan

    Eggs skeeve me out a bit, too, but lately I've been craving a poached egg on a salad or crusty baguette. See if your local health store has loose local eggs on hand. I know our Whole Foods sells them in the produce section from a local farm. That way you can only buy one or two to test how you feel when you eat them. Follow your heart and listen to your body!

  23. I am an ovo/lacto/pescatarian so as you can imagine, this is an exciting development since I already love your blog so much! Can't wait to see what you cook up :) -Dinah

  24. Hey, Krystina...

    As an omni who loves your blog, I have to say food choices are your own, the rest of the world be damned.

    I would agree that you need to see a doc to get your hormones checked; if your adrenals aren't functioning right, you won't menstruate. That's right- your adrenals. Followed by your pituitary and hypothalamus. It's truly fascinating how much effect ALL your hormones have... so have a basic hormone panel drawn and see what it shows you.

    I don't think this is necessarily nutrient related (it may be but it may not) and I would see a doc sooner rather than later.

    No matter what, I am your loyal blogosphere friend! :)