Can what you eat affect your mental health? If so, up to what extent? In this unique episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen turn to answer an inquiry about the relationship of our diet to our mental health. Digging deeper, they talk about the claims that pose the vegan diet as having adverse effects on our mental well-being compared to eating meat. They shed light on the different context that could apply to this claim and weigh in on how applicable and true it is for others, based on their own and known experiences. Ultimately, how your diet can affect you is still all up to you. Through this conversation, Jason and Whitney guide you in finding your true north diet, one that creates a positive shift in your life and truly empowers you.
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Where The Vegan Diet And Mental Health Collide
Finding Your True North Diet
Whitney and I received an email from someone we know and it was a unique take. The gist of this email was some articles and positions that he had found online that eating meat improves your mental health, and that 1 in 3 vegetarians are depressed according to some studies that have come out. I want to take this time to read this email, leaving out specific personal details, but to get the gist of this interesting topic that we’re going to dig in this episode. The email starts, “I was scrolling through suggested articles from Google and this one popped out at me.” It made me go, “Huh.” “See the attachments below.”
“It’s a new study that claims that vegetarians and vegans are more apt to deal with depression, mental illness and even considers suicide.” My first reaction was this is an article sponsored by the meat industry because that’s what they do. I didn’t want to leave it at that and so I pondered it for a while. “Many of my vegetarian or vegan friends or more health-conscious in general do tend to deal with anxiety, depression, etc. For me personally, I’m on and off the anxiety carousel about as often as I’ve been on and off the plant-based wagon. I’ve watched the documentaries, read the books, and it doesn’t add up to me. I wondered about other possibilities.”
“One, people who are vegan are more health conscious so they’re more likely to seek treatment for mental illness concerns, whereas others might take it as something they ‘have to deal with’ without assigning it a little or even worse, a stigma.” He talks about the cities and, “Once you get outside of the metro bubble, you’re in some pretty rural areas here. Areas that don’t have access to as many healthcare options and are more likely to be carnivorous than many affluent urban and suburban areas. I wondered if this was an economic issue and maybe many people who eat meat don’t have the means to receive treatment even if they know something might need their attention.”
“Three, vegetarians and vegans also tend to skew toward being empaths. Maybe we or they feel things on a level that others may not or choose not to. That’s a loaded statement and I don’t mean to stereotype. I’m trying to hypothesize because everything I’ve read up says that eating meat on the regular is more likely to create a litany of health issues. I thought I’d bounced the whole topic off to two of my favorite plant-based friends to see if you had any thoughts and if it might be a good topic for you to delve into on your blog.”
“The story about all the meat plants being forced to stay open despite the rampant COVID-19 illness for employees is a big topic. It seems like a lot of people are going to at least for a short-term have it to go without ready access to their favorite meat products or maybe hop over to more plant-based options in the interim. That’s my curiosity for the evening. Do with it what you will. I hope you’re all taking good care.” That is certainly one of the most interesting points of feedback and consideration I’ve ever gone through email, Whitney. What was your first reaction to this?
Whenever I read something, I like to look at it from as many sides as possible and notice how I’m reacting to it. As somebody who has been vegan for a long time and a big advocate for it, I don’t want to believe this. I feel like my health in a lot of ways has improved. It’s tough to say if I personally have experienced a change in my mental health since going vegan because I went vegetarian in May 2003. Around that time, I had started seeing a psychiatrist for the first time in my life. I feel like the first official therapy session I had was in either 2001 or 2002.
I was experiencing a lot of mental health challenges. When I went vegetarian, I felt like it helped me a lot but that’s because for me, a lot of the things that I was struggling with were self-esteem and challenges with my body. If you haven’t heard me share this part of my story before, going vegetarian and later vegan helped me recover from a huge struggle I had with disordered eating. This might sound a little strange to say, but by adding some ethical boundaries to the way that I was eating, I felt more freedom. Along the way, I started to discover that foods like dairy and meat were causing inflammation in my body.
They were probably even making it harder for me to lose weight in my personal experience. I feel like everybody’s bodies are a little bit different, but I’ve heard this from a lot of vegetarians and vegans. When they first went animal-free in their diet, vegetarian is a different way of eating. They’re still eating dairy in many cases. For me, I lost weight and I’ve heard that from a lot of people. A lot of my mental health challenges were tied into my weight. For me, it was a lot of self-esteem, not feeling great in my body, feeling like I wasn’t attractive, feeling like I needed to lose weight in order to like myself, and all of that. Of course, that’s not true.
At that time, my life back in 2001, 2002 when I started to make the shift and go to therapy and then eventually try vegetarian and vegan diets in 2003, it felt like a big shift for me. I felt more empowered and that was tied into my mental health. My confidence went up, so that was tied into my mental health. There was so much there. I’m certainly not implying that losing weight improves my mental health. It’s just that for me struggling so much with my body, I felt more in control. I found something that was working for me and because that was empowering, I felt like an improvement in my self-esteem. Self-esteem is so tied into our mental health. A lot of us struggle with things like anxiety and depression when we feel like we’re out of control.
It also depends on the level of anxiety, depression, and the type that you’re experiencing, whether it’s something like imbalance or some sort of mental versus emotional. For me, my experiences of anxiety and depression have been more on the emotional side of it and not something that taking drugs, for example, has necessarily helped. It was more that I needed to work through a lot of emotional challenges to feel less anxious, to feel less depressed. I wouldn’t say that I have clinical depression or anxiety, but I experience it a lot and it’s important to make a difference. Long story short, that for me it made a positive shift and it’s challenging to read information like this because I think there’s part of me that’s like, “I don’t ever want to go back to eating meats, but as a well-being advocate, I also want to give information that’s as accurate as possible.”We need to do our best to let go of our biases if we want to take a position of being realistic. Click To Tweet
I certainly want to dive into a discussion with Jason about this. It’s scary and it also brings up something that we should talk about here. We’ve touched upon this briefly. In one of our episodes, I remember saying that I don’t know if I’ll be vegan or vegetarian my whole life. I plan to be, but as a person that strives to have an open mind. I also know that I can’t predict or control the future. Anything’s possible. I don’t know if my diet will always be the way that it is. If I’ve continued to find a lot of information that said that being vegetarian or vegan was not the greatest thing for my mental health. I don’t know if I could justify continuing to do it. It sounds terrifying. I’m very attached to this way of living and it feels very in alignment with my life. Would I want my mental health to suffer? No. Do I hope that the study that is brought up here is wrong? Absolutely. I hope it’s biased. I hope that it was conducted by somebody that has some ties to the meat industry and they’re trying to convince us. That’s always important to figure out who did the study and are there any biases.
I do want to just skim through because you asked a lot of pertinent questions. I have not first of all taken the time to dig into the specific authors of the study that are referenced in there because it does reference these. First of all, this specific article that our friend emailed us and asked us to weigh in on is on Daily Mail, which is a popular UK site. It says, “Eating meat may IMPROVE mental health, and 1 in 3 vegetarians are depressed, study suggests.”
I pulled it up and it’s referenced in many articles outside of that website. Something that I do whenever I’m doing research. I go and look up something and try to find any website that I recognize. I don’t know if Daily Mail is the most legitimate site, but I found it in a ton of other sources. I wanted to say that out loud in case in your head you’re thinking, “That’s not a legitimate site.”
The interesting thing that pops out to me is it says, “Researchers reviewed eighteen studies examining the relationship between mental health and eating meat involving a total of 160,257 participants.” The first thing is they didn’t conduct a new study, which is something that you can control the factors and do a double-blind study. When you conduct a study, you can have more control than reviewing studies that have already been conducted. That’s not necessarily a red flag for me. The fact that they did not conduct a brand-new study, they simply reviewed pre-existing study is a bit strange to me.
I found another article that says, first of all, this one is referencing a review article from Cornell University. Is the article you’re reading talking about that same one?
No, it is not. To your point, Daily Mail is not a very in-depth. It’s like People Magazine for the UK. It’s like a tabloid magazine. This Daily Mail article came out on April, 29th of 2020. It says that the University of Alabama were the ones who reviewed these studies and says, “Those who avoided meat consumption had significantly higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety and/or self-harm behaviors.” We want to dig in. It says that Dr. Edward Archer, who is one of the study’s authors from the University of Alabama said, “While the risks and benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets have been debated for centuries, our results show that meat-eaters have overall better psychological health.”
If you want to dig into Psychology Today, which Whitney pulled up also with PlantBasedNews.org have other articles related to this mental health issue. If I can weigh in though on my understanding, because, Whitney, you know that I’ve struggled a lot with mental health. I was diagnosed in 2014 with clinical depression by Dr. Alan Green and also my psychotherapist. They both confirmed it. When we dug into the chemistry and the biology of what was going on with me, when I got a neurotransmitter test, neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that create action potentials in the brain.
There are different processes in the body and emotional processes that are regulated by the neurotransmitters in our brain. For me, I found back then that most of my primary neurotransmitters were functioning sub-optimally. I remember Dr. Alan Green looking at me and saying, “It’s no wonder you’re depressed and suicidal. Look at your brain chemistry. We can just look at the science behind what’s going on with your neurotransmitters. Of course, you would feel the way you feel.” It’s interesting to reflect back on what I went through when I had those studies done years ago and what I have done in terms of my research. For me, it was looking at specifically what nutrients in food were primarily responsible for boosting my neurotransmitter function.
I remember specifically, I had never researched this part of it before. This was in 2014 and for a long time, I was confident that I was getting a lot of Omega fatty acids from things like hemp and chia seeds, walnuts, and pecans. Those kinds of fats. It wasn’t until I started to look at the research between specifically mental health and brain function that most of those Omega fatty acids that vegetarians and vegans get are ALA, their Alpha Linoleic Acids, which aren’t necessarily the most beneficial for brain health. EPA and DHA, which are the other two primary Omega-3 fatty acids are not present as readily in those plant foods. Where are they most present at? They’re most present in seafood, plankton, algae and krill. I can either choose to start eating seafood or I can look to see if there are any vegan supplements that are made from micro algaes or plankton that have these high levels of EPA, DHA and Omega fatty acids.Our understanding of the world, in general, is a moving target. Click To Tweet
To that point, I hadn’t even realized that I could potentially be deficient. When we ran those blood panel tests, he looked at me and he’s like, “Your ALA levels are high, but your EPA and DHA are super low.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg because I want to hand the baton back to you. For me, it was a journey of, “I’m deficient in these things that I had no idea I needed to focus on for my mental health.” It’s something I still struggle with my mental health, as you know, Whitney, as my best friend and some of the audience who may have dug into previous episodes. Adjusting my diet and my nutrition is critical for me to stay mentally balanced.
Luckily by doing a little bit of research, there are a number of articles that have come out debating or bringing up other things that these studies did not bring up. One of them was written by one of our previous guests, Dr. Joel Kahn who’s a heart doctor. He’s somebody that we trust. I would definitely present his take here. We encourage you as our audience to do your own research. You don’t have to fully agree with anything that we say and we hope that you become part of the conversation too. If you want to have an ongoing discussion with us, we would love to have that with you. You can also reach us on social media so we can continue the conversation and see what research you’re doing. Dr. Joel Kahn and his article which is published on LiveKindly.co. It’s a wonderful website and keep in mind that this is on the bias side. Live Kindly is a vegan website, so we need to consider that perspective. Dr. Joel Kahn is a vegan doctor. If you haven’t checked out his episode yet, check it out. Did you guys get into mental health, Jason?
We mostly focused on cardiac health and immunity because when we had Dr. Khan on the show, it was in an intense time in the COVID crisis. We didn’t touch so much on the mental side of things. We touched on self-care. We also focus on stress as well.
Dr. Joel Kahn had a couple of points to make. One thing that I liked in this outline is he said what did not make the headlines. He had a number of bullet points here, four to be precise. Number one is that a huge number of studies were excluded. That’s important to keep in mind. This is why on either side, whether you believe something or disagree with something, looking into how a study was done. It’s very similar in my opinion, to how food labels can be very biased or can be manipulative. You can see a food label and it’s like, “This is all-natural,” and it leads you to believe that it’s good for your health, for the environment or different from other similar products.
Words like natural don’t have a definition that is very legitimate. To me, it’s similar to a study which can convince you from the headline and from the bullet points that you might prove in an article to mean one thing to be conclusive. If you dig deeper and one of the easier ways to do that is to look at people that are talking about the opposite. This is a great example, Dr. Joel Kahn sharing what was not included, what was excluded from something, what wasn’t covered. The same thing can be true with an article that’s pro-vegan. It’s looking at what are people saying to debate it.
Because for me, it’s important not to be in a bubble or to explore what’s outside your bubble, your world here, and look at what other people are saying. Do they have a point? That was part of the reason in a previous episode and I bring this up again, is that I do feel very attached to being vegan. I feel like it aligns with me on a health, eco-friendly and cruelty level. There are many different reasons that I have chosen to be vegan since 2003. I want to keep an open mind. If for some reason, I find out that some of those major reasons that I have stayed vegan are not accurate anymore or do not align with me or if I’m able to find something that’s very convincing, who’s to say that I would continue to do something just because my ego is tied into it?
That’s an important thing here and it’s always interesting. Jason, I’d love to discuss it with you because I feel like as vegans, there are lots of egos. We talked about this in our episode with Ruby Roth. We briefly touched upon the infighting. This has come up off and on throughout our episodes, is that there tends to be so much pressure to do things right. To do things the right way, to color within the lines. There are all these different perspectives about what it means to be vegan and the different versions of veganism, whether it’s raw food, low carb, high fat, salt oil and sugar-free and all of these different ways to be vegan.
It seems like everybody has a different opinion about what’s the healthiest and right way to be vegan. There’s a lot of ego tied into that. One thing that I strive more and more to do is to be less attached to what’s right or wrong because who am I to say? I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist or a scientist. I have a lot of ignorance, but even doctors, nutritionists, scientists, researchers, they bring their own biases to things. We need to do our best to let go of our biases if we want to take a position of being realistic. I don’t know if there’s ever a right or wrong or a black and white scenario. What do you feel about this, Jason?
In terms of truth, we also talked about the nature of subjective versus universal truth in the episode with Luke Storey, which was amazing. For me, removing the ego from this is so important because research, science, and human understanding is a moving target. Our understanding of the world, in general, is a moving target. If we look at the studies of biology, astronomy, surgery or neurochemistry, things that we held to be true decades or hundreds of years ago is a moving target. One of the most confusing things to backup what you said, Whitney, is that people will attach themselves to a new study, a documentary, a film or certain information. They’re like, “This is the absolute truth. We’ve got it. We have irrefutable proof now that veganism is the greatest diet and the way that everyone ought to be eating rather.”
You see it not just in the vegan community. It’s certainly this egotism and the sense of this is the exact right way to eat, live, pray, whatever it is. We see it in people who are eating keto. We see it in people who are eating paleo. We see it in the biohacking community. Whitney, you and I have been so immersed in this personally and professionally as life experimentalists for so long now that to me, I look back. I remember in my early days of being a raw foodist, I was convinced that eating a 100% organic, completely unprocessed, raw vegan diet was the way, not just I wanted to live, but I was convinced that it was the Garden of Eden. I remember thinking like, “This is the most natural, pure, holy, spiritual way to eat.”
I was convinced that the whole world ought to be eating raw vegan. I remember feeling like a zealot. I wasn’t aware I was a zealot, but rather if I reflect back on it, I think the danger in all this is that a new study comes out and everyone latches onto it to say, “See, coconut oil is bad for you. We were right. See, meat’s bad for you. Broccoli, lentils, lectins and legumes, those are bad too.” It’s no wonder people feel defeated, confused, and flummoxed by the topic of health and wellness. If you want to go deep enough down the rabbit hole, you can find diametrically opposed studies for everything, “Lentils are good.” No, they’re not. They have lectins and they’ll kill you.
“Tofu is good for you. No, it’s not. It has too many isoflavones, which give you man boobs. Literally, you can find anything pretty much under the sun on the topic of nutrition, health, food, biochemistry, neurobiology, that completely conflict with each other. It’s fucking maddening because you’re like, “Where’s my true north?” Ultimately, what I’ve come to for myself is the true north has to be how you feel in your body, your mind and your being and you pay attention. You’ll be very mindful of how your mind and body feel when you start to consume something. I feel like our intuition and how we feel and being honest about that with ourselves is the only true north. If you strictly rely on science, research and studies, it’s constantly evolving and changing. To back up what I said, you’re going to find constantly contradictory studies ad infinitum. To remove the ego from all this. To back up what you said, Whitney, I’ve been plant-based for years.
Here I am hoping that I’ve been doing it for twenty years, and you actually have, is that what you’re trying to say?
This is not a humble brag. I wasn’t trying to one-up Whitney. I was just stating. I’ve been doing this shit a long ass time. The mid-‘90s is when I started eating plant-based. I have wondered, and this is the first time I’m saying it to anybody. I’ve never even talked about this, but there have been times over my mental health journey where I’ve wondered if it might be better for me to eat fish once a month and experiment with that. To have that thought, I’ve beaten the shit out of myself. I’m like, “You can’t do that. You’re vegan. Everyone knows you as a vegan. You’ve created a brand and a career. You would lose friends and people would disown you. They’d shame you.” The same thing what the horde, the tyranny of the vegan majority does to everyone else is like, “You’ve eaten something non-vegan we’re going to give you death threats and we’re going to kick you off Vegan Island.”
To be honest with everyone, above anything, I label myself or any style of eating, I’m a truth seeker no matter what. If it came to be that maybe I should consider the bioavailability of the Omega fatty acids in fish might be better for my brain. I can hear certain people might be like, “You’re crazy to even say that. What are you talking about?” The reality is unless someone knows what it’s like to be suicidal and think about trying to kill yourself all the time and being so depressed, you don’t know what to do, you will think about trying things that you might not normally try to get yourself out of that place.
This email was sent to each of us individually, our separate email accounts. When you received this email, did part of you think, “Maybe I need to stop being vegan for my mental health.” Did you have that inkling at all when you read this?
Yes, I did. The whole conversation I mentioned about eating fish once a month to see how that would affect my brain chemistry, literally to see how I would feel. I thought, “First of all, is that what I want? If I were to do it, what would my emotional reaction be?” I haven’t eaten fish since ‘96, ‘97. It’s a long time to not have eaten any animal products. The depth of my vegan choice is not just from a nutritional or a human health perspective. It’s much more about the ethics involved and wanting to extend compassion, gentleness and empathy toward animals. Also, the impact on this planet. That’s a much deeper motivation for me than my own personal health, to be honest. However, if I’ve been “starving my brain” and I know people go, “You can get the EPA and DHA from algaes and bio-algaes,” and I’ve been doing that, I’ve been taking those supplements. I wonder though if for my particular chemistry, my brain, if perhaps the bioavailability and the potency of the Omega fatty acids in fish might affect me differently.
Remember when you were with Dr. Green to adjust your balances, we’ve talked about this before, but I think it’s important to bring this back up. There is this feeling that I’ve at least had. I’m generalizing here, but it’s like, “You can get everything on the vegan diet.” For the most part, that’s pretty accurate. Jason and I each but I’ll speak for myself here. I’ve done a lot of research on this. I’ve watched debates and I read non-vegan books pretty frequently and talk to friends that are very adamant about not being vegan. Educated people, yourself included, meaning that you’ve done that research as well.The true North has to be how you feel in your body, your mind, and your being. Click To Tweet
I also talk to a lot of friends and colleagues of ours that are absolutely not plant-based and wanting to hear their perspectives.
It’s interesting because there is this old instinct of mine to want to defend myself a lot. That’s what I’m saying here. It’s important for me to be as open-minded as possible. I still feel very uncomfortable knowing that people eat animal products. I’ve dated more non-vegan men than vegan men, and it’s uncomfortable at times. I think about that or when I’m with my family members, for example. It’s uncomfortable when they eat fish around me. Dairy doesn’t trigger me as much. It’s less in your face, but when I see somebody eating animal flesh like fish, it’s uncomfortable for me because in my head I’ve attached the suffering and I think of my head, “It’s not necessary.” I still believe that but there’s a part of me that’s saying, “Who am I to make that judgment? Who am I to say that or think that?” Because I’m not a researcher, a scientist, a doctor, a nutritionist and I am biased because I’m vegan.
Who am I to say those things? My practice has been to make the best decision for myself and try not to judge what other people are doing and to take in that information. One that comes to mind is Dr. Mercola, when I was studying the keto diet. I read a lot of his books because he’s a big advocate for it, but his books aren’t vegan. I got his cookbook and it’s barely any vegan options for me in there. I still take in his information. I’m not going to be like, “I’m not reading anything that Mercola says because he thinks that you should eat animals.” What I do is I read information like that and filter and decide how I want to approach it because I want that information even if it’s not fully in alignment with the way that I think. The trouble is I wonder when I do filter it through the vegan lens, is there some nutritional side of it that I’m filtering out?
I want to jump in quickly on what you said because in all of the research that I have done for my own personal health in this journey of clinical depression and suicidal ideation, and trying to manage my mental health for several years. It is harder and it is more challenging to get fully bioavailable nutrients on a specific vegan diet. We talked about EPA and DHA, Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s harder. K2, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B9 and vitamin B6. People say, “Drink a fortified orange juice or a fortified cereal.” We’re getting exogenous nutrients being put into foods. What I’m talking about is unprocessed foods that intrinsically have those nutrients in them and how bioavailable they are for the body.
That’s the other thing that I certainly didn’t consider for a long time until I had this diagnosis and saw how deficient I was in certain things. To harken back to what you said Whitney, it’s not just what’s on the NFP or the rundown of the macros and the micros on the back of a label. It’s how does your body assimilate and utilize those nutrients. Depending on your level of toxicity, your hormones, the other nutrients in your body, your genetics, the epigenetics and how those genes express themselves. There’s a whole litany of chemical processes in the body that ensure that how you or the readers or anyone reading this, how your body absorbs and utilizes and processes these nutrients is going to be different than my body. It simply is.
For us to say, “Take a supplement and it’ll be fine.” There’s no guarantee that taking a supplement is going to work the same as it will for me, you or someone else. I go back to this radical open-minded, experimentation mindset of we have to constantly try new things to find the magic combination that’s going to work for us. Certainly, one of the biggest challenges that I became aware of was these 5 or 6 nutrients: the EPA, DHA, K2, D3, B12 and the B6. A lot of these things that are challenging to get in high amounts if you’re doing a completely vegan diet. With those nutrients, I do take supplements every day. That’s part of my clinical regime every single day those nutrients are going in my body and I take them in supplement form and they seem to be going well.
I do wonder specifically with the EPA, DHA, the Omega fatty acids, if I might feel different, if I were to get them in whole food form by eating seafood every once in a while. It’s so weird for me to even say this because I’ve never said this. In many years of eating plant-based and being vegan, for some reason at the beginning of 2020, I thought like, “I wonder even if I’m taking these supplements if I’m still starving my body.” That was the colloquial phrase that came up. “Am I starving my body from something that I need, even though I’m taking them in supplement form?” I feel pretty good but I still struggle with my mental health even though I’m taking these supplements all the time. That worries me sometimes.
This is also a good opportunity for us to talk about something that vegans get fired up on and that is people that stop being vegan. They’re known as ex-vegans.
We laugh but it’s like going on a witch hunt for people. I’ve personally seen people sending people death threats for changing their diet. It’s the level of anger, vitriol, and hatred from certain members of the vegan community that at times made me want to completely distance myself from it.
It’s fascinating. I am able to see a lot of my own personal evolution when I’m able to take a balanced perspective. I remember the times when I was newly vegan and for many years after that of being one of those people that was incredibly judgmental. Jason’s talked about this too. This comes up often in our show. The periods that we’ve gone through the different phases of our veganism. I remember being somebody who would hear about somebody else who decided not to be vegan anymore and the judgments that I would have. I also remember the period of time when I was able to have compassion for them. The first person that comes to mind is Natalie Portman. I probably talked about this in a video.
I definitely talked about this with Rawvana when she came out as a vegan. She’s a YouTuber if you’re not familiar with her. She shared because she was caught doing this, which was interesting. She was caught eating fish on camera and she tried to hide it and then eventually came out as somebody who was eating fish. It was because of a doctor’s recommendation and she decided to add fish into her diet. She chose to do this public announcement on it. I don’t know what she’s been doing since. This is about 2018 or 2019. I made a video about how I felt and I thought it was nuts how the vegans were treating her. People wanted to cancel her. There was this whole cancel culture that we’ve also talked about a few times.
I remember that same thing was true with Natalie Portman, which was much longer ago. I feel like that was in the early days of my YouTube career and addressing that if I did. Maybe my memory is wrong there. I remember also taking a step back and thinking, “This is strange to me how people want to shame one another.” It’s coming back all these memories. It amuses me how upset people get about things that don’t have any significance now. Years ago, VegNews Magazine published some stock photos of actual meat in an article. It was once or twice published a photo of a non-vegan burger. There was this huge cancel VegNews push like, “How dare they use a stock photo and try to pass it as a vegan photo. This whole magazine should be canceled because they’re not truly vegan and they’re just in it for the money. They’re just trying to manipulate us.”
It was this huge debate back then online about it. I remember feeling defensive of VegNews because I love them. Jason and I are very close with the woman who runs it and I’ve known them since 2010. I felt frustrated that people wanted to shame them for something. I think their stance was that they hadn’t done it on purpose. Maybe somebody found the photo and didn’t realize it wasn’t that. They might have typed a veggie burger and the photo that came up wasn’t a veggie burger, but it still had the tag or something. It was something fairly innocent.
It was that whole idea of shaming somebody for a mistake or decision and not even listening to their reason for it before deciding that they needed to be canceled. This happened so much. We’ve definitely talked about cancel culture before. I don’t know what episode it is. It’s something that we’re passionate about is this idea that we want to put people up at the stake, lynch somebody or burn them at the stake. This also reminds me of an acquaintance of ours named Jordan who came out as not being vegan anymore. The account was called The Blonde Vegan. She decides not to be vegan and she wrote a book about it, and the book was about orthorexia.
I remember when that book came out, it brought up so much hate from the vegan community. Before they even read it, they decide, meaning the collective vegan community that disagreed with Jordan. I read the book as a vegan and thought, “This is not what I thought it was.” I also knew Jordan on a personal level, so I was leaning a little bit more towards her side. I read the book and I was not offended at all by it. I could relate to it because she was talking about having disordered eating. I saw myself in a lot of her words about her struggles with orthorexia. It helped me a lot. I didn’t even understand what orthorexia meant until I read that book.
Ever since I did, it helped me identify the times where I’ve been picky and gotten so in my head about the ingredients of food. It helped me relax a little bit more and try not to be so strict about my eating. That’s where I struggle a lot with my mental health is when I try to do things right. This is a huge reason why I’ve learned to have a more balanced perspective because I found so much harm and trying to be perfect. A part of Jordan’s story as well is that she was trying to have the perfect body and she was trying to eat the perfect way in order to be good for her health, but ended up harming her mental health because she was trying so hard to take care of her physical health.
That needs to be brought up in this discussion too. Maybe you think the way that you’re eating and you as in like some random person, not you, Jason or you the reader. This idea that if I eat the perfect way, I’m going to live forever. I’m never going to get cancer. I’m never going to get sick. I’m never going to this or that. We don’t have that much control over how our lives play out. I have seen vegans get cancer, which seems like it would be impossible because so much vegan media tells us that if you eat vegan you are not going to get cancer, but that’s not true. Cancer can come from other sources. I’m not a doctor or a researcher, so even the words that I’m saying here, I don’t know if they’re 100% true, but I’ve seen it happen. We can’t sit around and act as if we are making ourselves bulletproof by the way that we eat, even if the way that we eat guaranteed us a longer or a healthier life and how we define that. Is it compromising our mental health to do that for our physical health? That’s the big question.
You hit the nail on the head with that last statement, Whit. Are we compromising our mental and emotional health for our physical health? This is something that doesn’t get brought up a lot in the mainstream conversation, whether it’s vegan, paleo, keto, 80/10/10, fruitarian, breatharian, whatever the fuck it is. There’s not a discussion of whether or not this is allowing us to feel peaceful, joyful and free. There’s a lot of propaganda in every single camp. Propaganda is not one article. It’s statements and ideas that are reinforced over and over again. To your point, because we are mostly immersed in the vegan lifestyle and vegan community for so long, I think there is an inordinate amount of propaganda of if you eat this way. If you’re vegan, you’ll be bulletproof. You’ll never get sick again. “When’s the last time you got sick?” “I don’t know, like 2007?” There’s this idea that you’ll never get sick again. There’s this idea that you’ll never get cancer and it’s absolute bullshit.Have a more balanced perspective because where we tend to struggle a lot with our mental health is when we try to do things right. Click To Tweet
You and I both used to say those things like, “I’ve been vegan, I don’t get sick,” and I have been sick.
It doesn’t make you immortal. It doesn’t make you immune to every pathogen or possible disease that comes your way. Nothing can do that for us.
I even thought for a while that because I was vegan that I could eat whatever I want and not gain weight and then I found out that wasn’t true. Being vegan was not some magical thing that healed my body and prevented me from experiencing sickness, weight gain and all of these things. It’s so important to talk about this. One of the articles I pulled up about ex-vegan starts off by saying that the vegans are a cult. Jason and I are both vegan, but I don’t know if we’re in that vegan cult. I don’t think that being vegan means that you’re in the cult. I can understand why that word is used because a lot of vegans are very radical and they want people to stay in their group. “If we can convince you that being vegan makes you bulletproof, then you’ll never stop being vegan.” Do you know why that is? It’s because there’s so much ego tied in because each of us want to be right. Each of us wants to believe that we’re doing the right thing. If we’re surrounded by other people who agree with us, then we can never be wrong.
Everyone is ‘yes and-ing’ each other over and over again until the point where you feel like, “Because everyone’s in agreement with each other. How could we be wrong?” Look at all the research, the studies and the documentaries. It’s funny that we’re doing this because I’m not here to call out the vegans. I’m here to illustrate this mentality of zealousness and cult-like behavior with anything. This level of zealousness, I’ve seen it in other camps. It’s not just vegans. It’s people that are hardcore paleo and keto, the carnivore diet. They’re like, “This is the way to eat and live. If you’re outside of this bubble you’re fucking wrong.” To me it’s funny because the image I think of my head is someone typing up angry comments of like, “We’re going to send you a bomb in the mail. How dare you not be vegan? This is the way to live and eat. This is the truth and the way.”
They go and they open the door like, “Have you accepted Christ in your heart?” They’re like, “No, Jesus wasn’t real. Fuck that.” They go back to writing their hateful email. You slammed in the door and were totally angry of someone who’s trying to push their position of whatever religion on you. They’re like, “I can’t believe those zealots, and you go back writing your emails.” You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be hating people for their level of belief and zealotry and then be on your high horse and soapbox thinking, “I’m the way, I am the light.” Sometimes people’s deep conviction and zealousness over their lifestyle and their diet does border on religious fervor. I observe it. I’m like, “This person is convinced that this is the second coming of Christ in a burrito.” It’s on that level to me.
In this article that I’m referencing here, which I’m not saying that we agree with, it’s just food for thought and important to have a discussion here. That’s what we’re doing. We’re not saying anybody is right. That’s ultimately the point of this show. Every single episode is considering our current opinions on something and trying to take the most balanced view possible because that’s where I’m coming from. Sometimes we go to different extremes. Sometimes we have more extreme opinions than others, but I don’t want to say that being vegan is the right way and the only way. I also want to come back to the point that we are starting to bring up, which is that if a study comes out that’s anti-vegan, that’s as extreme. That’s not a balanced perspective. According to Dr. Joel Kahn, the study that we started this episode on was funded by the beef industry. He’s pointing out the biases. He’s pointing out that there were very few vegans even studied in it. It’s not a surprise at all. Dr. Joel Kahn comes off, in my opinion, as a balanced human being. He doesn’t feel very extreme to me. You know more about him than I do, Jason.
Dr. Kahn is an extremely well-studied, well-researched, well-informed doctor. He has done incredible work on the Joe Rogan podcast. He’s gone on there and debated for plant-based nutrition and plant-based diets. He’s one of the world’s foremost cardiologist and heart doctors. For Dr. Kahn, I always feel like he’s coming from a very matter of fact science-based approach. He’s not the kind of person that is screaming into the camera trying to convince you of anything. He’s a mild-mannered. In some ways, he reminds me a lot of Dr. Michael Greger‘s approach where he’s fair, balanced and matter of fact. It doesn’t feel like he’s trying to convince you of anything. He’s laying it out and does a hell of a lot of research. That’s one of the reasons I trust both of them in their approach.
I’m scanning through this article about ex-vegans. I haven’t sat down to read it line by line. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree, but there are some interesting points in it. Towards the end, the author said, “No one has won a cause by being repulsively arrogant and violently bickering with anyone who dares to disagree with them, nor has anyone succeeded in convincing others to willingly join their cause by shaming them for perfectly normal behavior without valid reasonable counterpoints. People have very little patience and time for raging fanatics trying to tell them how to live their lives by the human embodiment of a pulsing purple vein on someone’s sweaty temple.”
What an incredible imagery that they painted.
This person is talking about her own decision to stop being vegan. There are some points in her article that I don’t agree with, but I do think that she has some beautiful points in it. Her main point is that we shouldn’t be fighting or judging somebody for their choice to start something and stop something. This is also such an important perspective. I see this headline about veganism being bad for your mental health. I get triggered by it because I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to be doing the wrong thing. That doesn’t mean that that person is right. One of the big points that we have here is that I have yet to come across any definitive research that says that veganism is better than meat-eating, nor have I come across any definitive research that says that meat is better than the vegetarian or vegan diet. Have you?
If you go back to confirmation bias, this idea that we will automatically look for information and studies and things that back up our current belief systems on both sides, these are the basis of certainly a lot of massive award-winning documentaries. After one of these documentaries comes out, there are going to be the inevitable deluge of articles and blog posts trying to disprove or poke holes in the shoddy research that was presented in these documentaries. There certainly have been studies that have come out. I remember reading The China Study that came out with T. Colin Campbell. The level of research in that study and exacting methodologies was phenomenal.
People were up in arms because there were some animal research studies referenced in there. To me, that was the first time. I was already plant-based at that point. I remember reading The China Study going, “This is very thorough, detailed, exacting and convincing.” It’s confirmation bias. Will I automatically gravitate toward articles and research that point to the reduction in massive carbon emissions by people stopping their meat consumption? Of course. Am I going to repost that on Instagram? Absolutely. Does it mean it’s the end all be all? No, and that’s my point. None of this is the end all be all. As our testing methodologies evolve, as our understanding of body chemistry, biology and nutrition evolves, the purpose of science is not to say, “This is the definitive answer.” The purpose of science is to look at what exists and goes, “Can we disprove or evolve what we know and admit that there’s never going to be an endpoint?”
There’s going to be like, “We’ve reached the apex of human understanding of the universe. We know everything there is to know about everything and this is the optimal way to live, eat, breathe, meditate, love and conduct your relationships.” We’re never going to reach an endpoint. The part that people need to let go of is realizing that you think you’re right, but what is that based on? It’s based on the notion that you’ve reached some apex of human evolution like, “This is the way.” To me, it goes completely against the nature of this reality in every possible way, which we are constantly evolving, learning, and realizing that what we believe to be true was bullshit.
We talked about this in a previous episode where hundreds of years ago, surgeons and doctors wouldn’t even wash their hands before cutting people open. Now we know certainly about microbial health, germs, and how germology works that washing your hands before you cut someone open is a pretty good idea. Hundreds of years ago we didn’t know that I don’t even want to get into flat Earth versus round Earth shit. It’s going to drum up a whole another thing. The point is there’s no endpoint to this. For me, all I can do is say I’m making the most informed wise choice for me now with the information I have, and it’s probably going to change in the future at some point.
Do you know what else is interesting? I was trying to find the link to the Daily Mail article and I’m grateful that the person that emailed us did a screenshot of it because they modified the headline since that screenshot. The screenshot that was sent us was sent on April 29th at 6:12 PM. When it was originally sent to us, the article was titled, Eating Meat Improves Mental Health and 1 in 3 Vegetarians Are Depressed, Study Claims. The new title of the article says, Eating Meat May Improve Mental Health and 1 in 3 Vegetarians are Depressed, Study Suggests. They added the word may improve instead of saying it improves and they changed it from “study claims” to “study suggests.”
They softened their stance.
I bet you, they realized that it was very biased.
The first headline is extremely definitive.There is so much harm in trying to be perfect. Click To Tweet
The screenshot here had been updated once on May 29th, and then when we accessed it, it was updated at least the second time on May 5th, 2020. I have a feeling that when this article made the rounds, they had to change it. That to me shows the bias in the writer. The author of this article or the editor made some changes for one reason or another and that might show some agenda there. It’s a fascinating thing. We can look at a headline and make many assumptions. That’s probably our biggest point here besides the fact that we think it’s important to be open-minded and do your research, especially when it comes to your mental health.
Know that the information is changing constantly and the guidance that you get on mental health is going to depend a lot on the source. Even going to a doctor doesn’t mean that you have the right answer because that doctor has his or her own bias. They went to a specific school that might have a bias and they might have read research that is biased. A doctor does not have all the answers. You could go see five different doctors and get five different opinions or slightly different opinions. This is why people go and get 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th opinions. That’s part of what makes health so complicated. What’s incredibly confusing and overwhelming for some people is realizing that there may not be a right or wrong answer.
As human beings, we want there to be. We want to do the right thing. More and more as we do episodes, I realized that part of finding peace in your life is doing the best with what you know how in this present moment. Realizing that your life, your opinion, and the world could change at any second. We’ve said this in a lot of episodes, how the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taught us that the world can drastically change. We are not guaranteed another breath, our health could be compromised, our loved one’s health could be compromised. Much can change all the time and it can be incredibly terrifying to focus on the change. A lot of us cling to comfort and whatever control we think we have and whatever certainty we think we have.
The COVID-19 has taught us that there is much uncertainty. That can bring up a lot of anxiety and depression. I have found that if I just let go and release expectations and stop clinging so much to things, that life feels easier to me. The clinging is where my anxiety and tension comes from. It’s not scary for me at least to let go, breathe, be okay, and live in a gray area. I don’t need to live in black and white. My life feels better in that gray area. Knowing that even an article like this can be changed over time. This brought up so much. How many people read the article the way that it was published on April 29th and have not come back to it since it was updated on May 5th? They may find themselves with their foot in their mouth if they happen to see how much has changed since then.
The other thing that I want to say, because I pulled up the full research article, it talks about the criteria and the analysis structure of the research study from the University of Alabama that we’ve been discussing. I do not want to get into the minutia of this because it’s extremely long and has a lot of scientific rhetoric in it. What I am observing by looking at it so far is there are two buckets of research and the way people reference research studies. One is anecdotal where they’re like, “We read some observational studies of people’s behavior and we came to these conclusions.” It’s like, “We observed, we saw.” It’s anecdotal study versus a clinical double-blind controlled study where you have people doing similar types of behavior, taking specific kinds of medications, having a placebo group, having a control group.
They’re very anecdotal and different in terms of the substantive content and how it’s set up versus a double-blind controlled research study. The concern that I have overall regardless of my eating habits and my lifestyle choices is that they did not do any blood panel testing or neurotransmitter testing of these people. They didn’t say, “We’re going to put you in a group over here of omnivores or carnivores and over here with vegetarians and vegans and we’re going to give you the exact same blood panel tests, the exact same neurotransmitter tests and evaluate your biochemistry, your neurotransmitter function, your vitamins, minerals, lipoproteins, cholesterol, hormones.” They did not do that.
To me, that’s the most concerning thing. It’s a completely anecdotal study of saying, “We looked at people’s habits and we came to this conclusion.” For my opinion, that related phenomena do not achieve definitive results or conclusions unless you’re putting people in a double-blind controlled study. In a clinical setting where you’re observing them and subjecting them to similar stimuli and testing. They did not do that in this. Whether it’s a vegan study or whether it’s a study like this that’s perhaps trying to debunk veganism, if it’s an anecdotal observational study, to me it does not hold as much weight in terms of its conclusions as a controlled double-blind study where you’re subjecting people to specific criteria. That’s the biggest issue I have with this one.
This has been quite a conversation here and it brings up a lot of different things within me. In conclusion of my feelings and thoughts on this, it has shown me that I’m still very committed to being vegan. I feel relieved that there were a lot of biases in this article. I don’t know if when I first saw that email from our friend about this that I ever thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t be vegan anymore because my mental health feels pretty good and I feel pretty good overall as a vegan.” I haven’t struggled that much. The times that I felt like I was struggling while eating the plant-based diet have honestly been more about the specific foods that I was eating than it was about the diet overall. In many years of eating plant-based, I have felt great physically, mentally and emotionally.
I have made various tweaks. I’ve done all sorts of different versions of the plant-based diet. I lean to eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. I’m not strictly keto, but I have been strict keto and I’ve also released a cookbook on that. The vegan keto diet felt like it aligned with a lot of the non-vegan health advocates out there, the Joe Rogans, Tim Ferrisses, and a lot of these big voices in the health world that happened to be podcasters, as well as book authors. I talked about Dr. Mercola who’s into the keto diet. He might not be a huge advocate of veganism or Dave Asprey who wrote the Bulletproof Diet and has the Bulletproof line of products. He doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of veganism, but by reading his books, I felt like I was in alignment with a lot of the things that he was saying.
I filtered out any talk of eggs, bone broth, fish oil or whatever else was brought up by these people and I felt great. Usually, I find if I tweak my diet a little bit and eat less processed foods, definitely eat less sugar. I feel good when I eat a high-fat diet. My body seems to respond better to lower-carb foods and not so great to high-carb foods, but that’s me and my experience. When I feel like my mental health is suffering, sometimes food does play a role, but a lot of the times my mental health is suffering because of my own thoughts and my own reactions to the world. That’s why I’m a big advocate for meditation, breathwork, aromatherapy and listening to great music.
When I’m struggling, the very first thing I do to improve my mental health is to turn on some soothing audio, whether it’s music. I’m a big fan of Delta waves or binaural beats. I’ll employ some aromatherapy. I’ll put on some essential oils. I’ll diffuse some essential oils. I’ll smell a candle. I’ll light some incense. I’m doing something for my senses. I’ll go take a walk. I’ll move my body. I’ll be in nature. Maybe I won’t listen to any music. Maybe I’ll listened to the breeze or the birds, or I’ll shut everything off and take some time for meditation. I’ll give myself some sensory deprivation. Those things have improved my mental health. Sometimes it’s food, but a lot of the times it’s that I need to tune more inward. I need to focus on the present moment. Over all these years of experimenting, those are the things that helped me the most. How about you Jason?
I’m glad you brought that perspective to this discussion of mental health because you and I are incredibly passionate about mental health and emotional wellness. If we had to peg a foundation of this show and of our work as our brand, Wellevatr, it would be that. Certainly, you and I have both had our challenges to different degrees in different dimensions with mental and emotional health. I’m glad that you brought up this idea of it being a multidimensional exploration of the self. Because as important as passionate about food and nutrition as both of us are, having studied in it and been in the wellness industry for so long, it is not the answer. It’s not the only puzzle piece in this very complicated kaleidoscopic talk about wellness. It’s a foundational piece, but it’s not everything.
For me, especially when I was diagnosed in 2014 with clinical depression and suicidal ideation, I realized I wasn’t meditating every day. I wasn’t moving my body and I hadn’t been going to therapy. I wasn’t doing any of the other things in conjunction with adjusting my supplementation, eating for my neurotransmitter and brain health. I’m functionally focusing on those things in terms of my food and my supplements. Once I started adjusting those supplements and adjusting my diet to eat things that were higher in DHA and EPA, things that had supplements that were high in B12, B6, K2 and D3, getting more sunshine.
You and I started hiking more at that point. That’s something we need to do more. I remember moving my body. I started seeing my incredible therapist and somatic experiencing specialists, Gary. He along with Dr. Alan Green, were two people that I leaned on in terms of not only the biochemical side of it but the mental side of it. The spiritual side of my healing journey from depression. Beyond that, I still meditate every day. I take my supplements. My two favorite brands are VRYeveryday and Cymbiotika for mental health and these key nutrients, I’ve mentioned throughout the episode. I take those on the daily. That is a non-negotiable for me.
Thank you for bringing up the supplements because that’s one thing I didn’t bring up and I reflected. I looked over as soon as I stopped talking and saw this jar of supplements that helped me that I’ll bring up. I’m a huge fan of Gaia Herbs. I’ve visited their farm in North Carolina and met their founder. I’ve become a huge advocate for them. They have this formulation called Calm ASAP. That is phenomenal. That is my go-to when I’m struggling. I feel like I’ve brought it up to you, Jason, but I don’t know if you’ve ever tried them. Likewise, we have worked with very VRYeveryday before. We loved them. They were part of our launch party for the show.
I’ve only tried a few of their products, but I’d like to try more of them. It’s tough when it comes to supplements, you become biased to certain companies. Gaia is admittedly one of my biases. Their Calm A.S.A.P. formula is my go-to because it’s designed to calm you as soon as possible and it’s incredible. One thing I love about them is it says vegan right on the label. As a vegan, I know that they don’t contain any animal products, but it’s this incredible blend of herbs that makes a big difference for me. They have chamomile, holy basil, English lavender, vervain. Skullcap is another one and they put so much love and passion into their formulation that I wanted to give them a shout out because I felt like it was super powerful. The other is CBD, which we’ve talked about so much. I know that’s a big part of your life too, Jason.
This is a kaleidoscopic journey. I love that word because to me the dimensions, the fractals, the methods, the supplements, and the practices that we all have as individuals, it’s going to fluctuate from person to person. As we age, as we evolve, as our body chemistry changes, our hormones change, our bodies change, our preferences change, it’s important that we stay flexible. It’s important that we evolve along with our biology.
We got to remember what we learned at the farmer’s market about preferences, Jason.We, as humans, spend so much time being in other people's business that it distracts us from our own. Click To Tweet
What? I don’t need no preferences?
Would you tell that story as a side note before you get back on track?
We were in New York City at both of our favorite farmer’s markets in the world, The Green Market in Union Square. I don’t remember what booth we were at. Was it a hot sauce booth or a culture vegetable booth or something like that?
I could probably look it up. I bet you we have part of this on camera, but I think it was a farm with produce.
There was some cool stuff there. If anybody who’s in New York City or visiting New York go to the Union Square Green Market, the farmer’s market. It’s phenomenal. There was a guy working in the booth. I said, “Do you have a preference between this?” He goes, “Preference? I don’t need no preference.” It’s one of those inside jokes on one of those ticks that has stayed with us for years and years. I was like, “Thank you for your input. I’ll just pick one then.”
It’s funny how it stuck with us. I thought it was such a good little lesson. Some of us have our preferences. Maybe we prefer the vegan diet or a meat-based diet. You also don’t need to have a preference. You could be somewhere in between.
Judging other people about how they live their life is taking time away from you focusing on you. We’ve said this before about being careful to not throw stones in glass houses. We don’t know what internal battle, someone else is fighting that they’re not showing us publicly. If people were to look at me publicly and didn’t dig into my backstory, they’d have no idea that I struggle with depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. For me, my choices are my choices. I’m doing it because whether it’s my lifestyle, my diet, my workout routine, my belief system, how I worship, how I don’t worship, whatever it is, it reminds me of this amazing-ism. You know how much I love isms, Whitney.
I love Byron Katie. I love her work. I did her School For The Work back in 2012, which from a mindfulness and self-awareness perspective, one of the most phenomenal trainings I’ve ever done. One of her many isms that I love is when you find yourself being drawn off and being in a story about someone, you have to ask yourself, “Whose business am I in?” She’s like, “There’s your business, there’s somebody else’s business and there’s God’s business. Whose business are you in?” We as humans spent so much time being in other people’s business that it distracts us from our own.
It distracts us from our own self-awareness, our own self-improvement, taking good care of ourselves. We’re so worried about how someone else is eating, living, who they’re sleeping with, how they’re worshiping, who they vote for. It’s not to say we shouldn’t have strong opinions or feel passionate about causes, but spending so much time telling somebody else how to live, how to eat, how to worship, how to love. We need to get the fuck out of other people’s business. The world would be a much better place if we focused more on ourselves, to be honest.
I want to give two other recommendations to take a look at. One is a book that I picked up is a cool link between inflammatory behaviors, stress, anxiety, anger and inflammatory eating, and how that affects our mental health and our brain health. The book is called The Inflamed Mind. Also, I did a course with One Commune a couple of years ago called Good Mood Food, which digs a little bit deeper into my philosophy and nutritional studies around how the functional benefits in food can affect your brain health. Our friends at One Commune are so wonderful and we’ve done so much with them. They’ve been great allies of ours.
With that, we would always love to hear from you. If you have been struggling with mental or emotional wellness or perhaps have a story you want to share with us, please do so in the comment section. If you want to follow us on social media, we always love hearing from you on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We are at Wellevatr.com. We do have some amazing free resources for you including the Take Charge series and eBook, the You Are Enough workbook and some courses like Wellness Warrior Training and the Consistency Code which again all anchor in our mission to help you thrive with your mental health and emotional wellness as we are on this journey together.
We are by no means elevated above you as experts in this. We are on this exploratory journey of optimizing our mental health and emotional wellness. We love sharing our findings with you so that we can grow, learn, and evolve together on this journey. That’s what it’s all about. We want to thank you for joining us here. I certainly felt uncomfortable as hell at certain points, especially sharing the idea that I might think about eating fish sometimes. I’m a little bit worried about the blowback from this and people are like, “I can’t believe he admitted he thinks about eating fish sometimes.”
Let’s be honest. Are those the people that we’re targeting here? I hesitate to use the word target.
Including, that we want to include in the conversation.
We’re also not trying to exclude anybody, but if somebody is going to exclude us then so be it. I want to be seen for my full self and who I am. Trying to pretend that we belong when we’re not even sure that we fully belong. I’ve done that a lot of times in my life and it certainly happened to me even with religion. There’s part of me that enjoys the Christian philosophies, but I don’t fully align with everything that is within the certain Christianity. It’s okay to take bits and pieces. It’s okay to have different perspectives.If other people are pressuring us to be exactly like them, then what an opportunity for us to break free. Click To Tweet
We’re all on a spectrum and you and I happened to be on different spectrums of the vegan lifestyle. That’s all it is. It’s like sexuality. We try to put ourselves in boxes. I am heterosexual or I’m homosexual, but there are people that fall in between. There are people that love different genders and both at the same time, there are some that don’t want to even define themselves as having a romantic preference. It all comes down to that point about not having a preference. Trying to box us in and feel ourselves in and feeling shame for having desires, thoughts or questioning something. Why did you do something that we don’t feel like we’re supposed to do? That contributes to more stress than we need.
Thank you for saying that. That’s a beautiful way to wrap this up in the sense that we create this collage of our own life based on our experiences, desires, hopes, dreams, challenges, failures, and all of the things. Our particular collage doesn’t have to look exactly like everyone else’s. If other people are pressuring us to be exactly like them, what an opportunity for us to break free. As we have said many times in many episodes, to explore different paths in the forest. Paths that maybe no one’s walked down before.
Maybe realizing that it’s okay to be different and that we don’t have to succumb to the tyranny of the majority and what other people tell us we ought to live, eat, feel and love. Maybe the biggest hero’s journey is figuring out what is our calling, what is our personal truth, what is our subjective truth even if other people don’t understand it, don’t support it or shame us for it. The ultimate display of courage is to be courageously experimental and walk into the unknown over and over again in this life. Even if people are telling you, “Don’t do it. Don’t walk into the cave. Don’t walk down the path,” but you know there’s a part of you that wants to do it. If you, dear readers, are on your own path and constantly seeking out new roads and new avenues, we salute you. We are on our own paths with you. We are giving you a thumbs up, maybe leaving breadcrumbs for each other and exploring this crazy thing called life together. Until next time, thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. We will talk to you and be with you again soon.
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- Matters of the Health and Heart with Dr. Joel Kahn – Previous episode
- Living Out Your Truth: On Independent Media, Freedom of Speech and More with Luke Storey – Previous episode
- Dr. Mercola
- Rawvana – YouTube Channel
- VegNews Magazine
- Breaking Vegan
- Joe Rogan podcast – Joe Rogan Experience #1175 – Chris Kresser & Dr. Joel Kahn
- Dr. Michael Greger
- The China Study
- The Bulletproof Diet
- Eating Meat Improves Mental Health Study Claims
- The Vegan Diet and Depression: What You Need To Know
- Study Does Not Say Meat Eating Improves Mental Health
- Headlines Saying Vegans Are More Depressed Than Meat Eaters Are Veggie Bashing Nonsense
- The Baffling Connection Between Vegetarianism and Depression
- The Problem with Vegans from an Ex-Vegan
- Gaia Herbs
- Union Square Greenmarket NYC
- The Work of Byron Katie
- The Inflamed Mind
- Good Mood Food
- Instagram – Wellevatr
- Twitter – Wellevatr
- Facebook – Wellevatr
- Pinterest – Wellevatr
- Take Charge
- You Are Enough
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