I'm sure a lot of you made food-related resolutions a couple weeks ago. For some of you, that might have been to try veganism. I did the same thing last year, but a couple months ago, I said the happiest goodbye to my plant-based diet. Do I regret it? In some ways, sure; in most ways, not at all. 

After a lot of unpleasant experiences and even more thinking, I've decided to no longer be a vegan—and I don't plan on being one again. 

salami, crust, dough, meat, mozzarella, tomato, pepperoni, cheese, sauce, pizza
Christine Chang

At first, I thought my food cravings went away, but the urge to chow down a slice of pizza ("real pizza") got worse and worse as the months went on. In fact, these cravings got so bad I had no choice but to listen to these cravings. And I'm really glad I listened to what my mind was telling me. 

I'm glad because when people like me deny their bodies something they really love, they’ll likely indulge in whatever that is as soon as they stop denying. I denied my body cheese, ice cream, fish, eggs and honey, for months—and while I know there are alternatives—I craved each of these things like crazy.

At my campus "job," I get free meals with every shift. During one shift, my cravings were so bad, I had to eat some "real pizza." But it didn’t take long before I started overeating, and it was hard to stop.

And you know what? It took weeks for me to train myself to eat normal amounts again. I know that not everyone has my level of food impulsiveness, but if you have any food obsession, restricting any food from your diet can become a real issue.

coffee, tea
Sophia Borghese

Food cravings definitely were not the only issue. I lost a lot of hair (don't worry, I didn't lose all my hair) and I had poorer concentration than usual. These problems happened because I wasn't getting enough B12 vitamins, and most vegans, likely, aren’t getting enough B12 vitamins. My egg-free, fish-free diet meant I was depriving my body of vital nutrients.

This deficiency left me with a pillow and a car seat covered in my own hair, and also left me struggling with simple day-to-day tasks. I literally couldn’t go a day without accidentally leaving my phone in the fridge—and it was frustrating.

Luckily, with a few egg breakfasts and sushi platters, I can concentrate again. My hair even looks healthier, too (see image above).

beer, water
Nancy Chen

Veganism also reminded me of my biggest health problem ever. It is really hard for me to share with people on the internet—let alone my real friends—that I had disordered eating habits freshman year. Going back to the food cravings, being restrictive really isn’t good for my body. Period.

As a vegan, I usually ate about 2,000 calories most days, but there were days where I'd only eat “healthy” foods, and sometimes only two very small meals a day. I can’t help but wonder if I was engaging in some of my previous ED habits.

chocolate, beer, cake
Erica Coulter

I understand many people choose to be vegans to improve animal rights. (I’ve seen all the hard-to-watch videos on Facebook—let’s not go there!) I also understand my cat Ron and my dog Janie, the animals I was vegan for, have ancestors who (like them) are carnivores by scientific definition.

Many animals are harmed by our agriculture industry, but many wild animals (especially wild felines) are put in danger by their human predators. Species like tigers, cougars and bobcats often need to be rescued and fed meat regularly in order to survive. This doesn't make for a perfect world (so I’m still vegetarian), but all of this does need to be considered.

At the end of the day, I'm glad to have more time and money again. BELIEVE ME when I say this, but I spent way too much time worrying about food when I was vegan. Like seriously, come on, vegan cookbooks! Do I really need to have 60 million ingredients in my kitchen to prepare a lucrative meal? I don’t have the money to constantly go out and buy nutritional yeast, and I definitely don’t have the time to spiralize my veggies.

At the end of the day, not being vegan has been the best choice I could make for me.

#SpoonTip: This is all my opinion. Everyone has the right to decide what does and doesn't go in their bodies. You do you, people!

Kritika Narula