Ollie Blood

Veganism: Principles vs self-preservation

veganism
Image: Lolzbook.com

I first went Vegan because of my former house-mate. I wasn’t a very clever Vegan; despite warnings from the people around me, I didn’t do enough research into how to balance the diet.

Due to a combination of Veganism and a weekly double dose of ecstasy, I lost around fifty kilos in four months. I got down to 68 kilos. I was thin as anything, and at six foot or so I looked exceptionally thin. This was made even more obvious by how gargantuan I used to be.

I’m the first to own my mistakes in Veganism, and my biggest one was not doing enough research into how to balance your nutritional intake. Cursory research will reveal that the B vitamin group and Zinc, as well as other vitamins, are virtually unheard of in the plant kingdom. To get these vitamins, Vegans must eat fortified food or supplement heavily.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the warning signs that my body was sending, I was lethargic and I had trouble focusing. It was when I started to get anxiety attacks that I was made aware that something was really wrong.

The first time I had an anxiety attack, I had no idea what it was. My brain felt like it was going to suddenly and violently implode. My heart raced and I became disconnected from my body. I felt as if I would be transported to another dimension. I was terrified, because I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was an anxiety attack.

I cut out pills and weed, but still the anxiety remained. In fact, it intensified. I started having panic attacks every single day; sometimes I would have more than one. I couldn’t even hold conversations with people, I felt as if I wasn’t there.

When I moved to Sydney, I was tested for a condition called Pyroluria and I came up positive. Pyrolurics do not retain Zinc or b vitamins very well and unfortunately, Zinc and b vitamins are crucial to healthy brain function, as they are pre-cursors to serotonin.

So I now (re: always did) have a condition where I don’t make serotonin properly. I’d also been strip-mining my brain with drugs, and eating an imbalanced diet that wasn’t replenishing my normal serotonin levels.

I was put on a course of compounded vitamins, which I still take twice daily. When I took them for the first time, I felt immeasurably better. My brain started to function properly. I started being able to converse with people again, I was still pretty knocked around though and life wasn’t very fun.

I was still Vegan during all of this, and I began to wonder if my Veganism was actually causing me deeper harm. I did a little research and stumbled across two words that changed my perception; Arachidonic acid.

Arachidonic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, essential for brain function and muscle growth. It does not exist in the plant kingdom.

This raised the question in my mind; did I want to supplement even further to maintain a Vegan diet? At this stage I was taking ten different vitamins in the morning and ten in the afternoon, did I really want to keep taking more?

Egg yolks contain Arachidonic acid. I decided that morally, the only way I could justify eating eggs, was if they were free range, organic and came directly from a farm. My local health food store happened to have eggs delivered weekly from a farmer. I decided that I would give it a try.

I fried two eggs and felt insanely better afterwards. My body instantly recognized what had been missing. It was like there was a party going on in my cells, and I was completely there.

The anxiety began to subside pretty rapidly after that. The last full-blown panic attack I had was in October 2013.

There are going to be Vegans who read this and call me a fucking idiot. I’ll save you the trouble; I know I am a twit for not having supplemented correctly.

Here’s the thing though; while Veganism is an outstanding moral choice, is it really how we’re naturally supposed to be, if we have to supplement to function healthily? Moral decisions have to coincide with health, don’t they?

I won’t go back to Veganism, because I don’t believe it’s how we are supposed to function. I still don’t eat dairy and I avoid using animal products, so to me, this feels like a healthy compromise.

At the end of the day, I’d rather feel healthy.

Ollie Blood

Ollie Blood is a writer and thinker currently based in Sydney. He spends most of his time trying to figure out why he does things in the way that he does. While searching for absolute truths in a subjective reality, he often hits the wall and reaches for his laptop or a pen to decongest his mind.

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2 Comments

  1. Rainer the cabbie said:

    Great to hear you getting better Olli. Supplementing your poor vegan diet with ecstasy was not a good idea.
    Everybody has a right to do as they wish, but the word “ethical” is a term thrown around far too often to excuse a life choice taken. The human body needs balanced nutrition and nature supplies it. Balance is the key I reckon.

    As to all those radical vegetarians, feeling forthright about their choice of diet, my friends, obviously you have never heard a carrot scream. It’s horrible and don’t let me start describing the death rattle of a broccoli or you’ll be drinking clear soup for the rest of your lives.

  2. Ted said:

    Fantastic. Thanks for writing this – as someone considering veganism, not for moral reasons but for health, its really interesting to hear an honest account of its health detractors and from someone who has actually lived and experienced it.

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