Going VEGAN to recover from EATING DISORDERS? Therapist Kati Morton on ED & Vegetarians

Going VEGAN to recover from EATING DISORDERS? Therapist Kati Morton on ED & Vegetarians


Hey everybody, happy Thursday! Today’s video is going to be a little bit controversial, I hope you’re sitting down. The question came from the website and it had a ton of chatter and a lot of comments. And people really wanted to hear my thoughts on it, so let’s get into this. What is it? The suspense is killing me. The question is: “Hey Kati, as the vegan community continues to grow on social media, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who end up turning vegan come from a past of struggling with an eating disorder. That got me thinking, if them embracing veganism is eating disorder driven, since plant foods are relatively low in calories/fat, etc. I don’t claim that every person who’s vegan is affected by an eating disorder, but I was just wondering if their “recovery” isn’t really that, since they don’t eat calorically dense animal products at all. Do you think that one can recover from an eating disorder by turning vegan, or is that not really recovering? Thanks.” Now, I thought this was really interesting and something that I want you all to hear me out. And I have a really, really old video about my thoughts on being a vegetarian and being a vegan, and I will link it at the end of the video and I’ll put it in the description, you can check it out. Because I have a feeling that there’s going to be a lot overlap within that video, because my thoughts really haven’t changed, and that is if you, for you own purpose, seperate from the eating disorder, right, I’m gonna draw the line in the sand. We’re not talking about people with eating disorders. If you decide that veganism, or being a vegetarian is something that you want to do ethically, it’s something that you’ve been raised in, or it’s a religious thing. There are a lot of different reasons for people to be a vegetarian. And, also, some people become vegans. And I think that’s fine, as long as we’re still listening to our bodies, potentially working with a doctor because there are a lot of vitamins and minerals that we need to make sure we’re getting, making sure we’re properly taking care of ourselves. But, if done properly, if we listen to our bodies: eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re full, I have no problem with it. I do, however, have to agree with this, that when we “turn vegan” as a way to recover from a eating disorder, I feel like we’re just trading them, one for the other. Because vegans have to, many of you out there that have done this know, you have to be extremely cognizant of what’s in food, where it came from, how it was prepared… it’s way too much brain power and focus on food, what it is. And I find that we’re often just trading one eating disorder behavior for another, and we’re focusing instead on, like, is it “animal-based” versus how high of calorie is it, and is it a safe food. And, often, with my clients the unsafe foods are the animal-based products or quote unquote “unhealthy, bad foods” that are really triggering, and those don’t always exist in the vegan world. However, someone else on the website did have a nice, you know, argument back to that: where there are all of those types of, you know, “unhealthy, bad foods” available. And I’m using air-quotes, so I know that annoys people sometimes, but I’m doing it because I don’t believe there are any foods that we shouldn’t be able to eat in moderation. And listen to our bodies when its hungry and stop when we’re full. But, someone talked about how you can actually find those in vegan versions. And, if that is part of your diet and you’re will to challenge that and challenge that eating disorder voice and come back to it, and eat a variety of types of food, more power to you! But, I think, it’s a slippery slope and something we have to be very cautious about as to why we’re doing it. And that’s kind of what my old video talked about: how we have to be really, really aware of why we’re doing it and where that urge to not eat these foods or that foods, or this is O.K. for us and this is not. Why is that? What is it? Where is it coming from? Are we just swapping our eating disorder out for another “eating disorder” or is it actually something that’s healthy and happy for us? Take some time! Think about it. Everybody is going to be different, but the one thing that I will voice my opinion about is: being a vegan or a vegetarian (or not being a vegan or a vegetarian) isn’t anything that you should shove down someone’s throat. Pun intended. There should be no force for someone to not be a vegan or be a vegan. I find that online it can be kind of a battle ground. Some people feel like you’re wrong if you’re not being this way, and there’s no right or wrong. Listen to your bodies, do what’s best for you. Do what’s best for you and your dietitian or your doctor and all of the people you have working with you for your recovery. Don’t let other people tell you what to do with your body, and I wouldn’t do that to anybody else. So, I’m just throwing that out there ’cause that’s something that also bothers me. What do you think? Let us know in the comments! I know this is going to be controversial, we’ll get thumbs downs and thumbs ups, but I think it’s important for us to talk about it. And, I think, as a community it’s important for us to be able to have differing opinions and conversation that may not be, like, a we all agree and it’s wonderful. And know that that’s still O.K. And that’s what’s great about our community, we share our information and our experiences and together we learn more. I love you all, and I will see you next time. Bye!