The Seasons of my “Diet”

If you eat, you have a diet. I’ve long stopped seeing the word diet as a way to lose or gain weight. I feel the need to preface this post with that.

What I’ve noticed in the past two years of my running and blogging life is that the only factor that has stayed constant in my eating is being vegan.

I’ve often felt the allure of being in a vegan camp (cult?). How neat is it to have a little tribe of people eating the same way, sharing recipes and believing they have some secret to well being and happiness that everyone else is too dumb or weak to use? I am completely guilty of this even if I’ve never said it out loud.

I remember going raw for a month and loving it. The new recipes! The people telling me how amazing I was! It was an adrenaline rush I’d never experienced. Honestly, it felt good. I didn’t find going raw hard or annoying. It was just something I was trying.

I remember being in the high carb, low fat camp and again getting pulled into that mindset. There were others like me who were on the same high. It felt good to be labeled in this way. I liked the label. It was almost as if being vegan wasn’t enough. I wanted to be vegan. It wasn’t good enough to not eat animal products, I had to also be fruitarian, organic, carbing the fuck up or whatever those people say.

Then I started eating more nuts, avocados and coconut oils (because they sounded good and I was tired of the high carb community and their dogma) and suddenly I wanted to be some fat adapted person. I was again falling into the labeling camp even though the reason I stopped the other one was because I hated it.

I don’t think I went overboard this time with a label. I never claimed to be ketogenic or denounce carbs, but in my mind I was eating a slew more fats, so I basically was fat adapted right?

Now I find myself enjoying more fruits again and raw nuts etc. Oh my God what label can I be now?

Well guys, I don’t have an answer, because I don’t want one.

Last week I posted about the things I’ve learned from marathon training. I specifically did not address nutrition, because if I’ve learned one thing about that it’s that my diet has changed and will continue to change throughout the year. It will want higher carbs or raw foods at certain points, and more fats at other times.

My diet goes through seasons.

The Seasons of my #vegan diet through #marathon training Click To Tweet

I wanted to write this post to be transparent, but also to have a record for myself when I start getting interested in labels or specific vegan diets again. It’s not worth it to label myself a certain way, because I listen to my body. If my body is telling me to eat a certain way for a period of time, I will listen.

Being in the vegan community is amazing. There are so many great people, campaigns and recipes. However, just like any community, there are problems and if exploited, can harm you or the movement.

It’s almost like school. You can go to the best college or prep school in the country, but there are aLeah’s problems beneath the surface. Drugs, drinking, cheating and violence are all there regardless of the academic standards or money.

The vegan movement is like that for me. I’m in the best school, but if I’m not careful, whenever I have a problem (like a bad race of running) I am susceptible to other diets within the vegan community to solve my problems.

“Recover faster only eating dates and bananas!”

“Being fat adapted teaches your body to not bonk!”

These things are so attractive to someone like me. I am not professional or elite, but want to be faster so badly (not bad enough to dope of course), that what worked for one athlete I admire must also work for me.

This is so false I cannot believe have fallen and continue to fall for it time and time again. It will probably cross my mind again to get into a certain camp, but the next time, at least I have an arsenal of tools to prevent it.

I’m not high carb, low fat.

I’m not high fat, low carb.

I’m Ellie and I’m trying the best that I can.

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I’m linking up and sharing meals for WIAW

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[strawberries and cream protein cookie dough&apple] [dates, banana chips, cashews&unpictured smoothie]

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[bowl of greens&rocky road banana ice cream]

What are some diet camps you’ve accidentally fallen into?

What is the allure for you? Why would you choose a label?

Don’t forget to check out this post and leave a comment to win some B Happy Peanut Butter!

16 thoughts on “The Seasons of my “Diet””

  1. Oh yeah. I don’t know what it is about titles and rigidity and dictating yourself a part of a certain “group” or “lifestyle,” but it definitely is an attractive idea that has tried to suck me in a number of times. I still feel the urge to belong to a certain “diet” these days, but when I feel these desires I ask myself “what am I missing in life right now that is making me want to change it or dictate myself?” It is often when I am feeling bored or unstimulated in my life. I’m not saying this is anything to do with you, this is just when I know something else is going on for me personally.
    I think there is just something about us humans that love the idea of regimenting ourselves. When really, we will be far, far happier if we just let ourselves do whatever makes us feel the best – no matter how organized or disorganized that is. But we are all constantly learning and will inevitably try different things and then only later decide it wasn’t right for us. Tis a part of my life my friend.

    1. I think for me it’s less regimenting rather than having a tribe of people who “get me”. I also love experimenting on myself with different things. Trying different ways of eating gets me out of my ruts sometimes, so I see the value in “I’m going [insert eating style here] for a week”. However, doing it for a week is different than saying “I am now [insert eating style here]” and that is an important difference. Thanks for your as always intelligent insight 🙂

  2. Oh girl I am SOO with you on this one. I have been every “diet” in the book.
    100% organic
    low-fat/fat-free
    low-carb
    Slimfast
    no sugar
    nothing processed
    no eating out
    and the list goes on, and on, and on….
    I know that labeling a “diet” might work for some, but I just can’t do it anymore because like you, I just follow where my body takes me! If I want carbs, I eat them. If I want fats, I eat them [sometimes by the spoonful] 😉
    I’m just trying to nourish myself as much as I can.

    1. You certainly have been around the block! It is so appealing to have a “tribe”! I still struggle with it sometimes, but try to remember I get burned out after a while. Best to just do what works for you. Thanks for your insight Kat 🙂

  3. Excuse me for busting up the party here. But surely you do not mean to call anyone who is not vegan, dumb or weak. That sort of arrogance and attitude is what keeps people from wanting to try such a drastic change or a new school. You said that flaws when exposed can “hurt the movement” well this is 100% an example of a flaw in your school. Whatever your reasons are for being Vegan are your own, but I would tread lightly when questioning the intelligence and strength of those who choose something different than you. Questioning, Condescending, and bullheaded ignorance like that are not going to get people to consider your lifestyle, or even respect it. I can think of more runners than I have fingers and toes that are far faster than any of us but do not follow a Vegan lifestyle- so you say you want to be faster SO BADLY, but how can you be so sure that Vegan is the way to do so? There are Olympians out there that aren’t Vegan, but they are so weak and so uninformed that how could they NOT be doing what you are? If you want to call people out, maybe you should think about the fact that what works for some is not for others. Maybe it’s for you, but insinuating that is the only way to be faster (even if it reinforces unhealthy and restricted behavior) is complete and utter bullshit. I get we all have opinions, and this is yours. I’d suggest opening your eyes a bit to how big the world is, how other schools of thought can have just as much value, and take a moment to think about how you convey your opinion. Add in the flaw in your argument about labels- as you detest them so much while at the same time calling out anyone who doesn’t fall under the vegan label. You can’t have it both ways. There is no “secret to well being and happiness” that lies in any one thing, let alone a diet choice. There is far more to life than just getting faster and believing a false claim that one food choice can change your life. The secret to well being and happiness isn’t a secret- it’s about connections and relationships with others, it’s about broadening your horizons, stepping outside comfort zones, and learning to be who you are without influence from others. Finish times and diet labels won’t make you happy or help you figure out where you are headed.

    1. Thank you so much for posting this Laura (I am sorry about the problem earlier, I really did not see this). I guess I should have made it clear that being vegan does not mean you have the best diet for athletic performance. I do not believe that and so I should have disclosed that. For me, I became vegan at the same time I started becoming more serious about training, so I cannot say if the diet helped or not. I respect runners of all eating patterns and I was addressing the specific cults within the vegan movement that sometimes seem attractive to me, but know are not the best way for me to live. I agree there is no secret to happiness and having a community of people and relationships is key in getting closer to being happy. I think that is why having a tribe within the vegan movement has been attractive to me. I feel like I struck a sensitive chord with you here, but happy to have because your response made me think. Thank you again for writing this. It has encouraged me to recheck my motivations and evaluate what I said.

  4. YES you’re Ellie! That’s who God made you to be. I’m always reminded of Romans 14 where it says, ‘The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ Food is a gift, but it’s not the reason we live.

    The diets I’ve been on:
    lemonade cleanse (embarrassing that I tried this… I know.)
    no dessert
    no white sugar, no white flour
    low calorie…

    And well, now I’m just Emily, who tries to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s not. 😀

  5. Yeah, I do NOT like labels. I don’t consider myself anything. It’s EXACTLY has you said – you’re Ellie. Why does it have to go beyond that? It’s OTHER people who feel the need to put me into a box. I have tried different ways of eating but I haven’t fallen into labeling myself. Although I have referred to myself as a “tinkerer” 🙂 Who knows what I’ll try tomorrow.

    1. That is really fun, I’ll have to admit it. I think that’s why “meatless Monday” is so popular. People like to tinker in veg eating for a day with no commitment.

  6. I love the way you put this–I’m just trying the best that I can. I follow a certain diet for food intolerances, but other than that, I pretty much eat what’s convenient, what sounds good, and follow general guidelines of what I’ve learned it means to be “healthy.” Like, you know, eat carbs, proteins, and fats, fruits and veggies, whole grains, etc. I’m just trying the best that I can to be healthy, happy, and not be in pain all the time!

  7. This is so so great to read. I am seeing an increasing number of people trying to get away from labelling themselves based on the types of food they eat. However, most people do seem to try to categorise themselves. I have always been a ‘labeller’ like you but how can anyone expect to have consistent nutrient needs throughout their lives? Of course an individual person is going to need more [insert nutrient here] at different times. This could not have been more well-written.

    1. Thank you Aubrey 🙂 As someone who “labels” themselves a vegan, I do get annoyed by other types of labels. I’m glad I came across the way I wanted. Thanks for reading.

  8. Great read and I’ve gone through a lot of plant based diet phases too. My vegan adventure started with a high raw diet over 6 years ago and I found it was tough to stay 100% raw and get all the energy I needed, but the habit of raw smoothies and salads stuck. Now it’s more about whole plant foods with a lot of variety at home with occasional vegan splurge treats and/or eating out. Other than vegan, I don’t label the specifics of my diet because I’m experimenting on what works better now a lot too.

    1. Same as me Christine. I think it’s fun sometimes to experiment with things like “going raw for a week” etc, but a lifelong label is a hard thing for me to wrap my head around.

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