Why I'm Not a Vegan Anymore

Every time Kita changes her blog name, all my links to her posts go dead.  So I am reposting this one on my blog - which never changes.  I don't know where the pictures went, but I will try to fix that.

Why I'm Not a Vegan Anymore

Grandma Kita's Story

My husband Doc and I were vegan for 25+ years, he was a vegetarian for about 7 years before I met him.

I became a vegetarian to battle ulcerative colitis and he became one to conform to the Mormon doctrine of the Word of Wisdom.  (D&C 89)

In the winter of 1984 we were in a violent auto accident with a drunk driver. Doc broke his back and I went into premature labor with our youngest daughter Jamie. For 6 months Doc sat in a recliner fitted with a back brace, as laying in a bed hurt too much. I was medicated and put on bed rest.

We recovered slowly and both of us gained a lot of weight, as we didn't know much about eating a healthy diet. I had only been a vegetarian for a year.

We were SAD (Standard American Diet) vegetarians. You know, pizza, sandwiches, spaghetti, chocolate pie, pancakes...

In 1985 our chiropractor suggested we'd try a raw food vegan diet to help us heal our injuries. This diet change help us recover very quickly, as we ate only organic fruit, nuts and vegetables along with a daily sprout salad. I went from my post pregnancy weight of 170# down to 90# in a matter of weeks.

It was miraculous!

However, our children were another story.  After only 6 months of this diet they stopped playing, they lost their usually happy vital energy. They had sallow dry skin and grew big bellies like the starving children in Africa.  I knew something was wrong, but the books we were studying reassured us this was normal at first and claimed after they had adjusted to eating this way they would gain weight and be healthier than ever.

Thankfully the people around us decided to talk to us about this situation and at the advice of a friend who was a nurse we gradually included some cooked foods. Our new diet consisted of whole grains, homemade breads and beans in addition to our organic produce and nuts.  We never fed our children a full on raw food vegan diet again.

Us adults were strictly vegan, with a fondness for the memories of the vitality we had experienced on our raw food vegan diet.  Every spring we'd returning to eating a raw food diet or close to it for the next 23 years.  However, in the fall we found that we couldn't stay warm eating only raw foods, so we'd reluctantly returned to cooking some of our diet.

Throwing away the stove was a regular spring event. I think I have given away at least a dozen stoves in the last 20 years.  My children would tease me that they knew it was spring when they would arrive home from school to find the stove sitting on the curb.

However, the health and vitality we had originally experienced as raw food vegans became nothing but a memory.

After about 3 years of becoming a vegan I became clinically depressed and had waking visions of throwing myself in front a cars and buses. This fear kept me home bound for over a year.

Tired of being unable to leave home by myself I sought counseling. My doctors treated this condition with antidepressants and assessed me as suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I also gained 20 lbs. past my healthy weight, I then weighted 140#. I looked 6 months pregnant. I hated how I looked and I hated how I felt.

At the same time Doc's thyroid failed and he suffered a mental break down which left him disabled.  He had been an extremely organized and proficient business executive and a talented musician/song writer.

None of the many mental health professionals he saw could figure out what was wrong with him.  None of the anti-depressants helped.  Not one of them inquired about his diet, nor did they suggest a full physical.

Seeing him sit wrapped in a blanket (even in the summer) staring at the wall was heart breaking.  He stopped playing guitar, lost his band and job as he couldn't even sign his name.

I'll let him tell you more about this bellow.

All I could think of during those 23+ vegan years was how much I wanted to die. I tried to commit suicide several times. Thankfully I would remember my children needed me and would seek help.

I was always gaining more weight no matter how little I ate or how much I exercised. I was angry all the time.  I couldn't think and my memory was terrible.  I couldn't sleep very well and spent every day dragging myself through life exhausted, insecure, living without joy.  I was an emotional wreck.

I also had sever hormone imbalances. My menses became irregular and I would experience false pregnancies.  I also suffered 4 miscarriages and lost a set of twin boys at 22 weeks gestation.

By my late 30's and through out my 40's on top of continuing depression and insomnia, I had I developed several autoimmune symptoms and my heart felt weak. I couldn't walk even a mile.

My blood pressure was high and I couldn't get any relief from natural means. As I was already on several antidepressants and didn't want to take more medications, I just lived with it.

Now that I look back on those days I can see that we weren't able to think clearly.  No matter how hard we worked at it we could not seem to keep our lives “together”.

I could tell that we weren't stupid people, both of us had high IQ scores to prove it, so why did we make so many mistakes?

We were always either being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people or we'd be unrealistic about our investments.  So, as well as having health issues we'd always be struggling with financial problems.

It confused me that the people around us, not eating our "superior vegan diet" were some how passing us by.  We couldn't seem to make the right choices or do as much as they could with their lives.  Why was our energy level always so much lower than theirs?

And, we spent upwards of $1000 a month on "good" foods to feed our family, but some how still had all the same illnesses and health struggles of people who lived on nothing but take-out.

Then in the fall of 2010 Doc suddenly, after trimming some small trees, became partially paralyzed from the neck down. Because he had been in two car accidents, one when he was 19 and the other with me and he had broken his neck and back, we thought this paralysis was the result of those injuries and his using the wrong tool to trim those trees.

So we reverted back to what we knew and tried to use raw food vegan diet and "super-foods" trying to heal this paralysis. After almost a year we had to concede that this approach failed.  He did not improve at all and my health was failing completely.

During this period my teeth started to hurt and my gums quickly receded a lot. They hurt all the time and I could barely eat. Returning to a cooked vegan diet improved the situation quite a bit, but left my tooth nerves still exposed.

In addition to having problems with my teeth my autoimmune problems seemed to get worse and I became even more chronically exhausted and depressed. I couldn't get enough sleep, I hurt all day everyday.

I felt like we were just sitting around waiting to die.

We eventually decided to try the medical route.

Doc's x-rays revealed the back injuries from those car accidents had healed! One of his chiropractors said he had the most perfectly aligned neck bones he had seen!  However he had developed arthritis down his neck and spine. This made no sense to us, we were sure our diet would have prevented arthritis!

Blood tests reveled his cholesterol levels were really horrible, which was even more confusing since he didn't eat any saturated fats.

Dissatisfied with the medical treatments Doc was receiving and their effects, I returned to my old ways of thinking.

I believe our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. So I kept searching for what we needed to do to heal ourselves.

I started thinking about how healthy my 85+ years old Aunts are. I started thinking I should eat like they do.  Perhaps like my grandparents did when they were children.

The healthiest of my aunts is 90+ and grows all of her own food. She eats home grown vegetables, a little meat, home raised eggs and has a goat she milks.  Her mind is sharper than mine and she doesn't need any medications.

I talked to Doc about this idea and his resistance coupled with my worn down health stopped me from doing anything about it.

Then my Mother in-law's health started to fail and Doc had to go live with her in another state. This left me with a lot of extra time and freedom.

So I turned to Google and found the Weston Price research. I double checked everything I read there and was impressed with the real science they use. I became convinced I was on the right track and started eating some free range eggs and raw fermented milk products.

To my surprise, my 23+ year struggle with depression went away in about 3 weeks.

Seeing my improvements and reading up on some of the research I had found, Doc decided he had nothing to lose and joined me in my experiment. His paralysis improved after a couple of months.

Then further research brought me to the GAP diet. This diet includes low starch veggies, navy beans and lentils. We had to give up veganism as this diet also includes cod liver oil and homemade meat broth.

We could be almost vegetarians, which was important to Doc. He was still very weary of actually eating meat as everything he knew stated that meat would cause cancer.

We both benefited from this low starch diet and his paralysis almost completely recovered and my teeth started feeling and looking healthier.

However, I was still struggled with autoimmune symptoms. I suffer from Lichen Sclerosus, Chronic Fatigue and Arthritis in my hands and feet.

This spring I felt drawn to do further research and began to study the Paleo or cave-man diet which includes veggies, grass-fed and free range meats, fermented raw dairy, free-range eggs, sprouted nuts and fruit in season. No grains. I highly recommend Primal Body - Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas

For the past few months we've eaten a Paleo style diet. We eat grass-fed organic meat or wild caught fatty fish everyday, along with plenty of organic vegetables. We also take a high quality natural vitamin and a tablespoon of cod liver oil and 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil everyday.

I've lost 20# of body fat, mostly around my waist. My hands and feet hurt less, I sleep better, I no longer need to nap, my teeth are healing themselves. My autoimmune symptoms are lessening and for a few days a month seem to have gone away.  I've seen a big improvement in my ability to remember things and my reading comprehension has improved.

My husband feels much healthier and stopped going to his chiropractor 3 times a week.

Life has improved and we both feel hopeful for the first time in many-many years.

Grandpa weighs in -

I guess I feel obligated to add to this a bit. It's true that I spent 31 years as a vegetarian (the first six allowing dairy and refined sugar), 25 of them as vegan.

I am a real extremist and purist and while I never disparaged others for their eating habits, I was very strict about how my own family ate. With 5 generations of chiropractors in my family including early health food researchers and advocates I found myself to be the most extreme of them all.

I dropped out of 3 major chiropractic colleges to pursue energy only healing, which I have practiced since 1978, and considered myself a true disciple of what I considered a pure and superior diet. I discovered Spirulina 30 years ago and consumed and promoted it daily up to about a year ago when I finally isolated it as the source of recently acquired constipation. Now, of course I see that it took years of veganism to allow my body to degenerate to the point that it became a problem, because at first it made me feel great.

Also, when we first became vegans at the recommendation of our chiropractor (though he wasn't even vegetarian) we started with raw-food sproutarianism (Ann Wigmore) and followed that very strictly for 2 years, adding some cooked vegetables back into our diets when our six young children progressively got more lethargic and pasty-skinned. This was weird to us because the adults felt energetic and invigorated, and "the literature" (a disgustingly misleading book "Diet Into the 21st Century") told us that people would say we looked like skeletons and not to worry about it, which view our chiro endorsed.

Our children immediately recovered with the addition of some non-raw meals and for the next 23 years we struggled to stay between 50 and 80% raw.

Over the years, as we experienced occasional health issues (much worse than we recognized) we would dive back into 100% raw eating in an attempt to heal with what we thought was a more pure diet.

So two years ago, when I damaged my radial nerve by pruning with a reciprocal saw instead of a chain saw (or hand saw) we went back to a 100% raw diet to try to cure it. I experienced "pins and needles" over my entire body and couldn't control my tactile response, so I dropped everything I picked up, breaking expensive electronics and afraid to hold my grandkids. It was horrible.

While we loved our raw diet, we always found it a struggle to maintain (we stayed 100% for a year at this time) - but more importantly, it didn't help my problems.

I saw all kinds of doctors, deciding that since the chiropractor wasn't helping at all, I would go to (shudder) an MD, and so got MRIs and endured hours of painful poking with electric needles to determine what was wrong. They couldn't find anything, but I tried the physical therapy they prescribed and took all kinds of hard core drugs to manage my pain and escalating (level 4) hypertension. (my thyroid was already pretty much dead by then). None of that helped either.

Just over a year ago, I went to live with and care for my dying mother, bringing her on a 4 hour trip every other weekend to Michigan so she and I could visit my sister's and my families. I hadn't been gone more than a few weeks when Kita told that she was (in my absence) going to try eating some eggs and kefir.

I was so upset, especially when she told me that she had been secretly contemplating this change for about three years.

Between my debilitation and taking care of my mom with hers, I really had no energy to argue. I have always been committed to supporting Kita and respected her intellect (she is so smart) and just as when in the past she wanted to go on 30 day juice fasts (which I loved) I felt that I would have to support her in this, and since we generally are pretty much "connected at the hip", after she surprised me with a positive report on eating her first egg in 25 years, decided that I had better join her as long as she promised not to experiment with anything beyond dairy.

She was reading Weston Price who I had cursorily dismissed years earlier as a crackpot because he thought meat was good for you. I tried some kefir (full of sugar from Kroger) and liked it, just about the time my mom went into hospice (to die a week later) I bought some pastured eggs and started having an egg every day and a glass of kefir.

After about a month (and back home by now) I found that my manual dexterity was suddenly very much improved and while I hadn't been able to make a fist or play guitar for nearly two years, I could with great effort finger some chords and pick the right strings now and then.

I still couldn't ride my motorcycle since I couldn't control the handlebars and we were both sad to lose one of our favorite activities. (anybody want to buy a 76 Harley with a suicide shift?)

Over the months, with great effort my ability to play guitar continued to improve to the point that "other people" thought I sounded really good.

About 8 months ago Kita decided that she was going to try eating meat. My daughter Jamie chastised me for saying that if Kita ate meat I wouldn't kiss her. That made me think. (I really like the way she kisses) and I decided that if she was really going to do that, and was so convinced that it would improve our health (she had other health issues that our "pure" diet wouldn't resolve, but I'll let her tell about that) that I would try to drag myself to the table for vegetables cooked in meat broth.

The more she read (I was resistant to the literature, but trusted her conclusions) the more she moved us toward actually eating meat. I couldn't deny my dramatic (though not complete) improvement in health and though we were both creeped-out by eating meat, we kept at it and now, finally after all these months are starting to enjoy it.

Since we were vegan for so long (thank goodness all our kids secretly cheated and ate dairy) I expect it will be a slower recovery than some shorter term vegans have reported. We may have damaged our immune systems beyond full recovery - but maybe not.

Our decline was in gradual spurts and I didn't really realize until I was practically totally incapacitated how much vitality, strength and mental clarity I had lost (much like other vegans have reported - though I just recently found that out). Some little bit of that has improved and I hope it continues.

Now that we are eating organic, pastured meat and dairy only, we have even fewer restaurant options (really just vegan ones) than before, especially since we are opting out on grains, and still can't eat anything at family dinners but what we bring ourselves. (well, we've been doing that for nearly 30 years anyway) It's pretty confusing to relatives (as always) especially since they know we will eat meat and mayo, but not theirs.

Most importantly, however - we are getting well and now realize that our new paleo diet is our true NATURAL diet, being led previously by false religion that God was vegan and preferred us to be also (even though we seemed to be the only true believers in those teachings all those years, we were often accused at church of being satanists because we were vegetarian) which is how I became a vegetarian in the first place - to please God and eat like him. (D&C 89 - LDS Word of Wisdom purported to be dictated by Jesus)

I even nearly completed a book, likely now never to be published helping Mormons see that God and science demand vegetarianism!

I guess (hope) that eliminating veganism has been just the latest part of our long, painful, humiliating and divisive but successful extraction from Mormonism.

I don't have to hope regarding improvement in health by rejecting all of the above past beliefs - except to hope for more of what my return to Nature is already providing.

Other vegan bloggers who have had similar experiences.

My Must Read List


  1. Every time I have gone on a raw food diet I gained weight and craved fat so bad I thought I would go crazy. I have found the Blood type diet very good and I enjoy raw milk and grass feed meats. I think the blood type diet makes a lot of sense and explains why being a vegetarian was not good for me. Check it out sometimes. Sometimes our beliefs can do us more harm than good. I prefer to be healthy on this beautiful planet.

    1. Oh and I did not make clear. Some of the types like A are suppose to be Vegetarian as the book explains. AB is mostly Vegetarian with a little meat. B is the highest meat eater however no chicken or some other meats. It is an interesting book and I find it right on for me. Interesting book if you have not read it and it is quite an easy read too. Best of luck for both of you.

  2. What does fracking have to do with religion?

  3. Sounds a lot like my issues during veganism. Thanks for sharing.

  4. It wasn't till I read Lierre Kieth's book The Vegetarian Myth, that I heard of other vegans having the issues I had been having - or that it was very typical to vegans even of just a few months. I had not really considered my issues previously as a symptom of malnutrition via veganism, but just deficient soil nutrition and unavoidable factory farmed foodstuffs. So, my practice was always to go "more pure" as in 100% raw, sproutarian, grass-juicing space alien.
    I was so surprised when I first realized that the Super Energy I was feeling charging through my every cell was really just a huge sugar buzz from gallons of (fabulous, fresh) juice. At one point I was ready to scrap my whole kitchen and just keep the VitaMix.
    Well, was I wrong!
    And you are right. All vegans seem to tell the same story.
    In the laboratory that would be the proof that a high carb diet will kill you while other established science would explain why the absence of naturally saturated fats made our brains so fuzzy that we couldn't see what was going on!

  5. Anonymous1:33 PM

    that a bit rasist when you said like the children of africa.that not nice.

  6. doc and kita this is GOLD. i hav exact same experience in many ways. For me it is so bad that it feels like im wearing iron man's suit or lead boots as i call it. ZERO APPETITE. i thought this meant my body was pure - yay no more ulcers or parasites yearning for food - reality... low iron/zinc so no appetite and mild gastritis!

    I got sick from eggs in 2010 and it sparked my purity craze. I would love to email [or email me] or spark a convo on here because vegans now it seems to be a form of individualism and most ironically - EGO! I thought the purpose of this lifestyle was respect to our creator, animals and spirit. On the contrary it seems to be all $ and ego based.