I’ve been vegetarian for the majority of my adult life. In fact, most of the people in my life now have only ever known me in my veg phase. They don’t know I used to inhale the better part of a pound of bacon as a kid or that I could put a 16-ounce steak away like a champ. And don’t even get me started on Arby’s bacon, beef & cheddars…

I didn’t decide to stop eating meat until my sophomore year of college when I started learning more about animal cruelty and US farming practices. But, to be completely honest, that’s only a small part of why I became vegetarian, and I sought that information out in order to validate a more negative intention.

The driving force behind my “new lifestyle” was an ugly part of me that was most certainly not new. I’ve utilized self-imposed food rules for most of my life to help tolerate and manage my feelings. It wasn’t until I was 23 that I saw a therapist (literally, on my birthday) who informed me that I have an eating disorder. I’d considered this possibility on my own in the past, but always convinced myself I was normal and there was nothing to be concerned about.

I spent my high school and college years dieting, counting calories, binging secretly, weighing everything I ate (literally, everything), and working out far more than was healthy. Not to mention constantly obsessing about food and my body to the point of not being able to concentrate on simple conversations. And all the while lying to everyone close to me about it. How I convinced myself I was healthy despite feeling the need to lie about my entire life is beyond me — brains are incredible things.

So, when I discovered vegetarianism – a food rule I could feel morally good about following – you best believe I was all in. The past five years as a vegetarian have been eye-opening and complex, and I don’t regret it one bit. However, being a vegetarian makes it incredibly easy for me to skip meals and lie about why I’m not eating around people.

I’ve been “in recovery” for two years and I’m not trying to make it three. As I continue my journey to recovery, I feel like I need to allow myself a little more wiggle room. That applies to everything I do, not just eating. I have a tendency to think about pretty much everything in a very black-and-white, matter-of-fact way, and the truth is, life is 99 percent gray.

There are no rules. We all end up in the same place in the end and I’m tired of spending my time on this planet arguing with myself about what I can eat, if I’m better or worse than other people, or whether or not every inch of my body is perfect. What I’ve realized since I was so abruptly informed of my mental state two years ago is that I really don’t give a fuck. I don’t care what anyone thinks and I don’t care if they like me.

At the end of the day (and all 24 hours during it), I’m the one who has to live with my thoughts. And I’d much rather eat a God damn burger if I want one than berate myself for even thinking about eating an M&M.

I rarely tell anyone about this part of me, so please don’t be offended if you’re finding out about it here. I’m only comfortable sharing now because I’ve finally committed to getting better, so I know it won’t always be a part of me.

Now, all of that said… MAD PROPS TO MY VEG FAM OUT THERE MAKING INFORMED FOOD CHOICES. I fully support the lifestyle, I’ve just realized that for the sake of my mental and emotional wellbeing, it’s not for me. (Right now. It’s not for me right now… look at me letting a little gray seep into my life.)

I’ll keep my food blog live until my hosting services are up for renewal next year, but I’m saying goodbye to focusing on food. It’s not what I’m truly passionate about, just what my eating disorder allowed me to think about.

Here’s to new, unknown, scary-as-shit things in 2019!! ✌️❤️😜