I was a vegetarian and then a vegan for over 10 years. My mental health took a nosedive. I gradually became more and more depressed!
It started in university when I realized that if I didn't buy meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, butter, or cheese I would save A LOT of money. I managed this for the last two and a half years of university and continued it for years afterwards.
What I wasn't aware of were the years of declining mental health and my significantly difficulty with mood regulation, focus, concentration, and memory. I couldn't see any of this because I was standing in it!
I slowly added meat when I finally understood how significant my depression was and that it was really affecting my ability to run my sport medicine and rehabilitation centre and work with my seven employees.
Adding animal products back into my diet felt like someone turned the lights back on in my brain! I began feeling SO much better in just days. Clearly I was suffering from a range of nutrient deficiencies that I didn't know I had. I wish I had met a holistic nutritionist in university!
I now eat a serving of some animal product each evening for dinner but usually eat just plant based foods during the day.
I wish I had someone in my life at the time who could support me by saying, “Angela, I know you are trying to do the ‘right’ thing for you for so many reasons. But it’s affecting your health, your wellbeing, and your relationships. Let me help guide you on a healthier path.” I would have exhaled right then!
As worked with clients for a couple of years after graduating from nutrition school, many clients have said something along the lines of this to me:
What most people probably don’t realize is that health and fitness professionals want to work with ANYONE who is interested in improving their wellbeing! We’ll work with you, refer you to our colleagues when that makes sense, encourage you, celebrate with you, and hold you accountable to the goals we know you want our help to achieve!
Don’t be afraid to reach out and say, “Here is who I am, and here is what I want.” Don’t restrict your ask because you are nervous about being judged. Don't presume we've figured out your level of commitment to yourself before we've even met! Tell us what your big goals are, what’s been holding you back so far, and how you are ready to move forward.
Let US figure out the manageable steps. That’s our role in all this. We want to help you get where you want to be in the least possible time. I wish I could go back now and take my own advice.