Jordan Younger once had a thriving blog titled The Blonde Vegan (now called The Balanced Blonde), where she shared her favorite vegan recipes to some 70,000 followers. However, everything changed for the young woman after she decided to break away from her extremely strict vegan diet. After losing thousands of followers and even receiving death threats, Younger recently sat down for an interview with Refinery, where she discussed how her vegan diet almost killed her.
For Younger, her transformation to a vegan diet was spurred by years of ingestion problems, which she shared with the world via her popular Instagram account. After switching over to a plant-based diet, her problems of bloating and stomach issues seemed to be cured. However, she quickly found herself adding more and more restrictions to her diet until she hardly ate any solid foods at all. Ultimately, this led a devastating cycle of cleansing that had terrible effects on her body.
"Come spring of 2014, there was no hiding it. I was not the picture of health I claimed to be. I couldn't sleep because I was so full of anxiety about what I was going to eat the next day and what foods I had to avoid," she stated. "My hair was thinning, my skin was a mess (and orange from too much beta-carotene), and my face was gaunter than gaunt. I looked and felt like a shadow of my former self."
In fact, things got so bad for Younger that some of her natural body processes stopped functioning. While this would be alarming for most people, Younger admitted that she found herself in denial even after things took a turn for the worse.
"The real kicker came when I stopped menstruating. At first I told myself it had nothing to do with the way that I ate, but as the months wore on and nothing came, I started to worry," she explained. "I had gotten into the vegan lifestyle so I could be the healthiest version of myself, but now I was wreaking havoc on my body, and I knew it."
Luckily, Younger was able to get help after she admitted to herself that she had an eating disorder. Although this was a difficult choice to make, especially considering her huge following of fans, Younger stated that it was the best choice she ever made.
"I dropped the vegan label shortly after I came to terms with my eating disorder, and that was one of the best things I could have done for myself," she stated. "Now, I live a label-free life, and I find more power in that than I ever found in my plant-based fanaticism."
Not only did Younger make the difficult decision to get help for eating disorder, but she has also been able to put her own advice to good use. In fact, Younger recently told Today that she feels like she is living a much healthier life now than she ever has.
"It's been a year and a half since I went off veganism. I feel so much better, really healthy and balanced mentally," she shared. "It's a life-long journey and I can't say it would never happen."
At the same time, while Younger is enjoying her newfound freedom, she is also promoting the release of her new book based on her experiences, titled Breaking Vegan. While fans can read her firsthand account of her transition away from a vegan based diet, Younger also had a few words of advice to give those who struggle with dieting.
"Trust your body. If you are not getting enough nourishment, your body will tell you," she explained in the interview. "I was ignoring those signals. And don't compare yourself to others. Our bodies are so different."
Tell us! Have you ever tried a vegan diet? Or suffered from an eating disorder? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via The Blonde Vegan Instagram]