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ED Clinic won't allow vegans


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#21 mysa8206

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 10:15 PM

I had a similar issue... I was in an addiction treatment center and they noticed my ED so sent me to an ED in-patient program when I graduated. I had been vegetarian for about 7 months at that point, and the in-patient program said they didn't even allow you to be vegetarian let alone vegan... I got away with it for one day but the next day they made me hand prepare raw chicken breasts and eat them... no one could get up from the table until I was done... it was so horrible :( I swear, some treatment centers do not understand its not always just about restriction, its a moral compass too :/


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#22 Nessii

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 03:23 PM

I had a similar issue... I was in an addiction treatment center and they noticed my ED so sent me to an ED in-patient program when I graduated. I had been vegetarian for about 7 months at that point, and the in-patient program said they didn't even allow you to be vegetarian let alone vegan... I got away with it for one day but the next day they made me hand prepare raw chicken breasts and eat them... no one could get up from the table until I was done... it was so horrible :( I swear, some treatment centers do not understand its not always just about restriction, its a moral compass too :/

Oh my god, that is brutal! I'm so sorry they are putting you through that  :(  I hope it gets easier for you. I really wish this was a better known and better understood topic in the ED treatment world. I'm still on the wait list for CBT  <_<  recovering is hard enough, why must it be made so much harder due to our morals?!


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#23 mysa8206

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 09:03 PM

Oh my god, that is brutal! I'm so sorry they are putting you through that  :(  I hope it gets easier for you. I really wish this was a better known and better understood topic in the ED treatment world. I'm still on the wait list for CBT  <_<  recovering is hard enough, why must it be made so much harder due to our morals?!

I was able to continue outpatient and stay vegetarian because I ended up AMA-ing (sooo many issues with the place I was at) but there are treatment centers that will work with you being vegetarian/vegan! However I'm in the States and not sure if you are :/ I'm sure there are options for u love . xx fingers crossed for you


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#24 Blackbird<3

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 06:59 AM

I'm so sorry. Everyone deserves recovery!

#25 Ricki

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 01:04 AM

That's so stupid! Ugh, the ignorance. This is one of the reasons I hate when people go vegan or vegetarian because of their eating disorders. Like you fuck it up for the rest of us!!!! I was vegetarian WAY before my eating disorder (I'm vegan now) and would NEVER go to a treatment that made me eat meat or dairy. 


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#26 opiumdiet

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 04:32 AM

I went to IP at a place that was HIGHLY against vegan/vegetarian diets but I had an hour long convo w the team about how my whole lifestyle is vegan, I eat so many more types of food since going vegan (my only real struggle is restricting the amount/calories), & how much of a positive environmental impact veganism has. Also I told them straight up if you feed me that poison (animal products) I will become violently ill. They tried it anyway & I got sick. They finally started taking it seriously & realized me being vegan is NOT a part of my ED & then somewhat tried to accommodate me with almond milk/plant based food.
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#27 opiumdiet

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Posted 22 April 2020 - 04:32 AM

Edit: double post deleted

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#28 roses_and_ice

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Posted 26 April 2020 - 03:39 AM

I've been trying to recover from Bulimia for a few years now; my ED clinic said that I fit the criteria for day patient care, essentially being a patient 5 days a week. The whole thing sounded like my worst fucking nightmare anyway but I'd been waiting for an opportunity like this for so long so I was prepared to do it because nothing else I  have ever tried has worked.

 

BUT OH WAIT

 

'being vegan is a form of restriction and we don't offer a vegan meal plan. If you want to be a patient here, you would have to at least eat dairy.'

 

Hold the fucking phone.. I'm not just plant based, my whole lifestyle is vegan, from the beauty products I buy to the food I eat. And if I want to recover, I have to give up my moral stance on this?

So I turned down the treatment and am now on a months long waiting list for CBT-E. Why even bother recover?

This infuriated me and I just wanted to share it.

 

Has anyone else come across this problem when trying to recover?

 

(to add some context to this, I live in the UK where plant based food is very accessible, nutritious, and no more expensive than dairy. They are basing the above purely on the fact that being vegan is seen as 'restrictive' and they don't take any exceptions, including if you've had an eating disorder for over 10 years but have only been vegan for 3 years..)

 

I'm from the UK too and when I was under the ED team they weren't happy that I was vegan but I think they realised over time that it wasn't an option for me to eat animal products because like you have said, veganism is something I care deeply about. It is a part of my life and I don't buy non-vegan beauty/toiletries etc. I narrowly missed an inpatient admission for anorexia but the hospital I was assessed at and put on a waiting list for they said I could be vegan there but I might have to drink ensure drinks if I wasn't gaining the weight off the meal plan and ensures aren't vegan. I think it helped that my sister is vegan and my family are supportive of it so they knew I wasn't using it as a way to restrict.

 

For me, I kept having conversations with the treatment team about how important veganism is to me and my then recovery. I explained that there were vegan versions of my fear foods and I could recover as a vegan eventhough at many points of my ed I didn't want to recover. Wishing you the best!


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#29 datahoe

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 02:04 AM

That’s true almost everywhere in the us, Ed clinics that allow veganism are very rare, unfortunately. If I ever got that bad again I’d never go inpatient because of it, like I’d hate myself even more because I’d have to go against my whole Fuckin value system! Do they not get how psychologically damaging that is for people who are vegan for reasons that are NOT theirfuckingdisorder???


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#30 Lemonine

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 02:53 AM

Have you tried telling them you're lactose intolerant and vegetarian?


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#31 Dame Edna (justsomeone)

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 09:17 PM

I was lucky they had soy based formula for tube feed when I was in hospital


One of my biggest fears if I were to go to a treatmemt center would be them not allowing me to be vegan

I have a frail sense of identity and the first time in my life I deemed myself somewhat not a total piece of shit human was when I went vegan bc I made a positive contribution to the planet

Being vegan has become a pretty important part of my identity and my lifestyle is based around it

It would be very psychologically damaging to me if I was force fed non vegan food and I'd probably fail treatment miserably

Other than that meat, dairy, eggs and honey now genuinely disgust me taste wise and I've accidentally consumed bits of that in the past being vegan and it also just made me sick

I also have a slight allergy for dairy and eggs so I wish any treatment center a hell of a fun time trying to feed me any animal product

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#32 ri0t

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 08:48 AM

same in canada, at least 10 years ago it was. veganism is a front for ed to them. was forced to drink so many ensures (also nasty dairy) because i refused to eat eggs. they did allow vegetarian choices because some cruelty makes it not an ed i guess..

it sucks when you make the decision to get help and they want you to sacrifice your ethics for recovery. i could never do inpatient again unless they provide 100% vegan meals.

#33 Nainsi

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Posted 28 May 2020 - 07:46 AM

When I was in a psych ward (I was there over a year) I was allowed to be vegan - even when I was being watched for my ED


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#34 /magic.bird./

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 02:30 AM

That’s so stupid. It’s like old fashioned close-minded way of thinking.

You can manipulate your diet to either gain, maintain or lose weight on a vegan diet. That clinic needs to educate themselves.
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#35 castielヅ

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 03:01 AM

it varies from hospital from hospital but it genuinely is shocking, some of their attitudes towards a vegan diet. of course some people go vegan for restriction reasons, but the majority of people do it for ethical reasons. if they can accommodate vegetarians (and some places shockingly don't, even now) they sure as hell can accommodate vegans. eating vegan doesn't even equal restriction... it's just like any other diet, calories in calories out. i had a similar problem with a camhs nutritionist once that refused to believe it was possible to maintain/gain on a vegan diet. some of these 'professionals' need to educate themselves.

 

i hope it changes soon but knowing the state of mental health funding for the nhs i'm not hopeful.


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#36 smörrebröd

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 05:16 AM

It's so stupid. I've been vegetarian for >10 years when I developed my eating disorder and I desperately wanted to go vegan at that time, but the ED actually KEPT me from going vegan because most of my safe foods (skyr, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat greek yoghurt, egg white omelettes) didn't have a vegan equivalent that had the same nutritional values (like there was vegan yoghurt, but it didn't have as much protein and had more calories). I only managed to go vegan when I recovered and allowed myself more calories, and now that I've relapsed again, restricting is definitely harder than as a vegetarian. I'm vegan DESPITE my ED, not BECAUSE of it, and I'm sure that many people feel the same. I wish that they realised that not every eating disordered vegan eats this way to restrict, and that it actually makes restriction harder for some, so they should support those people's veganism, not ban it. Every ED is different, so why do they lump us all together with those inflexible, overly generalising treatment rules?

 

In addition, becoming vegan made recovery much easier for me. My ED was a control issue, and shifting the control from calories to animal products really helped me giving up calorie restriction and gaining to a healthy weight. I know that this is exactly the thing they want to prevent, they think recovery should mean giving up the urge to control food entirely, not just shift it to the types of foods we eat, but why?

Every therapist I've ever met told me that ED patients are never fully recovered and will keep some thoughts and behaviours for their entire life, so why do they expect these 100% perfect standards?

I maintained a healthy weight, I ate without fear, I was able to go out with friends even when there was a chance that food would be involved, I didn't spend a second obsessing over meal plans, I never purged again - I got rid of all of the bad parts of the ED and only kept the sense of control. How is that a bad thing? I get that they want us to stop restriction completely, but why? Sure, if you go raw vegan/HCLF or some other actually harmful form of veganism, or sink into orthorexia, that's a bad thing, but how was me keeping my sense of control - my most important coping mechanism - while eating oreos and going out for ice cream with my friends and eating a healthy balanced diet a bad thing?

And even if it is a bad thing, isn't "recovering 90% but keeping some bad parts" better than "not recovering at all because no fucking treatment center will take you"?

 

I feel like the standards in recovery treatment haven't changed since the 90's, when veganism actually meant that you could never go to a restaurant and had a good excuse to refuse any food somebody tried to give you, but every restaurant has vegan options nowadays, and people will just give you vegan food gifts since it's so easily accessible, so it doesn't actually help you with calorie restriction.


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#37 Nessii

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 10:50 AM

It's so stupid. I've been vegetarian for >10 years when I developed my eating disorder and I desperately wanted to go vegan at that time, but the ED actually KEPT me from going vegan because most of my safe foods (skyr, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat greek yoghurt, egg white omelettes) didn't have a vegan equivalent that had the same nutritional values (like there was vegan yoghurt, but it didn't have as much protein and had more calories). I only managed to go vegan when I recovered and allowed myself more calories, and now that I've relapsed again, restricting is definitely harder than as a vegetarian. I'm vegan DESPITE my ED, not BECAUSE of it, and I'm sure that many people feel the same. I wish that they realised that not every eating disordered vegan eats this way to restrict, and that it actually makes restriction harder for some, so they should support those people's veganism, not ban it. Every ED is different, so why do they lump us all together with those inflexible, overly generalising treatment rules?

 

In addition, becoming vegan made recovery much easier for me. My ED was a control issue, and shifting the control from calories to animal products really helped me giving up calorie restriction and gaining to a healthy weight. I know that this is exactly the thing they want to prevent, they think recovery should mean giving up the urge to control food entirely, not just shift it to the types of foods we eat, but why?

Every therapist I've ever met told me that ED patients are never fully recovered and will keep some thoughts and behaviours for their entire life, so why do they expect these 100% perfect standards?

I maintained a healthy weight, I ate without fear, I was able to go out with friends even when there was a chance that food would be involved, I didn't spend a second obsessing over meal plans, I never purged again - I got rid of all of the bad parts of the ED and only kept the sense of control. How is that a bad thing? I get that they want us to stop restriction completely, but why? Sure, if you go raw vegan/HCLF or some other actually harmful form of veganism, or sink into orthorexia, that's a bad thing, but how was me keeping my sense of control - my most important coping mechanism - while eating oreos and going out for ice cream with my friends and eating a healthy balanced diet a bad thing?

And even if it is a bad thing, isn't "recovering 90% but keeping some bad parts" better than "not recovering at all because no fucking treatment center will take you"?

 

I feel like the standards in recovery treatment haven't changed since the 90's, when veganism actually meant that you could never go to a restaurant and had a good excuse to refuse any food somebody tried to give you, but every restaurant has vegan options nowadays, and people will just give you vegan food gifts since it's so easily accessible, so it doesn't actually help you with calorie restriction.

 

Thanks for sharing this, it's amazing to hear being vegan aided your recovery!

 

And what you said about recovery centres not having changed since the 90s is so spot on; there's been so many advancements in mental health and recovery from so many illnesses, but after this experience, I can't help but think nutritional issues and EDs have been left behind. It's been 6 months and I'm still on a wait list for therapy, all because I refused to consume dairy... how does that even make sense?


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#38 kizel

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 11:07 AM

I take it you are not just plant-based but veganism is an ethical belief system for you. You can tell this to the clinic. If they still say veganism is a form of restriction then you can ask them if they would also require a muslim to eat pork in the treatment. Being an ethical vegan is a belief system just as being a muslim or jewish. It is therefore protected by the same laws for belief / conviction both in the UK and in the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 9 (EU).

If they still can't offer vegan option then is there any other clinic in the UK that treats people with vegan diets?

Edit: I also found this link: https://www.vegansoc...s-what-law-says


Muslims and Jewish are technically vegetarian. And their religion allows them to eat dairy and eggs. I was inpatient with a girl who was Muslim and didn’t eat meat but still had to eat eggs and dairy. I was also inpatient with a girl who was Jewish and still had a vegetarian diet as well, but also had special food that was kosher.

Most places will allow vegetarianism, but not veganism.


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#39 MissBean

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 11:14 AM

Muslims and Jewish are technically vegetarian. And their religion allows them to eat dairy and eggs. I was inpatient with a girl who was Muslim and didn’t eat meat but still had to eat eggs and dairy. I was also inpatient with a girl who was Jewish and still had a vegetarian diet as well, but also had special food that was kosher.

Most places will allow vegetarianism, but not veganism.


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I didn't mean that a vegan diet is the same as jewish or muslim diet or that they consist of the same ingredients. I was saying that all of those are belief system based dietary choices and should therefore all be respected alike.

#40 DizzyDoll

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 06:08 PM

This makes me so angry. Good for you for standing your ground and still doing what’s best! It’s crazy to me that anyone in the medical field can be so blind to the heal Th benefits of a vegan lifestyle and how terrible eggs and dairy are. What a different world it would be if people would educate themselves.
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