A woman who became famous for social media-ing the shit out of her vegan lifestyle has very publicly quit being a vegan, admitting that what began as a healthy lifestyle choice had morphed into something joyless and disordered.
Jordan Younger — or, the blogger formerly known as The Blonde Vegan — had tens of thousands of instagram followers and devoted readers of her blog, where she showcased pictures of food that was not cheese and talked about great it made her feel to not eat cheese.
But late last year, her love affair with veganism lost its luster when her restrictive diet — which involved avoiding gluten, dressings and sauces, all animal products, oil, refined sugar, flour, and other items Younger was adamant about omitting — began to make her feel bad instead of good. She injured her ankle. She stopped having her period. She became "addicted to juice cleanses." She says she grew more and more obsessed with what she ate, once becoming so agitated that a vegan smoothie bar in Manhattan was out of the kind that she felt like she "could" drink that she made her best friend (who was in from out of town) walk a mile to another vegan smoothie bar location so that she could get the proper kind of juice.
Then she instagrammed it. She either has the most saintly, patient friends in the entire world, or she is physically incapable of detecting when she's irritating the people around her.
She realized soon after that her brand of veganism was not actually nourishing and healthy; it was a full-blown eating disorder known as "orthorexia," or an obsession with eating righteously. After feeling miserable for months, she shame-dabbled in pescetarianism, which led to this paragraph, perhaps the strangest I've read all week:
[...] she went to one of her favorite macrobiotic restaurants and forced herself to order wild salmon – her first piece of fish in 18 months. "I brought it home and ate it all alone, so no one could see me," she says. Two days later, her period returned.
[For some reason, I imagine her period showing up haggard at her door with a red hobo bindle and a several days old beard, exhausted but humbly apologetic. You're home! she says, throwing her arms around his filthy neck. Period can only cry with gratitude and relief.]
After a dietary change clearly established that veganism was making her feel like crap, she decided to formally announce her transition from "The Blonde Vegan" to "The Balanced Blonde." In a blog post dated late last month, Younger explained,
I am simply taking my health into my own hands, and I am encouraging you to do the same. My philosophy has shifted, and rightfully so. When I came up with the name The Blonde Vegan I was a full-fledged vegan girl who was still in college and had just discovered plant-based eating and was totally enamored by it.
Plants are amazing! Vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and legumes are beautiful foods from the earth and should be incorporated into as many meals as possible throughout the day. But that's not ALL that is out there. Some of us need more in order to fuel or bodies properly– especially those of us with extreme "all or nothing" personalities like my own.
Younger's readers — many of whom were devout vegans and animal rights activists — didn't take well to Younger's new "balanced" approach. She tells People that after she posted her entry on her eating disorder and ensuing dietary change, her website crashed within minutes from an onslaught of traffic, and she immediately lost 1,000 followers. As more time passed, she even received death threats from some other vegans (guess you don't need to consume animal products to act like a total fucking asshole).
In retrospect, Younger tells People that her public adherence to the vegan lifestyle was partially to blame for her failure to recognize her eating disorder for months, and that people with personalities like hers should be careful of labels.
Personally, I'm wary of food labels that read "does not contain cheese," but that's just me.
Image via The Balanced Blonde/Instagram