so, before we dive into this post let me start by saying….
- It’s NOT an anti-vegan blog post (for those of you who follow and read along for the plant based recipes). It’s PRO eating disorder awareness and recovery.
- It is about dangerous eating disorders and finding the willingness to recover and live in a way that is best for YOU, and YOUR BODY.
- It’s also about a book I enjoyed by the always inspiring blogger, Jordan Younger.
Ever since I found Jordan’s blog, The Balanced Blonde, I’ve been interested in reading her book, Breaking Vegan. I’m a huge fan of her writing style, and when I found out her background and original plan for her career as a writer, it made complete sense! I was familiar with her start as The Blonde Vegan and how over time she made the difficult decision to change her eating habits by listen to the needs of her body and overcome her eating disorder.
Not gonna lie, if you check out reviews of her book there is a LOT of controversy around the title, and her choice to “break” the vegan lifestyle.
But where would we be if we only discussed the easy-breezy stuff? If we only read the chick lit, the fiction, the stuff that doesn’t cause any reaction or uproar. BORING. And it’s also dangerous. Why? when it comes to eating disorders, discussion and awareness will only provide women currently struggling some strength, support, and some damn hope.
what’s to love about breaking vegan.
Breaking Vegan provides a detailed glimpse into Jordan’s life as she struggled with chronic digestion and stomach issues and her choice to turn to a vegan diet in hopes of relief. Her diet eventually evolved to be only raw vegan, gluten free and became an extremely regimented diet of primarily juice and smoothies.
Unknowingly, her food anxieties around having only pure food and the very best ingredients were developing into an obsession, and finally an eating disorder classified (and still relatively “new” in the ED world), Orthorexia. Defined as an obsession with righteous eating, the quest to only eat the healthiest food possible can consume someone struggling, and eventually lead them to have not enough variety in their diet, become unhealthy, and feel less than energized, happy or whole.
But as Jordan’s eating disorder continued, as did the growth of her web presence. The internet knew her for her vegan diet – and as her blog readership and social media following grew more loyal, her need to put on the facade that she felt healthy, whole, and strong (and relieved of her difficult digestion) became necessary in return.
Jordan was posting meals that she wasn’t even allowing herself to eat, only going to show that curated pictures and styled feeds aren’t always what they seem.
Sometimes juice cleansing for up to 30 days (omg!), Jordan writes about her lack of “fuel” as she physically felt drained and was becoming unhealthy. She was experiencing this while working tirelessly to keep up with blogging, AND simultaneously working toward a masters in creative writing in NYC.
live label-less for yourself…inspire others.
I loved that Jordan didn’t shy from details and getting into the meat (yeah, pun intended) of her eating disorder journey. She explains the inner struggle, the obsession with control, the anxieties around food, struggles balancing a social life, and even how dating gets weird when you can’t enjoy a meal with another. She allowed herself to be vulnerable, real and raw. EXACTLY what the eating disorder community needs. that authenticity is what resonates with those who are suffering and allows them to feel less alone in what they are experiencing internally and what they see in the mirror.
On top of the struggle with food, Jordan was struggling because she LOVED blogging, was simultaneously working on a novel, and felt out of place in classes that were far from focused on blogging, branding, and engaging an audience online and through social media.
because I’ve shared candidly my experience with an eating disorder with my readers, and my hatred for labels and stigmas – I REALLY appreciated the honesty from Jordan. It’s not easy to admit you have a “problem” or something that requires treatment or change.
Jordan detailed her first time breaking vegan in her diet and it was so descriptive and real I felt I was sharing the secretive and monumental moment in her kitchen with her. She’s most definitely a talent writer and natural storyteller.
Jordan brought a sense of ease to a serious subject, even providing moments of humor. I find that it’s extremely important to leave some room for humor when looking back at a difficult time in your life.
but because of her strong brand built on the vegan lifestyle….
…. people weren’t too fond when Jordan announced she was going “un-vegan” for her health.
what’s with all the vegan shaming?
after reading the book, I was proud of Jordan. proud of her ability to say “listen, I’m making a change for my health, well being and happiness.
not everyone was proud though. without getting too deep into the shaming, ridicule and even death threats (i’m not freakin’ kidding) that Jordan faced after her book released, I want this post to highlight the fantastic conversation that sparked because of her bravery to be so upfront and honest.
because vegan food itself isn’t what causes eating disorders to be painful or dangerous…
it’s far more deeply rooted.
Breaking Vegan touches on one individuals decision to no longer follow a vegan diet. more importantly the book highlights the themes of perfectionism, self control, societal standards, and all of the true issues that intensify disordered eating habits into a full blown illness.
Whether vegan or meat eater, in recovery for an eating disorder, or not familiar personally with the struggle, Breaking Vegan shows an authentic side of a blogger who’s message transcends far beyond great flat lay photos at brunch and the cute boomerang at soul cycle.
I applaud Jordan for continuing to produce beautiful and inspiring content for her blog with a positive energy and dedication to living a balanced life. I also thank her for being so transparent about the depths of her disordered eating, as it hits quite close to home to myself and I know many others.
Jordan continues to blog in LA, share her experience in recovery with readers, provide her audience tasty recipes (with a variety of healthy ingredients) and is a yoga teacher! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to review her book and most importantly, continue the conversation about living a balanced life.