Is it Good to Go Vegetarian with an Eating Disorder?

21 with eating disorder, wants to go vegetarian, treatment team & Savvy Vegetarian say not a good idea

Eating Disorder

Question for Savvy Vegetarian:


Hi, I”m 21 and after thinking about it for a long time, I have recently decided to go vegetarian. There are a number of reasons including animal welfare, the environment and tending to prefer vegetarian foods in any case!  But I’ve also been receiving treatment for an eating disorder and my treatment team is not supportive of my decision at all.
I know that vegetarianism can be linked with higher rates of eating disorders and my team keep telling me that it is a disordered act.  But I really want to make the switch as I can’t stand the the thought of what’s happening in the modern farming industry and what’s happening to the planet.
Do you have any advice as to how I can explain how serious I am or would you recommend waiting?  I should mention I am almost at my maintenance weight.  I don’t think this is the disorder making me want to be vegetarian but the team have me questioning every thought I have.  Thank you – C. S.  

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:


Savvy Vegetarian Facebook Page

Hi C. S., Going vegetarian is positive, life-supporting, and your reasons for going veg are good. But it’s is also a huge lifestyle change, requiring many physical and mental adjustments, which is why I always say to do it gradually.
It doesn’t make sense to me to start going vegetarian in the middle of treatment for your eating disorder. I think it would be like trying to ride two horses at once. So I’m with your treatment team on this.
You could discuss with your team the possibility of taking some baby steps toward a vegetarian diet, that won’t upset your treatment plan. For instance, substituting poultry, eggs or fish for red meat at some meals, having a meatless meal once a week, or adding more fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains to your current diet.

Quinoa Recipe Ebook

If your team agrees that it’s appropriate, you could study up on vegetarian nutrition as a preparation for safely going vegetarian once you are completely well. Start with Savvy Vegetarian’s free reports, 10 Tips for Going Vegetarian, and Vegetarian Nutrition. Progress to the vegetarian nutrition guide book, Becoming Vegetarian, by Melina & Davis, available online or in bookstores.
But please allow yourself to be guided in this by your treatment team, who are experts on your eating disorder, and on helping you heal.
All the best, Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

Stumbleupon    Follow Savvy Veg On Twitter;    Join Savvy Veg on Facebook;    Pinterest        Google+        

2 Responses to “Is it Good to Go Vegetarian with an Eating Disorder?”

  1. Rachel Smiths says:

    I am not a doctor, but I have been struggling with an eating disorder for about four years now. About four months ago, I decided to become a vegan. It did not interfere with my trying to overcome my eating disorder at all. In fact, eating vegan gave me a new perspective on food that was less calorie-obsessed. Since then, my episodes of binging and purging have decreased significantly. It wasn’t like trying to achieve two tasks at once; rather it was a lifestyle change that really encouraged me to abandon my dangerous binging and purging habits as well. Again, I am not a doctor, but, from personal experience, I simply don’t see the transition as problematic. I hope my input may help you, and good luck with treatment.

  2. Shiela Marvel says:

    I really agree with you on that part where you wouldn’t want to transition to being a vegetarian when you’re undergoing a treatment for your eating disorder. I think things work well when you focus on them.

Leave a Reply

Savvy Vegetarian