I Tried Being Vegan and This is What Happened

09.28.2020 — Ashley Tisdale-French

Not too long ago I watched the documentary, like everyone else, ‘What The Health’. My immediate reaction was, “I am NEVER eating animal products again—I. AM. A. VEGAN.” I had already been dairy-free and gluten-free for over two years, so I knew that adjusting to a new way of eating would be a walk in the park.

I looked up the best vegan/gluten-free meal delivery services (I mean you didn’t think I was gonna cook, right?), and I started my journey as a vegan. I really loved it! I lost weight and felt great after all of my meals. I didn’t have that heaviness that you sometimes get after eating meat, and it was like a whole new world for me.

A few months into it, I started to get super tired and lethargic. My legs were restless, I wasn’t sleeping great, and I was having A LOT of anxiety. I started going to several doctors (holistic and non-holistic) searching for what was wrong with me. Then, I saw my ENT, and after one look at my skin tone, he said “You need to take some blood work. You look anemic.”

I loved it… but my body didn’t.

Apparently, my skin had no coloring and I had dark circles under my eyes. I hadn’t noticed because it was winter and my skin always gets a little paler during the season. He told me that night to eat a steak at dinner, but I told him I’m fully committed to being vegan and the thought of eating meat was going to be really hard. However, he insisted.

Well, he was right. That night I ate a steak dinner and was finally able to sleep through the night. I got my blood work done after my visit, and it confirmed that I was, in fact, anemic. Apparently, some blood types don’t adjust well to solely-vegan diets, and no amount of vitamins were able to give me the amount of iron that my body needed. After seeing a lot of doctors, my takeaway was that everything should be in moderation. As hard as that sounded, it really made the most sense for me. 

When I say everything in moderation, it’s because we’ve heard it all before: eating too much fish causes mercury poisoning, processed foods can cause disease, and too much dairy will make your skin break out. Soy isn’t really a friend of mine, and there’s also a lot of soy in vegan diets, which can cause a whole lot of health issues. Eating too much meat isn’t great either, and of course, the guilt factor came in once I learned that I can’t be fully vegan. However, being even 50% vegan can make a difference in the environment. So, that’s what I do now! I make an effort to eat everything in moderation and I’ll eat entirely plant-based once a week so that my body can reset. I sprinkle in vegan lunches throughout the week too!

The point is to not be judgmental with yourself or others about their diet of choice, and all we can do is try your best. If you listen to your body, your body will tell you what it’s craving and what it needs. And, I’m proud to say I now cook vegan meals pretty often and love eating them!



Ashley Tisdale-French
Ashley Tisdale is a mom, the founder of Frenshe, and entertainer.