‘Farm visit was the missing piece of the puzzle for me’

January 13, 2019

HORRIFIC SYMPTOMS: “I noticed that my digestion was terrible for the first time since I left High School. I was chronically bloated. The other thing I noticed from my having a vegan diet was that my skin was horrific. I was caught up in living a cruelty-free life. I couldn’t deny the fact that my body was craving meat.” – You Tuber and nutritionist Holistic Leigh.



A YOU TUBER and nutritionist has explained the health reasons behind why she quit the vegan lifestyle.

Under the pseudonym Holistic Leigh, qualified nutritionist Leigh Donovan has always been motivated by her compassion for animals and for the protection of the environment, which has not changed since making this life-changing decision.

She makes it clear to the viewer in this podcast that she respects proponents if the lifestyle has worked for those who have seen significant improvements in their health but her experience was that it was the direct opposite of this.

“I understand the compassion portrayed behind the vegan side of the story and portray the best side of that lifestyle because I was that person.

“When I went off to nutrition school, I dabbled in plant-based living. When I jumped into vegan land, I stopped eating animal all meat, dairy, animal product or by-products.”

She said that a lot of influence came from tutors and some peers who were doing plant-based diets.

‘If we have pets, why do we eat other animals?’

“I went into the vegan lifestyle because I had so much compassion for animals. I grew up riding horses and I have had cats and dogs my entire life so my mindset was if we have pets that we don’t eat why do we eat other animals?

“I was educated that animal-based proteins and animal-based fats were not necessary for survival and counter argue that you could live without them and I was living optimally.

‘Vegan lifestyle resonated with me the most’

“I basically wanted to do the vegan way as that what was resonated with me the most. There was the ethical issues and I also had environmental concerns too.”

Leigh claims that whilst embracing the lifestyle she experienced weight gain and feelings of being constantly bloated by having exclusively brown rice, tofu and different types of beans and tofu,some of which was processed, and acne flared up.

“I noticed that my digestion was terrible for the first time since I left High School. My pant (trousers) size went up and I couldn’t button up the top of my jeans. I was chronically bloated.

‘It was undeniable that my body was craving meat’

“I would wake up and drink loads of water and still feel bloated. I was put on medication for endometriosis. I didn’t have endometriosis but the pain was so bad that i needed some kind of relief.

“The other thing I noticed from having a vegan diet was that my skin was horrific. It was very patchy and I would get bad break outs around my period. I was caught up in living a cruelty-free life. I couldn’t deny the fact that my body was craving meat. It was so undeniable that I needed meat.”

Despite the cravings, she still felt if there was meat on her plate she would “want to gag” until her naturopath introduced her to “pasture-raised animals”. Although she loved her time at nutrition school, there had been no reference to pasture-raised animals.

‘Marketing expert didn’t mention family farms’

Aside from Leigh’s testimony, I stumbled across a presentation by Kate Cooper from four years ago that has been pushed through algorithms and promotions on Facebook.

She is a marketing consultant to the food industry, who is seen using emotive images from indoor pig units to gain a response to be concerned about where their food comes from but there was no images showing cattle or sheep in pasture or any pigs in an outdoor unit. Then again, how are we to know the images used were not manipulated to cast the business concerned in the worse possible light.

‘Visit the farm and meet your meat’

“My naturopath said to me you need to go to a farm and meet your meat and make peace with the fact that you are not eating a factory-farmed animal that hasn’t been outside and hasn’t been grain fed and corn-fed.

“It is living its best life before it is bought to slaughter. For me it was reassuring that my food wasn’t living the contained, terrible, factory-farmed life. Having that link with the farm and the animals put the missing piece of the puzzle in place for me.

‘Be honest with yourself when something isn’t working’

“The best way to describe my diet is a paleo-framework and that is just what works for me. I’m not going to pretend to sit here and know what is the best diet for every single person. I absolutely don’t. I have met vegans who are absolutely thriving and good for you, it’s great that you’ve found what works for you, I 100% support that.

“However it is not up to us to decide what is right or what is wrong for somebody else, it is doing what is best for your body and being in tune with it and having an open and honest conversation with yourself if something isn’t working.”

  • THIS is based on the work of the podcast put together by nutritionist Leigh Donovan and should be viewed and read as such and has had one extra observation made from me on food marketing specialist Kate Cooper.

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