Book Review: Breaking Vegan

breaking vegan

Have you ever heard of orthorexia? People who suffer from this eating disorder are obsessed with eating as healthily or as “clean” as possible. Orthorexia isn’t officially on the DSM-V, but it’s entered the popular consciousness in recent years – thanks largely to Jordan Younger.

Younger was a popular vegan food blogger until she finally realized that her passion for healthy eating was in fact an obsession. Now the creator of a health blog called The Balanced Blonde, Younger chronicles her experience with orthorexia in her first book, Breaking Vegan: One Woman’s Journey from Veganism and Extreme Dieting to a More Balanced Life.

The first three-quarters of Breaking Vegan are essentially a memoir of the 25-year-old’s relationship to food. We start with her childhood, learning about how stomach problems led to a need to eat the “right” kinds of foods, and how she tied her self-worth to her body. Through the lens of heartbreaks, cross-country moves and a confusion about what to do with her life, Younger discusses how food and her body became one of the only aspects of her life over which she had complete control. Younger also talks about how her perfectionism and anxiety made her more prone to orthorexia – although in reading the book, it sounds like it was also a function of a major quarter-life crisis.

Fans of Younger’s will love learning about this real-life superhero’s backstory, and it’s a tale that will convert even those most skeptic that orthorexia is a “real” disease. In essence, most of Breaking Vegan is the origin story of a real-life superhero who finally found that the key to health lies in balance instead of extremes. It’s interesting and powerful, most especially because it’s relatable.

Here’s the thing: it’s really easy to hate Younger, and many do for several reasons. Younger received a lot of backlash after stopping her vegan diet, from many people who believed that her food choices dictated her goodness as a person. It’s easy to hate her because she used to be one of those people touting juice cleanses and seemingly gave up. Or maybe you can hate her because she’s a beautiful blonde 25-year-old white woman who wrote what a bully might describe as a self-indulgent book about a disease that doesn’t even exist.

The fact that I read Breaking Vegan and was impressed instead of irritated is a testament to Younger’s character and experience as well as her writing skills. Younger is passionate about her food choices but also open about her flaws. She remains humble throughout the book, insisting even now that veganism can be right for some people but it wasn’t for her. It also helps that she’s openly grateful to the friends and family who helped her through her disorder and recovery, and goes through crises that don’t have to do with food.

That said, I much preferred the second part of Breaking Vegan, which is essentially a lifestyle guide. It includes several healthy recipes – some of which are raw and vegan, but many of which include such dietary classics like chicken and cheese. (Don’t worry, there are desserts, too!) Younger also has a list of “Balanced Lifestyle Principles,” many of which are easy to say and hard to do – like, “Be your own best friend,” or, “Find the balance between health and restriction.” Some might find them overly simple, but Younger specifies that these principles are for those who feel a little lost and in need of inspiration. I liked that Younger was able to drill her life experiences into a set of specific lessons – and did so in a way that felt helpful instead of preachy. Younger’s genuineness and humility really came through in her lifestyle guide. It was like listening to a friend, instead of a ‘health expert.’

All in all, I really enjoyed Breaking Vegan. The book is definitely geared towards fans of Younger’s and people who have suffered through major eating disorders. But Younger’s is a tale that’s easy to follow and empathize with. So if you’ve ever struggled with body image or even just anxiety, you’ll appreciate this book.

Liked this? Check out Orthorexia: The Dark Side of Eating Healthy!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Have you ever heard of orthorexia? People who suffer from this eating disorder are obsessed with eating as healthily or as “clean” as possible. Orthorexia isn’t officially on the DSM-V, but it’s entered the popular consciousness in recent years – thanks largely to Jordan Younger.

Younger was a popular vegan food blogger until she finally realized that her passion for healthy eating was in fact an obsession. Now the creator of a health blog called The Balanced Blonde, Younger chronicles her experience with orthorexia in her first book, Breaking Vegan: One Woman’s Journey from Veganism and Extreme Dieting to a More Balanced Life.

The first three-quarters of Breaking Vegan are essentially a memoir of the 25-year-old’s relationship to food. We start with her childhood, learning about how stomach problems led to a need to eat the “right” kinds of foods, and how she tied her self-worth to her body. Through the lens of heartbreaks, cross-country moves and a confusion about what to do with her life, Younger discusses how food and her body became one of the only aspects of her life over which she had complete control. Younger also talks about how her perfectionism and anxiety made her more prone to orthorexia – although in reading the book, it sounds like it was also a function of a major quarter-life crisis.

Fans of Younger’s will love learning about this real-life superhero’s backstory, and it’s a tale that will convert even those most skeptic that orthorexia is a “real” disease. In essence, most of Breaking Vegan is the origin story of a real-life superhero who finally found that the key to health lies in balance instead of extremes. It’s interesting and powerful, most especially because it’s relatable.

Here’s the thing: it’s really easy to hate Younger, and many do for several reasons. Younger received a lot of backlash after stopping her vegan diet, from many people who believed that her food choices dictated her goodness as a person. It’s easy to hate her because she used to be one of those people touting juice cleanses and seemingly gave up. Or maybe you can hate her because she’s a beautiful blonde 25-year-old white woman who wrote what a bully might describe as a self-indulgent book about a disease that doesn’t even exist.

The fact that I read Breaking Vegan and was impressed instead of irritated is a testament to Younger’s character and experience as well as her writing skills. Younger is passionate about her food choices but also open about her flaws. She remains humble throughout the book, insisting even now that veganism can be right for some people but it wasn’t for her. It also helps that she’s openly grateful to the friends and family who helped her through her disorder and recovery, and goes through crises that don’t have to do with food.

That said, I much preferred the second part of Breaking Vegan, which is essentially a lifestyle guide. It includes several healthy recipes – some of which are raw and vegan, but many of which include such dietary classics like chicken and cheese. (Don’t worry, there are desserts, too!) Younger also has a list of “Balanced Lifestyle Principles,” many of which are easy to say and hard to do – like, “Be your own best friend,” or, “Find the balance between health and restriction.” Some might find them overly simple, but Younger specifies that these principles are for those who feel a little lost and in need of inspiration. I liked that Younger was able to drill her life experiences into a set of specific lessons – and did so in a way that felt helpful instead of preachy. Younger’s genuineness and humility really came through in her lifestyle guide. It was like listening to a friend, instead of a ‘health expert.’

All in all, I really enjoyed Breaking Vegan. The book is definitely geared towards fans of Younger’s and people who have suffered through major eating disorders. But Younger’s is a tale that’s easy to follow and empathize with. So if you’ve ever struggled with body image or even just anxiety, you’ll appreciate this book.

Liked this? Check out Orthorexia: The Dark Side of Eating Healthy!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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