Women's Health

Losing Their Veganity

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Stephanie Schwartz, a New Yorker who works in retail, tried a 21-day vegan challenge with a friend in 2015 because “I wanted to lose a few pounds and see if I could get visible abs, like all the yogi vegan Instagram girls, and this seemed like a healthy way to do it.” So Schwartz, then 25, abstained from all animal products—meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. The trial period came and went and she stuck with it, absorbing the plan’s “cruelty-free” ethos. As her passion for animal welfare grew, though, something else did too: her waistline.

Instead of toning up, within four months “I gained 12 pounds, lost muscle tone, and felt so bloated,” she says. She also overheated easily and lost her period. “My body was like, ‘Excuse me, I don’t like this.’” She couldn’t figure it out, but she did notice she always felt ravenous—and

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