Shifting gears. Growing, evolving. And hanging up my hat…for now.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 28 years on Earth, it’s that the more you think you know, the less you probably do know.

Since I was 18 and first became interested in food and health, the one constant that has characterized my eating habits is that I try to eat for health (at least most of the time—I do believe in the 80/20 rule!). This meant varying things over the years, from skim milk, chicken breast, egg substitute, and Splenda in college (HA!) to a mostly plant-based diet in more recent years. For the longest time, I just followed my body, and by 2008, my body was leading me to eat lots of plant foods and not many animal products. When I first created this blog over 5 years ago, I needed a name to slap on it, so on a whim, I called it “Almost Vegan,” since I thought that pretty well described how I ate, at least that healthy 80% of the time. Little did I know, it would be one of the most controversial decisions I had ever made.

For years, I endured everything from insults to verbal abuse to character assassination to outright death threats (I wish I were exaggerating) for being openly almost, rather than fully, vegan.  As a result, after a couple years of blogging, I began posting ONLY plant-based recipes, leaving out the non-plant-based stuff I made and ate, dreading the repercussions of posting anything non-vegan.  In this way, I allowed my choice of content to be swayed by “the haters,” which I deeply regret.

The constant criticism was bad enough. But beyond that, I’ve found myself saddled with a number of health challenges—and though I truly do not believe any of them were caused by my mostly-veg diet (I think they go back way further than that), I know now that my stubbornly refusing for so long to try eating any other way was holding back my ability to improve my health. It’s funny—I’ve long said “Every body is different,” but I wasn’t allowing myself to update my assumptions about my own body. Alongside that, I now recognize in hindsight that I’d been suffering from orthorexia – an all-consuming, mental-health-depleting obsession with dietary purity and perfection (based mistakenly on external definitions of those goals!) – for too long, and that absolutely had to end. The saddest part is that beyond a certain point, a big reason I kept insisting to myself that I had to keep eating mostly-plant-based is because I was frightened of the hellish treatment I’d receive if I did anything but. I also worried about losing or alienating the ethical vegans I’ve befriended here in the blogosphere over the years, all of whom I love and care about as friends and people, not as proponents of a particular diet and lifestyle—but I wasn’t sure they felt the same about me, despite my always being insistent that I wasn’t vegan, I was just mostly vegan.

Several months ago, I officially decided to resume the evolution, adaptation, and experimentation that always used to characterize my eating to begin with. It’s been refreshing, healing, and freeing. I think my health is finally back on track in many ways, and I wanted to share that with all of you. Those of you who are longtime readers no doubt recognized the initial shift last year—I rebranded my blog, from Almost Vegan to Chef Amber Shea, and began proudly declaring myself free of labels. I reframed my perceived plant-based stance as simply being passionate about plant foods, which was really the case all along. But that wasn’t enough. I continued posting pretty exclusively plant-based recipes, because I thought it’s what people wanted, and to be honest, I didn’t want to deal with the flack I would receive if I posted anything else. But it has become abundantly clear through this year especially that all this “trying to make everyone else happy” business has made me profoundly UNhappy, not to mention uninspired. I feel like the energy, enthusiasm, and personality with which I used to fill this blog has been zapped. Blogging does not excite me anymore, because I have felt unable to be myself on here. I understand that has largely been my own choice and fault. But if you’ve ever been in my position, you’ll know switching gears in this manner – knowing all about the misunderstanding, judgment, and hatred that are about to be directed your way – can be terrifying. Nonetheless, as of today, I am through letting everyone but me decide what my content will be and how accurately or inaccurately it will reflect my actual diet and beliefs.

So let me just lay it all out here. I’ll let this semi-recent post from my personal Facebook page speak for itself:

I’m not a vegan, because I regularly eat conscientiously-sourced animal-derived foods (and have never been ethically opposed to doing so). The amount has waxed and waned over the years, from none at all, to (lately) some each day, and that is how it should be.
I’m not a vegetarian, because I eat non-vegetarian foods too.
I’m not a whole-foods-ist, because I eat non-whole-foods whenever I want.
I’m not an organic foodist, because not everything I eat is (or can be) organic.
I’m not a raw foodist, because although I love raw food, it doesn’t make up the majority of my diet.
I’m not even a natural/”real” foodist, because I have no problem eating man-made food sometimes.
I’m not an allergen-free foodist, because I eat and enjoy gluten, soy, dairy, etc. (and have experimented more than enough to know my body handles them all perfectly well, thankyouverymuch).
I’m not even a healthy foodist—though this label seems to come closest to defining me, I always reserve the right to treat myself to something delicious and terrible-for-me. It’s good for my sanity.

I follow the Amber Diet. And my physical and mental health is finally on the upswing, after several years in the gutter. If you have a problem with that—it’s been nice knowing you!

Now, obviously that last sentence sounds so flippant only because I was speaking to friends! However, tone aside, I do mean it. I have made great strides in my mental and physical health in recent months by going back to basics, experimenting with my diet, correcting my often strained relationship with food, and re-learning to eat for the only two reasons I’ve ever wanted to eat: health and joy. Although I was never fully vegan, it’s safe to say my diet is less vegan now than it’s been in several years. This has not been an overnight shift, but a long, slow, comfortable, experimental progression. I don’t feel a need to “justify” it in detail, because no matter what I say, people will find (or make up, if they have to) reasons to be angry and hateful. The long and short of it is that I’m focusing on real, natural foods – same as always, just more omnivorous – and opting out of the industrial food system whenever possible (and always in regard to animal products specifically). Like I said, I’ve gone back to basics—my simple, non-stressful goal each day is to eat predominantly unprocessed, organic, conscientiously-produced, TASTY, real foods, with room here and there for a less-healthful or more-processed treat as I see fit.

Let me be particularly clear about one thing: my cookbooks, Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts, are and always will be 100% vegan. And I love them just the way they are, and wouldn’t change a thing about them! I am monumentally proud of them, and I continue to eat ALL the things they contain. For perspective, both books also happen to be gluten-free, [mostly] soy-free (a few recipes in PR use tamari or miso), and largely Paleo-friendly—but that doesn’t mean my whole diet is GF, soy-free, or Paleo (not even close!). My books contain a total of 240 recipes made up of nutritious ingredients, delicious combinations, and just plain real food. And that’s still what I’m all about. So it’s crucially important to me that no one think I’m “renouncing” any of the work I’ve ever done. I am most certainly not.  My books are for everyone, and I adore them (and hope you do too!).

Nor am I turning around and bashing vegan diets or claiming they cause health failure. I’m not. First of all, “vegan food” is just food—and it’s delicious food, at that! More importantly, a vegan (or, as in my former case, an almost-vegan) diet works beautifully for many people, and I support anyone who wants to eat that way—but I also support anyone who wants to eat any other way. I support diet freedom and interdietary respect. I support label-free eating. I support change and growth. And I think anyone who believes they have health, wellness, and diet all figured out at age 20, 30, or 40 has a lot left to learn, and I worry about people cheating themselves out of health because they think there’s a universal ideal they have to stick to. I think that anyone who thinks health or nutrition is just a “simple” formula you can follow is incorrect and short-sighted. Those who think they have it all figured out are the ones who tend to understand the least about how bodies work and needs change—especially when that person tries to tell other people that they should all do the exact same thing to achieve health. There is no one right way.  As I said at the beginning of this post, the more you think you know, the less you probably do know. Today I recognize that I know very little in the grand scheme of things—but I have, at last, re-learned to listen to my body and take care of it, even if that means displeasing other people.

For a multitude of reasons, it is vital to my well-being that I stop blogging, at least for now. I need to privately complete my process of rediscovering dietary freedom and joy in food.  I am also, if nothing else, wise enough to know that my skin is thinner than I’d like to think it is when it comes to being eviscerated on the internet. So it is in my best interest to step away for awhile. If people are out there portraying me as a soulless villain, or talking gleefully about how I’m bound to die of cancer, I’d rather not hear about it. I have a real life to live. I have a family to hopefully start soon—something that was an impossibility with the state of my health before, but which I am ecstatic to say has now become possible again.

I’m not sure I’ll be gone forever. But two things are certain: one, that I will never return to blogging unless I can do so on my own terms, freely and joyfully, writing and posting and cooking and sharing only what my heart desires. If I were to come back, this site would become a much more open-minded and diverse (and less didactic and “health”-obsessed) place, with all types of eaters openly welcome and all types of food being showcased. And two, I don’t want to return if I’m not wanted. Part of the beauty of blogging, for me, is connecting with like minds, encountering cool people, building friendships, and learning new things. If there is one thing I ask of you, it’s this: let me know if you find my blog and writing valuable, and if you’d like to see me back, even if my content shifts to a more omnivorous, even-more-flexible perspective. And on the flip side of that, if you’re angry or disappointed to read all this, please keep it to yourself if you can stand to. It won’t have any bearing, let alone positive effect, on anything happening here. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it—just unsubscribe, unlike, unfollow, and be on your way. I support and encourage your desire to eat and live according to your ethics and what brings you joy and health. Please lend me the same courtesy.

I didn’t intend this post to be so lengthy! It’s been in the pipeline for a long time, and I still feel like I only touched the tips of many icebergs, but I hope you all understand what I’m saying, and why I’m leaving (for now). To everyone that has always been nothing but kind to me, I appreciate you more than you can know—always have and always will. Thank you so, so much for all your support over the years. And if you do indeed want me back—tell me. I may very well return.  I do think that now, more than ever, I have a great deal of experience, ideas, food, and authentic self to share.

Meanwhile:  go outside. Hug your family. Laugh with your friends. Work hard and play hard. Get enough sleep. Read. Experience. Keep life in perspective. Avoid negativity and unnecessary stress. Eat yummy food. Don’t define your self-worth by the number on the scale or the supposed “purity” of your diet. Keep your health in mind, but don’t let it become an obsession that rules you. At the end of your life, you won’t look back and dwell on the foods you did or didn’t eat, so don’t dwell on it now. Stop worrying about other people and what they do or say or think or feel or eat. Don’t be afraid to learn, change, grow, evolve. Find your joy, and live it.

To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. —Aristotle

 

P.S. Because I know this question will pop up: if you want help extricating yourself from the maze/cycle and escaping dietary dogma, nutritional prescriptivism, and/or restrictive eating, here are some rabbit holes I recommend going down:

180 Degree Health / Go Kaleo / Your Eatopia

P.P.S. Although I will not be blogging until further notice, I plan on staying active on Instagram, and I’ll still post on Facebook and Twitter from time to time.

P.P.P.S. I do have one more post coming up after this, as I don’t want this to be the final entry that remains up at the top of my blog forevermore. So look forward next week to my very favorite recipe from Practically Raw Desserts—you will LOVE it.

264 comments Post a comment

  1. Peggy Pierson

    I wish you well on your journey. I’ve always enjoyed your writing and if you return I’ll be sure to tune in. Everyone should be free to follow their own path and I’m happy you will be unburdened now. Sending good thoughts your way for your happiness.

  2. Hannah

    I love you so much. I am so proud of you. I dream/hope/wish/can’t wait until a time when I can walk/drive/dance over to you for dinner every week. Dinner of whatever the heck we feel like it, with cheesecake factory for dessert. I love you. xo

  3. Kat

    Oh boo 🙁 It sucks that you feel you need to stop keeping the blog, but understandable given everything you have written above. It’s a shame. But there is no point if it is not interesting or fun anymore. You’ve given everyone a whole load of great recipes and ideas, so thank you!!

    I refuse to say that I am one thing or another when it comes to food. I think I very much fall into the same kind of area as you do. I love your books just because they have helped us find foods that cater to a healthier lifestyle (i.e. cutting out so much of the sugary junkiness of desserts) and allow my wife to eat more foods (as she is allergic to milk protein and gluten intolerant). Plus they are fun and taste great!!

    I for one wouldn’t care if you posted recipes that involved meat. The thing I love about your recipes is that you give so many options for substitutions – just because the original might call for chicken, doesn’t mean that a vegetarian can’t use the basic idea and use whatever protein they like!

    Shame on people for being so closed minded. People suck, but you don’t 🙂

  4. Carla

    Amber – I LOVE everything about this post (well not the fact that people can be so mean!) Take your time – but please come back!! I couldn’t even label how I eat if I tried!!! And it’s hard raising a 10 year old daughter who I am always afraid I will give her some eating disorder if I concentrate too much on what’s bad food, what’s good food, etc… I am just trying to find my way to better eating… for me and my family.

    Don’t stay away too long! xoxo

  5. Johnna

    I’m so very grateful for all you have shared. Yours was one of the first blogs I discovered that helped me to understand I could eat “almost” whatever way I needed to, that it was ok to eat the Johnna Diet and not fit perfectly within someone else’s label, especially when that label didn’t speak well to my health. Labels can be intimidating, polarizing and exclusionary. Thank you for never making your space feel that way. I selfishly hope you will return and wish you well on your journey to find what works best for you!

  6. Emma

    This is a superbly written post Amber and I respect your changes to your diet and your attitude entirely. I’m a huge fan of your blog and books and certainly hope that you’ll return to posting again in the future. As you say, even if you’re eating more omnivorous foods it doesn’t mean you’re not still enjoying vegan and raw foods as well.
    I really hope you don’t face criticism (or too much at least…) for your decisions, especially from other vegans like myself. I find it embarrassing that others in this community would act in such a childish manner.
    I wish you all the best in your journey.
    P.S. Very much looking forward to seeing which is your favourite Practically Raw Desserts Recipe

  7. Kathryn

    I love your blog and FB page. I wish you weren’t going but your reasons are certainly understandable! We are such a judgemental society and good people like yourself always end up getting hurt.
    Be true to yourself! Make yourself happy and healthy. At the end of the day that’s all that matters!!! Your true friends will stick by you and those who don’t never were true friends. This will be an incredible growing experience for someone your age. When you get to be my age you will look back and laugh at your younger self 🙂

  8. Elisa

    Well Done Amber! I am very happy for you that you have let go of dogma and are getting back to the joy and adventure of food/healing. Rock on and enjoy the journey 🙂

    Elisa

  9. Kate Feathers

    Love, love, love it! I understand this completely! I thank your for all that you’ve created and shared here from the beginning.

    You also mentioned that you are 28. It’s now the time of your Saturn Return and when people’s lives usually shift into the next third of their life. Get yourself an astrology reading if you want some insight into the energy of your next phase.

    I think you’re perfect and you’ve expressed yourself perfectly. I understand feeling thin skinned. I shut down social media for four months this year and went into the quiet calm of my heart and mind. It helped a great deal.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to what blossoms next.

    Hugs,

    Someone who knows the value of kindness.

  10. Good Girl Gone Green

    I want you back! I love everything about your blog; I love everything about you; I think you are fantastic person and will miss your blog but I will stalk um, keep in touch via Fb and email. 🙂

    About the food: When I was got pregnant with little J I decided to add eggs to my diet. Little E was already eating eggs. I was going to stop eating them after I gave birth but I still eat them. I feel judged by so many people because I eat them. I recently found out I have a thyroid problem from being pregnant and/or nursing for the last 4 years among other things. My naturaopath wants me to eta fish. I am not there yet. But when I began my “vegan” journey 2.5 years ago I remember telling people and JP, you know this is a day by day thing and perhaps tomorrow or in a year I will eat eggs or fish etc. I hate being defined by a label. It bothers me to no end. Your facebook status is exactly how I feel. I eat raw food, vegan food, organic food, heathy food but you know I do eat chips. Gasp! Don’t tell anyone! 😉

    I miss you already! xoxo

    PS-I was almost in tears reading your last paragraph. It made me every emotional.

  11. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Amber I can totally understand and relate to many of the things you wrote about. When I started my blog in 2009, it was plant-based on showcased ‘healthy’ food. But there were only so many salads I could blog about before I wanted to do more. In changing my blog’s focus from salads to sweets, I have heard (and continue to get them on email) many comments from readers. And most of them aren’t nice and still live in 2009 and don’t understand that people change, they move on, the focus of blogs change, etc. So, I am sorry to see you go, but I understand so, so so much of what you wrote about and can only imagine the personal heartache you’ve had to endure. I found myself nodding in agreement to practically every sentence you wrote! You will be missed but it’s 100% understandable! I wish you nothing but the best on your own path to health, too 🙂

  12. Stephanie

    Beautifully said- these are some of the reasons why I decided to liberate my diet and unsubscribe from the rigidity of being vegan. I used to follow vegan blogs and felt like I was being contained in a tiny box by people who had no business telling me what to eat, or what to believe. I fully understand the ethics of being vegan, the health benefits, etc- but regardless of how passionate you are about a cause, you cannot stuff it down someone’s throat. Any lifestyle choice you make has to be for YOU in order for it to stick and be a healthy choice. I was sick of the pressure I felt, again from people I didn’t know, and being “vegan” wasn’t all that fun. If I ate even a slice of cheese I felt bad. I decided that it wasn’t worth it, and that I needed to remove that negativity and unwarranted criticism from my life, and eat what I wanted to eat.

    I eat what I consider to be “healthful” most of the time- I love my green juice, fruits/veggies of all kinds, whole grains and plant based protein shakes. I also enjoy a flatbread pizza, mac and cheese, and other foods too. I will eat some chocolate if I want it- and I don’t have to justify it to anyone. It is my body and my body only, and to be able to truly feel that is wonderful. Although I will most definitely miss your blog posts, I understand why you’ve decided to take a break and respect that you are thinking about yourself first and foremost!

  13. Tina

    Dear Amber- I’ve enjoyed your posts/recipes & I wish you the best. We do each have our own journey to follow- there is no “one size fits all” & I think too many people spend too much time trying to rule other peoples lives, rather than concentrating on their own. Take care & be well. Tina

  14. Marisa Bode

    Amber-
    Good for you! I find your writing (& blog) extremely valuable. I am so proud of you for doing what is right for YOU, and making this shift. I have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for you. And I look forward to learning more from you during this evolution.

    You are a talent, and in order to nurture that talent, and sustain, you have realized that it takes listening to your own body and making changes as needed. I commend you for that, and strive to follow the same path. I am so grateful for everything you have shared thus far.

    You (& your cookbooks) have provided me with some much needed hope, and the ability to adjust to my own ever evolving relationship with food, and ultimately find joy. Thank YOU for all that YOU do. And mostly thank you for BEING YOU. It is the best gift you can give yourself. Best of luck on this journey. I will definitely be one of the folks missing your presence online. But knowing the reasons behind it, I can accept it with a little bit of unavoidable sentimentality, and be happy knowing you are facilitating your own well being and happiness.

  15. Christy

    Hi Amber, I only recently started following your blog and have recently purchased your cookbooks. I am so happy with your decision to “do you”! I would never had judged nor bashed or questioned what you do or why. I followed your blog because you gave great information and have AWESOME recipes! I am not a vegan or a vegetarian…I am just a woman looking for ways to eat healthier and provide healthier options for my family and still enjoy eating! You gave (give) me so many tasty options! Thank you for sharing! I look forward to having your cookbooks in hand!!! And I wish you the best on your journey…Aloha from New Jersey

  16. Lily S.

    Wow, this was very impressive and inspiring. I admire your bravery and courage, and wish you all the best on your journey to health. I’m sure I speak for many others when I say, I can relate. It’s hard to put into words to someone the “diet” you follow, when you eat for your personal being. I really have enjoyed your recipes, and hope to see more from you in the future. Thanks for being open, honest and extremely creative in developing recipes.

  17. KellyJ

    I respect and admire your candor. It confirms our thinking is very much alike :). I would live to see you return, with anything you have to offer, even pictures of the husband and future kiddos! I love your blog and your style and I pray you find peace and happiness in your hiatus.

  18. Carol

    Amber, I will ALWAYS support you, whatever you do. I think you are a remarkable young woman with so much to offer. I agree with you that EVERY BODY is different. We were not all cut from the same cloth. Each of us must do what makes us feel our personal best. Take good care of yourself. I wish you well on your life’s journey. 🙂 (((Hugs)))

  19. Jennifer

    I’m sad to read that people are so judgmental on the subject of YOU. I really appreciate this post because within the past week I have decided to add fish back into my diet. I tried vegan for a year…it pained me how much I wanted to be vegan, tried so hard and hated myself for not thriving on it. I had more health issues then I EVER did on a SAD diet. It’s been a great learning experiment, but I’m happy to say that by just adding in that fish the past several days and cutting out all of the extra legumes and grains I had added to get more protein (my body needs it, unfortunately…without it I was sickly and had horrible hormone issues, but with it I did better; however I also gained a LOT of weight eating so much beans and grains). I have more energy, I’ve already lost some of those extra pounds, and my sex drive has returned. As much as I want to be vegan, I need to do what’s best for me.

    Label yourself as a Foodist 🙂 or Foodie… that encompasses everything!

  20. Terri

    Amber, kudos to you for being true – to yourself and to your readers/followers. From the first I “found” you, I have been inspired and enamored with your “do what works for you” attitude and recipes. It saddens me beyond description to hear that others, carrying ZERO authority over you, have seen fit to judge/mold/threaten you. 🙁
    I hope that you find a good place for you and that you are moved to come back to public sharing – selfish, I know, but honest!

    Again, I want to share that YOU inspired my journey into new and better eating habits. Your manageable and flexible approach lured in my 18 y/o veggie-hater, and just last weekend, my 14 y/o daughter (who has spent months bemoaning my focus on unprocessed, whole and natural foods)voluntarily offered her new assessment that, “You know, this really isn’t so bad.”

    Thank you, Amber!! Safe journey and I hope to see you again, soon. 🙂

  21. Nicole

    I am surprised to read this! I have been following your blog for two years now, and my heart is heavy at the news. I do understand because I too am thin skinned and definitely have a great deal of respect for people who put themselves out there so freely for all of the world to see. Congratulations on taking this huge brave step!

    I have learned so much from you; you have opened so many doors for me! I make so many of your recipes all of the time, enjoyed your cleanse, and truly appreciate all of the hard work you have done for all of us. Thank you!

    That said, I truly look forward to the day that you decide to come back. I look forward to your creative recipes, witty posts, excellent writing (!!!), and educational information. A tout a l’heurs!

  22. Linda

    I completely and totally agree with the “label” thing. I completely understand your choice about giving up the blog and making changes for the good of your well being. I wish you peace, health and happiness.
    Linda

  23. Margie

    Many blessings to you Amber. You and I are quite alike. Over my lifetime I have tried all the different ways of eating and yes, every body is different. So we all ought to just listen to our bodies and give it the food it wants. No judgments from others or ourselves!
    Peace & Joy,
    Margie

  24. Caitlin

    since i follow you on instagram, i knew you were eating an omnivorous diet. but my whole perception was that you never claimed to be vegan, so i didn’t think much of it! it wasn’t until you had commented on one of your pictures about re-evaluating your career (or something) that i was hoping you’d do a post about it.

    i’m one of those people that, although i am vegan, doesn’t believe i have any right to tell anyone else what they should or should not eat. i wish you great success for your future, am excited for you to start a family, am happy that your health issues are under control, and look forward to continue to follow you on instagram. i think you are a lovely person and hope you find peace and happiness in your personal exploration/transformation <3

    1. Belinda Heflin

      I agree with Caitlin. I get so angry when haters reply because I just don’t understand. I know that it is a reflection of their own insecurites. Still, just because they can be so evil under the veil of the internet, why? I hope to see you back soon and wish you many blessings.

  25. Adie

    Hey Amber, it saddens me that you’re going on haitus. I love your food creativity, but I can emphathize with your decision. There is something truly wrong with some vegans who are downright militant about animal consumption when in reality we live in a non-vegan world and to pick on you or an ex-vegan or whoever is just wrong. Your post has inspired me and the timing couldn’t be better. I wish you the best and hope to see more work from you in the future.

  26. Linda

    Hi Amber – I would love to see you back at some point in the future – whenever you’re ready. We have to live our lives in our own way – you have definitely inspired me over the past couple of years. I believe “everything in moderation” including food and if I want a piece of meat, I have it, without guilt

  27. Beth M.

    Amber, you are truly an inspiration! I absolutely love what you wrote because what you wrote is exactly how I have been feeling for the last several months. I also run a blog, grant it, it’s a lot smaller in terms of followers, but even so I received backlash for not being a strict vegan. I became very cautious about what I posted, making sure it followed the “guidelines”. Then I noticed on Instagram you were making the transition to diet freedom and you inspired me to do the same. I told my husband I no longer wanted to be labeled as “vegan” or “raw” and that I preferred to just be a healthy foodie because that’s who I truly am.

    I will miss your posts but PLEASE come back when you feel the time is right. I could care less if you’re posting steak recipes! I love your personality and attitude and I enjoy reading your posts and recipes. You have been an inspiration to me and I’m sure to others, who have been hiding behind diet labels, afraid to break free. Thank you.

    Amber you totally rock and I hope you enjoy the new journey that lies ahead for you! I wish you all the best!

  28. Tamikko Braun

    I love you even more now! I wish for you the best health for your body and life. I’m so proud of you for standing for your beliefs. I do wish you come back and/or on another blog, write about your experiences with any foods you’re eating at any time. Of course, if you don’t I wish you all the best. I will always love your recipes and will continue to come back to them for making over and over. Please don’t get rid of them.
    Good luck with your next adventure!

  29. Jennifer Doyle

    Ahhh!!! I literally *just* found your blog like a week ago and am SO disappointed to see you leave. I just recently ordered the kindle version of your Practically Raw Desserts and am excited to try more of the recipes on your website. Sorry to hear of the “haters” who have made blogging a source of pain and frustration. Thanks for the tips and wisdom you have given me in such a short time! 🙂

  30. Monique E.

    I have one of your books, the Practically Raw one, and I love it, your recipes, and your blog. I agree with your way of eating…free to eat what you want without being labeled. I’m sorry people have been so close-minded and cruel over the years; we should all be free to eat the way we want. I choose to eat as healthy as possible, like you, but sometimes don’t. If you come back to blogging I’ll read, if not then enjoy your life doing it the way you want and makes you feel good. In the meantime, I’ll keep making your yummy recipes!

  31. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    What an amazing, but also sad post, and I hope you come back to blogging, you contribute so much and it is so sad that this has happened.

    I remember you commenting on my site years ago, me visiting yours and thinking “gosh – someone who eats like I do”. I use primarily plant based but do so hate labels.

    Good luck and hope to see you blogging again, what a long way we both have come. Let me know if you are ever in London.

    H xx

  32. Sarah

    Amber, I love your blog, books and recipes and I’m so distraught that people have been so horrible to you. You’re wonderful and should never be treated that way. XOXO

  33. Heidi McReynolds

    I just recently found you and I find you to be a real inspiration! I became vegan this last December, but part of what I’ve struggled with is the idea of having to label how I eat and being judged on it. I’ve really enjoyed reading what you’ve said about diet labels. I just want to find what works best for me to get and keep my weight and type 1 diabetes in control and feel good. I am sad to see you go, but I understand why you need to. I do hope you will return someday and I will continue enjoying your books. I am sorry to hear that there are people saying such horrible things to you. I will never understand why some people are so full of hatred. I guess because they’re miserable in their own lives they have to try and cause misery to others. I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by such things, but please know there are so many openminded loving people out here too. I wish you much health and happiness and blessings on starting a family! God bless you!
    PS My glucose is always awesome after I use one of your recipes and you’ve given me a new love for being in the kitchen because I’m creating my own practically raw recipes now. Thank you so much! Take care!

  34. Abby

    Even though I’m a frequent reader, I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. However, I just wanted to throw my support your way as well, for what it’s worth. Even though I eat a vegan diet, I have recently been feeling similar in regards to the militant attitudes and guilt that often comes along with any type of label. For me it’s about being compassionate–to myself and to others–and food should be used as a way to fuel that compassion. It will always be plant-based because that’s what I prefer, but the only thing I will restrict is guilt. If I decide to add things back in, I will do so knowing it’s what I want to do, not what I think I “should” do.

    I commend you on this post and your decision to live the best life for you. I hope to see you back here at some point!

  35. Alta

    Amber, I am applauding with misty eyes at reading this post. I too have gone through somewhat similar struggles with orthorexia, healing from dietary dogma, and then mentally battling with how to be at peace with my blog and readers. I think we all have to make our own decisions that speak best for ourselves, our peace, and our health, and I am so glad you are making a decision with YOUR best interests at heart. I will always love your blog and your recipes, and if you come back to blogging, you will be welcomed! I am happy to hear that you are on the path to healing (and possibly being able to start a family! That’s excellent news!). MUCH MUCH love to you. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  36. Shona Johnson

    Amber I love everything about you! You are a real and beautiful soul. I wish you health and happiness always! Love the life you live…

  37. Aimee

    I support your choices and no matter how you eat, I enjoy your blog and cookbooks. You have been a valuable resource to me and I would continue to enjoy your blog even if it included animal products. I do eat a strictly plant based diet, but I don’t think others are evil because they don’t. It’s hard to believe how some have reacted to you, they are the ones that have the problem! I hope you do come back, I will enjoy your blog either way even though I may only be sticking to the plant based recipes!! 🙂

  38. Christy

    You will be missed by so many (but thankfully we are friends in real life so I will just be missing your blogs and recipes)! I’m so proud of you for being true to yourself and doing what you need to do to be happy. That is the most important thing in life. And I love you for YOU no matter what your diet is! I hope you didn’t unfollow me on IG because you think I am one of those judgy vegans who are going to give you a hard time. Not in the least. <3

  39. Michelle W

    Awesome post! I am also not vegan! Yet due to food allergies and sensitivities, I am 100% Dairy Free, strictly soy and gluten limited, because I HAVE to be on those points. I’m one of those that needs to maintain and even gain weight, and after trying the strict vegan and raw diets, they were NOT viable for me, I had to have some extra protein, (and I’m also sensitive to some of the nuts). So I do eat eggs and seafood (and yes, still meat once in a while). It is a perfect fit for me and my health! So ‘I eat mostly vegan, yet am not a vegan’ is what I always say to people.

  40. Bethany

    Chef Amber, I truly enjoy reading your blog and I have ALWAYS appreciated your honesty and integrity. I was vegan for 7 years until 2 months ago, when I started eating quality animal proteins again due to health problems which I believe were likely caused or exacerbated by my vegan diet. I really, truly get super angry when vegans (who usually remain anonymous and can’t even put their names behind their rants) attack and THREATEN bloggers for being HONEST and for EATING THE WAY THAT IS BEST FOR THEM. Honestly, I am sickened that you’ve received death threats and character assassination for being “almost vegan.” It’s appalling. To the 100% vegan purists out there who attack others, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are so ready to defend animals but you threaten the lives of fellow HUMAN BEINGS? Do you NOT see the hypocrisy?

    Chef Amber, you are one of my favorite bloggers. I think you are awesome. Do what is right for you. Bloggers provide a tremendous FREE service to readers everywhere. You are under no obligation whatsoever to continue doing so. I’ll miss you though 🙂 Best wishes, Bethany

  41. SherLee Holmes

    Amber, I love your books and they help me to eat less meat which I need to do for my CBS snp’s. I hope to see you back with recipes aimed at optimizing our enzymes and genetic needs. My best, SherLee

  42. CarolS

    Oh, Amber I am so sorry for several reason…you’re insults & verbal abuse (dealt with that sort of stuff all my life…for different reasons but the hurt is still the same), your feelings of having to be the way others want you to be (again…been there..still there sometimes), and most of all that you will be leaving us…even if it’s just for a little while.

    I joined a friend of mine, almost 2yrs ago in going the vegan way and did pretty good for about a year, but then found that for health reasons I needed to add a few non-vegan things and felt the need to hide that for a while. Crazy as it sounds finding your books & your cleanse was a boost for me…I now had good healthy meals to add to my fish or turkey addition, or to help balance them, with less guilt.

    I’m going to bookmark this post for future (personal) reference. When I feel the negative in my life come back around to overwhelm me again, as it always does, I am going to look back on this and take a deep breath, absorb some of your strength and push it behind me. With all the negativity you may not realize it but in this post you most certainly show that you have a great amount of strength and I applaud you for it!

    Keep straight on YOUR path! Enjoy your time away! I look forward to seeing you back again…and maybe a new book…with some fish and/or turkey recipes…hint hint! LOL

    Lots of Love
    See you soon
    CarolS

    PS…Chilly Cherry-Coconut Porridge…Still my favorite breakfast(I found finely shredded coconut that works better for me and I’m still adding the walnuts)! LOVE!

  43. Deanna

    Oh Amber, I think I could write the exact same post. I, for one, would welcome you back with open arms no matter what you want to cook (or uncook).

    May we all learn to be more open, accepting, and gentle with ourselves when it comes to our food choices.

    {{hugs}}

  44. Michelle

    HI Amber

    I’ve always loved your site even when it was Almost Vegan.. I loved your philosophy even then… I am vegan but I think I want to use the term strict vegetarian, meaning I don’t eat animal products but in other areas I am not the crazy strict vegan type and those are the ones I can’t stand and give everyone a bad name. I seriously dont understand why anyone would come to a food blog and bash anyone… seriously..If you dont like a blog then dont read it.
    I fell in love with your site after seeing and making the 5 minute blondies… I do hope you come back to the blogesphere and I will look at it…if it doesnt have all vegan then I will substitute or make other things that are… I loved seeing your wedding photos and getting to know you a little. Much love and success in the future

    Michelle

  45. Bobbie {the vegan crew}

    I am so saddened about the way people have judged and even threatened you — there is NO place for that! If/when you’re ready, I would love to see you eventually return to the blogging world; you have a unique voice and so much to contribute. Wishing you joy, good health and peace. ::hugs::

  46. Kelly

    I’m so sorry to see you go. I always look forward to your blog posts, and I do hope you come back (as a food lover, regardless of what food it is). I live your recipes and look forward to more in the future. I hope the hiatus is good to you. Sending loads of happy and healthy your way.

  47. Christine Doody

    I am VERY proud of you! I too have felt maybe plant based alone isn’t completely my thing. I sometimes missed the meat yet felt guilty eating it..(even if I felt more energized after!) Please stay in touch and good luck on your new journey.

    You are loved by many!!

  48. Mel

    I support your decisions! I want you to know that the reason why I ever even started looking at your posts is because it was labeled “Practically Vegan,” and I thought, FINALLY, someone who eats the way she feels right for HERSELF and not because she is self-righteous and thinks she is better than everyone! I used to be a part of some vegan groups on Facebook and I have since removed myself from all of them because I was tired of all the judging and criticism.

    We can only tell what is best for OURSELVES to eat!

    I admire you SO much, and I say this with all my heart, because you have made a huge difference to me. You are one of the THREE (yes, 3) “practically vegan” people I know who doesn’t judge others! You are so positive, you are a beautiful person inside and out, you have endured people’s criticisms for so long and with so much strength.

    I’m so happy for you that you are doing what you know is best for you, even if that means I won’t be able to read your blogs anymore (or at least for a while). This is ultimately the most important thing in each person’s lives – if you don’t take care of yourself properly, how can you properly help others?

    Never stop telling yourself that you are an amazing, wonderful, healthy person, especially when others are telling you otherwise. I will, honestly, keep you in my prayers.

    With much love and many hugs,
    Melissa

  49. paula rothman MD

    thank you for your deeply moving and heartfelt post. YOu are well on your way to finding balance by finding what doesnt suit you. Im sorry the naysayers and negative folks enter your circle. YOu have brought so much to so many and taught so much. i love your recipes.. please come back! I do animal rescue and sometimes you just need to step away to regain your balance.. reality check is healthy. namaste

  50. Carrie @ Carrie on Vegan

    It’s a privilege to know you, Amber, and I consider you a friend. As you know, I LOVE your cookbooks and I think you are such a talented writer, photographer, and chef. I wish you all of the health and happiness in the world, I admire your honesty and tenacity.

    I’ve taken it upon myself to live a healthy, compassionate life and to try and inspire others, but I fully understand that that includes a full spectrum of ways of living. For some people in my sphere of influence, I would be thrilled if they just even acknowledge their food choices or think a bit about where food comes from.

    I do consider myself a vegan activist and this is a great opportunity for me to make sure that I stay positive and open-minded and remember that everyone has their own needs and I have to respect that. I do hope we can stay in touch.

  51. Mickey

    I’m so sad to hear that other people have taken away your joy of blogging.

    For what it’s worth, I love your blog and agree with you 100% on your views of a good diet. I tried to go fully vegan and it was good for a time, but I realized I was becoming crazed when I avoided buying the best veggie patties because they contained egg. I tried going Paleo but only lasted a few weeks. I need pasta. I believe it’s important to be conscious of the things you are putting into your body, but not to such an extreme that it becomes a burden or causes you to lose sight of things that you love (cookies!).

    Good luck and best wishes! If you do decide to blog again in the future, I look forward to whatever you’ve got in store.

    Much internet love for ya, girl! <3 <3 <3 <3!!!

  52. Cobi

    Good for you Amber.It takes a lot of courage to stand in your own truth. I’ll definitely still be following you on IG and look forward to the evolution of your journey.

  53. Melisa

    Wow! You have so beautifully summarized exactly how my own food journey has evolved. I hope you do choose to return. I really enjoy your blog and cookbooks. I can only imagine what wonderful ideas you would come up when you do not feel stifled. I wish you lots of good fortune with your future projects! Hope to “see” you soon!

  54. Juniper Lee

    Amber,

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now. I have noticed how much influence you have made on my diet and just the way I think about food. You are truly inspirational and I appreciate all you have brought to us. I wish you the best on your hiatus. It’s always good to take a step back and re-evaluate where you’re going. You will be missed but never unfollowed or unsubscribed! I look forward to your return and the new inspiration you will bring to your blog!

    Thanks for all that you have done and will do! <3

  55. Jamee Dyches

    Amber, first off, you are an excellent writer and I hope you continue to do so! Also, the part about orthorexia really hit home for me. I constantly find myself unable to enjoy anything I don’t deem “healthy.” I will eat it, but I will feel bad about it during and after. I am vegan for ethical reasons, but there are so many delicious vegan treats and snacks that I don’t consider healthy. It’s something I am working on. I hope to one day get to a place where I can eat healthful foods the majority of the time, but enjoy the treats guilt-free when I eat them. I would love to see you write more on this topic, as I believe it’s an issue that spans every kind of diet. Thanks for all you have contributed over the years. Also, you and Matt would have adorable as fuck babies. JUST SAYING.

  56. KO

    Amber Shea you are a very cool and brave person! Love you! KO

  57. Nik

    I’m so sad to see you go, as I adore you and your books. It’s absolutely your right to eat how it is best for your body and I must say (as someone who’s experienced ortho to ana to bulimia) food freedom and eating some “unhealthy” food once in a while is far less critical than starving, restricting, or just going against your body. I understand taking time off, as I don’t think I would handle backlash well at all myself, not to mention there are quite a few people with extreme ethics that use hate to try and prove their point! I wish you all the best and sincerely hope you return to blogging, though I admit I have seen the spark dim here on the blog when you post (I truly don’t mean this in a negative way, you jsut don’t post as often or have quite as much gusto, it seems), especially if you expand your family! I’m sure all your loyal readers who feel a connection would love to follow that journey! Sorry for the long comment, I look forward to your (hopeful) return. Best wishes<3

  58. Melissa

    I am sooooo happy for you!! I will certainly miss your blog but understand exactly what you are saying and why you are saying it. Being non-vegan but plant food loving myself, I look forward to a more diverse Chef Amber Shea blog upon your return.

  59. Laurel

    Incredibly well stated. No one ever has the right to make life choices for you but you! I hope you find your happy place and come back to blog whatever you so choose. I am left, however, trying to wrap my mind around life loving vegans dealing out death threats. So, we shouldn’t harm anything living (which BTW includes plants, guys) but killing a human being is OK because they don’t share your viewpoint. Well folks, that’s what the OFF button is for. Threats never changed anyone’s mind AND if Amber weren’t such a sweet person she’d have reported you to the FBI.

    Be happy Amber, be joyful, be at peace. For myself, I’m going to have to start reading your blog. It looks lovely. 🙂

  60. Marly

    I’m choosing to look at this as a break rather than the end. Everyone deserves a break every now and then. Your post is well-written, albeit sad. I would hope the veg-friendly group would be inclusive and understanding of individual needs.

    No matter what, know that I’m wishing you the very best…and hoping to see you back here someday!!

  61. Julee

    Thanks for writing this, Amber. Some people are way too judgmental about what other people do or eat. It shouldn’t be that way from a group that proclaims “compassion”. Stay strong and know you’ve touched a lot of lives for good. Best of luck to you!

  62. Nora

    Hi Amber!
    Too bad to see you go! But it’s so liberating to hear that you are and have been “allmost vegan”, as your blog was called, and not completely vegan. Thanks for coming out of the omnivore-closet! I’m still omni, but when reading (and commenting) vegan blogs and talking to vegans online, I feel ashamed.
    Probably just because I really want to make the change, but my situation atm wont let me.
    You go, and you do exactly what you want to do! You’re pretty awesome, and really brave. Can’t wait for the next blog entry, and for you amazing return 🙂 In the meantime, I will make sure to follow you on Instagram 🙂
    Love from Norway!

  63. River (Wing It Vegan)

    You ARE wanted! Please don’t leave forever! I do hope you will be able to come back whenever you feel comfortable in Blogland again. Some people can be horrifyingly unpleasant, but please don’t let the judgmental idiots hurt your feelings too much. You have plenty of adoring fans to neutralize their venom!

    I hope you stay healthy and happy! <3

  64. Marina

    Your “Practically Raw Desserts” is an amazing book – I love all about it, as well as the recipes on your blog. Thanks for sharing all that you have. I hope you do come back to culinary writing after some time because you are a fantastic chef. I think it would be even better for your blog if you posted diverse recipes – it would educate readers about the variety of choice (which very often may change)!

    Any kind of diet is simply a matter choice, not a boost of superiority. And it’s awful to hear about the treatment you got from some readers who were looking where to unleash their bad moods.

    Please continue to be a chef, creating new recipes and sharing them with your community. You talent is in making food and whatever it produces – it won’t be wrong! I am so inspired by your desserts book. It is the tastiest and most interesting collection of plant-based desserts I have read (really, it takes quite a skill to make a plant-based cheesecake which tastes just like if it was made with real mascarpone). Even if you discontinue plant-based recipes altogether, your existing books are already a great contribution!

    Stay shiny and creative as you are and don’t mind others who haven’t found their shininess and creativity yet.

  65. Kati

    Amber,

    I don’t know if you’ll remember me or not but we used to be somewhat “blog buddies.” 🙂 Anyways, I stumbled upon this and think it’s such an EXCELLENT post! I’m so happy to see that you’re finding your way and evolving as you see best fits YOUR NEEDS. We all have to do that. I’m planning a similar post to talk about the journey I’ve been on with different health issues. I wish you the best!

    Kati

  66. purelytwins

    we love you and love your thoughts about food and health!! we hate food rules or labels 🙂 we just like to eat foods that make our individual bodies thrive and feel our best 🙂
    we wish there were more people like you, you’re so strong and beautiful inside and out!

    we wish you all the best!!!!!!! love ya

    hugs
    Lori and Michelle

  67. sarah

    Amber, I’ll read whatever you want to write about food!! I have also learned the slow, painful way that the diet that seemed right for me in my teens and 20s does not necessarily support me in my 30s. I have had a very hard time adapting because I really identified myself with a label and I have had to rethink all of that. I saw a nutritionist who said, “Just because you might have said when you were a kid that boys were yucky, doesn’t mean you have to stick with that identity for the rest of your life!” Good luck with whatever comes next!!

  68. RachDminor

    I wish strident vegans knew what a turn off they are to so many. Compassion for animals includes compassion for human animals as well, a nuance too often missed, in my observations. Without the label, I’ve been vegetarian for 40 years, with majority of choices vegan and often raw, but I don’t want to be associated with judgmental, obnoxious ones who insist their way is the one and only way for everyone – or else (think religion … sound familiar?). What we choose to eat is a private matter and even my own farmily didn’t notice I didn’t put turkey on my plate at mannny Thanksgivings and ate mosly what I brought. Who really cares what someone else eats, if not to judge and claim superiority over their choices? When it’s an issue in a family, it’s often because at least one side is doing just that.

    I say I believe in The Golden Rule in all its hues, from religion to whom you love to what you eat. I believe you are nearing 30, which is about when I believe most girls become women, more aware of who they really are and willing to stand up and show the world that person (flaws and all), vs. who they think the world/family/boyfriend/husband thinks they should be. (Start noticing how many early marriages end around then, especially with much older husbands who chose young girls while they were still more controlled by outside influences [them] than confidence in their own, sometimes-unwelcome beliefs and feelings). It’s a painful but ultimately beautiful metamorphosis, this blossoming into womanhood. You’re just doing it publically, which is even harder.

    I’ve just recently discovered, and REALLY like, your books and blog. I trust that you’ll be back, eventually, with even more of the firmly footed confidence in being your take-it-or-leave-it true self, which you so gracefully expressed here. Being all things to all people can mean being very little (real) to oneself. That’s what being stuck in high school-like girlhood is like. You are clearly breaking free, expanding from self-consciousness to self-awareness to self-expression. That’s what courageous maturing is about. Brava for your bravery! I’m proud of you. xo

  69. Mooinca

    Dear Amber, your recipes and cookbooks started my journey wrt eating more healthily. You are immensely talented and I hope that when you are ready you will resume blogging. Label ridden diets are a huge annoyance. Militant diet followers, be it Paleo, raw, vegan or Atkins aren’t open to the variances in an individual’s body and their needs. Eat well, be well, and hug often. Best wishes, you will be missed.

  70. RachDminor

    ack, publicly, not publically 😉

  71. Lisa

    Good for you for taking care of yourself. You know if we don’t take care of ourselves then we don’t have anything to give to others. I have, like you, tried to please others and put myself on the back burner. I really like a quote by Bill Cosby that says “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
    I look forward to seeing more from you in the future if you do decide to return. Take care 🙂

  72. Jennifer

    I have mixed emotions about this. Happy for you that you are finding your way and proud of you for saying it. But sad for me, and I’m sure countless others, that will be sad to see you go, Amber.

    Your’s has been one of my favorite blogs and I will miss it. You provide great information and have always been so approachable and kind.

    I respect and admire you taking time for you and your health, but I would love to see your blog as you describe how you see your future eating. Because that’s what MY eating looks like.

    So to sum up: happy for you and selfishly sad for me 🙂 🙁

    Best of luck to you! I’ll start following you on Facebook so I see if/when you change your mind about the blog.

  73. Robin

    Bravo for you! I fell across your blog a while ago, I have both of your cookbooks, and I really admire what you’ve done. I will continue to read your blog, when and if you come back.

    I admire you and your talents. Do what makes you happy. We’ll all be wishing you the best.

  74. Shannon

    Amber, thank you for being so honest. I fully support your decision, and will continue to check instagram to keep updated on what you are doing and eating, no matter what category it falls under. Also, I just want to say that your practically raw cookbook is great, and I plan to purchase your practically raw desserts cookbook soon.

  75. Sarah @ This Is What I Eat

    Amber, you and this post are amazing. You are so talented with your writing and your recipes, but it’s all for nothing if you feel no connection with it and feel as though you are sacrificing your true self to please others. I can relate to this post very much and it makes me sad that you’ve been hurt by others who claim to follow a cruelty free and kind life. I am so proud of you for taking the steps to live for yourself. I wish you nothing but good health and lots of happiness. You’ve helped a lot of people with your blog and we all appreciate you so much for it. I will definitely be keeping up with you on Instagram and Twitter 🙂 And I definitely plan to continue cooking my way through your gorgeous cookbooks 😀

  76. Patricia

    Namaste. I’ll be here when you get back!

  77. Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

    Someone wise once said, “Find your joy, and live it.” Now go do it! And that’s an order!! <3 <3 <3

  78. Marquis

    Amber this pains me to read this because I can only imagine the experience you’ve been through. You have given such an eloquently written and intelligent post that I’m even more inspired by your blog! I’ve always been a huge fan of yours, and like many other raw or vegan bloggers out there you have been open and honest about your path, which I value and look up to. My heart aches for you only because of how heavy this has been for you!!

    Anyway, you go girl, congratulations, and THANK YOU for all the inspiration 🙂

  79. Loree Lund

    I’m not normally a commenter – just a follower – and your blog has been one of my favorite food-related blogs because you aren’t so ridiculously strict and focused on one specific diet. I agree that it isn’t necessary to follow a specific diet. Health is what is important. I love your creativity with food, so I hope to see you back!

  80. Pamela Holder

    You have my absolute support! Your journey sounds much like mine. Thank you for all the great words and recipes! Be well and enjoy! <3

  81. Jean

    Just wanted to send my support! Practically Raw is my favorite cookbook, I didn’t think there was even a reason to own cookbooks before I owned yours. I am sorry you had to deal with so much negativity, I would never had thought. But do realize you have helped so many people add healthy and tasty foods to their diet. Wish you all the best in your future, I am sure anything you choose to do will be a success!

  82. Claire

    I know I don’t comment often but please know you will be missed and I would love to see you back enjoying blogging!

    You have inspired me so much over the years- I even named my blog ‘Almost Skinny Vegan Food’ as an homage to you! The idea that perfection is overrated is something I’ve been fighting with for as long as I can remember and seeing your strength and honesty about your choices had a huge impact on me. Thank you.

    I respect your decisions and wish you happiness and health always. If you decided to come back I’d be more than happy to read about the food that’s making you smile- regardless of the ingredients.
    Take care xxx

  83. Caity

    Amber – I can’t even imagine what a difficult decision this was for you to make. I’m sorry that some people are so mean and hateful. I wish you all the best in your time off from blogging and hope to see you return at some point. While I consider myself an “almost vegan” (I occasionally eat dairy products) I still visit many blogs that feature meat on a regular basis and will continue to read your blog when you come back regardless of what you focus on or post here. I look forward to continuing to follow you Instagram. Best of luck with your journeys 🙂

  84. debbie

    you will be missed on my part as I find that your way of eating is so much easier to follow than a lot of others take care and good luck in the future

  85. Maria

    awwww, but I just found you! 🙂

    I resonate with you 100% ! People immediately slapping labels on you as soon as you deviate from the SAD, mainstream diet…I share the exact same food views as you and when I started my health journey I knew that I was going in to it with an open mind, not with the suffocating labels of “vegan” or “vegetarian” or “lacto-ovo-blablabla”. I liked to tell people I was on the Human Diet…because I liked to eat human food. Lol.

    I’ve learned that the only people who feel the need to judge others judge themselves the harshest. You are definitely attracting the right crowd with the energetic, honest post. I love how you are owning yourself…

    We’re all here to learn and grow! Congrats to you and best wishes. I’ll be following you on instagram! 🙂

  86. Sue

    I’ve found your blog and posts to be most valuable, and it makes me sad that others have been so mean to you. I also don’t like labels and my diet shifts often and as necessary, and I’m glad you’re finding something that works for you and are doing so much better health-wise. I wish you all the best and will definitely continue reading if/when you decide to return, Amber. No matter what you do and where you go, may your life always be filled with ease and joy!

  87. Mom

    My beautiful daughter Amber:

    First off, and mainly, I am so very proud of YOU. You definitely are a beautiful, talented, thoughtful, insightful, deep and inspiring person/writer. Reading so many of the comments above make me even prouder of you, if that’s possible. Ever since you were just a baby/toddler, I’ve always marveled at your abilities, ideas and determination. When you set out to complete a task/job/idea, you don’t stop until it’s done and done well/thoroughly/right. You are reliable and thought-provoking. So many of the comments above containing gratitude and praise…they just all make me feel so proud inside of who you are, what you do and where you’re headed in life. I am so excited for what your future (and your hubby’s) holds and am glad I am here to closely follow that journey. I want what’s ahead, your future, to be all you’ve ever wanted it to be. I could go on and on, but your readers/commenters (KellyJ, GoodGirlGoneGreen, BethM, Christy, Carol, Nicole…ALL of them) have said it better than I am/can. All that I’ve ever wanted it for you to be healthy and happy & I’m delighted you’re doing everything that is RIGHT for AMBER. Not to overuse the word PROUD, but to say I’m proud to be your mom is an understatement.

    Your last paragraph is superb, touching…on the mark.

    Love ALWAYS,
    Mom
    xoxo

  88. Kelly Miller

    You go girl! Some like it, some like it not. Some like it sometimes, some like it all the time. It’s all good, and I wish you peace,love and light as you keep on keeping on this crazy and beautiful ride of life!

  89. Mary

    Amber, thank you for being so honest. It’s not easy being public nowadays about a sensitive topic like food choices. Don’t take those idiotic comments to personally.
    Some vegans make me very ashamed of my veganism. Although I do it for ethical choices, I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe one day, but not with such hatred!
    I hope you keep writing cookbooks. I love how flexible and creative they are. If you post omni recipes, please think of your vegans followers and post some vegan options 🙂

  90. Amanda

    I have only recently discovered your blog and I love it! I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Your honesty and open-mindedness are much appreciated. Although I am a vegan, I would read your blog even if it did not solely include plant-based recipes. Looking forward to your next post- your recipes are fantastic.
    I hope you find the peace and clarity you are seeking.

  91. Katie Meyer

    Glad you have been around! I’ve enjoyed your blog since I joined it a couple yrs back. I fail to understand people and their lack of understanding that everything changes… including people. Good luck with everything!

  92. Jill

    I’m sad to see you go, but I completely understand why you need to. I really enjoyed your posts, books and recipes. Hope to see more from you in the future and I wish you all the best! 🙂 You’ll be missed!

  93. Aimee B.

    I’m saddened that you’ve experienced so much judgment. I’m proud of you for standing up and taking your life back. I thank you for all your knowledge and all you’ve shared. I hope you will one day come back, when you’re ready. Always be true to yourself! And remember, you’re loved just the way you are!! (((Hugs)))

  94. Arielle

    Amber, every night in bed I open my iPad and hope to see a new post from you with beautiful pictures and a delectable recipe. You are so talented, and your culinary creativity inspires me when I’m in my own kitchen.

    So many people in this world recognize a problem but ignore or refuse to resolve it. I’m really happy to hear that you are strong enough and love yourself enough to fix it.

    Please don’t worry about the haters. They’ll find something else to hate while you’re away. Just know that you have so many people rooting for you and missing you while you’re away, and you will receive a warm welcome if you ever decide to return.

    Much love and prayers to you. Have fun on your hiatus!!!!! And of course, happy eating. 🙂

  95. Odette

    Hi Amber,
    good luck with your diet re-discovery and i hope to hear from you soon. I’m all for your blog extending itself, it would make my life easier. I’m a vegetarian (for health reasons) allergic to soy and my fiance is male (eats everything). He’s very supportive of my dietary requirements but still wants to eat meat. Having a blog which can satisfy both of us would be wonderful.
    As for the ‘haters’, ones diet, like religion, political preferences and hair colour is a completely individual choice. Forcing your beliefs on others (or harassing those who feel differently) makes you an extremist, and really not worth any ones time.
    Best of luck for the future and good luck staring a family.

  96. milifresh

    hey amber – you have always been my favourite blogger. In fact, of all the bloggers i follow, i always thought you would be the most fun to meet IRL. Your recipes have always been the most delicious and your writing the most inspiring. And most importantly i have always loved your sense of humour! Something typically absent from the food-blogosphere. And last but definitely not least i LOVE the fact that you are a metalhead!! Your IG pics of your foodie metal tour of Europe were brilliant! I can hardly wait for you to return and will miss you while you are gone. Take care and much love from a fellow happily omnivorous foodie metalhead from Australia. Love mili xoxoxo

  97. Jill

    Amber, I have only recently discovered you and have found you to be an inspiration. You are an amazing young woman, kind and generous. It saddens me to hear that you have been victimised for being honest.

    At 50 I have finally discovered there is no definite right or wrong in life only the best choices we can make at any given time. Good on you for your bravery, to declare you truth and live you life the way that’s best for you. Shame on those who feel the need to denigrate those who do not fit within their limited ideals.

    I would love to see your wonderful recipes in the future even with meat included (I’m sure with your amazing substitution abilities they could easily be converted).

    I wish you the best in your future in every way. I will follow you on FB. Please don’t disappear for ever!

  98. Amber

    Hi Amber,

    I just read your mom’s comment and tears came to my eyes!

    I thank you for this post. It all needed to be said and you’re so courageous to do so. I can relate to all the crappy hate out there (from a blogger’s stand point). People can be so damn nasty. It CAN be draining. And I’m appalled you had to endure such hateful comments and energy.

    I love you and your blog – vegan or anything else.

    When you are ready, you come back to us and share what you’ve been experimenting with in your kitchen. I can’t wait! Take some time for the shift.

    You’re beautiful, inside and out, and I’m so very glad that we connected as bloggers…and friends.

    Hugs to you Amber. We will be waiting for you. 🙂

    xo,
    –Amber

  99. Johanna GGG

    Sad to hear you are hanging up your hat – I wish you well and would like to see you return to blogging – I don’t come here often but I have always enjoyed it when I do and have tried your recipes and loved them. It makes me sad to hear of others who feel everyone should be exactly as they are when we live in a world of so many good-hearted possibilities. Enjoy your break and hope to see you back in the blogosphere feeling valued for what you bring to it.

  100. Christi

    Very well said, Amber, though I’m so sorry to hear you’ll not be blogging anymore (at least for now). I’m very new to your blog and just purchased your two cookbooks…not because I’m a vegan or eat a raw food diet (I’m not and I don’t), but because your recipes are tasty and healthy too. 😉

    Like you, I’m all over the board when it comes to food (I don’t like labels), though due to some health issues I’m currently unable to eat gluten or most dairy products, which is why I was interested in your cookbooks/blog. And my meat is always UNconventionally raised, and 99% of my other food is made from scratch to avoid all the yucky ingredients found in most pre-made foods.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you felt you couldn’t be yourself on YOUR own blog. And I’m sorry that there are people who would treat you so poorly (a major understatement from what you wrote) based on your food choices. Every body IS different and we all have different needs. And our bodies’ needs can and do change and we should each have the freedom to make the right choices as to how our specific needs are met and to not be judged for those choices.

    As you take time away from blogging, I hope that you enjoy your life and know that you will be missed.

  101. Heather

    Your blog inspires me in a variety of ways. I found your blog when I was looking for flavorful ways to eat vegetables, not just opening a bag of frozen ones. I found a lot of reciepes that even my picky son would eat. I appreciated that the name was “almost vegan” as I was working on not being a perfectionist in my own life and also did not feel called to eating a completly vegetarian diet. I believe in moderation, even if I have difficulty applying that belief to myself. Thank you for sharing your recipes and life experiences.

  102. Karen Thompson

    Amber,

    I applaud your honesty (& courage!)in bucking the current trend of being more and more exclusive in what you eat, whether it be vegan, organic, or allergic, or….

    I have recently been doing something (foodwise that is) quite restrictive and earlier today was realizing that my body wasn’t reacting so badly to something I’d been avoiding….I am ready to embrace a wider array of foods that will support me nutritionally and deliciously, and look forward to checking our your “down the rabbit hole” offerings!

    Bravo to you for listening to YOUR body and deciding what she needs, regardless of what anyone else thinks! Keep me on your list:))))

    Blessings to you,
    Karen

  103. Anne-Marie

    Hello Amber,

    I support your decision. It’s a healthy one. Still hope to hear from you in due time.

    Greetings from Belgium,
    Anne-Marie

  104. Sonja Myers

    Dear Amber

    You made a right decision: enjoy food, all food, any and every kind that pleases your taste buds.

    I want to thank you very much for being a WONDERFUL TEACHER and introducing me to vegan food with such gusto and in such detail. I adore both of your Practically Raw cookbooks and I still reach for them more often than any other similar or health-promoting cook book I have. And I have a lot of them. I also tried almost all of your cooked recipes from your blog and enjoyed them immensely! I hope they will still be available to us. Of all our friends I am one of the two people that actually cook food every day from fresh ingredients and from the scratch! I am a lung cancer survivor and naturally, I am avoiding red meat. I lost a taste for meat even before cancer but that I think comes with age – I have just had my 65th birthday. I guess, just like yours and other people’s bodies, I believe mine has told me it would like more vegetable and fruit based food for a while. Simple as that.

    Thanks to your cook books which I sent to my cousins and friends in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart (Australia), Warsaw (Poland), Belgrade (Serbia) and Berlin (Germany) my folks are not only enjoying very imaginative, NEW RIVETTINGLY TASTY food, loaded with the healthiest ingredients, but also adjusting their daily diets by making/cooking based on healthiest choices. None of them will be just vegans, neither am I, but all of us will remember you as a person that opened a whole other world of food that we can tap into.

    I must say I was saddened to hear that you had been exposed to hate mail from obsessed, stressed out “know-it-alls” in fact, I am totally amazed that anybody could be ugly to you. To them I say (in observance to blog protocol and manners) – “Take a walk, beat it!”

    I personally will miss your cheerful blogs, and especially, your imagination and great, sophisticated taste of differently prepared dishes that you have generously shared with us, but I am soooooo happy that you will concentrate on working to get into the best shape health-wise and be ready for a newcomer in your family.

    Take care of yourself Amber, lots and lots of hugs and best wishes

    Sonja Myers
    who will patiently wait for your return, hopefully with a photos of a munchkin or two:-)

  105. Kate

    Hi Amber

    I first found your blog 6 months ago and was attracted to it by your open and pragmatic approach to food. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian. I just like to eat a diverse diet.

    I’m sorry that other people’s intolerance have had such a profound effect on your health and life and I hope you return to blogging in the future. In the mean time good luck with your next adventure of starting a family and of course wishing you all health and happiness.

    Kate

  106. Sunny

    This so saddens me. I can’t believe (actually unfortunately I think I can believe) that there are people out there who go out of their way to criticise someone who is doing something so nice (and free). I am also sad that I haven’t made a comment of support before now.
    Amber I thoroughly enjoy your blogs and recipes. I have your books and use them regularly. As I was reading todays blog and you started to mention your increase of eating meat, my first thought was “Fabulous! A new recipe book to come.” I seriously hope you consider this. I will certainly buy it. I try to eat healthy majority of the time and try to pass these practises on to my family. Even though I don’t eat a lot of meat, I do eat it and both my little ones at one point went through a stage of not eating anything else (you’ll see..).
    I certainly believe there is a place for everything and NOONE should judge anyone or anything but there own practises.
    You are doing a great thing and you have helped me immensely with my mission to try and become more Raw, prepare more meals & get healthier. I was not very adventurous in the kitchen but your books have helped me hugely. I can’t thank you enough for that.
    Please get yourself in the fabulous state you deserve to be in and then when you are ready come back to those who love and appreciate you. I’m sure there are way more than you think and way more than the hate mongers out there.
    Take care Amber, Sunny X

  107. Anja

    Dear Amber,
    thank you for your post. I wish you well on your personal journey and want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for living, enjoyable food.
    I am sad to hear between the lines, how much reactive comments you must have been getting over time. I don’t understand why we feel the right to tell others how to be or what is right or wrong.
    Well done, for finding your own way again. Making positive transitions that will serve your life.
    Wishing you much joy, Anja

  108. Vicki

    Well said and agree wholeheartedly 🙂 xoxo

  109. Ceri

    Dear Amber

    I’m so sorry to see you leaving (for any amount of time!). So many bloggers end up in your position, receiving hate for trying to be yourself! I find your recipes incredibly useful for my highly restricted diet, since lots of horrible allergies prevent me from eating so many things. Even so, for ethical reasons I embraced becoming fully vegan.

    Your food as always proved delicious for me and, though you might decide to switch it up a bit with the ingredients, I’d still be very interested to see what you come up with. You’ve already taught me so much about vegan cooking, I imagine I could welcome the challenge of twisting your recipes to suit my own diet!

    The point of life is to be happy, surely, so I hope you can be. And hopefully you will come back at some point, as that would make me very happy!

    Lots and lots of thanks,

    Ceri.

  110. Lucky Hopkins

    Amber, I decided in December to start eating more healthy. After subscribing to a bunch of blogs, they were quickly narrowed to those who loved sharing and having fun blogging, rather than those who were on some radical mission to convert the world to their narrow viewpoint.

    My eating habits have changed to a healthy mix based on what I’ve learned from the fully raw, vegan, vegetarian, and just plain healthy eating bloggers, and I have lost at least 10 lbs. since without dieting. I’ve come to look at it as a buffet. Everything is out there, but I decide what best suits my needs.

    Amber, I applaud your decision to be so honest. It must feel very freeing. If/when the time feels right to return to blogging, take full control of YOUR blog. If you don’t like the tone or content of someone, give ’em the boot !!

    Best of luck on your journey to balanced and healthy mental and physical well-being.

    Take care,
    Lucky

  111. Arlene

    Dear Amber,

    I have always enjoyed your blog and love your books. It is unfortunate that people chose to be critical of your personal choices because your personal choices are, afterall, just that and that was how you put it out there. This blog inspired me in many ways because it was not dogmatic and rigid in its viewpoint. I look forward to see what you do next! You have my support!!

  112. Wendy

    B. R. A. V. O!!!

    I’m dumbfounded at all of the hate & am sorry this happened. It seems its for the better. You’re figuring it all out. Beautiful!

    Although it truly kills me when I think of animals being harmed in ANY way, & that factory farming is unconscionable, when I feel I need to judge someone for contributing, I pause. You know what I remember? My God! I was just there a few short years ago. JUST there, so how can I judge? We’re all on our own path. Besides, to identify ourselves with & as something…..well, therein lies the suffering.

    Thank you, excited for you!
    Wendy

  113. Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking

    I have stayed away from the term “vegan” on my website for just this reason. I choose to say “plant based” and even then I say right in my bio that even if you are the most die-hard meat or dairy lover that you are welcome at my site because the only way we will make positive change and help many people to simply incorporate more plant based foods is to do so from a place of love and acceptance. The fact that you use the term “eviscerated” is very disturbing. This vegan elitism is only going to cause a polarization of people and push meat eaters away. No one wants to feel judged.

  114. Karen D

    Thank you for letting us know that you are taking a break…I certainly hope you’ll be back! I have been vegetarian over 35 years, and the amount of criticism that I still get from family and friends is unbelievable. And I’m sure vegans get the same, probably more. As for the haters, they should turn the mirror on themselves. No one should determine what another person eats, be it plant or animal based. No judgments are called for or acceptable. Good wishes on your journey to health!

  115. Sara

    Amber,
    First of all, wtf? I can’t believe people would judge so harshly (not just in this situation but in the world in general). I consider myself mostly vegan (after being fully vegan but my mostly now falls into not-so-healthy junk food)… Anyways, you do what you go to do for yourself and your family!!! I’ll be right here when you get back and I look forward to what you bring with you!

    Although I don’t cook with animal products, I still browse all recipes in all the omnivore cookbooks I check out at my library — you never know what you may use for a future recipe of your own! So for the variety of people that do follow you (wish I had time to read all the comments above mine), I would suggest just using clear labels for your future recipe (and Pinterest page) about which contains meat, which contains dairy, etc.

    Good luck, have fun, and see you in the near future!

  116. Kelsea Thayne

    You are a very wise woman. I will be sad to see you go. I have enjoyed both your posts and books. I am a gluten free vegan and have always been excited to see your recipes but I also understand that you need to do what is best for you. I applaud you for following your heart and soul! Good luck in starting your family. Hope to see you back soon!

  117. Tracy Davis

    Good for you! I love your blog and would love for you to return. I have enjoyed your posts and blog simply because I want to eat better and healthier but in no specific group! Good luck on your journey and your future family. Doing what is best for you will be a blessing to your future family as well. Hope to see you back but if not, I will still see you in FB and Instagram!

  118. Karen

    Best of luck. Hope to see you back soon. I know Lindsey Nixon, The Happy Herbivore, had to deal with some very negative posts. Like you, she is not vegan and never purported to be. My feeling is if you don’t like the basis of the sote, don’t subscribe. Negative energy is not good for anyone.
    Again best of luck.

  119. Matt

    Amber — Be well.

    {And skip the p.s. and the p.p.p.s. Neither needed. Or, think of this way: Let us decide where to go, what to do. Let the CHOICE be ours. Isn’t that what this “last” post is all about?}

  120. Kathy Martorano

    Everyone should be and do what is best for them! I applaud you! I am a vegan and it suits me well, if it did not i would do the same. Thanks for your post and I wish you nothing but the best!

  121. What a wild ride - Butterfly Bits

    […] got to enjoy one of my role models choosing herself, over the expectations of others and giving herself the time and space she needs to find her authenticity. I’m so proud of her […]

  122. Cynthia

    GOOD for YOU!

  123. Max

    I really liked what you blogged. Simple. I’m vegetarian so it was really inspiring to read vege recipes, but do what you gotta do. I’ll miss your posts.

  124. Hila

    Thanks for this post. I value your blog and would look forward to you resuming it whenever you would like. You are real.

  125. Robert Tregillis

    I totally understand and support your decision. I am sorry to hear the haters have gotten to you.

    Be Well.

  126. Caren

    Amber – GOOD FOR YOU!! Life.Is.Too.Short!! I hope that you will be back because I truly enjoy your blog and recipes – any and all types!

    The content of one’s diet is truly a personal choice and as I tell my vegetarian step-son, one that is yours to change for a meal, a day, a week or whatever. NO one will disrespect your decision or think less of you for changing your mind!!

    Here’s to eating for your health and joy…and hopeful coming back to share your talent with us!

  127. Hannah

    It takes some serious guts (no pun intended) to stand up and say “no more,” and I couldn’t be more proud. Of course I’d love to see you back and blogging right away, but completely respect your decision no matter what. I’m just glad you’re putting your happiness and your health first, as it should be.

  128. Penni

    I want you to know that I am giving you a standing ovation over here. As a fellow author & content creator of plant-based living (primarily raw food focused), I completely get it and have been living in a dilemma state for a couple of years now. I created Upgrade Your Plate late last year to try to break free of the stigma that I was ONLY a raw food, vegan advocate, and that has been a bit freeing, but I still receive such great ridicule if I post a recipe that has used an egg or has a dusting of parmesan cheese. I am not 100% raw or vegan, feel very educated and comfortable with my choices, but I keep many of my most favorite recipes/creations in the closet for the very same reasons you detail here. I have even shifted my career focus recently by getting my real estate license and have just started working with my husband to have a reprieve from the meticulously healthy food obsessed. I do not want to feel like I live in a police state 24/7 anymore.

    So good for you for taking a break and re-tooling things once again to create an atmosphere that works for you. Life is too short for doing work that makes you unhappy! The haters are always gonna hate and those who love you and your broad-spectrum creativity will stay tuned for your next chapter.

    MUCH love & respect to you my friend!
    Penni Shelton

    1. donna

      Penni, it sounded like you “came out” but keep getting frightened right back into the closet. If you truly want to embrace your new life, you need to let go of the old one and all the baggage that comes with it. Some times we have to cut the cord and move ahead full speed. Look at it as re-inventing yourself. It’s not that hard and can be a lot of fun. To be honest, anyone who doesn’t accept your new food philosophy isn’t your friend anyway because that friendship is based solely on what you eat, how tragic is that? Good luck to you.

  129. Barbara Gabbe-Harris

    Amber – Hooray for you!!! Yes indeed! Life is too short to deny yourself in any way shape or form … enjoy food and whatever you decide to eat! I, for one have been there … was a vegan for about 2 years but stopped when I read that all the soy products out there were processed and really not so good for you plus I missed being able to bake & cook my grandmother’s bobka and stuffed cabbage and blintzs and on and on – I, too love food, love to cook and bake and try new things ….I LOVE your two cookbooks and I really enjoyed doing your clense …. I make the mesquite candied pecans all the time and some of your desserts are so yummy….coconut nectar, coconut flour and and vanilla stevia are some of my baking staples now, thanks to you. I think you are a marvelous chef!! Congrats to you for writing what you did … I salute you! Enjoy your life, sweetheart – I send you love and hugs. Barbara

  130. Catherine @ foodiecology

    Let me preface my comment by saying I’m a very infrequent commenter and only check in on your blog from time to time. I haven’t been following you for years like others, so I’ve only learned of your dietary changes, rebranding, illness, marriage, etc. from reading older posts.

    Having said all that, I have a lot of admiration and respect for you! At your (and my) age, you just have to LIVE. You make a name for yourself and convey certain ideas, recipes, images, etc. to your readers, but at the end of the day, you have to take care of–and BE–yourself!

    I applaud you for being so honest and taking the time to explain your decision to your readers. I’m a “Catherine” eater (omnivore who just happens to love a lot of vegan, raw, and healthful foods) who got into blogging after reading many health-based, vegan, and even raw food blogs, so I can SOMEWHAT understand the desire to portray yourself in one way and also the fear of being judged by your evolving choices (though I don’t have the culinary training, readership, multiple cookbooks, etc. that you have!). I have such admiration for certain bloggers and professionals, but I’ve almost obsessively compared myself to them, making me feel MY personal choices aren’t the right ones. We shouldn’t live that way!

    I wish you the best in your life and all the new opportunities in store for you. You’re a remarkably intelligent, talented, and compassionate person, and I hope you’re treated as such by everybody in your life (real life and blogging life). Many people define themselves largely based on their dietary habits because they’re ethical beliefs first and foremost, but in other cases, it’s just downright toxic to put so much weight behind labels. You said it best: “At the end of your life, you won’t look back and dwell on the foods you did or didn’t eat, so don’t dwell on it now. Stop worrying about other people and what they do or say or think or feel or eat. Don’t be afraid to learn, change, grow, evolve. Find your joy, and live it.” All the best to you, Amber!

  131. denise nyman

    good morning amber! i was so very sorry to receive this note from you today–especially since i just recently discovered your wonderful cookbook, & just yesterday signed up for your newsletter & also e-mailed you with a question regarding a recipe–but i do understand (and i DO hope that you will be inspired to return to your writing when it feels right for you!)! i am also very sorry to hear about the abuse you’ve suffered for being “almost vegan”–especially since, to me at least, COMPASSION is the cornerstone of veganism (for people and for animals). i do appreciate your honesty. as a vegetarian, & now vegan for many years, i have always told others that they need to do what feels right to them–so, just continue to follow your heart, dear amber! i’m wishing you all the very best! with love, denise

  132. Aimee Douglass

    Your blog was one of the first ones I stumbled across when I decided to go vegan back in January 2012. I remember seeing the abusive comments about your use of the “almost vegan” label, and thought “oh boy, I don’t know if I want to be a part of this.” However, your responses to those comments were thoughtfully worded and intelligent, and I felt myself saying “Yay Amber!”. In the end, you are accountable for your own life, and you have to find your own path. There are so many people in this world who will try to tell you how you should be and how you should fit into this mold or that mold. To those people, I would simply extend a certain digit to let them know my true feelings. I am sad that you are leaving, but you have to do what is best for you, and I throw my hat into the ring along with others who wish for your speedy return. Rest assured that even if you post a recipe that is not 100% vegan, the world will not end, and readers will still be there, because while your recipes are incredible, your blog is so much more than that.

  133. Elizabeth Fiorentino

    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly.

    I stand with you and hope to help source an Outrageously Phenomenal World that takes a stand for Integrity, Abundance, and Empowerment!! (Respectful of other people’s food preferences)

    I will miss you on the blog but your spirit and inspiration will carry on…
    I am not vegan nor vegetarian and I have been known to eat my share of junk and fast food too! Gasp!
    I still am able to love your recipes and writing. And I share your practically raw recipes with everyone I can.
    I just made and shared your PRD: Maple Pecan Streusel bars (using honey not maple syrup and almonds not walnuts and no coconut sugar but stevia) and everyone loved them; coworkers, family, kids, adults, and especially my non-health nut friends!

    I appreciate that you provide substitutions and cooking options too. You really make the recipes a starting point, not just a rigid dictation of how to make something.

  134. Noelle (@singerinkitchen)

    I’m so glad you are getting so much support because I got so much crap about it and lost all the “so-called” friends. I at least have 4 people that keep up with my blog. I HAD to find inspiration and keep moving. So glad you have a great support system which makes me hope you blow off the nasty haters out there. HAve fun with your off season!

  135. Peggy

    I had no idea all this was going on with you. I allways enjoyed your site and bought the Raw desserts cookbook for everyone I knew with young children. Best to you. Enjoy whatever is next.

  136. Heather Williams

    Amber,
    I know you’re going to be overwhelmed with all the supportive comments you get on this, but I felt so compelled to leave one too. I come from the EXACT same path you have- EXACT, and it took me years to accept that eating vegan, raw, and being “pure” just wasn’t serving me. I was orthorexic/anorexic for a period of 10 years. It took my life for a period before I developed a mainstream way of eating that serves me well. My depression is gone, weight is finally where it should be, and my digestive system is amazing for the first time in my life. I’m a health food nut, but I don’t eat perfect anymore, or feel I need to. Animal foods work well for me, but I don’t eat them all the time. I listen to my cravings,and if I want more, I have more. Plants are my lifeblood-always will be- but they aren’t the only thing I eat anymore.
    I’m so, so, so happy for you! I’m also more proud of you than you could know. For someone who is successful as you to make such a bold statement, is more of a step towards health than any new raw book could be. ( I DO LOVE YOUR LATEST BOOK THOUGH!!:)
    I think for so long the raw foodist community misled many of us, and distracted us from the point of raw foods, which is to eat more of them, but not condemn those of us who don’t eat 100% this way. Thank you for recognizing that. I’ll forever be a supporter of you and just know I’m on the same path to healing as you.
    When I first came out on my own blog about my decision to live this way, I felt a little fearful after blogging so long as vegan. What I learned was that I was able to reach more people by being honest and being myself, and I was happier by listening to my body.
    Thanks for being you!!!!:)

  137. Renae

    I wish you the best on your journey. I love your blog and the fact that you don’t put yourself in some dietary box. Your life has to be yours and yours alone….those that bring you the best energy will stay with you. It is great you are listening to your body and doing what YOU need to do. Enjoy cooking again and get your life back!

  138. Pamela

    Amber,
    Best wishes to you, your husband, and hopefully, your future family! As for your decision to make some changes, I say congratulations, and frankly, I’m thrilled! VARIETY is the spice of life, and life is to be LIVED! My theory has always been that anything regimented, restrictive, depriving, or extreme is unhealthy for the soul. For me, it makes life a chore rather than a joyous adventure, so no thanks. I respect the fact that some people live certain lifestyles due to specific health issues or personal beliefs, but we all have CHOICES and only WE must live with the consequences, if any result. I’ve never understood the need to live in a labeled or categorized world. If you return to blogging, I think that recipes and insights about ALL foods regardless of anyone’s needs, likes or dislikes would be delightful. The “type” or “category” of food need not be mentioned as far as I’m concerned. I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of opening all-inclusive cookbooks that give me the freedom to search for what suits MY ever-changing needs or moods, and frankly, I’d like to continue having those choices from someone with your talent and creativity. What could possibly be wrong with a little something for everyone? If your Almost Vegan recipe books can be this good, then imagine what you could offer to those who love to eat everything? Over the years, many foods and supplements have come into question, so now it’s soy, fish oil, and what a surprise, everything we thought was right is wrong yet again. I don’t trust that anyone knows for sure what’s really good for us. Even sugary chocolate desserts are fun sometimes, so why not teach us the tastiest ways to create those, too? In the future, I hope you’ll feel the freedom that’s already yours to throw it ALL out there, so each of us can pick and choose what fits our personal tastes, desires, and lifestyles! Even if you had originally declared yourself 100% vegan and now only want to be 20% vegan, I say, so what? Percentages are unnecessary and restrictive anyway. You have the right to change your mind about anything you wish from day to day. To hell with those who criticize. Don’t let them stifle you or what you have to offer. They deserve no bearing in your thoughts or actions. They’ll eventually find something else to do with their time. Life is and SHOULD be ever changing, experimental, and curiously questioned, which leads us all down different paths at different times in our lives. That’s how you grow. Just remember…that path is YOURS and no one else’s, so enjoy the journey!

    1. Sonja Myers

      WELL SAID Pamela! Hear, hear, hear THREE CHEERS!

      I am still aching from the discovery that some people decided to stifle the free and beautiful spirit of our Amber and literally wear her down. I understand, support and cheer her decision to take the time off, recharge her batteries and hopefully, come back to share with us her talent and creativity in food and anything else she discovers a passion for!

  139. Aisling Doherty

    Big up to you for speaking your truth 🙂 x

  140. Mary Kulla

    Amber. Thank you so much for your openness and honesty. I have truly enjoyed your blog and your recipes. I love the fact that you are so flexible. I am glad that you have found the courage to do what is right for you no matter what others say. If you decide to return to the blog with some omnivorous recipes I will still follow you as I am a nutritarian with seven children and the rest of the family likes to eat meat and dairy so am always looking for whole foods recipes and flexible recipes to please everyone!!
    I wish you the best

  141. Melinda

    Amber –
    Thank you for posting this! For health reasons, the diet I find myself following lies somewhere in the intersection of vegan, raw foods and paleo. Contradictory paths – yes, but they are where I find the recipes for foods that sustain me.

    I’m so glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself first! And yes, if after time off you find your way back to blogging, I’ll be excited to hear from you. Thank-you for your work!

  142. Annie

    Wishing you tons of happiness and health – – I’m so impressed with this brave post. Yahoo to you for being so open and honest. I hate being judged because of my food choices, so I really try and not judge others. What is right for me is most certainly not right for everyone else. If we aren’t constantly questioning ourselves, changing, and learning new things, then we’ve stopped living, really. Best of luck, Amber! Enjoy your new freedom :-).

  143. Annie

    PS hope that you’ll return to blogging!

  144. Devona

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and hope that you can begin blogging again at some time. I can not say that I agree 100% with any blog but I do not post negative comments. How do those help anyone? I wish you continued healing and may God bless you and your family.

  145. Suzanne

    You go girl! Although I eat whatever I want (accept dairy, I’m allergic) I have always enjoyed your blog and you’ve posted lots of good recipes. I hope you do go back to blogging. You’re interesting and you’re a great writer. Good luck with everything and I hope to see you blogging again soon!

  146. Lara Hermann

    Hi Amber – wow, what a post. Thank you for sharing. I bought your first book last year about this time and have LOVED LOVED, LOVED it! I discovered Kris Carr at the same time and your book really complimented her’s. I have made most of your smoothies and shared them with friends. Your desserts too are amazing. I found your blog and checked in every few weeks. I am SO GLAD you wrote what you wrote, I can totally relate to the “purity” diet and have found extreme difficulty following it perfectly this past year. I went in search of a better way to eat after having two beautiful babies and wanting to be healthy and teach them healthy eating habits. I am a 41 year old woman (yikes sounds so old) but my kids are 2 & 4 so I feel way younger : ) I just LOVE to eat healthy delicious food, always have. But this past year I started thinking I HAVE to be Vegan and I have felt like a failure when I forget and am not. So silly. I used to not be so obsessed with eating perfectly and I can just relate so much to what you wrote. I have loved your blogs and I hope you return as You! Life is hard enough without having to pretend we are perfect!! I am a recovering alcoholic (11 yrs) so I know something about struggle. You hang in there and come back when your ready. And thanks for sharing a part of you. You are a beautiful woman. Me and my daughter love the picture of you in the book with the coconut. 🙂 I hope you are able to come back. Kindly ~ Lara

    1. Mom

      Hi Lara,
      I love that picture in the book also (with the coconut!). It’s a beautiful, colorful photograph!

      Amber’s MOM!!

  147. JN

    Oh no, I just found your blog and I am sometimes Vegan and sometimes not, depending on what I am happy with. SO sorry, that you had so much negativity in something as pleasurable as food!!! Wish you & your family ALL THE BEST. Do not let the negativity affect you. You are wonderful and shared some amazing recipes. I truly hope you come back. I have never understood why people feel the need to judge. As my mother used to say “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything”. Thanks for being so honest so people like me can feel comfortable in eating what makes us happy rather than fitting in whats presumed to be “perfect”.
    ALL THE BEST to you & your family.

  148. Erica

    I just found your blog and love it. I am very sorry you are hanging up your hat, but I can certainly understand given what you have experienced. It seems ridiculous to me that people so concerned with the ethical treatment of animals would be so cruel to a human being. Seems very hypocritical and inconsistent to me. I am also someone who eats omnivorously, or according to what is right for my body so I can definitely relate. People ask me to label my ‘way’ of eating and I usually tell them I am a ‘healthitarian’. I, for one, home you continue blogging!

  149. Summer

    I hate you didn’t feel comfortable on your own blog – yuck! Honestly, I could tell you weren’t into it. Your posts were lacking a little something. Not like a year ago. Take a break. Come back when you’re ready. And thank you for everything…I liked reading about Kansas City and your wedding and I even bought your cookbooks.

  150. Carrie

    Best of luck to you, Amber. I have both of your cookbooks and think they’re both wonderful. You are truly a very talented chef and I hope that you will continue sharing your recipes, regardless of whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous. You have a wonderful gift to share and I hope you get the support you need to continue doing so.

    While I do eat a predominently vegan diet with some occasional dairy thrown in, I do suffer from food allergies and scarring alopecia which has been a long, painful struggle. While I don’t know if my diet is the culprit or not, I do know that diet alone isn’t a guarantee of good health and there certainly isn’t a one size fits all dietary solution. I commend you for following your heart, being true to yourself, and putting your own sanity first. I hope you will always do so and that you find the peace and happiness you seek and very much deserve.

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and recipes and hope you return to blogging but most of all, I hope you find happiness and satisfaction in whatever you do. Hurray to you for asking yourself the difficult questions and seeking to find what works best for you. Take care and be strong. 🙂

  151. Catherine

    I have loved reading your blogs and your books and I would like to thank you for the inspiration you have given to me. I am someone who is fascinated in all aspects of food. It makes me feel very sad when other people who class themselves as ethically minded impose their biased views on other people and cause distress and create unnecessary pressures….its just sad and should not have happened to you. You can never please everyone as you now know, but from my experience I think I understood where you were coming from with the “almost Vegan” approach and that you were a ” conscious, mindful” author/chef,…you never hid that fact that it wasn’t exclusively vegan.(clue- in title of blog….duhhh!!) I was fascinated by the way you combined the foods but knew it wasn’t just fruit, veg & nuts!!! You have positively changed my relationship with food in that I eat primarily lots of fresh fruit and veggies and occasionally organically/ethically sourced foods. I now hold the view it is okay to eat food “if your food can go bad its good for you; if your food can’t go bad its not good for you”!!
    I hope what I have written isn’t over familiar but I felt I had to write in response to your email.
    Good luck Amber in whatever you decide to do, always be true to yourself & don’t allow people to define you & stomp on your natural creativity. I wish you health and happiness.

  152. Arlene Phillips

    I congratulate you for doing what you believe in. It saddens me how critical others can be and that you’ve had to endure such negativity when you were simply sharing what you were passionate about. I truely believe we need to eat whats best for our own individual bodies and whats right for one person may not be for another. Best of luck to you as you reclaim and refocus on whats important to you. Anyone who has an unkind word for you is not worth a second thought.

  153. Vanessa

    I have always loved your flexibility with food, and own all of your cookbooks, and have given many as gifts. I am sorry the negativity of purists has forced you to continue your food/health journey in private. I have been a vegetarian since birth, and have never even tried meat, fish, or poultry in my entire 42 years, and I never plan to. However, I am shocked, truly shocked, by these close-minded newbies who go around condemning people for eating a more “flexitarian” diet. I am excited to see where your food/health journey goes, as I’ve always enjoyed your smart, educated, and open-minded approach to food and life!

  154. Tara

    Hi Amber,
    You will be sorely missed. Thank you for all of the amazing recipes and inspiration and I hope to see more from you in the future. Somewhat ironically, I found your blog a couple years ago as I was transitioning from vegetarian back to vegan. (And lol, I remember a lot of judgment or ‘I told you so’s several years earlier when I switched from vegan back to vegetarian–sigh) I had absolutely no interest in raw foods before I found your blog. Now I love it! I will always be a fan whether you are an omnivore or not. You are an amazing chef and writer so please don’t hang up your hat too long.

  155. Janet

    Dear Amber, Your blog has been great and whatever direction you travel, you will find followers that enjoy your enthusiasm. It sounds like you made the right decision. This should be joyful not burdensome and you should definitely not concern yourself with the “self righteous” who know what is “best” for YOU and everyone else. Accept the positive, ignore the stupid negativity and move forward in your life with peace. I know you will find what you are looking for and hope you will return to blogging very soon.

    I have always considered myself a “flighty eater”, which I initially thought was not a good thing and most people think I am inconsistent and a bit odd with my eating, but… I have always eaten the way I NEED TO EAT. I just don’t concern myself with what others think. While I would like to think I eat incredibly healthy all the time, that just isn’t so. Sometimes, I am a strict vegan, sometimes raw and sometimes not. Sometimes I am eating really high quality chicken and eggs. And sometimes… I eat whatever crap I want. While that is not healthy, and is certainly not a good weight tactic…sometimes, it’s just what I need to do. I have been on a free-for-all since May and have been trying to get back to a vegan existence, mostly raw… I was looking up your “simple smashed avocado salad”, which I have enjoyed for a while and came across your most recent post. I am now considering my direction, as well.

    I am so sorry you have been having such a hard time and I find it so troubling, that people have been mean to you!! You post your blog, on your own free will, to share your passion with the world. I guess you were just cultivating a very rigid following. Everyone must make their own decisions, one size never fits all and if they don’t like what you are posting… they just need to stop following you.

    I am familiar with the whole orthorexia concept and when it came out, I realized that I had it, myself. If you pay too much attention to what is out there, there is really nothing you can eat. It just isn’t normal.

    Amber… I wish you luck, peace, contentment, health and joy on your journey and hope you will be back real soon. While I may not make every recipe you post, I certainly enjoy your blog! Do this for you and nobody else… and if you happen to inspire someone (which I am sure you will, you have already inspired me) it’s just icing on the cake!
    And NEVER let anyone shatter you spirit! xoxo

  156. Katie

    Darn it. Just found you after searching Hashimoto and vegetarian! Am both and only very recently diagnosed after 2 years of bad health. Was hoping to continue to follow you as I am trying everything I can at the moment to stabilise my health. I don’t want to join an online group where everyone talks at each other. I just want to try one thing at a time. Am a Brit, living in Belgium – healthcare here is phenomenal but access to info isn’t that great. Am now going to trawl through all your blogs since your big announcement last year (which, by the way made me cry – I was told by 3 different doctors this was all in my head) to glean what I can. I can’t say I’ll miss you as I only just found you but I guess I can say I’ll miss learning with you. All the very best and here’s to continued healing and healthy moments becoming a healthy forever. Katie

  157. Carol

    Chef….so sorry to read about adverse comments & personal threats.
    I love your books & I will miss your blog. I have learned many valuable things reading your blog.
    Best wishes for continued good health & I hope you will be back soon.
    C

  158. Zaneta

    Thank you for taking the time to be so candid. I wish I had learned about your blog before today and want to request that you come back when it is right for you, if it is right for you. I love the way you shine light on our innate freedom to choose what is best for ourselves and to live label free. I wish you all the best in your journey!

  159. Angie Weedon

    I love your books & your 3 day cleanse. I have never felt led to be 100% raw, but I am very discerning in my choices of meat & other animal products. I do hope you will take up blogging again, simply because you are a master recipe creator! 🙂 I hope you find this time healing. <3

  160. Roberta

    I’m going to miss you. I enjoy good food and every recipe I’ve tried from your blog has been great. It’s sad people feel they have a right to tell you what you can create. Hopefully you be back soon. The best of luck to you and your family.

  161. janet @ the taste space

    *hug* I look forward to future posts, whatever that may entail, Amber. Hopefully some baby pics. 🙂

  162. Tash

    I thought this speech from the New Zealand parliament might help you make your decision on future blogging. It has nothing to do with food blogs but I think it points out that no matter what others think of you always stick to what you believe in. Just be you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCDEiaoEP2U

    PS I’m not vegetarian but I have enjoyed your blog for about a year now
    PPS I would love you to continue blogging about whatever foods you like
    PPPS Only if you really want to though

    1. Sonja Myers

      Tash

      The link is: BRILLIANT! Thank you for sharing. Enjoyed the member of New Zealand Parliament’s speech: hilarious and so applicable in many areas of our social life and with people we meet along the way….

  163. Lily

    Hi Amber, I am a recent follower to your blog and I absolutely love it. I didn’t make a comment before but I did read some weird lines in your blog that reminded me of disorder eating and that kind of thing. How do I know? Well, I can recognise that kind of people because I’m sadly one of them. I’m in recovery from anorexia and I am making my peace with food after years of struggling with my weight and peace of mind. However I want to tell you that you are not alone in this, there are others like you who know exactly what you’re going through. You have been of great inspiration and I believe you are very talented. Take all the time you need to heal and recover, nobody and nothing should be more important to you than yourself.
    I truly hope you find your way back to a healthy happy life so that you can resume your blog and continue sharing your gift with the world. I wish you all the best.

    Lily

  164. Sherry

    Chef Amber,

    I really do believe that there is nothing more important than being authentic and living life to the fullest. I am so sorry to hear that your journey to healthy living has been tough however I am confident that you will return stronger than ever. I wish you all the best as you embrace your new journey and continue to create your own synergy. I’ll be here waiting for you with open arms when you are ready to return. Get some rest and take care of yourself. Enjoy life, your husband and by all means, please continue to enjoy your personal experience with food. I wish you all the best now and in the future.

  165. Carolyn

    Hi Amber,

    Superb post! I, like so many others, will miss your blogging tremendously. But I absolutely support your recent personal discoveries, and I wish you nothing but the best in your life. That said, I do hope that this is a hiatus and not a full retirement. You have a wonderful perspective, and are so talented and intelligent. Your books are some of my all time favorite cookbooks, and my absolute favorite raw books. It will be wonderful to see how your approach evolves in the future–please keep us posted! xo

  166. Elaine Romero

    Aw amber i’m going to miss your blog so much! I’ve been following you since i was about maybe 12 or 13 and a new vegan… your blog was the first food blog I started following and it has helped me so much through out the years. I am now 16 and I feel so glad to have journeyed with you. Thank you for everything you have provided for us and hopefully one day I can meet you! Hope you have a wonderfully happy life and i wish you all the best!
    LOVE YOU!!

  167. Sarahfae - Addicted to Veggies

    Thank you so much for being brave, honest and sharing this.
    I’m so proud to know you, and so very inspired.

    Cheers to the road ahead!

    xo-S

  168. Paula

    Chef Amber,
    I applaude you for your self honesty. I reciently started reading your blog and found your recipies always insitefull, as I find you. Your a brillant brave and full of beauity. Please know your loved for being you however you think of yourself and not for performance in any particular field of cooking or uncoooking or whatever lable is out there.
    Just be Chef Amber, I look forward to reading your thoughts however they may come out. Your a very intresting person.
    I am glad your on your way to health. As I am too, I know it’s a life long journey, with bumps or huckups along they way, a hundred years from now all those bumps an hickups just will not matter! (My naturopath told me that once, I wasen’t laughing when he said that, I am now!) So laugh a lot, smile, enjoy your family, love yourself the best way you know how in any given moment. I am smileing with you.
    Lot’s of love
    Paula

  169. Janice Hein

    I will miss your blog very much and your recipes! I have one of your books! I loved it when you said you were “practically vegan”. That’s what I call myself. I know I copied you, I hope that’s ok. I I can’t imagine writing a blog and having to read negative comments. I completely understand what you are doing. I sure do hope you come back to your blog, I will miss it very much.!!
    Thanks amber for you honesty.
    Janice Hein

  170. Heather

    Amber, I think it’s great that you are taking the time to do what it best for you, even if it means stepping away from your blog. I am among those who will miss your posts, but I do have your cookbooks and cleanse to return to when I’m looking for inspiration.

    I would love to see you back here someday when you feel it is the right move for you. Best wishes to you and your family!

  171. Julie

    Amber, I love your blog and books! I love your perspective and just enjoy adding more veggies and nuts into my diet. I think people who know how to make meals this way are amazing. Thank you for sharing your talent and I hope to see you back!

  172. Jonathon

    Been a fan for the last year or so and would love to see you keep blogging! I am not strictly a vegan so I look forward to reading/trying some of your new recipes that include dairy and meat. Hope to hear from you again soon!

  173. Marianne

    Just recently joined your blog and am quite saddened to hear 1) of your decision to leave this sphere for a while… but, more importantly 2) that there are still an impressive amount of ignorant folk out there who fail to understand that one’s love of food, and of this planet, must first and foremost be extended to those we share it with. There is no room for judgement when we truly love each other and wish the best for each other.

    I absolutely respect that you are doing what’s right for you and taking the time you need to “regroup”. Just know that I support you in your health & food choices, no matter what they are. You have played a big part in my journey of self-discovery through food, and can only wish you all the best as you embark on your own food adventure!

    Just remember that you should NEVER change so that people will ‘like you’. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

    All the best, Chef Amber!

  174. Kathy

    I haven’t been following your blog long, but you already have made an impact on my life. It is precisely BECAUSE of your 80/20 approach that your recipes work for me. I bought both of your cookbooks and have been amazed not only at the wonderful food, but at the wealth of information and non-judgmental insight (so refreshing!) that you have shared. It’s clear that you put your heart and soul into both of them.

    We share a love of language, so here’s this for you:

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
    ~ Albert Einstein

    And…

    “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
    ~ Henry Ellis

    Congratulations for knowing when to let go and when to hold on. You’re setting a good example for the rest of us.

  175. kate

    would love to see you back. wish you much joy and health

  176. Vanessa

    Looks like you’re among many friends! Consider yourself supported in whatever endeavor is next =D Best wishes for your adventure ahead!

  177. Cheryl

    I’m very new to your blog and am looking forward to trying your recipes. I wish you all the best and hope to see you back here.

  178. Mara

    Yes! I want you back, just as you are, and I want you back soon!

    Looking forward to the new chapter!

  179. Tami@NutmegNotebook

    I just recently found your blog so I am sad to hear that you will be going away. I understand it though as the blog world can be cruel! I hope you will come back to blogging and share your recipes and your love of good food. Why do we feel the need to put labels on everyone and box them in? Don’t we all deserve the freedom to eat the way we want to with out guilt?

  180. Erin

    Please keep doing what you’re doing, take care of yourself first, and let us back in when you’re ready — you have so much talent and wonderful perspective to share!

  181. Practically Raw Desserts recipe: Linzer Torte | Chef Amber Shea

    […] Comment I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your emails about and comments on my last post. More on that below the […]

  182. Tanya Alekseeva | Better Raw

    Hi beautiful friend! I so hear ya sista! You know I’m forever your biggest fan, so when you return, let’s have a Welcome Back party!!! You have done so amazingly well and have so many supporters behind you, cheering you on. Take your time, breathe in your successes and like you say.. return on your own terms. I’ll be waiting xxx

  183. Brandy

    This is by far one of the best posts on health and nutrition I’ve ever seen, and I read tons of them. Thank you. I hope you do come back if and when you are ready. I hope you embrace whatever it is that makes you happy and healthy. I hope you live your life for you.

    I’ve personally been going thorugh a similar transition. I’ve been a vegetarian, almost vegan for 17 years now. But in this past year my health has taken a turn for the worse. I started craving seafood out of no where. But instead of just being able to listen to my body, I struggled for months about what to do. Being vegetarian was as much a part of me as my naturally curly hair. They’re the two major things that people define me with. And just as I never plan to straighten my hair, I had never planned on giving up being a vegetarian. Now I’m sure I could have found ways to quell the cravings with plant baseed foods, but that wasn’t what my body was wanting. So after struggling for months on what should have been an easy decision, I finally ate shrimp (that’s what I had been craving, strange I know, but what can I say!). Since then I’ve eaten some fish. I can’t say that my health issues are better or cured for it, but they definitely are not worse. But I’m still struggling with the image and persona I’ve created around being a vegetarian.

    Cheers to you and your future endeavors. Enjoy whatever it is you decide to do!

  184. Eileen

    I can totally identify with you and some of my own challenges with blogging/eating. I’m just sad your hanging up the towel now that I was just introduced to you. You are quite the bad ass. I hope the new you comes back soon with more books, more blogs, more more more… Good luck on your journey, Amber! Self-Discovery and growth are both beautiful things 🙂

  185. Debbie

    Amber I feel like I’ve been with you since the beginning. I am so happy for you that you are doing something for yourself, to focus on you health, and, at some point, to start your family. Good luck in all your future endeavors, but remember: WE WILL MISS YOU!

  186. Donna Larsen

    How very disappointing. I’m sorry you’re so confused about food and ethical eating and veganism, and the relationship between raw food and the ethical vegan movement. You have misled many peoplee, myself included, but I will no longer support your books or website.

    1. Sonja Myers

      Ohhhh you are one those UGLY,INSECURE,UNINFORMED, MEAN, SMALL-MINDED AND VILE PEOPLE DONNA that cannot help their inferiority complex AND PURE UNUDULTERED JEALOUSY AND ENVY about the success of creative, talented and beautiful people, inside-and-out, like Amber. You need to seek a serious therapy in order to find out why you have to put other people down in order to feel good or better than them. Seek the answer to your own confusion and the fact that if you do not have anything nice to say – the smartest thing is to say nothing at all. But you are not smart that is obvious! And please DO NOT PROMOTE Amber’s books among your think-alikes, they are entirely too good for people with inflexible, rude, inconsiderate and mean attitude to life. Just go off this blog and be on your way to make other people’s lives a misery.

  187. kirsty mackenzie

    I am so sorry that people have made you feel this way and sad that I have only just found your blog, I too seem to want to help others and often , in return, end up being hurt, misunderstood and end up unhappy myself, it truly is upsetting how everybody seems to like to give an opinion on social media because they do not have to see the hurt that follows it.
    If you would like a positive spin on social media, come join the group I started a while back to lift your spirits and bring your friends it is @the warm fuzzies, getting back to proper social ettiquette and respect for each other, goodluck
    Kirsty

  188. Jane Plass

    Amber,

    I will miss your posts, but commend you for your willingness to change and the courage to find your own path. I hope that you will return to blogging on your own terms someday.

  189. Amy

    Good for you Amber, following your heart! You deserve to be happy and live your life the way you want, and it does not matter what the people that criticized you think.

  190. suzi

    wow. how sad and how naive i am to think everyone adores and appreciates what you do for all of us. i want to thank you for being such an inspiration, Amber and best wishes for your whole self, girl!!

  191. shannonmarie (rawdorable)

    I’m sorry to hear this news. I’ll miss you, but I totally understand. I rarely blog these days and am very hesitant to mention food. Some people can be so mean that it just isn’t worth it to deal with the negative comments. I’ve been slammed for not being raw enough or how I was feeding my children, even when I never posted exactly what my kids were eating. My household isn’t entirely vegan (I’ve mentioned many times on my blog that I married a meat eater), so I’ve always been accepting of both sides. I wish other people could do the same. It seems like no matter what I post, someone isn’t happy about it. I wish you luck with your new journey. I still love ya <3

  192. Theresa

    I support you 100%.

  193. Alli

    Chef Amber – I really just found your site and will miss more of your insights and thoughts; but your own joy and delight in your life is way above anything we could ask of you. You are young and have much to give and much to get and see, do and experience. Hold to what works for you – even as it ebbs and flows and the tides change.

    I, personally, have lived Vegetarian for more than 30 years (MOSTLY!) … It’s true, like you, at times I was 100% Vegan; others it was 100% Vegetarian; others it fit the newly-defined “Pescetarian” parameter. And some of those times I felt worse, gained weight (unhealthy weight, not just pounds), had health issues, etc. At just-past-50 I’m still figuring out what is best for me NOW. At the moment, it seems, that mostly “Raw” and “Mostly Vegan” work well. So I had to smile at your description of your eating style – I’m there and have been for a while. It works. I’m feeling better. I’m losing the weight and have nearly zero menopause symptoms. It works for me.

    I have found one thing is true – IF someone asks, I’ll give a little and a little more about why I do what I do and that I do it because it works for me. You are profoundly more well-trained than I in nutrition and food. Trust yourself to put that to work for your body. And to adjust and change and dial it up or down as you need. You’re right: the naysayers are just that; let them be.

    Enjoy your life and your future. Hopefully we see you back here one day. I’d enjoy that. My husband is a “lite-carnivore” as I tease him. We’ve cook everything in this house and we support each other. Do the same for yourself and your family and you will find immensely greater joy. Wishing you all the best! 🙂

  194. Sunny

    I was so happy to find you and I will miss you, but I completely understand everything you said! I eat everything too and have waged that battle about what I am enjoying and that food matters to me. What a shame! We have the privilege of eating for enjoyment (mostly) and some unknown, unwelcomed external forces try to ruin it for the omnivores! Ridiculous. I discuss “lifestyle” now and try to keep the haters at bay that way (with mild success). I would welcome you back, and applaud your openness about being thin-skinned, but it is mostly people being brutal, Amber, so ENJOY your life and whatever comes your way next! I will be praying for you! Thank you for all your information and time on your writing. I think I will buy PR finally and just enjoy being connected to you that way! Peace out.

  195. Mrs G

    Amber, I’m so sorry you feel this way. I’m so sorry that people have criticized you for your choices about your diet.
    I think there are not right and wrong about diet (unless we talk about very extreme eating patterns, like drinking a bottle of soda a day).
    About orthorexia, I think that’s largely because around us we see so many unhealthy food options (sometimes we tend to underestimate the amount of sugar/artificial sweeteners/preservatives, etc) we ingest that we go to the opposite side and we focus too much on macro and micronutrients or we beat ourselves hard when we do not follow our model.
    I would also like to be free of label, but I cannot: the gluten-free and, recently, dairy-free labels stick on me because the price to pay to eat gluten and dairy is just too high.
    All the best with your future and I hope that your wish to start a family will come true.

  196. Kathy Lovett

    Hi Amber-I love your blog, as well as your cookbooks. I am vegan, but would still read your blog even if you included non-vegan recipes/posts. It amazes me as to how judgmental people can be regarding lifestyle choices. I hope you continue with your blog.
    Take care, Kathy

  197. Andrea

    Hi Amber – I’m so sad to hear about the struggles you’ve had. From the moment I “discovered” you, I always thought you were one of the few rare bloggers that I have come across that made healthy eating a realistic possibility for all of us “normal” folks out there. I so appreciated seeing your instagram posts of beer and bread! That made me feel empowered to strike a healthy balance between eating well and still being able to treat myself here and there. I know I’ve said this to you before, but I think you are absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait for you to start blogging again.

    I wish you nothing but the best during your time away from the site, you deserve it!

    Sending you lots of love…

  198. Christine

    I have always appreciated your honesty and commend you for following your heart. The whole labels thing is so frustrating and it kept me away from even the idea of veganism for the longest time, despite being vegetarian since ’96, because of the militia. You have always been truthful about the way you eat and it’s a shame you felt you needed to create a different persona almost to please the masses for your blog. Good for you for stepping outside of that. Best of luck! Perhaps we’ll follow your baby story soon.

    For now, “see” you on instagram, and hope to recognize you out in public again at some point and actually get to say hello this time!

  199. Bliss Doubt

    Amber, when I first started reading you, I thought Almostveganchef meant that you were still practicing, and not a chef yet. I dunno, something like that. I have always enjoyed reading your blog. Perhaps it was a mistake to include the word vegan in naming your blog spot. Death threats, my gosh, from people who purport to be eating their way to a more nonviolent reality for our planet. I have an open secret for you. Veganism is not the most ethical way of eating. It ignores something tantamount to human slavery. Look into the slave crops, cane sugar, bananas and others. Those who will pass on beef from Thunderheart Bison, where the animals have lived and eaten free ranging, have never been anywhere near a CAFO, and are humanely slaughtered in a propriety abattoir, yet will happily grab bananas on every shopping trip because they are 39 cents a pound, which is because they are a slave crop, are beyond logic. There’s lots more to say, but I won’t. I’m glad your blog will continue.

  200. Kevin Naylor

    Amber thanks for sharing this. I appreciate your decision to do what you need to do. thank you for your authenticity and sharing your heart with all of us. You truly have been a blessing from GOD. Many blessing to you in all area’s of your life. Thanks,Kevin R. Naylor

  201. Gena

    Amber,

    We’ve always had different approaches to labels in some ways; I think that, to embrace the vegan label for me is a statement of allegiance and solidarity as well as philosophical orientation (much the way using the label of “feminist” is). In that sense, and because it describes my lifestyle accurately, I think it’s a beautiful thing. That said, the vegan label has never been, for me, a way of declaring that I think my diet is superior to anyone else’s from a health standpoint. I hate when the word is used that way, and I recognize that it so often *is* used that way that people have come to feel uncomfortable with labeling in general.

    I think you’ve always been transparent and honest about the fact that you were neither a vegan nor a strict raw foodist. So it shocks me that people continue to pressure you in that direction. I’m also sorry to hear that you were afraid to share the parts of your life that you clearly and openly accounted for in never adhering to the label strictly.

    The point of this comment, though, is just to say that I’m very glad you’ve been moving away from orthorexic behaviors. That’s a journey I know well, and you have my full support in it. It’s wonderfully liberating to realize that our bodies are not as fragile and delicate as a lot of health leaders and alarmists would have us believe. Of course we need to nourish ourselves with health-giving foods, but we can be flexible and open. People tend to forget that *pleasure* is healthy, too, and that the joy one derives from a decadent dessert or fine cup of coffee or wine is probably every bit as healthful as a bite of kale — if not quite a bit more so.

    Life is all about evolution and growth, Amber. Be gentle to yourself, and fear not about a blog break. Sometimes we need to go inward for a while.

    G

  202. Cattoes

    I just discovered your website in my search for my own personal health journey and my love for all food types. Your personal story and yummy recipes inspired me to buy all of your books!!
    Your writing is a freshing and down to earth approach and anyone that has been negative towards you for any reason are simply jealous. Hope you come back soon and I look forward to any old or newly chartered avenues you bring back for all of us that enjoy the being you are!!

  203. Anna

    I want you back! But only if it is healthy for you. “Health” is a diverse spectrum and looks differently for everyone! I hope you find and get what you want and need, and a community that treasures you, as you should be. And please know, your book Practically Raw is a pure delight, and one that makes yummy foods very accessible! Thank you so much for your culinary gifts, and for sharing what you have of yourself. I wish you much, much peace!!

  204. Su

    Love your books, love your blogs, love your honesty! Thank you for spending time on the web with us. I trust that your decisions will be respected by your readers and I know that you will be heartily welcomed back whenever you make another web presence. Your encouragement via a book club assisted me in landing an unexpected job as a raw chef, so I thank you for the extra income as well as all the fun I’m having preparing the food!

  205. Michelle

    I just came across your website and have been trawling through your yummy recipes. So sorry that you’ve felt pressured to work (and live) outside of what is right for you.

    A bit of a guru of mine (Marc David) often refers to the diet/food industry as the wild west with people sticking to their guns about their specific philosophy how we should be eating and living. In reality, health is individual and we should all be able to get there in our own way.
    Your post is a bit of a wake up call to me having just started a blog where I want to talk about a whole range of things health related. One of the things I could talk about is that weight isn’t necessarily the be all and end of all of health like we are told to believe in the media. Weight is one of many factors and being overweight does not play such a big role in peoples overall health as we are led to believe. Stress management, movement, nutrition are bigger influencers by far.

    I’ve been tossing up whether to talk about this on my blog. In some respects I feel like I must but I have been fearful of reactions. I know thought that I won’t be speaking my truth if I ignore this though.

    Anyway, you have given me a bit to think about. I hope you do come back and blog. Your approach to eating is similar to the one I am developing as I experiment with vegan meals, raw meals, meat based meals and yummy sweets to see what i like the best and what makes me feel good.

  206. Nora

    Wow Amber, you are such an inspiration for speaking the truth that matters to you. We should all help each other out in finding a way of eating and living that will make us all feel good. I support the Amber Diet just as I am am learning to support my own Nora Diet! I wish you the best and please know that so, so many people agree with your way of life. It just seems based on intuition.

  207. bitt

    Love your honesty. And most of what I come to this blog for is YOU. Your writer’s voice.

    I am sorry you felt constricted by a label and that you felt orthorexic even. I am glad you recognized it and are moving forward. Talking about the wrong reason to eat a certain way, just on other opinions. However you eat should feel right to you, body and soul.

    I am sorry if I was judgy to you in the past. I’ve taken more time lately to spend time away from other vegans, to even read more blogs and interact with lots of others who are far from vegan or even health-food oriented. I’ve had health crises that have made me not want to judge. I have also learned that in health circles, there are food police. It’s not a purely vegan thing. I think it’s party an internet thing, people hiding behind screens and writing hateful things. Or less-than-thoughtful-things. Or just being blunt. And also fear as we are more and more removed from our food supply.

    I think not being in the public eye will be helpful to your healing. I actually even suggest not instagramming food too (I am not on there so I don’t know what goes on much but I hear it can breed haters).

    I really wish the best for you and I am SO happy that you are feeling better and it’s not only due to a restricting of “fun” foods like sweets and gluten. Lucky you!

  208. ulla

    You know, you just described the exact way I’ve been eating for years. Not being a blogger, I’ve never encountered the sizzling hatred you apparently had to deal with. However, it’s been a while since I stepped away from the phrase “I’m a vegetarian” (which has never been strictly true, but close enough to being the easy way out) and replaced it with “I don’t really eat meat”. When asked what that meant, I could always give an example and talk about the time a client plopped a flank steak in front of me without asking what to order. I ate it, and I do believe it’s the right thing to do, morally. The thing was on a plate in front of me – cow dead, and noone else would have enjoyed it since food does not go out of restaurant kitchens twice. That approach has helped me avoid all the lengthy discussions about dietary dogma. I hate that people tend to cloak pure and beautiful (and simple) things in dogma – can we not be together and just agree to disagree on some points?
    Well, you see: you are not alone. I always appreciated your blog, and I think I’ll miss it. I’ll remember you, and wish you all the best for your future. In whichever way it will come to you.

    1. ulla

      P.S.:
      It saddens me that dogma did that to you.
      All the best of healing to you – emotionally, physically, mentally.

  209. Sue

    Amber,

    I am really impressed that you are finding out that pleasing other people first isn’t the way to go at 28. At almost 46, I’m still trying to learn that.

    Kudos to you for putting yourself first and finding what works best for you in your diet and life. I’m not entirely veg/raw either and I’m no longer guilty about it. I strive to eat better because I know it affects my health, but I couldn’t give a flying fig newton I’m not the 100% veg/raw whatever. Every body really is different.

    I wish you abundant success and good health.

    And many thanks for doing those wonderful juice cleanse reviews, I’m gearing up to try Urban Remedy.

    Will miss your blog but you come first.

    Best,

    Sue

  210. Brenda

    BRAVO Amber!!!
    Thanks for sharing your latest journey with me. In my opinion and experience people pleasing will almost kill you. I am so happy you discovered this at the tender age of 28. I am now 60 and just learned this lesson 5 years ago when this disorder all most took me out.

    Be well and be you.

    All the best,

    Brenda

  211. Stacy Morgan

    I support you 100%!! I have a few years on you and I have had a similar journey with my own health (I have Hashimoto’s). I, too, went from labeling and aspiring to be ‘perfect and pure’ in my diet to opening up to all the possibilities life and food has had to offer. I first fell off the vegan path soon after I became pregnant with my first child (at 28) and I was losing weight instead of gaining. Despite believing wholeheartedly in the possibility of a healthy vegan pregnancy, my love of my unborn child caused me to eat a more varied diet. I hope you return, as you have so much to offer.

  212. Betty

    Keep on your own path!!

  213. christine

    I have enjoyed your blogs and will miss you, but can understand your need to settle into your new persona untrammeled by public overview! My friends are largely omnivores, but they’re my friends nonetheless – diet is only a small part of who we are – be yourself and enjoy your life x

  214. Richa @ VeganRicha.com

    I am so sorry for the hurtful comments Amber. This social media and easy access to everyone, sitting behind a screen makes everyone bold. The passion of some ethical vegans, gets mis-directed and everyone forgets the reason they are vegan. compassion. During my initial transition phase I was scared of making mistakes because of direct attacks on social media groups and stuff. I have since then found better groups.

    I wish you the best and hope you will get back to blogging when you can.

  215. Clover

    A breath of fresh air, your post is!!! I completely get it, as I have been on a similar end of judgment for being “mostly” vegan. I am a health educator that, first and foremost, teaches people to discover their own body and spirit’s needs, and I was not following that rule myself, which resulted in self-hatred and some pretty serious body image issues. I am letting this go, and am practicing my own lessons, unearthing what is right for me in each moment, while still feeling compassionate towards our planet. It is a process, for sure. I would absolutely LOVE for you to find your writing voice on YOUR terms and share your journey from that platform. It would be a refreshing change from so much of the dogmatic, perfection-based food blogging that seems to be the norm. So, PLEASE stay in touch with us. Your voice is valuable! Blessings!

  216. Rae

    Dearest Amber,
    So sorry to read this post, BUT I fully understand and I wish you the very best. I also look forward to seeing you back with new and exciting recipes. So please come back.
    I just found you this year after I diagnosed with breast cancer. Facing surgery and weeks of treatment and a HOT non air conditioned kitchen, I decided to purchase your wonderful cookbooks. What I found was a treasure trove of flavor and a new adventure. Recipes that blend with every life style. Thanks bunches
    Take your time but please come back.

  217. Kath

    Sad to see you go, Amber. I’ve always loved your blog because I’ve also considered myself ‘kind of’ vegan. However I don’t let it rule my life and I can adapt to suit situations. Like you, I was just drawn to plant-based eating. I love the honesty of your post and wish you luck.

  218. Michaela

    Wow, thank you for this incredibly honest and heartfelt post. As a registered dietitian promoting a mostly (there’s that dangerous word again) vegan, whole foods, plant-based diet, I have struggled with a similar experience. Do I label myself? Do I share when I eat something that others would condemn or criticize? Do I ignore my body to fit completely into a certain category?

    I’m very proud of you for listening to Amber 🙂 and your body. I hope you know how much your hard work in developing healthful AND TASTY recipes, writing your blog posts, and all the behind the scenes to-do’s is appreciated! You will be missed, but taking care of yourself is priority!

  219. Andrea @ Vibrant Wellness Journal

    Shame on the vegan police. Your writing is fun and interesting, and you should be able to write about whatever the f*%# you want. But I get it too- I am a passionate vegetarian, but on my mostly vegan blog I try to keep it free of animal foods. My theory is that even though I do use some cheese or eggs, I don’t think people NEED recipes for those foods; I want to inspire people to eat awesome plant foods, and if they really feel inclined they can add some cheese or whatever!

    Wishing you well on your journey, whatever it may entail. Though you will be missed on the blogosphere! aloha from Hawaii, Andrea

  220. g

    Fantastic!! I love what you’ve written here, and I love that you’ve been so honest. I write a vegan blog, yet, due to health issues, I haven’t eaten vegan in over 6 months. Because of the backlash I’m sure to receive, I haven’t announced it or posted anything that wasn’t vegan for that time period. I hate not being honest with everybody, but I really hate that I’m so scared of the cruel things people will say if they found out. It feels like the blogging world really is a grown-up version of high school, and I’m only popular if I do what everyone else wants me to do.
    Thanks for speaking up and making your honest voice heard. I’ll miss your blog, but I’m glad you’re doing it for you.
    Good luck with life!

  221. Sharon

    Amber- I have loved your blogs, I do hope it works that you can blog joyfully again. I am working on joy in my life also. I understand and am sorry that some people have been more than mean to you.

    I also eat without labels, some days it’s vegan, some days it’s fast food! I do love eating.
    Take care – Sharon

  222. J Shepard

    Amber,

    I’m a part time Vegan. I love your blog. I love your food attitude. Thank you for a beautiful and interesting website.

    I’m sorry that you’re leaving the blogosphere but happy that you are taking care of yourself.

    Cheers to you!

  223. Marci

    All the very best to you! I hope you come back, as I have JUST found your site. I’m on day 2 of your cleanse, and am craving more. I’ll be going through all of your past entries with glee! Come back in whatever form you need to…it’s you as a person we like. It doesn’t matter what food you’re into. We’re all human. Be your happiest self!!! Xoxo

  224. ronnie

    I understand why you need a break and i wish you well. thanks for the help and the recipes.

  225. Beautiful Colors, Warming Tastes and Other Things that Tickle Me |

    […] I’m reading:  Although this blog post by Chef Amber Shea is months old, I was touched by it and wanted to share.  No exclusionary […]

  226. Kim

    Hi Amber!

    I just discovered your blog about a year ago and it’s the first place I turn to for recipe ideas. I would still definitely be interested in reading your blog even if it shifted focus. I’m not exclusively vegan myself– I am just trying to eat in a healthy way that makes me feel good (health-wise).

    I’ve never commented on your site before and I was very surprised and saddened to read about what you have been going through. I wish you all the best and just wanted to thank you for creating this blog and sharing your wonderful recipes with us!

  227. Jessica

    I am glad to hear that you are focusing on yourself. Good luck on your journey! I am definitely interested in whatever posts you may decide to do in the future regardless if they are vegan or not. I am vegetarian but a lot of my family/friends are not so I am always looking to modify recipes for us that make us both happy! All the best with any endeavors you choose.

  228. A Bailey

    Awesome post. Best to you…I can’t imagine people being so ugly but I guess it happens in so many ways and on so many topics. You seem amazing with so much great content shared at such a young age. I hope you have a fabulous life and love yourself for the great gifts you have. People, their choices and their behavior reflect THEMSELVES…the ugliness is about them not you!!!! Namaste!!!

  229. Sara

    You’re my hero. You’ve inspired me to stop caring what others think. I put the vegan label on myself 2 years ago and am ready to evolve myself… like you, I would like to start incorporating humanely-sourced animal foods into my diet whenever I feel like it, but I hate the thought of causing a vegan uproar or losing friends over it. Friends that probably aren’t worth having, I suppose, if they end it over my eating a chicken sandwich… <3

  230. Coming clean: my battle with Hashimoto’s disease | Chef Amber Shea

    […] late 2013: Please note that this post is now well over 1.5 years old. Since writing it, my eating habits have evolved a great deal. I no longer feel comfortable talking about my experience with Hashimoto’s (which is still a […]

  231. kim

    I’m a new fan to your site via the 3 day cleanse program that I just completed. I totally understand how you feel as an almost vegan myself. I love vegan eats but I am not 100% vegan. Never will be. I enjoy healthy delicious food. I listen to my body and I am ok with that. I hope you will come back!

  232. Patty

    You go girl!! I literally JUST found you, but I am so proud of you!
    I was bullied for several reasons from K-12. It simply made me stronger.
    To thine ownself be true, Sister! Peace out!

  233. Alisa

    I’m way late on this comment, but I would LOVE to see the “real” Amber!! I’m in full support of your omnivorous diet, and have endured much the same hate over the years. I hope that you will return and realize that you are wanted. Haters just tend to be more vocal! Happy eating!

  234. Paige

    I’m sorry to hear people gave you such a hard time! I’m also sorry I’ve only just stumbled across your wonderful site now. I look forward to trying your amazing recipes & I have just purchased the 3 Day Real Food Cleanse ebook not because I’m trying to lose weight or even detox – which seems to be the ‘in’ thing these days. I believe in your views & your ideas of not starving yourself or going to drastic lengths to try and reach a false & ultimately elusive ideal. I just want my body to feel better.
    I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease 2 years ago & I know how life-changing illness can be. It makes you reasses everything in your life.
    I wish you the very best with your health & your journey through your personal and professional life. I do hope that you return to blogging!

  235. Leslie Vance

    Amber, you are a sane and honest voice that is vastly needed in this I world. I hope you will come back, but I wish you well in what ever direction your heart leads.
    God Bless you,
    Leslie Vance

  236. Natalie S.

    Hi Amber! I was just re-making your raw chocolate bar recipe this morning as a gift to some friends and thought I’d pop over to your blog to see what you’ve been up to. I’m so glad you are taking time for yourself and your health, and I wish you the best. I just want to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed your two books; “Practically Raw” is stained, dog-eared and a much used and loved addition to my cookbook collection. I love making the nacho cheese sauce and raw chocolate bars for people unfamiliar with raw vegan foods and watching the amazement on their happy faces. (And no, my family and I are not raw, or vegan or GF or Paleo. We’re…omnivores!) The only label I would apply to your food is DELICIOUS. Thank you for all of the yummy culinary gifts you’ve given us. I’d love for you to come back to us, but I wish you happiness and success in whatever you do!

  237. Pixie

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and I’ve already wiled away many idle hours reading about your life, travels and cookery adventures! I’m a vegan myself, but that’s not what I’ve loved about your blog! Your writing is always so full of joy and life. It never ceases to make me smile, and your descriptive imagery make me feel like I’m there with you! I wish you all the best, and I hope that you are feeling a lot happier and more positive about food now. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you return to blogging one day, but I completely understand if you don’t! Take care of yourself 🙂 Pixie x

  238. A. Marie

    Hello,

    I just found your bloc and am sad to see it is ending, but I do understand why. I just want you to know that it is often those who walk between two worlds that make the biggest differences. They also catch a lot o flack for it. I wish that I could be vegan, but I’m not. Trying to do so has always made me miserable and had negative impacts on my health. Then I’d boomerang which makes it worse. You have provided me with the knowledge I need to make a huge impact in my life that has brought me tremendous joy. Not only that, but being someone who has dealt with disabling chronic pain for years, to a point that cooking had become very difficult, you have given me a quick and easy, delicious way to do so that just also happens to have helped with thepaon too.

    I hope that you find peace in yourself. I also hope that you can see the incredible good you’ve done helping people who are never going to be hardcore vegan. Not ever. Lifestyles, finances, and availabilty strongly impact how people eat. You seem to grasp this. You’ve given me back a life in some ways. It sounds dramatic, but I assure you that I am not embellishing at all. So I thank you and the others who have walked between the w and shown me that I can eat this way and love it. You are a gift and blessing. I hope you find peace and happiness. Thank you.

    Ps. Being perfectly imperfect is a beautiful thing. It makes you a work of art, an exquisite one at that.

  239. Bella

    I just found your blog topic on your hashimoto’s diagnosis which I think is great. I have this myself and have done the leaky gut diet before. I was so curious to see how it worked for you, but this post was definitely sad for everyone involved, including you the most. I can’t imagine why people get offended for such idiotic reasons. People take things to extremes and wonder why EVERYONE is not on board with them! It’s called tact for one, and they haven’t learned what acceptance is. It’s like starting a riot with a goal of peace. Makes no sense at all. I hope you choose to come back. I’d love to learn from you! You have an amazing way of sharing your gifts here, and I’m sure you do in ‘real life’ as well! Blessed are the people who get to call you a true friend. Pray for the ones that hate you. They need love the most. You have a huge following here I can see, and it seems a lot of people would love to have you in their life. I know I do!

  240. Miriam B.

    First of all – I’d like to apologize on behalf (I consider myself vegan) but am not afraid to admit that even though I don’t buy any animal products or byproducts, I will allow myself to ‘cheat’ from time to time (especially in regard to dessert), for the sake of keeping my sanity – if anyone has a problem with that, FU *very* much.

    Even though we don’t know each other, I felt so touched by your “farewell” post, and am very proud of your personal growth.

    Your honest & real attitude is what got my attention.

    You are most definitely more “humane” than many of the hypocrite & rigid vegans/raw foodists/paleo foodies/etc., … out there, pointing fingers and deciding what others should eat or LIVE like.

    I personally cannot stand their mentality and vowed never to be like that.

    So many people fail to think for themselves and be critical – they read something, they act according to it and expect everyone else to do the same.

    LIVE AND LET LIVE <3

    I'm glad to (finally) have stumbled upon a food blogger/cook who I feel can help me enjoy cooking again.

    I will be buying your books ASAP.

    Remember… YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE <3

    \m/ Rock on! \m/

  241. Sarah

    Our Darling Amber Shea,
    You helped me find my best, most energized, holiest, strongest-loving life as a vegan! It’s not because I held you up as some sort of god or guru of raw veganism.
    It’s because you’re a really, really good cook and teacher!
    Your work speaks for itself. You never had to get preachy on ethics or threaten your audience with cholesterol-induced miserable diseases. The only thing you ever did was to offer a high-quality product and genuine encouragement.
    In the end, we’ve all got to be our own chef, doctor, parent, expert.
    Of course I’m disappointed that the lifestyle that has me firing on all cylinders doesn’t have the same effect for you.
    But please come back!
    Individuals who only want to hear from strict raw vegans will find each other.
    I hope that you can’t keep your gifts to yourself for too long. You are too good at what you do!
    Your future children are very lucky.

  242. Anne

    You are inspiring, beautiful, incredible. I enjoy your recipes every week. And I love vegan food, but I am not vegan. Thank you for your wonderful recipes, blog, thoughts and inspirations. Thank you!

  243. Sandy

    good for you, I’m omnivore all the way… I just found this site via your real food cleanse, and am glad to have the archives here to peruse. Best of luck!

  244. Charlene

    Kudos to you and I wish you the absolute best in fully recovering your health and realizing your goal of starting a family. This post is very timely for me based on a recent discussion I had with a friend. For some time now I have been in the process of “leaning into” eliminating most processed foods because the more I read and research, I want to eat REAL foods that nourish my body and provide energy (yes, I also want to finally lose this last 20 lbs also but health is FIRST). I’ve considered being “mostly vegetarian” especially as I learn more about how animals are treated and meat manufacturing in this country – the negative impact to many humans and also the animals, even if they are to be a food source. It bothers me a great deal – the whole process and lack of accountability related to the health of Americans but I digress… One thing my friend asked me was why did I feel the need to label how I eat as I learn more to adapt a healthier overall diet? AHA! I don’t have to label it and I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to what I decide to eat or why. Neither did you. I actually just found your books on Amazon today and will purchase both because for once the whole food recipes look and sound DELISH. I look forward to trying many of the recipes with my teenage daughter in hopes of moving towards a mostly whole foods diet with some meat, should I choose. Wishing you all the best and would love to see more posts from you on any types of delicious dishes you concoct. God Bless and thanks for what I know will be great meals with my family! 🙂

  245. Robin

    I found your blog after struggling with a relapse in my husbands health this month. He also has Hashimoto’s. We are controlling it completely naturally. For the first year I fought diet restrictions other than giving up soy (which mimic estrogen in your body and messes with your thyroid.) Despite the fact that soy, gluten and dairy did not seem to effect him at all when he consumed it, it was taking a toll on his thyroid. To my great disappointment, after giving in and making the shift to gluten free, dairy free (which blood tests indicated he reacted to with antibodies), and soy free I was disappointed when months went by and he didn’t really feel any better. I again set to the internet to find if anyone else had this outcome. Turns out there were. (thank you people who are willing to blog!) We found that a deficiency in Selenium may be part of the problem. So we started supplementing with Selenium with vitamin E tablets once a day. Three days later he was the same energetic, upbeat guy he had been before Hashi’s had taken root.
    We had 3 months of health and happiness and we were thinking we had Hashimoto’s whipped. Then we got careless. On a road trip this month we used instant VIA coffee (we had used this coffee before, so I paid no attention to the amount of caffeine it had. It had a lot.) And to my shame, we drank energy drinks when we were driving as we had always done in the past… His relapse was a wake up. Even when he appears healthy, that doesn’t mean we can go back to the way things were before. He found himself with his health slipping, brain in the fog, depression and lacking any energy or motivation, it was scary. I am thankful we able to recognize our mistakes. I am thankful that he is once again feeling good. I’m sure there will be more bumps in our road, but I am going to be more vigilant.
    I would like to encourage you to use caution with foods just because you do not feel the immediate effects they are having on you. And from your posts, I can see you are tired of advice, tired of people’s opinions, and tired of being tired. I don’t blame you. Your blogs are so transparent. Please do not read anything into this message other than me wishing you amazing health. I know how scary it is to feel out of control with your health.

  246. Audrey

    I’m proud of you for taking a stand and doing what’s best for you. I relate to you in many ways in terms of food and struggle with the haters in certain circles of food world. I can’t imagine how awful it was for you with a wider audience. Following my body led me to a variety of diet circles and I found myself in my diet much like yours and it keeps me very healthy. I wish people could understand that not everyone is able to follow diets with large exclusions of food groups. I hope you continue writing and would LOVE a cookbook with more of your real diet. There are a lot of people who follow the WAPF diet and struggle to add more raw foods and vegetables in general to their diets as recommended by Dr. Mercola. I bet you could fill that need!

  247. Vanessa Smith

    Amber, I just discovered your post as I researched info on H Pylori. I was recently diagnosed in Dec 2014. Reading what you have gone through is so similar to my own emotions and mental anguish. I had been Vegan for a little over year and super athletic. I also have a website dedicated to Vegan, Vegetarian and Plant-Based eating. While I don’t believe my diet was the cause as I know STRESS was a big part of the equation. I am also contemplating my diet has I learn more about the complexities of our digestive system. Like you, I’m realizing my diet should be one of whole, healthy foods and I’m in the process of revamping my own website. I sure do appreciate you sharing your story. You are a blessing to many. I hope you are doing better emotionally, physically and mentally. We all need a break to think/process. I wish you all the best!

  248. Laura

    I applaud you for making this choice, but it saddens me that you feel the need to stop blogging. Your recipes are amazing. I LOVE raw vegan food. And so many people would find out how delicious it is if they were open to trying it. That being said, I will never be 100% vegan. Not even close. I, too, have evolved my eating over the years but the reality is, the perfect diet is the one that doesn’t follow extremes. I was paleo for quite a while but now I allow myself safe starches and occasional legumes. And I feel fabulous. Don’t let the naysayers run you off. Maybe take some time off and rebrand yourself as a real food chef. Then you can post about anything as long as the food is real. 🙂
    Best of luck to you in whatever you decide. I love all of your books!

  249. Barbara Gabbe-Harris

    Hi Amber, funny, I was just thinking about you…and then I receivef the message sent to you from Laura…..I was wondering how you are doing…and what new food adventure you are on…..I still have my “Real Food Cleanse” I did awhile ago….and just today I dug it out to look up that fabulous dessert of whipped bananas and frozen cherries…am having a craving! There are so many yummy foods in that cleanse that I have incorporated into my everyday foods.

    Hope all is wonderful with you. Miss you …..and your recipes.

  250. Ellexis Boyle

    You are one cool, brave and brilliant person, Amber. I just discovered your blog and was so very impressed by your “farewell” post. I too am a classically trained chef who became somewhat vegan and I completely understand what you say about labelling food and diets. Your post is brilliant in how it captures the complexity of food, our relationship to it and the problems of being inflexible or purist about it. Your recipes look beautiful and highly creative. I just bought your dessert based book.

    I wish you well on your journey. You are special and the world needs more folks like you.

    Peace and love.

  251. Sue

    I just found you, looked around your site, & read this post. It made me incredibly sad to know people were so mean and judgmental to you-it is your life and I wish you only the best. Enjoy your hiatus and when you are ready to come back, I will be here.

  252. John

    Hi Amber,

    I noticed one of your books in the local library and, via the internet, found this website. Your post is very well-written and could generically apply to anyone who thinks for them self – on any given topic – and is subsequently criticized by the yahoos for doing so. Good on you and stay strong!

    Kind regards,

    John

    PS If you haven’t already, I recommend you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. You will find it informative, as well as therapeutic.

  253. Sherry

    Yes you should come back!!! Everyone would love to see your posts and find out how you’ve been. And to those hateful people who hurt you — they can get lost. You are a CHEF! You have every right to create whatever food you choose, and to enjoy eating regardless of anyone else’s opinions. I hope you do come back … and feel free to post ANY recipes you want. I will always be thankful I purchased your “raw” books, even though I also am not vegan. They are superb recipes, and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried. Best wishes to you in all of your endeavors!!!

    Sherry

  254. Inthenameofanimals

    “in my 28 years on Earth”….Haha….oh sweetie you say that like it means something. I appreciate your honesty but you make all the excuses of a failed vegan. Vegan eating does not cause health problems, except if you are doing it wrong. The stress you brought on yourself by duping your community is probably what made you sick.

    There is no such thing as “conscientiously-sourced animal-derived foods”. It is a made up mindset to alleviate thinking about the brutatlity and horrors the animals endure when people consume their flesh and by products.

    You made your name, fame and profit on the backs of the animals you ate in hiding. Shame on you. You brought the criticism on yourself by calling yourself Almost Vegan. There is no such thing. You either are or you aren’t.

    I’m quite sure the vegan community will be glad to be rid of your duplicitous blog bearing the vegan description.

    1. Sonja Myers

      inthenameofanimals: And I am sure that any decent member of the Vegan community would DISAVOW someone so crass, patronizing and intolerant- like you who is riding on the GOOD NAME of TOLERANT Vegan community.

      You belong to that ugly, righteous part of humanity that has little, miserable lives and have nothing better to do than hurt, spit venom at smart, talented and successful people.

      For your information, Almost Vegan cookbook is just that – ALMOST VEGAN! It is still THE BEST BOOK on the market on HEALTHY way of preparing food. It is versatile, it gives options, one can stay with just vegan, or just raw or one can combine it with other types of food – IT IS AWESOME and still my NUMBER ONE COOK BOOK for healthy and very imaginative cooking. It has found its way to Poland, England, Australia, Germany and France so far.

      Where is your book? Have you ever created, let alone publish a single recipe? Of course not! You are too busy insulting people and inventing scenarios about their health issues without a SINGLE fact in hand.

      Take your jealous, envious self off of this blog and go polluting sites of the people that really deserve it.

      We here, while wishing Amber all the best, are looking forward to her next cookbook

  255. Gillian

    Dear Amber,

    Thank you for your beautiful honesty. You sound so much like me (wanting to please people, Hashi’s, etc). Best of luck discovering what works best for you – even if it changes from day to day. Living with Hashi’s isn’t easy (no autoimmune illness is), and I’m so glad you are being kind to yourself. What an inspiration! ❤Gillian