After realizing her eating disorder stemmed from her plant-based lifestyle, blogger Jordan Younger made the difficult decision to transition away from veganism, which was the very cornerstone of her brand.
LA-native Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde.
Blogger Jordan Younger, formerly of The Blonde Vegan, built her brand—which includes a whopping 80,000 Instagram followers—around being vegan. But this past summer, when the LA native’s vegan lifestyle turned into an eating disorder called orthorexia, she made the controversial decision to transition away from the very thing that defined her. In the past few months since she’s evolved her brand into The Balanced Blonde, she’s faced criticism and anger from the vegan community.
We sat down with Younger to talk all things blogging, veganism, orthorexia, and her sweet homecoming to the West Coast.
How have you been able to maintain balance in such an unbalanced time? JORDAN YOUNGER: Whenever I find balance, I try to maintain it as much as possible […] when I find something that works I just want to do it over and over, every day. But to me, that’s not a balanced life, that’s obsessive and planning and getting really stressed if [something] doesn’t go the way you want it to. So I’ve pretty much just been trying to rework the way I do things, that’s me trying to find balance.
How did you hear about orthorexia and how did you realize you were suffering from it? JY: I kind of realized I had it the moment I [saw it online and read] that it was the obsession with eating things that are healthy and the subsequent fear of any food that is not 100% clean or pure or could be harmful to your body—including alcohol, refined sugar, everything. I realized being the extreme person that I am, that having such an extreme diet like veganism was triggering this eating disorder.
When you first stated that you were transitioning away from veganism, you faced a lot of backlash. How do you think that has changed since you started incorporating some meats and eggs onto the blog and Instagram? JY: It changes day to day. It’s definitely gotten better […] [but] it was really hurtful and really hard for me because I thought a lot of these people were my friends—even if they were just my friends in the blog world. It completely surprised me—I expected some anger, but not the amount of anger that I got.
Younger lost a lot of support from the vegan community after she came out and decided to transition away from veganism.
You’ve moved back to LA from New York. How will that change the blog? And what will be different now that you’re in recovery? JY: People are going to see that I’m a lot healthier and trying to be a lot less obsessive and live a life of balance. I have the recovery series Fridays, but most things are going to stay really positive. It’s a healthy lifestyle blog and it focuses on my life—so recovery, of course, but also fitness and yoga and restaurants [...] and showing people where to go in LA!
How is the LA health food community different? JY: Moving back to LA has actually been more of a struggle because you have to hop in your car and drive places. There’s not the ease of New York, of just being able to walk down the street and pick something up. But that’s been good for my orthorexia, because it’s just a lot less obsessing. In New York I had all the options on the table all the time—I could walk down the street to my favorite restaurant, or to my favorite juice bar. It was dangerous for someone with orthorexia because I was just fixated all the time.
What are some of your favorite healthy places to eat in LA? JY: I have so many! I’m completely addicted to Whole Foods, I go there all the time and did in New York, too—I’m so grateful that somehow I’m even closer to a Whole Foods now than I was in New York. I just love the ease of all of it—I know how to navigate it and I can trust it. I love Juice Crafters for juices and smoothies, and I love Moon Juice in Venice for amazing juices and smoothies. And I love Cafe Gratitude, an amazing vegan restaurant where there are such great vegan options that I’m comfortable taking non-vegans there, too. Gracias Madre is a new vegan restaurant in West Hollywood owned by the same people as Cafe Gratitude, and it’s really trendy and has a cool bar and cocktails. It’s amazing, and I’ve been going there a lot.