Tommy Kelly, formerly Tofu Tommy, has left veganism and vegan activism behind him in favor of a healthier future with animal foods.
After being vegan for nearly 4 years, he now sees the essential role of nourishing animal foods for mental and physical strength.
Tommy is open about his experience and generously shares his story and the lessons learned so that others do not fall over the same stumbling blocks.
Tommy is here with us today to share his ex-vegan story. Please share this ex-vegan transformation with others if you have any family or friends that can benefit from reading it.
Tommy has also been a guest on our podcast. Listen to the full episode T̶o̶f̶u̶ Tommy: Liberated
Please introduce yourself briefly with your name, general location, age, height, and current weight.
My name is Tommy Kelly, formerly Tofu Tommy on youtube and former vegan activist. I’m from Ayrshire in Scotland and aged 40 yrs old and height 174 cm and 64 kg.
How long were you vegan?
I was vegan for 3 years and 9 months
What made you decide to introduce animal foods again?
After my health deteriorated around the 2.5-year mark of veganism.
I was suffering severe digestive issues, daily migraines, mouth ulcers, brain fog, short term memory loss as well as facial droop on my left side which was accompanied by slurred speech.
Given the fact I had suffered a past of an eating disorder which was based around the grief and loss of my parents and my wife’s miscarriages which resulted in ovarian cancer, my recovery was impacted despite eating a high caloric vegan diet and supplemented with B-12, vegan omega supplements, vitamin d, and a probiotic supplement. Professionals advised I return to a vegetarian diet at the start and then added in fish and chicken which after one year on has reversed all my issues and I am now the healthiest and fittest I have been in years.
What resources (books, youtube channels, podcasts, etc) gave you the inspiration to question if veganism was right for you?
Watching so many ex-vegan testimonials with similar issues as myself made me question if it truly was the vegan diet behind all my health issues.
Also watching Tristan speak about regenerative agriculture and the biases and false philosophy of veganism, as well as people like Bobby’s Perspective, Drew Morgan and my friend Jack Wacko who had all come through veganism and were speaking openly about their experience.
It really helped me continue on my path of healing. I questioned myself if I was doing the right thing and had massive guilt due to the morals that surrounded my path to becoming vegan initially.
Was it hard to leave veganism?
The beginning was extremely hard after so much conditioning as a vegan and activist. I believed the dietary change would have no change in my health and that it was unnecessary.
I never experienced any flare-ups apart from when I’d add in more plant foods which would immediately bring back symptoms.
Were you involved in vegan activism?
I was the founder and organizer of Ayrshire Animal Save (local branch of Save Movement) as well as Ayrshire Anonymous For The Voiceless both based in Ayrshire Scotland. I also did street activism by interviewing members of the public as well as various slaughterhouse vigils with Animal Save.
What was the first animal food you ate after decided to quit being vegan? What was that experience it like?
I first tried eggs as many do when leaving veganism. It seemed the easiest thing to try but really didn’t make a huge difference, although, I did have more energy. When I added wild-caught salmon to my diet, things really changed. My cognitive ability returned and everything else began to improve.
Were your family and friends supportive of your choices to leave veganism?
Absolutely! My family and close friends weren’t all vegan and saw what it was doing to me.
However, those who I thought were close friends who are vegan mostly all turned against me as they believed I no longer care about animals and that I somehow did the lifestyle wrong and “was never really vegan”.
Sadly this is a recurrent theme most ex-vegans can relate to.
Where did your motivation to keep going come from?
Knowing I had to look after myself as people love me such as my wife, family, friends and that I wouldn’t be here any longer unless I faced reality and made the necessary changes immediately.
How long until you saw results? What is your marker of “healing”?
Around 6-8 weeks I felt so much stronger in body and mind and could function whereas I couldn’t previously.
My marker for healing is being able to carry out daily life without physical pain and having the cognitive ability to do so.
What did you use to eat before turning to animal-based nutrition?
Vegan whole foods diet with occasional mock meats.
What do you eat now?
Currently, I base my diet on eggs every day with whole milk (non pasteurized) that is sourced from a local grass-fed farm called Mossgiel Family Farm here in Ayrshire Scotland. They pride themselves on regenerative agriculture and keep calves with their mothers.
I eat lots of fish such as salmon, tuna, haddock, cod, Sea bass. I also have natural dairy yogurts and farm-made cheese as well as free-range grass-fed chicken around 2-3 times weekly.
I eat a minimal amount of fibrous veggies due to digestion issues. I like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and occasionally onion and mushroom. The occasional fruits I eat are most often banana, apple, and grapes.
This is an example of a typical day of eating:
Breakfast: 4 boiled eggs with 2 slices sourdough toast and grass-fed butter.
Mid-morning: 1 pint of whole milk and 60g cheese with an apple.
Lunch: Chicken, basmati rice, broccoli with a glass of fresh orange juice.
Dinner: Salmon, green beans, baked potato.
Dessert: Greek yogurt, berries, protein powder with tbsp natural peanut butter.
What are your current health goals and how will animal foods support you?
My current health goals are to continue to gain healthy weight and muscle. I want to have the best health I possibly can so that I can enjoy life with my wife. I hope to return to work as a nutritionist/personal trainer as well as my recovery coaching which I currently do in a volunteer capacity.
Are you interested in trying a keto or carnivore diet?
At the moment, I feel I am doing great and wouldn’t want to omit any foods from my diet unless I had to for health reasons. I wouldn’t rule anything out for the future. If I had a specific health issue that could be benefited from those approaches, I would try them.
Do you track macros or calories?
Yes, I do in order to meet my calorie goals for weight and muscle gain, but I’m not strict on it. I remain flexible.
Do you supplement with anything?
I get prescribed calcium and multivitamin from my dietitian that I’ve been on for almost 20 yrs and also supplement with leucine, creatine monohydrate, and protein powders around my workouts.
What is your current view of vegetables and plant foods?
I think they have their place for cleansing and can be good in a balanced diet in small portions, but also come with a lot of issues for some people due to phytates, lectins, anti-nutrients etc.
Do you practice fasting or OMAD?
No, as for me it wouldn’t be something I could consider with my past but it has great benefits for certain individuals who like to operate in a window of eating and to not go over their daily requirements.
Would you recommend a vegan diet to anyone else and why?
I personally have no problem with others being vegan, but they also should respect that others can’t be vegan as it simply isn’t healthy for everyone in my opinion.
You have to be cautious about various vitamins and minerals that are missing or not as bio-available in a plant-based vegan diet such as B-12, Choline, Vitamin A1, Vitamin K2, Lysine, Cholesterol, Creatine, Carnitine, DHA EPA, to name a few.
What would you say to someone struggling on a vegan diet?
I would advise anyone struggling on a vegan diet to at least accept the possibility it could be the diet. Try something whether its eggs or something else you feel comfortable with for at least a small period of time.
You may be very surprised, and if not then you lose nothing and can return to a plant-based diet.
Understand you owe yourself compassion as well; you can’t save anyone if you aren’t well both physically and mentally.
If someone wants to learn more about your health journey or contact you, where is the best place for them to go?
Are you ready to try animal-based nutrition for yourself?