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going primal from strict vegetarian, & a question about grass-fed v. grain-fed meat

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  • going primal from strict vegetarian, & a question about grass-fed v. grain-fed meat

    Hello, all! If there is another thread that addresses these issues, please direct me to them (I didn't run across any).

    I am strongly leaning towards going to a Primal diet. This is a HUGE deal for me, as I've been a vegetarian for 18 years. But I've been noticing symptoms that were troubling me, such as:

    - I am having a hard time losing fat, especially belly fat. My metabolism seems to have stopped dead. (I am 42 and female, about 5'3" and 138 pounds...not seriously overweight, but it is definitely creeping up.) I also feel bloated and gross after I eat. This is despite eating a VERY clean--and supposedly healthy--vegetarian diet.
    - I gained weight while training for a full marathon. I couldn't believe it.

    My research led me directly to MDA. At first I tried to formulate a weird "vegetarian Primal" diet. You can probably guess how that worked out. I think it's just time for me to take the plunge. Here are my questions:

    1. Have any of you gone Primal after becoming vegetarian? I have a hard time imagining eating meat. I will probably start off eating chicken and turkey, but the idea of eating beef and pork is so gross to me right now.

    2. I am on a very strict budget right now. I know that "grass-fed, grass-finished" and "free-range" are the meats I should be looking for. But they're so expensive! How bad will it be if I have to resort to eating grain-fed, non-organic meats at least some of the time?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!
    Last edited by avabee; 12-26-2010, 10:55 PM.

  • #2
    <----former vegetarian.

    Everybody's different. I eased my way back in eating eggs and fish. I would make omelettes with lots of veggies. I would poach a salmon fillet, then flake it and eat it in a green salad.

    Just think of animal foods as a condiment for your plateful of beautiful veggies.

    PWG

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    • #3
      Originally posted by avabee View Post

      1. Have any of you gone Primal after becoming vegetarian? I have a hard time imagining eating meat. I will probably start off eating chicken and turkey, but the idea of eating beef and pork is so gross to me right now.
      Go step by step. You DON"T have to eat beef or pork (although Grok would be proud). One can be primal and eat just chicken and turkey or even fish alone.

      Originally posted by avabee View Post
      2. I am on a very strict budget right now. I know that "grass-fed, grass-finished" and "free-range" are the meats I should be looking for. But they're so expensive! How bad will it be if I have to resort to eating grain-fed, non-organic meats at least some of the time?

      Thanks in advance for your advice!
      If you can't afford grassfed/pastured/free range (I can't afford to get everything 100% grassfed/free range either, but I do incorporate grassfed beef and free range chicken twice of week, and am starting to buy organic pastured eggs [wooho!]), and your supermarkets does not sell conventional meats grown without antibiotics/hormones, then your best bet is to stick to very lean cuts of meat (think chicken breast, lean steaks, etc) and then add healthy fats (extra virgin olive, coconut oil, organic ghee, grassfed beef tallow, organic or pastured butter, etc). Get a big jar of extra virgin coconut oil (nutiva sells 1 gallon container for $50) or organic ghee (pure indian foods sells 28.8 jars for $30). They are in the expensive side, but it will save you money in the long run.
      Last edited by Zed; 12-26-2010, 01:25 PM.

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      • #4
        Starting Primal last May I was 37, 5'2", 178lb or so (not very enthusiastic about weighing myself at the time, funnily enough) and still putting weight on, accumulating it all round the belly, and eating a healthy vegetarian diet with whole grains the basis of every meal. OK, I was a slightly lapsed vegetarian, eating fish occasionally - which was a big deal for me, as for years I used to be the 'checking labels to avoid gelatine and cochineal' kind of vegetarian.

        Some people do manage to be Primal and pescatarian, but I don't know of any vegetarians. It'd be wall to wall eggs, wouldn't it?

        Happy carnivore here. There are a couple of threads somewhere about this, full of people who've made the change. Surprising how many of us there are.

        If you were a beans'n'rice vegetarian, then this way of eating is going to cost more. (It is seriously worth it.) Save money by basing meals on organ meats, eggs or oily fish.

        (Update: 38, 130lbs, feeling about 10 years younger than this time last year. Still only 5'2", though.)

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        • #5
          also former vegetarian (and vegan for a time). 10 years or so total.


          1. Have any of you gone Primal after becoming vegetarian? I have a hard time imagining eating meat. I will probably start off eating chicken and turkey, but the idea of eating beef and pork is so gross to me right now.

          I think that bacon is the gateway meat. honestly, it's just easy to consume. it's inexpensive, so you can get good free range stuff for a great price. and, as above, just add it to whatever you already eat. over a salad, in your eggs, etc.

          i also find that some people do well going with fish and seafood (if you were ever into it), and then going into chicken, turkey, duck, etc, and so on. but seriously, i do see bacon as the gateway meat.

          2. I am on a very strict budget right now. I know that "grass-fed, grass-finished" and "free-range" are the meats I should be looking for. But they're so expensive! How bad will it be if I have to resort to eating grain-fed, non-organic meats at least some of the time?

          it wouldn't be terrible, but if you were an ethical vegetarian, it might make things tougher. i mean, i am loathe to eat anything that doesn't come from a farm that i am familiar with, and i've spent a great deal of time doing so once i moved here, even though we ate what we could find initially (and while traveling), now that i am familiar with certain farms, we hew toward those.

          there are some ways to save money: cow shares, animal shares, buying directly from farms, etc. get a freezer, buy in bulk direct from the farm. best possible solution.

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          • #6
            I would agree with zoebird on the ethics thing with grassfed. Most of us former Veggies did not consume meat for the ethical reasons. Conventional feedlot beef and pork that is raised in disgusting enviroments would not fit a primal lifestyle to me. ( ME TALKING ), HOWEVER, budgets, avaialability to local meat etc make eating conventional meats a reality for most. As stated, you can get by with fish, eggs, and quality fats. Save your pennies, look for other things to cut out of your grocery bill that will afford you the money for quality meat. When I quit buying loads of bulk grains, and other stuff to support my "healthy" vegetarian diet, magically I did not struggle to find the cash for good meat. Good Luck!

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            • #7
              Hi, I'm melody, and I was a vegetarian for 16 years
              *hi melody*

              poultry was my gateway meat, it took me a year to venture into red meat territory and another year to try pork. There are lots of inexpensive ways to buy ethically raised meat, start with buying straight from the farm and buy less popular cuts. I can make 3 meals from a $15 chicken which I think is pretty decent. Dropping the veg habit has helped me heal many health issues.

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              • #8
                I started being a vegetarian when I was 13 years old and stopped recently after almost 15 years. I was a picky eater as a child so I ate only fish, chicken and some sausages. I would assume that if you have memories of eating pork and beef it would be easier to start eating them again.

                I started with fish which was comparably easy. Then I tried some chicken and hot dog sausages which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, I think I ate too much of it afterwards or maybe I did not prepare it in a way that was tasty enough - anyway: I don't feel like eating any meat now, the thought of it makes me sick. So I thought that I would need some variation and tried a curry with some small pieces of beef but strongly disliked the taste and texture of it.

                My lesson that I learned is: take things slowly. Even if you like meat, don't go crazy with it because you don't want to end up like me: making a step back and not wanting to eat anything but eggs. I think I'll learn how to make meat patties and maybe sausages and I hope that will help. I don't even like the taste of bacon and that doesn't help either.

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                • #9
                  Grass fed > Organic Grain Fed > Grain Fed. If you can't afford grass fed-it can be pricey- take some fish oil or krill oil with your meals to balance your ratios out. That's about it really. Take it easy on the meat to begin with its a big change for your body. Chicken in saucy concoctions, eggs, fish, and maybe 2-3 servings of red meat per week til you feel good about going full on.

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                  • #10
                    might want to consider some digestive enzymes with your meals for a little while...your body may need some help digesting the meat after eating any for so long

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                    • #11
                      Tuna salad was my gateway back to animal protein. From there, it's a short hop to chicken salad. All of a sudden, you're not a vegetarian anymore.

                      Find a connection at your farmers' market or find a family farm online. Prices are quite a bit cheaper than anything you'll find in a brick-and-mortar grocery. I started out with CAFO meats, and they are disgusting compared to the good stuff. Can't bring myself to choke it down anymore ever since I tried grass-finished. Also, you'll find that you don't eat as much or snack anymore, so that will help with the cost. There was a poll going a while back about how much we now spend on food, and a good percentage of us (myself included) actually spend less than we did before.
                      "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                      • #12
                        Thank you all SO much for your helpful replies! Wow, it sounds like a lot of you have had some remarkable successes from this. It heartens me--I was a skeptic for so long, but having read the MDA blog for a while, I guess I became a convert...

                        I bought a whole chicken today, and roasted it with garlic, kosher salt, rosemary and lemon, and I coated it with butter before roasting. I also made cauliflower mash with butter, heavy cream, and some sauteed red peppers and red onion mixed in. I served it with a "gravy" of the juices cooked into a jus with a little heavy cream. It was good but it was also REALLY weird to eat meat after so long! I have been so tentative about doing this, but since I have an (almost) whole roasted chicken in my fridge, I expect that I'll finish it. I am admittedly a little nauseous, but I can't tell if that's psychosomatic or real. Probably the former.

                        Thanks again for your advice. I'll keep you posted on how this goes!
                        Last edited by avabee; 12-27-2010, 10:10 PM.

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                        • #13
                          ok, the enzyme suggestion is verrry important right now. Eat some pineapple, or go get some enzyme tablets. I take a great one from NOW vitamins, called superenzyme....it will digest all the meat, and fat that you're not used to. After awhile you'll start kicking up the right enzymes again. (former long term vegetarian, who suffered from many health issues as a result!!) You will feel nauseous without taking these.

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                          • #14
                            If you believe your metabolism has slowed, consider: having your thyroid levels checked, and incorporating some high intensity interval training (HIIT) like Tabatas.

                            Good luck.

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