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  • Question from a former vegetarian

    Hi all, I have been a vegetarian for the last 12 years until this month. Vegan for about 6 of those years, and raw-low-fat-vegan for nearly one of those years. The raw-low-fat-vegan experience was fabulous for weight loss, but pretty much a nightmare otherwise... my hair started falling out, my toenails cracked and started falling off, i looked a lot older, lack of energy, etc, etc, etc. Anyway, I was only ever a vegetarian for health reasons, not for animal rights or anything like that, so I didn't think I would have any emotional issues with returning to eating meat once I realized that vegetarianism is not for me. But now that I'm eating meat again, I'm having a really hard time doing it. It just grosses me out. Over the last month, I've gotten to where I can tolerate eating canned tunafish, and my husband will make mahi-mahi or cod that I will eat. I'm just wondering, have any of you other ex-vegetarians also gotten the heebie-geebies when you returned to meat eating? How did you get over it?

  • #2
    Some people have said they found ground beef to be easier to start with. Also bacon is pretty easy to start with since it is so delicious. Personally, my first piece of meat after 10 years of vegetarianism was barbecued tri-tip, which is a type of steak. I could only eat steak for a while because the little hard bits that sometimes turn up in ground beef really grossed me out and chicken has skin and cartilage and just didn't appeal to me much. So when I went out to eat, I would get a steak sandwich instead of a hamburger (this was all a very long time ago.) I think it took me about a month and then I was fine with it again.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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    • #3
      Lots of ex-vegans here that can chime in with a lot more info than I can. I just wanted to say that's an amazing switch, from low-fat raw vegan to Primal!

      Anyway, good for you (you'll feel SO much better) and you'll find a lot of ex-veg company here.
      Durp.

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      • #4
        Was veg for 8 years. Start eating fish. Was easy transition for me. Going right into meat would not have worked personally.

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        • #5
          bacon. bacon. bacon.

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          • #6
            I started with fish as well. Then slowly eating a bit of pork, chicken, beef here and there. Now I can't imagine life without meat. I was vegetarian for 7 years.

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone! So it sounds like I'm on the right track, starting with fish. I guess I just need to give it time, and that icky feeling will go away. :-)

              RitaRose, thanks... you know, it's funny, it is a massive switch, but I actually think this might be an easier switch for me than for someone coming from eating a normal american diet. I mean, I get to ADD stuff to my diet! And I get to cook my food! It feels really wonderful. Whereas someone who's giving up processed foods for the first time might have a more difficult time with it.

              Oh, and I have to say, the first thing I ate after all that time as a vegan was an egg, and I've never tasted anything so wonderful in my whole life. I was floored at how full and satisfied I felt. And because I hadn't been cooking any of my food for about a year, I was just melting with pleasure at feeling something warm in my mouth.

              So, I'm excited to really give primal a go and see how it makes me feel over the long-run. There's definitely a part of my brain that's worried that this may turn out to be unhealthy, but so far my body feels so good and vibrant that I can't imagine this could be the wrong thing to do. I'm just too steeped in the brainwashing of the vegetarian movement, I guess. :-)

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              • #8
                You've already gotten some great advice. I just wanted to add something regarding your last statement about fears that this might not be a healthy way to eat. I think you know this (otherwise you wouldn't be here!), but the true test of any diet/nutrition plan is how you feel. After giving primal eating a go for a while, check how you look, feel, and perform (famous phrase from Robb Wolf). If your health & energy improve - or whatever your goals may be - then you know you are on the right track. It can be so hard to break free from the veg mindset (former veg of 10 years here), but once you find what works best for you, it doesn't matter what others preach to you.

                Seriously, the best thing I've learned from eating primally is how to listen to my own body and be confident that my food choices are right for me. No more guilt, no more reliance on others to tell me what is right for me. Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I do wish you all the best.
                Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

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                • #9
                  I have a couple of friends that are vegetarians and are trying to transition to eating paleo, but they are still stuck in the veggie way of eating. Meaning they still want to eat a pile of grains with some veggies on top, one friend does this quinoa and the other with brown rice pasta. They are both squeamish about meat and are afraid of fats, they only use olive oil. They both have a lot of health problems.

                  I am curious what made you finally make the change?
                  Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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                  • #10
                    I was vegetarian for less than a year only, because meat in the oil fields on the rigs grossed me out. I never dropped fish and eggs, but I only had it boiled. I really love salmon. I started with eating chicken breasts without skins, mostly stir-fried with other veggies, and a lot later went to beef, and only recently to pork. I could not eat fat and chicken skin without wanting to throw up until recently. I hate pan-fried meats with passion, with added fats, and love broiled ones, with no added fat, and on the raw side. I even ate raw meat a few times lately. I also prefer soups, stews and stir-fries, i.e. foods with copious amounts of veggies and liquids to plain meat or roast. I have never had problems with meatballs and home-made broth/stocks.

                    Hope this helps!
                    Last edited by Leida; 05-29-2012, 01:16 PM.
                    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                    • #11
                      Odd suggestion: you might actually get on better with organ meats - liver, kidney - than ordinary muscle meat, as they don't have the fibrous texture of muscle. If you have a friendly husband who will do the preparation for you at first, that helps, too.

                      (Former vegetarian of 20 years, vegan for about 18 months of that, now Primal for a couple of years and a whole lot lighter, stronger and healthier.)

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                      • #12
                        It really wasn't that hard for me. Just start with small bacon cheeseburgers. The hardest thing for me is that I have never cooked much meat. I had to learn how to do roasts and steaks, and it takes more time because I am still timid.

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                        • #13
                          I'm so glad you started this thread, I'm having the exact same trouble. I've been a vegetarian for 35 years (squeamishness + cruelty in CAFOs = vegetarian at 16!) and am having a hard time trying to eat animal flesh again. I'm doing this after seeing how healthy my husband has become after just 3 months paleo; I'm almost 51, and I feel this "pull" that I'm not getting enough good protein, and I want to be healthy.

                          I naturally love beans, cheese, nuts, tofu, and almost every veggie on planet. Giving up wheat doesn't bother me, but a life without beans and tofu? Not sure if I can do it.

                          Yesterday I ate half a can of tuna, but it was tough. For me, the more animal or fish taste something has, the more I don't like it. So you are not alone, believe me. The primal-ness of the smell, texture and taste is half the reason I went vegetarian in the first place!
                          Ask a Forensic Artist

                          "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." ~Ronald Reagan

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                          • #14
                            Again, thanks for all the great responses! I'm glad to know that there are so many ex-vegetarians here!

                            I love vegetarian food too. I'm like you, Forensic, I was relieved when I found out as a kid that there was such a thing as a vegetarian. But the sad truth (or at some point I'll think of it as the happy truth), is that I feel a lot better eating higher quality protein sources. So, here's something I am trying... you know how as vegetarians, we would sometimes eat "fake meat"... i.e., tofu or grains disguised to be sausage, bacon, chicken, fish, etc? Well, I've decided to think of the meat I'm attempting to eat now as fake tofu. Ha! I know, it's bizarre, but it does seem to help. As I'm chewing it, I just say to myself "it's just fake tofu, no problem here". It seems to mostly work. Although there are some textures I still can't deal with (like the shrimp my husband made last night, bleh). Anyway, you might want to give that a try?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by palebluedots View Post
                              ....So, here's something I am trying... you know how as vegetarians, we would sometimes eat "fake meat"... i.e., tofu or grains disguised to be sausage, bacon, chicken, fish, etc? Well, I've decided to think of the meat I'm attempting to eat now as fake tofu. Ha! I know, it's bizarre, but it does seem to help. As I'm chewing it, I just say to myself "it's just fake tofu, no problem here". It seems to mostly work. Although there are some textures I still can't deal with (like the shrimp my husband made last night, bleh). Anyway, you might want to give that a try?
                              I love that!! I just ate a can of tuna (disguised heavily with mayo, red peppers, and lots of Mrs Dash) and it was the texture that bothered me most, as I had obliterated all taste! The good thing with a wallop of 40 grams of protein, is that I'm too full to eat anything else.

                              I'll try your trick tomorrow! I've told myself, if I can just do tuna once a day, then I'll get the rest of my protein from cheese, yogurt, nuts, and the occasional bite of tofu until I can progress. Thanks again for this thread! PS: I have always detested shrimp, I doubt I'll ever try that unless held down and force-fed
                              Ask a Forensic Artist

                              "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." ~Ronald Reagan

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