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Not enough cals & 8 yrs+ veg looking to reintroduce meat

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  • Not enough cals & 8 yrs+ veg looking to reintroduce meat

    Hey forumgoers,

    Just joined after reading lots of articles and appreciating how much Primal is a "lifestyle" than a fad or diet. I actually started adhering to the blueprint with only 1/2 cup of white rice a few days ago (and finishing up the few cookies a friend baked me for christmas). Also added some light bodyweight exercises in to get me up and around while I'm on winter break and sitting on my bum.

    My question/concern is actually two fold. The first is I haven't had any beef, poultry or whatnot since February 6, 2005 (Super Bowl 39 for sports fans), when I was in my early teens. I eat a lot of eggs as my source of protein. I've had fish three times since 2011, and shrimp 3 times (which I loved as a kid). My last summer was spent working at an aquarium that involved lots of fish prep, so I got quite desensitized. Regardless, I'm scared of trying to seriously reintroduce meat, and especially when I see pockets of people not even liking grassfed/organic cuts. I can cook pretty well, but I don't have the scantest idea how to introduce this all or even cook meat. I think it might help my overall health, though, based on the testimonials I see of longterm vegetarians adding animal protein once again. I have no idea what to do, I need all the help/advice/stories of transition I can get!

    The second is, I'll admit I was a pretty bad vegetarian in terms of eating tons of junk food/grains+a hella lot of soy/bad dining hall food. Colleges are stupidly stressful and the options when you're forced into a meal plan are slim. I do have a full kitchen/no plan this year though, but I still ate poorly this last semester despite cooking for myself. I know my body responds well to positive diet changes, so I'm excited. I don't know if I'm eating in the proper portions though, because I've been feeling really hungry. Some nuts or avocado has solved this in the short term, but I'm definitely feeling hungry. I can tolerate this if it's a sign of weight loss. Here's what I've been eating (and not even all in one day):

    3 eggs in an omelet cooked with olive oil, with a sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese and some spinach.
    Gnawing at bags of regionally grown spinach, maybe with a bit of olive oil but usually raw.
    Peeled stalks of carrots, a couple at a time.
    Some guacamole because the avocados are tiny right now and way too expensive.
    An apple a day usually, and a small tomato or two.
    Some green beans, and I bought an artichoke to cook with (olive oil + tomato + a bit of goat cheese, mm).
    I had a few sweet potatoes but I didn't buy any more on my biking trip to the store (and now it's snowing, yay).
    Bell pepper or two.
    Few handful of nuts excluding peanuts, and I had a bunch of roasted but unsalted sunflower seeds over the course of the last few days until I ran out.
    Edit: Also I drink a glass of coconut/almond milk, unsweetened, and add it to my eggs mixture.

    Okay... reading that it seems like I'm not eating much at all, haha. Maybe more eggs? I cut out grains completely aside from that 1/2 cup of rice I ate over the course of like 18 hours. I've started not at 80/20, but closer to 95/5 I guess. I really want to lean up and lose a lot of this unnecessary fat.

    Other relevant info is I'm 5' 10" with a large frame, and genetically predisposed to having a lot of muscle mass packed in (my dad is crazy strong for his age and when I was a teen, boom! muscle). I'd say around 202-207 lbs right now, but I haven't weighed in awhile, just going by how my clothes fit. My lowest weight during college was 177 during winter break of sophomore year, no idea how I managed that considering it was a semester full of depression and sitting in my room, but I usually hovered around 188-195. I also look great during the summer but awful in winter (stress+worse eating than summer+not being outside as much).

    Thank you so much in advance for any help y'all can offer.
    Last edited by Mustang; 12-29-2012, 09:47 PM.

  • #2
    Coming off of vegetarianism, I found it easiest to start with pulled/stewed meats. Stuff like pork shoulder, beef brisket, chuck steak, rotisserie chickens, etc. where the meat is cooked low and slow (usually in a crockpot, or braised forever in the oven) until it's practically falling apart. The texture is more meat virgin-friendly than a steak or chicken breast, and you're less likely to run into nasty gristly pieces.
    “The whole concept of a macronutrient, like that of a calorie, is determining our language game in such a way that the conversation is not making sense." - Dr. Kurt Harris

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    • #3
      Why not start with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli? Dont' worry about pastured/grassfed and all that right now. If you like it, its super easy to make at home. Preheat oven to 425F. Rub with fat, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper & seasonings, roast on a bed of root veggies. Pop it in the oven (uncovered) and reduce temp to 375F for about an hour. The juices will run clear when you poke the meatiest part of the thigh and breast.

      Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook is a great introduction to cooking simple wholesome family meals from scratch. Especially roasted meats. Not primal per se, but you can pick and choose the recipes you want.

      ps - there's no rule that says you have to eat grassfed/pastured anything if you don't want to. Ease into this primal thing. One food at a time.
      Sandra
      *My obligatory intro

      There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

      DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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      • #4
        When I cook at home, I actually prefer fish instead. Its easier. You can throw it in a pan with a little bit of water on the bottom and a cover on top and steam it in about 10 minutes.

        The best fish I like is fish from the ocean. Get boneless fish if you can. Salmon is a good one. If you're not super strict paleo you can throw some sort of marinade on it, but make sure its negligible calories.

        I think you'll do just fine. Start with a few more eggs and maybe some fish at dinner. And if you like, try some beef or what ever eventually.

        Note:
        If you want to drop some fat, you'll have to keep the calories low enough. This can easily be done if you avoid foods with "extra" fat in them such as cooking oils and cheese. Intermittent fasting helps A LOT too.
        Also note that you don't have to count calories strictly. But if the fat doesn't come off for a while and you're wondering why, you can always try getting a rough estimate of what you typically eat and see where you can make some changes. Personally my experience has been that eggs, fish, meat, fruit, and vegetables have all been fine, but its everything else that gets me into trouble. Grains and sugars can add up quick, but so can oils if you're using cooking oil and cheeses, same with nuts. That's just when you're trying to lose fat of course; when you're working on maintenance of course you can get away with a lot more slack, especially if you're a lot more active.

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        • #5
          I jumped right in and started eating burgers, which I would necessarily recommend...! I used to dream about eating them when I was vegetarian, but they were hard to digest after so many years of not eating meat. I think paté is good - it seems pretty easy to digest and the bites are small. Shrimp would be a good option - particularly if you used to love it. Bacon is also easy. It was a few months before I was able to eat chicken, and six months before I could eat I only steak.

          And yeah - it looks like you are eating nothing! THat's not sustainable.
          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

          - Ray Peat

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          • #6
            That's basically my story too, bad vegetarian. I found chicken to be the most tolerable in the ick factor after coming back to eating meat. You can start with eggs, chicken, turkey, and slowly train yourself to eat more meat. Using spices on your meat (lemon pepper, for instance) makes them more palatable.
            F 28/5'4/100 lbs

            "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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            • #7
              When I quit vegetarianism I was only able to eat steaks and roasts. Other meats had hidden hard things or cartilage and I would get grossed out. Steak is sterile on the inside and you can see the stuff you don't want to eat.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #8
                Thank you all for the advice so far! I'm going to be ordering something (probably a bit of chicken and a bit of beef to experiment) tomorrow to crack in the New Years with, quite ready for this. My body's finally adjusted to the elimination of processed foods and 99% of grains, so hopefully it's ready too. I'd like to mention my dad is a born and raised Texan, so we -always- had steak in the house and most nights. I was just very environmentalist as a kid… had a good heart but part of it was my 'teenage rebellion' against authority, haha.

                My local grocery store doesn't have rotisserie chickens I believe, but next time I'll shop and maybe poke around the section some more. Still, I used to like that a lot. Also, beef stew was one of my favorites, I think I'll pick up a crock pot and ask my dad for a recipe.

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                • #9
                  Well, I had a decent amount of chicken yesterday and it was a great experience. Not a single digestive issue 24 hours later or ick factor, and in fact my body keeps asking for more. I think it misses the nutrients!

                  So what kind of meat products can I buy at my local grocery store to stock up on as a college student with a kitchen, let's say for up to a week at a time?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mustang View Post
                    So what kind of meat products can I buy at my local grocery store to stock up on as a college student with a kitchen, let's say for up to a week at a time?
                    Buy whatever meat is on sale, if budget is an issue. Buy extra if you have any freezer space. IMO, so-so to good Primal eating is still 100x better than the 'best' SAD diet. Pork shoulder is the best cut for slow cooked pulled pork.

                    Freeze cooked portions so you have convenient ready made meals to fall back on.
                    Sandra
                    *My obligatory intro

                    There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                    DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The meat eating is going pretty well. My BMs have slowed down a hell of a lot (once every day or two, a jolt of coffee -really- helps). Aside from that, no digestion issues. I had a little cooked pork the other day, and I bought some chicken to cook tomorrow after an introduction to the meat aisle from a local friend! I'm going to try and stay away from red meat as best as I can, but I'd like my body to adjust to it eventually; somewhere down the line.

                      I still have a concern that I'm not eating enough. In fact, it's like I'm fasting without even trying. I've easily been going up to 14-15 hours without eating (before sleep, sleep, and a few hours after waking up). It's like I'm not even hungry until I almost force myself to eat. I don't want to go dangerously low on calories (and I'm estimating it's pretty dang low), but I'm just responding to my body.

                      I suppose this is good, because I'm really trying to shed this body fat% as quickly as I can! I'm trying to keep carbs in the 40-80g range and am doing well with that... the only really sugary things I eat now are some frozen blueberries, cooked carrots, and/or a serving of super pure dark chocolate. I've been having a bit of whole milk plain yogurt (6g sugar in one cup, and I eat maybe half a cup) in the mornings to naturally help some gut flora to restore for my new meat diet. Aside from eggs, a fair amount of olive oil, and veggies... not much else. Even cut out all fruit except the berries. Haven't been getting enough meat yet, but I'm trying to build it up naturally. Anything else I can do?

                      As usual, suggestions/advice/experience are desired!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mustang View Post
                        The meat eating is going pretty well. My BMs have slowed down a hell of a lot (once every day or two, a jolt of coffee -really- helps). Aside from that, no digestion issues. I had a little cooked pork the other day, and I bought some chicken to cook tomorrow after an introduction to the meat aisle from a local friend! I'm going to try and stay away from red meat as best as I can, but I'd like my body to adjust to it eventually; somewhere down the line.

                        I still have a concern that I'm not eating enough. In fact, it's like I'm fasting without even trying. I've easily been going up to 14-15 hours without eating (before sleep, sleep, and a few hours after waking up). It's like I'm not even hungry until I almost force myself to eat. I don't want to go dangerously low on calories (and I'm estimating it's pretty dang low), but I'm just responding to my body.

                        I suppose this is good, because I'm really trying to shed this body fat% as quickly as I can! I'm trying to keep carbs in the 40-80g range and am doing well with that... the only really sugary things I eat now are some frozen blueberries, cooked carrots, and/or a serving of super pure dark chocolate. I've been having a bit of whole milk plain yogurt (6g sugar in one cup, and I eat maybe half a cup) in the mornings to naturally help some gut flora to restore for my new meat diet. Aside from eggs, a fair amount of olive oil, and veggies... not much else. Even cut out all fruit except the berries. Haven't been getting enough meat yet, but I'm trying to build it up naturally. Anything else I can do?

                        As usual, suggestions/advice/experience are desired!
                        I never bought grass-fed in my life, and I still enjoy the unbeatable nutrition of meat. The ethical/nutritional issues are something I don't worry about, the nutrition between grass/grain fed is very insignificant. Anything to get real food(meat) to people Is great, the major beef industries try to get lots of meat that more people can afford, the hormones, antibiotics, or whatever doomsayers like to warn about does not really have affect on you like so many say it does, more like a scam for you to spend more money, often saying something about "happy cows","less saturated fat","more heart healthy omega 3's(which also overstated for it's benefits itself)".

                        If you are rather worried about ethics, maybe grass-fed would be better for you.

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