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From vegetarian to meat eater

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  • From vegetarian to meat eater

    I'm considering switching from vegetarian to eating meat and fish and such. This is mostly due to stomach problems which make me limit things like wheat and sugary stuff. Mostly I've gotten my proteins from textured soy and cheese. I don't think I'll be able to support my body staying as I am now. I'm also trying to get in shape and started going to the gym few times a week.

    Considering I've been a vegetarian for 15 years and I started when I was young, everything about meat and fish is like ancient sumerian to me. I don't know what's what. Also I'm battling with the feeling of nausea when I think about eating meat. Expecting some snarky comments from friends too since I've been a vegetarian for so long. Bumpy road ahead.

    Should I be looking for certain kinds of meat? Anything special I should know? How long does meat stay good in a freezer? Trying to keep things cheap if I can.

    Any tips, thoughts or experiences welcomed.

  • #2
    Hi Vihermies

    I was vegan for 7 years and last year decided to go vegetarian (ate cheese and eggs) and then switched to a full on omnivorous diet It wasn't a hard transition for me, although it was only 7 years (not veg for 15 like you) it was relatively easy and I didn't suffer from any of the things that I always read and heard about (like stomach cramps after eating meat for the first time in years etc)

    In my experience, I am better off now (my body comp). When I was vegan I was skinny-fat. I was thin-ish but my muscles we flabby. And I was always bloated from all the beans I ate and thought were good for me. Plus I was tired all the time.

    It will be challenging dealing with friends who have things to say about your food/lifestyle choices. But if you're like me ... you wont really care because you are doing what you feel is best for you

    hope this helped ...


    • #3
      I was a vegetarian for 3 years before going primal. I also had no problems with upset stomach or anything from meat. I think my gut was happy to be off the sugar and grains more than anything. After a few weeks of primal i did have what i would "guess" is canida die off, but was fixed with probiotics and more meat.

      If properly packaged frozen meat will last at least a couple of months in the freezer at least. That first week of eating meat was awsome, I believe I felt my brain chemistry changing with all those nutrients i had been deprived of for so long. I started basic with some steaks and chicken. If the thought of fleshy meat grosses you out at first, start with the delicous crispy fried stuff, bacon! I will also echo the comments of the body composition changes, if your going to the gym or doing any kind of workout, your body will love having the meat. I went from skinny fat to getting kinda ripped in 3months of primal with very little planned exercise. Good luck!


      • #4
        Huge step towards better health, that's for sure.

        Primal Blueprint advocates buying grass-fed meats as often as possible, budget permitting as well. I've been a meat eater my whole life so I have no idea what it will be like for you going back to it.

        I would say ease into it. At the same time though, buy a bit of everything, just so you can try and see what you like. Some folks here don't like chicken too much but I think it's "gentle" enough for somebody in your situation. Beef is a different beast when it comes to cooking, some cuts are better slow cooked and others you can stir-fry or grill quickly.

        Get some ground beef too, cooks fast and tastes great. You can eat it with warm salads, stir frys, etc. It may help to just add meat to what you currently eat. Drop the soy, tofu, all that stuff, throw it out.

        Best of luck.
        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


        • #5
          First, welcome to the primal life!

          My advice is how to deal with people who have known you to be a vegetarian. When they start coming down on you, just be honest with them. You believed for so long that vegetarian was the way to go, found that it is negatively impacting your health, and are taking steps to change and get healthy. People tend to be waaaaaaaaaay more understanding when you admit to learning that something you believed in was hurting you so you are making steps to change it.

          As for cooking meats: Feel free to experiment with grilling, stir frying, roasting, broiling... basically any way you can heat it up. Meat has so many different flavors/textures based on how it is cooked that there is no one good way to recommend. I'd say to start with beef because it is hard to mess up (and by that I mean render it inedible). Your best bet would be to find a friend that is already familiar cooking these things and ask them if they would be willing to help you test out different meats and methods of prep.


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies. I will try different types or meat and cooking methods. Maybe some chicken salad and such. My friend is pretty good cooking meat on the grill and summer is coming up. I had one sausage today but the texture was so mushy I felt like throwing up. But I got an idea. Tomorrow is my birthday so why not go to a good restaurant and order a steak. They're sure to make better ones than me at the moment. I think livestock is mostly grass fed in this country. In stores I don't see any special mention about grass feeding on the meat. Only saw few that said wheat pig or something.

            I've been transferring to primal for several months now. Ever since my stomach started acting up. Slowly I'm getting rid of bad stuff and not hungering after them so much. As I've done this my weight has gone down too. About 8-9 kilos so far since last autumn. Still got plenty to lose (at least if I look at my stomach ). But I think I look lot better. Sometimes I wonder if it's going down too fast though (like 1-2 kilos in a week).

            I feel pretty good about going primal with summer coming up. I love walking in nature. I can see myself doing some of the monkey business I see in training vids. Getting a nicer looking body wouldn't be bad around the ladies either. The Grok in me has been growing long hair and full beard too.


            • #7
              congrats to you! i was a vegetarian for 12 years, and started eating meat (quality meat) due to digestive issues. dear god, i feel a million times better. at times, i thought i was dying. now that i've started eating high fat, meaty, real food diet and gotten rid of the fake crap, i feel alive again! i assure you, you are doing the right thing for your body.


              • #8
                You will get used to it, probably fast. Meat (unlike all those soy fake meat things) is DELICIOUS, and the adjustment, for me, was pretty easy. Once I really believed that I was *meant* to eat meat, that eating meat was the healthiest thing for me, it was really really easy. (I was totally vegetarian for 12 years, vegan for about 6 months of that time.) I started w/ poultry, then added in steak, then fish, then ground beef, sausage, porkchops, etc.--the rest is history! I didn't feel any weird physical changes, but I also did take it slow, adding in one new kind of meat every week or so...There is definitely a transition time (at least there was for me) from going from a high carb, low fat diet to a higher fat, lower carb diet though.

                Cooking meat is where the learning really comes in (even for folks who were already meat eaters--so few people actually cook at home!) I became veg. when I was 16, had never helped my mom in the kitchen (we ate lots of processed fast food--not tons of cooking), so had literally never handled raw meat b/4 I was 27-28. It *is* a weird experience. But you get used to it. In the beginning, I found that almost any meat tastes yummy if you season w/ a little salt and pepper (other spices optional) and pan sear, then bake in the oven. That was the easiest way to make chicken, steak, burgers, etc. for me at first. After a while I started learning the myriad of ways to prepare meat, and I'm still learning (and loving every minute and bite of it!) Now that it's warmer out (at least where I am) grilling is a delicious and easy option too that can work w/ most meats. That's probably where I would start.

                Cutting gluten, soy, corn and dairy along w/ all processed foods, and now grains, has made me feel AMAZING. Adding meat back into my diet was possibly the number one thing (along w/ dropping the processed foods) I've done that has vitally impacted my health for the better. What is fascinating to me, is that NOW, while eating meat, I feel sooooo much more connected to my food, where it comes from, etc., than I ever felt as a vegetarian eating my soydogs and veggie burgers. When I'm getting a whole chicken ready to roast (really easy too, I just rub w/ olive oil, salt and pepper, add some other spices if I want and stuff w/ some cut up onion, maybe other veggies and roast in the oven--mmmm!), and I'm holding it in my hands, I just feel this huge sense of gratitude towards it, and this feeling like I'm doing what women have always done. After I cook it and we eat it as a family, and I get the bones ready to make broth with (bone broth is GREAT for digestive issues and very easy to make), I just feel like I'm connected to my anscestors, the Earth, and animals in a much a deeper sense than I ever was when I was veg. It could just be my experience, or the way in which I was veg (huge monsanto supporter, ate lots of organic processed foods, vs. eating lots of local, whole foods now). But I just feel so much better about what I'm eating, how I'm eating, and more than anything, how I feel now that I eat lots of sustainably raised local meats...

                Good luck to you during the transition--from one 'post vegetarian' (Sandor Katz' term) to another! You will NOT regret this!!!!
                My Before/After Pics
                Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco


                • #9
                  I would agree that beef is the hardest to mess up.

                  One note about food safety: Get yourself a meat thermometer. If you are going to be cooking chicken or pork, especially the supermarket stuff, you need to make sure it's fully cooked.

                  Good luck! Let us know how it goes.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tips! I went to a restaurant to try some steak. Man, meat is pricy. Took one of the cheaper ones. It was ok, not great, but ok. Slight uncomfortable feeling from stomach as it was digested but nothing really bad. Also put some chicken leg in the oven for an hour. I'm guessing it was done enough. It's what the box said. Again an ok taste but not great. I was kinda lost as I was wondering what to eat off it. I need to try lots of different things and methods. I'm sure I'll find some quite tasty ones. Tomorrow maybe some fish. Still craving for some chocolate.


                    • #11
                      I kind of disagree with the advice here to start eating and cooking meat by getting a big steak and throwing it in a pan. I think you should take something familiar from your veggie days and swap out the veg-protein for animal-based protein. Did you cook at all before transitioning, or just eat convenience veg food? Because if you ever cooked yourself up a big tofu-vegetable stir-fry, you can make yourself a big chicken-vegetable stir-fry or shrimp-vegetable stir-fry. It's the exact same culinary technique. For now, just keep the seasonings and everything the same (yes even a splash of soy sauce or whatever...although I'm sure people on this board are horrified by the thought, the point is to increment) and just modify your diet in smaller steps. If you truly just never cooked at all, go to your favorite Indian restaurant (all vegetarians have a favorite Indian restaurant) and make slightly different choices: get the cucumber salad and the lamb curry instead of the chickpeas and rice. The environment and flavor profile will be familiar and help get you away from that "what the heck is this?" feeling you are having about meat. For about 3 years I ate only fish but no dairy or land animals, but I cook professionally, so even when I wasn't eating it, I was still cooking meat. Adding land animals back to the diet hasn't been a problem for me, but I there has been an adjustment period in digestion as my diet has gotten higher in fat and lower in grain based fiber.