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  • Calling ex-vegetarians...

    Hi there,

    I've been a vegetarian (up until recently) for about 20 years - since I was a teenager. Since finding MDA, I've started eating seafood (and eggs! I used to be completely grossed out by eggs and avoided them!)... but I'm still feeling very nervous about diving whole heartedly into the rest of the meaty world.

    If you don't mind sharing your story, I'd love to ask some questions...

    1. Was there anything that was particularly convincing for you, in deciding to give up vegetarianism? Any books/articles/facts that were the final, compelling straw for you?

    2. What was the first meat you ate? And, did you have trouble digesting it? I'm a little scared that red meat, in particular, is going to make me violently ill after so long!

    3. Even with just seafood - I find myself a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what's the healthiest choice, the most humane choice, the most environmental choice, how to select (freshness) items, what to eat (lots of variety), how to store, how to prepare, etc. It's a whole new world and I feel like an alien, since I didn't grow up with this stuff. Any books/cookbooks/etc that were particularly helpful? I've ordered "Nourishing Traditions" - anything else worth looking at?

    4. On a slightly stranger note - how did you feel about your identity when you stopped being a vegetarian? I feel like, it's been such a strong part of who I am (not much else has stayed so constant for 20 years!)...

    Much thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by jendoe View Post
    Hi there,

    1. Was there anything that was particularly convincing for you, in deciding to give up vegetarianism? Any books/articles/facts that were the final, compelling straw for you?
    It was destroying my stomach.

    2. What was the first meat you ate? And, did you have trouble digesting it? I'm a little scared that red meat, in particular, is going to make me violently ill after so long!
    It was chicken. No issue digesting it. Eating meat might make you squeamish, but unless you've damaged your digestive tract it won't be indigestible. If you're worried about this, you can get some digestive enzymes. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat.

    3. Even with just seafood - I find myself a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what's the healthiest choice, the most humane choice, the most environmental choice, how to select (freshness) items, what to eat (lots of variety), how to store, how to prepare, etc. It's a whole new world and I feel like an alien, since I didn't grow up with this stuff. Any books/cookbooks/etc that were particularly helpful? I've ordered "Nourishing Traditions" - anything else worth looking at?
    Seafood makes me puke, so I can't comment there. Unless you've been preparing extremely alien foods, you'll just be adding meat to most of them. Sanitation is a PITA.

    4. On a slightly stranger note - how did you feel about your identity when you stopped being a vegetarian? I feel like, it's been such a strong part of who I am (not much else has stayed so constant for 20 years!)...
    I don't tend to define myself by my habits, but I wasn't a vegetarian for 20 years, either. There will probably be a change, mostly with how other people view and interact with you, especially if you're going to dive into primal/paleo eating following being a veggie. From one extreme to the other will probably have some people concerned and others rolling their eyes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Was never a vegetarian but for #3 it's pretty easy to tell fresh seafood from bad. Ask the guy behind the counter to let you smell the fish. If it smells fishy then don't get it, it's going bad. If it smells clean or like seawater, then it's good and fresh. The higher up on the food chain a fish is (like salmon and tuna) the higher amount of bad stuff can be stored in their flesh.

      Store the meat in the bottom drawer of your fridge so if something leaks, it's not leaking all over your veggies. Meat can be frozen once, but not refrozen once it's thawed (the ice crystals cause tissue damage that messes up the texture of the meat)

      Regarding the environmental aspect, the EDF has a list of fish that are good to eat and bad to eat.
      http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1521

      Hope this helps

      Comment


      • #4
        I was a vegetarian for years, then started eating occasional chicken and seafood during my first pregnancy when I felt I needed more protein, and continued that for many more years. I avoided meat for three reasons: environmental, health, and animal welfare. Then I read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and realized that none of those three reasons applied at all to small-scale, grass-fed or pastured animals. There is very little negative environmental impact, the animals live happy lives, and the meat is good for you. I started eating red meat and never looked back - this year we bought a 1/4 cow! We started with ground beef and sausage.

        I haven't read Lierre Keith's book, The Vegetarian Myth, but I have heard a couple of podcasts of interviews with her, and based on that I would recommend her book.
        My blog: Pretty Good Paleo
        On Twitter: @NEKLocalvore

        Comment


        • #5
          HI There,

          This may help...

          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...043#post126043

          Comment


          • #6
            1. Was there anything that was particularly convincing for you, in deciding to give up vegetarianism? Any books/articles/facts that were the final, compelling straw for you?

            first, let me say i was a vegan for two and a half years. the reason i went vegan was because i disagree with the factory farming industry in america - it was a moral thing, and i don't think we should treat anything we owe our lives to (animals, earth in general) that way. that said, i had an epiphany about meat which was basically this - why not just give business to the people who farm the way i agree with?

            2. What was the first meat you ate? And, did you have trouble digesting it? I'm a little scared that red meat, in particular, is going to make me violently ill after so long!

            i had no problems digesting meat again, and i think it may have been steak.

            3. Even with just seafood - I find myself a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what's the healthiest choice, the most humane choice, the most environmental choice, how to select (freshness) items, what to eat (lots of variety), how to store, how to prepare, etc. It's a whole new world and I feel like an alien, since I didn't grow up with this stuff. Any books/cookbooks/etc that were particularly helpful? I've ordered "Nourishing Traditions" - anything else worth looking at?

            everything i know i learned from alton brown (or food network in general, when they still played actual cooking shows...). buy a season or two of good eats.

            4. On a slightly stranger note - how did you feel about your identity when you stopped being a vegetarian? I feel like, it's been such a strong part of who I am (not much else has stayed so constant for 20 years!)...

            i feel a little weird, especially having been the catalyst for one friends' veganism and having another vegan friend. it's just not something i'm comfortable doing in front of them yet, or even talking about. it'd be like bringing a beer to sit in on an aa meeting...

            but since i have justified my choice, morally, to myself and sorted out my identity before making any decisions either way, i feel great about my choices.
            .survive.then.win.

            Comment


            • #7
              I was a vegetarian for about 4 years back in the early 90's as I began developing an environmental conscience (hanging around with Earth First people at the university). After a while I realized that my efforts in trying to promote an environmental awareness on others really was having little to no effect. It was at that time that I realized that it was large international corporate capitalism that was and remains at the root of our social inequalities, degenerative health, and environmental tragedies. (Don't get me wrong, I don't think all capitalism is bad, just the large corporate type that has gradually taken control of most national governments).

              Anyway, my first non-vegetarian meal (a juicy 1/2 lb burger) must have taken my gut flora by surprise because a few hours later, my poop had the most foul odor I have ever experienced. The adjustment wasn't too bad except I wish I had been more informed about true primal nutrition at the time so I could have eliminated the unhealthy corporate garbage that fills the isles of the grocer and served at 99% of the eating establishments. PB would have to wait another dozen years or so.

              We grow old, live, and learn -- that is life.
              “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
              —Robert A. Heinlein

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              • #8
                Thanks for the links and information. I guess I just feel so on-the-fence, I'm having a hard time actually feeling like it's the best thing for me... I do feel better with the fish and am seeing why protein is important (to make neurotransmitters, in particular!)... but am getting really bored of seafood every day...

                I WISH I had those strong cravings that others seem to get! Or that instant feeling of "oh wow, this is so great!" - but I don't It would make it so much easier...

                Comment


                • #9
                  I tried to be a vegetarian so hard... years on, but they were hard, hard years for me. I was sick all the time, tired all the time, and I literally CRAVED meat almost every day. My first meat was bacon, and I've loved bacon ever since. It's wonderful.
                  29 years old, type 1 diabetic with insulin resistance -- HORRIBLE a1c, and borderline cholesterol problems. Carb addict.

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                  • #10
                    I was a junk food veggie for about 2 years. I found it an easy transition because 1. I wasn't eating very clean as a vegetarian and 2. I stopped eating meat mostly for environment/animal welfare issues and I feel that being strict PB with meat intake deals with both of those issues.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BareFootForward View Post
                      My first meat was bacon, and I've loved bacon ever since. It's wonderful.

                      Ditto on the bacon! I found it the hardest meat to resist as a vegetarian. A lot of vegetarians I know feel the same.

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                      • #12
                        The first time I ate meat (dinner at a business associate's home while visiting London, and it was clear his wife had spent TWO DAYS cooking for us and she was excitedly watching me taste her food), I got extremely sick (later that night...all night) and had the most horrific paint-peeling gas for 2 days. I sat there at dinner, trying to eat around the lamb, remembering that when Buddhist monks and nuns are traveling and rely on the hospitality of their hosts, they eat whatever is served to them and eat it with gratitude and grace. This includes meat.

                        Years later, I eased into meat with chicken salad. It was a long time before I ate any meat "on the bone." I think small bits of chicken or turkey mixed in with other things (as in chicken salad) is a good transition. There are still things I can't eat and won't eat, so don't put pressure on yourself.
                        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Someone said to me "they kill kangaroos to keep them off the wheat you eat"; and later, when I was pregnant, I was DREAMING about hamburgers I was craving it so bad.

                          But I tell you now - you might not be 'feeling it' right now, but at 40-odd, I've got a truckload of health issues that are primarily due to my ten years of veggie and another ten of semi-veg. It's acid-forming (damages urinary tract) and the fiber and phytates damage your GI tract. I've got hormonal issues as well, and suspect thyroid, but I've got to get back to the doctor to get that checked out and hopefully get her to find out what the hell is going on hormonally instead of just throwing a prescription at me.

                          FWIW I feel that red meat is a perfectly good choice as if you're talking lives-per-pound, you get better value from a big cow than a small chicken. Strong tasting foods like curries are helpful.

                          Don't put pressure on yourself, as Tigerlily said, and as long as you're aware of primal principles and eating as clean as possible, you're still streets ahead of most folks.
                          If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder

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                          • #14
                            1. Was there anything that was particularly convincing for you, in deciding to give up vegetarianism? Any books/articles/facts that were the final, compelling straw for you?

                            I was dreaming about people telling me I really needed to eat meat. I wasn't healthy as a vegetarian of 16 years, despite studying nutrition like mad and taking tons of supplements, eating whole, organic foods, etc. The Vegetarian Myth was very compelling from all angles (health, ethics, etc) and Primal Body, Primal Mind is what convinced me we were meant to eat meat.


                            2. What was the first meat you ate? And, did you have trouble digesting it? I'm a little scared that red meat, in particular, is going to make me violently ill after so long!

                            I ate a plain bison burger and had no problems digesting it! Don't psyche yourself out about it! Take some HCl caps and you'll likely be fine.


                            4. On a slightly stranger note - how did you feel about your identity when you stopped being a vegetarian? I feel like, it's been such a strong part of who I am (not much else has stayed so constant for 20 years!)...

                            It took me awhile to eat meat even after I had decided I was going to, since vegetarianism was a part of who I was . Honestly, though, I feel MUCH more free and empowered on a Primal diet. I have a new identity as someone who looks after their body's needs and is strong (not like my weak/wispy veg self!)

                            It's nice to be able to find suitable food almost everywhere and cooking is much more fun! I've really gotten in touch with my earthy, gourmand side and I love trying things that would have seemed gross to me before (Paté? YUM! Marrow? Sure!)
                            http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was also a vegetarian for almost 20 years and vegan for a good chunk of that time.

                              1. The thing that really made me change my ways was the discovery that I had a gluten allergy. I know some people can do the gluten-free vegan thing, but it was just too much restriction for me. I knew that I wanted to start eating meat for quite some time before I actually started doing it... Reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle helped me realize that I could do it in a way that still aligned with my morals.

                              2. I started by eating poultry. I had never been a fan of seafood (although that has changed over the past year) and red meat seemed like too much for me. I've since added in a moderate amount of pork, but still don't care much for the flavor of beef and it eat it very rarely. I did have a small amount of digestive upset the first time I tried steak, but nothing serious. I think your best bet is adding in very small amounts of meat to your normal diet and slowly working your way up to a level at which you're comfortable. I'll probably never eat as much meat as the average American, but I've found a place that feels good for me. I still don't have cravings for meat, but I've learned to enjoy it in small amounts. And just so you know, bacon really is as good as everyone says : )

                              3. This is something I've struggled with too... I know everyone says to just add it to the things you've already been cooking, but I don't think they get the level of incomprehension we experience when trying to figure out how to cook the stuff. The dangers of foodborne illness were so ingrained in me that I was petrified to make any attempt at cooking chicken for almost a year! I'm still not the best at it... I never found any magical source of wisdom and mostly would just buy something and then do an abnormal amount of internet research to figure out what to do with it. I'm still not great with fish and mostly stick to boneless, skinless chicken breasts when cooking at home. My go-to recipe is to just throw it in a covered skillet with butter or oil and some seasonings. When it's turned white I slice through the middle to make sure it's cooked all the way through and uncover to let the moisture cook off. Then I serve it with veggies or slice it for salad. Another easy way to cook chicken is to toss it in a crockpot with organic canned tomatoes and some home-blended taco seasoning and shred it with two forks after it's cooked for a few hours. You can put it on salad or make lettuce "tacos" with it. If you find a good source for easy ways to deal with other types of meat, I'd love to hear about it too.

                              As far as what's best environmentally, fish is the trickiest to figure out. For everything else, head to the farmer's market and start asking questions. Local, grassfed meat is best. Try to find a seller that has been involved in the entire process and can answer all your questions about what the animals have been fed and how they've been processed. LocalHarvest.org is a great resource for finding farmer's markets, CSAs, etc. If you can't find anything truly local, grassfed or organic is your next best bet.

                              4. I admit that I felt kind of weird and transitional for a long time after beginning to eat meat. It was a big part of my identity for a really long time (I went veg in 8th grade). In the end though, I think it was a very positive thing for me. It made me examine a lot of my other beliefs about myself and allowed me to see other places where I was holding on to habits and beliefs that no longer served me. My life has actually changed quite dramatically since the time that I began eating animal products, all for the better. I'm not going to say that eating meat is responsible for that, but I think that shaking up my diet definitely helped create a much needed shift in my worldview. I've always thought of myself as the type of person who was willing to change her perspective when presented with new information. Making a change in my diet gave me the opportunity to put that belief into practice. As I result, I feel as though I actually have a stronger sense of who I truly am and feel much less tied to superficial designations of self. I identify with myself at a much deeper level these days and know I am more than just what I eat or what I do for a living.

                              I hope this is helpful to you. I think that beginning to eat meat after such a long period as a vegetarian is a lot more complicated than most people understand. Just move at your own pace and don't allow anyone else to pressure you in one direction or the other. Listen to your own body and conscience and give yourself plenty of time to make the transition. Know that the experience will change you and be open to the things you'll learn about about yourself during the journey. I'd be very interested to hear how it goes!
                              Last edited by mskellyw; 08-09-2010, 03:55 PM. Reason: Typo!

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