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  • Ex Vegetarians/Vegans - what made you change?

    Hi everybody!

    I'm an ex-vegetarian (was veg for 2.5 years, never again lol) and I started eating meat again several years ago. I am an animal empath who can't stand the idea of torture/harm/death/etc, but have since come to terms with the fact that it's a fact of life. I also follow a Buddhist path, which abhors violence, at least in an ideal world.

    What convinced me to start eating meat again was ironically, a karma issue of all things... I was in med school at the time and my health was failing. I realized my veg diet wasn't working for me and without animal meats and fats, my brain wasn't going to function, which means I wasn't going to absorb important information that I could use to help my patients. I realized it was greater karma to deprive my future patients of information I couldn't absorb than it was to eat the dang cow or fish.

    Fast forward several years - I have since graduated school and I still follow Buddhism but I happily (VERY happily) eat meat and while I remember very well the feelings and mindset I had, I can't possibly imagine going back or living any other way than I do now. I practice primarily Nutritional Medicine and part of my work (albeit a new part) involves working with vegans or vegetarians.

    I'd LOVE to hear from some (or ideally, all!!) of you who were vegan or vegetarian so that I can then help my own patients realize they will probably have to start eating animal products.

    I'd love to know...
    1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
    and,
    2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?

    Also,
    3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?

    Thank y'all so much!
    In Health,
    ~Jyoti

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
    1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
    After 3 years of strict vegetarianism with a few short tries at vegan, I was underweight and strugglin to gain strenght despite very disciplined workouts

    Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
    2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?
    I started tracking my food intake in an attempt to eat more and put on some good weight. I put on bad weight and my guts protested the increase of wheat and soy


    Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
    3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?
    When I went primal I started eating any/all meat products at once. No more grains or sugar
    sigpic

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    • #3
      1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
      I was a vegetarian (and occasional vegan) for the first 24 or so years of my life, and I never really questioned it. At one point though, after I had a bit of saki, sushi started to look very appetizing... I tasted some sashimi and it was delicious. When I thought about it, I realized that I had no objection to killing a fish for food, plus it made it much easier for me to find food while traveling.

      2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?
      I had to accept that I was a natural omnivore. I was eating fish once in a while, but definitely not every day. At the time, I was working on losing weight so I was logging my food and tracking macronutrient ratios. I discovered that I felt better when I ate fish. It allowed me to get enough protein without a huge helping of carbs on the side (like from beans), resorting to processed meat substitutes, or giving me a stomach ache (dairy). The more fish I ate, the better I felt.

      A couple months later, I was reading up on feline nutrition (one of my cats is a bit...chunky), and it was the first time I heard of the concept of an "evolutionarily appropriate diet." I realized that if my cats were obligate carnivores, it was entirely possibly that I was an obligate omnivore. I started reading more about human anthropology, which confirmed my suspicions. I've been eating animals daily since August or so. Ethically, I have no problem with eating the diet that the human animal has evolved to eat - how could I?

      3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?
      I still rely mainly on fish. Poultry tastes gross to me, except for one time that I had some smoked turkey. I had to work up to eating red meat gradually, since it didn't agree with my stomach initially. I will have a bite of Mr. Holla's steak now and then, and have discovered that I like cold roast beef, but still don't really eat it too often. And I have bacon once in a while. I finally understand what all the fuss is about, haha. Currently, I eat fish at about 12 times a week, and red meat about twice a week. Ideally, I'd like to work in a bit more beef/bison/venison. I personally only feel comfortable eating animals that were raised locally and treated humanely, but I understand that I am privileged to be able to afford it - I don't fault those who have to buy conventionally produced meat to stretch their food budget.

      I just wanted to add that I don't believe that all people require animal products to be healthy. I believe that the optimal human diet does include animal products, but that some people (I've met a handful) can in fact thrive on a whole-food-based, well-planned, strategically supplemented vegan diet, and even more people can thrive on a whole-food-based, well-planned, strategically supplemented lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. I'm not saying that they wouldn't be even healthier if they threw in a nice cut of wild salmon every now and then - just that it isn't always strictly necessary.
      The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

      You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

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      • #4
        I was diagnosed as being anaemic and the doctor said I should take pills (1-3 per day). 1 Pill made a lot of noise in my stomach, 2 pills made me constipated and 3 pills made me feel gravely ill. Most iron is in meat, so I decided to start eating meat again.

        Am Buddhist as well, but you have to know that not all Buddhists are vegetarians/vegans. My understanding re Karma is that it depends on your mindset - an Inuit killing fish to survive is creating less karma than I, because I do have other options and I choose to eat meat, whereas the Inuit doesn't have any other choice. My best choice is to buy the best meat I can afford (free range, organic - at least there is a chance that the animal had a life) and be grateful for the meat on my plate and not to waste it.

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        • #5
          There are so many threads with this theme, so here goes:

          1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?

          Bloating, constant hunger, long trips to the toilet on a regular basis, food quality (was eating lots of processed veggie friendly foods), general weakness

          2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?

          Seeing my veggie and vegan friends become more and more frail, gain body fat, and the constant struggle to have food available to control serious blood sugar spikes and lows...then we had twins and people started taking us food. There was no time to cook so I ate what was made for me and suddenly I was less bloated, had less gi issues, more energy, and was feeling great. Then I remembered being taught to appreciate the beings which gave their lives to nourish me (plants and animals) so I started giving thanks to the animals who were harmed to fuel my body and everything went well. I also did more reading and found grass fed/pastured animal meats, wild fish and game and realized that I was not taking part in the conventional side of things by eating these animal products. Now I realize that animals are here for us to eat, and I am grateful for this.

          3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?

          No, I just ate and enjoyed the process, the taste and how it made me feel.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
            1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
            It was more that I sort-of lapsed: found it easier to make stir-fries for lunch with tinned tuna than pseudo-chicken chunks and so on. I rationalised that eating meat/fish very occasionally was still better than eating it all the time.

            Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
            2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?
            Almost reaching 12 stone, seeing my profile reflected in a shop window... who's that grotesquely fat woman? oh, right...

            Resolving to do something about the weight, reading GCBC, deciding to try low-carb, and realising that when your main protein sources are grains and legumes this isn't going to be too easy. Also, I found the PB shortly afterwards, so that grain-and-legumes diet was seeming less and less of a good idea.

            Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
            3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?

            Thank y'all so much!
            In Health,
            ~Jyoti
            Apart from my occasional tinned-fish lapses, I was solidly vegetarian until May, and then became thoroughly omnivorous all at once. I was never a squeamish vegetarian, so chopping up liver or breaking up carcasses to fit in the stock pot is not a problem. (My husband, who's always eaten meat, hides out of sight and earshot while I do this...)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jyoti View Post
              1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
              My food allergies were getting ridiculous! I think now it was due to all the grains/legumes I was eating that created leaky gut syndrome.

              2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?
              The yummy roast beef sandwich in the café next door to my shop.


              3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?
              I started with a free-range turkey for Thanksgiving dinner (which I cooked myself!) and gently added meat back in.
              Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
              Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
              Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article

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              • #8
                hi!

                we practice buddhism here too.


                1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?

                i'm not sure i ever did either way.

                for me, becoming vegetarian was a thing of the heart, the spirit and emotion. it was something that i'd wanted to do for a long time, and yet was discouraged as a child because my family being very 'anti-PeTA' (lots of reasons). I knew one could be vegetarian and not be "pro-PeTA." at a certain level, i just felt personally called to it.

                but on the other hand, i didn't think it was somehow "optimal" at any level (spiritual, physical or otherwise), and while i do communicate with animals (a bit like dr doolittle i guess), i also had no problem with the proper raising and procuring of meat (which is the whole grass fed, organic bit and/or hunting). i didn't think it was wrong to be omnivorous, though i do find factory farming to be problematic.

                so, for me, it's not really about health or optimizing or even spirituality per se. it's about what is right for the individual "in the moment" and what works.

                I was vegan from 2000 to about 2005, and then vegetarian (very low cholesterol levels and cloudiness made me rethink the vegan part), until i was pregnant in 2008. i ate meat about 5-6 times during the pregnancy--mainly following cravings which usually tended toward awesome raw cheeses. LOL i ate *so much* cheese while pregnant. anyway, after that, i was pretty much vegetarian except for if i had a craving (so, every month or two or three?), and then here in 2010, i was just hungry, frustrated, unsatisfied, stressed out, etc. i started to get a bit "puffy" even though i wasn't gaining weight and exercised and really ate no "junk" foods. I was just eating a lot of cheese, veggies, eggs, and grains. and, a LOT more grains than i was used to because my husband cannot cook and is rather uncreative in that regard, so dinner was allways "cheese and rice" or "beans and cheese and rice" or "beans and cheese and polenta" or what have you. so, really quite disgusting.

                another issue was our budget, which is that he "needs" meat, and wouldnt reduce consumption, and i had ZERO diversity because we couldn't afford to buy his meat and veg and gluten free breads and such, and also afford to buy me anything more savorty than beans, rice, frozen veggies, and cheese. so, since my husband and my kid were both eating meat, and i was so hungry that i started eating bacon whenever it was served, i just decided to figure it all out, and eventually came upon paleo and primal, and here i am.

                2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?

                see last two paragraphs above.

                3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?

                i just started eating primally. our last week with grains, we just finished out our pantry and added that to our primal meals. when they were gone, we just didn't purchase any more. that was that.

                i have never had "side effects" from meat. i have had "side effects" from pasturized dairy, so i do avoid that. and, actually, since going primal, i hardly eat any dairy at all. i mean, after being vegan, it was easy to forgo dairy, honestly. now, i have a bit of cheese now and again (less than an oz, usually as some kind of garnish or added ingredient to function as a binding agent) and i think we have ice cream every few months (very high end stuff that we buy at an ice cream shop).

                since going primal--which was about 3 weeks ago i think, not counting the week that we ate breads and grains to empty our pantry--i have lost an inch off my waist (from 28 to 27 inches) and 3% of my body fat (from 23% to 20%)! pretty dramatic results, honestly.

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                • #9
                  I am a lurker, this is my first post. I was veggie for 14 years and vegan for 5 of those years. During that time I had 3 children. During my last pregnancy I craved meat constantly and my health started to fall apart. I developed many inflammatory issues, digestive issues and nerve damage. I did not start to eat meat until a year later when my dd developed massive tooth decay on her brand new incisors and I was turned onto Weston Price and then paleo/primal. I have gone back and forth since then and still struggle with the "idea" of eating meat more than the act. But I know that my family and I feel better, and the weight I put on during this last pregnancy is starting to come off - 2 years later. Actually as I am writing this, I can't really see any reason to question this way of eating! It's what we as a family need!

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                  • #10
                    The realization that all the vegan girls I was trying to impress were far to neurotic to ever have sex with.

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                    • #11
                      1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?

                      Cold all of the time. I subconsciously was craving the animal fat.

                      2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?

                      I did do #3 starting w/ fish. I think the social aspect of it was more important. Mea culpa for imposing the veg/vegan thing on friends and family. I will not do the same thing w/ primal.

                      3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?

                      See above. A glass of whole milk or large dish of ice cream does now bother me though just as gluten seems to after 2 months PB. Easy to avoid in amounts that will make me feel bloaty.
                      Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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                      • #12
                        I have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years and stopped around a month ago. I started when I was 13 years old and don't have a lot of memories about ever eating meat. I was picky back then and only ate a very short list of things.

                        1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?

                        I started tracking my nutrition in a software that also shows total vitamins and minerals intake (http://spaz.ca/cronometer/ in case anyone is interested) and I noticed that although I was eating almost exclusively unprocessed food and made a real effort to eat healthy I had a very hard time meeting all my nutritional goals (B vitamins, iron). I was tired a lot, always pale and had low iron levels for at least 10 years. Iron supplements have side effects and are also no permanent solution so I had to find another way. Moreover, I always had the feeling that I was craving something that I could never get and was trying to make up for the lack of meat by eating lots of grains.

                        2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?

                        I had been thinking about this for at least a year but just couldn't do it. Then I started reading books about food addiction since I was looking for ways to handle my cravings and binge eating habits. After that, I started to read more about going low carb but I never really liked the idea because it focuses so much on just carbs and not on eating whole foods. For some reason that I can't remember I bought the primal blueprint book; I had known about it for a while but I guess I was just not ready before. I read it and that was the last little thing I needed to convince myself to try eating meat again.

                        3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?
                        I started with fish, then chicken and just loved it. To be honest, I had been eating fish every once in a while as a vegetarian; I always tried to stop but I lacked the discipline to do so. I was craving it a lot and was also hoping that it would help with my iron levels. I pretty much devoured the first chicken that I bought, it was not a pretty sight. Unfortunately, I started eating fish or chicken every day afterwards and grew sick of it very quickly. The fact that I have no experience with cooking meat might not have helped either.

                        So I tried to make some beef curry but did not like the taste of beef at all and realized that I have to take things slowly. I had forgotten that I never ate anything but fish, chicken or sausages as a child because I didn't like anything else and the realization that I did not enjoy eating meat was a bit of a shock - I though it would be easier. I do not know whether I will be able to learn to like other types of meat but I will just be patient and give it a try. I think I will buy a meat grinder and learn to make patties and maybe sausages and hope that this will work.

                        I don't even like bacon. I'm screwed.
                        Last edited by anne; 12-21-2010, 02:37 PM.

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                        • #13
                          1) What FIRST prompted you to start questioning your plant-based path?
                          The amount of processed garbage I felt like I had to eat: Boca Burgers, Tofurkey (WTF?) highly carbohydrate based stuff. I was definitely always more into natural foods, but I always felt unsatisfied eating salads with only veggies.

                          2) What was the last straw that finally convinced you to eat meat again?
                          Just feeling like crap and craving a giant steak all..the..time. Browsing around online about health diets I came across diets like the blood type diet, followed by eat what you're supposed to eat for you're race diet (like a lot of my heritage is anglo-celtic so I guess that area)...Then finally I stumbled upon Paleo. Then I found the Primal Blueprint. I eat more paleo style though - with a little bit of dairy in my coffee that I'm about to give up for almond milk (my fav milk as a vegan/veg). Stoked I found that silk now makes 100% almond milk with no soy additives. OH also should add that I found an article about grains r bad mckay from Dr.Mercola so really I read a lot about it on his site first, all about soy and grains and insulin etc. Then I found my way into Paleo from there.

                          3) Did you reintroduce animal products in stages (such as fish first, then chicken, and finally beef, or what have you) or did you just start eating any/all animal products all at once?
                          Nah, I went back to eating how I used to almost right away. I was only vegan for like 6 months. It didnt take long to feel like crap, tired, always grumpy at the world. No energy....
                          Last edited by earthspirit; 12-21-2010, 11:46 PM.

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                          • #14
                            When I learned my son reacted to gluten, dairy, soy, corn and eggs, and I had to cut them all out of BOTH of our diets as I was nursing, my vegetarian diet felt very limited. I became a soy-free, gluten free vegan for a bit, but felt awful. (I had been vegetarian for 12 years and was overweight, often sick, and had other health issues I just was not admitting to myself at the time.) Reading info on allergy forums lead me to learn about 'traditional foods' practices from places like WAPF. Many moms w/ kids with food sensitivities/allergies seem to utilize traditional foods, good fats, and nutrient dense foods etc to work on healing. I added in vegan ferments but was feeling like that was not enough. With a lot of thought, and finally after convincing myself that humans were NOT meant to be vegetarian--that we are natural omnivores (duh!) I added in chicken, then bone broth, then beef, next fish, and then pork...No ill effects ever of adding meat back in--which totally suprised me. My son is now fine with eggs and ghee, so I use those as well in my cooking. Once I spent more time reading about what we really have evolved to eat, I never had a question about this. I was being a vegetarian for 'health' reasons moreso than ethics (ha!) so once I had changed my mind I never looked back.

                            Best decision I've ever made. I've prob. lost 70 lbs by avoiding gluten and dairy and soy and corn and adding in meat, and finally switching totally to primal. My health has improved 10fold. I'd recommend adding in meat to ANYONE. Also, _The Vegetarian Myth_ is a good one to check out if you are being a vegetarian for ethical reasons. Gets into the nitty gritty of why some vegetarian diets are just as harsh to animals/the planet as eating CAFO meat. Going local, going grassfed, etc, can be much more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and ethical ways to eat. (My own veg. diet was MUCH harder on the environment than my current primal one, because of where/how I was sourcing my food...)
                            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

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                            • #15
                              I was only vegetarian for about a year back in college because I had a roommate who believed in it devoutly so I decided to give it a try. Too tired of listening to her talk about the immorality of eating flesh.

                              What convinced me that it was horse pucky was that she and all her veg friends would all sit around telling each other how heathy they were while eating tofu burgers but they all looked anemic and "skinny-fat" and none could make it up a flight of stairs without getting winded.

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