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.