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To those of you who were vegetarian before choosing TF...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was just reading the "what was your first change" thread & was shocked to see so many of you mention that one of the first changes you made after deciding to follow the TF diet, was to begin eating meat after being veg! And I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing with me how you came to make that decision. What brought you away from, and then back to, eating meat?

(A quickie explanation: I've been veg for 14 yrs but recently dh & I have seriously delved into researching our families diet. IF we decided to include meat in our diet again it would definitely be along the lines of NT... grass fed, organic, etc. And ideally, raised by us.)

Thanks for sharing your experiences with me!
post #2 of 26
I saw your post in the veg forum, and you pretty much have it covered. (Didn't want to respond over there, for obvious reasons.) What got me started was reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, which led me to other reading, but that book made the argument in a way that really made sense to me. I especially resonated with his point about factory farming and vegetarianism both being a form of sentimentalism.
Good luck in your journey, whether it leads to eating meat or not.
post #3 of 26
I saw your post in the veg forum, and think its great that you are researching your dietary choices.

I really feel a traditional diet is the way to go, there is so much room for all kinds of dietary styles, as many as there are different people on this earth!

It doesnt necessarily mean eating loads of meat, some people do well like that and others do well on less meat and perhaps more dairy or eggs.

One point to consider is your own heritage. Some genetic pools have 'adapted' to particular foods better than others and this may point some direction as to what your family will do well on. For instance, Northern Europeans and Indians can do well with lots of dairy and perhaps less meat than others, as this is what has been the eating pattern for many years.

While I totally embrace a TF diet and all it has to offer, I will continue to remain vegetarian (and including lots of raw milk products in our diet) as this suits me well and I am healthy like this.

Its not as cut and dried as many think. Because we are all so different, metabolically, genetically, physically etc we dont all do well on exactly the same diet and it makes sense to discover for your self how you are healthiest.
post #4 of 26
Just wanting to post a reminder of the guidelines for all of the forums in Nutrition and Good Eating, particularly

MDC will not host discussions of debate or criticism within Nutrition and Good Eating, Vegetarian & Vegan Living, Traditional Foods and Meal Planning. Disagreements about dietary choices and personal beliefs should be set aside out of respect for the diversity and varying interpretations and beliefs that we hold as a community.

Let's keep this in mind and keep posting to discussing our own personal experiences without venturing into debate or criticism of different diets.

post #5 of 26
I expect that meat is part of "first changes" because it is what defined for people in their own minds coming to the "other side."

I limited animal products for health reasons but in my postpartum days my mom cooked for me and the doctor was recommending some meats and limited grains because we had recurring thrush. I ate what my mom cooked basically and still do. :
post #6 of 26
I started eating meat after 10 years vegetarian during my pregnancy with dd. I craved it terribly and found that eating meat was the only thing that preventing me from vomitting from morning sickness. It was really important to me that I eat meat from animals raised in humane conditions, and traditional foods really emphasizes this. I came to adopt a traditional foods lifestyle after dd was born; she has a mess of food allergies--and through discovering this I discovered my own. As I was researching food and nutrition, I discovered traditional foods and have learned that this is the path to health and healing that I've needed for a long time.

Traditional foods, and especially Nourishing Traditions, has a strong emphasis on eating meat, but it doesn't have to be that way. We try to eat a vegetarian diet that is traditionally based (through grain and legume preparation and inclusion of enzyme rich foods) at least half of the time.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow, I love hearing your experiences, thanks so much for sharing!

EMS, I'm going to the library today to pick up The Omnivore's Dilemma & Nourishing Traditions. My DH brought home Real Food: What to Eat & Why for me yesterday. It's been hard to put it down!

Joliebebe, I hadn't considered researching my heritage, that's an awesome idea. Thanks for the support!

Gale Force, I wish someone would come cook for me! Actually, if I decided to eat some meat, I will have no idea have to prepare it! I've never cooked any kind of meat for myself in my life.

Ally'smom, it's been so important for me to realize that I'm far from alone in my meat cravings this pregnancy. They are intense cravings!! This is my 3rd veg pregnancy, & I've never craved meat for the past 14 years, so this was totally unexpected. I don't see myself ever eating large amounts of meat, but after 4mos of these intense cravings, we're thinking that maybe I should really just go EAT something already. We're lucky that we live so close to some great organic family farms. I can go pick up some chicken from a farm that raises them exactly like I raise my own pet chickens. I'm grateful for that!

This is all so eye opening for me because in alllll these years I've been vegetarian, I've never researched "the other side". I've been so close minded! (& I do mean ME very specifically, I am not insinuating that vegetarians are close minded or attempting to debate anything! ) . I never considered that meat could have benefits. These extreme cravings, where I feel antsy & cannot get meat & bones out of my head, have forced us to reanalyze our diet, and WOW! There is so much out there that I never considered, or was even aware of. So, this has been an educational journey, that's for sure! DH & I have been obsessed with this subject for many days. I look forward to inhaling the entire Real Food book in the next 24 hours.

I'd love to hear any other experiences if anyone wants to share. (& feel free to pm me if that seems better)
post #8 of 26
I think it is SO important to go with your cravings during pregnancy. Your body is asking you for something, telling you you need something. There is nothing wrong with giving in- especially if it's not an unhealthy craving.
Here's my transition story:
I was veg for a couple years before getting pregnant with my first son. I CRAVED meat and I wasn't the best vegetarian at the time- I relied on too much processed foods(I was 16). I wouldn't give in unti about 5 months and once I did, I felt a lot better. I decided to go back to being veg when my bleeding stopped postpartum and at 4 weeks, I did.
I had a really bad miscarriage in July 06 (I nearly died) and I felt like crap despite my efforts to get my iron levels up (which I did naturally and on a veg diet), I still felt really bad. So, I ate a steak. And it killed me ethically, but instantly I felt better.
So,I just had my second baby in June and when I was about 6 weeks preg, I realized that I wanted meat and couldn't put it off like I did the first time. I have resources for great meats, grass fed, pastured, treated really well, etc, so I gave in. This time, I couldn't chalk it up to not eating a healthy veg diet. I truly wanted it and felt better when I ate it.
Before getting pregnant, I had started doing NT things because I had been introduced to it while working as an apprenticing midwife for some Amish who are very into it (and have the greatest raw milk products around!). I also have friends who do vegetarian NT, so we started doing that. But as I neared the end of my pregnancy, I realized I wanted to continue eating meat, and so I have. My partner doesn't( he still follows a traditional diet, just veg stylee), but we work it out.
I don't eat a ton of meat just because I don't want a lot of it and we live in a household where not everyone eats the meat.
I think if I ever find myself in a situation where I cannot get the quality of meat I have access to now, I will not eat meat.
it's hard to overcome the guilt after knowing everything you know as an ethical vegetarian(which my family is/was), but once I visited the farms, met the farmers and knew what I was getting, it eased my mind. Researching helped too.
post #9 of 26
We became omnivores after many years of a vegetarian/vegan/macro lifestyle when we felt we could manage with less dependancy on fossil fuels than our vegetarian lifestyle could offer us in a New England state. About 10 years ago, we started to eat more locally, and more sustainably. We still do not make meat a very large part of our diet-- but we aren't limiting our diet, because what we can get locally varies with season and production abilities.

I only discovered WP a couple of years ago, and reading Pollack, I finally found something that voiced what we had been thinking for a very long time. Before OD, WP etc., we discovered www.slowfood.com Artisan and local food, food grown without taxing the earth, food grown nearby, animal or vegetable, means you aren't relying on plastic packaging, factory food, over- processed food, fossil fuels etc to sustain you. We are not all the way there yet, but it makes sense for us, since we can get good local food, and we can grow and raise some of it.

We don't feel eating animals in a sustainable way is wrong. Animals eat animals,and humans are animals. The belief that it's 100% wrong to soometimes eat animals doesn't come into play for us. I do respect that belief in others, and I think that it's natural enough for some people in some climates to be vegetarian. The whole BK/McD lifestyle is unsustainable, and if eating vegetarian moves people away from that, I am all for it.
post #10 of 26
I've had a similar journey. After being vegetarian/vegan for the better part of 17 years, I got really sick while on a healthy vegan diet last fall. I had already been introduced to NT concepts, but I went back and started reading again, and realized that a vegan diet just wasn't going to be healthy for me. So I started with eggs and dairy, which I made sure were from humane and sustainable sources (My local CSA farm for the eggs, and Organic Pastures for the dairy).

Introducing meat again came from a combination of things.

One, I felt like eating more meat and when I go a long time without it, I tend to feel unsatisfied no matter what else I eat. When I was vegan, I realized that my diet had become very heavy with soy because I didn't feel satisfied unless I was eating a meat analog (and honestly, not even then) and I felt it was better for me to actually eat the meat I was craving than to eat all that soy.

Two, I decided I didn't want to continue living in culinary isolation. I realized that FOR ME, my veg*n diet had served in part to separate me at social functions, to make me the odd one out and the one that people had to accommodate. And I decided I didn't want to do that anymore. So if someone offers me meat at a social function, I no longer turn it down. Since I don't know the source of the meat, I'll often have just a little bit, but it's been very important to me to take these offerings with gratitude. (Interestingly, I just read Omnivore's Dilemma and he makes the same observation.)

I now make more meat at home (fish once or twice a week, and poultry or beef once or twice a month) just so I know that what I'm eating most of the time is local, humanely treated and sustainably raised. UUMom, I've been researching the Slow Food and Locavore movements too, and these principles are really important to me! So eating meat has been a lot of things for me I guess!
post #11 of 26
If you decide to introduce meat, you might decide in advance for how long. For instance, you could add it to your diet a few times a week for a month. If it made no difference, you could cut it out again and call it your "month of experimentation." After such a month you would have a lot more information about the best direction for you. So I guess what I am saying is that if you think you should try it, maybe just try it for a short period without being concerned about the life-long commitment.

post #12 of 26
Posting so I am subscribed and remember to come back and type more when my baby isn't ready to nurse to sleep

Lots to say!!!!!!!
post #13 of 26
(Before TF I was a strict veg ala "Eat to Live")I had an miscarriage and lost a lot of blood. I felt the strongest cravings to eat beef and my body was right. My blood tests showed I was horribly anemic and it months of beef and iron supps to recover. My way of eating is really the combination of research and realizing what made me feel my best. (I aim for mostly meat, produce, nuts, fats, hunger-gatherer type of diet)

I hope you can find peace in whatever way of eating you choose It was kind of a hard mental transition for me because I thought I would never eat meat again.

post #14 of 26
Originally Posted by Gale Force View Post
If you decide to introduce meat, you might decide in advance for how long. For instance, you could add it to your diet a few times a week for a month. If it made no difference, you could cut it out again and call it your "month of experimentation." After such a month you would have a lot more information about the best direction for you. So I guess what I am saying is that if you think you should try it, maybe just try it for a short period without being concerned about the life-long commitment.


This is what I did. It helped with the mental transition for me. The only difference is that I allowed 8 weeks, as I felt that one month wasn't really long enough for my body to tell beyond all doubt. After 8 weeks, I couldn't tell much difference, but my DH could. He could really see a change in my mental state, the way I handled stress, my emotional control, etc. I've not gone back to veg. (3 years later), and I think I will always be omnivorous to some degree.
post #15 of 26
Little one fussing, so will have to type quickly, but had to come back and respond. forgive my "shorthand"

Was vegetarian and vegan for most of middle and high school and then on and off through and just after college. Went from french fries and salad to "fake meats" galore to high fiber (whole grains and fruits/veggies) during those years. I was on birth control pills and *thought* I was having "periods" (as opposed to withdrawal bleeding), also had bad skin, digestive issues (probably about halfway to IBS) etc. Lactose intolerant, too.

Quit the pill (thank goodness!) shortly after college (starting thinking more holistically) and didn't bleed, months went by (6 or more) then I would have 1 period every 3 or so months. I was starting to think about marriage and having kids, this freaked me out! While working for a chiropractor, I mentioned to a patient that I was a vegetarian, and she (delicately) gave me the Soy Alert pamphlet and directed me to WAP.org. I was ready for a change (and read about the endocrine issues relating to soy/lack of fat/fat-soluble vitamins).

Within a week, I was introducing whole dairy (not raw yet, as I was in VA and not quite up for a cow share yet), and meats, chicken with the skin, etc (grass-fed and pastured when I could). Cold turkey on all things soy, and eased out of most grains (started soaking oats). Cold turkey on my "healthy" organic cereals which I had been devouring! I bled 10 days later and had regular periods thereafter.

Digestion improved markedly and now I can enjoy raw dairy (fermented is better, fresh milk results in gas, but nothing compared to what happens after drinking pasteurized!) My skin is better, too!

I did start charting a few years later and found my cycles weren't terribly fertile, and made some VERY minor changes (chasteberry extract and sleeping in total darkness), but I know I laid the foundation of conceiving my son almost immediately upon trying when I started a TF diet!
post #16 of 26
I was born to vegetarian parents, and have spent my 32 years entirely vegetarian. I always thought of myself as an aspiring vegan, but never got there.

I have never felt that I am as healthy as I could be, and depression and resulting anorexia don't help! Come to think of it, it was when I first read The Mood Cure, about using supplements to help combat depression, that I started to wonder whether adding more animal products would be helpful to me. (Then I read Gabriel Cousen's book, Depression Free for Life, and given his veggie attitude, I relaxed a little...)

Now reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, NT and Wild Fermentation and Omnivore's Dilemma, I have been feeling very lucky that I live in Vermont and have such easy access to grassfed animal products. We use fresh milk and make butter adn yogurt ...and sauerkraut, etc, and love it.

I am slowly trying to calm down about the idea of eating flesh, and can see eating a little meat once in a while someday... I encourage my kids to try things DH eats, so they won't go through this all-or-nothing obsession I've had for so long...

My question is:
What meat first?
I tried fish oil capsules briefly before DS was conceived, but they gave me terrible stomach aches.
I have heard of veggies getting violently ill after eating meat, including one friend who triggered her labor with diarrhea and vomiting after accidentally eating part of a real hamburger.

A good friend recently offered to pass me some homemade chicken broth she's going to make with birds she's raising herself. That sounds like a perfect start- not too graphic, and it doesn't seem like it should be too rough on my system.

How have y'all felt when eating meat for the first time in decades?
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! I've read & contemplated your responses over & over & dh & I read them together last night. We have put so much thought & research into this subject recently, it's about all we've talked about for a week. Making the decision to add some meat into my diet has been an enormous weight on my mind. After 14 years of hardcore "meat eating is BAD" flowing out of my mind & mouth, it was absolutely BIZARRE to me that I was even contemplating that maybe some meat is GOOD! Wow, what a journey this has been.....

So after my very intense cravings (I believe now that my body has been screaming at me "I'm not getting what I need, lady!!!") for 4 mos straight, and much research, we decided I should definitely eat some meat. So I went out to a nearby small farm where we've gotten our eggs & raw milks from in the past, & I bought a huge, pasture raised, 100% free ranged & organic, non GMO or soy fed, freshly killed chicken, with the skin on. If my body wasn't already sending me clear signals that some animal fat & flesh was what it needed, then on this day it was undeniable! I was so excited all day long, no other foods sounded even half decent & I barely ate a thing. I would literally salivate at the thought of the chicken fat dripping crispy skin I was going to eat later. And then I prepared the entire thing by hand myself, something I've never ever done before. I rubbed herbs on it, seriously examined it, thinking about how 3 days ago it was running around eating bugs, & put it in the oven, never having one moment of disgust!! I shocked myself. All I could think was "oh yum, oh god, finally, oh yum, I can't wait, hurry up & cook!!"

And then I ate tons of it, dipped pieces in the fat, slurped up more than I had planned for fear I'd get sick, but I couldn't stop. And I never felt a bit of queasiness or digestive weirdness, I felt great! I think my body was really happy to finally be fed.

I've been likening the whole experience to when you are really really thirsty. Then you finally get that tall glass of icy cold water & you gulp it down, feeling like "Ooooooh, so refreshing, this is EXACTLY what I needed, YUM, aaaaah." Y'know? That's how I felt eating the chicken. And the thing was so huge, I've been eating it at every meal since. I feel so freaktastically good.

And I have no regrets. DH & I put a ton of thought into this. I made a very conscious decision & I think it was the right one. And I think our fetus is happy, too.

I am LOVING the book, Real Food: What to Eat & Why. WOW pretty much sums it up for me. And dh & I each read this article about 80 zillion times & discussed nearly every sentence.

Lizzo, thanks! I have been getting the advice to "give my body what it needs" a lot, but it was SO hard for me to believe that MEAT was what my body needed, after all these veggie years, y'know? But now I feel that advice is right, my body was begging for more than I've been giving it. I've had 2 pregnancies really close together, & am breastfeeding, & I think this pushed my body over the edge. It needed more.
"I think if I ever find myself in a situation where I cannot get the quality of meat I have access to now, I will not eat meat." <--- This is exactly how I feel, too. I will still buy my usual veggie foods. Any meat I add will only be the kind I go out of my way to get, the pasture raised, organic kind. I'm so grateful we live near so many great farms.

UUMom, thanks for the link, I didn't know what slow food was all about before. I think that's right up my alley. And I think the last paragraph you typed is totally right on.

HerbanGirl, I sure can relate to not feeling satisfied by foods, & relying too heavily on soy "meats" ! That's been me for quite awhile, too. And I too do not want to eat a lot of soy! So that was hard. I have been eating about 8 jillion eggs lately instead, attempting to quiet my cravings & hunger.

GaleForce & Gardenmommy
, that is a very good idea. I did start a few days ago saying that "I am going to start with just this chicken. Just try eating one chicken, see how I feel, physically & emotionally, & go from there." I couldn't even think past just one chicken! Now that I've gotten past that, & feel fantastic, I'm going to try some pasture raised beef. Just once, & then go from there. It's baby steps for me.

newcastlemama, This is exactly how it's been feeling to me, too! : "It was kind of a hard mental transition for me because I thought I would never eat meat again." DH & I have both been feeling shocked, both of us fully believed we'd never eat meat again, ever ever ever. (In fact I'm not even "allowed" to discuss his meat eating as he's not ready to "come out" about it to anyone yet. )

Holiztic, wow that's quite a story! I'm so glad you figured out what your body needed.

ramlita, I can understand where you're coming from. Thirty two years of veggieism is a very long time & making the transition to putting some animal flesh in your body must feel SO daunting! If I were you I would definitely start small, with very healthy meats. Pasture raised, totally purely organic & natural. I would wonder if your friend got so ill because the burger she ate was a factory farmed burger full of hormones, antibiotics & other nastiness. The exact same thing happened to my ex-dh about a year ago. He accidentally ate some beef burger at a restaurant that told him it was a Boca burger, & he got REALLY sick. But it very well may have been his body reacting to all the CRAP in the burger, perhaps he would have been fine if he had eaten some pure, clean meat. I think you should have a small amount of your friend's chicken broth.
post #18 of 26
"Coming out"!

I am glad you started this thread- it is hard to find people to talk with on this subject.
Vegetarians would just try to talk me out of it or think less of me for abandoning my ideals, and
lifelong meat eaters don't get what the big deal is.

Glad that chicken turned out to be the right thing for you!

Having never eaten meat, I have never remotely craved it. I am awfully curious how well my body will like it...
post #19 of 26
Everyone has to do what's best for them.

I'm glad your so happy zjande and ramlita.
post #20 of 26
Aubrey, your experience is so fascinating and awesome! I love all your detail. I totally know what you are talking about. I was so against meat eating before, all the talk was about how bad factory farms are and how bad the meat and dairy is for you. When I learned about grass fed free range farms it totally opened my mind. Like the missing piece of the puzzle. Then I would wonder what all the veggie gurus and studies would be like if they were based on GOOD meats and dairy vs. factory farmed. I still think that animal products should be eaten little compared to plant products for most people, I guess kind of flexitarianism, but I'm kind of in the middle and go back and forth. I guess the most important thing is REAL FOOD!

I'm so glad you had a good experience though! You are so lucky to be where you are.
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