Advice from former vegans? Or those who stopped & later resumed a vegan diet? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 50 Old 01-15-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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I was veg and then went vegan. I went back to an omni diet after I had cancer, and had lost my appetite for months and couldn't keep food down. Once I was diagnosed and getting treatment I craved meat. Of course I was able to digest it. I haven't even looked back. In fact it's been over 10 years since I went back to eating meat. 

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#32 of 50 Old 01-16-2012, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A little update... Something unexpected I've noticed -- my giant swollen pregnant-looking belly is gone!! I still need to lose weight but I can fit in my pants again! I must definitely have been retaining fluids or something and animal products have somehow helped that??!? IDK but I am very happy about it. I figured animal products might give me a bit more energy and in turn might help me work out more to lose weight but I wasn't thinking just a week of animal products would help that bloating disappear. smile.gif

Also, I tried eel sushi! I couldn't even taste the eel actually. It was good. I also bought some beef stock as a first step to maybe trying red meat... not sure about that but at least I bought it (I am still far from being able to cook it myself lol). I am having a bit of trouble finding organic dairy though... and are cheeses from Europe more likely to use sustainable practices & hormone-free/no antibiotics/grass-fed/pastured/etc. if I can't get certified organic cheese? I keep thinking that Europeans use smarter & more natural milk sources but I'm not sure if that's true. I'm pretty confused about all the labels in general actually.

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#33 of 50 Old 02-22-2012, 07:58 PM
 
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I don't get on here much these days, but I am so glad I found this thread!!

 

I was a vegetarian for 15 years, then I started eating fish. I have stuck with fish but for the past 6 months I've been moving closer to a vegan diet (that is, eating mostly vegetable-based diet with fish here & there, but cutting out dairy & eggs). But I'm starting to think that I'm moving in the wrong direction.

 

Since giving birth (almost three years ago) I've experienced a number of non-serious but nagging medical issues... low iron, hair loss, low energy, fatigue, etc. Nothing is wrong with me, but I feel like I'm deficient in ... something... not sure what!

 

I don't necessarily crave meat, but I feel like something is missing from my diet, if that makes sense.

 

Anyone have any good books or web sites I should read? I might try adding meat to my diet for a temporary experiment. (Honestly, like crunchy_mommy, I don't like the idea of eating meat... I also don't know what it'll do to our food budget since I can hardly squeeze in the organic veggies I get for us now & I won't buy commercially/factory-raised anything.)


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#34 of 50 Old 02-23-2012, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone have any good books or web sites I should read? I might try adding meat to my diet for a temporary experiment. (Honestly, like crunchy_mommy, I don't like the idea of eating meat... I also don't know what it'll do to our food budget since I can hardly squeeze in the organic veggies I get for us now & I won't buy commercially/factory-raised anything.)

The budget part is tough!! I am able to get a 5lb free-range organic chicken for $11 or so... which seems like a ton for me when I think of all the fresh veggies I could get for that same cost!! But one chicken can go a long way, because I don't need a lot of it to feel 'full' and can't really eat more than a small serving anyway... I shred it up and freeze half and the other half gets added bit by bit to whatever I'm making throughout the week. Then I make a stock from the carcass, and actually I'm able to reuse the carcass again for a second round of stock as soon as the first batch is done (crockpot). I could probably reuse it several more times but two rounds gives us a lot.

But aside from chicken, there just aren't a ton of options. Once in a while I've been buying grass-fed organic ground beef. It's $6 for a pound! That's crazy expensive!! So I just buy it once or twice a month when I feel like I need it. I actually feel like I need to be eating meat almost daily, but I'm having a lot of trouble with that, can't afford it, beef & chicken are the only options that fit my criteria (free-range & organic), I can't find turkey or ribs or pork or whatever else. I struggle to eat fish, I'm not sure it does what I need it to do for me & it tastes fine but not great. I've added back in dairy & eggs but I have trouble incorporating eggs into meals (I won't just eat a scrambled egg or whatever). I think I've been relying too much on dairy, once again, though I'm consciously trying not to.

Part of me just wants to go back to being vegan. I'm not sure if that's me talking or the remnants of my eating disorder, I kind of feel like I've lost control since giving up veganism, I didn't realize just how much it was tied up in my ED and I thought I'd moved past all that... But I do think animal products are making a difference in my health (small, like it's another layer of my health issues?) so I'm having trouble actually getting these foods into my diet & getting variety. And I'm questioning so much of what I always believed about 'healthy eating' too.

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#35 of 50 Old 02-26-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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Crunchy_mommy, I've never suffered from an ED, but I know that all my control issues get tied up with food. Food makes me feel simultaneously out of control (I did not grow up with healthy eating habits & will mindlessly eat all day if I let myself) & totally in control (I can decide what to put in my body). This definitely plays a big role in my diet decisions.

 

Have you thought of seeing a therapist or seeking out someone to talk to about your ED? Sometimes these things have a way of creeping back into our lives.

 

I think I'm going to wait to put meat back in ... I'm going to try to eat more fish (I can get quality canned wild-caught salmon at Costco when I feel I can't afford fresh/frozen) & add eggs & dairy (limited dairy). We'll see... I may be back on here in a week or two as an omnivore. 


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#36 of 50 Old 02-26-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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t2009, I would at least try some meat & see how you feel. I don't think fish does for me what meat seems to do. Maybe my body is just weird though!! I don't even crave meat, I just notice I feel much more run-down when I go a day or two without eating it (which is often, since I'm still getting use to this!)

I have thought about going back into therapy, I've needed to for years, and not just for the ED, but it seems expensive and never helped a ton in the past, though I think I'd be more committed to it now than when I was a teen. But DH works long/weird hours so I don't see how I could even make it work anyway, I wouldn't feel comfortable bringing DS with me to therapy, he understands too much. In the past few years there have been several times I felt I was headed for a relapse but mostly I've been able to avoid it. I'm weird about food & have food rules and sometimes skip meals and stuff but I also actually need to lose a few pounds this time so it's kind of different. But I think I just need to stay strong and get through this transition & I'll probably be OK.

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#37 of 50 Old 03-03-2012, 10:38 AM
 
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Just chiming in of one of those that went from 8 years of vegetarianism and on and off vegan to almost primal. I feel so much better this way but have been adding grain slowly back in after a year of grain free.
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#38 of 50 Old 03-03-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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Koalamom I am on a similar path although I was seven years vegetarian, then omni about 7 more, then primal and now low-grain mostly primal.  I went from veg to omni while PG with twins.  I started primal about 1.5 years ago and relaxed it after a year, when I had lost more weight than I wanted to although I felt lean and healthy still.

 

Pretty happy with what I eat these days.  BTW I was not overweight but I never had a flat stomach in all my life until after I went primal.  I also always felt like I couldn't stop eating, like I was never satisfied.  Now I usually feel satisfied.  If sweets call to me, I will even indulge, but I don't get sucked in...  Somewhere along the way I think I repaired some deficiencies that made me hungry most of the time.  I also had a hormone-related skin condition for several years that went away (it's not even considered curable BTW) and I am pretty sure that resulted from eliminating soy.  I preferred soy milk to dairy even as an omni and had it every single day for years.   


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#39 of 50 Old 03-03-2012, 01:22 PM
 
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Curious if "primal" is the same thing as "paleo"? Also, how do those differ from "traditional"?

 

I'm very confused & I think I definitely want to do some more research before I start eating meat. I have requested a bunch of books from the library on a number of different types of diets. I got one & started reading it: Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, which advocates a vegan diet. It seems compelling & also well-researched. But I've been basically vegan for the past two months & I'm not seeing much difference. But maybe I need to be adding more fresh veggies.

 

I will say, though, that I'm experiencing what I think Crunchy_mommy did -- adding dairy & eggs haven't really made much of a difference. So I think that if more veggies doesn't make me feel better then I'll try meat. We'll see... but I'm glad to read about everyone's experiences. I know no single diet fits everyone. And it's so confusing!!


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#40 of 50 Old 03-03-2012, 03:16 PM
 
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Primal and paleo are not the same but are similar.  Both exclude grains, but paleo consistently excludes dairy as well.  The primal diet is a little more flexible, while paleo restricts a few more foods--maybe nuts?  I really don't pay attention to the differences as I found my comfort zone is more relaxed than both.

 

Most of the time "traditional" refers to a diet that is omnivorous and includes grains and legume, but the grains and legumes are soaked to improve absorption while many fermented foods are used as well.  But "traditional" also is an umbrella term for all three diets as all three reference historic/prehistoric approaches to eating.  WAP is another term used for the "traditional" grain-including diet.  This stands for Weston A. Price, which you can look up online to find more information. 

 

All three diets emphasize increasing healthy fats, whole foods, and live foods.  All three include animal products.  All three have concerns about grains, with primal and paleo exlcluding them and "traditional" or Weston A. Price diets giving them special treatments to mitigate their more harmful effects.  

 

Supplementation to improve deficiencies can be very important as well.  Previous vegans probably have eaten a low fat diet and Vitamin D deficiency is thus very very common.  In fact it is common for everyone.  Cod liver oil is a typical supplement for all three diets, also magnesium, and for me iodine supplementation is also helpful.  I also take B-complex and iron but I do not take multivitamins so really I take very few supplements.  Personally I eat a lot of eggs and sardines and salmon as well as dairy and vegetables esp raw and fermented.  

 

Adding a D supplement or a B complex can make a big difference in energy/general health as can some other things if you might have a deficiency.  So a change in diet may or may not "work" if you have something like this affecting you as well.  For me, eating many grain foods keeps me feeling sluggish whether I am eating meat or not. 


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#41 of 50 Old 03-04-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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For me, dairy and eggs (even though they were almost exclusively pastured) didn't do it for me.  Fish is nice, but doesn't cut it for me.  The only thing that really made a big difference for me was red meat: specifically lamb and beef.  

 

As for the expense, IMO, the most cost-effective way to get good beef, etc. is to buy directly from the farm.  If you are just wanting to try it without a long-term commitment, then buy a few pounds from the natural foods store.  If you really want to eat it long-term, find a farmer and buy it from him.  Ask if you can just buy a few pounds, or by the quarter.  If you have to buy a larger quantity, find someone to split it with.  IMO, even if it's not certified organic, if it's pastured, it will be far and away better than anything you buy in the store.  Many farmers can't afford organic certification, but they follow sustainable farming practices, and are very close to organic anyway.  

 

A point of reference, my family of 7 gets a 1/2 beef every fall.  It lasts us more than a year, as we eat as many plant foods as we do meats.  It's all in how you prepare it!

 

 

 

 

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#42 of 50 Old 03-04-2012, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have a separate freezer, just the space over our fridge, so we can't really buy large quantities of beef from a farm. A lot of my friends are vegetarians but I *might* be able to find someone to split stuff with me. I'm not sure yet whether I'm totally willing to commit to this enough to buy large amounts of meat anyway.

Grocery shopping yesterday was hard, I'm finding the options really limited in the stores, and when you factor in my budget there's very little I've been able to buy.

Right now, I'm trying to eat more eggs & lots of chicken. Those are the most affordable & readily available around here (well, a lot is available, but most of it isn't free-range or organic). I really feel like I need a bit of red meat once a week or so, but the only kind I can find is ground beef, and I'm not a big fan (though I'll eat it) -- maybe I just need more recipes to use it with...

Still working on fish but that's expensive too. I really don't like tuna, apparently... and it's kind of turning me off from other fish. I can't stand that fishy smell & taste. The salmon was OK and I tried shrimp, which was such a foreign texture to me that I'm still not sure about it, but I'd like to try it again & a few different recipes. I'm not sure if fish really does much for me though. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Often I feel like it would just be easier to go back to being vegan, but seeing how much better I feel makes me try to force some meat into myself!

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#43 of 50 Old 03-08-2012, 08:42 PM
 
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Thank you for the info on paleo vs. primal vs. traditional! Very interesting though I think paleo/primal would be too far in the other direction for me. Put a hold on Nurturing Traditions at the library & I'm eager to read it.

Well I just found out that after 3 months of taking iron pills I am still extremely low (it went up like one point). So I am ready. I'm not squeamish & just want to go to red meat like now!

Anyone have a recipe? Something with a less expensive cut & that I can mix with veggies or a grain? Thinking stew? Or something cooked in liquid? I have no idea how to go about this. I have literally never cooked meat (aside from making chicken soup from scratch once or twice for my husband)!

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#44 of 50 Old 03-09-2012, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have a recipe, I'm still new at this myself, but I can suggest tacos! Just cook up ground meat with sauteed onions and chili powder & spices (or a packet of taco seasoning)... I ate a lot of taco-type meals when I was just starting out because I could hide the meat in with lots of fresh veggies, and the spicy flavors kind of disguised the taste even more. That's pretty much the only thing I know how to make with red meat. Oh, that and spicy peanut noodles, which is just sauteed veggies, ground meat, and a spicy peanut coconut sauce over rice noodles. Those are things I made when I was vegan, so I just threw in meat rather than learn a new recipe.

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#45 of 50 Old 03-09-2012, 06:35 AM
 
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Those sound like good ideas. Makes me think I love to make vegan chili & cld just add ground meat to that too. ... Also the burger joint down the street serves grass fed, hormone free meat so I may just let someone else do the preparing the first time around.

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#46 of 50 Old 03-09-2012, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, head to that burger joint! It was so much easier the first time or two to have someone else do the prep. Then for some strange reason I felt a very strong need to do it myself (even picking meat off a chicken carcass -- gross, but I can't ask DH to do it, I HAVE to do it myself). Maybe I'm weird. But definitely the first couple meals I ate out to make it easier, and it's awesome that you have such a perfect option nearby!

(and chili - great idea!)

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#47 of 50 Old 03-14-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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Wow! I did it... It felt so weird (actually it felt very right...) but after 16+ years I couldn't believe I was eating a hamburger. DH has never seen me eat meat & we've known each other half our lives! I plan to try for at least 2 months... we'll see. It's definitely affected (ahem...) how things are moving in my digestive tract, but could be because I started out with a burger (though I had it with a salad & not fries!). But other than that I've already noticed some positive changes.

 

I feel like I'm still coming to terms with it, vegetarianism was SUCH a part of my identity & it not only feels strange to not be a vegetarian, it also feels like I've been proven wrong in a silly way (like my pediatrician was right all those years ago to try to dissuade me...). I also feel slightly angry at the veg. movement for not treating women's bodies with more respect -- we are the ones that suffer disproportionately from iron deficiency & anemia, & I'm beginning to think that vegans & vegetarians are just not being honest about the fact that these diets simply can't work for some people, usually women (I know many women who maintain their health on a veg diet, but not me & apparently I'm not alone). I'm still obviously working through these things. Crunch-mommy, I don't mean to take over your thread, but I'm really appreciating this thread right now for the encouragement I've found here! Thanks! 


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#48 of 50 Old 03-15-2012, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow t2009, I'm glad this is feeling 'right' for you & you're seeing positive changes already!!! And yeah, I think giving up the identity of veg*n was one of the hardest parts, but now I find it freeing to not have a label. I can still eat 95% veg if I want but I don't have to fit myself into a box, you know? It's really triggering for me, with my ED, giving up my food control and all, and I've ended up starving myself for several days at a time again lately, but I'm trying to avoid a total relapse and hope that this ultimately leads to a healthier relationship with food. At the very least, the improvement in my physical health is worth trying to work through this.

I can really relate to some of your feelings. I spent so long convinced that a vegan diet was the healthiest one. I hate hate hate that I've had to basically eat my words. I hate that I spent all that energy convincing people that veganism was so healthy, when it wasn't (for me). I am annoyed & feel deceived by the veg*n movement. Since I started eating meat, I've looked into this more, and found that MANY people who called themselves veg*n did in fact eat meat occasionally -- or even often. They listened to their bodies and ate what they needed to but continued to call themselves veg and claimed to be healthy and all... In my 'research' I was able to find lots of long-term vegetarians who maintained decent health but practically no vegans -- most were vegan for up to 2 years before giving it up, or ate whatever they wanted but remained MOSTLY vegan, or claimed they were healthy but were blind to the fact that they were suffering. I was vegan for 7 or 8 years and I never ever 'cheated'. I feel like I've done a lot of harm to my body & if I'd 'cheated' occasionally I'd probably be in much better shape... and maybe if I knew so many others 'cheated' or took breaks from veg*nism, then I'd have been more compelled to do the same? IDK, so frustrating, hope I'm making sense...

Start off slowly on the meat, don't eat more than you feel like you can. I haven't gotten sick or anything but I do think sometimes I push myself to eat more meat than my body is ready for & have some digestive effects and all.

And don't apologize for 'taking over' my thread, it's nice to talk to others going through the same thing as I am right now! Interestingly, I have TWO friends who were long-term vegetarians (15-20 years) that just started eating meat again after I did. So weird but kind of affirming for me, too.

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#49 of 50 Old 03-15-2012, 03:51 PM
 
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Take care of yourself crunchy_mommy! Would it help to glob onto another "label" (TF or paleo?) Maybe not to address your need to control food intake but at least to give you focus & reason to keep feeding yourself? I don't know if that makes sense. I know I find myself reaching for another label -- it's just what I'm used to... I've identified myself with my diet for so long it doesn't make sense to me not to have a name for the way I eat. I figure it's probably not "healthy" but it's a period of transition so I'm going with it.

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#50 of 50 Old 03-15-2012, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That makes sense. I think for me I really need to finally get comfortable with not having a label. I do think it would help short-term to call myself 'paleo' or whatever but long-term, I think I'll end up in this exact same spot down the line. My ultimate goal is to be able to listen to my body as far as what to eat, and I think for me, having a label kind of frustrates that process some.IDK. I think I'll get there, eventually, but these are some tough growing pains...

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