Former Vegetarians- Please Read! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 45 Old 09-25-2007, 10:17 PM
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I was a vegetarian for most of my life, from 11 years old until a few months ago. (Although I went through brief meat-eating phases here and there, mostly as a result of cravings.) Anyway, I started eating meat again because I developed inflammatory bowel disease after DD2 and DS were born and that on top of my nursing two at once means that my caloric requirements are outrageous. I found that I just could not eat enough plant-source foods in a day to meet my demand for calories. I started losing a ton of weight, down to 20 pounds below my pre-preg weight. So I added in some meat, and now my weight has steadied. Meat is a dense source of calories-- it packs a lot of punch for the bulk of it.

I've always consumed dairy, but I've had to cut that out because my son has a serious dairy protein allergy, with intestinal bleeding and stuff. Soy, too.

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#32 of 45 Old 09-25-2007, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama2Bug View Post
[B]In the last 6 months or so, my doctor has checked my vitamin levels (normal), my thyroid (fine), checked for diabetes or insulin problems (no), induced periods and finally made a tentative diagnosis of PCOS. I have been treating the PCOS with hormonal birth control (with some success) but not all symptoms are abating.
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#33 of 45 Old 09-25-2007, 10:53 PM
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If you are struggling with PCOS, then a vegetarian diet may be adding to your problems.

I found that when I was vegetarian I had a very hard time digesting the beans, soy, and grains that I was heavily basing my diet on. I have always loved healthy food and vegetables, and that didn't change when I switched back to eating meat. I also really like many ethnic foods--Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai---and many of those foods incorporate meat into their recipes.

I don't think it is true that I was "healthier" or that my diet was healthier when I was vegetarian--I actually think the opposite was true for me. I gained weight as a vegetarian and felt lethargic most of the time and often felt like something was missing from my diet. Some people find that they do fine on vegetarian diet, especially if they incorporate eggs and some other dairy into their weekly protein intake--but that didn't work for me.

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#34 of 45 Old 09-25-2007, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama2Bug View Post
If you used to be vegetarian, even for a short while (say, a few months or more), but then went back to eating meat:

Why did you make that decision?
Were there health factors involved?
Was it outside pressure?

Please tell me about your choice in as much detail as possible. I have very specific, personal reasons for asking, which I will delve into after I've gotten a few responses. I don't want to give details that may cloud answers ahead of time.


I aimed at reducing animal products (esp red meats) in my diet since age 13. I was a whole foods strict veg for 5 months at age 25. (I did these things for health reasons) I quit because I was not thriving and then had a miscarriage with a severe hemmorage. I was seriously craving beef so I started eating it and started eating traditional foods diet imediately after the m/c. I am so glad I did. I have realized I cannot be well without animal products (and I don't tolerate dairy or eggs well, so I have to eat the meat products, bone broths, ect).

I hope you feel better soon whatever you choose

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#35 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 03:56 PM
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M2B, just wondered how you are doing?

I struggle with some of these issues too. I want to do the veg thing, but I wonder if it's right for everyone. As I seem to be taking more and more supplements.

DD is allergic to all grains, dairy and nuts. So her diet is already limited. I can't/won't take meat away from her. So I see both sides of the diet dilemma.

Good luck, keep us posted.
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#36 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 04:19 PM
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I've only just skimmed this thread, but I wanted to say to the OP that I could have written your story myself. I was a lacto-ovo veggie for a decade before I concieved dd; for quite a while I stopped eating eggs but did eat fish instead. I was depressed, low energy, and became extremely overweight during this time. Generally I ate a very low fat diet and more starchy carbs than I probably should have, but nothing that would have explained the symptoms that I had.

When I got pregnant with dd, I was very sick and craved meat terribly. I ate chicken and some fish and some turkey during my pregnancy but couldn't tolerate red meat at all. Dd has a mess of food allergies and, through eliminating hers realized that I do as well. As a vegetarian, I was eating a great deal of the foods to which I was unknowingly allergic, and I think this was a big part of my problem.

Discovering the allergies encouraged me to start studying nutrition. I discovered traditional foods (no processed foods, humanely raised meats, soaking grains/legumes to release antinutrients, etc) and transitioned to a TF diet that is free of our allergens (wheat, dairy, and soy are the biggies). Eating healthy meats, eliminating major allergens, and converting to a traditional diet restored my health.

Even if you decide to remain a vegetarian, there are many things that you can do to improve your nutrition. You can experiment with eliminating major allergens and see if this helps you at all. You can learn about traditional foods, the importance of eliminating processed foods from your diet (modern vegetarian diets are LOADED with foods that have been processed in such a way that they are toxic), and how to prepare whole grains and beans to maximize their nutrient availability. I HIGHLY recommend reading the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, there is so much good information in there.
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#37 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 04:31 PM
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I have been veg on and off since I was a child.

I am not veg right now b/c I am pregnant. I know some people do well pg and veg, but I do not. No matter how much veg protein I try to get, I crave meat constantly and I get really low protein. So I usually cave.

Dd was allergic to milk, and I was vegan on and off for awhile. But my body does not do well with processed foods at all, and finding alternatives that I could actually eat was very hard. I was sick of eating processed junk because I can only eat so much dairy free pasta and honestly it got nerve wracking to obsess over it constantly. I guess I feel more comfortable with TF, but low meat and high whole grains at the same time. Kind of my own thing.

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#38 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 04:59 PM
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I have been vegetarian twice and during one of those stretches I was vegan for a bit (after I found out about rennet in cheese). I have to be honest - it was the worst I ever felt, and that is why I went back to eating meat. I was training for a marathon during the first time, and halfway through decided that there was no way that I could finish the training if I continued being a vegetarian. I became vegetarian because I just hate the way that animals are treated and slaughtered. It is still a difficult thing for me to eat meat, but I feel that for some reason my body needs it. I still do not eat red meat at all (fear of mad cow disease), but eat lots of chicken and turkey. Maybe I wasn't doing the "vegetarian" thing right and consuming the proper types of proteins, but in any case, it didn't work for me.
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#39 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 05:18 PM
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I was veggie for about a year in my early 20's but I started eating meat again because I just didn't feel good after a while. It didn't help that I didn't plan my meals well and I think if I undertook it now (at age 38) I would probably do MUCH better. Then again, I will always eat a little fish, even if I went veggie the rest of the way again.

Nobody pressured me and I wasn't sick, I just didn't feel well, I'm sure I wasn't getting enough protein and eating too much junk.
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#40 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 05:24 PM
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We were a vegan family (high percentage raw foods, no refined grains or sugars) until my son started exhibiting developmental delays. We discovered that it was due to a lack of DHA. We added fish into our diets first and the difference in everybody's health levels was astounding.

We have since added raw milk and some sustainable grass fed animal products.

Two books revolutionized my understanding of nutrition. The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Omega 3 Connection.
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#41 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 11:08 PM
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I was vegetarian for 12 years. I was soy-free for the last five or so of those years. I was gluten-free for the last two of those years. (I'm also allergic to hempseed, peanut, papaya, pork, nitrates/nitrites, and moldy cheeses.)

I lost too much weight. I had trouble getting enough calories. I was somewhat lactose intolerant (since resolved) and eggs worsened my eczema/rashes. I couldn't have lots of nuts, either. I needed to lose some, but I dropped a bit too much. Then my iron tested lower than low, practically non-existant.

So I introduced meat into my diet. Over three months, I gained 50 pounds and my iron levels dropped further (but my B12 became normal for the first time in YEARS). Needless to say, I was peeved. I went back to vegetarianism and saw a hematologist, who gave me IV iron.

The weight was *just* starting to trickle back off when I got pregnant a few months later. No energy + increased caloric need + difficulty getting calories = craving for chicken curry.

I figured my body needed meat and it does seem to help. I had trouble keeping weight on during my pregnancy and finished below my pre-pregnancy weight. My baby's perfectly fine, thank goodness.

I'm still eating meat. I think I'll continue eating it so long as I'm breastfeeding, because it's a quick and easy way to pack in calories, fat, and protein. I'm still not hitting more than 1200 most days, which is *way* too low. If my caloric intake remains that low, I slow waaaay down and start gaining weight. I did recently switch my lattes to whole milk from half and half. I didn't need THAT much extra fat.

Our home was completely vegetarian until my husband developed a nasty issue with hypoglycemia a few years ago. In our then soy and peanut-free household, he couldn't get enough pure protein sources to sustain himself. Eggs and wheat gluten weren't sufficient. He needs denser sources, so he eats meat. That's fine with me--he's much healthier now. It was a scary couple years until we figured that out.

There's my story. I may edit it out later. Lots of personal info there, of course. I occasionally get grossed out by meat, but I do buy, prepare, and eat it. I try to buy local and sustainable/organic, which makes me feel somewhat better on many levels.

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#42 of 45 Old 09-27-2007, 11:22 PM
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I was vegetarian for about ten years, and vegan for the last three of those. I ate that way mainly for health reasons, though I always liked to say that saving animals and the environment were great side benefits.

I never felt that great, though. But since I never felt particularly healthy or strong before becoming vegetarian I really didn't think not eating meat had anything to do with that -- I sort of thought I was just born with a weak constitution. I only got one or two periods in my life (at about 13 or 14) before going on BC pills at 21 (and then got nothing when I went off right before TTC, and had to do IVF to get pregnant with my son). I just felt weak a lot -- I got tired easily, had little stamina (I used to run but the MOST I could ever do was 1/2 hour of very slow running), needed a lot of sleep.

Then my son was born, and he had a lot of digestive issues in the first year or so, along with some skin problems (bumps, scaley patches). I started investigating diet (he EBF for his first nine months, so I was looking into what I was eating). Suddenly all those soy yogurts I had when I was pregnant seemed like a bad idea -- he reacted to soy in my diet. I found out earlier this year that he's gluten intolerant. I started learning about good fats vs. bad fats, that grains may not be so great after all (I ate TONS of breads/granola/pizza).

Mostly, though, it was when I learned about Weston Price and his work that it all started to make sense to me -- meat and dairy are not evil in and of themselves...but factory-farming is. I realized that the reason I felt crappy before becoming vegetarian was not because I was eating meat/dairy -- it was because I was eating the SAD. It helped me personally to think about how native peoples ate and how healthy they were, as shown by Dr. Price.

I started taking cod liver oil high in natural vitamins A & D, and about six months later I got my first period on my own, even though I was still BF'ing my son. I got another one about fifteen weeks after that, and then another one eight weeks after that. I then found a study that showed that women with PCOS who didn't get a period who were found to be deficient in vitamin D and who took supplements starting having regular cycles, and some of them got pregnant. I think vitamin D deficiency is a problem for a LOT of people -- it's just starting to get some press.

I also started looking into yeast overgrowth as a possible reason for my son's skin issues. I started a anti-candida diet that emphasized good fats (eggs, coconut oil), grass-fed/organic meat, and no grains. I felt soooooo good on this diet, and my skin (which has always been prone to breaking out) looked amazing.

I've fallen off the wagon as far as that diet is concerned, but I'd like to get back to it. My thinking as far as food goes has done a complete 180 since I was pregnant and planning on raising my son as a vegan.

Hope that helps.

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#43 of 45 Old 09-28-2007, 09:25 PM
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I was veg for about four years. I started eating flesh again very shortly after my mother died from cancer in January 2003. She was vegetarian for about 30 years. I think I may have become vegetarian in an attempt to feel closer to her and once she died I didn't see the point. Or it could be that she spent the last month of her life in my house and we couldn't cook anything as the smells made her nauseous. I lived on fake meat sandwiches for the month and probably never wanted to eat another meat analog ever again

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#44 of 45 Old 09-28-2007, 09:44 PM
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My husband (3 yrs) and I (2 years) both were vegetarians. We both stopped being vegetarians for the same reason. We both became vegetarians because it felt good to eat that way and we were getting many health benefits. However, after years of eating that way the health benefits started to wane. we both started having the same problems. Tiredness, increased pain (he's had two back surgeries), aches, and just plain feeling like we really weren't doing well physically. We decided to start eating meat again (at different times) and felt really good again.

It was never outside pressure as everyone supported us and most of our friend circle is vegan or vegetarian. If anything, it's more pressure now that we're eating meat again to stop eating it. At this time eating meat works for us. When it doesn't anymore we'll go back to not eating it.
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#45 of 45 Old 09-29-2007, 09:14 AM
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I too was veggie for four years prior to getting pregnant with my first son. I craved meat then too. After he was born I backed off and only occasionally ate fish or chicken. Got pregnant with second son and did not crave (maybe because I was eating some). I started seeing a naturopath and the first thing he said to me was "You're vegetarian" after talking with me about my symptoms. No energy, crazy periods, what I thought was depression, dry hair, skin etc. So slowly he had me add in some red meat. My body needed the nutrients he said. So, then I would eat it and get stomach cramps and have terrible bathroom issues. I have since found a balance and will eat more chicken and very rarely a few bites of red meat. Just can't stomach it. It is still an ethical issue with me. We live in GA and the chicken farms are popular down here so all it takes is me seeing a truck of packed in, sick looking birds going to the Gold Kist packaging plant and I am ill. I have sought out pastured, free range, organic chickens that have lived a good life if I am going to eat it. I could very easily be veg again but am leary because I do feel better and am much healthier now. :
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