Can we talk about "traditional foods" diets and vegetarianism? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 04-28-2012, 05:56 PM
 
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I can relate to what you are saying, Kismet. I was vegan, went back to eating meat for so many reasons, got unhealthy after eating crap food and then trying TF, and realized I have never felt better as I did when I was a vegan. However I think too many people don't realize that there are so many ways to be a veg*n. Most people think, for example, it automatically has a low fat requirement. I am not afraid of healthy fats but I have known so many veg*ns who got sick and blamed it on the lack of meat when they didn't try adding more fats, reducing grains, etc etc etc. My only point is that sometimes we crave animal products or feel ill or whatever else not because we aren't eating animal products but because we are missing something else that we relate to those things like fat or protein but that are available through plant sources as well. I'm not saying that there is never a use for animal products I am just saying playing around with your (general "your") veg*nism can be really helpful when it comes to health. 

 

I won't do TF again. Not only did it make me become a different person health-wise (I felt vey weighed down and just gross, for lack of a better term) but I have a friend who got really sick eating that way. Yet so many people have hard great benefits from it. We're all so different! I know it's "sold" as a "nourishing" diet and we all crave that but one has to be really careful because what is nourishing to Person A isn't always to Person B. 

 

That all being said a few years back (holy crap! 4 years ago!) I started this thread and I still read through it for inspiration. Like another poster in this thread said I use a lot of "traditional" methods. Heck, I even own Nourishing Traditions and use it. 


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#32 of 41 Old 04-28-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by holyhelianthus View Post

I can relate to what you are saying, Kismet. I was vegan, went back to eating meat for so many reasons, got unhealthy after eating crap food and then trying TF, and realized I have never felt better as I did when I was a vegan. However I think too many people don't realize that there are so many ways to be a veg*n. Most people think, for example, it automatically has a low fat requirement. I am not afraid of healthy fats but I have known so many veg*ns who got sick and blamed it on the lack of meat when they didn't try adding more fats, reducing grains, etc etc etc. My only point is that sometimes we crave animal products or feel ill or whatever else not because we aren't eating animal products but because we are missing something else that we relate to those things like fat or protein but that are available through plant sources as well. I'm not saying that there is never a use for animal products I am just saying playing around with your (general "your") veg*nism can be really helpful when it comes to health. 

 

I won't do TF again. Not only did it make me become a different person health-wise (I felt vey weighed down and just gross, for lack of a better term) but I have a friend who got really sick eating that way. Yet so many people have hard great benefits from it. We're all so different! I know it's "sold" as a "nourishing" diet and we all crave that but one has to be really careful because what is nourishing to Person A isn't always to Person B. 

 

That all being said a few years back (holy crap! 4 years ago!) I started this thread and I still read through it for inspiration. Like another poster in this thread said I use a lot of "traditional" methods. Heck, I even own Nourishing Traditions and use it. 



Very interesting! Your post definitely highlights the "one size fits all" approach doesn't work. I think its interesting and I might even dare to say that I think health-conscious vegetarians (as opposed to vegetarians who eat a SAD diet but omit meat) and WAPF actually have quite a bit in common. I think its all centered on trying to find balance and vitality through nutrition. And I think, as in any "style" of eating, going too strong in one direction can lead to ill health. You mentioned vegans who are low fat too and I also think heavy meat eaters (some WAPF folks) and sort of the Atkins-style of "all bacon, all the time!" who just go crazy on one food group. Although I pretty much avoid grains and sugar all together, I try to eat a diet that is varied and balanced and I think healthy vegetarians do the same.

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#33 of 41 Old 04-30-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Vegan Princess View Post

 I just wish I could come to a decision either way already and just do it or accept that I'm not going to and stop thinking about it so much!

 

 

I can totally relate to this feeling! About a month ago, I was really obsessing over my food choices---craving meat but not really wanting to change my veg lifestyle. It was exhausting to be so confused and conflicted! Whenever I cooked a meal with meat (my DH isn't a vegetarian) I would end deliberating obsessively about whether to "sample" a bit. And I threw myself into research on the health issues of veg/TF, but like a PP said, it's really hard to find neutral, objective sources. Both sides make convincing arguments for eating their way. 

 

 I wish I could say that I managed to relax about the whole issue, but my meat cravings finally disappeared, so the dilemma was less important.  I was having a lot of health issue around the same time I was craving meat (strep throat followed by rheumatic fever, and some heavy doses of antibiotics) so I wonder if that had something to do with my cravings and general feelings of weakness. It's  still something I struggle with though--finding peace when my ethics and beliefs tell me one thing and my body tells me another. 


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#34 of 41 Old 05-01-2012, 07:44 AM
 
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I think this is why it is soooo important to observe and respect your body. There are also two issues here; ethics and nutritional needs. Unfortunately many sources out there meld the two into one. They should really be considered separately in my opinion.

 

I think that if you are ethically opposed to meat but your health is failing or you are craving meat then the first step is to honestly evaluate what the health issues are. Write each one down (physiological cravings are a sign of missing something nutritionally). Then I suggest you begin a careful food journal and include all that you eat and drink, supplements, meds, exercise, sleep, and how you feel. You can observe the following 7 characteristics: hunger, cravings, energy, mood, mental clarity, sleep quality, and GI function. Ideally you can go 4-6 hours without getting hungry (this depends on the person and your mental and physical activity), you will have no physiological cravings, your mood will be even-keeled, your mind will be clear and sharp, you have plenty of calm energy all day long, you sleep well at night, and you have no issues with GI function. In addition you can observe any of your specific health issues. 

 

Once you observe what you are eating, consuming, etc and how you feel for a month or two you may begin to notice patterns. This will help you see what may be missing. For example, if you eat oatmeal and yogurt with fruit for breakfast but you always get hungry and irritable 2 hours later, then you'll know something is missing. Then the key is to experiment and try to add things. There are only 3 macronutrients so this narrows it down. Either you need more protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Most people eating a vegetarian diet do not lack carbs. So try adding more fat or protein and see what happens. Of course this can be done without using meat: add a whole avocado, or a an egg or a bowl of lentils for example. 

 

And I have observed over and over that needs can change. For example, when people are stressed they tend to need more protein. And many women experience some shifts before and during menstruation. 

 

The fact is that we all have different needs and some people do great on a vegetarian diet and others suffer because no matter how many legumes, eggs, etc they eat, they are still not getting enough protein and/or fat. These people will then have to choose; which is more important, their health or the lives of animals. 


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#35 of 41 Old 05-01-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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OP, thanks for starting this super-interesting thread & I'm glad to hear you're listening to your body & starting to feel better already!

 

I wasn't trying to imply that anyone should ignore the moral/ethical questions implicated by our food choices, but I think that it can be useful to truly focus on your own body by momentarily tuning out of the moral/ethical debate. Once you figure out what your body needs, then trying to conform those needs to your morals or deciding to shift your morals is the next step. It's an individual process & no two bodies have the same nutritional needs. We're complicated beings & it can be really difficult to balance our needs with the needs of the planet & other beings.

 

One thing that I really REALLY struggled with (& do struggle with currently) is the insinuation from some vegetarians that I wasn't "doing it right" & that had I only "done it right" I could still be a vegetarian. First, there is no one right way & while I sure wish veg*nism was the one right way, it just isn't. I'm not sure why veg*ns tend to use this language -- It's not helpful nor is it supportive (I'm guessing it comes from a defensive reflex -- I know that I defended my vegetarian diet for each of the close to 20 years I was exclusively vegetarian). Second, with these voices in the back of my head, I think that I struggled in silence, NOT listening to my body for so long because I had it in my head that I should be able to fix my health while remaining a vegetarian. I know that this is the veg*n board, but being so recently vegetarian & hearing some of the same language being used in this discussion is troubling to me & I don't know that it's supportive of OP position.

 

By the same token, I do not think that TF is the one right way. I'm experimenting & trying to listen to my body so that it can heal itself. I agree that TF has a lot to offer vegetarians & non-vegetarians. In fact, I really hope that at the end of the day (maybe in a few months or a year) I can go back to being vegetarian. This discussion has really inspired me to go back to that as soon as I can!


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#36 of 41 Old 06-07-2012, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to come back and update. .. I feel that all this soul-(diet)-searching has lead me right back to vegetarianism (almost veganism). :)  And I feel pretty happy about that. 

 

I also feel like my energy and vitality are back, or as much as they can be under my circumstances (SAHM to an infant and toddler). I did eat fish a couple times, but found it almost unbearable. I stared at the grass-fed, organic, humanely-raised meat at the store, but just could not do it. It just looked like pieces of dead animal to me (which it is, duh) and I just couldn't imagine actually cooking and eating it. It just goes against my deeply held beliefs about animals and ethics. I tried to eat raw dairy and found that it tasted very strongly to me and just didn't really agree with me. The one thing I have continued is eating pasture eggs. . .I find these to be an important part of my diet and I buy them very carefully (from the local farmer's market), ideally, I'd like to raise my own chickens for eggs.

 

The other thing I have done is to apply the NT ideas to my grain and legume eating. I have been sprouting and soaking as much as I can and it does seem easier to digest and I hope I am getting some extra nutrients by doing so. 

 

I think that cutting out sugar has actually made the biggest difference to me! I find that my moods and energy are MUCH more stable. I have also cut out almost all processed/prepared food, so I find that I am "forced" to eat higher nutrient food since the junk isn't in the house. I am avoiding all oils except olive and coconut.  I am loving raw almond butter and cooking with coconut oil.  

 

I'm still working on things. . .having some intestinal distress and no sure what it's related to (gluten possibly), but in general I find that the last few months have been really great. . .questioning everything and then following my own gut (so to speak). It's been very validating. Thanks all for sharing on this thread!


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#37 of 41 Old 06-07-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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One treat that really helps when I'm craving something sweet is a banana split lengthwise and spread with nut butter.
 

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#38 of 41 Old 06-10-2012, 06:57 PM
 
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Having been a vegetarian for 14 years, I believe very strongly that eating meat is generally unnecessary.  Keyword being 'generally'.  I am a vegetarian for ethical/environmental reasons, but I have always said that if I needed to eat meat for health purposes, I would do it.  It sounds like you are listening to your body, and your body is telling you that you need something more than a plant-based diet.  And meat is can be part of a very healthy diet.  While I am not completely a believer in a traditional food diet, I think you could reasonably incorporate some meat into your diet for a while and be OK.  You can always switch back to a healthy veggie diet. But first, try to rule out any other health issues that would cause you to feel this way, then forge whichever way you feel is best.  You have kids to take care of and need to do right by them.  They deserve a healthy Mommy.


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#39 of 41 Old 06-10-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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Kismet: I'm really glad you've found something that works for your body and meshes with your beliefs! I'm glad you are starting to feel better.

 

AFM: I did end up eating meat. I had my iron levels checked by my midwife and they were good - so that is not why I was craving it. Perhaps my pregnant body wanted more protein? I'm not sure. I've continued to eat it 1-2x per week since then and I really don't crave it anymore. I still don't want to cook it and I really don't want to eat that much of it. So I guess this is what is working for my body right now. I do think I want to go back to being veggie after I give birth. And my 3 yr old still does not want to try any meat, despite seeing me eat it. She asked why I am eating it and I explained that sometimes when mommys have babies in their tummies, their bodies ask for different foods than they would normally eat. She seems ok with my explanation and I'm happy to see her sticking to what she believes in right now. My husband says I brainwashed her well. LOL. 

 

Cindy


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#40 of 41 Old 06-27-2012, 06:30 AM
 
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As a food explorer and walker on the path to good health, I have experienced nutritional protocols are varied as raw veganism and macrobiotics. I feel that the nourishing traditions lifestyle does have a whole lot to offer vegans. Unless vegans really work at balancing their diets and finding good sources of b12, protien and saturated fats, they can become very unhealthy. The traditional practices really address a lot of these issues except for the b12 one, which folks are still debating and searching for the answer. Using sea vegetables and algae are also good for vegans. Food is a religion after all to some, and inclusion is key to understanding and acceptance of all viewpoints.

 

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#41 of 41 Old 06-29-2012, 09:44 PM
 
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I'm glad you're finding a way of eating that's working for you!  My biggest takeaway after doing lots of research into WAPF/paleo/primal/TF was that there are as many different ideal diets as there are people, but that there are some constants as well - processed foods, seed oils, modern wheat, sugar, unethically raised meat and improperly prepared grains are good for no one.  Beyond that - meat or no meat, low carb or high starch, dairy or no dairy, nuts or no nuts - all of that is up for you to find out for yourself.

 

I can't see any reason why anyone couldn't incorporate WAPF principles into a vegetarian diet.  You could still eat fermented food, you could eliminate wheat and soak/sprout ancient grains, have raw dairy, cut out processed food, eat seasonally, take fermented cod liver oil, get plenty of sun, eat pastured eggs, eat lots of good fat.  

 

I wasn't a total vegetarian, but grains and legumes absolutely ruined my health.  I had leaky gut syndrome that lead to a bizarre and painful autoimmune illness that no one could identify.  Now I know that gluten and lectins were shredding me apart and I'm in the best health I've ever been in.  I've discovered so many things now that I pay close attention to how food affects me - fruit makes me bloated, nuts make me hungry, pasteurized dairy gives me gas and makes me break out, low-carb doesn't work for me (likely due to nursing), caffeine in any amount at any time affects my sleep...the list goes on.  Listening to your body is what's important.




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