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Vegetarian Converting To Meat Eater

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I posted about this probably a year ago because I was seriously debating it. I mean without gluten and meat, it doesn't leave much especially if I am at a BBQ or an outing where I can't really trust many homemade foods. But, I decided I couldn't really do it, except for a couple of episodes of falling off the veggie wagon, otherwise, I am still pretty much a veg who eats fish once a week at the most.

But I am starting to come to the realization that if I ate meat that would cut down my carb intake (which I know I eat way too much of), and would fill me up with protein rather than refined carbs. I don't know I am so wishy-washy.

I am terrified to start eating meat too, about putting all of that in my body, it kind of grosses me out.

Though yesterday, I was craving meat and happened to be at Whole Foods, and figured if I am going to buy it this is where I should do it, and buy 'happy' pigs rather than from a mass grocery store, so I did, and I think I am going to make pork tacos tomorrow night, but I am so over thinking it and stressing about it at the same time.

At the same time, my 5-year old daughter is mostly a veggie eater unless she gets meat from a friend. We don't forbid it, I just don't cook it, so she is very excited and always wants to eat meat if we are at friends. So I feel like I should be feeding her good quality meat at home rather than going out in the world craving meat so bad she eats the bad stuff (like McD's, etc....)

Has anyone else been through this? Help!

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I was vegetarian for several years, but I never had the issues with meat you have, I don't think. I just don't like factory farming -- I don't have any objection to eating meat! :) But take it slow. Chicken or pork are easy to start with, or burgers, since most of us grew up with those. Take your time, and you'll get there. It does open up a lot of food ideas and recipes for you. And there are many substitutes if you wimp out...though I'm not a fan of soy. :(

Good luck!

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I was halfway through making the opposite switch from meat eater to vegetarian when I had to seek treatment for the increase in my symptoms. I was trying to use grain type products as sources of protein and that didn't work out so well. Once I got word from the doctor what was going on I went back to eating even more meat than before (was somewhat veggie-centric).

If you're worried about the health aspects of the meat then aside from avoiding ground beef like the plague (one of the most toxic and poorly managed products on the market) you shouldn't really worry. We as humans are specifically built to take in energy and building blocks from animals along with vegetables even though meat eating gets overtly vilified in some corners of the nutrition world. Also don't be afraid of fat. Fat is probably the best case of having the worst publicity team in foods. If you're toning down your carb intake (which almost everyone save people who run marathons daily should do) the calorie deficit will have to come from somewhere and proteins can't be broken down into energy in the healthiest of ways. So if it's not coming from carbs and it's not coming from proteins then there's only one other option left and that's fat. Your body is actually really well designed to use either carbs or fats for its energy needs. Your body needs fats to properly build itself, this includes not only the "vegetable" fats like mono and poly unsaturated but also the "animal" saturated fats.

Your idea with tacos is great though. Dishes that utilize pieces of meat that lend to the overall dish as opposed to the meat being the center of attention would be a great way to introduce the sensations to your tongue. Also, give it some time. As your body starts to associate the semi-new addition to it's diet and starts to notice the change in functioning that it accords it will actually adapt the very way you react to the sensation of consuming it. This is why many foreign dishes seem really weird. Without a steady exposure to how the food can nourish our bodies the brain has no training to tell the tongue "this is food" as opposed to "this is rotting beans" (<a personal favorite of mine).

I used to get asked by people in my cooking classes how I could stand to swap to a non-processed diet. Didn't I miss the flavors? Didn't this "rabbit food" taste empty to me. They wanted to know how they could endure the swap to a healthier sort of diet and the only real advice I could offer them was to make the swap anyways. Don't let your tongue or eyes decide. Let your body come to terms with the new food and eventually if it's a good swap you'll actually start liking it. It's this same adaptation that causes me to now almost get the dry heaves upon smelling the same fast food that I was raised on.

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I'd start by writing things down--a list of reasons why you became vegetarian--and see which of those reasons still apply. And make a list of reasons you don't want to be vegetarian. Writing everything down will clear out your thought process--it'll also help point out what's actually important to you and what isn't really worth considering.

Do make it list wise, though, rather than a journal-type entry, else your writing will be just as muddled as your thoughts!

Afraid I can't sympathize, though...I'm happily veggie for 13+ years. The thought of meat is revolting to me...I can't imagine trying to force myself to eat any. I guess, if you decide to do it, you should start with anything that smells remotely appetizing to you. (For instance, heavily seasoned meats like sausage don't smell nearly as bad to me as other types.)

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My kiddo's are happy gluten-free vegetarians. They might get meat 2x a month. I make sure there are plenty of complete proteins in their diets so they're not hungry all the time. They do fine with dairy, so they do eat a bit of cheese. I buy as locally and organically as I can. We also do very little soy, although both like tofu ;)

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Just a heads-up, when you start you might find it helpful to be sure that you eat some yogurt (or other probiotics) and maybe take an OTC digestive enzyme if it's been a long time since you ate meat regularly. it can be a shock to the system. And start small/dilute. Been there, done that.

Definitely source responsibly produced animal products of all types. And, honestly, avoid beef and commercial chicken. Sustainable can mis-applied. The only national brands I'll eat are niman ranch and organic valley's line (hard to find).

I do eat some, partly for the iron and protein, and partly because I live in an area that does not support year round vegetable production but does support year round animal production. Animals can be grown in a way that is less destructive to the environment than the soy in your tofu. Morality issues... well... you're still ending lives. You need to be aware of and okay with that.

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starting with chicken is a great idea, my own preference is to stay away from pork, although bacon is very tempting!

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I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and recently was diagnosed with Celiac. Unfortunately, I now also can't process dairy... so I am vegan and gluten-free, which is manageable at home but makes me phobic about restaurants or going to friends' homes. I decided to try to return to meat to make things easier, but could not get myself to eat it. I can take the fish oil, but can't eat the flesh of fish or any other animals.

Anybody else have to overcome this sort of moral hang-up?

(This is my first post - I have been reading for a while, and this forum makes me feel much less alone.)

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I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and recently was diagnosed with Celiac. Unfortunately, I now also can't process dairy... so I am vegan and gluten-free, which is manageable at home but makes me phobic about restaurants or going to friends' homes. I decided to try to return to meat to make things easier, but could not get myself to eat it. I can take the fish oil, but can't eat the flesh of fish or any other animals.

Anybody else have to overcome this sort of moral hang-up?

(This is my first post - I have been reading for a while, and this forum makes me feel much less alone.)

I felt the same for a long time, that is why I posted this.

I know I would never ground beef...no way! Unless it was farm-raised and the butcher ground it on the spot.

The only meat I have eaten this year has been farm-raised, local, organic meat and i think that is the only way I could do it. I don't think I could stomach the idea of eating mass-farmed meat from the big grocery store.

See, I am queasy about the fish oil pills, and have been wondering if flax seed oil would help the same way?

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I don't know that I've quite been through this, but...something connected, possibly? I can share, anyway! :-)

I was slowly heading towards vegetarianism - I was eating chicken, but little to no other meat, after slowly phasing out the others. My husband was doing the same. That all changed once I went gluten free. Now, if I don't eat meat, I'll be very ill and my weight drops like mad. My body hyper-reacted to almost everything within days of going gluten free. I have 8 foods I can eat right now, for about the last 8 months, and two of them are meats. No nuts, no seeds, no dairy, no eggs, no true grains, and no legumes - they all make my throat start to swell shut. All vitamin supplements do the same, because they contain ingredients that I react to, as well.

Meat is my only source of vitamin B12, omega fatty acids, and iron, and it's a major source of my fats, protein, and calories. I'm still trying to find foods that give me a few more vitamins I'm very low on, as well. It's been a really intense change, but it's not just health reasons I'm doing this, it's survival. Essentially, survival has been very motivating to check out all the resources I have available.

I'm very glad human begins are omnivores. ;-)

Ethically, I'm trying to find the best way to do this. I'm hate animal cruelty, and dislike the way most farms work these days, so I try to find sources for my meat that are local and known, or have better practices, if I can, but it's definitely difficult. I get grass fed, free range, no antibiotics or hormones, etc... Usually from Whole Foods type of places. I have a friend who's in the same position and her husband hunts their own meats, so they always know it was not treated poorly before death. He's going to teach me, but I don't know yet if I'll be able to become a good enough hunter to live off of my own kills.

Now, admittedly, my vegetarianism was mostly due to a dislike of how we treat animals, not an objection to the death of animals. (I'm comfortable with our being omnivores, in other words. Just like when we have mountain lions in the area that have killed someone, I'm not hysterical that we should go and 'take care of them.' If we prey on animals, we don't get to jerk when they prey on us, IMO.) I don't know if that's the case with you, so that may put a different spin on the idea of eating meat. My own ethics can support my eating meat, as long as I try to eat from ethically treated animals.

If your ethics are part of the difficulty, however...do you eat amaranth or quinoa? They are grains (you probably know that, being vegetarian, I imagine?), but they are both complete proteins. So if you are looking for more protein, but you like the carb foods, maybe you could continue your vegetarian lifestyle and substitute in these two grains for some of the others? They're a good source of iron, too! :-) I've seen quinoa polenta and cookies on the web recently, so I know they're out there.

The one thing I was confused about was your comment on 'putting all that into your body.' I wasn't quite sure what you meant. Meat? Or something you associate with meat? Mostly just because our bodies are made to be able to digest meat as well as vegetables, so I wasn't sure what the issue was. From what I read, digesting copious amounts of grain is actually more strange for us, biologically speaking, if you look at nomadic populations. And if we get organic meats that eat their normal diet, then there aren't hormones, antibiotics, etc... in them to get into your system, if that's possibly what you were thinking of?

In any case...I wish you good luck! Hopefully a solution that makes you feel healthy and happy in body and mind will come to you. :-)

I posted about this probably a year ago because I was seriously debating it. I mean without gluten and meat, it doesn't leave much especially if I am at a BBQ or an outing where I can't really trust many homemade foods. But, I decided I couldn't really do it, except for a couple of episodes of falling off the veggie wagon, otherwise, I am still pretty much a veg who eats fish once a week at the most.

But I am starting to come to the realization that if I ate meat that would cut down my carb intake (which I know I eat way too much of), and would fill me up with protein rather than refined carbs. I don't know I am so wishy-washy.

I am terrified to start eating meat too, about putting all of that in my body, it kind of grosses me out.

Though yesterday, I was craving meat and happened to be at Whole Foods, and figured if I am going to buy it this is where I should do it, and buy 'happy' pigs rather than from a mass grocery store, so I did, and I think I am going to make pork tacos tomorrow night, but I am so over thinking it and stressing about it at the same time.

At the same time, my 5-year old daughter is mostly a veggie eater unless she gets meat from a friend. We don't forbid it, I just don't cook it, so she is very excited and always wants to eat meat if we are at friends. So I feel like I should be feeding her good quality meat at home rather than going out in the world craving meat so bad she eats the bad stuff (like McD's, etc....)

Has anyone else been through this? Help!

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I am a life-long vegetarian who started eating meat for a short period of time last year as I needed to do a strict elimination diet. I can't eat most legumes already, was told to cut out soy and nuts and any vegetarian protein really, it left me with nothing to live on. The only reason I did it was because I thought that without trying to cut out everything else I could never know for sure what I was intolerant of.

It took me quite a while to work up to it, and i actually put my experience in helping out people with anxiety to use. I developed a stepladder of food, from easiest to eat to hardest, and started really small. I also got my family to prepare the meat to start with. It didn't last that long, the elimination diet didn't work and the meat sat like a brick in my stomach, and I was sick of dreading eating even more than I do now. But it was interesting from a psychological perspective. Before eating I spent time thinking positive thoughts about the food (e.g. replacing 'yuck' with 'this looks good') - it helped. I also only ate certified organic meat, both for ethical reasons and to avoid as many chemicals as possible.

At the end of the day, do what is right for you. The gluten free diet is hard enough, I wouldn't make it harder on myself if I didn't need to. The ethical issues are important, but there are ways to minimise those. I am vegetarian again and hope to remain so, but if I need to eat meat down the track I will. Have a look at the amount of protein in your diet, it may be that you are craving meat if you don't have enough protein from vegetarian sources? Good luck whatever you decide.

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I think its all up to you. Do what you think you should do, you are the only one who knows! Personally I would rather go through the stress of planning out and bringing my own stuff(which you pretty much have to do as a celiac anyway) than go back to meat.

Im vegetarian if you couldnt guess:)

But go with your gut. Whatever feels best for you is best! And if you would be okay with eating meat you should but if you would feel guilty, dont do it!

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Thanks for everyone's input, it is really helpful to read everyone's personal situation.

T.H. Unfortunately, while i LOVE quinoa, my stomach can't handle it anymore, so I can't eat it, and because of that I have kind of stayed away from amaranth, because the stomach ache is so horrible with quinoa, I am terrified the same thing will happen.

I should clarify when I said i don't want to put "all that" in my body...I meant......basically any illnesses the animal has, antibiotics, etc...

And yes, when I go to events, BBQs, I usually take my own food, or eat beforehand, and since I only want to eat "happy" meat if I eat meat, I doubt that is what I would find at a BBQ anyway.

Sometimes I wish I could be like most people out there and not think so much about it and just eat it.

I do have low b12, or I did. I took injections last year and now take it orally a few times a week to keep my levels up, so I am sure meat wouldn't hurt after being a veggie for so long.

Thanks!

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See, I am queasy about the fish oil pills, and have been wondering if flax seed oil would help the same way?

It is so great to read this thread. I have been gluten-free since September, and I hugely increased the probiotics about two months ago. My body is starting to absorb more from the food, so I at least no longer feel like cooking and eating is totally consuming my life. Still very time consuming, but I can get by on 5 meals or so, now. But in that first half a year, in particular, as I had such difficulty getting my weight up and getting all of my vitamins, I felt like the decision I made before no longer held, because I had all along thought: how can I harm an animal if I don't need it? Now, suddenly, it seems I need some animal products.

So after many tears, I was able to take fish oil. I started with the pills and now take it straight. Nordic has a purified type where you only need a very tiny amount (under one teaspoon). It is expensive, but the bottle lasts a couple of months, I think. Flax seed oil is very helpful, but you have to make sure to get the flax properly, as far as I understand it. If you buy the oil, I've been told, you will miss out on most of the benefits. You have to get it ground. Bob's Red Mill and Trader Joes both have some products available that you can sprinkle on your cereal or smoothie. (Also, be sure to refrigerate it.) I am taking both, plus D, and still have big swelling flareups that I haven't figured out. I am switching doctors and hope to get some more answers from the new one.

After trying to eat the actual flesh a couple of times, I gave up. It is totally hypocritical to take the fish oil and not be able to eat fish, but the reaction is so deep inside of me (feels like my soul is cringing) when I try to eat it, I have just postponed it in the hope that I can make the vegan gluten-free diet work. Since there is clearly still something in my daily life that is irritating my system, I am afraid I may lose a staple of my diet (tomatoes, rice, onions, etc) and then be dealing with this dilemma with increased need.

Good luck to all of us!

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See, I am queasy about the fish oil pills, and have been wondering if flax seed oil would help the same way?

No, while both contain "omega-3's" that's only slightly more specific than saying that both contain fats. The type of omega-3 found in flaxseed oil can be turned into the types of fats found in fish oil. The type of fats found in fish oil are the subject of countless studies currently that show them to be very important to overall human health. The problem is, the human body is not able to convert a whole bunch of the alpha-linolenic acid in the flaxseed oil into the DHA and EPA omega-3's that are the current health craze. Additionally high levels of the alpha-linolenic acid may not be all that healthy for you in the end.

The lignans present in ground flax have completely different health benefits from the oils of flax and are a good reason to continue to consume flax, just not the isolated oil. If you are mainly interested in the omega-3 aspect of oil supplements then the fish oils are currently your best option. As an aside don't ever supplement omega-6's anyone in a westernized civilization gets far too much of those as it stands, it's all about balance between your 3's and 6's consumption.

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