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Vegetarian...the meat eater?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At the time of this post I didn't know that I was about 2 weeks pregnant..which could have been causing the cravings :)

So I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 years. I originally became a vegetarian for a number of reasons, animal welfare, the harm that farming has on the environment, the question of are we designed to be meat eaters and on and on. The primary reason was a strong link to the antibiotics used in meat being like a super food for cancer & the overall effect of meat on the body as it relates to cancer.

I was diagnosed with pre-cancerous and a few cancerous cells in my cervix over 2 years ago, on the day that Michael Jackson died (it was a weird memory). My doctor was a bit more homeopathic than most and said that if I cleaned up my life, my diet and got healthy, my body would be strong enough to fight without the need for chemo or anything else more serious.

I began my research and originally I was completely vegan for a few months. Going from eating whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted to a completely restricted eating plan was really difficult and I began to slowly include some animal products back into my diet. This didn't mean that I was making eggs for breakfast, but more that I wasn't scanning every single ingredient on what I was buying for a trace hint of lactose.

Last year when I moved away from Arizona, and back to California I had my last check-up with my doctor. It was towards the end of July when I was living back in CA that I got the call that I had been waiting a year for. This was also the same day that I got the job offer for my current job, that today is my one year anniversary for...I know...small world.

I was cancer free. A check-up a month ago, re-confirmed this. I AM cancer free.

Over the past year I began to eat some fish but in limited amounts, maybe once a week since that was something that I really missed. Recently I have been craving meat, I think that it might have something to do with the fact that Trevor makes delicious looking meat, but I can only speculate. I also wonder if I am craving it subconsciously because my body needs it. Ever since I became vegetarian I have always had to watch my protein and iron and I have been less and less vigilant to make sure that I am getting exactly what I need every single day.

So last night Trevor asked what I wanted for dinner. He makes amazing eggplant parm and on a whim I asked him if he would make a small version of some chicken parm to go along with it too. He is so wonderful that he went to Whole Foods and told the deli that he had the pickiest person about to eat meat again, and that he needed the best quality chicken they had.

He got a pamphlet on their meat-rating scale and we reviewed it before dinner. I felt that these chickens had lived a good life with plenty of room, no antibiotics, no hormones, completely vegetarian diet and had not suffered before they died, so morally I felt OK about the meat that I was about to eat.

My body & taste buds however felt differently. It was really weird. I had forgotten what it tasted like. I had begun to think that chicken really did taste like the vegetarian chicken substitutes that I had come to love. It was really "chicken-y". I was thrown off and in the middle of the night woke up with horrible stomach cramps. I have still been somewhat nauseous throughout the morning and I thought that it was interesting that my body was rebelling so much. You never hear of someone getting sick because they tried vegetables (well I guess if you are allergic or something) or incorporated more veggies into their diet.

I don't know if I am going to incorporate meat back into my diet or not. If I do it will be of the highest quality, completely organic with no hormones, antibiotics, humanely raised & killed, etc. I still have mixed feelings. Trevor was really proud that I tried it, I am too. I thought that I would enjoy the taste of meat again and I really didn't. I still don't enjoy the taste of eggs since they creep me out. I think that meat is just protein-filled vehicle that carries sauce into my mouth (sauces are really what I love) so maybe I just need to be more mindful to get enough protein through vegetarian means and I won't re-join the meat eating world.

I'm not making a final choice, just doing some reflection.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi there,
    I read your blog, and wow.
    I wanted to congratulate you on being cancer free, what a great feeling!
    Also, I totally get where you are coming from with the vegetarian-meat thing.
    I was a vegeterian for 9 years until I was like 18-19. I began eating meat again because I was anemic, and the doctor told me to add more iron friendly meat to my diet. Well, this was years of being a vegeterian for just a healthy diet as a teen,and I didn't know as much then as I do now on vitamins and how important it is to balance certain foods out. So I began eating meat again slowly, and have for the last three years. Until about two weeks ago. I completely stopped again, just for the health benefits. I have more health issues now when it comes to blood pressure, digestive system, and joint/gout issues. So I made the decision to revert back to my old self for the sake of a healthy, leaner body.
    I couldn't be happier. But don't get me wrong, I love meat, it is delicious, and when my fiance cooks his amazing juicy tri-tip, my mouth waters. But I just can't do that to my body, I'll live a longer, healthier life without it. So, yay for veggies! :)
    3293 days ago
    Congratulations on being cancer free!
    3293 days ago
    Super congrats on being cancer free!
    Funny side note on the vegetarianism... I was a Vegetarian for 18 years. Then bit the bullet and became a Vegan. Turns out, I'm allergic to soy! So I promptly gave up the lifestyle and started eating meat. The first thing I had was steak.... and it tasted like freakin' HEAVEN! LOL!
    But that is just me. You have to do what is right for you and your body. If you listen to it, it will tell you what it needs. Hopefully you won't have to become allergic to a food to realize what foods you need.
    And again, really, congrats on the cancer freeness!
    3293 days ago
    Congratulations on being cancer free!!!!!!!

    3293 days ago
  • no profile photo GIANT-STEPS
    There is actually very little evidence that our exact cravings have anything to do with dietary deficiencies. There was a study early in the 20th century that was widely discredited that claimed that children when offered a variety of foods and allowed to eat whatever they wanted chose to eat a balanced diet. This is one of these things everyone just knows is true so we take it for granted and no longer question it. I'm not big on labels. If you want to eat some chicken, fish, meat, dairy, or whatever eat what you want. While population studies have confirmed that for the most part the less animal foods we eat the healthier there are no traditionally vegan societies so there is no scientific evidence that a vegan diet is better than a near-vegetarian diet. So many people usually eat vegetarian but occasionally eat meat that the term flexitarian was coined to describe them. A lot of people look at vegetarianism as binary; you are either a vegetarian or you aren't. Much like the way we look at pregnancy; you can't be slightly pregnant. Is someone who eats vegan all year except Thanksgiving and Christmas where he eats one piece of turkey and ham respectively a vegetarian? I'd say so since they eat vegetarian over 99% of the time.
    As far as protein goes, have you ever met anyone in the 1st world who was protein deficient? Nearly any diet that provides sufficient calories also provides more than enough protein. There is no time in our lives when we grow and build muscle faster than when we are babies and human breast milk only gets 10% of its calories from protein. There are people who are protein deficient but they are also starving. When someone is starving they need all the protein they can get but unless you are trying to live on nothing but fruit chances are you already get plenty. The Sparkpeople recommendations have a very large safety margin; if you are a few grams short than don't sweat it.
    The best source of iron is green leafy vegetables. While vegetarians tend to have lower levels of iron in their blood than meat eaters it is generally sufficient. Iron is one of those minerals that is important but taking more than you need is actually harmful. One of the reasons women outlive men is because their menses allow them to get rid of excess iron more easily than men. If you are low in iron you do need to incorporate more iron rich foods or supplements into your diet but only take enough to address your anemia; iron is one of those nutrients where more is not necessarily better.
    3294 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7827398
    My first thought about this is that maybe you aren't actually craving MEAT, but a vitamin/nutrient/mineral that it provides. Being vegetarian makes it hard to be sure you're getting all nutrients (including those tiny amounts of minerals) that you need.

    You may want to check with your doctor about having your diet analyzed for all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients are very important, but so are the little guys!

    Good Luck!
    3294 days ago
    I agree with you, but personally I feel that is because we hadn't had meat in our system for so long is a different taste...equal to the first time you try the veggie meats.

    Me I lovee soy milk, and if I taste cow milk I can literally throw up is such as different and not a good taste for me.

    Same goes for meat, I been a vegetarian for 5 years and was a vegan for 1 year, then went back to being a vegetarian due to low iron, my doctor wanted for me to take 5 iron pills a day (I am picky on what medicine I will allow my body to have) so I decided to go back to eating fish. And even the fish I don't like the texture (especially salmon - taste like chicken).
    3294 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9690487
    p.s. Congrats on being cancer-free! Hope you stay that way lady!
    3294 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9690487
    I have been vegetarian off and on for so long. I'm slowly moving back to being totally veg with an eventual goal of veganism. If and when I eat any animal flesh it is free-range, organic, cruelty-free (as if that is possible, I think it's still a horrible situation) and as wild as possible. I think that you can lead a happy, healthy and wonderful life being vegetarian/vegan. emoticon
    3294 days ago
  • SJ4TH90
    Hi - I'm going to have my veggie-versary next month. I don't eat any type of animal flesh, yet I'm sure some of the restaurant soups use chicken broth -- I'm not too wigged out about that.

    Several months ago I ate a bite or two of hubby's chicken fettuccine noodles and I got a teeny, tiny piece of meat in my forkful and immediately spit it out. The texture was weird and just didn't want to eat it. It kind of grossed me out. I rarely eat TVP (textured vegetable protein) so it wasn't even a comparison between the two - I've simply outgrown the taste and texture. This coming from a person who used to eat cow virtually every meal - go figure.

    I hope you are content with your final decision.
    3294 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1035627
    Interesting thoughts... I'm glad you tried it, and are giving it some thinking. Good luck.
    3294 days ago
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