Google+ Cave Food Kitchen: Vegetarian to Carnivore

Vegetarian to Carnivore

This post was long overdue already, but funny enough one of the most important steps in my food life has been completely ignored so far; after being a vegetarian for about 15 years, I switched back to meat again a few months ago.
from soy...
If you are a devoted meat-eater, you'd probably say: what's the big deal? But if you know what it is like to be a vegetarian, you know what I'm talking about.

In a previous post I already talked about making choices that are different than the mainstream, so imagine what it's like to go back to meat. 
It can be quite intimidating, but, if you have any doubts still, also extremely exciting.

to cow!
If you are currently a vegetarian and playing with the idea of going back to meat, or perhaps you've decided already, maybe my humble input can help you on your way.
(bear in mind: these are my personal experiences, and it can be different for you)

For me, it happened in stages, and worked best that way.
Switching to a Paleo diet was the most important cause, since cutting out wheat & soy basically cuts out about 70% of a vegetarian food supply. It astounded me how much of this stuff was in everything I was eating; spreads, veggie burgers, sauces, snacks, breakfasts, the list goes on. Below an example of the ingredients of a veggie burger:

The only most "natural" ingredient I can pick out, is water & salt. Looking at this, there is no way I can claim that this stuff is healthy.
So, now what? 
My luck was that I did eat fish, so for the most part I was eating tonnes of tuna & salmon, but a craving started to appear. Have to add that at the same time I started working out more intensely, lifting heavy weights.
For a while, I was on the fence, do I want to? Do I need to? Is it really healthier for me? 
Can I? Will it gross me out? Make me fat?
Reading Mark Sisson's book was a good help, his point about meat is clear; it's nutritious and good for you. Period. Another post on his website might be helpful as well. 

As soon as I was convinced that this could actually be a change for the better, I did some blood work. The remark of the nutritionist was pretty clear while reading the results;
"I can hardly believe you are still functioning"
Everything was too low; vitamin B, iron, vitamin D. Not good. This was in February.
It did, however, triggered something in my head. I started sampling meats, mostly from other peoples plates. (friends, not complete strangers) 
My opening line would usually be: "can I just try a bite of that?" 
A nice side effect is, that it will take you down memory lane, often I had the "ooohhhh, I remember that" reaction.
From sampling it went to an actual meal with meat, and my "introduction meat" was ground beef. For other people chicken might be better, just follow your instincts.
Then steak followed, chicken, and all variations of that. Last, pork. Pork was the last hurdle, since my idea about pork wasn't very positive. Basically, I called it dirty meat. Funny enough, now I pretty much always start my day with bacon & eggs. Also, imagine how many more choices you'll get to choose from. "Downside" of that? You might have to spend more time again picking something from a restaurant menu. 

How about digestion? It could possibly mess your system up a bit, you are introducing a new organism into your digestion, so for about a month I took a probiotic supplement before bedtime. Can't say I experienced extremly noticeable results, but I wasn't in any discomfort either. It is certainly worth the try.

One thing did bother me in the first while, which was  heartburn. Usually too much stomach acid gets the blame, but in my case it was actually too little acid. For 15 years, my stomach didn't need to work very hard to digest my food, so the acid levels dropped quite a bit. 
This issue disappeared after a few weeks, I now actually never have heartburn anymore. 

Another blood test in May, and it was a night and day difference. All levels were back to normal, iron being behind a little still, but I was told that usually takes a bit more time. Also my energy levels were up, feeling better than ever! Even my mood improved dramatically.

To summarize:

- to start, cut out grains, here's why
- listen to your body, it will start telling you what it needs
- make sure you are 100% behind it, so do your research
- start sampling
- start with a meat you like and feel comfortable with
- take a probiotic
- if your digestion still gives yo trouble, Super Enzymes are helpful too.
- most importantly; have yourself checked by a doctor, do blood work and listen to what your body tells you.

Perhaps this post was helpful to you, but perhaps you have questions or remarks, feel free to  post them below! Good luck, it's worth it!

(Note: I'm not a doctor or a medical expert. That should say enough. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly)

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