Vegetarian diets are touted as being healthier and more nutritious than diets high in meat. However, vegetarian diets are not for everyone. For some it is healthier not to be a vegetarian.
This could be because of protein or vitamin deficiencies or other dietary concerns such as high blood sugar. Some vegetarians tend to eat too many bread products. This can be unhealthy if you are diabetic. Some people also develop food allergies that limit what they can eat and need to adjust their diet to accommodate this.
If you have been a vegetarian for awhile and need to start eating meat again for health reasons, how do you stop being a vegetarian?
Making Up with Meat
If you have been without meat for a significant period of time, it is not a good idea to eat a pound of steak right off the bat. Your body is not used to meat and will likely have a hard time digesting it. You may have stomach pains, cramps, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation from eating meat if you have been a vegetarian for a long time. These will pass with time and go away as your body adjusts to eating meat.
- Begin gradually introducing animal products into your diet. How you go about this should be determined by how strict of a vegetarian you were. Vegans should add meat slower than those vegetarians who ate eggs and dairy.
- Start by eating chicken broth or stock. It is typically light on the stomach and should cause fewer problems. Eat this for a while before adding any other meats.
- Eat foods that are flavored with real meat before eating actual pieces of meat. Soups that are flavored with meat are a good way to get used to the taste of meat again.
- Eat chicken first. If your body handles that okay, add fish, pork and beef.
- Start by eating meat products you liked before you became a vegetarian. It will help with the psychological aspects of the transition.
- Try eating meat that is disguised with other foods such as casseroles. The meat flavor and texture won't be as overpowering as simply biting into a big piece of meat.
- If the texture of meat is a problem, try sandwich meats or even baby food meat. The texture is usually smoother and it doesn't look as much like meat because of the processing. This can help with the mental transition of reintegrating meat.
- Eat digestive enzymes with your meal. You can find them at health food stores. Look for supplements that contain HCL with Pepsin. These will help your body break down the meat. Enzyme complexes will also aid with digestion.
- Taking probiotics can help with digestion. Your intestines aren't used to breaking down the meat. Boosting your body with healthy bacteria that breaks down foods will help with bloating, gas, cramps, and other digestive problems.
- Listen to what your body is telling you. If you are craving something in particular, it may be a sign of something your body is lacking. If your body isn’t handling the meat well, take a step back and integrate the meat into your diet more slowly. If you haven’t had any problems with the meat, then your body is probably telling you that your diet is working.
Psychological Aspects of Eating Meat Again
Many vegetarians stopped eating meat for ethical reasons. Eating meat again can often be more psychologically difficult than physically difficult because you may feel that you have violated your principles. A sense of failure is normal because you are not sticking to a chosen diet. Other vegetarians may give you a hard time because you have left their fold. Meat eaters may tease you for abandoning vegetarianism.
What many meat eaters don't realize is that being a vegetarian or a vegan isn't just a diet. It is a lifestyle. Changing your way of life is hard. Especially when the change is being forced on you by health or other factors.
When you start having negative feelings about this, just remember that you aren’t the only vegetarian who has started eating meat again. Think of how much meat you didn’t eat the time when you were a vegetarian. You are not a failure. You are making wise choices for your body. You can also make informed eating choices now. You can eat organic meat and avoid veal and similarly cruel practices.
There is a lot of literature about vegetarianism versus omnivorous diets. Read up on the facts. Talk to other people about what you are feeling. Look for vegetarian forums and groups and seek out other people who have made a comeback to meat.
If other people rag you because of your diet, just let it roll off your back. They probably teased you when you were a vegetarian anyway. If other vegetarians are giving you a hard time, let them know what you are doing to continue to make ethical food choices. Let them know if you buy organic or are only eating meat one meal a day.
Eating meat again seems strange, especially if it has been many years. It will get easier with time. You may still want to refer to yourself as a vegetarian if you have not fully integrated meat back into your diet. It will make it easier than trying to explain to others what you can and cannot eat. It may also take some of the pressure off in social dining situations.
More Vegetarian Links
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Tips for eating vegetarian at fast food restaurants. Finding vegetarian menu items that are available at national chains. List of items vegetarians should avoid.
I became a vegetarian in my early teens for ethical and practical reasons. I couldn’t eat a hamburger without thinking about cows. When I saw the veins in a piece of chicken I couldn’t help but think that I was eating muscles. The though of it disgusted me and the sensation of the textures on my tongue repulsed my appetite. After biting into an undercooked hamburger one day, I gave up meat on the spot. I didn’t want to eat food that had once walked around.
I was a lacto-ova-vegetarian meaning I ate dairy and eggs, but no meat, fish, or chicken. In my early twenties I began having problems controlling my blood sugar. I am cursed with a high susceptibility to diabetes thanks to the genes my mother gave me. Eating vegetarian I had a tendency to eat too many breads, starches, and carbs, especially whenever I ate with a group. The body converts that type of food into sugar. Then dairy and eggs started to irritate my stomach, so I had to cut back on them.
After about 15 years of being a vegetarian, I felt like my body was falling apart. I was so tired and drained all the time. I had no energy. Every time I went to the doctor, I had something else wrong with me. First it was blood sugar, then it was thyroid, then dangerously low vitamin D, then I started having acid reflux and laryngitis from that. My stomach hurt nearly every day and I was having headaches. Next thing I knew, I had developed food allergies and had constant sinus infections.
Finally, I had had enough. I was destroying my health. All of these health issues were leaving me with too few meal choices and putting me on the road to becoming a full-fledged diabetic. I didn't want to be unhealthy for the rest of my life trying to live up to an ideal that obviously wasn't working for me. I decided it would be better for me if I could have more meal options that would help keep my blood sugar balanced and broaden my food choices that were limited by allergies. I decided to eat meat.
It was probably the hardest decision I ever made. I agonized over it for probably a year before I finally decided to go back to meat.
I loved Krystal burgers when I ate meat, so I decided that my first meat meal would be a Krystal. I ate just one. The first bite was the hardest. It took me a good five minutes before I ate the first nibble. I kept putting the burger to mouth and then moving it away. After that bite it became a little easier. And each time I ate meat after that, it got easier still.
The hardest part was telling others that I am not a full vegetarian anymore. It was big news when it first happened. Then it got old and everybody forgot about it. Now people know that I am a vegetarian in recovery. I eat mostly vegetarian but have an occasional piece of meat when my body needs it.
There is a new term "flexitarian" that definitely applies to me. Basically it means I am a semi-vegetarian. I eat mainly vegetarian still, but I supplement my diet with meat when I feel like it. I eat meat about once a week or every couple of weeks now.
I had digestive problems after eating meat maybe the first five or ten times I tried. Mainly, I think it was just stress related digestive trouble because I was so nervous and felt guilty about it. Now, I can eat it without problems. What works for me is not thinking about the food. I keep myself distracted while I eat.
Reintegrating meat has given me more options. I don’t have to be as cautious when eating out. I’m focusing on eating balanced meals rather than trying to stick to a certain diet. I have a wider range of food choices. I still have health problems, but they are getting better and better. I have more energy and I don't feel much guilt anymore. If I were meant to eat as a total vegetarian, then why would I feel so much better now?
I feel healthier eating meat. I still recommend the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle to anyone who can eat that way and maintain their health. I think it is an ideal way of life. I just don't think everyone can eat that way and stay healthy long-term.
If your diet is making you feel bad and sick all the time, why do that to yourself? Make some changes. For some that may mean eating meat again. For others, it may mean readjusting and balancing your diet. Everyone should be free to eat what their body needs to feel good and run right.
Feel free to share your story, give opinions and suggestions, ask questions, and make comments. All I ask is that you be respectful with what you say. Hurtful comments are not welcome. Most of the people who visit this article care deeply for animals and for the earth and most would choose to continue to be vegetarians if their health would allow it. Be mindful that one day your health might change as well.
Learn about Digestive Enzymes
cordelia on November 10, 2018:
Eating meat again??? Did i read this right? How REGRESSIVE it is to support turning people into the dark ages. Animals get their revenge you know - by eating them - they WILL put you in the hospital, OR surgery. Wake up. The rainforest is being ripped down at 1 acre/second - WHY??? to put cow there OR food for cows. Animals are being tortured throughout their entire lifespan from Rape to Slaughter, 51% or environmental destruction is Caused by people eating meat and dairy - it is Non feminist and You are suggesting people go back to eating meat? Incidentally, have you heard about karma? It exists. Go look into the many (and growing) sites and information about how to go vegan properly and shut down this insane idea. If someone goes back to eating meat - they were never vegan to begin with. Vegans practice ahimsa - no harm to any creature.
Chloe on December 03, 2017:
This article has been very helpful! I have lived a nauseous life, and missed out on many a summer camp or a tasty meal because of it. Then, I began college and started feeling even worse, for weeks on end. I went to a slew of doctors' appointments and they diagnosed me with a severe gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance. I am now vegan and gluten-free, but the dining hall at my college just doesn't make this possible. I think I may start eating meat again so I can actually eat, and so I stop feeling so sick all of the time.
Andi on July 11, 2017:
Eating meat again is not the solution. Meat is the worst thing you can eat.
Thankyou on July 07, 2016:
Thank you for posting this. I just had to do the same thing, and it was really helpful and comforting for me to read this and know that others have had to start eating meat again for health, as well. Your story sounds so similar to mine.
And, in regards to comments like that of SilverLady, I can only say this about the cruelty aspect: If you think that your vegan/vegetarian diet is free of animal cruelty, then you really need to wake up and get off your high horse. How many mice, bugs, and other living creatures are painfully crushed to death during crop harvest? Think about that before you go around trying to guilt others. In my 15 years of being a vegetarian, I am proud to say that I never tried to force my lifestyle on others; never guilted anyone into ruining their health.
Marek on May 31, 2016:
I just ate a beet soup, baked potatoes, soybean pate and a fish for my breakfast. It has been about a year and a half since the last time I ate any meat. I'd like to share how did it feel to eat a fish and what I was thinking as I ate it.
I bought a small smoked fish at the store. I put it on the table and prayed a Buddhist chant that I learned at a Buddhist temple some time ago. It is sung before eating to express gratitude for the food. Normally I don't do it before eating anymore but now it felt proper because the animal had to die in order for me to have a breakfast.
I started eating but I decided to eat only a half of the fish. One reason for this is that I wanted to be gentle on my digestion. Secondly, I have not yet made a decision whether I incorporate meat in my diet or not, so this was a kind of a trial. The other half of the fish I will either eat myself later or give it to my partner.
1) I didn't really like the taste so I squeezed some lime on it, and the taste improved. However, I did not derive any pleasure from eating. The only reason I ate it was to improve my health and strive for a balanced diet and to challenge my character. It's very unlikely I will ever eat meat in terms of enjoyment, as I do with vegetable dishes. Usually I was just feeling like I am having fun when eating, but this time it rather felt like performing a duty to my health and to the animal.
2) Some people are concerned with the texture of meat, but it didn't feel shocking.
3) It was really salty. The vegetable food I usually eat can be salty, but not to such extent. Definitely more salty than cheese.
4) The smell is more intense than any kind of vegetable dish, and I am still smelling it on myself despite having brushed my teeth.
5) I felt a mental connection between me and the fish. I imagined it flowing freely in the ocean when it was alive. Now it's body was on my fork. I felt both sadness and gratitude.
6) When eating vegetarian, you feel a kind of moral purity or sense of satisfaction after eating. Not anymore.
7) After eating, I felt that I can return to vegetarianism whenever I want. It's a daunting prospect to have meat again when a vegetarian, but it's that simple. You can go back any time. I never liked the taste of meat or enjoyed eating it, so I have no attachment to it whatsoever.
Marek on May 23, 2016:
I'd like to add something about dairy. In Ayurveda, they say that milk is the only food that does not necessitate any violence, given freely and with love. This is only the case with respectful, traditional treatment of cows, though. Reading these words has made me develop a new view on diary. I always buy organic milk whenever possible.
The above is the reason why cow is considered sacred in India.
Marek on May 23, 2016:
I'd like to share some of my thoughts on different aspects of this issue.
I think that even if you decide to start eating meat again, there is no reason to eat pork or beef. Just take a while and imagine the following scenario. Let's say you are starving hungry and you're in a place far from modern civilization, so you can't just shop for food. There are no vegetables available in the area, but there are many animals around.
You have a bow and arrows, a spear and a knife. Being the person you are, sensitive to animals' suffering, would you actually be able to kill a cow or a pig, or any other four-legged animal? Imagine how terrifying and heart-breaking would it be. But perhaps you would be able to kill a chicken or some other bird with bow and arrows, or use your spear to catch the fish from the river and then finish it with a knife. It would still break your heart but it would be easier to do. Bird and fish move and have life, but that life is less sophisticated and intelligent than four-legged animals. What is more, it is also easier on digestion and if you're into meditation, you might have heard that red meat is hard to process energetically or emotionally (meaning it disturbs your mind) because those animals are more sentient than fish, birds or the less intelligent forms.
I'm saying that you don't have to ever say goodbye to your ethical vegetarianism. You just become a lacto-ovo-avis-piscis (not sure if these are the correct words for "bird" and "fish" in Latin!) vegetarian for health reason, that's it.
What's more, if you're inclined in this way, when eating meat you could offer a prayer of gratitude to the deceased animal, or try to mentally connect with it and say that you appreciate its sacrifice.
I suppose that many choose vegetarianism as an expression of their compassion. But if vegetarianism is making you emaciated and weak in bodily strength, how will you ever help your grandmother in a taxing physical work? Strengthening your body, apart from the health you gain for yourself, might make you a more effective vessel of compassion for other people.
I'd like to touch upon how everybody is different in regards to nutrition. The wisdom of ancient India tells us that people are of three constitutions: the emaciated type what can never put on weight (vata), the obese type which very easily puts on weight (kapha), and the type placed between these (pitta). This is a very simplified description. You can look those three types up and learn what is yours. That people are of different bodily constitutions, I think, is the reason why some might thrive on a vegetarian diet, and some just the opposite. If you're a vata type, for example, you might need some meat.
Another point I'd like to make is how to go about eating meat. Meat is not meant to be eaten three times a day in extensive quantities. Once a day or every other day in a moderate quantity is beneficial. Moreover, a variety of meats should be eaten, and it should be eaten completely. So not just chicken breast every time, but one day turkey, another day duck, some other day fish, and intestinal organs, like the kidney of liver, should be consumed as well. If you killed an animal and ate only the breast, throwing out all the intestinal organs, you would be disrespecting the animal.
This way of eating has it confirmation in the (traditional) eating habits of the Japanese people, who have probably the longest life expectancy in the world. From early childhood, they are educated that they should be eating meals balanced in protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. Meat is eaten frequently, but in small qualities and rarely as a main dish. It might be one of the ingredients in a vegetable dish. Fish is eaten more frequently than any other type of meat. I wrote "traditional" eating habits because the modern diet has become greatly modernized.
If you read the China Study book, the conclusion is basically that people in rural China, who eat lots of vegetables (and moderate amounts of animal products), are the healthiest. Afterwards it is assumed that total elimination of animal products would be even better. But it is just a theoretical assumption not supported by any facts. The rural Chinese are not vegans. In fact, it might be because their diet is balanced and meat is only eaten in small amounts, they are healthy.
It is easy to blame meat itself as the main culprits for the affluent diseases in the Western world, but we are not noticing that it might be rather the overuse of meat: eaten three times a day in immoderate amounts. We also shouldn't forget about the overconsumption of sugar and salt (according to the American Heart Association, the daily maximum intake for salt is about one teaspoon, but it seems that the majority of people are exceeding this number several times).
My personal story is that I never liked eating meat, even before I started to think about it through ethical and compassionate lense. Even before consciously becoming a vegetarian, when I had control over what I ate, as in cooking by myself and eating out by myself, I was always avoiding meat. At the same time, I was a lover of bread and sweet things. I am just speculating, but it might have caused me my candida/parasite-like digestive problems (some tough time). I am also very thin, have bags under eyes, and in winter my hands and feet are always freezing, so poor metabolism and circulation. I am feeling well and healthy besides that but I am considering transitioning to moderate meat eating to attain an optimal health. As was written earlier, the transition can be hard when you're an ethical vegetarian mostly, but maybe I will start from chicken broth.
Emily on January 02, 2015:
A few months ago, I stared feeling so weak and tired all the time. I thought maybe it was my diet (I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 7 years) and I started taking additional supplements instead of just a daily multi. It didn't help, so I thought about changing my diet to include fish.
However, before I could decide for sure (memories of visiting a fish farm and all of the fish following me around hoping for food haunted me), I ended up in the hospital. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune adrenal disease. Several of my distant family members also have it, so it has a genetic link. I was started on medication for it and feel 100% better now.
I just wanted to share this story to let others know to make sure it is your diet causing your health problems. You never know for sure. I do think there are some people who don't do well on vegetarian diets, but it's worth finding out for sure first.
The weird thing is that I still kind of want to try fish again. I think it's because I got myself so worked up about it before I found out why I was sick. I hope that will pass eventually, especially considering that I never liked fish anyway.
Liz on November 16, 2014:
DO NOT EAT CHICKEN FIRSTS you will get sick. Try something small like bacon
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 12, 2014:
Siobhan29 - It is tough knowing there are so many delicious foods that are off limits. Your idea sounded good. Experience some of what you missed and then go back to being a vegetarian afterwards if you wanted. You might consider a flexitarian diet. Basically you eat mostly vegetarian but maintain the flexibility to eat meat when necessary and desired. Good luck with your diet and culinary desires. Hope your anemia gets under control.
Taking the First Step on June 17, 2014:
I have been anemic for at least 15 years, never have energy, eat way too many carbs and meat substitutes, and have horribly high blood pressure, even on several medications, in part due to difficulty finding filling foods that are quick to prep. I am easily 30 pounds overweight. After over twenty years of not eating meat, I think I am ready to try eating meat, but texture is a huge thing for me. Even with vegetables, I gag when I try to eat anything that is chewy or squishy, so when I look at or think about eating meat, I just don't know how. I did try a taste of chicken broth and thought I was going to be sick, immediately needing to eat and drink anything with strong flavors to try to erase it from my palate. My friends and loved ones are supportive of me going back to meat because my diet has long made meals and dining out a challenge, but I cannot stop thinking that I am looking at some poor animal's muscle, that something was killed in a painful manner after a painful life is on a plate and I am supposed to eat it. I feel very torn. My health seems to require that I return to meat, but my mouth has no interest!
Okaru on February 13, 2014:
Hi, as a reforming vegan, I found that it is easier to eat non-vegan ingredients if they are not the main event. For example, make pancakes and rissoles with eggs instead of egg substitutes. Minced meat in soups and sauces rather than eating a steak. You don't need much meat/fish/eggs to be healthier, so it does not need to be THE item on the plate. I am still mostly vegan due to heart health, so I cannot really afford to load up sat fats, but I have found that including non-vegan ingredients does help. Being selective where those ingredients come from must also ease the conscience.
Lola on January 25, 2014:
This is one of the best hubs/posts about eating meat again, it really makes strong and considerable points. I am not a vegatarian myself, I have always eaten meat and never doubted my choices. But my best friend is a vegetarian. She hasn't eaten meat/fish for about 6 years now. She sometimes eats dairy and eggs, but rarely.
The thing is - she doesn't really use any nutritional supplements, only some vitamins. She is also not eating regulary or particulary healthy. And you can literally see her becoming weaker and more irritable day by day. She is starting to develope quite serious psychological problems, the once active and happy girl is turning to a pale apathetic creature now and I am very worried.
I have tried to talk to her about balancing her diet and maybe even start eating meat again, but she wouldn't listen. She thinks her diet is perfectly fine but it isn't. We are both college students with lots of stress in our lives. She really needs the proteins and energy back. How should I talk to her and encourage her?
jane on September 20, 2013:
I have been a vegetarian since I was 5, for forty years. Even though I try to eat healthy I am overweight and have very little energy. I stopped eating meat after watching a movie in kindergarten about where it comes from and I thought it was disgusting, still do. My husband and children eat meat and I even cook it for them, often making two separate meals. I hate eating, don't enjoy food and have a very weak stomach. I know adding meat to my diet would probably help me health wise and make me feel better but I just can't do it. I start gagging just thinking about it. I eat eggs if they are well disguised in something (like cornbread) because I don't like their taste. I will occasionally eat some dairy. I am at a loss, I really want to eat meat and have been thinking about it for a year, but I just can't. Would love to hear more ideas from others with suggestions. I read about broth or baby food, but really, really can't do it. I feel sick!
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on September 16, 2013:
The only problem I experienced with vegetarianism is the fallacy (promoted by the food industry) that soy products are healthy. They are not--just the opposite--but I'd been eating the stuff for several years before I discovered the truth. Soy wrecked my thyroid function, causing the gland to enlarge and grow nodules. It had to be surgically removed, and I'll take thyroid replacement pills for the remainder of my life. So, my message to vegetarians is: Don't eat soy!
However, a plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients that the so-called "balanced" diet with meat can provide as long as you eat the right plant foods, but without the heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and other serious health issues that animal fats and processed foods cause.
The secret (and it's really no secret, but some people just don't want to know it) is to avoid all animal products (including dairy), all processed foods, sugar and oils. You can eat well, eat delicious meals and feel better than you ever felt in your life while protecting yourself from heart attacks (and bypass surgery), strokes, diabetes, even certain types of cancer.
Most people eat what they do out of habit. It takes some time and patience to change eating habits, but if you can guard your health and even (according to research) reverse some serious chronic health problems by what you put into your mouth, that certainly seems like good motivation to me. I believe the planet and everyone living on it would be better off if everyone was vegetarian, and a lot of people share that belief. I'm too realistic to think it will happen.
Of course, there are those people who could know with certainty they're chopping ten years off their lives by eating steak and chops, but would continue to do it anyway. In my opinion, they're on a par with the smoker who knows that particular addiction is life-shortening, but says, "Oh, well...we've all got to die from something!"
Health issues are one part of vegetarianism. Caring about animals is another. There's been so much research in the past couple of decades proving the intelligence of animals, as well as how they feel pain similarly to humans. Knowing that studies show pigs (yes, pigs!) are so intelligent they can play and win video games better than primates do, there's no way I could eat a piece of bacon. It's a matter of conscience for me. Everyone else has to live by their own conscience and values.
Siobhan29 on August 05, 2013:
I became a vegetarian at age 12 and have been for 17 years (vegan for a week each month to simply detox). The only issues I have had is anaemia but its only affected my ability to keep giving blood!
As much as I love being veggie, it's brought about a crisis as I am a chef, and am wanting to try the things I never did as a meat eater at such a young age. I've never had a steak before! Apart from the meats I miss (primarily mussels and black pudding - both in a sandwich was amazing) I want to try some more exotic delicacies, and also the meats I was too scared to try before. My only crisis is attempting to make the change because I've lasted for so long with no lapses - I don't even eat marshmallows or jelly sweets:(
Perhaps what I might try to do is get back into eating meat, try the foods I've always wanted to, then revert back to vegetarianism so I have no culinary regrets.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 21, 2013:
K - It is tough. In some ways, it is harder for people who don't like the taste of meat to eat it again than people who avoid it just for ethical reasons.
Any kind of allergies on an already restrictive diet can cause way to little dietary options. If you are able to eat some fish, then that is a really good start. Fish is one of the most nutritious types of meat.
If other kinds of meat don't appeal to you, start by just eating the broth. Broth actually has a relatively large amount of protein. It is a way to get used to the flavor before eating whole bites. Then I would suggest trying something where the meat is mixed in such small pieces that it is hardly noticeable, like a casserole with small bits or a soup or something similar. I wouldn't suggest trying to eat large pieces at first. If you can tolerate it in small quantities, stick to that for awhile.
If texture is the problem, try eating meat that has been processed more like sandwich meat or potted meat. The texture isn't as disgusting for some people.
Good luck and hopefully you will find some food options that expand your food choices to give you the variety you need.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 16, 2013:
Nora - The beginning is always the hardest. There is tons of guilt and feeling of having let yourself down and it is hard to process it all at first. But you just have to work through that a small bit at a time and realize that it isn't your fault. The way you would choose to eat just isn't biologically sustainable for you. And it does help to know that you aren't alone. There are oodles of people facing the same hard truth as you right now.
I would suggest baby steps. Just take a small step and don't worry about taking another one till you feel comfortable with where you are. Best of luck and come back and share anytime you want. We love you too!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 16, 2013:
Big Mike - I heartily agree with you. Factory farming and other practices are inhumane, not eating an omnivorous diet. Much more could be achieved if the people who care about animals and the planet could ban together to change cruel and unsustainable practices instead of trying to force a strict diet on everyone.
Nora on July 01, 2013:
Thank you all. It's good to know that I am not alone. I have been a vegetarian for more than 4 years (also vegan for half a year), but this year I started to have many stomach pains concerning to literally everything. I also feel that I lack energy, and getting more and more sure about that vegetarianism is not the most appropriate lifestyle for me. It's going to be a very hard time for me eating meat again, I burst out in tears as reading the article and your comments, but you give me the power to be able to make a change. I love you all.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 27, 2013:
David Jacob - Thanks for the update. Sounds like just sticking to fish might be what's best for you. Your body may not tolerate other kinds of meat very well for whatever reason. It seems like you have a good handle on what works for you and what doesn't. Fish is one of the healthiest kinds of meat anyway. Many kinds are loading with omega 3's and other important nutrients. Good luck figuring out a diet that works best for you.
k on June 05, 2013:
I've been vegetarian for years now (was even vegan for a while)! But recently was diagnosed with wheat-intolerance and therefore my diet is by far too restricted. I didnt stop eating meat because of the ethical reasons, but moreso because I am disgusted by the concept of eating flesh. However, I hope to be able to eat meat again. Everytime I try I just get so disgusted and I start gagging and everything. I've been able to incorporate some fish but still... its tough.
Big Mike on May 26, 2013:
I was a vegetarian since 1999 and I ate my first beef steak on 24 May 2013. From a pasture-raised cow that had lived a happy, healthy life to adulthood.
It can be hard facing up to humanity's place in the food cycle. But once you get there, you realise that wanting to eat flesh for optimum health is not the problem.
It's unsustainable and cruel practices like factory farming, and our frightening overpopulation that are the problem.
You don't have to be a vegetarian to have ethics. But you do need to have ethics if you want your grand kids to have any quality of life on this planet.
David Jacob on April 23, 2013:
Just wanted to give an update (I last posted here 8 months ago). After almost a year of eating meat, I have to rethink things again. One of the side effects I'd hoped for was that I'd lose weight. Unfortunately, I gained even more weight, and this was on low carb, high protein. Plus, I felt bloated and I was having digestive issues. I tried boiling my meat first to get rid of as much of the saturated fat as possible (then recooking with olive oil), but it didn't help much, and it just made the quality of the food suffer. So I'm taking a break from meat and chicken for a while to see how I feel, and I do feel a lot better as far as not being bloated and may have even lost a couple of pounds. I'm still eating fish, and that's helping (I didn't eat fish during my original 20 years as a vegetarian). I might not have given fish a fair shake a year ago, because I couldn't get used to the taste, but now that it's been a year, I'm enjoying fish more and more. Maybe fish with lots of veggies will be enough.
I am by no means telling others to go back to vegetarianism. It sounds like most people here need to eat meat for their health, and that's what you definitely should do. Just eat in moderation. Everyone's body is different, and I'm just trying to find the right balance.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 10, 2013:
Amy - It is hard to change after that long. But if you have found one type of meat you like, stick with that till you get comfortable. Then maybe try chicken nuggets from another restaurant that may be similar. Just slowly try to expand.
amy on April 09, 2013:
i have been a vegiterian for 10 years in 10 but my dad says i need to be strong and eat it but i dont like it i eat only mcdonls chicin nugets that all help me someone
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 28, 2013:
Sherry - Wow. You have been on a grand tour of eating plans. You definitely have a similar experience to many of the other people who have posted here. The first few years as a vegetarian were great, then health problems started cropping up. Allergies and vegetarianism can be a big problem because it limits diet so much. And frankly, you do get tired of eating the same things so frequently.
I'm glad you are improving so rapidly. It is also amazing how quickly your body readapted to eating meat. It takes most people longer to readapt to digesting meat. I agree with you about beef. It is the meat I can handle the best also.
I have heard good things about eating for your blood type. I need to research it more. I firmly believe that there is not one type of diet that is perfect for everyone. So people do great as vegans and vegetarians. Some people fall apart on that type of diet. So, blood type diets make sense to me. I think people should figure out what foods make them feel good and eat those and avoid the foods that make them feel bad. Good luck on your new diet plan and hopefully you will continue to feel great.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 23, 2013:
Sherbo80 - The hardest part of giving up vegetarianism is psychological, so it helped tremendously to know that there are other people out there who have experienced the same things and are having the same feelings you are having.
Change can be hard, especially when it something you have spent half your life doing. It's good that your health hasn't sunk as low as some of the people here. Hopefully you can prevent it from slipping that far and start to get back to your best. Good luck!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 18, 2013:
Meredith - 20 years is a long time to go without meat! It is tough to maintain a vegetarian diet when already limited choices start getting even smaller.
The answer is yes, my health has improved since I began eating meat. My energy has improved and the other health problems that were cropping up have started to get more under control. It was worth it to me. It was hard at first, especially mentally, but it got easier. It's not ever going to be 100% guilt free, but I don't regret my choice.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 18, 2013:
Rebekah - That will probably help boost your iron. Even a small amount can help. Fish is one of the healthiest types of meat, so eating it would be best if you can. Hope your health improves soon.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 16, 2013:
ajudaica - Thanks for the info. Some people do well as vegans/vegetarians, some do better eating meat. Everyone should be able to eat as he or she chooses.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 16, 2013:
tsela - It is good to hear from the other side of the fence from time to time, too. I'm glad that there are people who can maintain healthy vegetarian/vegan diets. For some people having trouble with the diet, it does come down to not eating the right kinds of foods for many reasons (lack of access, lack of cooking ability, etc.). I don't think that is the case across the board, though. Some people just seem to do poorly on vegetarian diets.
Traveling abroad and eating vegan can be difficult in certain places. Having the flexibility to eat meat can keep you from starving or eating poorly. If you want to have the flexibility to eat meat, just start off slowly reintroducing it to your body. Then try to eat some often enough that your body can stay used to it. Enjoy your trip and best of luck.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 16, 2013:
Siri - It sounds like you have thought long and hard about this and have reached a very logical and reasonable decision. Being a flexitarian works well for many people. It gives you the freedom to eat meat when your body needs it or if other food options are limited. But then you can eat mostly vegetarian if you want as well.
The psychological aspects really are the hardest. And frankly, there isn't an easy way to do it. You just have to do a small step at a time to let yourself (and those around you) adjust gradually.
As far as your sister goes, try explaining to her how bad you feel. Reiterate that you haven't made the decision lightly and it is coming down to a choice between being sick or eating meat. Since she loves you and cares about you, she shouldn't want you to keep doing a lifestyle that is hurting you. You can talk about what changes you are planning to make. I'm sure you aren't going to go complete carnivore, so tell her what you do plan on eating and how much. Talk about ethical issues. Explain your views on it and listen to hers. Maybe the two of you can think of other ways to help out animals and the environment together in a way that doesn't leave you feeling unhealthy. Good luck and hope you feel better and reconnect with your sister.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 13, 2013:
Marzo - I would be willing to bet that most of the people posting here had tried eating nuts. They can help with boosting protein, fat, etc., but they may not be enough. And nuts are very common allergies, so they may not be an option for someone who is having problems with allergies.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 13, 2013:
Kristi - It is really tough to eat decently when you are allergic to so many things and then to have your diet be further restricted by being a vegetarian can make your food choices so few that it is unhealthy.
Hopefully you can find some food choices that work for you and a way to handle transitioning back to meat if that is what you want. It sounds like you have a good support system with your boyfriend, which is important when making hard changes in life. Good luck.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 11, 2013:
David Jacob - I am glad to hear your health has improved so much. Eating too much of anything can be bad for the body. I think many vegetarians end up eating too much soy.
I like what you said about meat being a side dish for you now. It doesn't take massive quantities of meat to make a big impact. Here's to continued health improvements.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 10, 2013:
M - It's tough when you want to eat a certain way and your body doesn't handle it well. If you weren't a vegetarian for long and are already experiencing problems, that's bad. It usually takes most people a couple of years before problems start cropping up.
You could try eating differently as a vegetarian before giving it up. Less carbs and more protein packed foods. Another possibility is that you have a food allergy and as a vegetarian you may be eating more of it than you normally would have.
If going back to meat is the right choice for you, you could try just cutting out certain types of meat. A lot of people eat only fish or fish and chicken. And there are also more ethical meat choices like free range.
I hope you find a way to eat that makes you feel good physically and is something you can live with ethically. Good luck and thankfully you have parents who support you.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 08, 2013:
twinkle54321 - Low iron can make you feel so run down. I don't know how far you have progressed at this point, but if you can't even eat after meat has been on a plate, then I say start by conquering that before even thinking about eating meat.
If you need to, have someone else fix your plate. Any residue left would be mostly oil. That way you can start to get over your aversion. Then if you want to (or need to), I would suggest just eating broth. It is mainly just flavored water, but it does have a lot of protein in it. Something that small can start to impact your health as well.
Then when that becomes comfortable, see what else you feel capable of eating. Just take small, small steps till you reach the goal you want. In the meantime, you should start packing in veggies high in iron. Dairy is another way of getting iron that may be less of a problem. Hope you get back to good health.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 06, 2013:
Sarah - You have definitely experienced some dramatic health problems. Over reliance on starchy foods is the biggest problem for most vegetarians. For many people, it just isn't feasible to cook healthy vegetarian meals everyday. Eating large quantities of soy is bad for some people as well. Soy is one of the most common food allergies.
There is a link between protein deficiencies and mood swings, especially depression. So you may not have been getting enough protein. But it sounds like you are on your way towards better health.
Since you have found meats you like enough to eat, you are doing great with the transition. I wouldn't worry about eating the ones with unpleasing textures. If you have started a blog, stop back by and leave the address so others can read your experiences. Hope your health continues to improve.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 03, 2013:
KVeg20 - You've definitely done your research about balanced diets and have given great advice. Carbs and sugars are what leads to diabetes and other problems in the body. And fats and meat have gotten a bad rap from some faulty research done decades ago.
It sounds like you are getting yourself on the right track, though. It is hard to way personal beliefs against failing health. But you have to do what's best for your body and find a way to eat that makes you feel good and is something you can live with. The organic meat option is a better alternative than other types of meat.
Best wishes and keep on taking those baby steps toward better health. Your spaghetti and salad sounds like meals I could enjoy.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 02, 2013:
Jo Marbles - What KVeg20 said is correct. More and more information and studies are starting to show that meat doesn't cause weight gain. The type of fat is more important. Vegetable oils like soybean oil are actually bad for the body. Olive oil and coconut oil are better.
The weight fluctuations could definitely be just related to puberty or possibly even stress since it sounds like you have issues going on at home. A lot of people lose weight on vegetarian diets at first, but then it starts to come back and even balloon more after several years on a meatless diet.
If you want to know more about what types of fats to eat and which to avoid, you can start by watching the documentary "Fathead." Exercise is an important part of maintaining a good weight as well. You may also want to talk to a counselor about some of the issues stressing you. Feeling good about yourself is more important than a number on the scale. Good luck.
Sherry on February 10, 2013:
I was a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian for 4 years.
Here's a synopsis of my experience.
1.). Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
- I have read numerous books on diet, nutrition and even the
chemical effects of food and cancers connection.
- if you read about the history of food and what was available for
people to eat as our population has increased, everything that is
available today was not then.
- I have conformed to "eat right four your blood type" eating plan
where you eat foods based on your blood type...based on the foods
that were eaten when "Your Blood Type" first flourished.
2. The first few years were great.
- I initially felt healthier
- I did my so called research before eating anything different
- my vision started getting blurred
- I got tired of eating TVP or SVP products. Like seitan, Morning Star
products, Boca Burger, and the many others with gluten as their
- I began making my own veggie burgers. And though they were
restraint worth, per my hubby, co-workers and family, I got tired of
the 20 + ingredients to get it to where I wanted it.
4. After taking out gluten foods (did not mention becoming a vegetarian
helped me realize that I was severely gluten intolerable) I was
primarily eating veggies, beans, fruits, nuts, some dairy, eggs, and
protein powders like yellow pea, brown rice, soy, hemp, flax, and
included nutritional yeast for the B12 and brewers yeast for its high
After having my health slowly change over almost four years and after reading "Eat right 4 Your Blood Type" I began realizing that maybe vegetarianism is not for Me. So after months of contemplation, I decided to eat meat, steak, on New Year's Eve. About two ounces was eaten.
Results: I had a weird instant clarity in vision. I mean it was like I had a new pair of prescription glasses on (and I didn't). I also felt a burst of energy instantly, but I know that came from the protein. And, by the way, beef was my very favorite meat when I did eat meat. STEAK!
6 weeks in, I'm eating meat whenever I have a taste fork it.
***PEOPLE FAIL TO REALIZE THAT MEAT IS A "WHOLE FOOD"!***
Now, my goal is to eat HEALTHY cuts of any meat. That means not only ORGANIC, but grass fed, not vegetarian. The packaging must say "ORGANIC AND GRASS FED" not ORGANIC, FED A VEGETARIAN DIET.
Since eating meat, I have more energy, better vision (I wore glasses for distance vision and cannot now...my vision changed so much that the glasses hurt my eyes now...have to get a new prescription).
I also feel full longer. And, the organic grass fed meat tastes SO MUCH richer and is loaded with Omega 3's from the animals grazing off of grass and not corn. I also buy similar eggs and butter from grass fed cows.
I'm finding that the foods for my blood type, O+, are dead on. When I eat a food on the avoid list of foods, my body has some type of unfavorable reaction to eating it. This journey has been AMAZING. Becoming a vegetarian has brought me to today. It has given me a tool of DO's and DONT's.
Sherbo80 on February 06, 2013:
Wow, best page I have found yet in my personal quest to add meat back into my diet after 18 years (more than half my life). It is hard, people really don't understand, and I appreciate reading everyone's stories, and the author responding to so many posts. This really does help me personally feel less alone, and more confident in my decision. For the first part of the article I felt like I was reading my own story. I am thankful and lucky that my health never got as bad as yours. I hope this move will make a difference
Meredith on January 30, 2013:
Thank you for writing this! I just started eating meat again yesterday after over 20 years of being vegetarian, including 2.5 as a vegan (because I developed an intolerance for dairy and eggs). You expressed everything that I am going through so eloquently.
I am curious to know if your health improved when you began to eat meat. I'd like to feel this is all worth it. :)
Rebekah on October 29, 2012:
I became vegetarian 10 months ago and got Iron D anemia... I feel like i should add meat/ fish. back into my diet until im healthy and try again when i feel better.
ajudaica from Israel on October 28, 2012:
Carl Lewis failed to qualify for the olympic in 1992 after becoming vegan -
tsela on October 15, 2012:
i came upon this post because i'm vegan and am going to be traveling to the middle east soon, and may find myself in situations where i may need to eat meat...so wanted advice onto how to ease myself into it. I was vegetarian for seventeen years, and vegan for the last five...and then was surprised to read on this web page about so many people having health problems from being either vegetarian or vegan. Just want to let you all know that I've never had health problems from going vegetarian then vegan...I feel great, esp. after giving up dairy. The thing is you need to eat lots of whole foods, vegetables, and a variety...we eat a variety of beans, nuts, tofu, seitan, brown rice, etc. The vegan diet has actually helped my husband's diabetes. Anyway, was dismayed by all the negative comments about being vegan, and wanted to share my experience with it.
Siri on September 28, 2012:
This is a wonderful article! I have been vegetarian for almost three years. For the first few months I felt wonderful, and then I started slipping downhill, though I refused to attribute it to my diet. I eventually had to give up soy, because it wreaked havoc on my systems, especially my hormones. That loss of one protein source may also have been a problem.
Over the past five months, my health has been a horribly sharp decline. I am only fifteen, so this is NOT good(Why don't websites have italics?!).
It started in early May. I suddenly had the inability to eat. One Sunday afternoon, I sat at the table in my grandparents' dining room, watching everyone else eat while waves of heat and nausea rolled over me. For lunch, I managed about two bites of stuffing. That afternoon, my family went for a two-mile bike ride. I only mention this because I think it was a huge mistake for me to go. It drained me of the strength I needed for the coming days.
When we got home, I managed a supper of not enough food to sustain a hummingbird. This started a disturbing trend in my eating. For weeks, everything I ate, even just a teaspoon, translated in to crippling stomach pain and horrible nausea. After a week, my Mom brought out an old diet she had been on when I was little, for IBS. We evaluated the "safe" foods, breads, potatoes, carrots, papayas, squashes, etc., and Momma bought me white bread, which became my primary diet for several weeks. It was the only thing I could eat without the pain or the queasiness. For several weeks I lived on bread, potatoes, rice, oatmeal and eggs. Eventually, I added back in some other foods, and after a while I was eating normal-sized meals, albeit forcing myself.
The problem? I still have stomach problems. The pain has subsided, but I do not recall what it is like to go through a day without feeling nauseus. I have developed acid reflux., and now suffer from what I suspect is heartburn. Vomiting has never been a problem, as I do not do that, but the nausea is killing me. I have to wait a minimum of four hours-preferably six-after my last bite until I can even consider sleeping, due to the nausea, which is worse at night. This from someone who used to eat at 4 a.m.! My health is also suffering from the lack of sleep, as I routinely get six or fewer hours. I love food, and hate that I no longer enjoy the taste of it, or eating it. I want my life back!
It is for all these health reasons that I have decided I need to return to eating meat. I decided this several months ago, but have yet to take that step, due to psychological reasons. The decision to become a vegetarian was an ethical one for me, and I have had daily battles with myself over this.
I found this article amazingly well-written, and there are some really good points in it. I like the idea of eating what you crave, but am a little leery about going directly to red meat, as I have not eaten it in so long.
My other problem is my twin sister. She is my best friend and I love her dearly, but there is a problem. She went veg the same time I did, but is straight-laced and believes everyone should do it. I used to be that way, but I have begun to embrace the idea of eating what is best for your body, and started to eat accordingly.
This is driving a wedge between me and my sister. I love her, but I need to make the decision that is right for me. If anyone has tips on this, please help!
To all vegetarians out there, I support you, but I support the carnivores too. I like the idea of a flexitarian diet, and want to embrace it. I truly believe eating meat is right for my body, but I have to take that first step. Wish me luck!
Marzo on September 11, 2012:
The vegans that go back to eating meat have never included nuts into their diet.
Add soaked nuts into the diet instead of adding meat and you will see that it was just a lack of fats in the diet.
Pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc...
Kristi on August 21, 2012:
Thanks so much for writing this article! I have been vegetarian for about 3 years now, and even though I'm so passionate about the issues of the meat industry, my health has just been awful. The worst has been the food allergies that I've developed, including wheat, soy, tomatoes, squash, onions and lot's of others. So needless to say eating has become a challenge. I felt so guilty about this for so long and was staying up all through the night about it constantly. I finally broke down and talked about it with my boyfriend, and just found this article. It was so helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
David Jacob on August 20, 2012:
An update on me (see my original comments here 5 & 3 months ago): I've been eating meat for a few months. I generally try to get organic & grass fed when I can, but I'm not always able to. But what I do get is almost always antibiotic free.
I feel a LOT better. Far less hungry all the time, and no more of the extreme exhaustion. I have my evenings back! (I used to be almost unable to move often after 7pm.) I used to have huge bags beneath my eyes, and they have gone away.
I don't regret my decision to go back to meat after 20 years without - it's what I had to do. I barely eat gluten anymore, and eat little dairy. And I think that overdoing the soy was also having a detrimental effect on my health. I still eat a lot of vegetables in every form, and try to make the meat a side dish. But I don't see myself going back to vegetarianism. I value vegetarian ideals, but I value my health more.
M on August 13, 2012:
Hi!Thank you so much for the Hub. I read some of the comments and I see it is really helpful.
I am a 20 years old girl. I, personally, have not been a vegetarian for a long time, but maybe for over a month. I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons mostly, but I also believed that it wouldn't be hard and I will feel better.
Sadly, it wasn't like I was planned for me to feel. At first I was feeling great, because I was sticking to my philosophy and moral point of view. ( which wasn't so easy maybe, because my parents do eat meat). But they are supportive and understand me, though, which I am thankful for.
I was constantly reading a lot about vegetarianism and veganism, but mostly about the positive sides. Well, that was until I got really sick on my vacation on the seaside. Last time I have been feeling that way may have been when I was a little kid. I ascribe this to the sea, though and the common summer, sea fevers.
Well, I got better, and everything must have continued its normal ways, but after that I've been a mess. At one point I didn't know what to do with my eating habits, I even considered becoming a vegan, but thanks to my mom, I changed my mind (postphoning it to a further moment, when I will be ready).
Well, even after such a little time being a vegetarian, I do feel a change in my wellbeing and health. My right arm and my right leg have started to become cold and a little numb almost all the time (some days its better), I also feel sad, messed up, confused and lost all the time. I started feeling depressed and tyred maybe.
Food have always been important in my life, more important that it has to be. But now it became even worse. I don't like that. I became extreme in my vegetarianism, that if a food has touched a meat I would feel bad. I want to feel happy again, normal and to be able to bound better with my family, especially on holidays and family bounderings.
I consider starting eating meat again, but I already feel horrible imagining eating animals.
I haven't gained weight, though, but I have noticed that I started eating more carbs. I know a lot about eating healthy and I believe that If your body tells you that you have to eat something and if you personally feel you will be better that way, you should do it.
Thanks again for the hub.Wish you all a smiley day. :)
KVeg20 on August 08, 2012:
I feel for you! I was vegetarian for 25 years. I am going through the same thing. It is hard to get over the revulsion!
I have always been repulsed by meat... then I went on to get a PhD in Agricultural Economics. After I learned more about the industrial meat system (cruelty, outrageous government support, inspection corruption, etc), I couldn't imagine ever eating meat.
If you want to loose weight and keep your energy up (why I read the book in the first place), read "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. That book was the tipping point for me to work meat back into my diet.
My main motivating factor is my toddler. She is overweight too. I fear we are both insulin resistant :(
As for getting over the idea of meat, this is what is helping me a little. I buy the most nutritious, humane meat possible. If you have a local farmers' market, go there. If not, look for Applegate Farm Hot Dogs, or Grass-Fed, Organic meat. If your grocery store doesn't carry it - ASK! The butcher will know what you are talking about. The price will shock you at first, but as I have found out, the meat is so lean (they haven't been force fed a ton of corn), that it doesn't shrink down when cooked. You end up with more than what you think (Grade A beef is ranked on it's fat marbling - all of which melts away when cooked).
Grass fed animals live a dignified life. They are fed well and live on a pasture, as their ancestors did. As it turns out, the meat is much, much, MUCH more nutritious too - I bet it has a higher iron content. So you can get away with eating MUCH less of it.
I have suffered from anemia too. I had to stop donating blood, something that I really wanted to do.
I have to say - about 3 weeks back on the meat wagon, it has gotten a little easier. If someone makes a big deal about it and I start to think about what I am eating, I have to stop.
But that's OK. Baby steps, baby steps.
My energy level is up, I've lost 3 pounds without trying. Most important, my daughter is eating more meat and less Mac and Cheese.
For the first week, my stomach was really upset, but I am back to normal now.
Things I am able to eat: Fancy salads with crumbled bacon. Spaghetti with meat sauce if it also has chunky veggies. I managed a full serving of Shepherd's Pie (or Cottage Pie as my Brittish Mum would say). French Onion soup is really yummy and has no meat bits.
It does get easier, I promise.
twinkle54321 on August 07, 2012:
This discussion is just what I need.
I have been advised to eat meat due to iron levels. I am having trouble absorbing iron and have been advised to have iron therapy where iron is fed into the body directly through an IV drip.
I have been a vegetarian for 30 years. I take iron tablets everyday to no effect. I have had CBT to help me to eat meat. I cook it for my children and try to put it in my mouth and I just can't. I can not even eat my dinner if meat has been on the plate.
I do not want the iron therapy - any tips to help me end my revulsion would be great.
Sarah on July 11, 2012:
Hi, thank you for this article and I really liked everyone's comments.
I have been a vegetarian for 2 1/2 years and vegan for 1. I changed for ethical reasons only. I have put on 110 lbs as a vegetarian. I am not the best cook, so my diet consisted mainly of grains, starches, and processed soy products. My moods are so out of wack, I have become depressed, tired all of the time, and it's taken a toll on not only my health but my personal relationships.
I fought so much with my father, who is very loving and supportive and never said a word. He told me a few times in the past few months maybe I should go to a doctor or consider eating meat again, as I keep gaining weight and have zero energy. I remember telling him we weren't made to eat meat and ethics and everything. I turned 3 of my friends into vegetarians through this behavior.
Recently my friend helped me follow a low sugar/no sugar diet. I then started eating no carbs at all. I lost 10 pounds in a week. But I was still tired, and eating soy products started to make me feel sick and I didn't understand why. I read a few books on paleoism and watched documentaries and started to doubt this no-meat diet. Finally I broke and ate salmon. Then shrimp. Then scampies. Now some chicken.
I'm not sure I like the chicken, the texture is off. I'm only buying organic and free range but my body is taking some time to adjust. I already feel less depressed and crazy energetic however. I'm thinking of starting a blog about my now long weight loss journey I'm embarking on, to help fellow vegetarians and ex-vegetarians, and this page has inspired me. Thank you!
KVeg20 on July 01, 2012:
Try reading "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. It blew my mind and is making me consider eating meat again. I am a university professor, so I really scrutinize the science and references in anything I read. This book is extraordinarily well written and backed up by clinical studies.
The short version is no, meat does not make you fat. This is a HUGE misconception that even many doctors believe. Carbohydrates, namely Flour and Sugar make us fat. When we stop eating meat, we fill in the void with breads and sugary foods (even if low fat - they are FATENING!). The human body craves 3 tastes: sugar, fat, and salt. The government has condemned fat, but now low fat foods have TONS of sugar. Westerners are the fattest we have been in human history. Fat does not make us fat. Carbs make us fat. It all has to do with insulin and blood sugar.
I will add one caveat to this - we are now learning about the Omega 3, Omega 6 balance. Cows that are fed corn, and farm raised fish are low in Omega 3, and high in Omega 6. Both are essential fatty acids, but the ratio of the two can affect our hormones and in turn, our fat. It is now healthier to eat grass fed, pasture raised beef than it is to eat farm raised Salmon.
Anyway, I am so grateful to find this page. I am 42 and have been a vegetarian for about 25 years. I started eating a little fish (maybe once a month) about 10 years ago... but it isn't enough. I am tired all the time. I am about 25-30 lbs overweight. I suffer from anemia, vitamen D deficiency and I have a really hard time controlling my blood sugar. I get dizzy when I stand up and if I don't eat every few hours, I get headaches, feel nauseous, and get cranky.
I am a vegetarian because ethically, thought of eating meat makes me sick. I don't know if I can get over it. Luckily I have wonderful farmers' markets nearby and can get grass-fed, humanely raised meat.
I'm sure I will struggle with this for a long time to come, but I'm glad I'm not alone here.
Jo Marbles on June 11, 2012:
I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian when I was 15 just to try it out and I lost ALOT of weight because of this so I've stuck with it for the next 2 years. Because of sibling abuse I have constant weight issues and I feel if I started eating meat I will "become fat" again. I know in an adolescent girl's life her body changes drastically so maybe I lost the weight from just puberty, but I am unsure. I have no guilt eating meat for cruelty reasons but my question is: does meat in general make you gain weight? How can I cope with this?
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 05, 2012:
brittney - The hardest food decisions are the ones we have no control over. I'm sorry that your food allergies have given you so little choice.
It's not silly to ask the animals to understand. And I'm sure they do. Nature's way is a circle. Animals eat each other in order to survive. We are part of that circle as well.
I've seen hunters in shows and movies thank the animal for its sacrifice to sustain another life before eating, kind of like a prayer. Maybe doing something like that would help you to feel better about it.
A lot of grocery stores are staring to carry gluten free foods now. Hopefully you can find some food choices that keep you healthy and feeling good.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 05, 2012:
diastea - It is hard to eat meat at first. With all the guilt and nervousness, it can cause digestive problems. But it gets easier with time. And most people feel much better in the long run.
Sadly, it does come down to a choice, hold on to a conviction that is making you sick or eat meat and not have so many health problems.
I had low vitamin D and may feet would go numb a lot also. It doesn't happen nearly as much since I started eating a bit of meat. Dairy and tomatoes and a lot of citrus foods can cause acid reflux, so that is probably cutting into what you can eat.
I hope you find a solution that makes you feel healthier and that you can work through the guilt and fear. Hopefully, you will feel better soon.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 05, 2012:
Stella - You bring up some good points. Vitamin supplements and tweaking diets do help many people. I just don't think it is so cut and dry in every case.
I felt so tired and drained all the time being a vegetarian. And I started having other health problems related to diet like blood sugar. Then I started developing food allergies, which really narrowed what I could eat. Eating just a little bit of meat when I felt like it really helped me out tremendously. I have more food options and I feel better than I have since I was a kid.
You are right. Vegetarians and vegans aren't the only ones lacking in vitamins. And supplements will take care of health problems for some people. But the body absorbs vitamins and minerals from natural sources in food better than pills.
Poor dietary planning can be the cause of some vegetarians having health problems. Eating mainly breads and carbs will run down the body quickly. But I don't think that is the problem for everyone who is unhealthy on a vegetarian diet.
Mental health can affect physical health. If you are feeling guilty over your food choices, it can make your body sick and cause poor digestion. I think that is the main reason people who start eating meat again have digestion problems.
But poor eating (not getting enough of what is needed) will run down the body which can poison the spirit as well. So I think it is better to have a bit more flexibility with your diet and to feel good rather than eat in a way that makes you sick because of an ideal.
But in general, you bring up some things to think about. Before going back to meat, people should try tweaking their diets and adding supplements because that will work in some cases. Thank you for sharing your opinion in such a pleasant manner. Your advice will be helpful to a lot of people.
brittney on June 04, 2012:
i have been a vegetarian for 3 years and i recently found out that i'm gluten intolerant and have a dairy allergy so i'm struggling to eat because there is really nothing or no way i can have a healthy lifestyle so i'm thinking about eating meats again because i don't want to die over something i could have changed. I can't help but cry because my health is making the decision not me and it is so hard because i changed my lifestyle for the animals I know this might sound silly but I hope the animals understand that MY life is at stake because I keep developing more health problems.
diastea on May 30, 2012:
I became a vegie when I was 13 I am now 34 and have a health issues like low iron and vitmin D levels, which cause muscle cramps, circulation problems and acid reflux, and anxiety due to not knowing why I feel ill. My throat is always sore but not always due to infections and I have been told after all these years that it is due to being a vegie why I have the things wrong with me that I do. So now I am trhinking about reintroducing meat back into my diet, but I am terrified of doing so, as I feel guilty as well as scared, about what it will do to my body, But surely it can't be a bad as legs arms and other parts of my body going numb???
Stella on May 21, 2012:
sweetie, also, did you planned your meals corectly, I think that's the reason you've had health declining problems^^. I'll tell you sthg, I've being anemic while I still was a meat-eater ( well, a light one maybe, no red-meat or such but still, then at 22 I became vegetarian then a year after a vegan, I've had some weakness when I didn't plan my meals well and didn't eat whole cereals and nuts, almonds, seeds.... then when I started eat those, now all is great, that was the problem for me I realized it by comparing the necessary foods in the vegetarian diet and what of those foods I've been passing on and it's done. I think by doing that you'll be totally incredibly healthy and you won't have to give up your convictions ( believe me they are linked to your health, it's not one over the other you're choosing, preserve animal wellfare concerns won't drive you sick or weak).
Stella on May 21, 2012:
sweetie, have you considered taking supplements? Cause really they can be of much help you know, then you can still be vegan and have the actual must-be defficiencies blown off. I don't know why some people never actually consider supplements while a great bunch of omnivorous are taking them constantly ( my grand-mother was an omnivorous, but consumed those on a regular basis, they always helped her maintain optimal health, so I think it's something you should consider taking if you're actually lacking sthg,for me it's the only option actually, cause I would never have been able to go back on what I think is right and start consuming dairies for instance, I'll go for supplements to cover up my deficiencies if I meet some).
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 10, 2012:
Anne - There are definitely some places in the world that are not vegetarian friendly. It is smart that you have decided to eat meat so that you want start while you are traveling. More and more people are finding that a flexitarian diet suits their lifestyle more than a strict diet that is hard to maintain. And I agree about bacon. The texture doesn't bother me because it is thin and crunchy and it tastes good.
Anne on May 06, 2012:
I was a successful and healthy vegetarian for 13 years. I just had bacon. I am planning on traveling to Korea next year and have been informed that being a vegetarian there is next to impossible, so I've decided I will become a "flexitarian".
ANYWAYS my advice - start with bacon. It a salty crunchy wonder.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 01, 2012:
David Jacob - If you are having feverish symptoms, I would lean more towards a cold or maybe a sinus infection. Typically eating something that your body can't handle would lead to more gastrointestinal problems. The only way that I can think of that eating the chicken would cause fever/sneezing issues is if you are actually allergic to the chicken.
It's sad to move on to a new lifestyle, even if it is bittersweet. Hopefully, the symptoms will clear up and you can get your health back on track.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 01, 2012:
Vegetarianism Ruins Lives - It sounds like this has become an extremely testy issue between you and your husband. You both are very committed to your own side. Maybe if you just take the issue off the table for awhile, your husband might let down his guard a bit. It sounds like he has his defenses up. Then maybe in a few weeks or a couple of months or something, you could find a neutral person or someone he thinks of as being on "his side" to mention health concerns to him. Would his cousin be willing to talk to him about it or mention some ways to improve his health?
You could also come up with ways to compromise on the issue. If you are worried about his health, have you looked into vitamins for him? Would he be willing to take some or drink protein shakes? Would he be interested in eating just fish or just chicken? Does he eat dairy? Would you be okay with him staying a vegetarian if the two of you found ways to boost his energy levels? What if he does some of the cooking or you find a way to make his meals less of a burden for you?
Aside from the vegetarian issue, it sounds like your relationship is in rocky terrain right now. The best advice I can give is to read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. My husband and I read it early on in our marriage and the advice has helped us tremendously over the years.
Something that is mentioned in the book is that pouring love on your partner can often be the best way to get love back in return. Sometimes things can turn into downward spirals. You have to shoulder more responsibility and lack the time to cook for him, he feels unappreciated and then doesn't feel very physically affectionate towards you, you begin feeling unattracted to him, and so on until you grow farther and farther apart. You could try to reverse the spiral a bit by making time to show him you care. Maybe make him a special dinner, vegetarian but packed with lots of high energy, high protein foods. Feeling loved and appreciated might give his libido and self-esteem a boost. Then you will feel appreciated and loved in return.
These are all just little things that may or may not help. Have you considered seeing a counselor or some neutral party to discuss your relationship issues? Sometimes just having someone outside of the relationship to mediate can make a big difference. Hope you can work out the problems and find a way to take care of your husband's health.
David Jacob on April 30, 2012:
About 5 weeks ago, I posted here. I ended up trying fish, and it helped me a little. Yesterday for lunch, I made the big leap and had some chicken for the first time in 20 years. I cooked it at home. It was free roaming and antibiotic free and tasted pretty good. I'm not having any ethical or major psychological issues other than a little sadness at having given up vegetarianism, which was a huge part of my identity. As for physical results, I definitely felt much less hungry and much less likely to overeat carbs for the rest of the day yesterday. But I am having some feverish symptoms. Not sure if this has something to do with the chicken or if I just have a bad cold. I've been having seasonal allergy symptoms for a few weeks and was sneezing like crazy this morning. Not having gastrointestinal symptoms.
Vegetarianism Ruins Lives on April 29, 2012:
My husband and I have been married for 9 years and he has been a vegetarian for 7 years now after his close cousin went vegan (he is no longer a vegan himself and started eating fish again), but my husband is still "sold" on vegetarianism being "the best and healthiest way of life." Chah right! In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth! I even tried it in the beginning and my health went downhill so fast it wasn;t even funny. I gained 30lbs and developed thyroid problems, an iron deficiency and had NO ENERGY WHATSOEVER! I went to a homeopath and he told me just by looking at me that I lacked iron and needed a good quality animal protein source. He showed my many truths about the vegan/vegetarian diets and "prescribed" me meat, eggs, butter and green veggies for two weeks.. Well, needless to say my color came back, I felt like I was alive again and have never returned to a veg diet and I am also very adamant about my children being raised with eating meat due to what a veg diet did to me personally.
Firstly, since my husband going and staying "veg" it is hell preparing meals for our family of 7. I got to a point that I just stopped cooking for him and he expressed he felt "neglected" and "unappreciated." It was just SO MUCH day in and day out making two separate meals for basically two households (one vegetarian/one not). Frankly, I feel it's selfish of HIM to think we should accommodate his unhealthy/hard to prepare diet all the time.
Furthermore, his health has been declining over the years although he vehemently refuses to see it.
Also, he is definitely what you call "skinny fat" and has virtually no energy EVER.. He has zero muscle tone (I'm actually losing all attraction to him as I sadly feel he's become a weak, scrawny little wussy man... and I HATE thinking that ;-(, could not exercise to save his life because of having no energy, has no ambition to do anything better with himself career wise and we are now on food stamps again with the possibility of being homeless since he won't even attempt jobs where he would have to exert any real energy either physically, mentally, or both (probably again because he has no energy due to his "healthy veg diet").
Our sex life has diminished to maybe once every 3-4 months (right now it's been 8 months) if I'm lucky and the sex is horrible because he has no energy to do much of anything "spicy" in bed. He actually thinks my sex drive is "too high" (like I'm a nasty freak or something... he gives me these repulsed looks when I bring it up) because I would like to make love a few times a month for intimacy/bonding purposes.
I feel totally "stuck" in so many ways and am bitter at him for ruining his health and refusing to even entertain the "idea" that his veg diet just MIGHT be the cause for at least some of his health problems?! I have brought him numerous scientific studies and articles written by health professionals PROVING that a veg diet is NOT a healthy way of life.
Not only that, but I've sent him links and told him about blogs various people have written that used to be vegetarians or vegans who have now gone back to eating meat because their diet had ruined their health and he refuses to even take a look or entertain the idea I might be right. I try and try to explain that it's not about me being right or him being wrong.... it's about his long-term HEALTH for crying out loud.
I can honestly say that vegetarianism is ruining our marriage in so many ways (lack of energy, sex, drive, intimacy, shared meals, beliefs, etc). I wish to God he had never been convinced by his cousin to go vegetarian. It is the worst decision he's ever made and I believe he is literally killing himself slowly.
What can I do to convince him to at least get tested by a doctor? I know he has to have deficiencies like iron, zinc, testosterone, etc. Also, we have a vegan friend who was a militant vegan for many years and their children are so weak and puny, it's horrible! Well, she was just diagnosed with all kinds of diseases, even lupus and her health has been declining for the last year continuously (she's been vegan for 5 years I believe).
I am very scared that if my husband continues this veg diet that I may have an incapacitated husband in a few years or no husband at all?!
ANY Advice will be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 26, 2012:
Sydnee - The psychological side is the hardest part to deal with. It can affect the physical part. If you are anxious about eating something, it can upset your digestion.
The feeling of not getting enough nutrients and carb overload will likely get worse as you get older, so now is definitely the time to do something about it. If you don't have the time to prepare your own meals, it can be very difficult to be a vegetarian and maintain good health. Life on the go can be a strain for vegetarians.
I don't really like fish much either, but I found a site that has cooking suggestions that might help you. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/495012. Hope those help you to find a recipe you like. Good luck and hope you get your energy back.
Sydnee on April 22, 2012:
Thanks so much for this article :) It's nice to read about the psychological side too - that's the part that I've been worrying about. I've been a vegetarian for about a year now, and I'm in college and have two jobs. It's hard to find the time to fit in a good, fufilling vegetarian diet when I'm so busy. A friend of mine, who's older, told me that eating meat when I'm young is good for my brain and for my body. And I agree, I know that I'm not getting near enough nutrients as I should be getting, and I've gained a bit from all of the carbs I've been eating. Thank you, again, for such wonderful advice! Also, I'm not a seafood eater - never really have been - but I know that wild Salmon is super good for you. Do you know of a certain way to cook it to make it not taste so fishy?? Thanks again! So much! :)
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 16, 2012:
katiejo911 - Canned meats do have a smoother texture. That might be a good idea for people who don't like the feel and texture of meat.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 16, 2012:
Ali1975 - Eating too many carbs is a common problem for many vegetarians. So many vegetables and fruits and even dairy turn to sugar quickly in the body as well. And they can lead to weight gain. I recently watched a documentary called "Fathead" that someone had suggested. It definitely raised some questions in my mind about how healthy vegetarian diets actually are. It might be a helpful movie in your case.
Digestive enzymes definitely help when you first start eating meat again. The queasy, iffy feeling eventually subsides as you get more used to eating it again. I think a lot of that feeling has more to do with the mental part of it. When I first ate meat, I was so nervous about it, the anxiety made my stomach upset, not the meat.
Hope the diet changes make you feel better!
katiejo911 from Mouskin, Texas on April 16, 2012:
You should consider eating Meat Lite, it's like Spam only not so good.
Ali1975 on April 14, 2012:
I've been vegetarian for 23 years. I became vegetarian for ethical reasons and thought it would make me healthier. 22 years later I found myself 6 stone overweight. I've since lost 3 of them and as I get healthier, stronger and wiser (from all the fitness research I do) I'm quickly coming to the realisation that I need to eat meat again in order to increase my protein and reduce my carb intake. I've just had my first taste of chicken again and it went down okay, tummy was a little iffy afterwards but thanks to this post I now know to look for digestive enzymes to help with the digestion. Thanks for the info, it was a huge help :)
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 05, 2012:
Kitty Kat - Food allergies can make eating difficult even for non-vegetarians. So being a vegetarian and having so many foods eliminated is definitely a struggle. It seems like you are handling it with grace and a good attitude.
Eating meat again the first time is typically the hardest. You've gotten over that hill, so hopefully the rest of the way won't be as tough.
Good luck with finding foods your body can tolerate. Hopefully your allergies will improve as your diet changes. Your blood sugar issues will probably improve as you eat more protein as well.
Kitty Kat on April 03, 2012:
Thank you for posting this. I have been a vegetarian for nine years and because of a multitude of food allergies will have to switch over to eating fish and possibly beef (oddly enough, I tested positive for an allergy to lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey, so those are out). I have been an emotional wreck over this, feeling like a failure, and hating the fact that I have to eat animals to survive now. (The food allergies and blood sugar problems literally make it impossible for me to get enough protein sources that I can rotate them to avoid getting more food allergies.) I am finding this hub really helpful though. I ate some shrimp disguised in some noodles and broccoli today. I had a hard time looking at the shrimp, and had to wrap them in the noodles and tell myself that the crunching sensation was just the broccoli I was biting into, but I managed it. I don't really know how I feel about it, but I am going to take this one day at a time. Thank you again for posting this. I feel it will give me some strength and guidelines in getting past the issues of eating meat again.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 02, 2012:
nikki - You are welcome. The first hill is usually the toughest part for everyone. Then it gets easier, especially for those whose health starts to improve.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 02, 2012:
Cassie - Thanks for the tip about the spinach. I am not a fan of preservatives. It seems like so many of our foods are full of them these days. Organic foods (including meat) is typically free of them, so that is the way I go when I can.
It seems like you are very diplomatic in your approach to people who don't agree with you. I've never had a angry meat eater, but I have had inquisitive meat eaters who have asked me a lot of questions.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 02, 2012:
Unhealthy - Have you tried boiled eggs? I prefer their texture over any other type.
You could try mixing eggs into something else so that they are disguised. Some casseroles are good with eggs. Fried rice is also good with egg and you typically hardly notice it is in there. Quiche and egg drop soup are other ways to disguise the texture of eggs. Hope that helps.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 02, 2012:
Veg - Wow. It sounds like you had a very bad reaction if it has been going on for a month. Maybe you were allergic to something you ate since you have had problems with allergies before. Or maybe you irritated your digestive tract by eating something it wasn't used to.
But you definitely gave some good advice. If you decided to eat meat again, do it slowly to give your body time to adjust.
Hope the doctors can figure out what is causing your problems.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 02, 2012:
Allison Dubya - You are welcome! Good luck with the baby and new possibilities.
nikki on April 02, 2012:
I recently decided to start eating meat again it has been 6 years now but I am having the hardest time getting over the first hill I quit eating meat for etichal reasons but since have had bad health problems , reading this has helped a lot thank you
Cassie on April 02, 2012:
Aye, a ploughman's is delicious (salad, tomatoes, quality Cheddar and pickle, can't go wrong), all the right food groups. Not sure its totally healthy, but much better than a bacon butty.
I totally forgot one of my favourite healthy eating tips, for vegetarians and meat eaters alike; frozen spinach. Yes its not as amazing as the fresh stuff, but its dead cheap, and when you're cooking pasta or curry or whatever you can throw a couple of lumps in. Easy way to put some more iron in your diet. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that meat will (usually) add a lot more salt into your diet, as well as preservatives, so one should try to offset this as much as one could.
I've definitely had a few angry meat eaters give me strife over the years, I think a few people hear you're vegetarian and assume you're gagging for an argument, but that's fine, most people are lovely about it and go out of their way to help accommodate me. The angry ones get a polite explanation of the reasons and evidence behind it.
Unhealthy on April 02, 2012:
I've been a vegetarian my whole life due to religious reasons but now I'm in med school and I don't have the energy to keep up with ANYTHING! I'm not anemic..all my levels are in check but I'm always tired and that's probably due to lack of protein. I have a very high carb intake as well. I want to start eating eggs slowly but just cannot get used to the texture. Anyone out there with the same problem? Any suggestions on how I should start eating egg?
Veg on April 02, 2012:
I'm not looking into how to stop being a vegetarian personally. I was a vegetarian for 5 years and became pescetarian 2 years ago, eating fish ocassionally because some food allergies forced me to; I became allergic to most protein except one or two kinds of fish, because of a pill allergy that even had me allergic to the sun (never going to the psych again!) and I was actually now in the process of going back to a fully veg diet, since that sensitivity is wearing off. But my boyfriend decided it would be a good idea to have a barbecue when we went to a cabin in the countryside/beach. I said ok, just one time, why not? If nobody else knows then I won't have to eat meat ever again. I did it for ethical reasons, but I loved meat as a teenager. But I had awful problems digesting that, awful problems that CONTINUE even though it's been over a month now. Whenever I eat anything other than rice my stomach is like STOOOOOOOOOOOP. Please be careful with how you start eating meat again!! Now I'll have to go to the doctor to solve whatever issue this all caused
Allison Dubya on April 01, 2012:
Cocopreme, Thank you so much! It was very kind and thoughtful of you to respond back. :-) It helps to know there are people out there who understand and have your back. You gave a lot of great advice; I think I might just give it a try, and like you say, if it's not for me, then I could always go back. Thank you so much! You are an angel! :-)
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 01, 2012:
Allison Dubya - What you are feeling is very normal. Many long term vegans/vegetarians have decided to start eating meat a bit again. There have been several other pregnant women who have decided to try incorporating meat back into their diet as well.
As far as your husband's stomach issues go, I can think of a few things it could be. Eating a lot of fruit and veggies can sometimes be hard on the digestive tract because they produce gas as they are broken down. Raw fruits and veggies can be especially hard on the stomach because the body has to work harder to break them down.
He may have a food allergy. Gluten and milk are common allergies, but so are soy and nut allergies. If you are eating a lot of soy or something else he is allergic to, that may be what is hurting his stomach.
If you are feeling indecisive about it, take some more time to weigh the options. Make a pros and cons list. If you are feeling up to it, try a bite and see if it is something you can handle.
And like you said, it doesn't have to be an everyday thing. If you are a great vegan cook, you could just eat meat when you are eating somewhere else. It may be enough to give your diet a bit of variety. Or it may be something you only want to do when you are pregnant.
It's okay to try it and then go back to being a vegan if you find it isn't right for you. It's good that your husband is thinking about it as well. The two of you can talk about it and help each other with the process.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 01, 2012:
Eggie12 - If you are already having trouble with being a vegetarian, it may not be the right diet for you. Most people feel really good when they first become vegetarians. Or it may be that your system is really sensitive to changes.
Going back to your old diet and just slowly cutting back on meat may be a solution. That way you aren't eating as much meat, but are getting what your body needs too. I don't know your reasons for becoming a vegetarian, but eating less meat than before could be a compromise for you.
You are right. We all have freedom to choose our diets and other people's opinions shouldn't keep us from eating the way we want and need. Hope your stomach problems get cleared up.
Allison Dubya on April 01, 2012:
Hi! First of all, I wanted to say thank you for this article! Here's my thing: I feel so conflicted...
I've been a vegetarian, mostly vegan for the past 5 years with occasional (but increasingly more frequent) dairy and eggs, mostly when we're out and about in the world, although I can't eat an undisguised egg, like scrambled or whatever, or drink a glass of milk.... uhhh... the thought just makes me shudder. Mostly we'll eat cheese on things or will eat baked goods that we know probably has an egg in it. My cooking and baking at home is all vegan, and I love vegan food, and I am happy with what we eat. I love that I am well-versed in making dietary accommodations for neighbors and friends who have allergies; it makes me feel proud and helpful.
I have never had any health problems per say as a veggie, but I can't really say that my health has improved at all. I lost a little bit of weight at first, but since then my weight has steadily risen to much larger than I have ever been. My Hubby went veg with me, but he has been battling with stomach issues for the past few years. For a while I was convinced that he had a gluten allergy, so we went gluten free for several months, then I thought maybe he is lactose intolerant, but idk. I never ever EVER thought I would think about going back to eating meat in a million years; I am veg for ethical reasons. But I'm 9 weeks pregnant with our first child, and all of the sudden, it's not like I'm craving meat or anything, but I just feel like I'm not sure if I want to continue being a full time veg. Like I feel like it wouldn't be a big deal if we ate meat while at my parents house or had some ethically raised meat every once in a while. I don't know why I suddenly have these feelings and I feel so conflicted. I feel like it might be a better choice for my family, but I just feel so weird about it. I don't know whether to take action or not. I told my husband how I feel and at first he was shocked and blamed my pregnancy hormones, but then he started thinking about it himself and the other day he ate a bite of my sister's chicken. He said it was really weird and almost didn't swallow it, but that it tasted good and didn't make his stomach hurt or anything. I don't know. I feel like my whole world flipped on it's head and I haven't even done anything about it yet... weird?
Eggie12 on March 31, 2012:
Hey there, I haven't been a vegetarian for very long, probably only just over a month now but I have had troubles. My body was so use to meat that when I turned to becoming a vegetarian for my own reason it made my whole system screw up. I do feel horrible for coming down to the conclusion that I need to add meat in but it is possible because I know that it will help with my stomach issues. I know it may be hard for some people but if you have a reason for going back to meat it shouldn't be too hard. It is your choice and what anyone else says should never matter.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 29, 2012:
Cassie - Actually that comment wasn't directed at you at all. You gave your opinion, but weren't hostile or derogatory about it, which is absolutely fine.
The comment was not directed toward vegans as a whole. I was directing the comment to just the small portion of vegans who are antagonistic toward any other diet choice. The angry vegans are the ones who don't say much besides name calling and assuming that their lifestyle is the only way to go. In this case, it was someone who had commented after you.
I have never had an angry meat eater post telling people that being a vegetarian is stupid. So it makes me very disappointed that people (a certain set of vegans) who are claiming to have the moral high ground act so terribly toward other people.
Many of the people who visit this article appreciate ideas that could help them stay vegetarian. So tips and ideas are welcome as long as everyone remembers the sentiment you expressed, "each to his own."
We don't really have anything like a ploughman's bap here. It looks a lot healthier than the vegetarian options at most places in the States.
Cassie on March 28, 2012:
I'm not actually morally opposed to people eating meat for health reasons if that's really what they have to do at all. And in terms of other meat eaters, I disagree naturally, but each to their own, I'm friends with lots of meat eaters etc.
I say the things I do purely because I feel it is important to also stick up for vegetarianism as a diet, because I genuinely think it's important. I'm sorry if you thought I was an 'angry vegan', I am neither of those things, but I merely felt that you article had slightly under played other possible causes of the symptoms you discussed, which is understandable considering that's essentially the opposite if what you were talking about.
I appreciate that vegetarianism may be difficult in America, I live in Yorkshire, which is kind of provincial and northern, but I am lucky to always be able to pick up a ploughman's bap.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 22, 2012:
David Jacob - Most of them do seem to be young. The latest angry post was from an 18 year old. I don't think wisdom can only be known by experience, but sometimes you don't really understand something until you have lived through it.
In general, young people can eat however they want with fewer consequences than older people. It is years and decades of eating the wrong thing or not getting enough of other things that eventually wear on the body. Youthful perspectives on diet typically don't incorporate the knowledge of what happens when the body is no longer at prime.
I admire people who are passionate and on fire about what they believe in. Those are the sort of people who make changes in the world. If only we could combine the vigor of youth with the wisdom of age, oh, what we could all accomplish.
I am glad to hear from people who are successfully living vegan and vegetarian lives. I like to hear their tips and I try lots of them.
I also hope that the angry vegans will mellow out as they get older. And, like you said, there are tons of model vegans whose example they can follow. If you firmly believe that your way of life is best, then share your passion with others. Just do it in a way that is respectful of others and takes into account that life isn't black and white.
David Jacob on March 22, 2012:
I've noticed that most of the angry vegans who are commenting are young or seem very young.
I was a firebrand when I was in my late teens as well. About vegetarianism, the environment, and other things. Hopefully, these angry vegans will, as they get older, learn tact, patience, and appreciation for other points of view, even if they remain die-hard vegans.
I know plenty of vegans & vegetarians like "livelonger", who don't compromise on their principles, but still treat others with respect.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 21, 2012:
livelonger - I really appreciate that!
I guess I should clarify that I wasn't addressing the previous comment to all vegans. Just the ones who seem to be fond of leaving hateful comments to others here.
The comment was for the militant vegans who accept no lifestyle other than their own.
You are so right. People should be free to pick a diet that works for them and other people shouldn't disrespect them for that choice. I think people who do well on vegetarian or vegan diets should definitely continue to do it.
Jason Menayan from San Francisco on March 21, 2012:
Just want to say I'm a vegetarian and don't judge. :) People are different, and should be able to pick a diet that suits them and their unique constitution. Some do better with meat, some do better with only veggies, some can eat sugar all day long and stay healthy, some pack on the lbs if they even look at sweet food, some need to low carb, some need to do low fat, etc.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 21, 2012:
Sam - It's kind of a shame that I have encountered some of the most mean-spirited, arrogant, and uncompassionate people through this article. And every single one of them have been vegans who claim they are leading the only acceptable kind of lifestyle.
They attack other people who are struggling with health problems. They accuse and judge people of all sorts of things from laziness to stupidity simple because the people have decided not to keep being vegetarians.
What strikes me more than anything is how veganism/vegetarianism is regarded in an almost cult-like way with the attackers. They are treating people who go back to meat like deserters, or worse, traitors.
If veganism is a lifestyle, I don't want to be a part of your way. It seems to make the most stringent observers cranky. Not only that, but fellow human beings are treated with less regard than trees let alone animals. Anger seems to be the only way they can handle people who don't eat like them. Any dissenting opinions, in their minds, are obviously wrong and any studies showing possible drawbacks of vegetarianism are fairy tales and people who are healthier eating meat are simply lying.
What these vegans fail to see is they are shooting down their own supporters. No one here is saying vegetarianism is bad. In fact, 98% of people are clinging to vegetarianism over their own health. Most are only giving it up as a last resort because they don't want to end up in the hospital.
Not only that, but most of the people here are more environmentally aware and health conscious than the average meat eater. So really all you are doing is attacking your allies who fought with you in the war, fellow veterans of vegetarianism, with propaganda and slander when you should offer support during their crisis. Who knows?--maybe your health will turn on you one day and you will find yourself with the same choice.
Maybe instead of the bullying from people who don't agree with eating meat, we could have a bit of patience and concern. You don't have to agree with everyone else's choices by any means. But how about listening before you attack. How about looking at the evidence and giving your opinions with kindness.
Attacks and abuse solve nothing. If you have tips to offer people to help them stay vegetarians, give them in a helpful way. A dialogue between intelligent human beings is the best way to make breakthroughs and find solutions. Otherwise, you are showing your own ignorance and anything of value you may have to say will just get tossed out with the rest of the garbage you are spewing.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 21, 2012:
VeggieGirl – I had a lot of the same struggles in my head when I was contemplating eating meat again. Can I? Should I? Am I compromising myself? Or am I putting more significance on it than it really deserves? I’ll write some of the things I thought about when I was making my decision.
You want my religious perspective, so here goes. Religiously, it is mainly eastern philosophies that think eating meat is immoral. And that is because they believe in reincarnation. Neither Christianity nor Judaism have a problem with eating meat. People may give it up during periods of fasting, but eating meat isn’t considered taboo.
After the flood humans were given permission to eat animals. God said that it is okay. He didn’t say, “Well, if you really have to, I guess you can.” He said I give them to you for food. The animals he created eat one another. He doesn’t have a problem with that. Was that the ideal? Maybe not, but this isn’t the Garden of Eden anymore. If you want to shoot for the ideal, that’s admirable, but realize that in lots of ways, we are going to fall short. I was unhealthy and tired all the time and fighting for an impossible ideal.
Jesus ate meat. Not in huge quantities and maybe not even on a daily basis. But he did eat it. If he is the ideal, then why am I worried? Why am I holding myself to a different standard?
I’m sure the modern diet of processed foods and horrible factories are definitely not the way it should be. Humans are supposed to be caretakers for the world. Mistreating animals is not the ideal.
I think there is a plan for animals in the next life. There will be a new earth, a new redeemed creation. I think that includes the creatures from this life. Sadly, death is a part of this life. And we are going to bring death to creatures even if it is only the bugs we step on or the plants we eat. The point isn’t to grasp at the impossible and not kill anything. The point is to respect the animals (and plants) for their sacrifice, eat what we need and not overindulge, and be good stewards of creation, which may mean deciding when an animal’s time has come.
So practically, eating local, organic meat is biblically sound. Actually going through with it is another story. Remember that it doesn’t take huge quantities of meat to be healthy. Even meat once or twice a week will be enough.
And, honestly, if you are doing okay on a vegetarian diet, you don’t have to change just because your husband and kids are. Being a vegetarian does work for some people. But if you do want to go through with eating meat, slow steps are fine. Find something you want to eat. Don’t worry about whether it is the healthiest type of meat. In the beginning it is more about getting comfortable with it rather than trying to eat the most nutritious stuff. If a greasy hamburger sounds appealing, go for that. Later down the road if eating meat is working for you, then concentrate on eating the right kinds of stuff.
Cooking meat is harder than eating it for me. In the beginning of this transition, you might think about cooking meats than don’t look as gross. Precooked stuff won’t hurt for this first leg of the journey. Then build up a tolerance.
I hope I have given you something that helps you. It is a tough, tough decision and I’m sorry to say, there are probably going to be feelings of guilt and ethical questioning for a long time. But just weigh the pros and cons and do what’s best for you and the health of your family. I’m glad this article has helped you and good luck with your choice.