Why I started eating meat after 21 years as a vegetarian

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I was six years old, sitting at the kitchen table, his feet dangling above the floor linoleum. My mother was preparing dinner, her back to me. I watched as she lifted a thick, shiny slab of raw meat packaging styrofoam, dark redness and wrinkled edges catching white fluorescent lights.

“What’s made of meat?” I asked.

There was a brief pause before answering. “Cow meat.”

Not satisfied, I insisted, “What is made of beef?”

A longer pause this time. Then, with a sigh, “cow”.

is where memory fades, but I imagine that at this time turned to see blue eyes protruding from his face. He probably tried to explain the cycle of life and also probably knew he would not mind.

had recently declared me in my last cycle ever-changing career goals: activist animal rights. He had learned that people sometimes did terrible cruel experiments on animals in laboratories, and others sometimes slipped into the night and broke them. I did not see how he could rescue chimps and then go home and eat cow.

who had no idea who had been eating the cows all the time, or even that the “chicken” in “chicken nuggets” was the same as that of animals who knew said “cluck cluck. ” I told my mother I would not be eating meat that night -. or never

As I got older and my career goals shifted to golf less illegal and more lucrative than “savior chimpanzee” (finally landing a writer), my thoughts about vegetarianism evolved, but I I stayed with him for 21 years. My mother could have pushed back a little more if I had known that she would be making separate dinners for years, but would not have made a difference. my mind was set. Later, when I learned about factory farming and hormone injections, which was rejected and I knew I had made the right decision.

By the time he was a young adult, who had lost much of the conviction fire he had when he was a child and teenager. But I had been a vegetarian for almost two decades; it was just my way of eating. The idea of ​​trying to chew through sinewy, tough meat made me gag. If you accidentally take a bite of some meat on it, I spit panic and disgust, like when a sip of milk is taken and then realize that it is in poor condition. He had rewired my brain does not recognize the meat as food.

Many people tried to convince me that was malnourished. First was the insistent mother of a childhood friend, who tried to make me eat meat every time I stayed for dinner. All the doctors who saw took a look at my skinny arms and white skin, and before the word “vegetarian” was totally out of my mouth, decided that I should be underweight and anemia. They lecture me on the BMI and the amount of kilojoules needed to be healthy.

They seemed not to listen to explain that I like to eat – a lot. I live for Mexican food, as much cheese and sour cream as possible, and my favorite dish to cook baked ziti is. And more than enough as dark green leafy vegetables to satisfy my need for iron.

When the test results come back showing every time I was nowhere near anemia (which, in any case, my lipid levels and cholesterol levels were a little high), I would feel vindicated in my health .

The betrayal of my body

Over time, it became less and less sure of himself, for my raincoat health. In my mid-20s I began to experience a heavy and unbearable fatigue that I knew it was something more than the aging of my years at the University of go-all night. I started having problems with frequent and severe joints. He had bursitis in the hip that made me limp for over a year. I had tendinitis so bad that I thought my wrist was broken. An ankle sprain more than five years before it had pressed out of the mold.

Since I knew gluten could be potentially inflammatory, I thought I cut out of my diet. But the idea of ​​being a vegetarian and was not attractive gluten free; it is often difficult enough to find a decent vegetarian choice when eating out, and usually is the pasta. If I was going to cut the gluten, I thought, I’ll have to incorporate some meat back into my diet. I did not do it.

Then, last year, at 27, I got shingles. More than half of all shingles patients are older than 60 years, according to the CDC. , Healthy young men almost never get shingles – my doctor told me I was the youngest patient I had ever seen -. but young people with compromised immune systems can

I was worried that something serious was going on, but my doctor shook me. When I pushed further, reminding the joint problems they had, they literally shrugged. Frustrated, I found a new doctor. I have the same anemia conference had heard a million times, trying to keep my eyes roll. The more willing to perform extensive testing, this new doctor did not offer concrete answers (or dispel my fears). But he told me joint pain is most common between the two groups: overweight and underweight. He suggested that my joints could not have as much padding as needed so they could be more susceptible to injury.

I began to wonder if maybe the problem was not too much gluten, but not enough of something else. My husband, who used to be a professional chef and pays more attention to nutrition than anyone I’ve known, also noted that even if I am getting enough protein, iron and fat grains, green leafy vegetables, avocado, and are there some nutrients in meat, such as B12, which are not found in plant foods.

Taking the step

I took off my new eating habits omnivores treating bone broth, which is praised for its anti-inflammatory properties and is believed (though not proven ) to support joint health. The first sip made me gag. I tried holding the nose and snorting a few sips, treating it as a medicine. Over time I cooked some brown rice in broth, throwing in plenty of garlic and cayenne. I ate a little at a time so as not to overwhelm my system. And when we went through a field of cows on our way to visit my mother, I averted my eyes to avoid meeting her large, expressive eyes.

Eventually, I worked my way up bolognese sauce – like broth, my first gut reaction was one of disgust, but after the first few bites started to really like him. I was excited about all the options Italian food I’ve ever jumped over the menus.

In the past, I have learned to set limits on my personal relationships in how much they can do for others, so you can take care of me before I have nothing to give. Now, I’m trying to ease my conscience animal lover by translating the same self-care of my relationship with animals. I can still admire and want to be treated fairly by taking what I need to survive as a strong, healthy man.

black try to maintain the principles that led me first to stop eating meat and less white version, avoiding anything that comes from a factory farm or may have been injected with hormones. It is a continuous process – both emotionally and physically -., but in general, I feel stronger and healthier, and I’m learning to accept my place at the top of the food chain guilt free


the Why I started eating meat after 21 years as a vegetarian first appeared in Daily Juice .

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