This new path I’m walking down looks a little less weird everyday. I see my past life fading away and things feel easier, a little more “normal”. My husband doesn’t look at me funny when I make turkey or chicken for dinner. Also, my laptop of 8 years died, the one I wrote all of my books on, so it feels as though literally everything is new. I’m here for the fresh life start.
As I wade through this new way of eating, I wanted to share a post to help others going through a similar situation. At first, I wasn’t sure how to start eating animal foods besides fish. I actually forgot what I used to eat before my life of beans and tofu. Recipes felt foreign (but now it’s fun!). Cooking meat was something I hadn’t done in ages (over 8 years!). Buying meat in the grocery store was a unique experience and almost felt wrong at first. Even opening my (glowing) fridge to see animal foods was bizarre for a while. So many new experiences!
A note about digestion:
Keep in mind that if you haven’t eaten eating animal foods in years, it can be tough on your stomach at first because your digestive system could be lacking the enzymes. Adding a little enzyme support during the transition is a good idea. I take enzymes before each meal and they help tremendously. You can stop taking them when you intuitively feel ready and that timing will be different for everyone.
Give your body time to adjust. Give your taste buds time. Give your mental state and mentality surrounding animal products time as well. It’s not easy and I don’t want to sit here having anyone think this process was easy for me. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. There have been many ups and downs the past few months. Lots of emotional guilt. Lots of asking myself if I’m doing the right thing? But at the end of the day, I’m very happy and feel so much freedom attached to my decision that I know it was the right one for me. The no-bloat life is the life for me!!
I want to add that before eating an animal product, it helps to express gratitude for the animal, thanking them for their life and nourishment. It doesn’t make it easier, but it helps to connect to the animal. We all need to remember where our food comes from even if it’s not easy to think about. It shouldn’t be easy but it is apart of life.
Before I move on with the rest of this post I wanted to share a Facebook group that’s been particularly helpful and comforting during this big change. The group is called Restoration health: Recovery group for former vegans and vegetarians. I relate to many posts in there and people in the group are super friendly and understanding. They are going through exactly what I’m going through and it’s nice to sympathize with others who understand the guilt and doubts and mixed feelings. While I feel like I’m on the other side now, I still relate to this group!
How I Started Introducing Animal Foods:
I started with wild salmon over the summer and then a variety of fresh fish in Florida after deciding to stop being vegan. It was over the course of months and months. In case you missed my announcement blog post, read it here! Fish felt the most natural to me and maybe my only “craving” so far. After that I branched out a little more each day, or whenever I felt ready. I never force anything and only go with what feels right. It was a slow process and still is!
The phase of “what to introduce and when” is going to look different for everyone, depending on many factors. Remember to give yourself grace. Take it as slow as you need to. Don’t expect miracles right away. Try to stick with its “whole food form” as much as possible to avoid additional G.I. distress. Try to buy from local farms as well.
Below is a list of foods I introduced in the first couple months.
- Fish – wild salmon, triple tail, swordfish
- Collagen powder every morning in my king coffee
- Dessicated liver pills (this or the Perfect brand. Liver pills are not for everyone; please work with a practitioner)
- Bone Broth – be careful as this is high in histamines
- Pastured and Organic Eggs (still unsure if I do well with eggs or not)
- Ground Turkey in Spicy Chili
- Ground chicken lettuce wraps
- Chicken thighs (shredded) in homemade chicken noodle soup
- Chicken Sausage breakfast sandwich (I like the Applegate Organics brand so far)
- Turkey Jerky from Epic and these turkey sticks from The New Primal
- Raw cheese (recently discovered I can’t eat dairy because I’m breastfeeding and it gives Summer eczema; so dairy is on the back burner for me for a while although I did well with it)
- Turkey Bacon
I think that’s all I’ve introduced so far. This is plenty for me to handle at the moment haha. I’m just taking it day by day. My next step in my journey is to post some new recipes on the blog including animal products. What a trip that will be..!
Leave me a comment below with questions! Let us know which animal products you introduced first? Or what helped you through the transition?
I stopped following your blog for a few years because I needed to relearn how to eat everything as part of an ED recovery. I had been a vegetarian, developed an intolerance to gluten and dairy, and (with the exception of eggs) ate mostly vegan and loved the inspiration and recipes from your blog. Unfortunately, through several intense and stressful changes in my life, I developed the need to control my food, letting it be the answer to how out of control the rest of my life felt. It left me absolutely broken and took years to recover. The last step to food freedom and full recovery was eating meat. It was hard to let go of the title “vegetarian” because it was such a part of my ecological ethics. I am so blessed that I had found a partner who was a hunter at that point. Having access to humanely harvested and local meat was a huge advantage to overcoming the guilt of eating meat again. It’s taken about three years but I’ve learned how to cook with wild game. I feel better than I ever have before and, now that my first child is growing inside me, deeply grateful to be free to eat what my body needs (all the iron!).
All the love to you as you walk this road ❤
I followed you for awhile on Instagram and happened to get the email today mentioning your new nutrition path. As a former vegan (I could only last a couple of years) I understand where you are coming from. I had the thought constantly that if veganism was so healthy, why was my health falling apart? Depression, anxiety, weight gain, anemia, you name it. And I was eating Whole Foods and supplementing. Fast forward several years later and the world is so different. We eat pastured/regenerative meats, pastured eggs, and sometimes raw dairy (in addition to plenty of local organic produce). My husband who is sensitive to lactose is able to eat raw dairy. A2 dairy products are much easier to digest than the standard A1 and what is sold in mass at grocery stores. We have a cooperative/CSA group that we joined that’s local for years now to get these quality foods and I will never look back. We don’t even purchase hardly anything at grocery stores anymore. One regenerative farm that I highly recommend, and they ship their animal products on dry ice, is White Oak Pastures. People may be shocked at the price but seriously it should be a higher price for high quality, pastured, ethical meat. My husband has also started hunting. There is a deep appreciation for your food when it is ethically sourced and you actually see where it comes from. Much deeper than any store bought vegan meat replacement or mono-cropped corn/soy product. Also when we choose to support these small farms we are voting against the conventional factory farming that’s truly detrimental to animals, the planet and our health. I also live in florida and we get all of our seafood locally from our seafood market. It’s all wild caught, in season and it’s incredible. We need to stop food shaming people because animal foods are, and have been for millennia, food for humans. I am so glad to hear that you are able to heal yourself and eat these naturally nutrient dense foods that the earth provides for us.
Would love to know why you said liver pills aren’t meant for everyone? I am working with a practitioner as well as the amazing staff at ancestral supplements! I am trying the beef organs over the liver now as I didn’t tolerate the liver well. Would just love to know your personal thoughts and experience with this! I am treating chronic Lyme, mold, metals etc.. and my body has a difficult time methylating so I think I know why they were a challenge for me personally. Love your blog, and I’m happy your happy!
I was a vegetarian for 10 years, and now I raise all my own meat and eggs at home. It can be done, and most importantly it can be done in an ethical way that fills you with gratitude and joy and energy. I know how much love and care all my sheep and chickens get, and in return they bless me with healthy protein. I’ve been eating a diet heavy in animal proteins (the rest is mostly produce, very little dairy or processed carbs) for 8+ years now and my body has never felt (or looked) better! I wish you the best of luck in your journey!
I introduced eggs first but it’s taken over a year to find a way I like them. Then it was halibut and salmon. I’m still trying with salmon as it’s very strong. Then ground chicken. That has been the easiest. I have chicken breast in the fridge I’m working up to cooking at the moment! Excited for your recipes! I’m on the AIP diet right now because my gut health is so bad so no grains and that’s hard because I think grains makes eating meat easier. For sure joining that group! Thank you for sharing!