Why I eat meat
This post is a long time coming, but very necessary! I get a ton of comments after I post a photo or Instagram story with fish/meat in it from people who are confused about my ‘diet’. Although I am plant-BASED, (ie, my diet revolves mainly around plants), I have never called myself fully vegan for…maybe more than a month here and there when I was trying it out. Truth be told, I would love to be vegan for the planet, animals, all the things, however, it is a diet that has not worked for me in the past. In fact, my health ultimately took a turn for the worse when I was eating minimal animal proteins and fish. I honestly didn’t make the correlation between my failing health and meat-less diet, until my symptoms got to the point where I couldn’t really ignore them. Although I have many chronic health diagnoses (Hashimotos, lupus, CVID, MCAS at this point), the main issues that brought me to add meat to my diet were hormonal + gut related.
About one year ago I ditched the pill after reading Alicia Vitti’s Woman Code (HIGHLY recommend) and have not looked back. The full story on that is for another post, but one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that getting my period back isn’t going to be easy peasy. With my autoimmune and off/on gut issues (SIBO, IBS, leaky gut), it’s been hard for me to get to a healthy weight. Despite my expansive & colorful diet, plants and legumes weren’t doing great things for my digestion after a few years. When two, four, SIX months had passed with my period nowhere in sight, I knew that something had to change beyond supplements. Name an alternative pill & potion, and I probably experimented with it during this time - with no real success. My hair was falling out by the fist-fulls at this point, and my hormone levels were low on allll fronts. After blood work came back that my iron levels and ferritin stores were very low, my acupuncturist was the first to suggest adding meat to my diet in efforts to kickstart my hormones. His reasoning (in addition to my other Western doctors) was that animal protein is a concentrated and easily available source of nutrients. There’s definitely a reason why things like the Paleo Diet, Whole 30, Wahl’s Protocol all exist!
Although I was ok with eating wild-caught fish, meat was a whole other story. It has been about 5 months now since I started eating chicken, and only 2 months since trying red meat on occasion. One thing I will say, is that sourcing from thoughtful, pasture raised companies have made all the difference to me from a mental perspective. After watching many vegan health documentaries, I was convinced that meat consumption was destroying our bodies and planet. Fast forward to now, and I realize that properly raised, fed, and treated cows, sheep, chickens, bison - are much different in their environmental impact, and can provide us with bioavailable, nourishing nutrients that some of our bodies may not be able to absorb properly from plants. If you’re in the LA area, I can give you a few recommendations of shops + farms I trust and have purchased from. If you’re not in LA and looking for wild caught fish + pastured meats, I’ve heard great things about Sizzlefish, Vital Choice, Butcher’s Box, and Thrive Market’s selections.
Something I’ve been trying to figure out is how often to have animal protein after reintroducing after so many years. I’ve asked many of my omnivore friends, and their answers really range from every day to a few times a week. As someone who was eating things like veggies, beans, and quinoa daily, it seemed counter-intuitive to just starting meat in all the time. If you are just adding meat back into your diet, or are considering it, I highly recommend starting with fish and/or chicken breast a couple times a week. For me, and for many others, these were the easiest to digest - plus fish has a TON of omega 3’s if you choose fattier fish like sardines and wild-caught salmon.
I am still figuring out my ‘tolerance’ if you will, but my body has seemed to be ok with having chicken, fish, and turkey every other day or so. Red meat like steak has been harder for me to digest, so I’ve opted for leaner options like bison and lamb. To my surprise, both of these are delicious!
Of course, meat has not solved all my health issues (diet is only one lil piece of the puzzle y’all!), but I am more trusting of my body than I’ve been before, and I fully believe it is recalibrating with the addition of extra nutrients. Furthermore, this new shift has taught me SO much about the human body and the importance of sustainable farming + fishing practices. Although a lot of ‘wellness’ chatter makes it seem like our bodies are sabotaging us with things like ‘candida’ and ‘SIBO’, the reality is that the human body is always trying to find that state of balance. When we truly believe that our bodies are working FOR US, not against us, (even with autoimmune conditions), a profound shift occurs. At least, this is what I believe for myself right now. Also, animal protein may not be right for your unique microbiome and lifestyle - and that is A OK! Never trying to push a diet or lifestyle on anyone…just veggies maybe ;)
Anyways, I hope this was helpful in some way! As always, I will keep you in the loop on my healing progress, and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. I love chatting about all the things mind + body related & connecting with you beautiful souls.