I'm not going to lie to you guys, this is a blog post I didn't ever think I would write and it took me over 2 weeks of eating meat secretly to actually decide if I was going to open up about this to you all in this kind of a way. I guess before I get into why I'm doing it I should probably acknowledge the fact that I am very aware of the fact that during my hard core plant based phase last year I wrote a blog post explaining why I don't think that people should be eating meat - I know I know I'm kind of being a hypocrite.. but at least I'm being honest and real with you guys, right??
I had a hard time even admitting to myself at first (let alone to Mike and my family) that this was what I needed to do, but I know it is and I know that those of you who support me because you truly love me and the content that I put out will support me regardless. So with that being said, let's start at the beginning so that I can fully explain myself..
MY PLANT BASED PHASE
I started really informing myself about the plant based movement last year. I followed tons of vegan influencers and bloggers, read the books and watched all the documentaries on animal agriculture and veganism. I finally decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot in November of last year, I cut out all animal products, meat and dairy and started eating a strictly plant based diet and my energy levels improved almost immediately but unfortunately that was VERY short lived (like it maybe lasted a month). I started to notice that I was starving all the time, I was exhausted, my skin was flaring up, I had a longer recovery time from my workouts, my joints cracked more often and I just didn't feel like I was thriving at all.. I honestly felt like shit a lot of the time.
I was so confused as to why I was feeling so crappy because I was constantly hearing all of these plant based bloggers claim that they have never felt better and are totally thriving on a vegan diet, I didn't get it and it made me feel even worse because I felt like I was failing. Not only that, but I felt so restricted by my new found way of eating and my old disordered eating habits started to slowly creep back in. I would say no to social events because I was worried that nothing would fit my dietary needs, Mike and I barely went out for food (which we love doing) because I couldn't eat anything "normal" and if we did go out I made him go to a vegan restaurant which he didn't always hate but he rarely loved or I had to modify the shit out of anything that I ordered at a normal restaurant. I started to let myself be controlled by the "plant based" label that I had given myself and not only was it triggering my old ways of thinking but it was making me miserable.
I was about 3.5 months into my plant based journey and feeling beyond run down when I realized that I was suffering from all of my current hormonal imbalances and because of my nutrition education I knew I had to make a change to my diet to try and get myself back on track. I started adding free range eggs and wild local fish back into my diet a couple times per week and I immediately started to feel a little better. My energy was better and I actually felt satiated after I ate for the first time in months and stayed full for longer, but I still didn't feel totally 100%.
I was also getting very sick of eating salmon and eggs so often - like there is only times in a week that you can eat the same thing before you don't even want to think about it anymore and I was getting to that point.
Fast forward 3 months to July, I'm literally in the thick of dealing with my hormonal imbalances and have had zero success - if you follow me on instagram you know how hard this has been on me. I've literally been doing anything and everything in my power to try and support and heal my body and one of the things I have been doing is reading and researching a TON of different opinions and options. I recently picked up the book The WomanCode and it basically made me do a full 180 on my diet. In the book it talks about the importance of blood sugar management which I have always had a pretty good handle on but it also explains the importance of limiting certain carbohydrates and focusing on high quality animal proteins to balance hormones and ideally get your period back - which is obviously my goal!
I didn't just jump back into eating meat after reading the book though, I honestly took a couple of weeks to think about if this was something that I really wanted to try doing and weighed out all of my options because I definitely don't take this lightly at all.
But I knew deep down that I needed to do this in order to support my body properly and get my hormones back on track.
EATING MEAT FOR THE FIRST TIME
Okay I'll admit that I was kind of scared to eat meat for the first time again, I had no idea what to expect and didn't even really remember what it tasted like to be honest. I didn't plan it and didn't rush it but about 2 weeks ago I got this overwhelming craving for a legitimate burger. All I wanted was a lamb burger, I thought about it every day for a week and couldn't believe that I was actually craving meat for the first time in 11 months! So I went for it, I bought ground free range, hormone and antibiotic free pasture raised lamb and made burgers for dinner and I honestly felt so good after! I didn't feel nauseas or crampy or anything negative like I had assumed I would after going so long without it and I was SHOCKED. Not only that but I actually felt AMAZING, I wasn't bloated like I usually am when I eat a more plant based meal, my stomach was still flat, I was so satisfied and actually felt full.
HOW I'M FEELING NOW
I thought that the transition back would be a lot harder than it's been but I'm honestly feeling so good! I think that because I am a lot more educated now on the kinds of meat I'm eating and I'm in touch with my actual intentions as to why I'm eating it has made it a lot easier and makes me feel a lot better about it. I'm eating good quality free range lamb or turkey, wild local fish or pasture raised eggs once a day or every other day and I already notice a huge difference in my body and how I'm feeling. My energy levels are a lot more stable, my skin is looking a lot better, the bags under my eyes have lightened and I actually feel full after my meals. I've also noticed that I'm recovering from my workouts a lot quicker and I'm able to push harder during them as well, I've also leaned out a lot in the last couple of weeks since incorporating meat back in and my muscle is increasing (I have a body scan scale that tells me percentages so I can track it)!
If I'm being honest I don't think that I'll ever eat chicken, beef or pork again just because it doesn't resonate with me AT ALL - chicken makes me want to gag, cows are my favourite animal and I held a baby piglet last year so I just don't think I could do it. Plus those are three of the most mass produced animals in the world and I don't feel comfortable contributing to the demand of that. So (for now at least) I will stick to lamb and turkey from small local farms and of course free range eggs and wild local fish either from the farmers market or caught by one of my family friends.
I've come to realize that eating meat doesn't have to be so black and white and can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet long as you avoid processed, mass produced and conventional meats and go for local, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats!
I hope that the takeaway that you get from this is that just because a diet works for you for a certain period of time does not mean that it will work or has to work for you forever. We are constantly changing and evolving and I think that that is a beautiful thing. Labels and restriction of any kind can often lead to resentment of your way of life and yourself and if any of you ever feel yourself getting to that point I strongly urge you to reevaluate what you're doing and whether or not it's working for you. Always do you and listen to your body, it knows what it needs and will never steer you wrong.
xo - LU