How to Stop Being a Vegetarian: Eating Meat Again

Dietary Balance

Readjusting your diet to meat can be difficult after being a vegetarian.
Readjusting your diet to meat can be difficult after being a vegetarian. | Source

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.

Digestive Enzymes

Solaray High Potency HCl With Pepsin 650 mg - 250 Capsules
Solaray High Potency HCl With Pepsin 650 mg - 250 Capsules

This is the acid and enzymes your body needs to break down meat products. If you have been a vegetarian for a long period, these can help ease the transition to eating meat until your body adjusts to the change.


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.

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My Experience

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.

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Comments 292 comments

Kim  6 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I have made the choice to stop being a vegetarian. I too became a vegetarian as a teenager and at twenty years old, I'm just not feeling as healthy. I suffer from anemic and recently have become lactose intolerant so my diet options because even less likely to happen. Last night I tried eating steak again for the first time... severe stomach issues. I'm going to look into taking digestive enzymes. Thanks again for sharing, it helps me to know that I'm not alone. A lot of meat-eaters don't realise that pain of switching back from being a vegetarian... they don't realise the hardship on the digestive system. Thank you for creating awareness.

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cocopreme 6 years ago from Far, far away Author

Kim - Thank you for sharing. Total vegetarianism may be right for some people, but it is hard for others to eat healthily without some meat. Yes, it is hard for vegetarians to eat meat again. The body is no longer used to digesting it. I hope the digestive enzymes work for you.

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hubscribe 6 years ago

I say that if you are a vegetarian already, but just having some problems with getting the right nutrients, then look into some foods to add to your diet in the appropriate ways. There are good reasons that you became a vegeterian, and I'm personally am jealous you can do it.

That said, if you really want to eat meat, go for it!

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PurpleOne 6 years ago from Canada

Interesting hub! I have been vegetarian for quite a few years now but still eat dairy and eggs and even every couple of weeks, I will try to have a little chicken but I find it hard and I'm eating it less and less these days.

I definitely think that eating meat again would give me a ton of more options when it comes to meal ideas but I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe some day...

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cocopreme 6 years ago from Far, far away Author

PurpleOne - It is hard to eat meat again after not having it for a long period. It is hard for my body to process it too. But in small doses, the extra protein and other nutrients do give me a boost.

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Alternative Prime 6 years ago from > California

Great Hub,

I think everyone needs the essential Proteins & Nutrients found in products like Fish & Chicken at least on occasion to re-enforce muscle development and maintenance.

Eating just Fruits & Vegitables seems like a good idea for short term weight loss benefits but in the long run it can have detrimental effects.

Alternative Prime

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cocopreme 6 years ago from Far, far away Author

Alternative Prime - I think you are right. I think not eating meat for so long did hurt my body. I don't look as healthy as I did 10 years ago. Adding just a bit of meat has helped regain what I lost.

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Silverlady 6 years ago

I can understand that returning to eating meat may be right for the health of some individuals but I can't comprehend how anyone can put aside the ethical issues, particularly the cruelty of intensive farming. I agree with Hubscribe that looking into vegetarian foods which provide the nutrients you're missing would be an option to investigate.

VeggieGirl 6 years ago

Thank you for this article. I'm 31 and I've been a lacto ovo vegetarian for over 20 yrs. Along with loving animals and being upset over stories I heard about cruel farming practices, I also became vegetarian because I was a fat little kid who constantly got teased by family members. Being vegetarian gave me an excuse not to eat and helped cover up eating disorders. I lost a lot of weight at first but looked really sickly and had no energy. As time went by I had my daughter and I became what I thought was a healthier vegetarian. Fake meats became a big part of my diet. I also eat quite a bit of bread, cheese, beans, pasta. I go in annually for a full blood workup to make sure all my levels are on target and I also usually log all my food for a few weeks every yr to make sure my vitamin and mineral intake are on track. I've put on a lot of weight over the yrs and am currently 60 lbs overweight despite working out (Zumba mostly) multiple times every week. I've talked with nutritionists who have confirmed that for the most part, my caloric intake is on track but one brought up that soy can really mess up your hormone levels and cause you to gain weight along with messing up your menstral cyle which I've experienced and have not been able to get pregnant for the past 4 yrs despite trying. They've also pointed out that my carb intake is too high but my protein sources (beans, fake meats) are also big contributors to my carb intake. I'd be lacking on protein if I took those out. They also think that my hypothyroid problems could have something to do with my high soy intake over an extended period of time. I never had any anemia problems until this yr and it seems like no amount of iron supplements will bring that up. I unfortunatley also have protein S deficiency which causes blood clots. It runs in my family and my 22 yr old brother has already had 9 strokes due to this disease. He is not allowed to eat things like broccoli, spinach or most other leafy green veggies that I eat on a daily basis. Although I haven't had any effects of the disease yet that I know of, they usually start showing up around my age. With all of these medical issues that may be caused or worsened by my vegetarian diet, I am seriously contemplating bringing fish and chicken back into my diet to give me other options. Since I've been a veg for so long though, I feel embarrassed that I'm even thinking about it. I feel like a failure, sell out and am letting myself down. A friend asked when trying to figure out why this is so hard for me "You don't care what people think about your choice in diet now do you?" and my response was "No I don't because, although it's making me sick, I feel good about my diet right now. I feel that my diet doesn't cause pain and suffering to any other living beings which makes me happy. That's what I need to overcome. I'm disappointed in myself that I have to make this change even though it's for my own well being." It's an an extremely hard decision to make and I'm really battling with it. If I do start eating meat though, I want to make sure that I'm educated and that the items I eat are organic, free range, and humanely treated.

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cocopreme 6 years ago from Far, far away Author

VeggieGirl - Making the decision to stop being a vegetarian is tough, especially if ethical reasons were part of the reasons for becoming a vegetarian in the first place. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

Ica 6 years ago

@veggie girl: i am not a vegetarian myself, have tried it twice but found that it is not for me. i would get on my soapbox now and preach the miracles of an omnivorous diet, so consider yourself forewarned.

1. you said that you are worried that eating an animal would be animal cruelty. eating anything is a form of animal cruelty, if you think hard enough about how the food is produced. let's say you eat soy. do you know how may animals died in the making of that tofu? (this is not a joke). in a field of soy, there are rabbits, and mice, and voles, and all sorts of bugs and snails. have you tried imagining what happened when the soy is harvested? the farmer comes by with his combine (that's the huge truck with sharp metals at the front) and plow off - since i don't know the proper term - the soy off the plants. crushing the snails, voles, and all friends of bambi in the process.

now think about an ethical, free-range cow/bison/ostrich/goat/chicken/duck farm. when it is time to slaughter the animal, so you know how many gets killed? yup, just that one cow who will be at the dinner table (not as the guest, tho ;P ). admittedly, the cow might accidentally stepped on a snail while grazing, but can you really blame him/her?

so i think that by eating vegetables, you still kill animals.

2. you said you eat cheese. well...i hate to make you burst into tears. but the cheese comes from milk, and that milk was supposed to be given by a nursing cow to her baby, but that baby is killed, so that the milk can be milked (haha) for your cheesing pleasure. so, you are still killing an animal.

3. if you think that by being a lacto-ovo veg you will not be eating any animals, you would be wrong. because even though the eggs in supermarkets are unfertilized, you do know that the chickens who are laying the eggs have to reproduce, right? so there is this guy chicken, he impregnates a lot of girl chickens, then there will be baby chickens (for the next generation of egg laying mama chickens). every daddy chicken has a limited ability of impregnating, and every mamma chicken cannot go on laying eggs until they die of natural causes. they will lose their productivity eventually.

after that, they will not be sent to the chicken senior community retirement center where they will play bingo and mini golf until they die of old age. no my dear, they get eaten. so if you eat any eggs, you are still participating in murdering chickens.

what i am trying to say is, that any kind of diet that requires you to eat (even a vegan one) will be contributing to the killing of animals. but you know very well that you cannot survive without eating. and you can see very well now that your body is telling you that this vegetarian diet is not good for you. please, start incorporating animal products bit by bit into your daily meal. a good source about the omnivorous diet is real food by nina planck, or works of mary enig (both nutritional biochemist if i remember correctly)

descend from soapbox, said soapbox tucked back under the bed.

Ica 6 years ago

also Konstantin Monastyrsky, who wrote the fiber menace. you can check him out at

Jackie 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this. I have lately found I'm struggling with the idea of eating meat again. Not necessarily for health reasons, though VeggieGirl's points are certainly worth considering, also because I often feel like I'm missing out on some great food. I *love* food, new foods, new recipes, and am certainly limited being vegetarian, even though it initially opened me up to many more foods. I also love to travel, and experiencing everything along the way.. this is certainly more difficult if I'm in a country where I don't speak the language, and have to convey a vegetarian diet...

I do agree that the social aspect feels as difficult as actually taking those first bites. I will never be a traditional carnivore, and would certainly choose free range/organic when possible, but maybe some day I won't have to choose the french fries because there's nothing else on the menu I can eat!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jackie - In certain situations, being a vegetarian can limit you, especially while traveling. It is hard decision to start eating meat again, but it can be worth it. Good luck.

Ben 5 years ago

I've been raised as a vegetarian and had never eaten a piece of meat before about 6 months ago. I recently left home to go to university and I really want to start eating meat. The problem is that every time I'm given some by friends or try to eat some, I find it really hard just psychologically to eat it. The texture feels horrible in my mouth and I'm sure it's just because of that fact that I know that it's meat.

I don't even have any ethical problems with eating meat, it just feels too weird in my mouth and I don't know how to get around it.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Ben - I understand what you mean about the texture of meat. That is my biggest hurdle when it comes to eating it. You could try eating very small pieces that are disguised in something. Like tiny bits of chicken in a casserole. Or bits of meat in soup. If it doesn't look like meat or really feel like it, you might find it easier to eat.

Dani. 5 years ago

I'll have been a vegetarian for 3 years on september, and for the past couple of weeks I've started to think about reverting back to eating meat. I feel really guilty because I'm vegetarian on the grounds of not agreeing with how animals are treated and killed. I just can't understand why I want to eat meat again, and I can't bring myself to do it. Even if I do go back to eating meat, I wouldn't be able to eat cheap stuff, I'd have to buy free range chickens and organic. I just feel so guilty for feeling like this.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Dani - I understand your guilt. I feel bad when I just eat chicken broth. Being a vegetarian for long periods can be hard to sustain, though. Eating cruelty free meat is a good compromise.

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howcurecancer 5 years ago

A very good hub.

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chamilj 5 years ago from Sri Lanka

Bread products is unhealthy but rice and vegetables good for health but it may not easy for non Asians.

Caroline 5 years ago

I became a vegetarian 3 years ago. I'm a kid. I started feeling sluggish and weak. I made the desicison to start eating meat again 10 minutes ago. this'll hellp.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Caroline - It can be difficult to be a vegetarian and get the right stuff you need when you are still growing and developing. I hope your transition is easy.

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Aeon077 5 years ago from Incirlik AFB, Turkey

I can't stress how helpful this hub has been to me. After 8 years of being a vegetarian, I'm thinking that I need to go back to an omnivorous lifestyle for dietary reasons. I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one out there struggling with the concept of consuming meat again.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Aeon077 - No, you aren't the only one. Sometimes just knowing that is a big comfort. Going back to eating meat can be a hard transition, but one that may be worth it health wise. Good luck with the change.

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breathing 5 years ago from Bangladesh

This is interesting...Different topic. I like this.

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fucsia 5 years ago

I am vegetarian and sometimes I think, when I look the other persons eating meats, that I do not know how they can eat without thinking about "what" was this meat before to became food.

Thanks for this interesting Hub. I hope to continue to be vegetarian, because is a diet consistent with my values. Your advice anyway are very useful, particularly, I think, those regard the psychological aspects.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

fucsia - One of the main reasons I stopped eating meat was because I couldn't stop thinking about what part of the body it used to be. Glad to know someone else thinks about what their food used to be.

I applaud anyone who can maintain a healthy vegetarian diet and wish that everyone could do it without jeopardizing their health. Thanks for commenting.

jenni 5 years ago

I have been vegetarian for over 17 years. Now pregnant, I find myself simply craving light meat things. I ate a turkey sandwich yesterday and I feel like a wreck. I have diarrhea and a headache and feel nauseous. . I thought this was all from the antiobiotics I was taking for a bladder infection, but I'm beginning to think it was simply the meat! I'm going back! I don't know what else to do. Give me my tofu back, and my stomach!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

jenni - Eating meat after so long without it can definitely hurt your stomach. Your body isn't used to breaking down meat anymore. You could try just eating broth from meat. It would be less likely to upset your stomach, and it may help with your cravings.

sweetie 5 years ago

I have been a veggiesaurus (my boyfriend's words not mine) for around 4 and a half years now, I have been considering going back to meat eating for health reasons. I started on a veggie diet as I became concerned for the welfare of what was ending up on my plate. I like to think that an animal has had the chance to be an animal and to be properly treated, I dont in principle disagree with meat eating ,I just think it should have a decent standard of life and a humane end!

I have had several visits to the doctor and have had a persistently low blood count for around the same time as I have been veggie. I have tried to address this on numerous occasions but with no success, despite having what I and my doctor concede is a good diet. However I digress. There may be those that argue you can have a perfectly good diet being a veggie and I fully agree with that, but after 4 and a half years of eating, what I think is a pretty good diet (i eat more fruit than a chimpanzee!) I seriously need to address the fact that I feel consistently tired, I have bags under my eyes and I generally do not feel well, not a situation I should be in at 25 years old! I am however, like a lot of people who have commented, struggling with the psychological aspects of meat eating again. I thought long and hard about being veggie when I decided to make the choice but the decision to go back to being an omnivore is proving very tough one. I am quite comforted to know that i'm not the only one out there with this dilemma but from a practical point of view I need to make the right choice and listen to my body and its telling me that it needs something more than i'm giving it at the moment. I would encourage anyone in the same position to consider their own wellbeing. If I Should make the decision to, I will return to eating meat but strictly free range or ethically produced, this way I can still stand by my principles without compromising my health.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

sweetie - It is hard to choose between principles and your health. It is a horrible feeling knowing that you can't practice your own ideals. Eating meat after doing without for so long is tougher on the mind than on the body.

The first bite of meat is the hardest bite to take. If you do decide to eat meat again, I suggest eating something where the meat is disguised like a casserole. I also suggest not thinking too much about what it is you are eating.

Hope your health improves whatever you choose to eat.

Lee 5 years ago

I was vegetarian whilst I was at university, and once I moved back home, where all my family are meat eaters, I found it increasingly difficult to avoid wanting to eat meat.

I became vegetarian for ethical reasons because I didn't want to be part of the cruel farming practises. After a while I started to eat meat again (it took a long time for me to take that first bite of chicken) because I thought I would try to maintain that I would only eat ethically farmed meat, but when I'm out I find myself eating meat regardless of whether its ethically farmed or not (normally not).

Now after a month of being back at an omnivorous diet I'm considering going back to being vegetarian (for the same ethical reasons), but I can't help thinking about the limitations that I encountered when I was eating out, and whether I'll just really struggle again.

As well as that, if I become vegetarian again I'm sure my Dad will give me some a bit of a hard time, as he wasn't the most supportive person about it in the first place. He thinks its just light hearted and good natured, but it does start to wear thin eventually, especially when its something that I do hold a lot of concern for.

Its difficult trying to explain your personal justifications for not eating meat to people who don't understand, or seemingly care, about the living beings that are being killed for their dinner. That's something I'll never be able to abide by.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Lee - It is hard to be a vegetarian when everyone around you is eating meat, especially when other people are giving you a hard time about it. You are right that most people aren't very concerned about where their food is coming from. You might be interested in one of the articles above, "The Dumbest Things People Say to Vegetarians." It may help you respond to comments from others that aren't supportive. Good luck whether you choose to continue eating meat or go back to being a vegetarian.

SoB 5 years ago

I have been an extreme vegan for three years.. At first I felt great but now, after giving birth and breastfeeding my son, I feel sick, tired and I'm almost 20 pounds underweight.

I need help to start eating meat... I even need help to eat cheese, milk or eggs.

But I need to do this for my health and my family.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

SoB - Eating for two can definitely be a drain on your system. Just take it very slowly to give your body time to adjust to the changes. Dairy products that are more processed will be easier for your stomach and digestive system to handle. Cheeses and yoghurts will probably be the easiest on your body. Milk and especially ice cream will be the hardest. Goats milk may be more gentle on your stomach as well.

Dairy may be an easier transition for you mentally because it wasn't ever alive. It just comes from animals.

Digestive enzymes will help your body break down the food. Protein supplements will also give you a boost if you find that eating anything other than vegan doesn't work.

Mona K 5 years ago

I was a vegetarian for about 12 years and then decided to start eating meat again. I didn't have any problems. I guess I started slow and with a meal here and there (I would eat meat when eating out but wouldn't cook it at home). I didn't get any stomach pain or other issues. I wasn't vegan so I did eat some dairy which maybe helped.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Mona - Some people can jump right back into eating meat with no problems at all. Other people's bodies don't adapt as well to the change. Since you reintegrated meat more slowly, your body probably had a chance to adjust without a big shock.

veghead 5 years ago

i've been a vegetarian since age 11 and now at 18, about to start university, i suppose the way i think about things is very different to how it used to be. it's not that i don't still love animals and i really can't help but think about the fact that meat is just the flesh of something that has been killed. but still more and more frequently i'm considering going back to eating meat.

1. over these years i've been putting on a lot of weight, i try to stay healthy but it's not so easy

2. i often find myself feeling very tired without getting the right supplements, and for a while i know i was anaemic - although i haven't been tested for it since

3. i feel very limited on the foods i can eat

4. lately i've been seeing foods and being very tempted by them until i remind myself of where it came from

i think my biggest worry about eating meat again is what people will say. for years i've been actively arguing my own case on why i should not eat meat. especially against my family who have said from that they disagree with it. through all this time i have been telling them that i will never go back, and they never understand my decisions. i know that the people in my family will be glad i made the decision, but the teasing so far has been so relentless - especially from my brothers - that i don't know if i could handle what would come if i changed my mind. i'm considering trying it out at university - but having never cooked it before and not knowing if my body can handle it i don't know if this is a wise decision. it would also mean that if i ate meat there people wouldn't know me as a vegetarian, so if i changed my mind again i'd more than likely suffer more ridicule.

i really don't know what to do, i'm finding this situation really hard. most logical arrows point towards staying a vegetarian and being a lot more careful so as not to gain more weight - but there's a small part in my mind telling me that i'm craving meat and i know that it would be a healthier decision in the long run. i really don't know what to do right now.

Michele 5 years ago

I completely agree with Jackie's reasons for thinking about eating meat again. Travel, dining out; limited choices! I have been a pseudo-veg for 18 years (I eat chicken, turkey and fish, along with the ovo-lacto diet). I am curious about having some red meat again. I admit I really, really only want to eat stuff that is all-natural, or organic. And I'm not ready to eat a pig. But maybe a cow. How can I find out about the different cuts of meat, and how do I know by the labels what is certified-whatever? I was thinking of going to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market for some info. I am so glad to have found this blog, to see that there are others out there like me. I don't want to eat meat often. And I am leery of beaing teased, too. I always say it's the texture of the meat that bothered me - truth is, my mother is a horrible cook and undoubtedly ruined my education at a young age for what could be delicious. I, on the other hand, am (tooting horn here!) a fantastic cook by anyone's review. I love to cook! And eat! I hope this goes well. Before I take one bite I need to do more research (and I did sneak a bite of my daughter's beef burger the other day and it was not bad - I can make it more flavorful than 5 Guys, I'm sure). Anyway, thank you for setting this up and I will be checking in again to see what other people have to say. Like a supprt group..."Hi, My name is Michele, and I've been an omnivore for..." haha. :)

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

veghead - It is a tough decision to make, especially if you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons. If your health is suffering, eating meat may be the best choice. Most people change a lot during their university years and reinvent who they are. It would be a good time to sample eating meat again and see what is right for you.

The teasing can be hard to handle. If you do change your mind, start thinking of what you will say to people if they tease you about your choice. If you prepare yourself mentally for telling people about your choice, when you actually do it, it might not be as bad as you thought.

My family teased me about being a vegetarian. When I started eating meat again I thought the teasing would be worse. But it wasn't. People hardly commented about the change at all. Teasing usually happens when someone is different. If you go back to eating like everyone else, people won't have much to make fun of.

Good luck figuring out what will be best for you and your body.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Michele - I'm glad you and everyone else have found this helpful. Unfortunately vegetarians do miss out on a lot of food that probably is delicious. I have had many people tell me that they agree with the ethics of being a vegetarian, they just don't want to give up meat because it tastes good. Being a vegetarian limits your food choices, especially when eating out or at someone else's house. Even avoiding red meat can be difficult at times.

Here is an article about organic meat that might be helpful:

Since you are a good cook you should be able to cook meat in a way that is flavorful and organic. Eating red meat on occasion can add to your meal choices. Happy eating!

Tony 5 years ago

Not one person has mentioned finding other non-animal ways to get the nutrients your body needs. A diet comprised of veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, and grains provide all of the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy body. If you don't have access to some foods , supplement them with supplements! Protein powder ( soy , rice, hemp) , flax seed oil, multi-vitamins can all boost your body's levels. Don't get discouraged fellow veggies! Do some research and plan your meals accordingly.

Myself 5 years ago

I've been a vegetarian for over 15 years and have been vegan at one point in time, for about 4 years. Even with strickly trying to find the right nutrients with Vegan multi-vitamins, iron supps when I need them, etc. Have been told that I need to try to incorporate meat into my diet. Of course, I have my own reasons for being a vegetarian and love the diet in which I live. I incorporated broth first and found it to be very difficult. I not only had stomach pains later, but thought I had being doing wrong. I feel guilty when trying this. Sometimes I wish that I could just take a pill and die because I don't want to be a part of harming animals. I recently sat down to have dinner to try and further this transition with a backed fish(Never liking the taste of fish either), and also trying chicken. My fiance' prepared both meat dishes himself. I also prepared a veggie side. Well, we both sat down to eat and I, of course, made after my veggies. I then came to the two different baked meats and hesitated. We evetually I tried the two.. I wasn't impressed as far as taste, but noticed how dry they were. I only, and barely, tasted both. I began to feel really guilty, and it also made me ill. I felt that I was takin a life.. On top of that, my fiance' of 9 years made me feel like crap. Saying that I was "drama" and that it is just food. He also knows my pass and the issues I have with meat and eating animals. This is very non-supportive from someone that wants or would like me to eat meat.

Anyway, my burden is.. I don't know what to do.. I tried it...... Should I carry on? I won't go into specifics on why the dr said I should eat the meat or incorporate it. I just need advice please?!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Tony - I agree with you in theory, however, in practice it seems that despite their best efforts to eat a healthy vegetarian diet, some people cannot eat strictly vegetarian and maintain good health. Maybe it's certain body types, maybe it's another factor. There are some studies out there that call into question whether or not supplements and vitamins work.

Basically, there is nothing as effective as getting the nutrients from food. So, some people can live healthily on a vegetarian diet, I do agree with you on that point. However, I do think there is more to the story than telling people that supplements will cure the problem.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Myself - Eating any type of food when you are feeling emotional and guilty will probably settle wrong. Before you go any further with eating meat, decide for sure if that is really what you want to do. If the health risk of staying vegetarian is to great for you to deal with, then just come to terms with it a little more mentally before you try to eat it again.

It might be less stressful if you try eating the meat when you are alone. That way you can keep yourself calm while eating and maybe the meat will settle better. Our stomachs react to stress by clenching and going a little haywire anyways. Add strange food to the mix and it is a recipe for disaster.

Are you eating dairy and eggs now? Eggs might be a good source of protein to begin with. Store bought eggs aren't fertilized, so they aren't actually alive.

Then maybe retry the broth on a calm stomach. I think of it as water that has just been poured over the meat. It has a bit of the meat flavor, but hardly much else.

When, and if, you decide to eat actual meat, do it in a calm, supportive environment. Eat something that you actually liked before becoming a vegetarian. It is hard to force down disgusting food.

We all need supportive people in our lives. Find someone who understands what you are going through and talk to that person. You may want to talk to your fiancé as well and explain how you are feeling and what you need from him.

David Buchta 5 years ago

I just wanted to say thanks for this. Yours is one of the very few helpful articles on returning to an omnivorous diet, and I really appreciate it.

The section on the psychological aspects of returning to meat is spot-on and not only surprisingly necessary, but also kind. Thank you.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

David Buchta - I appreciate your compliments. I made the article because there wasn't much helpful information on the topic when I was thinking of eating meat again.

Non-vegetarians don't realize how hard it is to take that first bite of meat again. But honestly, it probably is the hardest part of becoming an omnivore again. I just wanted other vegetarians to know that they are not alone in the struggle to balance being a healthy person and still living according their ethics.

Thanks again for your comments. It is rewarding to know that this article is helpful.

deb 5 years ago

its a shame the big business who provide and supply foods dont cater for vegitarians more, all we get is rubbish to buy, the meat industry is pushing nothing but profits for them, i am a vegan and unless you have loads of time to cook then your stuffed, about time the stores started been more health concerned. for all instead of profit making scams, people who go back to eating meat makes them sick because your body has got used to not fight the bad in meat , seriously, we are herbivores by nature, its just a shame we discovered pans and fire to cook the stuff, otherwise raw meat would not entertain us, unless your a fox or a dog with acids to breat the rotting flesh down,

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Deb - yes it is a shame that the choices are so limited for vegetarians and vegans. It does make being an herbivore difficult for many people who have to eat on the go. Eating out is very difficult in restaurants where the only vegetarian choices are potatoes and salad. It does make a difference when you have the time to plan and prepare meals.

judith 5 years ago

do any of you veggies have IBS as iv just been told by my docter i have i have been a veggie for 6 years and am thinking of eating meat as most of the veggies and beans i eat have become a problem has any 1 ese had this issue

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Judith - I have had digestive problems from my diet, so yes. Taking probiotics helped with some of the issues.

When (if) you start eating meat again, it may irritate your stomach more at first until your body gets used to breaking down meat again.

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lazko 5 years ago from the Earth

Thank you for this hub! I stopped eating meat in the past for a several months and when I get back to it I had lots of problems with the stomach. That`s why I agree with you about the amount of meet you have to begin eating, the process should start slowly and to watch how your body reacts.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

lazko - You are right. Changes in diet should be made gradually. Especially when it is something your body no longer knows how to process. Even a few months of not eating meat can change your body. Thanks for the comment.

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healthywholefoods 5 years ago

I love this article. I think that raw foods are extremely good for you. Honestly, who doesn't love a perfectly cooked steak. I used to get bloated, constipated, I could go on and on, until I found the wonderful supplement HCL with pepsin. I can not tell you how many bottles I went through in a 10 year period, but it was quite a few. I don't know if I would be here today without this. That is the honest truth. I know it isn't for everyone, but my life took a dramatic turn with it. I am now much more normal, don't get heartburn and no more bloating or constipation. I don't even take them any more, but thank goodness I found them when I did.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

healthywholefoods - Digestive supplements can be amazing for digestion. I recommend them as well. HCL with Pepsin is great for people who need help breaking down meats. Digestive enzymes are also great for digestive health in general. Glad they worked so well for you. Thanks for the comment.

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timslow 5 years ago

Thanks for a really interesting read. Here's my contribution. I was a strict vegan for nearly 8 years (I also have a long standing dairy protein allergy). I chose to exclude meat for health, religious and ethical reasons. All the family, husband and three children, ate organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds. Yes, we got flak from our respective extended families. All the family flourished and at first, I felt absolutely fabulous, and was healthy looking, apart from ongoing skin troubles.Although over my two pregnancies while vegan, I did crave, crave, crave meat and ate both meat and fish a few times. I loved cooking vegan food, we ate loads of raw salads, grew our own vegetables, carefully combined our foods etc.

After about four and a half years I began to go slowly, slowly downhill. Jaundiced (which turned out to be a minor liver enzyme disorder), exhausted, couldn't lift even a jug of water, let alone a soup pot!

We had moved to a very cold climate, and for me, this pushed my slow health decline into a steep descent. When I reintroduced meat, AFTER trying amino acid supplements, minerals, vitamins etc, I felt like Noah and his family must have felt after the Flood. Disgust and so on at eating a killed animal. Guilt.

My husband has worked physically hard for most of his life, and he says his years being vegan have been his strongest, healthiest and happiest. He also does extremely well on flax seed in vegetable smoothies.

But not me. I have been on a gut journey! Tried gluten free for a year - no improvement in energy levels. For me, eating lots of complex carbohydrates, including whole grains and legumes, even organic, seems to upset the entire digestive process and brings on extreme tiredness and lethargy. At present I am starch free,(no grains, no potatoes, no starchy pumpkin, squash or legumes if I react to them) eating mostly green, non-starchy vegetables morning, noon and night with a little coconut oil or cream, some nuts and seeds - soaked is best for me - a little high quality meat, organic eggs - and doing my best to get fresh Air, lots of Water, lots of Rest, appropriate Physical Activity, Sunlight, and Trust in God.

My aim is to heal my gut and eventually become vegan again - but this may take a couple of years and help from my health practitioner who is skilled and trained. Apparently increasing numbers of people have digestive systems which get WAY out of balance due to any number of modern lifestyle "improvements": The contraceptive pill, antibiotics used more than occasionally, drinking alcohol, eating processed sugar and refined grains while a young child, having a mother who liked to eat sweet sugary foods, and so on... you can probably add some to the list! The imbalance may become obvious when the body has a big shock or a big change and refuses to maladapt anymore. So there you have it. A gut journey! Best wishes to all.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

timslow - The hardest part for so many who are forced to eat meat for health reasons is the guilt. Non-vegetarians don't realize that it is a lifestyle choice and not just a meal choice. Many people thrive on vegan diets, like your husband. Sadly, some of us don't do so well. Maybe something about human body chemistry changed after the Flood, because many of us can't seem to be healthy without at least some meat. Another corruption of what the ideal was.

Starchy foods are problem for many vegetarians. Maybe because we tend to eat more of them than average. Especially when we are on the go. Best of luck on your gut journey. Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully your body can heal and you can return to a vegan diet.

Jenni 5 years ago

I am eating my first bit of meat in a year and a half right now. I went for an organic shredded chicken coronation sandwich and you cant really see the meat. It tastes good actually. Definatley only going to eat meat once a weak or so but I was getting really ill with aenemia so need to introduce iron and B12 back into my blood. Go for the organic and good luck!

Jenni 5 years ago

Ew gross just got a bit of fat

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jenni - Meat is easier to eat if it tastes good to you. Sorry about the fat. That is gross. Anemia is definitely serious. Hope you get back to good health.

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RalphGreene 5 years ago

Interesting hub.

Ricky 5 years ago

Ate Chicken 12 hours ago for first time in my life (28 year old male), oh good lord - make the vommiting and diahorrea stop! It's really strange though as I eat bacon, sausages and burgers without a problem however within 5 hours of eating chicken I was doubled over. Not great! It's now 6.30am UK time and im starting to feel better having spent the last few hours speaking to God on the big white telephone.

Chicken in my diet??

NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Ricky - Wow. Sorry about all the stuff coming up and out. Maybe you are allergic to chicken. That sounds likely since you can eat other types of meat without having to commune with the throne. Maybe you had food poisoning. The chicken you had could have been bad. Either way, avoiding chicken is probably a wise idea.

Ricky 5 years ago

The chicken was fine as 2 other people ate it with no adverse effects at all. God it was horrific!

Feeling absolutely fine now (well, by fine I mean no S&D but absolutely exhausted). Just ate some cereal, drank enough fluids to sink a ship today and I'm about to drift off to sleep... thank goodness it's over!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Ricky - Glad your ordeal is over. Cereal is a good comfort food. Best keep chicken off your menu since your body doesn't seem to like it.

Jane in California 5 years ago

This is a great article and conversation.

I am 55 years old and was a vegetarian from age 22 to 47. My husband has been a vegan even longer than this. I want to warn you folks that these diets are just not healthy.

We both have significant health problems, from digestive problems to pre-diabetes, from too much carbs and too much soy. I changed my diet a few years ago. But it has been really hard on my stomach since I didn't eat meat, fish or chicken for most of my adult life. I was too stubborn to change it before, even though friends and family and even doctors urged me to. My husband refuses to change. We both have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

I worry that my body has been permanently injured from so many years as a vegetarian. So I want to warn you younger folks to seriously consider eating some fish, chicken and meat. You don't want to be our age with all these health problems and have it be too late.

There's a great documentary, Fat Head, that's available on Netflix, about how everything we've been told about diet is wrong; that meat is essential and how carbs can make us really sick.

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SanXuary 5 years ago

Honestly being a vegetarian is not killing anyone in this place. No one should completely stop eating meat in the first place but you our probably much better off by doing so. It is not meat that is unhealthy but the fact that we eat so much of it in our everyday diet that it is causing an overdose from animal based products to include eggs and milk. I maintain a vegan diet but still have some animal based products every couple of weeks. The reason for my diet is health and eating the current off the shelf diet and large quantities of animal based products is far more unhealthy then being a vegetarian. Currently a very good documentary by a very qualified doctor and scientist called Forks over Knives is really opening people eyes to the truth of good nutritional health. If you can find it? you really should watch it.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jane - Thank you for the warning. I've discovered the truth of what you are saying for myself. I am only 30 and I am already starting to have health problems. Incorporating even a small amount of meat can help with many health problems that so many vegetarians seem to be having.

After 25 years of being a vegetarian, I bet it is very difficult to change. I will have to watch the documentary you recommended.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

SanXuary - You are right. The way most Americans eat is very unhealthy. It would have been easier to cut way back on meat than to stop eating it completely. But sometimes ethics outweigh health decisions. It looks like the documentary you recommended is on Netflix. I will check it out. Most of us could do with more balance in our diets.

Annamandabella 5 years ago

If you stopped eating fruits and veggies for years, even decades and then started again you wouldn't have to let your body adjust or have digestion troubles. Waaa, to all you lazy idiots who can't figure out how to eat properly. It takes more time and creativity than picking up your meal at a fast food window.

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SanXuary 5 years ago

Honestly, I think that our diets change over time. I was in excellent shape, never over weight and ate the same diet all my life. At a certain age I had a physical and discover that all my blood work stinks. Puzzled I knew it had to be what I was eating. Oddly when I was young I was told that I was allergic to soy. Years later I gave up on the idea of avoiding it and eventually became immune to it. Since moving to a Vegan diet I notice the complete opposite of the ill health effects from an animal based diet. I feel like I am 18, my energy is incredible. I used to drink coffee all day and now one cup has become almost to much to drink. The detox stage was incredibly odd my vision was horrible for several weeks. The evidence supports that no animal based products seems to be OK, but the denial by the food industry that the over consumption of animal based foods has resulted in the worst health crisis in our history has not allowed research to determine if age plays a greater part in what we need in terms of nutrition. To much soy also seems to have a bad effect on young men. Nutrition and diet is the medicine of the past and most likely the medicine of the future and needs a great deal of honest research.

Nadine 5 years ago

I'm 15 and have been a vegetarian for 7 years. . . I can watch people eat meat (just not rare) and feel kind of okay. I need to start eating better because I'm extreamly picky and being a vegetarian doesn't help. I'm so nervouse to eat meat because all I can think about is me biting into an animal when someone offers me some meat. I get a sick and gross feeling eating noodles that has chicken stock in it so I no longer eat raman noodles. Help?? please

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SanXuary 5 years ago

Eat what is called a whole foods menu, that means you our eating one thing and that is what it is. If you want to add meat to your diet get an organic brand to defeat the idea that you our eating something unhealthy. There is a such thing as organic meat. Stay away from pork if you do not eat meat because it tends to upset non meat eaters much worst. If you do not like the texture then get hamburger and make your first real taco or burrito (I.E.. less meat and more beans). Remember eggs and milk provide a lot of the nutrition you may be missing with-out any meat. Organic beef that consumes grass is the safest beef. One of the untold secrets of ecoli is the fact that cows naturally produce it in their stomachs to digest their food. Cows were meant to eat grass and not grain. Grain makes the cows bigger faster and the result is that ecoli is much higher in grain fed cattle. They claim that feeding cattle grass only for 10 days prior to harvesting them, that ecoli levels would return to normal. Remember ketchup, barbecue sauce or steak sauce can greatly add to the flavour and help you back to meat if you really feel a need to return to eating it.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Nadine - I am a picky eater also. You can try new foods that are vegetarian friendly. Try a new fruit or a new vegetable. Just go slowly and don't overwhelm yourself with too many new ingredients.

I also find that it helps me if I don't think about my food while I am eating. If I eat while watching the tv, I am distracted and not thinking about what my food is. Then I don't get grossed out as easily.

If you are thinking of eating meat, stop reading the labels. Just think of things as "soup" or "noodles." Eat something with meat that tastes good to you.

Don't push yourself. Go slowly and add foods to your diet a little at a time.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Annamandabella - Of course you would have problems if you didn't eat fruits or vegetables for a year or more. The problems wouldn't be just digestive either. Sailors get scurvy from going without fruits for months at a time. There are other vitamin deficiencies caused by not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

SanXuary - Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions and insights. Clearly, we all need to adjust the way we think about our diets.

JessieH 5 years ago

Thanks for this post, I've been a veggie for about for years, for ethical reasons, but recently have been considering going back to eating meat, or at least fish.

I have no diagnosed health problems, but am tired a lot, and also find it hard to lose weight as a lot of my diet is carbs.

I am worried about how I'll feel towards myself if I do, will I be disappointed with myself? angry? will the guilt be hard to deal with?

Also how will others react? Will they mock me?

Reading this has really helped to know I am not alone, and that maybe if I do go back, I'll feel less of a failure...thank you!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

JessieH - Vegetarian diets do tend to contain too many carbs. You probably will feel guilty and others probably will tease a bit. The teasing will die down soon enough. The guilt, though, is the question. The decision is about weighing the pros and cons for yourself. Is feeling more energized worth the guilt that comes along with it?

It is a tough decision and there are other people who understand your dilemma. Wish you well with your decision.

Katy 5 years ago

I find this subject so interesting. Growing up since childhood, I hated meat. My mother had to force me to eat it. That feeling still lingers with me...I still don't like meat. But, I was always taught through my parents and everyone else that I NEEDED to eat meat everyday to survive. Let me tell you...I am a vegan now, for the most part. If someone invites me over, I will eat things with dairy in it (most people don't know the difference between vegan and vegetarian, and that's ok! I'm not gonna be a snob and not eat any of their food that they made!), but at home I do not eat dairy or eggs, and I'm allergic to honey anyway. When I had meat in my diet, I had low blood sugar. No joke. I was in the 70s when I got tested. I was tired literally off and on all day. My stomach ached all the time and I was moody. My whole back (literally) was covered in pimples since my early teens, 10 years ago. A little while ago, I changed my diet to what I am now. What I find interesting is I keep reading about people saying that they feel horrible and sickly after awhile of eating vegan/vegetarian....but I am just the opposite. My stomach never hurts now. My blood sugar is in a normal range. My periods aren't as morbidly severe. My pimples went away. I am not tired all day anymore. It just goes to show that the vegan/vegetarian diet IS NOT for everyone. BUT, neither is a meat eating diet either. For certain people they need one or the other. I started this not for ethical reasons but for health reasons. My dad has diabetes and constant stomach pain (he pops tums all day), and is very obese. I did not want that for me. Since most my stomach pain came from eating meat (literally, from childhood. its so weird) this diet has been great for me. I think everyone is different, and you should do what your body tells you. If you feel you need to eat meat, by all means, eat it. If your body craves it then there's probably something in it your body needs. Listen to it. I never crave meat or envy people eating it. I crave fruit and veggies. I don't eat much soy either in my diet. I think there's way too much soy in the average vegan diets. Look to grains/beans/legumes for protein more than just tofu or meat "products". Granted that is a lot of carbs, but it has helped level my blood sugar...thank goodness! Anywho.....I just think the human body is interesting haha. Sorry I blabbed forever. Just trying to show people who are 100% doubters that it is possible to be healthy on a vegan/vegetarian diet. But as some things say...."Results may vary."

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Katy - It's good that you figured out what your body needs to be healthy. You are definitely right. Everyone should do what is best for their own body. A diet that is good for one person can be terrible for someone else. Thank you for sharing.

Vincent 5 years ago


I need to eat meat again due to health reasons ut I cn't live with the guilt. I've been a veggie for 4 years, im 12 now. My sister is a strong vegetarian and will go off at me if I were to start eating meat again. My mum and tepdad both think I should eat meat. But I don't want to let my sister down and I don't want her to get all angry at me and not be nice to me nor talk to me in a friendly manner or at all.

Please help me, I don't know what to do!!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Vincent - Kids who are growing need more protein than adults do. If you are already having health problems, they are only likely to get worse. If you are serious about eating meat again, explain to your sister that if she cares about you, she should want you to be healthy and your current diet isn't working for you.

She may be upset with you for awhile, but it won't last forever. Before you start, talk with her about ways you can get the food you need with the least impact. Like organic meat or only eating meat once a week. If you include her in your decision making she won't be as likely to feel you are against her.

Kelly 5 years ago

I would like to thank everyone for their comments. Being or not being a vegetarian is a very personal choice. I appreciate everyone's opinions, testimonies, and encouragement.

I became a vegetarian over a year ago. I had spent 4 days in the hospital due to gastrointestinal bleeding. The dr scoped from both ends and found a polp in my stomach and 6 inches of my colon that looked like "raw hamburger meat."

At the time, I was 34 years old. In my opinion, the dr did not offer any hope or options. I asked if I would be on the medicine for the rest of my life and he simply said yes. The dr's answer to my digestive problems were to basically stop eating and drinking everything except water and potatoes with nothing on them and to take over $500 a month in medicine that did not change how I felt at all. These medicines included steroids. Been there, done that. Many pounds later, I decided there had to be a better way.

I began by staying away from processed foods. If it came from a box, I did not eat it. I also limited things that I ate from cans. I was already growing a garden. I started making entire meals from the things I was growing, many of which the dr told me I shouldn't eat any longer. I stopped taking the medicine. I stopped having the gastrointestinal bleeding. I felt better than I had since I was a teenager.

I eat eggs and consume cow's milk if they are cooked in something. I also eat yogurt, cheese, butter, and sour cream. I choose to drink almond milk or coconut milk for my dairy replacement. I love fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts. So, in that aspect, being a vegetarian has been easy for me. I have taken a lot of flak for becoming vegetarian, but I have taken it in stride knowing people speak from their ignorance.

I now find myself in a dilemma. Since becoming a vegetarian, I have put on roughly 50 pounds. I am only 5 feet tall. This is a lot of extra weight for someone my height to be carrying around. I understand my health is at risk as well as my joints. Just the first 10 extra pounds made my back start hurting and made it harder to breathe even doing simple tasks like getting dressed.

I feel confident the extra weight is due to my gastrointestinal issues being resolved. I am not sick anymore like I was. Now the food I eat actually stays with me and nourishes my body (kinda).

With my weight gain, I started attending a ladies fitness gym. The owner of the gym is a nutritionist also. She has been vegan, vegetarian, and has reverted back to eating some amounts of meat. She and I discussed at length the pros and cons of all dietary choices. She put me on a circuit training/food program to help with my weight loss.

Here is what we have found with the concurrence of my medical dr about my being a vegetarian (keep in mind, I use other sources of protein i.e. rice protein powder and supplements):

1. I do not get enough calories per day.

2. My body thinks I am starving, so everything I put in my mouth, my body stores (especially essential fats).

3. I do not get enough protein.

4. I do not get enough iron or calcium.

I am unable to lose weight. My hair is falling out. My nails are brittle and have ridges in them. My skin is dry. I am exhausted. I am anemic.

I cook for others in my house who do eat meat. I miss some meats. Others, I cannot stand the thought of eating ever again. I have decided to re-incorporate meat into my diet. I am very apprehensive about this decision as I was vegetarian many years ago and the first meals in which I consumed meat made me very sick.

I am very frustrated with my health and my inability to be 'normal.'

Clare 5 years ago

Thanks for the interesting and helpful post!

I've been vegetarian for just under a year. I find the issue I can't get off my mind is that I feel like I will be disappointing my family at Christmas and making it so much more difficult. I feel awful inside when I think about eating meat again - I know animals still get hurt when I eat as a vegetarian, but I feel sick when I think about putting some meat in my mouth and chewing it.

This ruminating probably makes it worse! I told my mum that to save her the trouble and because I knew she'd be happier that I'd eat turkey only on Christmas day and her face lit up like the sun. I just can't stop thinking about it and worrying but I can't not do it now that she'll be so happy.

I'm not sure how to work through the issues I'm having.

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khoofbeat5 5 years ago from United States of America

This Hub is very well written. However, I just want to make it clear that a healthy vegetarian diet IS for everyone. You just have to make sure you eat enough fruits and veggies, drink your soy milk, take your vitamins, and get enough exercise. Going 'vegetarian' by simply eating junk food is not the way to go. But again, very well written!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Kelly - I am glad you found a solution to your gastrointestinal problems. I'm sorry you are beginning to experience difficulties with weight now, though. Now that your body has healed from the bleeding, it seems you are having to adjust your diet again.

It doesn't take a huge amount of meat to boost your body. So eating what you feel like when your body is craving it will likely be enough to make you feel better.

"Normal" is hard to achieve. Everyone's body is different. It seems you are working hard to take care of your body in a way that is good for you. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Hope the dietary changes improve your health.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Clare - I can understand the feeling of being difficult when it comes to mealtime with others. It is hard to balance the expectations of others and our own ideals.

If you want to eat some turkey with the family, don't feel bad. Eating just a small amount is showing the effort. If you don't want to eat it, though, just explain your feelings to everyone. They may be disappointed, but in the end, it is your body.

Do what feels right to you, that is all that can be asked of you. Good luck balancing all the different expectations.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

khoofbeat5 - Thank you for the comment. Maybe you are right. Maybe everyone can eat a vegetarian diet and be healthy. Eating junk food is not the way. However, it seems many people are having a hard time remaining strict vegetarians and remaining healthy. Maybe the problem is that they don't have access to the right kinds of food. Maybe other health factors contribute. I definitely encourage anyone who can be a healthy vegetarian to keep living that lifestyle. More than that, I think people should eat in a way that keeps them healthy.

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stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

I can only advise people to do somw independent research on this before giving up a vegetarian diet. There is really only one good reason to give up a vegetarian become vegan...and be fitter live even longer...and let others also live, including humans who starve while food they could have eaten and water they could have used is given to animals for westerners to eat...and get heart disese, bowel cancer and other illness. Here is what vegan athlets, 9 Olympic Gold medal winner Carl Lewis has to say; "In the spring of 1991 – eight months after beginning to eat vegan – I was feeling listless and thought I might need to add protein from meat to my diet. Dr. McDougall, however, explained that my listlessness was due to my needing more calories because I was training so many hours each day, not because I needed more animal-based protein. When I increased my calorie intake, I regained my energy. I was drinking 24 to 32 ounces of juice a day. I ate no dairy products. And I had my best year as an athlete ever!"

"So be more like a vegetarian to increase your life expectancy and live healthier." "Longevity" article from If you read it you will see they are actually referring to veganism Some more athletes;

metalprincess87 5 years ago

1st of all eating meat to be healthy is an oxyMORON!! Our bodies were not made to digest meat. Look it up, our digestive enzymes dont have the power to digest it properly, therefore taking about a week or longer for it to be digested. If you look inside your intestines 7yrs from the last time you ate meat, there will still be traces of that meat sitting in there all corroded & rotten. gross. 2nd of all, if you are diabetic, dont eat bread, eat healthier things. My grandmother was diabetic & she had full control over it with a HEALTHY VEGETARIAN diet. She loved meat, but she could not have it. She died a happy, healthy 90 year old. Before I was a vegetarian, I was always sick, and passing out from anemia. Since becoming vegetarian, I've never been healthier because I eat more vegetables & a variety of delicious foods. And I am no longer anemic. DO SOME RESEARCH, PEOPLE!!!

metalprincess87 5 years ago

some advice for cocopreme: I too have diabetes in my genes. Every female on my mothers side of the family had diabetes. I am hypoglycemic. I control my blood sugar levels by eating healthy foods. By being vegetarian it doesn't mean that all you have to eat is bread products. That's dumb. There are sooo many options out there. Just do research. Vegetables help diabetes. By eating meat, you are making it more difficult to control diabetes, hurting your heart & not to mention shortening your life span. Meat isn't healthy at all.

ps. there are many meat eaters that overload on carbs as well. Not so much health conscious vegetarians

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

Diabetes is reversible, insulin does not have to be a life sentence though its manufacturers may want you to believe so. A good vegan diet can and does reverse diabetes. See

Why stop doing something (being vegetarian or vegan) which increases your life expectancy by diminishing your chances of having the main killers in the western world? Even if you arent concerned about animals, trees, global warming, starving people in the third world etc do it for yourself.

Some more vegan athletes; Martina Navratilova, Murray Rose (vegan since age 2 and 4 olympic gold medals), dave Zabriskie (pro cyclist, 2011 US time trial champion)... more here Note that we cover the whole spectrum from the most muscular to best endurance athletes...that means any sport in between is covered. Considering only 1 in 200 people is vegan we are very disproportionately represented in elite sport. Veganism being unhealthy is a myth which serves some powerful industries very well

rachel 5 years ago

For all those curious about the "protein" issue. check out this

As far as other deficiencies even meat eaters have problems with anemia and b12.

i feel the best thing you can do is keep a food diary, get a nutrition tracking app for your smart phone, or register with an online food diary/nutrition tracker - and then discover for yourself what you are really eating. I know i was shocked to discover how much sugar i was really eating - even though i don't care for sweets- and that i was deficient in my intake of vitamins a and c. (never had a protein problem even though i'm vegetarian) it has helped me to find balance in my diet and eat the foods i need to naturally get my vitamins. if you see you are low in something - say iron - now you can google foods rich in iron and start incorporating them in your diet. you know when you have had too much sugar, carbs, fat or even protein (yes you can eat too much protein).

the diet tracker i prefer is myfitnesspal. you can get the app or sign up online and you can build a network of support through the program to help you. i love it!

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

Re supplements B12 is the only thing you should have to supplement as a vegan, that is because it is found in e coli bacteria (germs from excrement or decomposing matter), thats why it is not present in a modern vegan diet. We used to get the TINY amount needed from the small bits of dirt or bugs on fruit and veg or from weevils etc but food is extremely clean, even irradiated now. Growung your own food may provide it and it is also added to some foods like soy milk, some cereals etc.

It is plentiful in non vegan diet as significant amounts of e coli exist in meat.

I have never taken anything other than B12 as a supplement nor tried to get enough iron, calcium, protein etc and I am very fit, nevertheless here are good sources...Iron- green leafy vegetables combined with a vitamin c source (eg tomato, capsicum, lemon juice)

Protein- nuts, beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu, fake 'meat' products (veg sausages etc) peanut butter have most then grainy bread, some cereals, rice cakes, corn cakes, wholemeal pasta, brown rice,

Calcium- tahini, raw nuts, soy/oat/almond/rice milk, soy yoghurt, some cereals,

Ofcourse organic, raw and fresh and in season is always going to be best.

you only need 3/4 gram of protein per kilo of your ideal body weight, so if you should weigh 80kg you need 60g of protein a day. Add 50% if training as an endurance athlete and add 100% for body building

If you think dairy products are going to save you from osteoporosis see

For general dietary advice see

Jess 5 years ago

This was such a helpful post, thank you. I'm 35 and have been vegetarian for 18 years. Last year I got diagnosed with Celiac disease and thus had to cut all gluten out of my diet. In the last few months I've noticed that I have a hard time digesting other grains as well as legumes and tofu. (I get really bad pain from beans and tofu and a more moderate pain from corn and sometimes rice.)

I travel at least once a month for work and have reached a very frustrating point in my diet journey. I'm finding it impossible to travel and avoid all grains AND all meat. I do eat eggs and yogurt and nuts, but still, those three things don't add up to enough protein when on the road. Not to mention, one gets tired of just eating salad and nuts while traveling and never really feeling full. For these reasons I'm thinking I might need to add chicken back into my diet. Mentally, I just cannot wrap my head around eating red meat, but maybe I could handle chicken. Your suggestion to start with soup was a great one, and when I'm ready to give it a try, I'll for sure take the HCL you suggested. I never thought I'd be going back from being vegetarian, but at this point I just don't see any other way. Your post was really helpful in seeing the issue from angles I hadn't considered. Thank you.

Just dance 5 years ago

Wow did I need this site! Thankyou.. Thankyou... You saved my life seriously. I was a vegetarian for two years, and a strick vegan for one, due to hearing,and seeing photos of animal abuse on factory farms, my 14 year old wanted to follow. I did go to college to be a personal trainer so I did learn some on nutrition, vitamins ect. So we ate only organic veggies and some fake meats, it was going ok until this past August while barely jogging I broke my heel bone in two places. I am only 40! I am still not healing right,its been almost five months! and now my blood platelets are very low, and vitamin d extremely low, may need to take 8000 ius. My body chemistry is a wreck, I think soy contributed to my 10 lb. weight gain, because I don't like sweets or much bread. Doctor says i need to incorporate meats and things into my diet! I did not want to accept this. I will need to go back in a month for more blood tests to see if things are better, I'm not trying to scare people from being veg, it's just some people can go through it no problems, but some pay. I think it may have something to do with blood type. Who knows...

It is extremely hard for my daughter and I, I fought it hard not to eat meat, and the thoughts of cooking dinner now freaks me out! I literally tremble. But I know I need to be around for my daughter and pray things get better,before we eat we thank the lord for nourishment, which kind of softens the blow, but it's still hard.

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

Jess, seems like you have a very rare condition, getting pain from eating beans, corn and rice must be rare, i have never heard of that before. Have you tried different types of these cooked in different ways? Protein does exist in smaller amounts in other vegetable, eg brocolli

Eggs, yoghurt and nuts would definitely give you enough protein. Eggs are about 20%, nuts between 10 and 22%, that is very high. If you get free range eggs from a local place where you can see the chickens and have soy yoghurt then you will have an ethical diet which gives more than enough protein.

Just dance...this really is starting to look like an intentional response to the information i have given designed to discredit it by reference to anecdotal stories rather than actual evidence. I will respond to what you have said...As has been shown above many elite athletes are vegan, needless to say their bones are not breaking. In fact the countries with the highest dairy consumption have the HIGHEST osteoporosis!

"There have been many studies showing that milk consumption does not help to prevent osteoporosis. A study of 78,000 nurses found that those who drank more than one glass of milk per day had a 45% higher hip fracture rate than those who drank much less milk." (Feskanich D. et al. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health 1997;87(6);992-7.)

Just google "dairy vegan osteoporosis" or similar.

re what your doctor says, Have you seen the old ad "More doctors smoke camel cigarettes"? Doctors receive less than 2 hours training in nutrirtion in their degree.

Vitamin d can be gained from sunlight and there are now flax based supplements for vegans. i have never heard of people gaining weight from soy. Soy milk is usually about 3% fat, soy cheese and yoghurt have much lower fat than dairy cheese and yoghurt so i dont think soy would have been the cause.

I know many vegetarians and vegans who i expect would have a variety of blood types and they do not have these problems.

Be a bird 5 years ago

Re/ stay veglivelonger:

1) are you a nutritionist, or doctor?

2) if you are for veg so much then why are you on this particular website?

3) are you saying that (I),(we),are all lying?

4) only people know what is right or wrong for their own bodies. God gave each of us a choice, and he does not condem any one for being veg/ carn. He does judge for those that push it either way.

5) I have met plenty of vegetarians that think they know it all, and they get mad if you aren't their way.... They are also somewhat depressing to be around.

6) so keep you "facts" and I'll keep mine. I don't appreciate you implying that we are making this up.

Flower head 5 years ago

Luv this website! Have any of you ever read Vegan Freak? That there is practically animal products in everything? Tires, glue, wall plaster, house paints, tattoo ink, cigarettes, fertilizer, vitamin d3 in orange juice, some medications, ect, ect, it's almost impossible to be 100 0/0 vegan. It is a huge load to carry to, I was a vegan and I nearly committed suicide do to all the pressure to be perfect. I was so angry at the world, and it's abusers.

Ica brought up a good point, no matter what you eat it all has its consequences. My bird will eat her own egg when she feels she needs calcium/ protein. ( unfertilized of course).

All I can say is to each there own, as long as they try to do ALL things humane, everything in moderation, and to give each other a break no matter which way they need to go. Peace:)

Just dance 5 years ago

To livelongerstayveg:

You make it seem like I was uneducated in my diet? I'm not stupid. I have read every veg book out there! Even Becoming Vegan. Eating Animals, skinny bitch, ect. ect. I also own tons of cookbooks.I was even a raw foodist for a while, believe me I lived for being veg.I have done my homework on this, I ate slept drank in the name of veg, and for animals, as far as vitamin d and sunshine, I live in a climate that is 70 percent overcast,not to mention I don't have the luxury of working outside. I know all that stuff, I've done my homework.

Are you an extreme veg that wants everyone like you? You sound like your a Peta activist, which is ok, I am still an activist in heart ,but not to the extreme where I tell people how to eat,and i never have.All these athletes that can do it, well good for them,that still doesn't mean it's for everyone.My husband followed my vegan/ veg diet, he had no problems, but my daughter and I did, so see issues.

Even if I was to incorporate "some" things back it would not be a greedy amount,and not everyday. So who am I going to listen to right now? You or my doc? I choose my doc,my doc is not stupid either, she knows a lot about holistic health.This site really is for those that have tried "everything" to try and make veg work but found it may not of, worked.We are hear to support each other, do we don't need more confusion.

LD 5 years ago

so far mainly women posting.. just like to chime in from a hairy,burly male perspective.... meat is kinda necessary for health unless you live in a warm bright climate where you can easily get by on fruits, nuts and veg. As a 5 year vegan I'm now back on eggs and dairy with meat once a month :-( Not ideal ethically, but at least I feel strong again.

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

LD and others seem to be ignoring the elite athletes who are vegan, needless to say they are strong and many are male. Is it possible to win 9 gold medals without being strong? Take a look through them. There are also elite body builders who are vegan. Re 'hairy burly male perspective" it is worth noting that meat eates have lower sperm counts and higher levels of impotence than vegans, i am not commenting re you ofcourse but this is worth noting. The pesticide in meat kills sperm and the accumulated fat diminishes blood flow. I mention these things due to the image of meat as being masculine etc.

Flower Head, I agree animal products are in just about everything, they don't need to be but they are and yes it is very hard to be 100% vegan but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to contribute as little as possible to this suffering and other problems resulting from animal use. If I got 95% on an exam I would be very happy with that. I know there are some vegans who say "you are 100% or you are nothing", this does not make sense. If it is great to be a vegan then it must be 95% as great to be 95% vegan, that is just logic. It's not hard to avoid more than 95% of animal products so don't be discouraged by the impossibility of perfection.

Be a Bird I am on this site because it is telling people that they may need to eat meat again to be healthy. I don't need to be a nutritionist to see that vegans and vegetarians live longer than omnivores, surely that is an indicator of what is healthiest. This site also advertises a book called "The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability" The title says it all, trying to give the impression that is is a myth to say veg diet is more ethical, blatant propoganda. Please google "meat environment water starvation" or similar.

Re God, do you really think God would judge someone more harshly for promoting a diet which saves animals people and the planet than for contributing to the killing of earths creatures, starvation of humans, global warming etc? Anyway i find that people use the God arguemnt to justify anything.

People say we shouldn't tell people what to eat but when what we eat is a matter of life and death for others its not just 'what we eat'. It is absolutely CRUCIAL that we encourage people to eat less meat and dairy now, these could really be the last days for this planet and changing diet would have a much greater and fasteer effect than not driving a car or any other activity individuals could change.

Please try other options before believing a doctor or nutritionist who tells you that you must eat meat or animal products. I know that there are people here who would prefer not to eat meat but believe that their health problems are the result of their diet. Perhaps consult a vegan doctor or nutritionist and get their advice first.

Just dance 5 years ago


Ya your a PETA / other activist. Stop pushing your ways please.I will still listen to my doc. I agree with LD, I'm beginning to feel stronger. Foot is finally not in so much pain. I can finally lift again. Why do you keep comparing everyone to athletes? My grandmother lived to be 101, and she ate bacon and eggs every morning. AND she chewed tobacco! HaHa. So Im not saying I'm for meat, but I don't care what other people choose. It seems like you want Control over everything, everyone. .... Lighten up!

Just dance 5 years ago


What's your take on all this?

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

metalprincess87 - I am glad a vegetarian diet has helped you and your family with blood sugar issues and with your anemia. But you seem to be outside of the norm. It isn't just breads that turn to sugar as our bodies digest the food. Fruits turn to sugar. So do many vegetables and especially beans. Certain dairy products are also full of carbs. So avoiding breads isn't going to solve blood sugar issues. Things like fiber and protein help regulate blood sugar levels.

Meat can be tough to digest, but the only reason it would hang around in the intestines would be if someone weren't getting enough fiber. Fatty meats can be a problem for the heart, but there are plenty of lean meats out there.

Ethically, I think being a vegetarian is a better way of life. Practically, it hurts health for some people. If you are an exception, I am thrilled for you and hope it continues to be that way.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Apparently we have a war waging in the comments. Sorry, I have been out of the loop for a few days.

Here is what I have to say about the disagreements. Life is about finding a balance that works for each individual. Ethically, I think a vegetarian lifestyle is what is best. I hate the thought of taking life.

But we don't live in an ideal world. There is a myth that being a vegetarian keeps animals from being killed. Animals are also killed during crop harvesting. So simply eating a vegetarian lifestyle doesn't ensure that you are cutting down on animal deaths. See: .

Also, there are studies showing that plants can experience fear and have other reactions that we usually only associate with creatures. So maybe eating plants isn't ethical either.

Here is a good article that weighs the pros and cons of being a vegetarian:

There are benefits to vegetarian diets. On average vegetarians and vegans have lower risk for obesity and heart related problems.

On the other hand, 2 out of 3 vegetarians are deficient in vitamins like B-12 not to mention that anemia is another common problem for vegetarians. There are also studies showing that diets high in soy can cause health problems.

Plus, there is the testimony of so many people who ate balanced vegetarian diets and developed health problems. Usually it is fatigue. Others have digestive problems, thyroid problems, food allergies, and other health issues.

Is it worth the health risk to continue a diet that isn't working for your body? I don't think so. I think each person should find the diet that works best for his or her own body. For some, it may mean a vegetarian diet. For others, it could mean eating meat. Every one of our bodies is different. There are studies that show blood type can factor in diet. Genetic issues can also affect what type of foods are body needs.

So I say eat what makes you feel healthy and don't condemn others for doing the same.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

stayveglivelonger - I agree with you that diet is the key to controlling diabetes. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a vegetarian diet. There are tons of meat eaters out there who control their diabetes through their diet.

Showing a few examples of athletes who have great performance on a vegan diet doesn't mean everyone should do it. There are even more stellar athletes who eat lots of meat.

Environmental issues aren't going to be solved by avoiding animal products. Environmental issues are the products of bad choices. We don't have to strip the rainforests for livestock. And avoiding meat isn't going to feed anyone in a third world country. Those are policy issues that have little to do with what anyone eats.

Not that big industry is blameless. Yes they do things to promote what makes them the most profit. Yes they put things in our food that shouldn't be there. But that isn't going to change simply because people become vegan.

There are lots of studies out there that show conflicting data about nutrition. Basically it comes down to this. We don't know all there is to know about diseases and dietary links.

So my response is practical. If your diet isn't working for you, then fix it. Do what works for you. There is nothing wrong with promoting your own ideas either. But keep in mind that yours is just one opinion among many and may not be what works best for the rest of the world.

Just dance 5 years ago

THANKYOU , it was good to hear your advice! I'm done now.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

rachel - That is very practical advice. Most nutritionists recommend keeping a food journal if you are experiencing health problems related to diet. That is the best way to find patterns with food and the problems.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jess - Gluten is one of the most common food allergies, and unfortunately it is so many products. It is hard to get the right foods if you have to eat out. A few more alternatives when comes to food can be so helpful.

The foods you mentioned are foods that cause a lot of gas as they are digested. You can look into something like Gas-X or Beano to help with that. Taking digestive enzymes and probiotics will probably also help break down the food better in your digestive tract.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Just dance - I think you are right. Being a vegetarian works for the body chemistry of some, but not all. There is a link between soy and thyroid problems, which could be a factor in your weight flux and the vitamin D deficiency.

Take it slow. Small changes can work wonders. A big diet change can whack out your body. Slowly add in meat and see how it makes you feel.

I know it is tough to have to change when your heart isn't in it. And it seems like you have done your homework. You know what a balanced vegetarian diet should be. It just isn't working for you. Find what does work. Your health and the health of your daughter is your first priority.

Good luck.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Be a bird - I agree. We have a choice. After the flood, God gave Noah and his descendants permission to eat meat. Maybe we feel guilty about it because we feel inside that being an omnivore isn't the ideal humans were created for. But it comes down to a choice for us. We all should eat what makes us healthy and happy and let others do the same.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Flower head - Well said. It is virtually impossible to live a life that doesn't have an impact on nature. We are all connected. It is about making responsible choices and trying to live in harmony as best we can while taking care of our own bodies.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

LD - Thanks for your hairy perspective. We don't live in an ideal world, so sometimes we have to make compromises to what is best under the circumstances. You bring up a great point. It doesn't take huge amounts of meat to make a big difference. A small bit from time to time can be plenty.

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

cocopreme, you said "Showing a few examples of athletes who have great performance on a vegan diet doesn't mean everyone should do it. There are even more stellar athletes who eat lots of meat." This ignores the fact that only about 1 in 200 people are vegans. As i said this means that vegans are disproportionately represented, you have ignored this. If 2 of the 3 athletes who have won 9 gold medals are vegetarian and vegan then that is a significantly disproportional representation. Similar across elite sport generally.

back later, out of time here

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

Sorry that people seem offended by what I am saying. I'll try to reply in chronological order. Just dance, seems like you've made your mind up. Glad your heel is better but do you really think that it would not have healed if you rested it completely or whatvever you have been doing and ate a vegetarian diet or vegan diet? The body heals itself but the diet, pharmaceutical, doctor etc often get the credit.

Also glad your Gran lived long but i dont think it was because of meat. Picking a particular eg rather than looking at whole data or a statistically significant random sample is not meaningful. Almost any claim can be justified by cherry picking the data; eg george burns lived to about 100 so smoking cigars is good for you, cycling is bad for your health be referring to someone who got hit by a car etc. It's not meaningful.

Ofcourse i just want to control everyone and everything rather than just wanting a world with less suffering.

cocoprene, I will paste and reply to your claims if you don't mind. You have made your real agenda clear here by the misleading arguments you have presented. You may just be doing this to support others here but either way it is misleading.

You said "But we don't live in an ideal world. There is a myth that being a vegetarian keeps animals from being killed. Animals are also killed during crop harvesting. So simply eating a vegetarian lifestyle doesn't ensure that you are cutting down on animal deaths."

I agree...and where do you think most of the worlds crops end up? In the stomachs of animals we eat or i should say as excrement we have to deal with which produces methane, a much more potent global warmer than Co2. This is also where most fish end up (known as 'bycatch' they are also mostly fed to animals we eat, pigs have become the largest sea predator thanks to us).

If you want to see what the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has to say about the effects on this planet of our eating animals see "Livestocks Long Shadow" here Needless to say theya re not an animal rights group. If you look at the graph on page 40 you will see that the world produced 735 million tonnes of corn (maize) and 470 million tonnes of wheat in feed animals we eat. Add soy for animals to this. This is much more than is needed to feed all of the starving people in the world and it is more than is eaten by humans. So if harvesting crops kills animals stop eating meat and animal products.

You say "Environmental issues aren't going to be solved by avoiding animal products. Environmental issues are the products of bad choices. We don't have to strip the rainforests for livestock. And avoiding meat isn't going to feed anyone in a third world country. Those are policy issues that have little to do with what anyone eats."

Saying what we don't need to do is of little significance, it is what is happening, rainforests are being destroyed for meat.

Problem is that it is not even possible to feed starving people while we choose to fed animals instead irrespective of industry or policy.

You say "Also, there are studies showing that plants can experience fear and have other reactions that we usually only associate with creatures. So maybe eating plants isn't ethical either."

I read most of the secret life of plants which also said that you can water crops by putting water on a PHOTO of the crops, it was a product of the 60's...and perhaps some drugs judging by its absurd claims. Plants do not have a brain or central nervous system, they produce fruit to be eaten and drop it at our feet or an arms reach away, it is how they reproduce, the exact opposite of killing, an animal does all it can to avoid that. There are 'studies' showing just about anything. They need to be peer reviewed and supported by evidence.

You say "On the other hand, 2 out of 3 vegetarians are deficient in vitamins like B-12 not to mention that anemia is another common problem for vegetarians. There are also studies showing that diets high in soy can cause health problems."

B-12 is derived from excrement and decomposing matter therefore it is not present in a vegan diet but is often added to fgoods now anyway. i've already covered that, it is easy to get the tiny amount of b12 we need as we no longer have even a tiny amount of dirt, bugs etc on our food.

If people consume organic green leafy vegetables with a source of vitamin c they should get sufficient iron without concerns about haemochromatosis which meat eaters may get from accumulated iron.

You say "We have a choice. After the flood, God gave Noah and his descendants permission to eat meat. Maybe we feel guilty about it because we feel inside that being an omnivore isn't the ideal humans were created for. But it comes down to a choice for us. We all should eat what makes us healthy and happy and let others do the same."

Is this a religious site? If so why did God ask Noah to save the animals at all? For us to eat? Your comment ignores the effects this diet has on this planet and all life on it which i presume you believe God created.

How do you expalin these quotes from the bible? Genesis 1:29

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."...where's the beef?

Isaiah 65:25

"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither hunt nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. Google "Jesus vegetarian" or similar.

You say "There are also studies showing that diets high in soy can cause health problems." There are studies sayign 'disco music makes mice homosexual" and many other absurd ones. Any conclusion can be derived from animal experiments usually depending on who is funding them. Soy is taking business from the dairy industry so i have no doubt they will keep producing studies saying its not healthy etc. I prefer to look at overall human data, that shows a different result.

Re athletes again, if being vegan was no better than eating meat then we could expect 1 out of 200 elite athletes to be vegan (as 1 in 200 people are vegan), you will see if you look at the very top athletes that it is much higher than that.

anyway i'll look at other claims later, thanks.

stayveglivelonger 5 years ago

Anyway, I appreciate that most, perhaps all of you do realise the effects meat and animal products have on the planet and ofcourse on animals and it is commendable that you care. I also appreciate that you are trying to minimise your meat consumption if you start eating meat again. I hope you will get advice from a vegan or vegetarian doctor or nutritionist before concluding that it is the problem though.

Claims that being vegetarian is also bad for animals, soy is bad, God wants this or that etc I find disingenuous. I hope people will independently consider the evidence for themselves.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

stayveglivelonger - You are using illogical arguments to support your agenda. Your platform seems to rest on the fact that there are stellar athletes out there who are vegan and therefore the rest of us should be vegan as well. You are using a bandwagon argument just like big industries use. It is the overused "the special people are doing it so you should too" propaganda. I can't even make sense of what you are trying to say about vegans being disproportionally represented. Your point is unclear.

You say, "The body heals itself but the diet, pharmaceutical, doctor etc often get the credit." So you are claiming that our bodies are just going to fix themselves without any kind of changes. Are you against doctors also? Doctors and the medical industry give us advice about what to do to fix the problems with our bodies. Yes bones will start repairing themselves, but without someone to make sure the bones are set properly and isolated, the body fixing the break itself could cause more harm in the long run.

Again I say the problems with world hunger are policy problems. If you want to help with hunger in the third world, then give those people food or donate money to help feed them or go to the third world and help improve their infrastructure. The companies who produce the food are not going to be benevolent enough to just give the food to the third world. Your conclusions are false. You avoiding certain foods does not put a single crumb onto anyone else's plate. Only giving the food to the starving people will help with that.

Rainforests are being stripped because the governments in those countries are thinking short term. Big business offers them money now, so they sell out. If the entire world became vegan, wouldn't the amount of crop harvesting increase also? We would need more land for that, so the third world would probably sell out for that, too. Companies are offering them money for those resources. If it isn't for cattle it would be for lumber or whatever else industry may need. Those are policy problems that aren't going to be solved by anyone's diet. That is only going to change when big industry is held more accountable and when the impoverished nations gain a better foothold.

I am not going to argue studies with you. There are all kinds of studies out there that draw a rainbow of conclusions about diets and plant life and animal life. My point was that the evidence on the pro and con side of being a vegetarian isn't conclusive. There isn't a clear cut and dry answer according to health and science professionals. And you are trying to distort what studies there are to your advantage. Talk about cherry picking.

B-12 does not come from decomposing matter. It is manufactured by bacteria. It is found in soil and water as well as in animals. Humans also manufacture it in our intestines. We can't get it from plants now because of the chemicals used to treat crops. At least get your facts straight.

No, the intent of this site isn't religious. But several people have brought religion into it because their dilemma is based on their religion and their ethics and value systems. And you have pretty much warped scripture to conform to your specific view. Like I said, the ideal wasn't for people to eat animals. That is the passage in the beginning of Genesis before mankind fell and the Isaiah quote is how that will be rectified in the future when all things are made right. The quote about Noah is "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything" from Genesis 9:3. The passage is God giving permission for humans to eat meat. The ideal was no longer possible. And just because humans eat meat, it doesn't mean that we become mindless zombies eating until there is nothing left. You quote the passage about how in the future paradise the lion will eat straw. You want to try to make that happen now? The point is that there are things that aren't right in this world. God knows it as well as we do. We don't live in that perfect world of the future. So we do what need to in order to live a healthy life.

You are minimizing what everyone is shared. Nearly everyone here wants to live a life that impacts nature as little as possible. But everyone here also wants to have a high quality of personal health. You presume to say that your way of life is the only valid one. That is why everyone is unhappy with your comments. You also gave some bad advice to people. You were completely uninformed about the problems people are having with a vegetarian diet. What Jess is experiencing is common with many of the people who have had problems with a vegetarian diet.

It is evident that you have a very one sided agenda and haven't really taken the time to really listen to what everyone has been saying. They have tried your way of life. I have tried your way of life. And it isn't functional for us.

So please stop trying to bully people who are already feeling bad about not being able to eat the way they want to. Maybe your energy would be better spent petitioning industries and governments to change their policies to be more earth friendly instead of preaching to people who are already conscious of the problems.

You've presented your side. Take your own advice and let everyone "independently consider the evidence for themselves."

Be happy 5 years ago

Well said cocopreme!!!

Stayveg, get a life, and stop arguing. You are getting on my nerve. See its people like you that ruin it.. By pushing people to ""stay veg""(your way) that turns people off big time! I would not like to hang out with you, you seem like a know it all, except you dont! Ha!We all know this stuff, it's not like we are happy about it, So go away go post somewhere else, nobody's listening... Your conclusions are elusive and boring.

Be happy 5 years ago

That's funny... A vegetarian/ vegan doctor, like that's not prejudice! It would also be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Can you imagine asking the receptionist" I only want a veggie doctor", good luck with that.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Be happy - :)

It is funny. A doctor's diet has nothing to do with his or her knowledge and capability.

Violet 5 years ago

I gave up eating red meat and eggs 2 years ago, but I continued to eat chicken and dairy. I have lost weight instead of gaining and this is very unhealthy for me, because I was already considered underweight. Recently, I've decided to start eating it again, excluding hamburger meat because it's just gross. Like cocopreme said, being a vegan or vegetarian isn't for everyone, each body has it's own needs and such.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Violet - Every body is different. If you were becoming an unhealthy weight, it is good that you have made changes for the better. I agree that the texture of hamburger meat is gross. I can't watch it being cooked. Hope your diet changes help you out.

Rose 5 years ago

I am so glad you posted this article. About two years ago I decided to go vegetarian on a whim, more or less as an adventure, not so much for ethical reasons. At first it was great. I lost a little weight and felt like I had more energy. But about 6 months ago, my stomach started hurting and I became bloated and constipated no matter what I ate. I hadn't changed my diet, so I couldn't figure out what was wrong for the life of me.

Out of nowhere I constantly started thinking about meat. I talked to a health connoisseur and they told me that what I had been thinking about what was my body was telling me I needed. I didn't completely buy into that, but I was so sick and tired of being in pain that I figured I would give it a try. It was hard to think about eating meat again because I had the 'failure' scenario running in my head. I had been so stubborn in being a vegetarian in a very meat-eating family, I was sure that they would give me hell for breaking.

I decided to eat meat a few of times on my own to experiment with how my stomach reacted (and avoid any possible harassment from my family and friends). Oddly enough, my stomach stopped hurting and was actually digesting what I ate. When I told my friends, they didn't scorn me, they were actually happy for me that I wasn't constantly in pain. I waited longer to tell my family because I figured all I would get was harassment and 'I told you so's. But when I told them, they were very neutral and said they didn't care what I ate, so long as I was happy and felt good.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Rose - Maybe cravings are signals from your body or maybe from our subconscious. Either way, you listened to them and feel better for it. Our bodies can tell us what they need. We just don't always know how to interpret what they are saying.

I am glad you were able to figure out what was wrong with your stomach without more health problems popping up. Seems like you had a relatively easy fix.

Our worst fears about what others will think are usually a lot worse than real reactions. Your friends and family seem very supportive. They just want you to be healthy. It seems that in general others give people a harder time about being a vegetarian than about coming back to meat.

Hope your health continues to be good.

elleann 5 years ago

I've been a vegetarian for about half a year. All my life I've had trouble eating meat. I only really would eat it if it was cut up really small or hidden in thin slices in a sandwich. Most people told me I should just become a vegetarian. The more I researched, the more disgusted I became to the point that I couldn't even eat meat anymore. Concerned about my health, I researched a lot about it and eventually made the decision. However, at 17, it is quite hard to live and eat well in a family of meateaters. At first, I felt great about sticking to my morals. But now I realize I feel fatigued, gained a slight bit of weight, and my hair and eyelashes seem to be more brittle. My skin is also pretty dry. While I can't chalk it up to not eating meat exactly, I do know that this hadn't happened before. For a few weeks now I've been debating on whether to start eating meat again. I feel this is going to be very hard because I feel pretty repulsed at the idea of eating an animal. Plus, what might be harder is the fact that I feel like I failed. All my friends and family know. I've gotten quite a beating for not eating meat. But now I think they might shove it in my face even more that I might decide to eat it again. It was very hard for me to make the deicision to go against everything I've known to become a vegetarain, and now, I feel like an outcast. I miss having things to choose from to eat at a restaurant; I miss feeling healthy; I miss feeling like I fit in. But I am dreading taking those first bites and breaking the news. I am in real need of some encouragement and advice. This column has helped. I realize now that I need to do it for my health. Thank you!

German Bound 5 years ago

Thank you for this very interesting post. I am 17, and I have been vegetarian for almost four years. I love being vegetarian, but next year I am traveling abroad for a year to Germany, and I will be unable to continue my veggie diet due to the rules of the program I am traveling with. Also, looking back, I see that I have had some health issues. I have been pretty weak, and hopefully eating meat will help me. The issue I have been having is the idea of eating meat again. I didn't stop eating meat because I was against the killing of animals for food, I did it because of the factory way that meat is produced in the United States. (Have you ever seen Food Inc? I recommend it.) So I have decided to find a local farmer that has grass fed cattle and free-range chickens. Not as hard as it sounds, actually. The problem I am having now is the idea of eating the meat. I found myself in the kitchen yesterday as my friend was cooking bacon, wiping down all surfaces with soap and water. I was afraid of the bacon contaminating anything I was going to eat later. I used to LOVE bacon, but now, the idea of eating it seems foreign and gross. I suppose that is a hurdle I will have to go through. How did you get through that first bite?

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

elleann - It is especially hard to be a vegetarian during the years when your body is still growing and developing. Eating even small amounts of meat in a week can help tremendously with health. For instance your hair and skin are likely to go back to normal.

It can be very helpful to have the option of eating meat when other food choices are limited like at restaurants.

But it is so hard to go against what you believe in. As sad as it is, the truth is we have to consume living things in order to live ourselves. Even plants are alive. Not to sound like the Lion King, but nature is a circle of life.

A compromise that helps many people is to live as nature consciously as possible like with eating organic meat when available.

If you do decide to eat meat again, try disguising it like you did before. There is nothing wrong with that. If you have to trick yourself in order to get the food you need, then do it. You can have someone else make your food so you don't have to think about what is in it.

Your friends and family just want you to be healthy. Most people seem to find that reactions about eating meat again are far worse in their heads than in actuality. People give others a harder time for eating differently than they do when people eat the same as them. Even if you do get some ragging about it, it probably won't last for long.

The first bite is the hardest. When and if you decide to do it, pick something you liked to eat before. Don't think about what it is. In time it gets easier.

Hope this helps and hope your health improves whatever you decide to do.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

German Bound - Being a vegetarian in a foreign country can be very difficult. Germany isn't known for being vegetarian friendly, but there is an increase of awareness in Europe. More vegetarian restaurants and menu items are starting to pop up.

You are still likely to have a hard time, though. Especially if you aren't familiar with German recipes and food.

I have seen similar documentaries about the food industry and I have a hard time watching them and still being able to eat anything. Part of the reason I stopped eating meat in the first place was because the thought of where it came from disgusted me.

I don't let myself think about the origin of the food when I am eating it. This goes for more than just meat. Cheese grosses me out also. Usually if I am distracted when eating it helps. Like if I am talking with friends or watching tv I have an easier time.

Free-range and organic is a great way to go if you are thinking of eating meat again. It is less cruel and it is healthier.

It might be best if you don't watch the meat being cooked until you get more comfortable with eating it. Seeing any meat in its raw state can be nasty. Just let someone else cook for you for awhile.

Take Clorox wipes with you as well. They will kill any contaminants that may get onto counters and surfaces.

The first bite was hard for me. I decided to eat a mini hamburger from Krystal because I loved them before. I went with just my husband so I would have someone there for support but wouldn't feel under the limelight. I put it up to my mouth and then put it back down about ten times before I finally put a nibble into my mouth. Once I finally chewed it, it wasn't too bad.

It helps to think of it just as food, not as what it used to be. Don't plan on eating more than a bite that first time. It may help to pick something you loved before. You may end up gagging. You may even spit it out. And that's okay. If you decide to keep trying, it gets easier. Your body (and mind) get readjusted to meat again.

Good luck and hope your trip is fantastic. I hope your stomach is happy as well.

umbrella88 5 years ago

While I don't plan on eating meat anytime in the near future (if ever), I did want to thank you for posting this, as it has helped one of my friends introduce meat back into their life. I personally stopped eating meat because it actually made me sick (not like, I got food poisoning, but every time I ate meat I got sick) and the assumptions of the doctors was that my body never could digest it well to begin with, so vegetarianism is the healthier choice for me. However, I don't get on a soap box and preach like some people do (no offense to those people, I have massive respect for you for standing up for your beliefs, whether it's for or against vegetarianism). Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for helping me help a friend.

kiwigirl 5 years ago

Such a great hub - I've been a vegetarian for about 5 years and just recently have become overwhelmed with the way my food options seem to have become less and less. I have been having stomachaches so thought it may be gluten and also want to become healthier so want to reduce carbs. My partner is not vegetarian but she is dairy and seafood free (allergies). What's left? It's becoming increasingly difficult for us to have anything resembling a similar meal together. Finally, I realised that it was becoming ridiculous to think about food like this and it's been increasingly clear to me that I need to become more balanced. It's time for me to integrate meat into my life again just to make my life easier.

I keep thinking about a quote that I heard someone say once, "Yes I was vegetarian, but I was becoming very judgemental and hard to be with. I decided I love people more than I love animals." I"m going to eat organic, free range meat and not every day - I feel really good about my decision, I know the timing is right for me and anyway, nothing is set in concrete is it? If I find it doesn't work, I"ll figure out something that does :).

Thanks for allowing me to say my two cents worth.

_Enlightened_ 5 years ago

"You may have stomach pains, cramps, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation from eating meat "

umm why would you EVER want to eat meat?? and let alone that it DOES cause this and humans aren't meant to. If you are meant to eat meat i'll wait while you bite into a FRESH LIVE cow like a tiger does, or a shark if it could. Don't bite into dead GMO stinky ammonia washed carcass with artificial colors/dyes to make it look and smell like meat. Why do flies go around steaks out in the sun and not veggies? and lets not talk about mcdonalds. You must have been dropped on your head or intook to much chemtrail dust, fluoride, or something to go back to meat? and forget fat plastic aka milk and cheese that stinks 2 .

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

umbrella88 - I am glad this article helped. That is the goal of it. Eating meat can be healthier for some people or it can be worse health wise for others (like you). I am pleased your friend has successfully reintroduced meat and I hope their health is good. Good luck to you in continued good health as well.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

kiwigirl - Eating vegetarian is hard enough. When food allergies become a factor, the choices become slim to none. It's amazing how many options become available when meat is back in the picture. Like you said, it doesn't even have to be everyday.

And you're right. Try it. If it doesn't work, figure out something that does. Experimenting with food is a great way to figure out what our bodies want, need, and can't handle.

By the way, I love the quote. Sadly, many staunch, die-hard vegans seem to care about the welfare of animals more than they do their fellow human beings.

Hope it goes well.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

To Enlightened - An enlightened, intelligent person should know what a fly eats, and let me tell you, steak isn't all. Most types of flies eat nectar, PLANT sap, blood, feces, or decaying matter. Here's more info about flies: You haven't been out in the world much if you've never seen a fly on fruit or vegetables. There is even a type of fly called a fruit fly.

Secondly, many people do eat raw meat or barely cooked meat. Haven't you heard of someone ordering a steak rare or people eating sushi? BUT, raw meat can carry bacteria, germs, and diseases that are killed when the meat is cooked. So eating like a tiger is a great way to shorten a person's life.

If a person stops eating certain types of food for a long time, eating it again can cause digestion problems. But they eventually pass. The health problems many people have aren't going away, though. So the tradeoff of continued deteriorating health versus some stomach discomfort isn't too bad.

Who said anything about McDonald's? Most people here are health conscious and are specifically saying they are going to eat organic, free range meats.

There are some cheeses that stink. But there are also some stinky vegetables. What does that have anything to do with it?

Dol 5 years ago

Thanks for all the info & advice here.

I've been a "vegetarian" for over 20 years (although I do occasionally eat fish).

In the last year I've been diagnosed with low ferritin (iron stores) and low B12. I've got a skin condition uticaria and generally feel pretty low.

I'm therefore seriously considering introducing some meat back into my diet - yuk! The thought of it makes me feel sick; but in the long term & based on some of your comments above, I really think I need to be a brave girl and give it a go!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Dol - Many long term vegetarians seem to experience a depletion of the body's resources after many years. B12 is hard to get from plants now because the products used to treat the soil destroy it.

What about eating chicken? It has a very similar texture to certain fish. Would that be easier for you to eat since you occasionally eat fish? It doesn't take a lot of meat to make a big difference in energy levels.

Hope your courage pays off!

i am consiliere 5 years ago

thank you for posting this blog.

i just ate a little piece of chicken first time again.

i do not belive it because i was a vegetarian for almost 6 years. now i am almost 22 years old.

many years ago i watched the video of peta called "meet-your-meet" and

i decited to quit my meat eating lifestyle from one day to other.

the reason why i am gonna eat meat again is , because of the alternate protein sources and i think my lowered libido. actually i am not sure what my normaly libido is-

but i read an article and there was written that fliars eat soy because it lowers their sexual activity (libido).

i always thought that soy products were healthy and good and everything.

but i did new researchs and found more informations that is better to avoid these products or only limit the usage of these products.

soy products contain estrogen-similar hormones which are called isoflavones.

there are many arguments to avoid soy products at all.

now the asian lifestyle topic.

in asian culture ,soy and tofu are daily components in their food.

they do it soy.

but you cant compare it to a typical vegetarian soy products using europe guy.

i ate 180g of soy everyday to cover my protein need.

in asian culture they eat max.10 g every day but never do eat that much like typical vegetarian people.

it took me 5 min too to start eating the little piece of chicken.

i have to stomach this whole story ...

anyway i am glad that i found something in the internet about this topic. it made it much easier to eat meat again.

Clare 5 years ago

This is a really interesting article that i found casually flicking through google. Im actually a very healthy veggie, i never starve and love to cook so i get everything i need out of a diet. I also feed my mum alot (even though she eats meat)

But reading through the comments just terrified me. The idea that some people have to eat meat to basically get better. I truely feel for you.

No one in my family is veggie and my mother tried her hardest to feed me dinosaur chicken nuggets and smiley faced hams as a child, but from three years old i wouldnt eat it. Ive hated the texture all my life. forcefed Pork in school at 6 had me throwing up in the bathrooms. Of course i was only ever eating chicken and mmushroom pot noodles but after a while the idea of it turned me too!

Now in my life the idea of any meat/fish/whatever makes me sick to no end. Its a psychological thing. I cant watch people eat meat. I cant smell it. I cant talk about it without getting nauseous )= Honestly if i was told i had to eat it i think i would just die. To me its like getting told i had to drink urine. Honestly thats the same thing to me. I associative it with dirtyness in my mind. (btw im not an kid who wants to rant about meat being ugh. This is actually how i view it)

BTW im not calling you all dirty or anything! Everyone i know eats meats im used to it i dont have an opinion. I just read the article and was thinking about it!

P.s eating abroad is ok. however getting here through looking up veggie in Japan. I can safely say im never going to japan.

=( haha

Dol 5 years ago

Cocopreme - thanks for your reply & your suggestion re chicken.

Unfortunately, chicken was the first meat I stopped when I started to become 'vegetarian' & it's definitely not something I fancy at all (not that I fancy any meat particularly!)

I've decided to try my hardest to make sure that my vegetarian diet is as healthy as it can be, so I've been busy researching the Vegetarian Society website & have got lots of different menu ideas, so here's hoping!

Although I think I may also try to 'tempt' myself to try some kind of meat, even if it's a tiny amount once a week, if it helps my iron store & B12, it will be worth it.

Watch this space!! Thanks again

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

i am consiliere - There is a lot of new research appearing about the dangers of eating too much soy on a regular basis. I've heard about the link to hormones, but didn't realize it can affect libido.

I guess the old saying everything in moderation is true with soy. Too much of it can be bad for the body.

I understand what you mean about it taking a while to eat that first bite of meat. Hope your dietary changes improve your health and your lifestyle.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Clare - I'm sorry you were force fed. That can be very psychologically scarring, especially if it is something you know makes you sick.

It's good that you are healthy as a vegetarian since you mentally do not think you could eat meat. I hope it continues to stay that way for you so you don't have to worry about it.

Thanks for the info about eating vegetarian abroad. I'm sure that is helpful for people who are going to travel.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Dol - I hope your new leads and new ideas help improve your health. Good luck with the menu ideas and the temptations.

Conflicted 5 years ago

thanks for this! I haven't had red meat in 10 years, poultry and pork in 7 years. I began eating seafood again about 3 years ago by doctors strong request and I do eat dairy and eggs, but the dairy tends to make me sick. I have a lot of health issues and have trouble absorbing nutients. I am anemic, etc. I tried to substitute with whole grain, nuts, soy, etc but my body doesn't want to digest it anymore and it makes me sick. I think I have eaten so much that I am rejecting it. Raw vegetables have begun to make me sick and I can only eat them cooked. So I feel like I have eaten for 2 past years or so is starch which just leaves me tired. My husband and I are trying to start a family now and the big concern has been my nutrition. I have been wondering for a few months if adding some meat back into my diet would help. I know I cannot do beef, the thought makes me sick, but I thought maybe chicken, turkey, possibly pork. I decided last night to eat some chicken. It was a small amount in a wrap with veggies and nuts. I do feel a little sick today, but I think it is psycological. I feel so conflicted about it. It just felt wrong. My family are farmers and have always been against my choice to not eat meat and my stubborness definitely plays a part here as well. I just don't really know how to feel right now, but reading that someone else has experienced this conflict helps.

Conflicted 5 years ago

Also, to Jane in California... I know Tom Naughton, director and "star" of Fathead! I haven't watched it yet, but I really should.

kasiangirl 5 years ago

im 15....and skinny.. I want to play sports and ive been a vegeterian for three years.. and i kinda wanna eat meat again.. but im scared its gunna infect my body..!! ahhh

vegan 5 years ago

A healthy vegan diet has been confirmed to add 14+ years to your life and make you less prone to a massive list of health risks. It's nuts to push people away from a healthy plant based diet! I've been a vegan for 20 years and my doctor can't believe how healthy I am for my age, relative to my peers. Every time I go in for tests and blood work, he tells me this. The vegan diet IS for everyone. We are not biologically designed to eat meat and milk (human milk in our case) is for babies! Grow up people!

Just dance 5 years ago

Grow up people??? What does eating have anything to do with how one acts? Why are vegans so mean? I know, I was one! Until my health went to pot, I just got my blood test back, since November my vitamin d was 19, now it's 44, my white blood count was 3.1,now it is 6.7, all good now. I don't eat much meat at all. See being vegan is NOT for everyone. But for those that can be then awesome! I was once vegan, it made me a depressed, neurotic angry, self centered protesting, not fun to be around person, heck some vegans get so mad that they will stock and give death threats. It's crazy, why are some vegans so upset? Because they want to save the world of the animal kingdom, and they try to take on the world, be controlling of others and think to much about what goes on with fctry farms. It can ruin a persons spirit! It did mine, until one day in my yard I saw a falcon take a pigeon. We all are connected somehow. Veganism, if not handled right can become a religion, like a cult, it will control your mind. Each person like animal has to do what is right for them, the body will give you signals, just listen. It will either agree, or disagree, but you should not make sarcastic comments to one either way instead be supportive and understanding instead of bitter.

5 years ago

your post inspired me. I am only 17 and i have been a vegetarian for 4 years now, but for the past year or so i have been thinking about eating meat again.. i was thinking only birds though. i have problems digesting regular food so i think it would be tough for me to digest red meat on top of that. but i am thinking ahead and trying to become healthy again. since becoming vegetarian i have lost a lot of weight and become unhealthy, problems have come up with my body, and my boyfriend encourages me to start eating meat again because he wants me to be healthy too. i am wanting to have kids when i am older, and i know that being in the state i am now it would be very very difficult so i am doing this for my future.. but it has been very hard for me. i read that i should start with broth but to be honest broth grosses me out. ive had meat close to my face but never been able to take that first bite. you said you started with your favorite burger, well my favorite was buffalo wings before i became vegetarian so maybe ill start with that.. just a bite. and see how it turns out. thank you for your post it was very inspiring.

-depressed vegetarian

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Conflicted - It's hard to be a vegetarian when your body starts having trouble with the foods you need to be healthy. Eating too much starchy food can definitely run down your system. If you are thinking of having kids, nutrition will definitely be a priority.

The psychological aspect is definitely the hardest thing to deal with. If you are going to eat meat again, the toughest thing will be finding a way to mentally handle it. I just avoid thinking about the origin of my food.

Most people find that, as far as friends and family are concerned, they get hassled less about eating meat again than about becoming a vegetarian in the first place. Maybe you can mentally turn your stubbornness around so that you can talk yourself into eating meat again.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

kasiangirl - It's hard to be a vegetarian during the time when your body is still growing. Getting the right amount of nutrients can be tricky.

What kind of infection do you mean? Fatty meat wouldn't be good for you just like junk food wouldn't. But as long as you eat lean meat in reasonable portions, your body will be able to handle it.

Organic meat would be the best. You can find meat that doesn't have any chemical additives. That way you would only be eating natural ingredients.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

vegan - Eat what makes you feel good and let everyone else eat what makes them healthy. Try to care as much for your fellow humans as you do for animals and not make disparaging comments.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Just dance - Thank you. Intolerance and unrealistic idealism can poison the soul. It seems some people get way too fanatical about their diet.

You've listened to what your body is telling you and your health is improving. That's what matters.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

depressed vegetarian - Being healthy is what is important, especially if you are thinking of being a mom one day. You'll have more than just yourself to provide nutrition for.

It is easier to take a bite if it is something you think you'll like. Once you get that first bit down, it gets easier. If you think you can handle the wings, go for it. It's about what works for you.

The taste and texture may be different than what you remember. But you can keep experimenting to find what you can tolerate.

conflicted 5 years ago

Thanks for the response! I have been doing better. I have eaten chicken three times now. The first two were very small amounts and then last night I ate a chicken sandwich. I found out yesterday that I am pregnant! and I know that protien is going to be very important. It was much easier to eat it last night knowing it isn't just for me. My body was actually craving it. I'm holding off on telling people I am eating meat again until I am more settled into the decision. Also, I think it will be easier to say I began eating it b/c I was pregnant.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

conflicted - Congratulations! I'm sure it is easier to eat it when it is for your baby and especially if your body seems to be craving it. Good luck and I hope you have a healthy, easy pregnancy.

Bee 5 years ago

I'm 20 and haven't eaten meat for 5 years. The only meat I didn't mind eating before that was the occasional tuna salad (or BLT if it was burnt to nothing), however even tuna salad started grossing me out, and when my mom stopped making me eat meat, I was able to call it quits for good. Ever since then, I haven't eaten any.

When I was little my mom would make me sit at the dinner table for up to an hour after everyone - until I'd eat my meat. When I was a baby she said I would just spit it out all the time.

Lately, I've been craving certain meat products, but the thought of actually eating it grosses me out. It didn't start out ethical, I just found eating flesh repulsive, but it has grown to be more moral-based, too. And honestly it just plain grosses me out.

I've been lactose intolerant for about 7 years, so my food choices are cereal, bread, fruits and veggies. I eat eggs, but I have to focus to keep them down (I think my body just has a hard time with digesting protein). I used to have an eating disorder, and I currently have fibromyalgia and a problem with passing out (neurocardiogenic syncope). I'm thinking with my craving it so much it may be time to slowly start introducing it again. I can go as far as preparing it, but can't actually commit to putting it in my mouth.

Just have to keep trying, ha...Maybe. Or maybe I'm doing what I should by not eating it? My body seems to be running (fairly) okay.

Conflicted 5 years ago

Thanks cocopreme! I'm really excited, but also very nervous. I just want everything to go well!

Bee - have they tested you for anemia? They told me when I was younger that I had neurocardiogenic syncope b/c I was passing out often and I found out later that I was actually passing out b/c I was anemic. With your diet and the fact that you are out of your teens now it seems likely.

Bee 5 years ago

@ Conflicted: I believe they have. I a blood test taken when I first fainted and the only thing that came back positive was my ANA. Have you changed anything with your nutrition?

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Bee - If you are craving meat so much, maybe your body is trying to tell you something. There has been a lot of research into a link between Fibromyalgia and food allergies. So your body might not be handling certain foods well. This article might interest you:

If you want to eat meat again and your body isn't digesting them well, digestive enzymes and probiotics might help you. They help your body break down the food and absorb the nutrients better.

If you do decide to eat meat again, the first bite is the biggest obstacle. Just do what you can to get yourself to take it. It gets easier from there. Hope your health improves.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Conflicted - :)

Harold 5 years ago

I am very happy about the respect being utilized from all comments and commenter’s, but i am saddened to read about how many people are going back to eating meat. When I made the jump to vegetarian, I researched ways to optimize my health as a vegetarian for a year before I took the plunge. I have not been sick in the past three years, I am at a healthy weight for the first time in my life, I have no anxiety, my skin, hair and nails look great, and I feel great knowing nothing has died for me to eat. My friend decided to go vegetarian, ate tons of bread and pasta, and of course junk food (because almost all junk food is vegetarian) and ended up in the hospital, OF COURSE with a Doctor that told her all her problems would be fixed by eating meat again, instead of telling her about a HEALTHY vegetarian diet. I think all too quickly people are ready to assume vegetarianism can be unhealthy, but research will show you, it is absolutely vital for optimum health, it just needs to be done correctly, and most people don’t take the time to do that, and then blame vegetarianism, which in turn gives it a stigma, and turns people away who could have lived a longer healthier life.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Harold - Thank you for sharing your opinion in a respectful manner. I think there is a bit of truth in what you are saying. Many people can eat a healthy vegetarian diet and do very well with it. I encourage anyone who can eat vegetarian healthily to do so.

BUT, I don't think that it is universally the best diet for everyone. I am sure there are people who tried to be a vegetarian by eating mostly carbs, and of course, didn't feel well.

However, as many, many of the people who have shared their story can attest, lots of us ate a very balanced vegetarian diet and simply did not do well on it long term. I think there are other factors involved, maybe genetics or body type that make it difficult for some people to be a total vegetarian and be healthy.

The research isn't exactly conclusive. Most vegans and vegetarians are more health conscious than the average person. A significantly smaller number of vegetarians smoke and drink heavily and eat fatty foods, so that is as much a factor as what they are eating or not eating.

You are definitely right that vegetarianism and veganism have a stigma in society in general. I don't think someone trying vegetarianism and finding it isn't right for them is what is causing the stereotype, though. I think it has more to do with the beliefs and lifestyles of some high profile vegans.

I don't think the decision to become a vegetarian or to stop being one is made lightly by anyone. And I don't think anyone here is giving vegetarianism a bad name. We all admire it and would have continued it if health and other factors weren't involved. Most everyone here found that it isn't exactly right for us, not that it is wrong or bad.

cez 5 years ago

Hi everyone. Obviously I am reading this as I approach a time where my health is concerning me.

I became vegetarian almost 10 years ago when I was 15. There are many reasons I should eat meat.. I am thinking only fish and one day maybe chicken, but I am scared! Sounds pathetic probably.

I seem to rely so heavily on carbs and cheese and things that are bad for me. I am not fat, but I am not the weight I should be, I lack protein and I do not feel healthy.

I just had a long chat with one of my best friends, she eats fish but no other meat.. we were contemplating trying to eat free range chicken one day and the thought makes me want to cry. My boyfriend eats a crazy amount of meat and it is sad we can't eat together. He hates it too and thinks I would feel better (and not anemic) if I just ate meat.

Basically I am looking for support and advice, some of your comments are incredibly interesting and helpful. All the best. :]

Raph 5 years ago

This article really annoyed me. All the reasons for not being a vegetarian were vegetarians tended to eat too much"x". Or they don't get enough protein. There are tons of other protein sources and becoming a vegetarian doesn't guarantee that you'll eat too much or too little of something. Inexperienced vegetarians just accidentally happen to. I've been a vegetarian all my life (17.5 years) and I firmly support vegetarianism. Not only is it morally right, and benefitting to your health, but meat production is one of the biggest contributors to lack of water, world hunger, pollution, deforestation, and global warming. It's true.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

cez - Relying on milk products like cheese for protein can make you feel very run down. Especially if you are eating a lot of carbs along with it. Milk (and cheese) break down into sugar, so it is like eating carbs as well. I know this is so easy to do as a vegetarian. Especially when you have to eat at places that aren't very vegetarian friendly.

If you are thinking about eating meat, start with small, small steps. If fish sounds doable, just start with a tiny bit of it. It doesn't take very much meat to start making a big impact on your energy and health levels.

Then down the road, if you are handling that ok, maybe think about chicken. If it is too difficult, just take a step back. You don't have to go straight for the difficult stuff if it is too much of a drain emotionally. Maybe try chicken broth. Or just stick with fish if that something you like. Fish is a very healthy food and is a good source of protein.

If you decide to go for it, eat something that appeals to you. If something on your boyfriend's plate seems appealing, try a little bite.

You could also try adjusting your diet a bit for added energy. Do you eat many whole grains? Whole grains have more protein and don't break down as quickly as refined carbs in the stomach. Small changes like that can help you in the meantime.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Raph - Eating too much of something or not getting enough of a vital nutrient is most definitely a reason for dietary change. No one should sit idly by and watch their health deteriorate. If something isn't working, it should be fixed. For some people that may mean not eating as much junk food. But if someone is eating a healthy vegetarian diet and is still not doing well, then maybe a bigger change is needed.

Meat production is not the source of the problems in the world. Bad policies are the source of the problems. Meat is produced in America and we don't have poor water or lack of food in huge numbers. So your theory isn't true.

Laws need to be changed, not our diets. Third world countries have poor conditions because they lack proper infrastructure. Governments sell off their land because they need the money. It comes down to power, not hamburgers.

Jay 5 years ago

Interesting topic but I have to comment. I am a vegan for ethical reasons and because the more I thought about it, the less sense it made to eat certain products and regardless of what I read or am told, I still feel that way. This has to do with dairy. I cannot understand why it is consumed and will never believe that humans are suppose to eat the reproductive by products of any bird and drink the milk of another species that was intended for their young, let alone at all after you're weened from your own 'human' Mother. Once that is done, the cow doesn't need to take over nurturing me, I'm a big boy now; go ahead and give it to the calf it was designed and produced for. It is just nonsense to me and can never be justified. After becoming vegan, I cannot believe I never thought of that more when I was growing up. I mean really, think about that. It's one of the most ridiculous things ever and makes no sense whatsoever.

So I'd rather someone eat meat than dairy any day and 'vegetarians' who eat dairy don't make much sense UNLESS they are only doing it for health reasons. You might as well eat the meat too. Have you seen cows of factory dairy farms? Have you seen how the chickens are treated? They are like the worst of all! At least the ones for meat get to die sooner. So a 'vegetarian' who consumes dairy is an oxymoron to me; and like I said UNLESS they are NOT doing it for ethical reasons.

Meat on the other hand, may be different and I can understand eating that but will never understand the factory farming thing...never. It is not excusable and acceptable and to anyone that believes in any kind of God of some sort; let me ask you, what kind of God do you think would find that kind of treatment to his creations (whether for food or not) acceptable? I'll tell you that it's not a God I would want to love and follow that's for sure. I am not religious at all but since so many people claim to be some type of religion, what kind of person condones such behavior and treatment? For the comments to the person above who opened the 'sandbox'; well there was some silly things in your comments. Vegans and vegetarians are not Monks. A cow stepping on a snail is what it is; who cares? The cow was not picking the snail up and torturing it until it died to sell for food. Just because you have morals about ethical treatment of animals doesn't make you some kind of monk or something that doesn't kill living things. You have to realize that things have to die. There is a circle of life and a food chain. I just think that we place Humans in the wrong spot under the wrong category so over the millions of years, we've adapted our species to need certain things. There has been plenty of species who were forced to do the same thing in order to survive for whatever the reason was. Do I think we were originally designed to eat animals? No. Do I think we may need them now? Maybe. But do we need to treat living beings who have feelings so horrible? No.

I gave up meat because it was too difficult to find meat that wasn't from a factory farm. It wasn't worth the hassle for me and my morals were more important. I gave up dairy because I had an epiphany and realized just how dumb and disgusting it was to consume. But I refuse to be a part or such treatment and no matter what, I will not condone it. I am not a sheep that goes along with everyone or turns away to pretend not to see it or just ignore it. I, personally cannot sleep well at night being that kind of person. Do I think the simple act of an animal being killed for food is bad? No. Animals are killed by animals all the time; it's nature and I am aware of this. But hell, even the animals who kill for food do it more humanely than our species and we are suppose to be superior? Yeah, right. Humans have caused everything bad on this planet and have done more harm than good. We do so much bad that the good just don't add up to justify it. So, I have been happy being a vegan (a little difficult at times) because humans tend to believe or want to believe they are carnivores. You don't realize how much animal by products are really eaten until you don't eat them (its kind of gross really) But I'll admit that I do worry some times about nutrition and certain things you get more of from eating a piece of meat. I start to think that maybe humans have adapted the body to need certain things over the course of our existence. If I were to start eating meat again for health, it would definitely have to come from a specific source (maybe a local farm I can visit and see the conditions and such) and that's it. I mean these days it's not only the treatment but the health hazards. Because of the treatment, is it really healthy anymore? I have been vegan for only a short period of time and have now avoided 3+ meat contamination/recalls. But I haven't decided on whether I may start eating it again (of course entirely different than before)or not. But I think if I do, I may keep the mammals, their milk and babies out of it. I know many of you have good intentions; so good luck with what ever you choose. But just remember that what is being done is not OK and should not be accepted and to those who think it is; I wish/hope you could experience that treatment yourself someday and then tell me your opinion again afterwards; and if you can't speak, I'm sure I'll know by the expression on your face ;) .

jellie 5 years ago

Interesting article!

Reading the comments I think it is all very well throwing facts and stats around, but at the end of the day every body is different. Food Intolerance's are more common than ever due to the quality of our food degrading, so no it is not rare.

I took quite a few years to become veggie, for the animals of course, and have been now for 10 years. However I have been sick for most of those years, I can't digest half the things I am supposed to eat, and I am full of deficiencies, even though I take supplements. Now that I am pregnant I am seriously considering turning back to eat a little meat, for my baby's sake, she never asked to get sick too. I was brought up to know where my food came from so I guess that is partly why I was put off. But equally if you source locally or organically, you know exactly how the animal is treated, it is less likely to be highly processed and less likely to make you ill anyway. I suspect we all know the badness of factory farming! But it is your choice whether to buy unsustainable meat products, or more sustainable ones, where everything in the process is used.

I always admire the native american and other native cultures for using the whole of the animal, and some other cultures do too, and honor the animal enough to give it a good life, which is what should be happening anyway.

But at the end of the day, we have to make the choice ourselves, no matter what people say or what websites or doctors or peers whoever, its our bodies so I'm sure we can do the right thing (whatever that is personally) for ourselves/the planet :-) Also I don't really like it when others force their opinions on other people, everything is relative!


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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jay - Some of the things you brought up are good points. Ethical treatment of animals is a big concern for most vegetarians or former vegetarians. That is why most specifically mention wanting to eat free-range and organic.

For better or worse, we don't live in a time when most people go out and hunt their own food. So we do have to rely on farms and industry to supply our food.

Yes, I agree the conditions in some farms are pitiful. But not all farms are that way. Especially local, family owned farms. So, if you do eat meat, try to find a supplier who has good conditions. Do some research on it.

On the other hand, I often wonder what would happen to farm animals if humans no longer needed them as a food source. How long would they make it without humans feeding them? Most farm animals are so dependent on humans, it would almost be a cruelty to leave them to any other type of life.

I am not a meat industry advocate at all and I am not denying the fact that there could definitely be changes for the better for the animals. But nature is a circle. I am sorry that living things have to die so that I can live. But that is how animals themselves treat other animals. If humans weren't eating the cows, some other animal would. So in a sense, their fate is less cruel with the humans because the humans offer them shelter and protection from wild animals and a supply of food. Yes, some do end up as our food, but the whole species might be better off even still.

As for the milk, I don't think there is anything wrong with drinking it. Most cows produce way more than their calves need. Being milked is a relief for the cows. Dairy farmers will tell you that the cows willing come to get milked and want it. See: And why shouldn't humans drink it rather than just wasting it? And why should eggs go to waste when the chicken is going to lay them whether they get eaten or not? Nothing has to die for it. That is less cruel than meat and is sufficient protein for many people.

Fruits and vegetables are reproductive byproducts of plants since that is what holds the seeds. What is the difference?

If it bothers you that much, though, then just avoid it. Thanks for being respectful to other people's opinions.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

jellie - You nailed it. We do have to decide for ourselves what food we are going to eat.

I definitely agree with you about not wasting the animal and giving it a good life. Native Americans were closer to nature than most of us are today. They had immense respect for all creatures. When they killed, they didn't waste the animal's sacrifice. They put it all to good use. Not to sound callous about it, but put into modern terms, that is a green, environmentally friendly way to live.

I hope your pregnancy goes well and you find the right diet for you and your baby.

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formerme 5 years ago

I have been vegan for almost ten years. Two years ago my ethics changed. I no longer thought veganism was the be all, end all ethical choice people make it out to be. The last two months my diet finally started catching up with my ethics.

After reading many comments above here are my thoughts:

I hear many saying "How can you eat something like a cow/chicken/fish after you know what they go through?" In general, soy/corn/grain monoculture industrial farming not only has wiped out millions of acres of forests and their inhabitants, but it soil that grows soy is ruined and cannot grow anything else. Along with the fact that ALL industrial farming (includng factor slaughterhouses, a vegetable slaughter farms)have caused so much damage to our planet, the animals, and our ecosystems that visitng a free-range, organic farm to see the cow you are going to eat is MUCH more ethical than eating soy.

All my animal products come from local sources now. All my meat comes from hunting/fishing. Most of my veggies come from my garden. If you truly want to live an ethical lifestyle stay away from the industrial industry altogether. Support local foods, including meat! Much more ethical, and you know where your food comes from and who it supports!

It's a bold goal and even I slip a lot of the times. But my argument is more centered at those vegans who say meat eating cannot be ethical, when really, supporting the industrial agricultural system, which includes soy and wheat and everything vegans think is ethical, is really more harmful not only to the planet but to animals also.

Rae Kay 5 years ago

I enjoyed reading this excellent article, and most of the comments - except the cranky judgemental ones - were also very thoughtful and from the heart.

One approach that's helped me to occasionally eat a bit of meat (after being veggie for two decades) is ... baby food!

Sounds silly, I know, but the pureed 100% chicken/turkey/beef flavors let you ingest meat while bypassing the textural and visual cues that can be gross or distressing to an animal-lover. A jar of beige mush isn't very intimidating ;)

I still wish the world was a perfect place with no cruelty and no hard choices, but we do what we can do. Best of luck to everyone regaining their omnivore status!

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

formerme - Thank you so much for your comments. You have very clearly summarized the ideas that I have been reiterating to many of the vegans who have posted here.

The ethics of eating meat versus veganism are not cut and dry. And meat isn't what is destroying the planet. It is industry and the policies that support it at the cost of the environment.

You bring up a very good point about farming. It takes up land and can destroy natural resources and creatures just as cattle farms do. So environmental concerns do not necessarily favor veganism.

Eating local, organic, and free-range is one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly. And that does include local meat products.

No one can eat perfectly all the time. The important thing is that you are living a life that is healthy for you and has minimal negative effects on the environment.

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Rae Kay - Baby food is a very good idea. The texture and appearance of meat is what bothers a lot of people (me also!). Baby food doesn't look like meat at all. The flavor is probably different as well.

The way it is prepared is also really great for anyone who has trouble digesting meat. Your body wouldn't have to work as hard to digest baby food.

Life would be simpler if food didn't involve ethical choices, but that isn't reality.

Thanks for the great idea.

Peete 5 years ago

Is it me or does anyone else seem to think that its strange that you have to readjust to eating meat. Speaks volumes to me, I've never had to slowly get back on apples. And please nobody say its because of the immense amount of nutrients concentrated in the meat. I don't undestand it please help

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cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Peete - It is not so much about a certain food like your apple example. It is an entire type of food. It is an entire section of the food pyramid. No, you wouldn't have to slowly get back to eating apples. But if you stopped eating fruit all together, then your body might have a hard time if you tried to eat fruit again. The same thing applies to dairy. If you stopped eating for a long time, your body could possibly have a hard time readjusting to eating it again.

Think about babies. Can little babies eat whatever they want and their bodies handle it? No, they have to slowly let their bodies adjust to new foods. When you go a long time without eating meat, your body has to relearn how to digest that type of food.

Meat is different than other foods because it takes different types of enzymes to break it down. If your body isn't used to making large quantities of them, then it can strain your system.

It's more like muscles. If you don't exercise for a long time, then try to run five miles, your body will be in pain. It's not that your body can't do it. It's just not in the shape to do it. You have to retrain the body to be able to run. The body just has to relearn how to process and digest meat.

met11 5 years ago

wow i love this hub. I was a very healthy and energetic kid growing up and decided one day that eating meat freaked me out. it wasn't much deeper than that- it just bugged me that i was eating an actual animal. neither eggs nor dairy products bothered me though. i decided to stop eating meat when i was 13 and am now 20 and in the years in between, have had so many health problems... i am a college athlete so it made it that much harder. there is never a time that i am not lethargic, i always feel weak, i am constantly getting headaches and getting sick, at least twice every month, then another two weeks before i can get rid of it.. i've had mono for three years now and i can't shake it from my system. i miss the energy i had when i was younger. im sure i haven't had the perfect diet in the past seven years so of course a lot of it was my fault. i was a creature of habit so it was not hard for me to cut out meat and incorporate new foods in. i am also worried about my future... i want children some day and cannot imagine putting them in any danger. also, diabetes runs in my family and i want to avoid that at all costs. so i've decided i am going to try to introduce some meat into my diet... more than anything i just can't wrap my head around the concept of eating meat again.. but this was the perfect article to go to to show the benefits that are possible. i would do annnnything to stop being so damn tired all the time! thank you for sharing all of these stories and inspiring me to give it a try! what's the worst that could happen? :)

Allyson 4 years ago

I'm a vegan...well I guess I'm not as of last week because I started eating eggs...but anyway, I've been thinking about eating meat for a few weeks now. I'm pregnant and have been having major cravings for meat and cheese. I'm not going to start eating cheese, but I really think I want to eat meat again. The problem I have is not with my ethics, though one of the reasons I stopped eating meat is because of animal cruelty, but my husband. He went vegan with me and found that it really worked for him. We're all about eating healthy in my house, and my husband and I thought not eating meat was healthy. He still thinks so, but I'm not so sure anymore. I told him of my new desire to eat meat; he wasn't so thrilled. In fact, I think he's starting to get a little depressed because of my desire for new eating habits. I think he feels a little alone, and I fear it will get worse if I actually do start eating meat. I don't know what to do. I've tri

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Lambykins00 4 years ago

I stopped eating meat for about 5 years starting at age 23 for ethical reasons. I also thought I would be healthier and happier and more energetic. Well I found out that my body was just made to eat meat because I ended up slowly falling into depression and having severe anxiety and insomnia. It happened slowly over the first year so that I never realized that my new vegetarian diet was the cause.

As I was reading about anxiety and trying to find why it was so severe I read that depression and anxiety can be from not getting enough meat. There are hardly any articles out there that stress this link between my symptoms and a vegetarian diet so it took YEARS before I read about this link and started to consider it.

I decided to see if this was a problem for me so I started eating meat again, especially focusing on red meat. I Worked myself up to eating a steak every day (now I am more modest, but at the time, I wanted to get a lot of red meat into my diet every day to help me detect any changes to my depression and anxiety)...

Anyway, to sum it all up, after the first week of eating plenty of red meat: my anxiety vanished (something that not even anti-anxiety meds had been able to do), my depression was lifted, my insonmia also vanished (and I require about 2-3 hours LESS sleep per night to feel awake and active the next day), I have not gotten sick once since eating meat again(been a year now). And some thinning of my hair at the vertex of my head has filled back in. I could go on and on...

Now I am not an idiot. I had been VERY careful with my diet when i was vegetarian to make sure I was getting all my nutritional needs especially protein. I knew all about the essential amino acids, I DID eat eggs and dairy during that time. I ate plenty of variety of fresh and organic foods. I got PLENTY of the "super-foods" in my diet like broccoli, spinach, mung bean sprouts, seaweed, etc.. etc... I ate plenty of nuts and seeds while being a vegetarian so I am not under the assumption that I must have been doing something wrong.. I am FULLY convinced and feel convicted that some people must just NEED meat, especially RED meat. And I am one of those persons, so that basically eliminated the ethical concerns I had.

But now I eat enough meat only to be sufficient for my health and don't over-do it. I don't eat veal or fast food meat or any meat from a source where animals are likely mistreated. I am sure not everything I eat would live up to my standards but I do my best and that's all I can expect of myself...

All these problems I had basically de-railed my entire life for 5 years and put me through some serious stress... I have learned a lot and definitely come out a stronger person from it.. I have a LOT of empathy now for people with anxiety and depression but I guess I just wanted to throw my experience out there incase anybody comes across this hub and is on the fence about eating meat or not.. I do believe some people are happier and feel better without meat - but I also know first hand that the opposite can also be true and nobody should feel bad or be harassed for their diet choice.

DeanP 4 years ago

Nice article. It's good to have a space where people can share their experiences.

I've been vegetarian nearly 10 years. I'm not enjoying it as much as i used to obviously otherwise i wouldn't be at this site. My main issue is about a monotonous diet. I live in asia now and don't have that much variety in what i get to eat. Alot of fried food or only simple vegetables. Most people on this site cite health issues as their biggest issue, but lack of food choices is also important.

I originally gave up meat as i started meditating and felt uncomfortable in my stomach. I was probably influenced by vegetarian Buddhists at the time as I'd never thought about vegetarianism before this. It's just something that occurred at the time. I was also getting bored with meat and becoming vegetarian was a life change that i really enjoyed. Animal ethics was a minor consideration; i grew up on a farm and didn't have an issue with killing animals. Mind you8 there's a huge difference in the type of farm as to how an animal lives and dies. Ethics has become more important over time as it gives me pleasure to reflect on how many lives haven't been taken because of my choices. I'm a bit neutral on the environmental benefits of being vegetarian. Most plants suitable to eat need quite intensive agriculture, and many animals are farmed basically in the wild. It depends on what animal and where you live.

I immediately felt more healthy after becoming vegetarian. I rarely got sick when previously i had colds at least 3 times a year which always dragged on for months. I do physical work, sometimes trecking through mountainous areas for weeks at a time and have been as strong or stronger than the people around me. For physical stamina i think rice is the only important food. I used to drink lots of milk (iced coffee addict) but being in asia i don't have much now. I guess i'm lucky that there's plenty of tofu and tempeh and people really know how to cook it so it tastes nice. In the past few years my diet had been getting monotonous, leading to less appetite, less choices, and my health has gone back closer to what it was before being vegetarian. I've always been underweight, and have been the most obese in my life and the skinniest in my life as a vegetarian.

Health wise i think everyone's body is different and you need to be a bit in tune to what your body is saying. I see alot of posters are young and their bodies are going to go through big changes. Also lots of girls here and I'd have to say that guys drew the easy straw. Our bodies don't play much havoc on us. My wife's having her second baby now so i can see that. So it's alot to ask for females to be able to control their health only through diet. Another thing is that alot of people are going to have lethargy and depression anyway.... been there done that. Especially as most vegetarians are sensitive people, otherwise we wouldn't be making tough choices.

I'm not ready to quit yet but am feeling ambivalent about being vegetarian when it was something that gave me great satisfaction. Just a reminder that those restaraunts that put tasty vegetarian dishes on their menus are doing a small slice of the world a great service.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

met11 - Being a vegetarian during the body's growing and developing years is very hard, especially if you don't come from a family that is also vegetarian.

The headaches and lethargy are definitely something to be concerned about if you are at risk for diabetes. I was in the same boat. So many of the foods vegetarians rely on turn to sugar in the body. It can take an even bigger toll on the body if you aren't able to cook perfectly balanced meals everyday, like while in college.

If you do decide to eat some meat again, the biggest hurdle is the first bite. Having other people's success stories is a great motivation for your own health. And like you said, what is the worst that could happen? It doesn't work for you and you go back to a vegetarian diet. But there is also the best that could happen. You could improve your health and feel more energetic and have good outlook for your future.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Allyson - It can be difficult when spouses don't eat the same kinds of foods, but it isn't impossible. Probably the best thing to do is to sit down and talk to your husband about what you are feeling. Explain to him that you are concerned about the baby and the cravings you are having.

Discuss what your diet change can mean for the both of you now while you are pregnant and then in the future when the baby arrives. Like, will you go back to being a vegan or will you keep eating meat? Are you okay with your husband continuing to be a vegan? What will the two of you expect your child's diet to be?

Ask him what his fears and concerns are. Talking about them can help the two of you get onto the same page. And keep in mind that it is okay if you make different choices about whether or not to eat meat. Just try to understand each other's point of view about it.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Lambykins00 - Thank you for sharing your story. There are definitely links between insufficient protein and depression. There are lots of studies out there about dietary deficiencies and mood and overall mental well-being. I know that there have been times when I have felt anxious or nervous when I haven't eaten enough.

I agree with you. I think some people's bodies don't function well on vegetarian diets. And you can attest that you ate a very well balanced vegetarian diet and you still were not healthy.

I'm glad that many people thrive by eating vegetarian or vegan diets. But if a person isn't healthy without meat, then the diet should be scrapped.

It's good that you were able to put together the pieces of what was causing your problems. It is also good to hear that you are doing so much better after your diet change. I hope you have continued good health.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

DeanP - You definitely bring up a good point about choices. One of the most challenging aspects of being a vegetarian is having access to a wide variety of foods. There are more vegetarian friendly foods appearing on menus and in grocery stores, but there are still a lot of places that just don't have much to offer vegetarians.

I think many vegetarians have experienced something very similar to what you have. At first, most people feel really good on a vegetarian diet. It is probably because the body is detoxing from too much fatty food. But over time, the diet becomes too limited and the body becomes depleted of certain nutrients. So the diet swings from one extreme to another.

You are right in that the key to good health is to be in tune with what our body wants and needs. The ethics of the decision to eat meat or not are so cloudy and depend more than anything on where the food comes from. So people should eat what makes them feel good. And restaurants worldwide should definitely be encouraged to serve healthier menu options.

Ryan 4 years ago

Just watch it. Meat is NOT necessary. You can get plenty of protein from nuts and leafy greens. Eating meat and cooked foods actually consumes your body's enzymes thus decreasing your lifespan. Foods as they were meant to be eaten (raw) come with their own enzymes that break the food down for you. When you cook your food you destroy the enzymes and thus have to use the enzymes made by your pancreas. Meat comes with it's own enzymes too but when you cook it you destroy it. Most Americans eat WAY TOO MUCH meat and thus are depleting their body's reserves of enzymes. Try eating RAW foods if you lack energy. Most vegetarians have TERRIBLE diets because they are uninformed about the enzyme issue. Watch the vid from the link I posted. You'll be surprised.

sudley 4 years ago

Most people who claim vegetarian or vegan diets are not healthy honestly don't know what they are talking about, I too was ignorant for most of my life.

Eating Vegetarian or Vegan is the most healthy lifestyle there is, but it is also the most complex, you have to know a hell of a lot about nutrition, you need to eat the right whole foods to supply your body with everything it needs.

Some people have medical reasons why they cannot be pure vegetarian or vegan, my girlfriend actually doesn't metabolise iron properly from vegetables, so she must eat a little meat, others may find they have similar issues.

So yes you can be vegetarian/vegan and live an incredibly healthy life, far healthier than most people on a regular western diet, but you have to be smart about it, It is complicated and needs plenty of research, any side effects you will need to look into and possibly even seek medical advice before you get your diet right for you.

The good news is, like many people here you can adopt a mainly vegetarian diet and still eat a little meat every now and then to feel great.

Cassie 4 years ago

This is sensible advice.

I've been vegetarian for 7 years, and I really do think though that this article misses two points.

1. Being a vegetarian is not always why someone is having health problems. It is a highly flexible diet, you don't need to eat a lot of carbohydrates at all. I don't really eat fake meat (usually when given it), and I think if you are cooking from scratch the majority of the time and plan how you are going to get your nutrients it is totally doable. If you are feeling tired, bloated or whatever there are other steps you can take first, such as cutting out white grain and alcohol. This will be more useful most of the time.

2. In terms of being able to eat whilst travelling and in restaurants, I don't usually have a problem finding something I would like to eat in England. And I wouldn't choose to travel to somewhere I thought I would have to eat meat to survive.

3. If you start eating meat again there is a high risk you will put on weight, which may make your health problems worse. I appreciate that this is not a given, but it is possible.

4. A vegetarian diet can have oodles of protein, and I think it is disingenuous to insinuate that being vegetarian may make you depressed. An excellent dinner is spinach dahl with a little rice and salad on the side.

5. With cheese, of course some vegetarians eat too much but this is because of options they are given, poor planning and things like that. Eating meat again because you are eating too much cheese is silly, in that case stop eating so much cheese. I try to make either my lunch or dinner either vegan or with little dairy (like a bit of marg or something).

As I say, I am sure this article will be of some help to some people. However, it seems to me that perhaps some people here have used their health as an excuse to going back to eating meat because deep down, they like meat and want to eat it. It's fine if you don't want to be vegetarian anymore, but it's not fair to blame it on your health, because it gives vegetarianism bad name.

David Jacob 4 years ago


Thanks for putting up this article (and staying involved in the comment thread for 2 years!)

I really needed to read something like this right now while I'm very conflicted about my future diet. I even started a blog about the issue ( so I'll just copy what I wrote there here:

I'm 42. Male. Jewish. Kosher. And have been a strict vegetarian for over 20 years.

I gave up meat on June 16, 1991. I didn't know I'd be giving up meat forever, but that's how it turned out.

But it might not be forever after all.

I've been married for 9 years to a meat eater, a wonderful woman who we'll call Nancy, and we've made that work. But since I'm the primary cook, she does sometimes feel deprived. And Nancy feels better when she eats meat.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if I might need to change what I eat too. I've been feeling tired and draggy the last couple of years, especially the last few months. Especially after eating carbs, particularly gluten.

I gave up gluten a month ago, and I felt much better. But only to a point. I'm still exhausted much of the time.

I've been quite overweight most of my life. And now, I can't seem to lose weight no matter what I do. I bicycle several miles a day, and have given up most carbs, including refined sugars.

My blood tests come out fine. I have no signs of elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance. Basically, none of the hallmarks of pre-diabetes. And even though I felt like gluten was affecting me, I show no signs of Celiac disease.

The last few weeks, under my new gluten free and low carb diet, I've been struggling to find enough to eat. And so I've started looking at animal flesh seriously for the first time in over 2 decades. I do eat eggs and dairy, but you can only eat so many eggs, and dairy doesn't always agree with me.

Maybe I'm meant to eat meat. Maybe that's what my body needs. Protein, vitamin B, iron, etc. Maybe soy and supplements just don't cut it.

But I can't imagine actually chewing on the stuff. I'm giving vague thought to trying fish first, but it's hard to conceive of even that. It just feels disgusting to me.

I gave up meat for ethical & environmental reasons at age 21, and perhaps to be a bit of a rebel in the Orthodox Jewish community in which I was raised, where meat is such a huge part of the weekly Sabbath. But 20 years later, I'm no longer so militant about it. In theory I see nothing wrong with a moderate amount of ethically raised beef or chicken. I morally abhor the factory farming system, but these days there are alternatives.

But how do I make that leap? Do I even want to?

VeggieGirl 4 years ago

David Jacob (and Cocopreme),

I feel exactly as you do! I have also been a vegetarian for 20 years (starting when I was 8). I also married someone who ate meat, however, after a few months he also became a vegetarian. But in my case, he is the one who has just recently started eating meat again. He is a big guy (6'6") and wanting to be a firefighter, so he really felt like he needed meat and started to eat meat again after not having any for about 7 years. I feel that I am the same as most vegetarians here. I planned my diet well and learned as much as I could to be a healthy vegetarian. My main concern now is that we have two very young children who were raised vegetarian, but who now cannot have dairy because they are allergic to it. So they are super tall but also very very skinny (100th% for height, but only 5th% for weight). So I feel like I am stuck because now my kids and husband are eating meat, and honestly I sort of feel like I am missing something myself. But I just can't imagine eating meat again, especially since as far back as I can remember, I was the one "preaching" (not really, just voicing my opinion when people ask why I don't eat meat) to everyone how healthy a vegetarian diet is and how cruel eating meat is.

"But I can't imagine actually chewing on the stuff. I'm giving vague thought to trying fish first, but it's hard to conceive of even that. It just feels disgusting to me."

This is how I feel too! I know Cocopreme you said that the first bite is the hardest, and I do agree, but I think it is also a HUGE life changing thing. And I failed to be able to do it several other times. Cocopreme, I really liked how you mentioned that maybe after the flood something in our bodies changed and maybe we somehow needed meat. I just keep going back to the fact that God didn't intend for us to eat meat, but now he just "allows" it. I just feel like I would be doing something wrong if I ate meat even though in the bible it says we can now. And even if God allowed it, I just know he would be horrified by our modern day factory farming. So for me I picture myself eating only local and organic meat, but I honestly just cannot take that first bite. After 20 years, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I just keep telling myself to trust my husband and the road he is taking us, and I know my kids need something more in their diets, but how do I make that leap???

Cocopreme, I absolutely LOVE this blog and the way you respond to everyone. You are so kind, smart and patient with everyone and I thank you for that. I read pretty much all of the comments here, so I would hate for you to have to repeat yourself, but I just need something (I don't even know what) to make me take that leap and try meat again. Right now my husband is making sure our kids are getting what they need, so that is not critical, but it would be so much easier if I ate and could cook meat too because I am a stay at home mom and my husband works full time. So it is hard for him to cook sometimes. It honestly feels like I have a constant struggle in my head almost all day these last few weeks. I almost feel like I need a shrink lol! : ) But I just have to somehow make peace with myself if I choose this path. Any tips (biblical, ethical, or factual) would be much appreciated! Thanks again so much for Cocopreme and everyone else who shared their thoughts, it definitely has helped me knowing there are others out there who are struggling with the same thing. I wish everyone here the best!!!

Sam 4 years ago

Never have I been so flamboyantly offended in my life. God, you people, look at you! You claim you have ethics, and values, and morals but look at you! Rivaling in your own desires. Most people here weren't even concerned about their health, they were interested in eating meat for its appeal. I'm sorry, I've been a vegetarian since I was ten, I am eighteen and now a vegan, and it seems to bizarre to me that people are actually complaining about not being able to eat meat. Obviously, OBVIOUSLY, your body does not want the meat, if it is rejecting it that means there is no genetic predisposition for it, thus we as humans can with hold from it. I really don't get it, people here who are vegetarians are speaking of their 'limitations' but what are they really? At almost every restaurant I go to there is a choice of something consisting of cheese and bread, always. Being a vegetarian was one of the simplest things in my life, being vegan is a little more difficult but it is still simple. It takes knowing what to eat, eating right, putting effort into your diet, listening to your body and mind. You need to consult a nutritionist people, your doctors are telling you to eat meat as a simple solution to iron levels being low but there are substitutions for this.

I do not like this forum because it is painting the vegetarian/vegan diet as an unhealthy one. When dealing with adults, and post adolescent children, it is completely untrue that this diet is unhealthy. Do you want to know what's unhealthy? Red meat. Do some research red meat is horrid for the body. I will agree that in moderation it is okay, but something that is passively okay doesn't make it good. Sure, lean meats are good for the body- but do we necessarily need them? I think the vast span of life-long vegans says otherwise. I would recommend Pescetarianism (only fish) to anyone struggling with health issues, because believe me I know, some people do not know how to balance their diet, and it isn't out of laziness or anything it is just pure ignorance and it is not their fault they just don't know how to set up a diet plan.

I see being a vegan as a lifestyle, not as a diet so this forum is incredibly hard for me to grasp. It makes me sad and angry. I don't understand, I can't understand how you can know of the injustice, have spoken about the injustice, yet turn your back on the cause and close your eyes and pretend like you have never seen.

Comparative studies between vegetarians and omnivores, vegetarians had lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure and lower risk of diabetes.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Ryan - Incorporating some raw food into your diet can be healthy, but going completely raw is by no means the perfect diet. The raw food diet is nothing more than another fad diet. Eating mainly raw foods are not going to help your body. The enzymes in plants that are destroyed when cooked are plant enzymes. They helped the plant grow and function and don't aid in human digestion at all. So killing those enzymes isn't going to help.

In fact, cooking vegetables (in a healthy way like steaming) can actually aid digestion and keep the body from having to use as many of its own enzymes. Cooking breaks down the cellulose in the plant and can even help increase the absorption of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

Eating raw foods can produce more gas in the body as it is broken down. So that means bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues.

Plus cooking kills any bacteria and other microbes that may be on the food.

That isn't to say that there aren't benefits to eating SOME raw foods in your diet. It can boost the amount of vitamin C and other minerals the body absorbs. Overcooking can destroy nutrients. But an all raw diet can be harder on the body than a balanced diet.

Read up on both sides of the issue before claiming that your diet is the only way to eat. Plus, think of cavemen. How long was there lifespan compared to ours? Why would I want to eat their diet then?

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

sudley - I think you are right. A mainly vegetarian diet with small amount of meat is a very healthy diet for most people. And lots of people can thrive on vegan and all vegetarian diets.

I don't think anyone here is claiming vegetarian diets are unhealthy. Most everyone is simply saying that a completely vegetarian diet simply doesn't work for a certain percentage of people. For some, it may come down to the fact that they just can't make everything they eat from scratch.

I would agree that most westerners eat too much meat. But an all-vegetarian diet can be dangerously unhealthy for some people, like your girlfriend. Just a small amount of meat is all it takes for most people to be medically well. It's just about finding the right balance for each person.

Talking to a dietician or nutritionist is a great way to get yourself onto a healthy diet plan.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Cassie - First, no one here is claiming that vegetarianism is unhealthy. Most people are just saying being a full vegetarian just doesn't work for them. I'm sure for some it is because they try to live off fries and bread. But for plenty of other people, a well-balanced vegetarian diet is leaving their bodies depleted. Cooking from scratch probably helps a lot. But lots of people have done that and are still having medical problems.

Maybe the medical problems aren't related to diet, but eventually diet may start negatively contributing to health. For example, if you develop food allergies that start to severely limit what you can eat, then sometimes you have little choice but to incorporate meat into your diet so you don't starve.

And I would say most people don't just pick up a piece of meat when they first start becoming unhealthy. I certainly didn't. I explored every possibility. Diet changes. Protein supplements. Going back to meat is the last option for just about everyone. It is plan Z, typically. When there isn't another choice and your body is drained and feeling horrible.

When I visited the UK, it was one of the easiest times I ever had eating out. There were vegetarian options nearly everywhere. That is not the case in the U.S. in most places. Bigger cities are becoming more vegetarian friendly. But in most restaurants the vegetarian options are baked potatoes, fries, or a salad. Sometimes you find broccoli or maybe carrots. Much else is a rarity.

Not everyone has the luxury of cooking every meal from scratch. Between work, school, and other responsibilities, there is little time for hours of meal plan and prep. And access to healthy food sources is a problem for lots of people. Where I live, there wasn't even a store that had organic food options until a couple of years ago.

Yes, a bit of weight gain is possible if you went back to eating meat. But moderation is the key. No one is saying to eat pounds and pounds of meat a day. Just small, lean portions of meat are plenty. It doesn’t even have to be on a daily basis. Once or twice a week is fine even. So weight gain shouldn’t go out of control.

No one is insinuating that being a vegetarian makes you depressed. What Lambykins00 was saying is that there is a link between depression and protein deficiency. Her diet was deficient in protein. If yours isn’t, that is wonderful. Many, many vegetarians get plenty of protein. But there are a percentage of vegetarians who are deficient in protein and iron.

What is silly about making your diet more balanced? If you are eating wrong, then fix it. If that means widening the options, then do it.

I assume your point is that if someone just wants to eat meat again, he or she should just eat it without justifying it with other reasons. And on that I agree. If you are craving meat and want to give in, there is nothing wrong with that.

But I think you are assuming that the majority of people here are in that boat. And I don’t think that is the case. I think most people here are struggling with the decision to eat meat because they don’t really want to go back.

It seems too many people are more concerned about the reputation of vegetarianism than about the people who are having health problems. It’s like a public relations issue. People who are leaving the party are getting beat up about it. Maybe the negativity toward people who choose to be healthy instead of concern for their well-being is hurting the vegetarian ideal more. If the point is to recruit new members, maybe other vegetarians shouldn’t knock around former members.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

David Jacob - This is definitely the place for you. Your story is so similar to others on here. Vegetarianism worked for you for a while, but then eventually your body got to the point where it feels depleted and certain foods just seem to make your body feel bad.

After years and years of eating the same foods and then a cut back in a major part of your diet, you are feeling hungry for options. I am sure being kosher also cuts out a lot of your options.

I can definitely understand your rebellious streak when you were younger and then the mellowing out with age and experience. I was so idealistic when I was younger. Then I met the world and realized that sometimes things just don’t work the way we want them to. You have to pick your battles and learn to compromise without losing yourself. And sometimes we reach a point when we want to stop fighting all the old traditions and just be a part of some of them again.

There is a huge chasm between deciding to eat meat and then actually chewing the first piece. Maybe it’s a bridge you decide not to cross. But if you do want to go there, think about what you could eat. What sounds appealing to you? Could you eat broth? Is fish what you want to eat? Does chicken or beef sound tastier?

Sometimes smell helps more than just theorizing about meat. Drive by restaurants and see if any of them smell appealing. The sense of smell is a big part of the eating process.

Small steps are really the key if you do decide to go back to meat. Don’t rush yourself. Disguise the meat if you have to. If your wife is eating meat that looks tasty, try some of it.

And you are definitely right. There are plenty of options these days for meat that doesn’t come from a factory. There are ways to eat meat more ethically.

I enjoy connecting with others who have found themselves on the same dietary path that I have. (I found your blog and I am following it). Good luck with your protein journey and I hope you figure out what kind of fuel your body is wanting.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

David Jacob 4 years ago


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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Cassie 4 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Eggie12 4 years ago

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.

Allison Dubya 4 years ago

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?

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Allison Dubya 4 years ago

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! :-)

Veg 4 years ago

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

Unhealthy 4 years ago

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?

Cassie 4 years ago

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.

nikki 4 years ago

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

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Allison Dubya - You are welcome! Good luck with the baby and new possibilities.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Kitty Kat 4 years ago


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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Ali1975 4 years ago

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 :)

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katiejo911 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

You should consider eating Meat Lite, it's like Spam only not so good.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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!

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Sydnee 4 years ago

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! :)

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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. Hope those help you to find a recipe you like. Good luck and hope you get your energy back.

Vegetarianism Ruins Lives 4 years ago

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!

David Jacob 4 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Anne 4 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Stella 4 years ago

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).

Stella 4 years ago

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).

diastea 4 years ago

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???

brittney 4 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Jo Marbles 4 years ago

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?

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KVeg20 4 years ago

Hi Jo,

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.

Sarah 4 years ago

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!

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twinkle54321 4 years ago

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.

Thank you!

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KVeg20 4 years ago

Hi Twinkle,

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.

4 years ago

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. :)

David Jacob 4 years ago

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.

Kristi 4 years ago

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!

Marzo 4 years ago

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...

Siri 4 years ago

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!

tsela 4 years ago

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 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.

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ajudaica 4 years ago from Israel

To stayveglivelonger:

Carl Lewis failed to qualify for the olympic in 1992 after becoming vegan -

Rebekah 4 years ago

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.

Meredith 4 years ago

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. :)

Sherbo80 4 years ago

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

Sherry 4 years ago

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

3. Then,

- 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

main source

- 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

nutritional value.

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.


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 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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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!

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

amy 3 years ago

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

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

David Jacob 3 years ago

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.

Big Mike 3 years ago

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.

3 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Nora 3 years ago

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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!

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cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Siobhan29 3 years ago

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.

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JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

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.

jane 3 years ago

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!

Lola 3 years ago

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?

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Okaru 3 years ago

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.

Taking the First Step 2 years ago

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!

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cocopreme 2 years ago from Far, far away Author

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.

Liz 2 years ago

DO NOT EAT CHICKEN FIRSTS you will get sick. Try something small like bacon

Emily 2 years ago

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.

Marek 9 months ago

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.

Marek 9 months ago

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 8 months ago

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.

Thankyou 7 months ago

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.

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