but it’s ok if you are! Anyone who is putting thought about what they are putting into their body is taking a step in the right direction!
For over 30 years of my life, I did not eat meat. At times I was ovo-lacto vegetarian, then pescatarian, and even dabbled in raw vegan. I never really liked having a label (still don’t)
so I just said “I don’t eat meat.” But whatever I called myself, this was a big part of my identity.
I don’t believe that there is one right way to eat. At IIN, where I earned my health coaching certification, they talk a lot about bioindividuality. This means there is no right diet that works for everyone all the time. In other words, we don’t all have to eat the same way to feel happy, heathy and hot.
So here’s my story:
I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a home where we ate pretty well. Even though it was the 70’s, Tang and Wonderbread never made it through the door of 110 Glynn Lane. Neither did Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, or Cap’n Crunch. If we were on vacation at the Jersey Shore we might have some sugared cereal, but only after my mom read the label to make sure there was not BHA or BHT. She bought fresh vegetables from a local co-op that smelled vaguely of patchouli, and organic bread from a wholesale bakery. So we were definitely ahead of the times. Since my grandmother lived on a farm, and raised sheep and occasionally pigs, we actually ate pastured meat before it became a “thing.”
And that was a problem for me. Around the age of 11, I realized that the pork roast we were eating came from a pig that I had known. And for the next 30 plus years I stopped eating meat. At first it was just the animal lover in me. But then more and more I convinced myself that it was better for my health. And if your meat intake consists of fast food burgers and Lunchables, I’m pretty sure that it is better to skip the meat.
Throughout my life I’ve been pretty healthy. As in, rarely sick. But there were three underlying conditions that really affected me. The biggest was acne. It cropped up around the age of 11, and continued until I was in my mid-forties and figured out what to do. (Read I used to have terrible skin for more info.) I also struggled with my digestion off and on from the time I was a kid. And as an adult, I developed anxiety that could be pretty severe at times, although I hid it well. Ironically, at a time in my life when I was eating incredibly clean (practically raw vegan), my skin and anxiety were at their absolute worst. And my digestion wasn’t so hot either.
When I realized that cutting out grains, dairy and sugar could clear my skin, it was amazing news. At that point the dairy was already out. But I needed more protein that I could get from nuts. So I started by adding eggs back into my diet, which tasted amazing to me. I realized that the eggs were not going to give me enough variety, so I made the decision to start eating some ethically raised, pastured meat. This took away most of my arguments against meat, since the animals were not raised in a feedlot, and the meat offered better health benefits (which I will detail in another post).
So here’s the crazy thing…all I was trying to do was to clear up my skin. Because that’s what bothered me the most. And it worked. I could honestly feel the inflammation going down in my face day by day. But a few weeks in, I noticed the digestive issues were gone. Not just better, but gone. And a few months after that, it suddenly dawned on me that my anxiety was pretty much gone too.
I’m not saying that eating meat is the magic bullet that changed everything. I’ve stopped eating foods that my body is sensitive to. And the meat I am eating is of the highest possible quality.
So do what works for you. Listen to your body and find out what helps you to feel happy, healthy and hot!