After my post last week on revisiting the way we eat, I got a few emails questioning how I made the switch to eating meat from being vegetarian for so long and how I felt now health wise. So after a quite long email to a blogging friend, I thought maybe it would be helpful to post just a bit more about it here as well.
After I did a (mostly raw) 21 day cleanse that I blogged about back in the spring of 2011, something shifted inside me. I could no longer eat grains without feeling bloated and icky after that cleanse and I became super sensitive to a lot of “regular” foods I had been eating for years. I never imagined that I would ever eat meat again though. Honestly, I just didn’t think I could do it. I had become vegetarian at 17, vegan at 19, studied macrobiotics at 20, became gluten free at 26, and then really started to make the shift to local in season foods from there to here, even delved into raw. But throughout my dietary adventures looking back I can see a main theme…health, of not just my body, but our planet and environment…and following what I felt like my body was asking for/leading me towards.
This topic took me a good year to mull over in my mind. I can say that I had a somewhat of an easy excuse to dive in…I was pregnant and craving bacon like a mad woman. (This was my first meat eating pregnancy.) In January I got to meet and talk with Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers, and that was the last straw for me. If I was going down the street to buy local veggies from a farm, wouldn’t it make sense to go right down the street and buy local humanely raised grass fed meat from another farmer, and that would make up the bulk of what we ate? Cut out the middle man grocery store as much as possible? It made sense logically, but I still didn’t know if I could. Bacon and grass fed beef sticks lulled me in though and it was a gradual process of introducing different meats/cuts and experimenting with ways of cooking from there on out. Lucky for me my husband is the grand cook and loves meat, so he’s happy. Were at the point now where we are buying a grass fed cow to split with some people for the winter and a pig….and eating meat for almost all three meals a day. Kinda cracks me up in an odd sorta way.
As far as how I feel health wise…I don’t feel like I cam give an honest to goodness answer on that aspect of my dietary switch just yet. I just had a baby, baby #5! And I feel like I need to have some space to rest and rejuvenate from that life experience in and of itself. Plus, I’d have to really have a year to see just how big of a difference eating this way does or doesn’t make for me. Right off the bat though, what I can say is that I do not feel bloated at all after eating anymore. I feel satisfied with my meals, yet not overly stuffed. Nor do I have a constant need for snacking throughout the day. Occasionally, yes, I snack on something, but overall, my meals hold me over. If I do snack it tends to be something like carrots and almond butter or some chocolate chip bakies.
The way I like to look at it is that I have this tool belt of knowledge that I have obtained from all of my dietary wanderings. If I feel like I need a deep cleanse, I can go raw for a bit, if I need a boost during the day I know how to make a green smoothie, if I find myself excessively craving sugars I know I need to stop and take a quick analysis of what/how I have been eating. I never felt like adhering strictly to any one way of eating would be very healthy for me. It never worked really. I would instantly want what I “couldn’t” have. So even though we are mainly sticking to a Paleo diet, we still eat gluten free flour pancakes on Sundays and eat un-paleo snacks from time to time. My thoughts on food at this stage go way beyond a label to more of a striving towards simplicity and going back to the basics. I’ve mentioned it before, but if we could all gather 95% of the food we ate within a 10 mile radius of our home…just imagine what a difference that would make for our planet! For our children’s and our future generation’s environment! That’s not to say I am at that 95% myself yet, but I’m trying. I still question why I am eating meat at most meals. It still feels a little weird sometimes. I don’t know how long that will happen. But I just go back to my main thought/reason for making the switch.
If we could all gather 95% of the food we ate within a 10 mile radius of our home…just imagine what a difference that would make for our planet!
So, with all that being said. I’d like to share with you meal plan #2. This week I fiddled with the breakfasts a bit, figuring as I find new things that are winners I will gradually introduce more to that category. I cannot eat eggs straight up, but I can eat them cooked in things in limited quantity. My kids can probably eat eggs once a week, but anything more than that equals tummy aches. So breakfasts I need to get a bit creative for. As for lunches and my own sanity, I am just kinda sticking to the same rotation week to week. Dinners, as I explained last week, consist of finding/making recipes made up of my seven meal bases.
Seven Meal Bases
stew beef (crock pot)
roasted whole chicken (crock pot)
I’m getting a good glimpse/laugh at the meals that wind up being a hit with one person or another. “Yes, we’ll eat that again,” I say. “Next month.” This way nothing gets eaten to death…they just have to wait until that meal rolls back around!
Menu Plan #1
Meal Plan #2
Breakfast: sausage patties with apple slices
Lunch: tuna salad salad (mayonnaise recipe here)
Dinner: slow cooked beef stew over mashed potatoes (this one has been our favorite beef stew by far)
Breakfast: winter fruit bowl (I varied the ingredients a bit and whirled almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and chocolate chips in the vitamix for the topping)
Lunch: hot dogs and sauerkraut
Dinner: whole chicken (crock pot) with veggies
Breakfast: grain-free granola with nut milk (I made the granola with maple syrup, ghee and large coconut flakes…and added raisins after baking. Delicious!)
Lunch: leftover chicken salad salad
Dinner: pan fried steaks with roasted acorn squash and salad
Breakfast: sweet potato pancakes
Lunch: veggie one pot stew
Dinner: shepherd’s pie and sauteed garlic kale
Breakfast: sweet potato pancakes with strawberry jam
Lunch: hot dogs and sauerkraut
Dinner: jerk chicken and pineapple bowls with roasted delicata squash and sauteed spinach
Breakfast: gluten free Sunday pancakes
Lunch: onion soup with cheesy cauliflower
Dinner: pizza stuffed sweet potatoes