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Why I Went Plant-Based Then Started Eating Meat Again

January 5, 2018

“But I thought you were plant-based?” I get this question pretty much every time I talk about or post about meat. The only thing I might get asked more about it being gluten-free…But we can save that post for another day!

The story of the time I decided to eat plant-based and then started eating meat again. Why I ultimately made this decision and changed my diet.

It’s a legitimate question since there was a point in my life when I did commit to eating more plant-focused. I’m not one for labelling my diet, but I do have a history of extremism so when I commit myself to something, I’m pretty good at it.

For the record, I never went vegan or “plant-based” (which who really knows what that means!), but I did commit to eating less animal products in my life. My reasons for choosing to do this were pretty legitimate 1) To decrease my ecological footprint – meat consumption is not the most sustainable practice for our planet and 2) It’s an extremely expensive habit if you focus on quality like I do.

I was also at a point in my life where I was coming to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, you don’t need to consume animal protein with every meal. This might seem like an obvious point to some, but for me it wasn’t. I grew up in a pretty conventional North American home where your plate is made up of animal protein, a carb and some time of vegetable. We were also expected to eat our protein first i.e. don’t even think about touching those fries before eating those chicken nuggets!

Now I don’t blame my family in anyway and honestly just think we’ve all bought into the idea that protein = good and that the best source of it is animal-based. But that just simply isn’t true. There are so many incredible sources of plant-protein and my gut was telling me I needed to explore more of them.

I’m so happy I embarked on that journey though will admit that I went a bit extreme at first. My first month of experimenting with plant-based, I unintentionally cut out all animal products and by the end of the month I was like GIVE ME ALL THE FILET MIGNON. It wasn’t my first lesson in that going cold turkey (pun intended!) is rarely a good idea.

So instead I focused on experimenting with more plant-based cooking, by buying plant-based cookbooks, challenging myself to new recipes and messing with the idea that the “ideal” plate isn’t always split into thirds. Over the course of the next year I grew to love beans, tofu, tempeh, brown rice and discovered how many of the veggies I already know and love actually contain a good source of protein. Nuts and seeds are also my jam! I’m also so grateful to C who has come along this journey with me, even though I know he wasn’t all that keen on it.

But I also made it a priority to cue into my hunger and fullness signals and just how my food was making me feel, and honestly? I kind of felt sluggish after eating 100% plant-based. Now I fully believe that some people can thrive eating this way, but I am simply not one of those people. Though I don’t need animal protein at every meal, I do find I feel much better when it’s included in at least one meal a day.

This of course didn’t help my goal of eating more sustainably or the cost of quality meat on my wallet! But I had to find some way to reconcile both of these because I knew in my heart I was imposing rules rather than making choices.

From the sustainability perspective, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to sacrifice my own health for the health of the planet. Judge all you will, but this felt like the best decision for me. Focusing on quality meat that has been raised sustainably feels like a better choice for me than no meat at all. Humans have been eating meat since the dawn of time and while I’m the furthest thing from paleo, it does feel like my primal instinct to eat it. When I don’t eat animal products for a long time my body will not stop thinking about steak, chicken and eggs. It’s smart enough to tell me what I want even when I deny it. There are other choices I make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and while I’ve reduced my animal product consumption, eliminating it entirely is not the right decision for me.

From the cost perspective, I knew there had to be some kind of solution out there. That’s when I discovered ButcherBox – or rather, they discovered me. They emailed me about 6 months ago asking if I wanted to try out one of their boxes. I did and I loved it (more on it below) and since then have ordered several of my own, with my own money.

Butcherbox is essentially a meat subscription service which delivers organic chicken, pork and grass-fed and finished red meat straight to your door. Each box contains about 18-25 pounds of meat, which we then keep frozen and defrost as needed. Depending on the box you order, the cost comes out to about $129 or slightly more for the more customized boxes. This usually lasts us about 2 months and costs around $6 a meal which is MUCH less than what we typically were spending at Whole Foods. The quality is fantastic and the price really can’t be beat. So long as we keep some space in our freezer, this has turned out to be a great solution for us and allowed us to purchase quality meat at a more affordable price.

If you’re curious about ButcherBox, use THIS LINK to save $10 off your first box and get two FREE ribeye steaks. I truly do love this service and would recommend it to anyone. FYI this post is NOT sponsored by them in any capacity, though I am including an affiliate link because it offers a sweet discount for you!

The story of the time I decided to eat plant-based and then started eating meat again. Why I ultimately made this decision and changed my diet.

The point of this post is to remind you that it’s OKAY to change your diet. If you can tell something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it, even if you feel external pressure to be consistent. Just because you and other people have decided you are one way, doesn’t mean it’s something that still serves you.

It’s also to answer the question above: “but I thought you were plant-based?” Though I never claimed to be in the first place, I think I and others had internalized the idea that I didn’t eat meat, but these days that just isn’t true. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I find myself reaching for a bag of Lorissa’s Kitchen when I’m snacking or adding chicken to my salads. It’s just what feels right for me right now. Will that change? Possibly! I’m open to the change if that’s where it takes me, but for now I’m feeling pretty great.

Have any questions for me? Have you known in your heart that you had to change your diet?

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  • Reply
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass
    January 5, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Girl, you do you. Thanks for your honesty. I was a vegetarian for several years in my teens and recently started eating more plant-based meals. I’ve found that cooking vegetarian expanded my knowledge of the art of cooking and also piqued my interest in cooking, which was exciting! However, I eat meat when I feel my body needs it, especially when traveling when I know I might not have access to quality fruits, vegetables and plant proteins. Does this make sense? I’ve been listening to my body more and honoring it, which means cutting out foods like beans and lentils. I can’t tolerate them, so I no longer eat them. Same with dairy. My body HATES dairy, so why put myself through that pain? I have vegan friends who thrive, vegetarian friends who thrive, and people like me who eat mostly plant-based at home but occasionally have a piece of chicken or an omelet who thrive. Our health is individual and it’s important we honor it.
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…“She used to be in plays… but then she grew up.”

  • Reply
    Kaila
    January 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I need to figure out what plant based foods have protein!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 7, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Hey Davida! Just discovered your blog and content thanks to Sahara Rose’s podcast and I am already loving the aesthetics and content you share here with your community. As a holistic nutritionist and health blogger myself, I could not agree more with what you have said in this post! Being vegan is not the only way to care for your body nor for the planet (though we can all benefits from eating more plants for sure). Each person is different and each person should decide what is best for their body and lifestyle! Thanks for sharing :).

  • Reply
    Ashley | Fit Mitten Kitchen
    January 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I think it is great you were able to listen to your body and forget about what anyone else thought. It is hard being in this space and sharing everything and then feeling the need to constantly defend your decisions (and life!), but you do it so well 😉 <3
    Also if our freezer wasn't already stuffed with pizza, half gallons of ice cream (seriously) plus frozen venison and fish I would totally be ordering Butcher Box right NOW. Maybe once we clear out some space… or just buy a new freezer?

  • Reply
    Nikki
    January 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Totally relate to this post! I was hardcore vegan for 5 years and one day I started having dreams about eating eggs and just kept feeling “drawn” to eating meat. Reluctant, I slowly started to incorporate eggs and meat again after 5 strict years without, and I ended up feeling much better for it, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. It just felt “time” for me to do so. I struggled with it A LOT at first and felt like a failure because I could not longer “stick to” my vegan diet and felt like I would let OTHER people down or that it would come off negatively to a lot of vegans I knew. It took some time for me to come to the realization that it was OK and that I am allowed to make the best decision that I feel is right for MY body and it’s really no one else’s business and the only person that needs to approve of how and what I eat, is me. But I am grateful for my time spent eating fully vegan because it did open up my palette to a lot of plant foods that I would have sneered at prior. It also made me realize that I don’t have to eat animal protein at every single meal if I don’t want to or don’t feel drawn to it. I have such a beautiful relationship with food these days and I have ZERO guilt over anything I eat. THAT IS A WIN if you ask me! <3

  • Reply
    Angela | A Serene Pursuit
    January 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    This is so important! I know that when I first entered the health/wellness industry I felt a little pressured to go plant-based. Of course, there are many benefits to it but it’s not for everyone. Our bodies are all different and they’re constantly changing too. I definitely want to try ButcherBox very soon! Thank you for sharing your experience and being real as always 🙂
    Angela | A Serene Pursuit recently posted…How to Start Your Day With a Positive Mindset

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    January 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I’ll be honest… when I first saw the title of this post I was worried it would bash a plant-based diet and I really do not believe we need more of that out there, especially because plant-based eating is (in my opinion) so much better for the world, our environment, and I’d argue our spirit (although I know many wouldn’t agree). I’m glad you’re doing what is best for you because that’s the best thing to do! I’m also happy this wasn’t a slam on a vegan diet, but rather an encouragement to other woman to do what works for them. I think plant-based eating gets a bad rep (1) because it takes learning and for a while I didn’t know the best way to follow this diet to get everything my body needs and (2) unfortunately a few have given the vegan diet a bad vibe and they sticks with people. Every diet can be deficient in something, but I think (some) people assume the vegan diet automatically is. Maybe I need to post about why the plant-based diet works for me? I think woman need to find what brings them peace, and let’s be honest, often times food and the way we fuel our bodies plays a big role in that process.

    I totally admire you and love your blog, and thanks for your honesty. It’s funny that we even need to explain the way we eat, but I totally get it because I definitely do all the time…

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off
    January 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I love this post, and thank you for being so honest about something that’s so personal. People get CRAZY about other people’s eating choices, especially with things like meat, so I really appreciate this post. For me, I noticed I kinda go through phases. I’ve been in phases where I can’t even look at meat and eat mostly plants, and phases where I’m like GIMME ALL THE MEAT. All that’s taught me is I don’t do well with labels and I’d rather just listen to my body instead of setting any rules for it.

  • Reply
    Courtney Glausi
    January 14, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    YES! Thanks for writing this. I feel exactly the same way. I love, love to eat meat and it makes me feel awesome, but I really want to focus on the quality of the meat I’m buying. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive… I definitely want to look into ButcherBox.
    Courtney Glausi recently posted…One Month Until New York + Apartment Sneak Peek

  • Reply
    Hoàng Lan
    January 18, 2018 at 3:40 am

    This of course didn’t help my goal of eating more sustainably or the cost of quality meat on my wallet! But I had to find some way to reconcile both of these because I knew in my heart I was imposing rules rather than making choices.

  • Reply
    Samuel
    January 22, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    People usually turn from non-veg to veg. But you went the other way round. Ok that’s your life. You need to enjoy and how you enjoy your life depends on you. This is the first time I am enjoying reading a blog. When you are free you check this easy to prepare recipe book https://goo.gl/WK4fZo

  • Reply
    Cassie Thuvan Tran
    January 29, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Hi Davida, love how honest you were in this post! I know some people who did have to incorporate some animal products back into their diet after months, even years, of consuming a plant-based diet. Most of them went vegetarian with little to no dairy or even just the main animal product being honey. I think that people really have to listen to their bodies, regardless of what they want to follow. If that means consuming animal products that are ethically raised and minimally processed once in a while, that’s totally fine!
    Cassie Thuvan Tran recently posted…My Friend’s Surprise Vegan Birthday Party: Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe + LOTS of Food

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