Born again carnivore

Mikey 27 comments
  • Philosophy
Born again carnivore

Becoming a vegetarian was easy. A little over a decade ago I made the decision to cut meat out of my diet permanently. To be completely honest my reasons at the time I care a lot less for now than I did back then.

I remember having a little speech memorised which I would recite for whenever I was asked about my diet choice. It was one of the speeches that would more or less require the listener to imagine me sitting up on a high horse.

I have been called all the usual nick names: rabbit, vege, greeny and others. I have forced uncomfortable moments on caterers who never thought to ask if any vegetarians were going to be present at the late night office gig. And I have on countless occasions had to explain why I do not want my mushrooms fried on the same grill as the sausages. Boy did that one get tiring.

While making the decision to become vegetarian was easy, seeing it through occasionally had its toll on my health. I was hospitalised from having passed out on two separate occasions. The first time included a bonus temporary blindness, but both incidents were directly related to my vegetarianism. You see, I was the irresponsible type of 'vege', the type that didn't much care for vegetables, so protein was somewhat alien to my body. I will gladly concede not thinking that one through very well.

The lack of amino acids in my blood stream caused me to fatigue very quickly, although my mind was as active as it should have been.

"...during this phase I would refer to myself as a 'pseudo vegetarian'. The mind was willing, the body was not..."

It took two health scares to change my eating habits, and I was better off for it. But a few years ago I went to my doctor for a general check-up, and when the results were back he advised that I seriously needed more protein in my diet, and nothing was going to cut it short of injecting tofu directly into my veins. My partner and I were planning to start a family soon so I did the responsible thing - enter stage one of losing my vegetarian status.

I always loved fish and now I could have it again. Though during this phase I would refer to myself as a 'pseudo vegetarian'. The mind was willing, the body was not.

It's amazing how much of our past we carry with us. Up until recently I had still turned my back on meat (except for fish) for no other reason but habit. I have been re-thinking the whole vegetarian philosophy and if it is something I still want to belong too. This morning I entered the second and final stage of losing my vege status - losing my vege status.

Today I had my first filling of chicken in more than a decade. Curiously, the decision to go back to meat was harder than the decision to stop it in the first place - which is the complete opposite of what I had once expected. In technical terms you could say it took me an instant to make the commitment in the first place but it took over ten years to go back.

But with each mouthful of that tasty white meat the guilt was pushed further into the back of my mind until by the end I had completely forgotten what had just occurred. It was not until dinner time hunger pangs started to kick in that I remembered today's lunch time transformation and decided to pen this article.

I know a small portion of my audience would have been throwing celery sticks at their screen and shouting 'quitter!' after reading that last paragraph. But if anything, no-one can accuse me of not trying. And it is not as if I simply craved meat so much I caved. It was my underlying reasoning that changed.

A decade has to be enough for anyone and I have no regrets. It is one of the longest commitments I have ever made even if the road was a little bumpy along the way.

That being said, I would love to hear opinions from other 'born again carnivores' and vegetarians alike.
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Monday 15th January 2007 | 10:14 AM

"late night office gig", you ???

and you are now invited to meatfest. it is on good friday every year, bring meat :)

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Monday 15th January 2007 | 01:44 PM

Its not the duration that counts its the effort and it sound like your effort was lacking at times. Although kudos for trying. Sad to see yet another one leave our ranks but at least your reasons are sound.

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Monday 15th January 2007 | 02:14 PM

HAHA! A vegetarian who doesn't care for vegetables. Welcome back to the land of the meat-eaters.

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Monday 15th January 2007 | 02:24 PM

It's good to see someone go back to meat for reasons other than simply missing it as you said.

10 years is long enough and suprised you made it that long considering most people dont. I have known people to say they 'used to be vegetarian' because they didn't eat meat for a few weeks.

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Monday 15th January 2007 | 04:22 PM

I use3d to be just like that! Looking down on others because they ate meat :-) I am still a vege today after more than 15 years and will probably die one. What made you become one in the first place Michael? I am an animal rights supporter and its as simple as that.

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Tuesday 16th January 2007 | 12:17 AM

Well brother its finally come around hey! :)
About ^%&*'n time!! You need some iron and whatnot in you diet!! Now i can come over and cook you up a storm with some real food ;)

peace, much love...

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Tuesday 16th January 2007 | 12:14 PM

"10 years is long enough and suprised you made it that long considering most people dont. I have known people to say they 'used to be vegetarian' because they didn't eat meat for a few weeks."

i was actually a vegitarian last wednesday.

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Tuesday 16th January 2007 | 05:51 PM


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Wednesday 17th January 2007 | 12:01 AM

As a longer term vego I'm worried that if I did eat meat agin, my system wouldn't be too happy about it and I'd wind up with a good case of "Bali bellie". I have heard this happens?

I'm not currently inclined to eat meat however I do occasionally wonder if, when we have kids, it will come back into the diet. Probably once a year I think eating meat again might be ok but then I usually forget about it and move on.

I'm not a hard core vego in that I don't really care what any one else does and I don't feel very strongly about it; I simply don't eat meat (of any kind: chicken, fish, etc) because I feel the way animals are treated during their life in the feeding pens is not right. I understand the reasons to eat meat, etc but my issue is with treatment prior to the killing - the cramming 50 animals into the space fit for 10 mentality. So I guess, until that changes, I won't be supporting that industry. Although we do buy "human quality" meat for our dog.

Besides, I've got a whole other problem with meat. Due to my religion, I'd almost need a whole other kitchen to start cooking meat again and frankly, that's far too hard work :-p

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Saturday 20th January 2007 | 12:39 PM

Ahhhh, Mike, you rock! Love it, mate, and I remember the days of (rather inconsiderately) cookin' up a storm whilst living with a vego. 'Seared animal flesh, anyone?' was the cry, IIRC.

Good luck in whatever line of omnivorism you choose, but remember that the body must work if the mind is to flourish.

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Sunday 21st January 2007 | 04:29 PM

Thanks Fonzie. Heeeeyyyy.....

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Saturday 27th January 2007 | 05:51 PM

so that'll be a big mac, whopper, cheese buger, thick shake and would u like fries with that!!!!

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Saturday 27th January 2007 | 10:00 PM

"so that'll be a big mac, whopper, cheese buger, thick shake and would u like fries with that!!!!"

Yes please!

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Monday 29th January 2007 | 12:24 PM

Ahhh, the 'tray of lard' option. I like it!

Mike, do you find you're any better with vegies now that you actually eat chicken and fish? My wife is a chicken-and-fishatarian, and we find some awesome meals that either have no meat, or one of those two 'non-meats'. There's heaps of range, if you have some imagination.

Also - is your other half happy now that she doesn't have to cook two meals?

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Monday 29th January 2007 | 01:59 PM

Actually, yes I am better with veges now :-)
And Cath is chuffed at not having to cook 2 different meals each night. I am still fussy though. I dont like cheap meats, and I wont touch the drumstick or wing of a chicken. If I can see tendons and ligaments, I am immediatly turned off.

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Wednesday 31st January 2007 | 01:35 AM

I'm a Vegan.
I am perfectly healthy.
I know of 3 people who have been vegans since they were born as their mother went through pregnancy as a vegan.
It is possible.

You didn't do your research.

"Animal agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases - responsible for 18% of the worldÂ’s greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the CO2."
Better to go vegan than to give up access to car, bus, train, aeroplane, boat.. etc.
Many more reasons than that, too.

Must be a relief to finally be able to conform and be like everyone else though.
I wouldn't abandon my values for superficial comfort.

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Wednesday 31st January 2007 | 10:30 AM

Valeria said: "I wouldn't abandon my values for superficial comfort."
If my health is considered a superficial comfort, then guilty as charged :-)

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Wednesday 31st January 2007 | 12:00 PM

Your health shouldn't be a problem as a vegetarian.
If meat is your only source of protein now, then you're going to be suffering from such pleasantries as colon cancer in the future anyway from a lack of fibre and plant based nutrients.
Regardless of whether you're a vegetarian or not, you need to re assess your diet.

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Wednesday 31st January 2007 | 12:47 PM

Last time I checked, well, the last time my doctor talked to me, non-vegetarians can actually live long and healthy lives. Who would have thought?

But you look at some common traits among vegetarian diets (Rickets, Osteoporosis, Iron-deficiency anemia, Macrocytic anemia, Emaciation or slowed growth in children), and you will probably realise your vegetarian friends don't suffer from any of these. Because it's all about being responsible as you say.

As much as I get the feeling you probably don;t want to hear it, both carnivorous and vege diets can both be healthy when used responsibly.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that all non-vegetarians constantly gorge on McDonalds and fried bacon. They are the irresponsible ones.

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Thursday 1st February 2007 | 12:19 AM

"As much as I get the feeling you probably don;t want to hear it, both carnivorous and vege diets can both be healthy when used responsibly. "
I recognise that - but if both a possible and healthy, why would you choose an omnivorous diet over a vegetarian one?

Which is more ethically sound?
I found this today:
Hope you find it informative.

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Thursday 1st February 2007 | 10:29 AM

Vegetables are living things too, people. Won't somebody think of the children! I agree that the mass slaughter of animals is a little on the rough side, but think about it - you just pull carrots out of the ground! Nobody makes sure it's a holistic approach to shelling peas, do they?!

;) Have a nice day, guys.

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Thursday 1st February 2007 | 02:05 PM

Interesting article Valeria. I wish it were enough to compell people. Knowing people of authority as we do, you will probably find the solution doesn't end up forcing us to cut back on fish, but instead they will pimp the idea of fish farms and cloning as viable.

We seem to be heading that way after all. And if (when) we are in danger of losing our oceanic resources, ethics will eventually take a back seat.

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Wednesday 14th February 2007 | 10:23 AM

Thanks so much for writing this! I am in exactly the same situation - have just hit the 10 year mark and started to reassess whether I was really still doing this out of conviction or just habit. I have decided for the sake of my health to give reintroducing meat a trial run and see how I feel. I haven't started yet, but to be honest I'm kind of excited! I stopped eating meat when I was 13 and have been a very dedicated vegetarian - I don't even remember what it was like to eat meat! I'm hoping it will help my energy levels - I eat very healthily, but I just feel my body is asking for meat now.
Anyway, it's just great to hear of someone in the same situation!

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Wednesday 14th February 2007 | 05:48 PM

Hi Emily. Welcome to Rusty Lime.
Glad I am not the only one around this site to reverse the decision :-) My energy levels are better than I remember. The timing was right I would have to say. Hope it works out for you too!

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Wednesday 21st February 2007 | 09:15 AM

Hi Michael -- I re-entered the carnivore world 4 days ago after over 22 years (I was 15 when I felt like I needed to take a stand on something)...for the better part of those 22 years I believed that vegetarianism had been a great benefit to my health, e.g., I'm in the 25th percentile for cardiac risk (female), have always had tons of energy & am very athletic. It in large part also sort of provided a sort of self definition -- one which I had never really thought about going back and seriously reconsidering or challenging. (And that from a big proponent of keeping an open mind -- heh -- the irony!) After doing some soul-searching recently about my general health, lifestyle, etc., I came to the realization that some of the challenges I've faced more recently in life may have actually been rooted in the lack of ingesting the very amino acids and other nutrients required for proper brain function! A sort of self-induced punishment! While I can't say that I'm particularly enjoying my foray back into the world of carnivores (my current mantra is "utility"), I really enjoyed finding your post...and if you happen to know of any good recipes for hiding the taste of beast...well... ;) J

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Sunday 25th February 2007 | 07:56 AM

Hi Michael, I too have returned to eating meat after seven years of being vegetarian. (No Bali Belly as one reader thought they may get). I became vegetarian when I consciously became aware of how an animal arrived at my plate. I didn't agree with the production process - mass inhumane farming simply to tantalise our tastebuds. However, over the past few months I have become more aware of organic farming and have done a little research into cattle, sheep, pig and chicken rearing and slaughter. Yes (before anyone tells me) dead is dead but at least in their life they were treated better than non-organically raised animals. While my vegetarian years are over I probably only have meat once a week and then it is certified organic. I'm still a financial supporter of PETA and other animal rights organisations - yes, come would say I'm a hippocrite but aren't we all in some way or another....

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Sunday 1st June 2008 | 03:40 PM

Thanks for your honesty. Maybe this will put you back on the right path...

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