For about six months now I’ve been thinking about making a really, really big decision and after talking it over with certain people and really considering my reasons behind the decision, it’s official:
I’m eating meat again.
When I first made the decision to go vegetarian six and a half years ago, it was for health reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and all that, but this was a conscious choice made in a effort to reduce my binge episodes.
I’ve always been very open about my history of disordered eating and the fact that I was going through the drive thru at McDonalds and Taco Bell and KFC, like, five times a week and eating 3000 calorie meals each time. It was at a point where I couldn’t figure out how to curb my episodes and the only remedy I could come up with was to stop eating meat. If I don’t eat beef then I can’t go get four cheeseburgers as a “snack” before my full dinner.
Over the past few years as I’ve been losing weight and traveling this particular path in my life, my relationship with food has completely changed for the better and it, naturally, made me reexamine my choices, particularly in regards to cutting meat out of my diet.
Knowing the initial reasons behind my move to vegetarianism, I had to be sure that I could introduce it without falling back on old, bad habits so lately I’ve been, well, testing the waters while out at dinner (considering I’ve been vegetarian the entire time I’ve lived in Cleveland it’s certainly given me a new appreciation for some of the restaurants here). Because I’ve been thinking about this for awhile I had done my homework so it’s not like I went out and ordered a Porterhouse steak or anything, but I have been experimenting with small amounts of poultry, pork, and beef.
When it became pretty obvious to me that I could “unofficially” eat meat without worrying I’d fall victim to prior temptations, I knew it was time to make the official switch.
Of course, this is all still part of wanting to have an overall healthy diet, so when my mom and I were discussing Father’s Day dinner and fancy gourmet burgers, I told her I’d like the turkey burger knowing it is a slightly healthier choice than beef (and, to be honest, I never consumed that much red meat even when I did eat meat on a consistent basis before). Plus, the amounts of beef that I have had up to this point have been pretty minimal and it’s advised to start with poultry and work your way up so it’s probably a bit early to have myself a big ol’ hamburger.
So it is that after six and a half years of being an ovo-lacto vegetarian, I’m transitioning back to being an omnivore. Not that I’m going to suddenly no longer eat meatless or vegetarian meals. I mean, despite the other protein options, the avocado green curry with tofu at Bac is just too good to pass up. And let’s not forget the vegan bakery options at Nature’s Bin. Plus I have a ton of meatless recipes and cookbooks that I’ll continue to use. It’s more about having…options, I guess. Like everything else, it’s really about having a balanced healthy diet, including animal protein.
But, more than that, you have no idea how self-satisfying it is to be able to say I trust myself enough to open this door again. Despite whatever number appears on the scale these days, to know that I have developed a healthy enough relationship with food to allow that back into my life means more to me than any pounds lost or regained over the past few years.
Love from the ashes,