My pizza had to be meat lovers, I had to have bacon or sausage with my eggs, I even had a best burger competition with the guys at work because I considered myself a “burger specialist”!
But now I’m a pesco -vegetarian. I still eat fish. And let me tell you it wasn’t easy. I literally used to make fun of vegetarians and silently (sometimes not so silently) judge them.
I couldn’t understand how they could live without meat. It’s just so…delicious. It really baffled me.
It was a process! But since I did it, I have lost weight and increased my strength, something they tell you, you need meat protein to do….
My Long Term Relationship with Meat
So now here I am singing Adele’s break-up song “hello from the other side” to my former cravings, wondering why I didn’t make the change sooner. I mean Meat was like that boyfriend, who you really love because he looks, smells and feels real good. But when he leaves, you feel like he punched you in your stomach or like you need to lie down because he sucked all the life out of you.
All of a sudden you start reading articles and attending seminars that make you realize he’s really not good for you. But you’re not ready to leave him because you’ve known him for so long and can’t imagine ever being without him, it’s your norm. And just the thought of him on your lips makes your mouth water.
THIS was my journey.
Meat was my boyfriend I was letting him suck the life out of me.
I attended a nutrition summit, where the speaker discussed the correlation between meat and dairy consumption and our most deadly diseases. He presented concrete stats and examples of how vegetarians/vegans are less likely to die of cancer and heart disease. I heard him, so I cut out red meat except in burgers and all pork except for bacon.
When I told my mother who suffers from Parkinson’s disease what I had learned and then did more research on what they say about nutrition for her disease she told me when she was growing up they didn’t eat a lot of meat; they only had it on special occasions.
But when I was a child we had meat at every meal. So of course it makes sense that it was a staple in my diet. At the same time cancer and diabetes have reached an all time high in the black community.
I have watched my friends post their RIPs to cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and family friends due to cancer and then I had 2 of my dads’ brothers, the oldest and the youngest, die of cancer in 2015. I made a deal that I couldn’t bring meat into my house. If I was eating out I could have chicken, turkey or bacon, but I couldn’t buy it and cook it. I needed to cut back.
I was travelling for a couple weeks in the US. And holy! It is extremely difficult to be Pesco-vegetarian, never mind regular vegetarian or vegan. Non-meat options are seriously limited.
In his book The Happy Vegan” Russell Simmons writes “meat and dairy industries have limited our choices, narrowed our tastes, and taken away our true food traditions.”
In the African/Caribbean communities in Canada and the US we are consistently praising our meat dishes. Curry Goat, Oxtail and Jerk Chicken to name a few of my favourites, but when interviewed, Simmons says while he was writing the book he researched the diets of African people who were captured and sold as slaves. He discovered that meat-based dishes commonly associated with African American cuisine are a product of slavery, not a reflection of African cooking traditions.
I was mad at myself, because over the last 3 years, I thought I had learned enough to know better. To know that not everything we are told, not everything we grew up doing was true or right, and that we should find out for ourselves.
So I tried it. I mean… if I don’t like it I can always go back. So I went full pesco-vegetarian.
How did I do it?
I started by doing a 3-day juice cleanse. I was worried I would be hungry and feel weak, but surprisingly I felt amazing! I didn’t get hungry, my energy was great and I worked out every day. I only really missed chewing something, but it was just because I was used to it, not because I needed it.
Once I was done with the cleanse I only ate veggies throwing in fish every once in a while and I tried new recipes. I felt better then I had ever felt.
When I went to New York during my 2-week travels, I decided to give in to my craving of chicken. I was really surprised that it didn’t even taste that good anymore and to top it all off, I felt bloated later that evening and especially the next morning I felt even worse.
And for those of you saying “well it’s because you haven’t had it for a while” guess what, NOTHING that you put in your body for nourishment should have that effect. We are not cavemen, they’re all dead so stop eating like them!
As I continue on my journey of loving myself more, I have vowed to stop putting things in my body (yes ALL “things”) that don’t make me feel good in the morning.
After you eat you should feel energized, NOT sleepy. The “Itis” is NOT good. Feeling gassy after eating is NOT normal or healthy.
Meat didn’t make me feel good and I didn’t even realize it till I cut it out. Now I have a new normal.
Just because you grew up doing something doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.
Will I eventually go Vegetarian or even Vegan? I can’t say for sure. It’s a process and I’m just loving myself and learning as I go. ☺
We learn new things everyday and social media allows it to be spread faster. So get informed, Google what your poop should look like and monitor it. Trust me it will tell you more about your body then you ever wanted to know. And most importantly get in tune with your body so you can start to listen to what it has to tell. Everything it does is for a reason.
In Love and Wellness