From Meat-Eater to Vegetarian and Back Again
(Why One Way of Eating Doesn’t Fit All)
Author // Dawn Lorenz Brennan from raisingnaturalkids.com
Almost ten years ago, my husband, an Irish, meat-and-potato-loving guy, married a vegetarian. I bet he didn’t think that here, this many years later, that same wife would be cooking up bone broths and trying to get him to eat calf liver.
Unlike my impetuous decision to live as a vegetarian, a decision made when I was fourteen years old, the path back from vegetarian to meat eater did not happen overnight. When I stopped eating meat, I did so simply because I never liked it. Looking back, I innately knew that eating it wasn’t working for my body at that time.
My fifteen years as a vegetarian came to an end when I started paying more attention to the way that my mother eats. A respected naturopath, she guides many clients to lead a healthier lifestyle by eating in accordance to their own individual make-up, starting with the Blood Type Diet and then becoming more refined with the Geno Type Diet. To me, the science and basis of eating this way makes sense, as each individual’s genetic make-up is different, thus the way each one of us processes and uses the food that we intake is different.
So, as is highly beneficial for my blood/geno type, I slowly incorporated turkey back into my diet. It was the one meat that I never had a problem with anyway. Then, a few years later, when I became pregnant with my firstborn, I started craving red meat, and I eventually gave in. I felt so much better eating it, knowing that being slightly anemic and pregnant, it was what I needed.
An occasional burger (grass-fed beef, of course) and turkey dinners are a far cry from the pot of bone broth that I have simmering on my stove as I type this. It’s only within the past year that I started working on the liver and bone broths. As a natural lifestyle blogger, I have been exposed to so many whole foods foodies; after reading and researching, I wish I had realized the importance of eating traditionally all along.
Our ancestors knew just how nutritionally important eating whole foods is, as opposed to the way that much of modern society has taken to eating parts of foods, such as that of animals and grains. Back in the day, our great grandparents were always cooking whole chickens, turkeys, and fish, as well as larger animals like cows and pigs. They didn’t let anything go to waste, taking whatever didn’t get eaten, such as the bones and gizzards, and using them in a soup that would simmer for up to twenty-four hours. This stems from the natives of many cultures, who spiritually knew the importance of being in tune with and respecting nature and animals living on this earth. If they needed to use something from nature to survive, like animal parts, they showed respect by not wasting a thing.
There was a point in history when it was common to eat the organ meat of an animal, while giving the muscle meat, what we commonly eat today, to the dogs. Somewhere along the line, in conjunction with the latest fad diets, much of American society veered away from this, forgetting about what whole foods are and never knowing about the major health benefits and the detriments of eating only parts. In this day and age, many people find the thought of eating heart or liver repulsive simply because we, as a society, have become conditioned to thinking that this isn’t socially acceptable. Instead, people believe that eating meat in parts, such as the breast of a chicken, is the healthier way.
Surprisingly to us of the younger generations, this simply isn’t so. In regards to meat, when parts are taken away from the whole, so are many beneficial nutrients that the animal has to offer (this is true for grains and vegetables as well). For example, the skin of poultry aids in the digestion of the nutrients of the meat. In addition, it’s the organ meats that are the nutrient dense part of the animals, providing more vitamins and minerals in a small portion size than most any other food, no matter what the quantity. For instance, grass-fed, organic beef or calf liver has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin A than any other foods we commonly eat today, along with all of the essential B vitamins, C, E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium, to name a few. It’s a common misconception to want to avoid liver because people think that the liver stores toxins, when in fact, it does not. The function of the liver is to neutralize them, while storing vitamins and minerals.
Eating this way works for me. Like words and thoughts have power, so does what we put into our body. In no way am I suggesting that every non-meat eating individual start eating meat. Each person has his/her own beliefs as to what eating healthy is. In conjunction with this idea is what each individual considers to be the ‘right’ way to eat, be it based on wanting to do right by animals, feeling that eating foods raw is the only way to eat them, or any other thought involving why and why not to eat certain foods. It’s a combination of listening to one’s body and eating whole foods, no matter what type they are, that’s important.
Dawn Lorenz Brennan is a writer, educator and advocate raised in a world of traditional medicine and holistic living. She writes about life as a daughter of a naturopath and as a mother of three, raising awareness about the importance of living mindfully and choosing healthy alternatives. Via her blog, RaisingNaturalKids.com, she provides parents with the resources that they need to make informed decisions regarding their children, specifically focusing on raising children holistically in healthy environments that will benefit their overall well-being.