So I know I have written about my choice in being vegetarian before. I have to say it was a lot easier being vegetarian than many people make it out to be. I loved it and didn’t really have any problems finding enough variety to keep me satisfied and interested in what I was eating. For a few personal reasons, I decided to try to work a little bit of meat back into my diet. I know that a lot of vegetarians who are considering going back to eating some animal protein such as chicken, beef, or pork, often times become nervous that they will get sick for weeks or that their body will not be able to handle the new form of protein. The longer they have been vegetarian, the more hesitation and fear there seems to be. Due to this observation and my own hesitations when taking this plunge, I thought I would give you a little bit of insight on my experience and what I did to make this an easy transition.
1) Start with chicken. I was never a red meat person, even before I became vegetarian, but this is a piece of information that I obtained from other friends who had already made this transition. Of course every body is different, but it seems like the general consensus that chicken is the best first option to implement and is most easily digested compared to red meat or other types of meat. One thing I would definitely recommend, don’t go try an extra large cheeseburger or philly cheesesteak sandwich as your first meat introduction; I think it is pretty self explanatory why.
2) Do some of the work for your body. When I first tried eating chicken a few weeks ago, I cooked the chicken all day in a crockpot. When I came home the meat fell apart with one touch of a fork. This cooking method did a little bit of the work for me when it comes to digestion. It was already very soft, I barely had to chew it, and it was less “meat-like” for those who are hesitant about just sitting down and eating a chicken breast or a steak.
3) Mix your meat with something else, and add a sauce or some sort of “disguiser”. For me, making this plunge was very mental. I had heard good experiences and bad, and I myself had a semi-poor experience shorty after I became vegetarian when I tried to make this transition earlier on. Something that I did this time was cook the meat with other things such as chopped vegetables and crushed tomatoes. My body recognizes the vegetables and I enjoy eating them, and the crushed tomatoes helped form a sauce in the crockpot (along with a little water) that made the chicken not so noticeable. A little bit of a mind game…but hey you have to do what you have to do right!
4) SMALL PORTIONS. I can’t really emphasize this one enough, and it should be self explanatory why. Yes, if you go from not eating meat at all to eating an 8oz steak or 4 chicken drumsticks, I would not be surprised if you found yourself running to the bathroom an hour later feeling nauseous or ill. Be smart! I had about 4 bites of tender, moist, broken apart chicken mixed with vegetables for my first time. Also, don’t go from one end of the spectrum all the way to the next so soon. Take a day off after trying your first bites of meat, meaning don’t eat meat the following day too. Let your body get use to the change slowly. Think of yourself as a newborn baby again. We say introduce 1 new food per week to check for intolerances or allergies. Do the same thing, except maybe not that restrictive. Try meat, wait a day or 2, then try it again.
Of course I am not advocating that vegetarians or any other selective diet go back to eating meat tomorrow; I have always believed this is a personal choice. Although I am trying to eat a little bit of meat again, I am still going to shy away from red meat, and you can still expect to see plenty of vegetarian recipes on here!