“But I thought you were plant-based?” I get this question pretty much every time I talk about or post about meat. The only thing I might get asked more about it being gluten-free…But we can save that post for another day!
It’s a legitimate question since there was a point in my life when I did commit to eating more plant-focused. I’m not one for labelling my diet, but I do have a history of extremism so when I commit myself to something, I’m pretty good at it.
For the record, I never went vegan or “plant-based” (which who really knows what that means!), but I did commit to eating less animal products in my life. My reasons for choosing to do this were pretty legitimate 1) To decrease my ecological footprint – meat consumption is not the most sustainable practice for our planet and 2) It’s an extremely expensive habit if you focus on quality like I do.
I was also at a point in my life where I was coming to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, you don’t need to consume animal protein with every meal. This might seem like an obvious point to some, but for me it wasn’t. I grew up in a pretty conventional North American home where your plate is made up of animal protein, a carb and some time of vegetable. We were also expected to eat our protein first i.e. don’t even think about touching those fries before eating those chicken nuggets!
Now I don’t blame my family in anyway and honestly just think we’ve all bought into the idea that protein = good and that the best source of it is animal-based. But that just simply isn’t true. There are so many incredible sources of plant-protein and my gut was telling me I needed to explore more of them.
I’m so happy I embarked on that journey though will admit that I went a bit extreme at first. My first month of experimenting with plant-based, I unintentionally cut out all animal products and by the end of the month I was like GIVE ME ALL THE FILET MIGNON. It wasn’t my first lesson in that going cold turkey (pun intended!) is rarely a good idea.
So instead I focused on experimenting with more plant-based cooking, by buying plant-based cookbooks, challenging myself to new recipes and messing with the idea that the “ideal” plate isn’t always split into thirds. Over the course of the next year I grew to love beans, tofu, tempeh, brown rice and discovered how many of the veggies I already know and love actually contain a good source of protein. Nuts and seeds are also my jam! I’m also so grateful to C who has come along this journey with me, even though I know he wasn’t all that keen on it.
But I also made it a priority to cue into my hunger and fullness signals and just how my food was making me feel, and honestly? I kind of felt sluggish after eating 100% plant-based. Now I fully believe that some people can thrive eating this way, but I am simply not one of those people. Though I don’t need animal protein at every meal, I do find I feel much better when it’s included in at least one meal a day.
This of course didn’t help my goal of eating more sustainably or the cost of quality meat on my wallet! But I had to find some way to reconcile both of these because I knew in my heart I was imposing rules rather than making choices.
From the sustainability perspective, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to sacrifice my own health for the health of the planet. Judge all you will, but this felt like the best decision for me. Focusing on quality meat that has been raised sustainably feels like a better choice for me than no meat at all. Humans have been eating meat since the dawn of time and while I’m the furthest thing from paleo, it does feel like my primal instinct to eat it. When I don’t eat animal products for a long time my body will not stop thinking about steak, chicken and eggs. It’s smart enough to tell me what I want even when I deny it. There are other ways decisions I make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and while I’ve reduced my animal product consumption, eliminating it entirely is not the right decision for me.
From the cost perspective, I knew there had to be some kind of solution out there. That’s when I discovered ButcherBox – or rather, they discovered me. They emailed me about 6 months ago asking if I wanted to try out one of their boxes. I did and I loved it (more on it below) and since then have ordered several of my own, with my own money.
Butcherbox is essentially a meat subscription service which delivers organic chicken, pork and grass-fed and finished red meat straight to your door. Each box contains about 18-25 pounds of meat, which we then keep frozen and defrost as needed. Depending on the box you order, the cost comes out to about $129 or slightly more for the more customized boxes. This usually lasts us about 2 months and costs around $6 a meal which is MUCH less than what we typically were spending at Whole Foods. The quality is fantastic and the price really can’t be beat. So long as we keep some space in our freezer, this has turned out to be a great solution for us and allowed us to purchase quality meat at a more affordable price.
If you’re curious about ButcherBox, use THIS LINK to save $10 off your first box and get two FREE ribeye steaks. I truly do love this service and would recommend it to anyone. FYI this post is NOT sponsored by them in any capacity, though I am including an affiliate link because it offers a sweet discount for you!
The point of this post is to remind you that it’s OKAY to change your diet. If you can tell something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it, even if you feel external pressure to be consistent. Just because you and other people have decided you are one way, doesn’t mean it’s something that still serves you.
It’s also to answer the question above: “but I thought you were plant-based?” Though I never claimed to be in the first place, I think I and others had internalized the idea that I didn’t eat meat, but these days that just isn’t true. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I find myself reaching for a bag of Lorissa’s Kitchen when I’m snacking or adding chicken to my salads. It’s just what feels right for me right now. Will that change? Possibly! I’m open to the change if that’s where it takes me, but for now I’m feeling pretty great.
Have any questions for me? Have you known in your heart that you had to change your diet?
The post Why I Went Plant-Based Then Started Eating Meat Again appeared first on The Healthy Maven.
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