Meat After Veg: On an ethical transition to eating animals
Updated: Aug 17, 2018
I'm drinking a giant bottle of lemon water after some living room yoga, pretending last night never happened while I make a smoothie so green it's almost black. My guts feel ok, attributable to the magic of sleep and a good poop, I guess, but oooooh last night it was not so, trapped as I was in the physical prison of eating too many baby back ribs.
The meat eating game is new to me. I was vegetarian and vegan from age 12 till last week, and my diet prior to 12 was largely frozen pizza and chicken nuggets--barely counts as part of this lifetime. I've also spent much of the past 10 years prioritizing health, nutrition, holistic wellness, and fitness. So having suddenly entered the realm of the rest of meat-lovin' humanity is...kind of terrifying.
After a hair analysis, prompted by some harsh bouts of depression, showed mercury poisoning and alarmingly dysfunctional adrenal glands, I was ready for Drastic. I felt like the worst of the garbage, so something about my seemingly on-point diet and fitness regimen wasn't working for me, despite the fact that everyone I talked to exclaimed "You're officially the healthiest person I know what are you talking about you are fiiiiine." Naturally, I spent all toilet time, bus time, waiting room time, and I-should-really-go-to-sleep time Googling stuff.
Everything I read about detoxing heavy metals and addressing adrenal fatigue pointed to elimination diets, green things, Glutathione supplements, Paleo, sleeping more, meditating, and avoiding exercising so hard your heart might actually explode all over the frowning sweaty people in your Orange Fitness class. I did my best to start incorporating or amping up all of the above--here I'll talk diet.
After a week of successful, moderate meat incorp, I went ahead and full-on overdid it. To my credit, I had no idea the average belly caps at just a couple delicious ribs. I kept going back for seconds and my mom didn't even say anything, probably because of my history of hanger (I don't blame her, I got mean).
I couldn't believe I, known for crunching raw carrots in public spaces and eating all the spinach by the handful, was texting my mom "I am so full of meat I can't really walk," followed by "but they were so good!!!"
The main takeaway: To redefine balance and connection with food and my body.
I want to do this through incorporating a diet and shifts in lifestyle that, while I know they make sense for me right now, could easily take me far from the ethics and habits that have been so key to my health and well bei
ng thus far.
Because ethically, nothing's really changed; I still agree with all those Meet Your Meat videos that made me cry in 2002--industrial agriculture is a cap D Disaster. And I still believe we need to be as intimately knowledgeable as possible about what we feed ourselves, slather on our skin, and spray all over our toilets; I feel even more passionate than I did as a vegetarian about living toxin free. Yet my sick bod is screaming for new ways to get what it's needing.
So what if I can find my way to a deeper connection with food through the very meat-eating that seemed so morally contrary when I first found out about vegetarianism from my best friend's rad and very attractive lesbian older sister?
I'm learning, as I follow the AutoImmune Protocol Diet (AIP) and realize what it's like to have stable blood sugar for the first time kind of ever, how I might approach something as ethically difficult as meat eating from the same platforms of sustainability, mindfulness, loving-kindness and environmental awareness that led me to swear off meat in middle school.
It's complicated, and it feels weird to eat the muscles of a breathing living thing. At the same time, it feels empowering to honor that food, to explore food in new ways, and to learn what it takes to be an ethical and nutrient-savvy meat eater.