When I was in second grade, I gave up all red meat and pork because my two older sisters did it, so I thought it was the cool thing to do. Despite the occasional “bratwurst that is made from vegetables” (Thanks, Mom) I ate this pseudo-vegetarian diet for most of my childhood until I was a senior in high school.
It was at that time that I began my first real attempt at losing weight. I thought it could be fun to try to lose some weight before my senior prom, so I opted for Atkins, and decided to reintroduce meat to my diet. Since I am not one for moderation, I went from a white-meat-only kind of gal to a bacon-on-everything person pretty quickly. And I loved it.
The only thing that stuck from that first stint on Atkins was the pounds and my taste for meat. I kept eating meat in moderation, and sometimes not at all in moderation, throughout college and into adulthood. When I joined Weight Watchers in March 2009, my meat consumption dwindled quite a bit because I could eat eggs, beans, and tofu for fewer Points than meat, and I just liked the way I was feeling when I ate meat less. It also kept my grocery bill a lot cheaper, so I was enjoying less meat on several levels.
Fast forward to February 2010, and I decided it would be a good experiment to see if I could go meat-free for 40 days (in conjunction with Lent) and I was feeling so good that I decided to stick with it, and have been a pescatarian ever since. I didn’t miss meat at all, and in all honesty, it made it easier for me to eat healthy and to make decisions at restaurants because there were less things to decide between!
There hadn’t been a time that I actually WANTED meat in all that time, and giving up meat was never meant to be about depravation. It just worked for me at the time, made me feel healthier and kept my grocery bill cheaper.
It wasn’t until over the last few months that I even thought about meat or started missing it. My family is really into good food and also has been, which is where my foodie core comes from. For my fam, a lot of this taste for good food includes meat. For example, at Easter last year, we had a whole pork shoulder… wrapped in pork belly. I didn’t eat it, and wasn’t even tempted to, but during the last few months I have been feeling a little more conflicted about it.
Then it all changed a few weeks ago.
I went to one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Bangkok 54, and they have this appetizer called the House Special Duck Roll. It’s basically a homemade savory Asian pancake/crepe with duck and hoisin sauce in it, and is to die for. It was what I would always order before even looking at the menu when I would go there in my meat-eating days.
When I opened the menu, the duck roll screamed out at me. I wanted it. Bad. I tried to put it in the back of my mind, but it wouldn’t go away and I realized that I really did want to order and eat the duck – so I did. And you know what? It was absolutely delicious and lived up to the expectation. And, I didn’t get sick or feel weird after to boot.
So, right then and there, I decided that I am going introduce meat in moderation back into my diet. I’ve been doing so slowly, and have decided that while I will still eat mostly pescatarian/vegetarian, when I want meat, I’m going to get it! So far, I have tried duck, chicken, and bacon (mmmmmm), and haven’t had a single stomach issue or regret.
I went back and forth about whether to post this, but decided to go for it. Now that we’re into January, I will be sharing some menu plans that will have some meat incorporated into the meals, so I think it makes sense to put the recent changes I’ve made to my diet out there!
Are you a vegetarian, vegan, meat-eater, pesctarian or what? If you do eat meat, how often?
Please feel free to (respectfully) discuss in the comments or ask any questions you may have.