Today's entry is challenging to write on many levels but it's time to come clean. For the past month, I've been keeping a secret from all of you. A very big secret. But the guilt has been steadily gnawing away at me and, for better or worse, whatever you may think of me, I'm ready to share.
Ready? Here it is.
I've started eating meat again.
I know. You may just want to sit with that for a minute and let it sink in.
I've been a vegetarian for 23 years and almost vegan for the past two years. So what's changed and--just as important--what hasn't?
Let's start with what hasn't changed. I'm still not eating red meat or pork. More from a "yuck" standpoint than anything else. I was 18 the last time I ate red meat and in all honesty my stomach rolls a little bit at even the thought. Not ready to go there.
I'm also not eating any commercial meat. I will NOT be stopping by Wendy's for a spicy chicken sandwich anytime in the near future, thank you very much. I'm still a proponent of not torturing animals before they die and most commercial meat in stores and restaurants don't make the cut.
What I have started doing is allowing chicken, turkey, and some seafood back into my diet. I'm buying the poultry from local farms so it's "lived-a-happy-life-before-we-wrung-its-neck" chicken. The question, though, is why change after all these years?
The answer has been building for some time. Partly it's because my diet wasn't working for me. I've been trying to build muscle and lose fat and the best way to do that is go on a low-carb or slow-carb diet. That's a challenge when the base of every meal I was eating was brown rice or tortillas or couscous or quinoa or bulgar, etc. I needed a way to get less carbs and more protein and I try to watch the amount of soy I eat as it's highly processed.
The other reason I went back is because I wasn't practicing what I preach. I've always said--and I mean it--that I don't have a problem with people eating animals. Why waste food? I just ask that, if able, they pay a little extra to get the free-range, hormone and antibiotic free meat. So if I didn't have a problem with it, why wouldn't I eat meat?
Ego. I've been spouting off for so long that I've been a vegetarian for 15, 18, 20 years, etc that it's been challenging to let go of that image. I also feel like I'm losing a bit of self-righteousness. (Which, in my case, can only be a good thing.) It's also a bit embarrassing. I've been riding others for so long to give up meat and now it's like, "Uh... yeah. I'm going to eat it too."
So there you go. My secret is out. I've been baking chicken for weeks now, eating it on the sly like a functioning alcoholic taking sips from his stash hidden around the house.
I'm not sure I won't at some point go back to vegetarian but for now it's a nice change of pace. Many thanks to husband Blair for keeping the family secret. I think he's secretly hoping at some point I'll break completely and go back to hamburger and bacon.
Keep dreaming, babe. I can't promise anything but, as we've just seen, some dreams do come true. :)