Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why I'm Seriously Considering Eating Meat Again

I've been pretty much a vegetarian for nearly 20 years. "Pretty much" meaning that I never gave up eggs or cheese entirely, and I've always caved in and had fish or chicken a few times per year. For me it's basically an ethical issue, but over the years, maintaining my vegetarianism has gotten more and more difficult.

The first blow was being diagnosed with multiple food allergies. This took all tree nuts and all seeds off the table (with the exception of pumpkin seeds and flax.)
This fairly thoroughly wiped out a huge percentage of vegetarian cuisine for me, but still I persevered.

Next came the migraine headaches. Actually the migraines have been there since I was a teenager, but as I've worked to sort out my migraine triggers, I realized that one trigger was soy products including soy milk, tofu and tempeh.

Over the years I realized that all legumes are migraine triggers for me. This basically means I can only get away with a maximum of one serving per day of any sort of beans or soy product. And if there are any other migraine triggers floating about in my life at the time, even one serving will push me over the edge into the migraine zone.

And to make matters worse, for some reason that can't be connected to legumes, wheat gluten (seitan) also gives me migraines. My doctor suggested that it may have to do with fermentation that takes place in processing the product. Cross one more off the list.

Then came round 2 of the allergy problem. Even though whole food soy products like tofu and tempeh gave me trouble, for some reason I could still get away with fake meat products made with isolated soy protein. For many years these made up a great chunk of my diet.

But... two separate allergic forces have converged to take these off of the table. First... apparently many food allergies get worse over time. This appears to be the case with my allergies to herbs and spices. I'm not allergic to ALL herbs and spices, but there is a very lengthy list. Unfortunately they are not required to be listed separately on the ingredient list. After I had hives every day for nearly a year, my doctor said I had to cut out all foods that listed "spices" or "natural flavoring" on the ingredient label.

And to top it off, many of those fake meat products suddenly started including an ingredient called inulin. I'm still not sure what exactly inulin is, but apparently it is often derived from the chicory plant and, you guessed it, I am violently allergic to chicory.

So this basically reduced my protein sources to eggs, cheese, one scant serving of legumes per day and unflavored isolated soy or other protein powder.

At this point I started upping my intake of dairy & eggs, and I started eating fish more like once a month. The problem is that I'm lactose intolerant, so I can only have very limited amounts of dairy, plus aged cheeses and yogurt in large quantities also give me migraines. And fish more than about once a week really isn't safe because of the mercury.

Then came the final straw. I started reading about the dangers of isolated soy protein, and soy products in general. Here's the article that pretty much did me in:

So here I am. It's been about a year since I gave up soy entirely (OK... I still give in and have some egg drop soup with tofu at my favorite Chinese restaurant now and then, but pretty much entirely). I've been trying to get by, but it just isn't working.

It's just really hard for me to get enough protein. My blood sugar is a nightmare... It seems like I'm always on the verge of passing out, and when my blood sugar gets low I get migraines.

I've been eating eggs every day as one of my main protein sources, but geez... there are only so many huevos that one human being can take. Plus, I'm sure that it's not healthy to rely so heavily on them.

I've gained ten pounds, and it's nearly impossible for me to get any meaningful exercise anymore, because... long story here, but my severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are triggered by both food and exercise, so I have to wait at least 2.5 hours after eating anything before I can safely exercise. And when I don't get enough protein, by the time 2.5 hours rolls around I'm having a serious blood sugar crash.

So I'm at my wits end. I hate to admit it, but I'm about ready to start waving the white flag and give up the fight.

I really hate the thought of going back to eating meat on a regular basis, but I just don't see any good alternatives at this point. I'm really getting sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time!

I know it's a terrible eco-sin, not to mention the ethical issues involved. I really don't think I can make myself do beef, so I'm pretty much just talking about adding a chicken breast once a week or so.

I'm sorta expecting the vegan evangelists to come after me brandishing torches and pitchforks, but there comes a point when one must take care of oneself.

I dunno... what do you think? Anybody have any brilliant ideas that I haven't thought of?

In case you're curious, here's the follow up to this post.


  1. No brilliant ideas, but a suggestion - if you're going to add chicken breast, why not try pork too? It seems there are thousands of ways to make pork (similarly to chicken) which means hopefully you won't get sick of it. Good luck!!

  2. Great idea... but I neglected to mention that I'm also allergic to pork. Sigh.

  3. ... and (before someone suggests it) I'm allergic to turkey too...

  4. I confess, I am also an ex-veggie, and I don't have anywhere near such strong reasons as you do.

    Why is beef worse than chicken? I figure that for one dead animal you get an awful lot more food from a cow than a chicken, so beef is better from the point of view of, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could eat without killing so many animals." (though of course there are many other issues here)

    If you're eating chicken, please don't just eat the breast and leave the producer to dispose of the rest of the bird - everyone does that! There's so much else you can do with a chicken.

    You didn't mention mushrooms, but I guess they're out of the question, too?

    Can you eat oats? I find that porridge is pretty good for slow energy release, though you wouldn't want to live off it!

  5. So, as I was reading your post, one idea would pop into my head and then you'd be allergic to that. I'd keep reading and another thought would pop in and then... well, you get it. I am SO sorry that so many foods are such a headache for you. (NO pun intended at ALL) I can't even imagine!

    We are meat-eaters though. I buy the best meat I can, whenever I can, but still, we do eat meat. I have to say that I'm glad you cut out the soy. THAT beast is everywhere and we do our level best to avoid it.

    Maybe up the fish and add a whole chicken every month or so? You could freeze the extra portions for servings once a week or so. I was floored when you mentioned lactose intolerance on top of everything else! Good grief. That eliminates so much!

    There are some good gluten free alternatives available. Depending on how high your allergy rating is, regular oats might not bother you or you can buy GF oats. Quinoa is also a good protein source, as are several other grains. Mixed with vegetables and just a small amount of beans, you'd have a decent meal.

  6. I'm a former vegetarian/vegan/raw foodist. After reading Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes I decided that it was time to add meat and cut back greatly on non-fruit carbohydrates. I've had much more energy, and feel great. I've even lost a few pounds. I refuse to eat supermarket meat, so will be paying through the nose for the grassfed, organic stuff. My health and the health of my family is worth it. I hope your health improves. Good luck.

  7. Hi Rachel - Well... with beef there is no logic to it. I just think of those big brown cow eyes and it breaks my heart. Plus, it would have to be grass fed organic beef... I've seen WAY too much to ever be able to eat feed lot meat again! Mushrooms and oats are both good... but not huge sources of protein.

    I never thought of buying a whole chicken. Yikes! The thought actually sort of grosses me out, but both of you make some very good points. I've bought whole rotisserie chickens in the past and it didn't bother me... but somehow cutting up a raw one feels different. Maybe I could stomach it... I dunno....

    Barefoot - I'm not gluten intolerant per se, I just can't eat seitan because of the headache issue. So I can have oats and other grains, but even though they're supposed to be "slow release" carbohydrates, the more of them I eat, the worse I feel. So I suppose that I can try them in moderation.

    Anne - I may have to check out that book. My personal experience has pretty much sold me on the idea that carbohydrates really need to be consumed in moderation... or at least regulated to your activity level. As I said above, for some reason grains in particular make me feel rather yucky. It's not that I don't LOVE to eat them... they just seem to make me become ravenously hungry again within a few hours, no matter how "whole" they are.

    I'll keep you all posted. At the moment I'm defrosting some wild salmon for dinner and I'm really hoping that I'll be able to NOT wake up in a cold hypoglycemic sweat tomorrow morning.

  8. First, you have to take care of yourself, and if that means meat, then meat it is. Period.
    If you can find a decent butcher, most will do all the prep [icky] work for you, Consider Kosher or Halal if you can, as I think they are the most respectful in the whole process, If not possible, then look for a smaller, local place that'll get to know you.... Even a Kosher Deli might have some options.
    Migraines are in the news, as you know! Do you take meds?? Might help since your list of advoidances is so long.
    Extremely frustrating, I can imagine.

  9. Ha! I assume you're referring to our dear friend Ms. Bachmann? Somehow, I think she might be more reasonable when under the influence of a migraine and some serious drugs. She couldn't be any crazier than she is when lucid!

    I've tried the modern "triptan" meds - Zomig, Imitrix, etc. and holy moly! I tend to think of those drugs as being in the please-god-just-let-me-live-through-this-horrific-experience-and-I-swear-I'll-never-complain-about-another-headache-again category. They work by making you so utterly miserable and convinced that death is imminent, that by comparison a migraine seems like a piece of cake!

    OK... that's my long-winded and sarcastic way of saying that I seem to be prone to side effects with that class of drugs. Seriously, it feels like my throat is closing, my heart races and skips beats, and then I get a rebound headache that's (not exaggerating here) at least ten times worse than the original migraine. Last time I took one I nearly had to call 911.

    I tend to do better on the older drugs like Caffergot and Midrin. For a while I was on some drug as a preventative medication... can't remember the name but I think it was a calcium channel blocker? Maybe? Anyhow, it made my blood pressure so low that I could barely function.

    Taking feverfew daily tends to help, and I also have a bunch of vitamin/mineral supplements that help a bit when I'm in the throes of the thing. But if I'm good with my diet, I can usually keep them down to only 4-5 bad ones per year.

    I never thought of going to a Kosher deli. To tell the truth, it's been so long since I've bought meat other than at an occasional restaurant, that the whole idea of it is gonna take some getting used to.

  10. Kosher & Halal are no more humane than other slaughter methods. I've been veg for 31 years, but have fallen off the wagon from time to time in the past 10 years....and feel guilty afterwards. Cooking for one person after working all day & cleaning many litter boxes and feeding a horde of critters isn't my idea of fun. Fast food - I'm Taco Bell'd out.

    Check out the formerly Voracious Vegan blog. She details what she went through and some of the flack she got from her readers. Here's the link:

    Do what you've got to do. I'd recommend a good nutritionist, but it sounds like you've got this whole thing covered.

    One last thing, which is probably useless. I've had excellent luck with just Excedrin migraine. I can feel one coming on - nausea, changes with my eyes, dull head pain - and pop 2 pills and the migraine never appears. However, that's probably something you've tried and it didn't work.

    Take care of yourself.

  11. ECl: OMG, sounds like you've been thru the ringer and done the best you could! Ms B: well yes, I'd prefer her reclining in a dark room talking to no one!!! One can only hope.
    If I'm wrong 'bout Kosher/Halal, sorry, my mistake.

  12. Connie - thanks for the link, I'll definitely check it out! I hadn't thought about seeing a nutritionist... I actually have a dear friend who is certified in that field, maybe I'll give her a call.

    And I actually have had great luck with Excedrin Migraine (it's just the same as regular Excedrin isn't it?) Anyhow, the only issue is that 2 pills is a whopping huge dose of caffeine and it usually makes me feel like I'm climbing the walls. So I have a DIY method... basically just take some tylenol or ibuprophen and a cup of tea or if I'm really up for a jolt a cup of coffee. If I catch it in time it works like a charm. I just have to do it... I tend to go into denial when a headache is coming on and some crazy part of my brain thinks that if I just ignore it, it will go away. Maybe some day I'll learn!

    Jay - One can hope indeed!

  13. Connie - I just wanted to say thanks again after reading Tasha's story over on Voracious. I still feel horrible about the idea of killing an animal to eat it, but a little less horrible after reading her story.

  14. I had it in my head that mushrooms are a good source of protein, but I just looked it up and they're not at all. You learn something new every day!

    If you can't face cutting up a raw chicken, how about cooking it whole and cutting it up afterwards?

    I have been chased by bullocks enough times to have a slightly less sentimental view of cows.

    I was very surprised by the suggestion that Kosher and Halal slaughter might be more ethical, as I've always thought of it as less ethical, due to the lack of stunning (at least in this country). I found a very interesting essay on the subject by Temple Grandin - a remarkable woman with a particular empathy for cows. Apparently religous slaughter can be more humane, but can also be worse. Here's her website but you might want to proceed with caution as the essay I read (addressed to those in the industry) contained detailed descriptions of slaughter methods.

  15. Glad it helped. Knowing you aren't the ONLY ONE usually does help. I had bookmarked her blog for recipes years ago & hadn't visited it in quite a while. I stumbled on it last week. SERENDIPITY? Who knows, but it came in handy.

  16. I read your post and thought about grains, but then read the comments and now see that grains make you feel bad. I think you should go back to the meat. You're having too hard a time.

  17. Have you looked into the paleo diet? It addresses several issues you have. It does involve meat, but you will feel so much better! (his podcast is very informative also.
    And here is a link to a former vegan gone paleo for similar health problems,

  18. JNU - It's not that grains make me feel bad per se, it's that too many grains make me feel bad. I guess I'm coming to the conclusion that for someone who has as many allergy & migraine related dietary restrictions as I do, it really isn't reasonable to add any further restrictions... ethics or not.

    Anon - I have read about the paleo diet and have even seen Rob Wolf interviewed. I think the concept is intriguing, but a tad bit too extreme for my taste. As I just said above, I think that for someone like me, adding any further dietary restrictions on top of what is already medically required, is probably not a good idea. I think that at the moment I need to strive for balance, so that means while I do think I'll start incorporating some meat again, I'm unlikely to make it the cornerstone of my diet, or to cut out grains and legumes entirely... let alone dairy! I'm Italian for god's sake! The thought of cutting out pasta and cheese sounds a bit like blasphemy to me!

    But seriously, I totally believe that the modern diet is way too over loaded with grains and carbohydrates in general. But I also question whether our ancestors really did eat the enormous quantities of meat that the paleo diet assumes. I also think that if people had not been gathering and eating wild grains and legumes, they probably would never have tried to cultivate these plants in the first place, so, while I believe people probably eat way too many of these foods, a diet that excludes them entirely doesn't make much sense to me.

    It's all about balance...

  19. I'm sorry. That's a sucky situation to be in. I've been a vegetarian for several years now, but I wouldn't do it if it made my body sick. I don't think it's unethical to prioritize your own health. Vegetarianism and veganism are diets that also cause considerable harm to animals; I just don't think there's any way to get around the fact that everything is in competition for the same limited resources of space and food. Since I've chosen to share my life with an obligate carnivore (kitty!), I understand that, in a way, I will always be a meat consumer. C'est la vie.

    I think it'd be worth the experiment to find out if eating small amounts of meat improves your health. Have you talked to a nutrition expert? S/he might be able to offer more concrete advice.

  20. Jennifer - Thanks so much for your support. I have not spoken to a nutritionist yet... I sort of fear them to be honest. It seems like the advice you receive is all over the map depending on the person's predispositions. But I do have a good friend whom I trust, and she is a certified nutritionist, so I think I'll talk things over with her and see what she has to say.

    In the meantime, while I haven't actually done any meat yet, I've made a concerted effort to have a small but healthy serving of animal protein every day since I wrote this (fish mostly) and I already am feeling worlds better.

    I'm also trying to be better about taking my vitamins. Some part of me absolutely loathes the idea of beginning my day with a fist full of pills, so I think that my constant forgetting is really a subconscious rebellion. But, for the moment at least, I think I need to be more diligent about it.

    I'll keep y'all posted!

  21. What about insects? We can buy them in bulk at my local Asian market and online...

  22. EEEEEWWWW! Please tell me you're joking! I'm sure this is a cultural thing, but the thought just makes my stomach turn. Besides, I'm allergic to crustaceans so (hopefully) I'm allergic to insects too. I think I'm gonna go puke now...

  23. On my phone now. So cant see if anyone had mentioned these.ideas.or.not.

    IF it makes you feel bad for.the animals and enviment how about getting sustanibly raised, pastures animals. Not environmental harmand healthier for you then factory meat.

    Have your heard about GAPS!?? It can heal your allergies. I can get you more info when I get yo a computer. Also the book real food by nina planck was a real eye opener to me.

  24. also, we eat fish all the time. I think as long as you are not eating tuna daily but rather a wild caught fish that you will be fine. We eat fish 2-3 times per week.. i know people who eat it much more and are ok..

  25. How about get a buddy who doesn't mind cooking meat to take care of that for you? I'm a redneck who grew up with deer carcasses hanging in the yard and have no problem cutting/cooking/processing meat. I would gladly cook up a chicken, etc. for a friend who had a hard time with it.

    I used to be all high and mighty and thought "if you can't kill it, you shouldn't eat it," which I now realize is just asinine. (Much of what I think is, of course.) The whole point of living in community is taking care of each other. So, why not let a friend who can hack it help take care of you?

  26. I'm too lazy to read through comments so maybe someone suggested this. But if you eat meat, you can try organic, hormone-free, humanely-raised or cage-free etc..

    Wild-caught fish is safer. Maybe shellfish is okay too?

  27. HOLY! You are in tough! I thought that I had it bad with my 'food issues', but I got nothin' on you girl! My heartfelt sympathies go out to you...

    I just got on the 'no soy' train as well after reading THE TRUTH on why is is actually so bad for you (and here I thought I was doing such a great thing and that stuff is working at knocking out my thyroid)! As you know, I jumped on the vegetarian bandwagon yet again this past winter and after 6 months or so, I have decided to re-introduce some meat in moderation. I eat chicken (only the non-sketchy, non-supermarket, organic, free-run, etc. kind), and also a bit of fish... I re-introduced this b/c I was actually craving it... I am all about listenting to my body and trying to figure out what works best for me and I think that I might have it by adding those things back in...

    So, I guess that's my best advice... try not to think in terms of 'diet' or 'ethical eating' too much... try to think in terms of: what is my body telling me it needs? You have some MAJOR signs/signals going on...

    One more thing: the bulk of my food issues went away when I got treated homeopathically for a yeast infection that was in my BLOOD! Just a thought....

    My heart goes out to you! Good luck!

  28. Fonda - I checked out the GAPS website and it's certainly piqued my curiosity. I've read about a zillion things that claim they can cure allergies, but inevitably they end up having some sort of "cleansing" diet which requires you to eat a bunch of things that would send me to the emergency room with my throat closing, and this one was no exception. But I do think that the whole concept of leaky gut syndrome is compelling, so I think I'll do some more reading about it. In terms of fish, I'm afraid it's a bit hard to find wild caught fish here in Denver, although I do eat wild caught salmon. That's pretty much the only fish I do eat. Perhaps I'll have to do some further investigations.

    Aldra - Hmmmm... a cooking buddy, that's an interesting idea. Not sure if I'm organized enough for that one, especially since pretty much all of my friends are vegetarians. I sort of think that I just need to get over it, and in the meantime my "buddy" will probably just be the butcher.

    Regarding killing what you eat... my one experience with this was... um... well, I'm not sure it ended up being very humane. My Ex was an avid fisherman and one time he took me with him. I caught a huge rainbow trout and he told me I had to kill it. I was standing there sobbing uncontrollably while he was shouting at me to hit it's head on a rock. I finally did it, and we put it in the cooler and headed down the road. Well, apparently I had only stunned the poor thing because it came back to life in the cooler and started flopping around. I am still haunted by the memory of the "Tell Tale Trout"!

    Anon - Local, organic, pasture raised, grass fed... that's the plan. I fear I'm allergic to shellfish though

  29. I'm sure he had lots of good qualities, but I kind of want to kick your ex in the balls.

  30. CF - Ha! Be my guest. No, actually, it was nearly 20 years ago... I'm over it. The trout on the other hand... "flip flop, flip flop, flip flop"...

    Maren - I meant to include this in my last comment, but there was a lightning storm overhead so I had to quickly shut off the computer and unplug everything.

    Anyhow... I think I have spent far too many years trying to do what's "right" in some abstract global sense while fully ignoring what is right for me. CatMan says it's a good way to avoid dealing with your own personal shit and he probably has a point. But I'm gonna start putting myself much higher on the list from now on. Because, after all, if the life we create isn't sustainable for us as individuals, there's no way it will ever be sustainable on a societal level.

    I have long been intrigued by the whole concept of candida (system wide yeast infection). I spent about a year of my childhood on constant penicillin for strep infections. It turned out that my best friend was a carrier, but I often wonder what damage that did to my system. As an adult, I had another bad bout of throat infections and had to be on antibiotics for nearly six months. It's not like any of my "issues" can be directly tied to those events, and I don't know that I exactly fit the profile, but still, it makes me wonder.

    I also didn't know (or had forgotten - either is equally likely) about the soy-thyroid connection. My thyroid function is hovering just barely on the lowest level of normal, enough so my doctor didn't want to treat it, but enough so that I'm sick of feeling tired and cold all the time (it's 80 degrees in here and I'm wearing a fleece jacket.)

    But... the other thing is that I think I'm always looking for "THE" thing that's going to make "everything" better, and I'm sorta coming to the conclusion that there is no magic bullet. I'm not saying that people who have a concrete health problem won't be helped by curing that problem, but I just don't think that there is one overarching thing that causes all problems in my health or life. I'm sure there are lots of things that could be a bit better, and for now, at least, I'm trying to focus on taking small steps in what feels like the right direction.

  31. That poor trout! I can't believe your ex just told you to whack it and them tossed it in the trailer. My gosh, I might have gone veg after that horrid experience!

    To answer your questions, when I mentioned grilling on my last post, it referred to an actual BBQ grill outdoors. You just use a BBQ brush (stiff metal bristles) to scrape the grill clean when you are done cooking. :)

  32. Thanks Barefeet, This whole experience is making me feel a tad bit... out of my element!

  33. I know I'm sort of late on this conversation but since nobody else has mentioned this I thought I would. Have you tried increasing your intake of dark leafy greens? I find these help me a lot when I'm feeling chronically tired. They are high in protein by volume and also have lots of other vitamins and minerals. Seaweeds are also high in their protein, vitamin, and mineral contents.

  34. Definitely see a nutritionist! I similarly have a range of food intolerances, including too much lactose, fructose, soy, and lentils.

    There's actually a range of foods called FODMAPs that many people react to - google FODMAP and see if the foods on that list seem to fit with the ones you're having issues with.

    Before I saw a nutritionist I was sick nearly every day. Now I know which foods to avoid (after a structured programme of elimination and reintroduction) I rarely have issues - except when I knowingly break the rules!

    I'm completely vegan at the moment - but could not have done it healthily without professional help! For food related issues I've found a nutritionist far and away more helpful than a doctor.

  35. Hey Nic - I'm a leafy greens fanatic. The only problem is that I'm allergic to everything in the lettuce family. (Allergic as in hives and swollen tongue type allergy.) But I do eat chard, kale or spinach every day. I also LOVE seaweed like nori, but it's not exactly local here in Colorado, so it's in the rare treat category.

    Helen - Thanks for your thoughts. The FODMAP concept seems quite interesting, although I don't really have the symptoms of IBS. My issues are mostly true immune system allergies (like hives and anaphylaxis) or migraines. The truth is that there are SOOOO many foods on the forbidden list that it's already a challenge to find things that I can eat. I just can't see restricting my diet any further unless it's absolutely necessary.

    I'll post a follow up soon, but I've been having a small serving of meat pretty much every day and I already feel worlds better. Now I've just gotta figure out how to prepare the stuff!

  36. EcoCat ,

    I love your blog. Hope you still read old posts and comments and happen to see this. So glad you are staying away from soy. With the flour it could be ( brominated ) if you happen to get the flour with that in it ( get unbleached unbrominated) or wheat berries, spelt berries or Kaumut and grind yourself for breads. Also some flours have malted barley in them which is a trigger food and a form of MSG. Avoid and grind yourself or get a flour with all those not in.

    Avoid any fake sugars, MSG and check all your spices! Grind the spices yourself or get organic as many have soy added to them .

    So glad you are staying away from soy. 90% of it is GMO .

    Angel Mama

  37. Hey Angel Mama,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I'd never heard of brominated flour... after looking it up it sounds scary! I actually eat very little wheat because I'm allergic to yeast. So what bread I do eat is generally tortillas or biscuits that I make myself with stone ground whole wheat flour.

    I had no idea that soy was in spices! I'll have to read the ingredients on mine. I actually use very little in the way of spices because, you guessed it, I'm allergic! My main spices are oregano, basil and chives, all of which come from my garden.... no soy there!

    Thanks again for your comment!

  38. Troubled pescetarian myself. I want to be vegan, but can't control my triglycerides without fish oil, and holy moly, do I love cheese. I haven't reconciled myself completely to eating fish/taking their oil, which I should go ahead and do because WTF.

    I'm not sure of the lurking ingredients, but I do like Quorn products, which are mycoprotein a little bit like mushrooms. Really, they're fungal proteins grown in a vat, but it sounds better to say they're like mushrooms.

    So, I really understand your ethical reluctance to eat meat. I wish that when I fell off the veggie wagon I felt gross and sluggish and disgusting, but I actually feel pretty great, except for the ghost of the burger haunting me.

  39. Duck - I liked the Quorn products too... unfortunately it's all the undeclared spices that get me in trouble. It would be SOOOO nice if the FDA would just require them to say what's actually in it, instead of just listing "spices" or "natural flavors". Sigh.

    Anyhow, I still feel fairly qualmy about it all, but I've gotta say, physically, I feel better than I have in years. The other thing I've noticed is that I no longer have the desire to smother everything with cheese. It's very odd, because before I started eating meat again, I literally CRAVED cheese at every turn. Imagine my shock when a hunk of it actually went bad in the refrigerator because I never got around to eating it! My little lactose intolerant tummy is much happier too.

  40. You know, now that I'm thinking about it, I don't have that cheese desperation like I did before i started eating fish again. I mean, a McProcessed Fishlike Filet with Cheesy-slice is still heaven, but.

    The FDA is currently very busy opening up a new pharma market for 9-year-old hypercholesterolemics. Cut them some slack.

  41. Ha! Guess we hyper-allergic types will just have to suffer... that is until they find some way to make everybody hyper-allergic and then develop a ridiculously expensive drug to treat it! What cynics we are...

  42. have you looked into a paleo diet? i like robb wolf's version.
    he makes a very good point about the inflammatory properties of grains, dairy and legumes.
    maybe try his book-he really explains the biochemistry and anthropology behind the health benefits. and he also allows for a vegetarian version.
    best wishes, chronic allergies and food intolerances are no fun.

  43. Hi Master Mynd, thanks so much for stopping by!

    I have read a bit about the paleo diet and I'm sort of torn between thinking it makes total sense, and thinking that the guy is a complete quack. It's sort of hard for me to believe that pre-agricultural humans ate NO legumes or grains because if that was the case, how would it have occurred to them to start cultivating those plants in the first place? But I do agree that we, in general eat WAY too many of those foods. I don't know much about their inflammatory properties, but I do know that they contain a lot of omega 6 oils, and many of our health problems are caused by too many omega 6 oils and not enough of the omega 3 variety. I'm struggling to imagine what the vegetarian version of the paleo diet looks like... maybe I'll have to break down and read the book.

    For the moment, I'm really trying to focus on eating more vegetables, and when I do that, the rest seems to fall into place rather easily.

    Thanks again for stopping by, and for you kind thoughts.

  44. How are you going with this? I'm only at the beginning of my nutrition studies but here's some things that may be worth checking out:
    Detox yourself. Hard as anything but in 2-3 weeks your body will be nourished and retrained, not to mention healed to a large degree. I hear a lot of great things about the Breuss Juice Detox and a form of The Gerson Therapy.
    If you have amalgam fillings in your teeth do yourself a favour and splurge to have them replaced. They are leeching heavy metals into your system.
    Have you heard of foot patches that detox and suck the heavy metals out of your body? They're AWESOME! Footsies is a brand. We have here.
    You cannot heal yourself unless you heal your 40 million gut bacteria. A naturopath can help with that, it's a process and not a cheap one, but 100% worth it regardless of who you are.
    A series of colon cleanses best done in conjunction with a detox to really cleanse yourself.
    The commonalities in the diets of our ancient ancestors who have the largest percentage of centenarians is of course nothing processed, meat when available particularly organ meats they are so full of goodness, fermented milks, yogurts, cheeses, wines and even some vodka! Seasonal fruits and vegetables and eggs. Those that lived on the water ate loads of fish obviously and sea veg and used to barter their superfoods like seaweeds. Superfoods superfoods superfoods.
    Another source of protein you might consider coz I know at least Costco has it (says our joke of a current affairs program) is kangaroo meat. The leanest red meat, iron rich, and we have a kangaroo plague apparently. Its tough meat, just slow cook it. I like it, but it's really rich.
    Since I was a vege (couldn't keep it up) I have been thanking every morsel of meat before I prepare it for giving its life so that I may be nourished by it. I lovingly prepare it. My partner who is a theta healer blesses his meat as well. I feel like, if I don't I am ingesting death energy, why wouldn't it make me sick? I want the animals to know I appreciate it, I eat only what I need and my intention is love. I know how that makes me sound but whatever :)
    Hopefully something here is new and potentially helpful xx

    1. Well, I just finished getting all of the mercury fillings replaced. It was sort of harrowing because apparently the anatomy of the nerves in my mouth is non-standard, and it required a fair degree of heroics to get me numb enough to do the work. But I'm very glad to have them out - and my father even picked up the $3000 bill which was very nice of him.

      In terms of detox... I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, the doctors in my family tell me this is all complete and utter BS, and I have some real reservations about the whole idea of colonics - I've heard some absolute horror stories. On the other hand, the notion that I might be suffering from leaky gut syndrome or something similar does not seem all that far fetched to me, and the idea of restoring balance to the gut makes sense.

      The problem is that all of the "detox" regimes that I've seen rely heavily on juicing with a variety of vegetables that I am deathly allergic to. And many of the products designed to promote a healthy gut are filled with a substance called inulin which is usually harvested from chicory root, and causes my tongue to swell to the size of a sweet potato.

      Soooo... for the moment I'm doing much better with the addition of a bit of chicken and the occasional serving of organic beef. I'm also taking probiotics which seem to help, although I have to be careful there because some of those expensive yogurts with fancy name brand probiotic blends caused me to be doubled over in extreme pain. But in general I feel much healthier than I have in a long time, and this is good!

    2. I'm so glad to hear about your fillings!

      There are a lot of mixed reviews about detoxes, and I'm sceptical but do think some are great. From my perspective, medical doctors are in the business of sickness not health so they will absolutely say its BS. Natural practitioners are in the business of health and say its fantastic so it's just gotta be what sits well with you.

      I did a detox purely using herbs and powders my naturopath gave me. Not cheap, all up about $500AUD including the consult fees, but wow. My immune system started working too! BONUS! Perhaps a powder detox from a naturopath could be on your list of research items.

      Regardless if you are doing better that's the best outcome :)

      I have rebooted your frugal oxymoron post too if you wanna check it out x

  45. Rebooted? My constant wierd words are because Apple iPad autocorrect is junk. Lol.

    1. Ha! I figured it was just some blog slang that I wasn't up on!

      I may do some research on the detoxes, but I'm not optimistic since most herbs will send me to the emergency room... seriously, parsley, fennel, dill, cilantro, cumin, coriander and the list goes on... sigh.

  46. Wow! I had never read this post before. Another thing we have in common: I'm allergic to exercise (cholinergic urticaria, but sometime its just plain old chronic urticaria). Never been associated with food that I am aware of (was put on a "knockout" diet and it didn't help) and started during a period of my life when I was eating meat plenty. So . . . . maybe its the coffee . . . and I'd rather die than give that up!

    1. Wow! I've never actually met anyone else who was allergic to exercise! I feel like less of a freak already! I've actually been working with my stepmom (she's an allergist) to try to come up with a better system, because 40 mile bike rides on an empty stomach were just not working for me! So we did a bunch of experiments and now I have a "bike breakfast" that I can safely have about 30 minutes before I ride. A skinless potato with 2 fried eggs with salt and olive oil. It's not gonna win any culinary awards, but at least I can ride without feeling like I'm gonna pass out. Of course, I still have to carry an epipen and take an antihistamine before I ride, but I can live with that.

      It's really interesting to me to see how my views on eating meat have changed. I mean, the main reason I was a vegetarian was for ethical reasons, but eating meat again just makes me feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. that at this point I usually have at least one serving of either fish or chicken per day, and I really feel it if I skip it. Perhaps my little brain is simply trying to justify it all to myself... Oh... the contradictions are swirling! :-)


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