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. why i don’t eat meat .

July 28, 2011

Hullo. My name is Amanda, and I don’t eat meat.

You can call me a vegetarian if you like, but I’d really prefer it if you just called me Amanda. I used to hate my name when I was younger, and always wished that I had a “cooler” name (I have no idea what that even means 😯), but I’ve kinda grown to like it over the past 26 years. Amanda. That’s me.

But I digress. And I don’t eat meat.

Why?

Well, there are a number of different reasons, really. I’d love to say that my decision to avoid eating animal flesh is 100% motivated by my disgust at the inhumane practices of the meat industry, and while that’s true to a certain extent, ethics aren’t the only factor behind my choice. After all, there are plenty of farms around here which I know are cruelty free, so what keeps me from picking up some chicken or beef at the local farmer’s market?

It simply doesn’t appeal to me, [and it kind of skeeves me out].

… like zucchinis. But, again, I digress.

[Salad beast. English muffin with avocado and ricotta & jam. Carrot sticks]

I’ve never been a big meat-eater. Never really craved it. I ate meat when I was teeny tiny, but only because it’s what my mom gave me. I ate meat when I got a little older, but again, only because it’s what my family was eating, and I didn’t know enough about vegetarianism back then to drastically change my diet.

But the older I got, the less meat I ate. In the two or three years prior to my adopting a vegetarian diet, I was only eating meat about twice a week – usually at times when I sat down with my family to a meal that my mom cooked. To this day, I’ve never actually prepared a meat-based meal on my own… I was actually always afraid that I wouldn’t cook it properly and give myself food poisoning 😯

But I digress. Again.

Baking: love the process, hate the clean up…

Β 

…Β but the product is more than worth it…

It pains me to say this, but my decision to completely eliminate meat from my diet came around the same time that my eating disorder began to surface. However, back then I didn’t just eliminate meat… I eliminated allΒ animal products and adopted a full vegan diet. Go big, or go home?

Something like that..

Anyways, veganism did notΒ work for me. I ended up becoming the unhealthiest that I’ve ever been, which obviously had more to do with my eating disorder than the diet itself, but I found myself missing, and craving, a lot of my favorite foods. Yogurt. Eggs. Cheese. Honey… Foods that I genuinely wanted, but wouldn’t “allow” myself to have.

[An afternoon oatmeal snack. Oat bran, flaxmeal, Greek yogurt, wild blueberries]

Still, I clung to veganism, even during the initial stages of my recovery. It became a way for me to hang on to my eating disorder while giving the outward appearance that I was trying to recover, as it allowed me to continue restricting in a more socially “acceptable” manner.

Sorry I can’t eat that; I’m vegan” was my excuse of choice.

But I knew that it wasn’t for me, and it was only a matter of time before I caved to my cravings. Yogurt came first. After spending countless amounts of time gazing longingly at the tempting tubs in the dairy section of my grocery store, I came home with a tub of my very own. And it. was. gooooood. I would only allow myself to have miniscule amounts of it at first, but I was definitely a fan.

[Deep Chocolate Vitamuffin. Greek yogurt. Caramel pudding]

Eggs came next. Err. Egg whitesΒ I should say. I still had an irrational fear of yolks at that point, but quickly developed a strong liking for the whites (yolks showed up later, too). Eventually, cheese started to sneak its way back in there as well. Cottage. Cream. Parm. Mozza. Feta. Any kind but blue…

I was never a fan of the “stanky feet” cheese…

[Pumpkin Hummus Tortilla Pizza]

But one thing that never seemed to find it’s way back into my diet? Meat. The cravings for it just never came. In the later stages of my recovery, I started getting a little concerned that the lack of meat in my diet was yet anotherΒ tricky form of restriction, so I stopped referring to myself as a vegetarian, and told myself that if there was a time where I was really craving some meat, I would be “allowed” to have it.

So far it hasn’t happened. Will it? Who knows. I’m extremely satisfied with the way that I eat now, and never find myself feeling wanting or deprived, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll always be this way. Tomorrow I might wake up craving bacon and eggs. Who knows. But judging from the way things have been for the past few years, it’s probably safe to say that tomorrow I’ll wake up craving oatmeal… like I always do.

[Eggy bananafied steel cut oats with blueberries, vanilla pudding, and coconut butter]

As a final note, please do notΒ take this as an attack on any specific diet/lifestyle. I have no problem with anyone’s dietary choices, as long as they’re eating what theyΒ want and what makes themΒ happy and healthy. Meat-eaters. Plant-eaters. You could eat bugs for all I care, and I would still invite you over for dinner. I can’t promise that I’d be serving crickets, but if you’d like to bring a plate of your own, then hey, that’s perfectly okay with me. Just don’t be offended when I politely decline one.

The only time I have a problem with the way someone eats is when their choices are influenced by disordered thoughts, or when they try to push their dietary beliefs onto others. So if you’re not a Food Nazi, or in denial about a disorder, then we’ll get along juuuuust fine πŸ˜€

. – . – . – .

Do you eat meat? If not, why not? Ethics? Health? Preference? Fear?

Would you eat it if you started craving it?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts πŸ˜€

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90 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 5:25 pm

    Love this post. Do what’s best for you! Own it πŸ™‚

    I now eat chicken, fish (mostly just seafood though), and turkey when it comes to meat. I source the meat (i.e. buy organic) when possible. I also eat eggs and some dairy.

  2. July 28, 2011 5:28 pm

    I like how you started this post- the shunning of the dietary labels that have become so customary in our society- I have a lot of friends who have gone vegan or raw and are always complaining about craving cheese or meat or whatnot and I’m just like, “if you want it so bad then eat it”
    That being said I do eat meat, a lot of it…during my eating disorder I had a time when I was vegetarian temporarily but it was mostly an excuse to restrict- the truth is I love meat, crave it, and eating it satiates me personally in a way that eating purely vegetarian 24/7 doesn’t, but I respect that we are all different and all have varying diets that work for us.
    I’m also very picky about the meat I eat despite it’s frequent prevalence in my diet- I only buy/eat grass-fed, local, hormone-free/antibiotic-free humanely raised meat–it’s shocking the conditions animals raised otherwise go through (not to mention the unnatural diets and conditions they put those poor animals on)

    • July 28, 2011 7:46 pm

      I think it’s great that you’re doing what works for you πŸ˜€ And it’s good to hear that you get your meat from good sources πŸ™‚

  3. July 28, 2011 5:28 pm

    I really like this post. Its honest and its real.

    I grew up in a red meat eating house. I ate it as a kid and liked it enough to keep eating it in adolescents, but as I have gotten older I just don’t really enjoy it. I hardly ever eat red meat anymore, but I do still eat poultry and fish. I love fish!

    I find it fascinating how taste buds change…I hope mine continue to change. Its kind of fun!

  4. July 28, 2011 5:29 pm

    When I was younger I wanted a cooler name too, there were a million Sarahs in my classes! I don’t eat meat, but it hasn’t been a long time. I never really craved it, but my parents thought that if I didn’t eat it I was restricting so I ate a bit when they were around to make them happy. When I started eating what I want, rather than what they want I stopped eating meat because honestly it errks me out. I don’t like chewing on a chicken breast. Every once in a blue moon I crave fish, but that is still very rare! πŸ™‚

  5. July 28, 2011 5:33 pm

    I don’t really crave meat so much; if I do, I’m usually craving for some fish, like tuna (it was the tuna mayo that made me quit vegetarianism). Then I just started to meat regularly again, but mostly because of the protein, not because I really ‘wanted’ it. Lately I haven’t been eating a lot of meat, but if I crave it, I have no problem of getting myself a “legit” burger or steak, or asking my mom to cook me some Korean meat dish.

    More and more, I’m starting to believe that our body knows what it wants. For example, when I was having my growth-spurt, I was eating meat or seafood at every meal. But my mom told me that before (and now currently) I didn’t like meat that much at all. I really think every individual is unique.

    The comment is long, but last: I’m constantly in dillemma if humans really need meat or not. Learning about our body in my Biology system, and reading all these other articles on the web leave me confused. My conclusion is that humans are fine as long as we get what we need.

    • July 28, 2011 7:51 pm

      I’m a big time believer that our bodies will tell us what they need, as long as we’re willing to listen. That’s why I always do my best to listen to my cravings πŸ˜€

  6. Katherine permalink
    July 28, 2011 5:34 pm

    I added Greek yogurt back into my diet because I was craving it. If I wanted cheese or eggs, I would add them. I am not scared of adding food back into my diet. I will never define myself by my diet again. I am Katherine.
    When I went vegetarian, I was sorta already going without meat. I just didn’t realize it. I didn’t crave the meat. Then I just made it final, vegetarianism. If I wanted to go back I will, but I never crave it, and the idea,…it just doesn’t sit well with me.

  7. July 28, 2011 5:34 pm

    I’m all about everyone eating what’s best for them. I don’t eat meat for my reasons. But- I always get those “do you care if I eat meat?” questions, or people fearing that I’ll try to “convert” them, or something of the sort. I’m not that way at ALL! Each person is different, each person should eat what they want, and I’m completely okay with someone consuming / preparing / etc. meat around me. It skeeves me, sure- but that’s because I wouldn’t want to eat it, not because they’re eating it. Heck- I’ll even prepare meat for my parents to help around the house from time to time. I just don’t want to eat it.

    I don’t eat meat for reasons mostly related to preference and spirituality. I haven’t craved it yet, but I doubt I’d eat it due to my beliefs. It’s just not for me, and I don’t see it fitting into my balance any time soon!

    I’d love to stay and chat, but I’ve got some eggy banana oats to make…

    πŸ˜‰

    Love you, girl!

  8. 2tightlywound permalink
    July 28, 2011 5:38 pm

    So much of this post resonates with me–thanks for putting my thoughts so eloquently into words πŸ™‚
    I don’t like the label of being vegetarian. It sets up a type of competition in my mind, like I have to be the “best” and most hard core vegetarian (which, not coincidentally, was my approach to ED).
    That being said, I don’t eat meat, except for seafood (to live by the bay and not eat seafood is a crime). I started cutting out meat because of my ED, though I was never a red meat fan. And the more I learned about where my meat was coming from, the more it grossed me out. I don’t miss it, not when they are so many delicious meat-free options out there.

  9. July 28, 2011 5:44 pm

    I do eat meat and enjoy it as well! My family tries to have at least 2 days of no-meat dinners every week though, that means eggs, beans, etc. Red meat is a once-in awhile thing for us. I love my dairy too! I could never give that up πŸ™‚

  10. July 28, 2011 5:46 pm

    “and never find myself feeling wanting or deprived” YES oh my gosh. I needed to read these words. People keep asking me why I haven’t been eating meat or trying new things lately and it’s just because I don’t find myself wanting that. I want something else. I don’t feel deprived in anyway with what I’ve been eating I’ve been so much happier!

    I haven’t cut meat out because I still crave the occasional grilled chicken or turkey breast but over the past 3 months I’ve cut back on my meat intake. I haven’t been craving it like I used to! Now all i want is cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, dairy in general.. and I could never give up seafood. I love love love it.

    One day recently Kyle had a piece of pork and I wanted to try it to see if I liked it or if I had been depriving myself of it so I asked for a piece. Turns out I’m not! so yes I would probably give into a craving if I had one

  11. July 28, 2011 5:49 pm

    I love your healthy attitude towards food and totally agree that each person should do ehat right for them! I do not eat meat -i haven’t since i was a child – i never really enjoyed it. I do however eat fish regularly. I too definately cut out certain foods when i was suffering from my eati g disorder but realuzed how many wonderful things i was missing and gradually have reintroduced them and am so much happier. I dom’t think ill ever eat meat again but i love your outlook on food – to each their own!
    – oh and by the way i think Amanda is a “cool” name! πŸ™‚

  12. July 28, 2011 5:49 pm

    Hello Amanda!

    I love your name, I always didn’t like mine, especially because it is really just Katie not Katherine, and I always felt shorted ; ) haha!

    I do eat chicken, but as far as red meat, I have not ate in 10 years, yup, just didn’t like it anymore and stopped eating it, and nope , never crave it at all or want it, if I did , then I would have it, I always listen to my body ; ) Im not a red meat girl !

    I hope you have a wonderful night love xoxo ❀

    • July 28, 2011 7:57 pm

      Awwr girl you shouldn’t feel shorted at all! I think you’ve got an awesome name, and honestly I couldn’t see you as a Katherine… Katie suits you well πŸ˜€

  13. July 28, 2011 5:57 pm

    I don’t eat meat. Like you, I’ve never been a big meat eater. I just ate it because it’s what my family was eating and making. Sure, bacon and turkey taste good, but I’ve lost all desire to eat those foods because I do care a lot about animals and even the free-range, cruelty-free, organic animals had to die. Also, I’m reading this great book, The China Study, which really has encouraged me to eat a plant based diet.

  14. sarah permalink
    July 28, 2011 6:05 pm

    Zomg, I made those (amaaaaaazing)muffins of yours again today!- great minds eh?
    I eat chicken(rarely) & fish. I was veggie for like 13 years but due to hardly liking any dairy at the time felt I wasn’t getting enough protein, so I added some meat back. Everyone always goes on about the benefits of eating fish- and I find certain varieties, mostly salmon & tuna, pretty delish, so for me I think it was worthwhile.
    Zuchinni gives me the heebeejeebees too, but my generous auntie gave me a few from her garden. I couldn’t let them go to waste- so I did what works with most situations in life- added chocolate. I made chocolate zuchinni muffins , and they turned out good, really good!
    Gooooorgeouus pictures!
    Xxx

  15. July 28, 2011 6:06 pm

    I think that’s a healthy way of looking at what you eat. If you crave it, eat it.

    All through college I was vegan, and as time went on, I felt really unhealthy. Sluggish, got sick a lot. It wasn’t for me.

    I quickly added eggs and dairy back into my life, and in recent years, when I crave it [or when I’m traveling and have trouble finding vegetarian foods], I eat fish.

    Why do I not really meat? It’s partly for environmental reasons, partly for ethics [I hate the thought of so many animals getting killed and exploited just for human consumption], and partly for health. My reasons are always changing.

  16. July 28, 2011 6:07 pm

    Of course I love this post πŸ™‚ Label-free!! I was really picky about meat as a kid – I liked bacon, chicken and turkey in the bird-form and that was about it – and as I grew up and fed myself it’d be pretty much chicken or no meat, and I would never make it for myself. Unless it was frozen, pre-cooked chicken tenders.
    I guess I just sort of phased out of it, really. I think I became more opposed to it, ethically, after I stopped eating it! Just the whole idea of it turned me off as I learned more. I won’t lie – there has been a time or two where I smell something my mom’s cooking with meat and think I might want it…but then the second I actually think about eating it myself, I get so skeeved out.

    That said, watching people eat it, smelling it, etc. really doesn’t bother me at all. Well, unless it’s raw. I can’t deal with raw meat without my face scrunching up without my even knowing it, ahah…But who knows?Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow wanting a good old fashioned hamburger!

    • July 28, 2011 8:02 pm

      Eee raw meat skeeves me out as well. And can you believe that I’ve never had a real hamburger? Not even back in the day… I was more of a chicken/turkey kind of girl…

  17. July 28, 2011 6:08 pm

    Great post – I really loved hearing about your relationship with food – through veganism and then vegetarianism — or.. just a person who doesn’t like meat.

    I don’t eat red meats. I eat chicken and turkey. I like the taste of those. Red meat – however.. I do not like. I never have. When I did eat it as a child.. I would saturate steaks with A1 – and drown my burgers in ketchup. Clearly I needed to mask that taste to get it down. I was eating it because it was what was given to me. Now that I do my own thing.. I never eat it. Never crave it. If one day I really wanted a hamburger.. or a steak.. I’d eat it. But since i have such a strong distaste for it.. I don’t see it happening.

  18. July 28, 2011 6:09 pm

    I’ve been both a vegan and a vegetarian in my life, for ethical as well as health-related reasons. Right now, I am neither, but I seldom eat meat. Like you, I just don’t enjoy it very much. Very rarely do I actually crave it. Once in a while a turkey sandwich sounds good, or a nice piece of fish. Sometimes I want a burger. But I almost always prefer tofu, tempeh, and other plant-based proteins. They just appeal to me so much more, and I honestly think they taste better. Even as a kid, I never ate a lot of meat. I ate it when it was served to me, but never had much of an interest in it. Cheese, on the other hand…that’s another story! πŸ˜‰

  19. July 28, 2011 6:16 pm

    Nice to meet you Amanda πŸ™‚ My name first name is Deborah, but you can call me Maxwell.

    You could also call me a vegetarian, but I prefer you didn’t. I don’t eat meat because I don’t like it. But I am not controlled by the restrictions placed on the label “vegetarian”, so I don’t like being defined by it. If my body craved fish, I would eat fish. If my body craved chicken, I would eat chicken. But it doesn’t.
    It is true that I don’t like the thought of eating animals or supporting the animal industry, but if my body wanted some meat, that wouldn’t stop me from eating some.

    So I when people ask, “why don’t you eat meat?” after scanning my plate, I say, ” I just don’t like meat that much.” then smile and move on πŸ™‚

  20. July 28, 2011 6:17 pm

    Ahh thank you so much for sharing your story! Meat never really appealed to me either, but I became a vegan because of animal cruelty. I was also a go big or go home! Haha, but thats just because I didn’t eat dairy anyway (lactose intolerant..). I think that if I wasn’t lactose intolerant, I would definitely have a harder time turning down dairy like greek yogurt. Everyone blogs about how awesome it is, so it makes me curious haha! But yeah, I’m really happy that you listened to your cravings and started eating dairy/eggs πŸ™‚ Go meat-free eaters tho!!!

  21. Alexandra permalink
    July 28, 2011 6:28 pm

    Amanda, I adore your attitude toward life, it’s always so positive and filled with love! Way to embrace your cravings and character!!
    I’ve always been a carnivore, eating my body weight in chicken ever since I was a tike haha πŸ˜‰ There is an exception though…beef and pork–I never took any liking towards ’em. I get oober queasy from the beef and pork just tastes gnarly to me, so I never really eat them. Chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs? That’s another story haha πŸ˜‰ And my dairy, don’t get me started on my beloved dairy πŸ˜›

  22. July 28, 2011 6:45 pm

    I totally respect your choice not to eat meat. I also became a vegetarian as I “recovered” from my ED, only to find out it was yet another form of restriction. Honestly, I’ve always liked meat, so I believe that it’s physically and emotionally healthy for me to have it. But if you’ve never liked meat, then it might be healthier for you NOT to have it. You know what I mean?

  23. July 28, 2011 6:50 pm

    Awesome post! I’m glad that you are now eating and not eating certain things because it’s what you want and what your body wants. I do eat meat, pretty much every day. I love it! Fish is one of my favs. I’m not a huge red meat eater….I only have that like once a month. I also love that you aren’t calling yourself vegetarian because you want to make sure that you aren’t limiting yourself because of your ED past. I think that is an awesome insight to have!

  24. July 28, 2011 6:52 pm

    VERY good post girl. I love hearing all this about you, its totally like were good friends and your letting me into another part of your life πŸ™‚ I do eat meat, but not very much. I could really go without it, but I do sometimes crave bbq chicken. I could totally go without meat if I could just have eggs everyday πŸ™‚

  25. Stephanie permalink
    July 28, 2011 6:53 pm

    I was vegetarian during my ED because I didn’t crave/like meat at that time. Then when I started recovery, I started craving meat like crazy! I guess I was very malnourished, lacked so much in iron, B vitamins and such. So after eating loads of meat when I was gain, my craving diminished and I rarely eat it now

  26. July 28, 2011 6:54 pm

    I eat meat — but I don’t have as much of it as I used to — but then again, I used to buy whatever was on sale at the store. Now I order meat from a farm — I know where it is coming from and I can honestly taste the difference in quality. But I love meat — I grew up eating meat (my dad likes to hunt and fish) and I really have no intention of stopping.

    I love that you do what works for you and I agree with the “eat how you like as long as it isn’t triggered by disordered thoughts”.

  27. July 28, 2011 6:55 pm

    ahhh me too! I always wanted a cooler name. Now I wouldn’t change it for the world =)

    I flirted with veganism too but i just cant do it! I la la love yogurt and cheese too much! and eggs are fun =) I need quiches in my life!

  28. July 28, 2011 7:02 pm

    I don’t eat meat simply because of ethics. There isn’t any eating disorder thoughts behind it. I use to eat meat like crazy. I was a huge meat eater actually, but one time my godmother order me like a 16oz steak and just turned me off completely. I also lived next to cows for a long time and I loved them so much that I never wanted to eat one again.

  29. July 28, 2011 7:05 pm

    Your food pictures seriously make me hungry, even though I just ate dinner.
    I tried vegetarianism for like a good 5 days and just couldn’t do it. I don’t eat meat super often, but life without a turkey sandwich here and there just wasn’t making the cut. I think it’s so awesome that you love the food you eat and you have legit reasons as to why you’re vegetarian. I really didn’t have any reasons-no ethical, moral or health issues-so I couldn’t justify why I turned vegetarian. Soooo I went back.
    And love how you made a distinction between deprivation due to disordered thoughts and just simply not wanting a food-so important!

  30. July 28, 2011 7:13 pm

    I think it is all a matter of choice. If you don’t like meat, then don’t eat it. You can get your protein and micro elements from somewhere else.

    I eat meat. Of course, I eat it much less often than my mother used to cook it at home and I don’t eat certain types of meat because I find them disgusting but yes, I do eat meat when I crave it. And I even don’t mind cooking it. But if I had to kill an animal myself to eat it, I would definitely become a vegetarian and stick to eggs and dairy.

    And, really, what’s not cool about being called Amanda? It sounds pretty cool to me πŸ™‚ .

  31. July 28, 2011 7:31 pm

    I became a veg when my eating disorder started, too, and stayed that way for almost ten years. I started eating white meat last summer but usually only when I go out — I’m just like you, TERRIFIED I will undercook it and get food poisoning! haha

  32. Kaila @ healthyhelperblog! permalink
    July 28, 2011 7:53 pm

    I am not a big fan of meat either. It just doesn’t really appeal to me and I am not a fan of food industry practices either.

    Those muffins look fabulous btw!

  33. July 28, 2011 8:05 pm

    I really don’t eat meat either but I don’t call myself a vegetarian. I eat a lot of fish and eggs but I also don’t call myself a pescatarian, or lacto-ovo pescatarian, or whatever. My ED definitely had a lot to do with not eating meat, and I did eat more of it when I was gaining. But now – honestly – meat just kind of creeps me out. A lot.

  34. July 28, 2011 8:18 pm

    I stopped eating meat when I was in 6th grade.
    When I was in my late 20s and deep in anorexia I was encouraged to eat meat (meat vs daily EKGs? ummm..ok…) and so I ate some chicken…a little turkey…I was amazed at how great they made me feel…
    BUT…I was starving back then. Literally. My body would have loved anything.
    I ate some turkey a few times a year for a few years.
    I also during that time met seafood. Um…I don’t think I will ever go back. SO GOOD!!!!
    PLUS..it feels natural. No womb…I could probably kill one. Could I kill a chicken or cow? No.

    Still…every so often I get so depleted that I find myself craving PROTEIN and man…some turkey never looked so good. I always joke…I was sick but I had some carcass. Totally fine.
    It bothers me a little but until I get to that place where I can eat properly it is really alarming that my body will drive me to eat a carcass. I am just. that. hungry.

    I think you can do a veggie/vegan diet but you have to do it properly. You seem to do that. Love it!

    • July 29, 2011 8:22 am

      You should definitely give your body meat if that’s what it’s calling out for, without letting it bother you too much… especially if it makes you feel that much better. Health and healing are the most important things… you can sort through all the other stuff when you have that under control.

  35. July 28, 2011 8:33 pm

    I’ve recently stopped eating most meat, mostly for quality reasons. I will only eat cruelty free organic meat, and being at school, that is not readily available – but even when I got home and it was available, I found myself not wanting it. At all. Even when my family would cook red meat, I’d eat a little and feel slightly ill – just because I had not had any in so long.

    And I’m totally okay with it! I eat chicken and turkey now and then, and not a ton of dairy, but I’ve seriously let up with the restrictions. I’m thinking of calling myself a ‘qualitarian’! haha.

  36. July 28, 2011 8:34 pm

    Right now, I’d say I’m probably 80% vegetarian. I honestly do prefer eating a plant-based diet, meat doesn’t really appeal to me either and eating vegetarian just makes me feel healthier. But since I live with my parents when I’m not at school, I have to abide by their rules of eating meat at dinner if it’s served. They are still worried about me with my ED past, so I can understand that, but I don’t voluntarily eat meat if I don’t have to. I do refuse to eat any red meat or pork, but I will have chicken and fish if that’s what’s for dinner. I do actually like seafood and fish if it’s grilled, but I think I could live without it. However, I’ve also never liked eggs and now I don’t really like much dairy, especially cheese, so I’m also kinda vegan but I don’t think I could ever give up my beloved Greek yogurt πŸ˜‰

  37. July 28, 2011 8:35 pm

    Wow, thanks for that refreshing post! Maybe soon – I too can discuss my journey – for now though, I can say although we have never met – I consider you a friend…thanks for this post… Xoxo

  38. July 28, 2011 8:44 pm

    I admire you for coming into the blog world never labeling yourself as a vegetarian. Just amanda!
    I stung to veganism when I began my recovery from my eating disorder. I guess because my doctor insisted my mom cook for me, which I refused because I was vegan. (control issues) I also wanted the label. “no I can’t go eat out with you because I’m vegan and that have anything for me”. To be honest though, I did stop craving animal products until I reached a healthy weight and started running, then they came at me!
    That’s when, as you know, I started eating eggs and cheese again because I craved them.
    So yes I feel as though I could eat meat if I craved it although I can’t say I’ve ever really desired it (even if it did I would have no idea how to prepare it! :O )
    I did have a craving for seafood recently and I feel like if the craving came back I would go out and get me some.

    I always buy organic eggs/dairy and local when possible, with the exception of when I’m eating out. personally many people will argue that is not really humane but In my opinion it is a BETTER option than factory farming which I think makes a difference.

  39. July 28, 2011 8:50 pm

    Well written post! I do’nt eat meat either – and to be honeset, I’m kind of the same as you – I never really liked it but just ate it because “that’s what was being served”!

  40. July 28, 2011 9:18 pm

    I like meat ok, I can live without them, but I eat meat. I occasionally crave bacon or burgers or hotdogs. I really like your attitude about it. The problem with eliminating a certain food, esp when you have a history with an ED, is a rocky, risky business, but the fact that you don’t label yourself, and you’re open to maybe introducing it to your diet one day, proves that this is just a natural step for you. Nobody should be forced to eat something they truly don’t want just to “prove” something.

    • July 29, 2011 9:47 am

      Agreed! I tried eating a lot more junk food just to prove to people that my desire to eat healthy wasn’t a result of my ED, and it made me absolutely miserable. I eat to satisfy cravings… not to prove points.

  41. July 28, 2011 10:04 pm

    I rarely crave meat, but when I do i alow myself to have it. I only ever want fish or turkey though. I never liked red meat, and havent had it in years.
    I know I’m most likely never to become vegan. Most of my protein comes from dairy sources.
    Everyones gotta find the right balance that works for them, and looks like you have. πŸ™‚

  42. July 28, 2011 10:17 pm

    I have been waiting for this post- thank you so much for sharing πŸ™‚
    I became vegetarian when I was 12, and thta was only because I felt sorry for the animals- no ED involved. But a couple of years later, my ED kicked in. When I was 18 I decided to go vegan. I know part of the reason was that it made it easier to restrict. But there was aslo a genuint wish to do what I feel is right.
    I have been thinking a lot about going back to “only” being vegetarian, bacause I can surely miss cheese. But it just feels wrong, to ME! I dont know what the future will bring, but for now I rather work out my other food issues πŸ™‚
    I have respect for whatever people mey chose to eat! But I do wish many more would think more of where their foods comes from, and at least cut down on meat eating- simply because the earth cant handle it πŸ™‚

  43. July 28, 2011 10:17 pm

    My ED, too, surfaced shortly after my bold announcement to my family that “I am now a vegetarian”. When it became ovbious that I was having eating difficulties, it was only natural to assume that my avoidance of meat was part of it. But here I am, several years later, still a vegetarian and proud of it! Occasionally I have eaten meat though, I am more relaxed about it, but I agree with you – sometimes it just doesn’t appeal.

  44. July 28, 2011 11:55 pm

    I haven’t ate meat for so long now. I just don’t crave it and didn’t enjoy it the last time I ate it. I finally said out loud that I don’t eat meat a few weeks ago and feel so much better. I still eat fish now and then though. Great post as always!!! πŸ™‚

  45. buttonss - Cherie permalink
    July 28, 2011 11:57 pm

    I stopped eating meat because firstly, i never really liked the taste of red meat, so I mainly ate chicken, then over time, I lost the like for the taste, and the thought of eating meat all together made me feel a little sick. Same thing happened with animal products, I started learning more about animal treatment and I spose I just realised it is possible to live without animal derived products, so I decided to follow that road.
    I do not and will no however, push my beliefs onto others because I believe people can eat what they want.

  46. July 29, 2011 12:01 am

    Beautiful thoughts Amanda, and very well said. When I switched to a plant-based diet my friends and family questioned me at first (due to my past of disordered eating) but it took a lot of education and dedication to show them that was far from the case. It’s refreshing to finally have freedom with food without restriction and still be able to feel great about myself. My vegan diet started for health reasons and progressed for ethical ones. I am glad you have an understanding and assurance in yourself, because that is the most important πŸ™‚

  47. Lilly permalink
    July 29, 2011 12:06 am

    I don’t label myself either! I grew up not eating meat, and not a lot of dairy either. Honestly I ever crave meat, I don’t like the taste and never have, and have only eaten it a hand full of times growing up when that was what was served at a friends house for dinner, or something of that sort. If one day I start to crave it or want it, I would probably find an organic cruelty free source, but the thought of eating flesh or animal just grosses me out. Plus, I love animals and really don’t think I really will ever want to eat them, but if I do someday then I guess I wouldn’t deny myself of that. I have no problem if others want to eat it, but it just isn’t for me.

  48. July 29, 2011 1:41 am

    I like your attitude here! I’m actually the opposite – going vegan has helped me overcome my eating disorder. But going vegan in recovery forced me to give up “safe” foods that I’d relied on in my disorder – nonfat cottege cheese, egg whites, etc.

    I call myself an “ethical vegan” and I’ll eat eggs (yolk is the best part!) or dairy if I’ve literally been to the farm and seen that the animal is in good hands (I work on a farm and live near more, so this is pretty easy)… if I did crave meat, I would acquire some the same way, but I was raised vegetarian, so I don’t even know what a burger tastes like, and it’s hard to crave what you’ve never tasted. That being said, I can’t stand the holier-than-thou attitude that many vegans seem to have… I don’t think I’m “superior”, I just follow my own ethical beliefs, and if my style doesn’t work for someone else, that’s fine.

  49. Sarina permalink
    July 29, 2011 2:14 am

    Love the disuse of labels. I don’t like to refer to myself as a vegetarian even though I too gave up meat during my ED and have yet to reintroduce it. I usually just say ‘I don’t really eat meat; I’m just not inclined to those foods’ – I guess technically I am but (without sounding awful) I’m not going to pretend it’s for moral and ethical reasons. It’s not really. I just always prefer vegetarian/dairy proteins over chicken or beef.
    If the circumstance presents itself and I am not adverse to eating it – i.e. being served a piece of turkey at Christmas dinner – I’ll have it. (And it was actually really nice but I didn’t feel the desire to introduce it regularly into my diet). Food-wise, I like no labels. I tend to not eat meat, but I don’t want to classify myself as a vegetarian. I like to eat fresh, natural produce as much as possible but I am not a raw diet convert. I love trying out vegan recipes and ideas but I would probably be eating them alongside a bowl of yogurt.
    I think… follow cravings and bodily needs, not guidelines and labels.
    (On this note, does anyone suffer from anemia from lack of meat? I try and get as much iron as possible from legumes and veggies but it’s still lower and lesser-absorbed than meat sources…)

  50. Karine permalink
    July 29, 2011 2:21 am

    Love this article!

  51. July 29, 2011 2:40 am

    Really interesting post and great to hear about your journey. I became vegetarian last November and ‘mostly’ vegan this January. I really hate labels though! I much prefer to say ‘I eat what makes me feel my best’ I may be mostly vegan right now but if the need for diary or eggs ever surfaced I would have no problem eating them again, its just that up until now I haven’t had any cravings for that stuff at all and I really love what I’m eating! I decided to go veggie for a combination of the health and ethical reasons, I was never a huge meat lover and over time I had found that veggie options appealed to me much more. Once I had read a bit about the ethical stuff that sealed the deal so to speak! I certainly don’t judge others on what they eat, I really do believe that everyone’s body is different and that people should do what’s best for them πŸ™‚

  52. July 29, 2011 2:52 am

    Those are exactly the reasons why veganism wouldn’t work with me: cheese, eggs, yogurt! I am not a vegetarian but do gravitate more towards vegetarian foods! On the days where I do crave meat, I roll with it- life’s too short to deprive my cravings.

  53. July 29, 2011 3:02 am

    I love you attitude, Amanda! I like that I don’t think of you as a vegetarian, like you said, because you never push your beliefs on your readers. I actually stopped reading a few blogs, because the bloggers kept promoting veganism and were trying to make readers feel guilty for consuming meat and diary.
    I actually was somewhat of a vegetarian a few years back. For Lent I decided to give up meat and after the Lent ended, I didn’t go back to eating meat. Then I moved into a dorm and chose a vegetarian menu in the dorm restaurant, so for years I only ate meat for weekends when I was home (if I ate it at all). I had never been a big fan of meat and I’m a huge animal lover, so it made sense for me to eat vegetarian. However, during the past year I’ve started to really love meat. It might something to do with wanting to consume more protein, but I also crave it now. Sometimes I wonder if I should feel bad for eating meat being such a huge animal lover? I try not to think about it, to be honest. There are many types of meat that I don’t eat, though, and a lot of it is bought from people we know.

  54. ittybitsofbalance permalink
    July 29, 2011 4:00 am

    I have a very similar situation– I ate red meat up until 4th grade until I decided that it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t eat it at all for about a year, and then when I tried it again my body said “no bueno”

    Now I do eat chicken and turkey (white meats)– but red meat is just not my thing, and I’m 100% okay with that πŸ˜€

  55. July 29, 2011 4:06 am

    Ahhh love love this post as always girly! I find myself getting quite frustrated sometimes when I see bloggers trying to be a certain ‘label’ like vegan to ‘fit in’ or just to feel like they have a label for their diet when they have no real reason to. They talk of craving chicken, eggs, cheese etc and I just feel like saying to them, ‘well for god’s sake have some then!’ because they are only making themselves miserable!
    As for myself, I eat mostly vegan because I simply do not ever crave meat. As a kid I only ate chicken and actually became scared of red meat after one time my mum tried me with pork and I choked on it. From then on I refused to eat red meat and only ate chicken because I was given it. As I got older I naturally moved towards being a vegetarian but what’s funny is that when my eating disorder kicked in and I was an inpatient. I actually chose meat options when it was chicken on the menus sometimes because I was more scared of the vegetarian option which normally involved cheese which was a HUGE fear food because of the fat. I absolutely hated eating the meat but my ED was so strong that it wouldn’t let me eat what I would normally go with. Sad sad times..
    Now I eat mostly vegan just because that’s the food that I crave now and meat does not even cross my mind ever, I’ve always hated eggs and I don’t particularly care for cheese anymore. Also, when I go to the market and I see all the raw meat..it totally freaks me out..However I love greek yogurt and make sure I have it everyday to boost my calcium because I have osteoporosis so I will not label myself as vegan. I eat what works for me and I like it πŸ™‚

  56. July 29, 2011 4:40 am

    i was a vegetarian for a while and now i eat lean meats (like turkey and grilled chicken)..you need to just do what’s best for you without caring what anyone else is doing πŸ™‚ you seem to be doing great!!

  57. July 29, 2011 6:09 am

    Awesome post! I love that you just eat what you crave instead of trying to adhere to a label. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of going vegetarian/vegan just because it’s so popular in the blog world. But I’m a meat-eater and that’s just who I am.

    I eat meat because I like the taste of it. I tried going vegetarian when I was 13 and I lasted about 2 months before I gave in haha! πŸ˜› Usually when I’m living on my own, I only eat meat 1-2x per week because I actually prefer tofu/tempeh/beans. But I’ve been eating it a lot more now that I’m at home for the summer because my parents eat it almost every day.

  58. July 29, 2011 6:39 am

    When I went vegetarian, it was a way for me to restrict. I was in the depths of my eating disorder. A year later, I became vegan..and it actually brought me OUT of my eating disorder. I started to heal because a fellow vegan friend showed me that I needed to be feeding myself better. I strayed away from veganism when I started to crave cottage cheese about 8 months after being a strict vegan. Now, dairy upsets me and I am kinda getting back to my vegan ways. I don’t eat meat much, but will on occasion if I am craving it. I eat eggs because I LOVE them. I am like you, I don’t have a label. I am just Kate. πŸ™‚

  59. July 29, 2011 7:04 am

    I do eat meat. But on a limited basis. I could go without it, easily. In fact, I did go without it for 40 days during lent. With so many good meatless alternatives, I think it makes it pretty easy!

  60. July 29, 2011 7:58 am

    I don’t eat meat… just because it really grosses me out to be eating something that was once as alive as I am. Especially if it looks like it!! If I were to ever eat meat or poultry again, it would definitely have to be ground… because eating a hunk of flesh that looks like a hunk of flesh? UGH. *shudder* Not happening.

    I don’t call myself anything, in terms of “labels”… I have no issues with eating eggs or dairy, except that I don’t particularly like the taste of them! But if it’s in something else and I can’t taste it, I’ll eat it.

    ❀ ❀

  61. July 29, 2011 9:07 am

    Great post per usual, truly got me thinking! When the worst of my disordered eating was going on, I became a vegetarian out of fear… fear of meats because I was quite sure they would make me fat. It didn’t matter what kind of meat it was- even lean proteins such as chicken, fish and pork… protein= weight gain. I also used it as an excuse to eat so much differently than my family and friends while at school. I would be asked why I was not having the steak, chicken, etc, and I would respond with a simple, “oh i am a vegetarian.” Recently though, I have been introducing meat back into my life!
    Fish (obviously) a bit of chicken, hopefully pork soon… but i really don’t think I will eat things like steak. I never cared for it anyway

  62. July 29, 2011 9:18 am

    I do eat meat, but not often and I certainly don’t cook it myself. The reason I don’t eat it much is because I don’t crave it either. I was just having this convo with my mom, actually. She told me she didn’t know how I could not eat meat because she craves it and I explained that that’s exactly now I can not eat it, because I DON’T crave it!

  63. July 29, 2011 9:30 am

    I think it’s a case of you “crave what you eat”, as in, you tend to favour foods that you normally eat. You know how sugar addicts no longer crave sugar when they stop eating sugary stuff? I think meat is also like that. A long time ago, I used to eat korean bbq all the time, and when I immigrated to Canada I stopped. Now, I don’t even crave beef anymore, because I haven’t eaten it in so long.

    Also, I think it may have a little to do with the fact that most food bloggers around here don’t eat meat (not that it’s a bad thing whatsoever). For some reason, I always crave the foods shown in foodie blogs (maybe it’s the photography perhaps? :P) and since most don’t have any meat products, I generally just feel like eating the usual blog-type foods: cereal, oatmeal, greek yogurt, etc.

  64. July 29, 2011 10:09 am

    I’ve never liked my name either! When I was little I would sit and think of different names I’d like better than mine and how when I grew up I’d change it πŸ˜€ Anyway I’ve never liked the taste of meat. I ate it because that’s what my mum cooked. I remember I tried picking everything else out and just leaving in the plate haha. Later I found out I had an intolerance/sensitivity to dairy, so I stopped eating that. A month or so after I decided I would go vegan because I think it fit me best :] So far I’ve never craved cheese, eggs (never liked them anyway), or anything like that. I actually started eating yogurt (soy) when I went vegan because I always thought regular one was just kind of weird. I’ve found what works best for me so far. I feel great with my choices but I definitely agree that everyone has to choose for themselves. Not everything works for everyone. I would never push my beliefs upon anybody (I know how annoying it is haha) and I’m not a fan of labels.

  65. July 29, 2011 10:25 am

    What a fabulous post! I think it’s wonderful to support everyone’s diet. I told myself that I was going vegetarian but I honestly didn’t have an answer as to why I was doing it…So I just didn’t. I like eating chicken, fish, and the occasional meat so why would I limit myself? Didn’t make any sense to me. It does bug me when others judge what I eat which is why I don’t judge others πŸ™‚

  66. July 29, 2011 10:29 am

    First off, love your story and your openness about how it unfolded and then turned back around! I am also a vegetarian with a similar story in that I was never a big fan of meat in the first place so giving it up wasn’t hard. However, the more I find out about the mistreatment of those animals, the more I will stick to my guns for the long run! I don’t miss it except for the occasional Panda Express Orange Chicken…yes, that is what I miss. Don’t judge πŸ™‚

    I’ve tried to limit my dairy too, but I find it hard since I LOVE cheese and eggs are a good, quick and easy source of protein for us vegheads.

  67. July 29, 2011 11:43 am

    I’m definitely a meat eater, but I try to limit it for ethical reasons. I wish the meat industry would clean up their act. I try to eat organic animal products when they’re available… and when I can afford it.

  68. beckafly permalink
    July 29, 2011 12:51 pm

    I don’t eat meat mainly for ethical reasons. We raise chickens and they’re treated well, but I can’t bring myself to eat the chicken I hugged or their eggs. I don’t trust the meat industry, so I just don’t eat it. I loved it when I was little, but now I’d rather have other things instead and I feel better not eating it. If I were to get a craving I might eat fish/seafood since I still love it (ok, so I’m a cheating Vegan).

  69. July 29, 2011 1:12 pm

    We’re so alike in so many ways thats its starting to get kinda scary. This is exactly how a feel about meat! It just holds no appeal to me… its just… meat. Even when its really good meat, its still just meat. I don’t crave it, but I don’t dislike it. I just don’t like it, if that makes sense? There’s just so much more tastier things to eat that still provide me with more than enough protein. I would much rather top my salad with some delicious feta than chopped chicken. Dairy and eggs are awesome.

    There have been a handful of instances where all of a sudden I get a completely random and intense craving for plain baked chicken breast. I’ve stood in front of the fridge with an open tupperware container in one hand and shoveling pieces of chicken into my mouth with the other. But that was when I was hard-core restricting and my body was probably just desperate for food.

    The only meat I really enjoy is some kinds of seafood (salmon, scallops, and shrimp) and roasted Thanksgiving Day turkey. I happily eat them when I get the chance. πŸ™‚

  70. July 29, 2011 1:24 pm

    I used to hate my name too!!!! Funny enough I wished it was Amanda!!! I eat meat, but not super often because it’s relatively expensive. I’ve always loved chicken, but steak not so much because it’s a chore to chew it up!

  71. July 29, 2011 1:30 pm

    i was vegetarian for 15 yeas… since i was ten! about 3 years ago i got really sick i had almost NO iron. I was a healthy vegetarian… i’ve been eating clean for years, lots of good protein combos, brown rice and legumes etc. it was so weird and out of the blue. so i started eating meat and just couldn;t accept the fact that i was now a meat-eater… eeek. so i went back to being veggie… then i started feeling horrible again! so now i’m eating meat. much to my dismay. but i need to listen to my body. and i love animals 😦 and hate the meat industry

  72. July 29, 2011 2:08 pm

    I don’t eat meat. Veganism for me coincided with the onslaught of my Eating Disorder, I’m afraid to say. It was an attempt to lose weight and be ‘healthy’. I started introducing dairy products to my diet six months later, because I’d lost sight of my arguments against factory farming.

    Now I am still a vegetarian, for health reasons, ethical reasons, and honestly… meat just doesn’t particularly appeal to me. As many people have already said, I ate meat because my parents fed it to me and I didn’t think twice about it. Even before my veganism or ED, I found myself really disliking lamb, pork, and steak, and asking my dad to cook fish more often.

    I admit there are days when someone is having a barbecue, or my dad is cooking salmon that I think “Wow, that smells delicious.” I actually kind of crave the meat. But I would never actually eat it. I would feel guilt ridden and, I hate to say it, “dirty.” I cannot foresee a day when I will comfortably eat meat again.

  73. July 29, 2011 5:10 pm

    I totally crave meat sometimes. There is seriously nothing better than a grass fed burger on those days πŸ™‚

  74. July 29, 2011 7:15 pm

    I don’t like meat and I don’t like that it comes from a being with emotions, a family, a life. I like dairy but I don’t like that it makes my insides hurt and I don’t like that its stuffed with hormones and that dairy cows are treated inhumanly. I don’t like eggs and eggs don’t like me either.

    All of these foods are foods I probably wouldn’t even eat if I was craving them. Like I mentioned above, I do like dairy products, but I’m lactose and casein intolerant and I don’t like how the cows are treated. Dairy alternatives? Yes please!

  75. July 29, 2011 9:34 pm

    I do eat meat… but only fish. I simply do not wish to eat turkey, chicken, pork, or beef. If I was craving it, I would probably eat it, but as of now I am perfectly fine with just fish. πŸ™‚ No labels for me either – I just eat what I wish to eat and leave it at that.

  76. July 30, 2011 1:14 pm

    ok, first off, all your food looks ahmazing (!) as always πŸ™‚

    Now, lets talk meats…the answer has definitely changed over time. At one point (not for very long though) in my life I strictly prohibited myself from eating any meat whatsoever. Partly because of the inhumane ways animals are treated, but also partly because I just felt like I wasn’t supposed to eat it. It’s actually weird that I felt that way since I grew up in a household that grilled meats all the time. It took me a while to finally come to terms with what I could eat and what I shouldn’t, but I’ve finally decided that I should just allow myself to eat whatever I crave. I actually don’t really ever crave meats, so I never eat it, but every once in a while when I’m at parties and such and there are no other options I’ll take a bite or two. I’ve decided not to label my diet and just sort of go with the flow…

  77. Sherry Starts Fresh permalink
    July 30, 2011 1:51 pm

    Yeah I’m not vegetarian, but I most often just chose not to have meat. I love how many veggie options or other protein options there are out there, that I just don’t need meat=)

  78. Rachel T permalink
    July 31, 2011 1:11 pm

    i became a vegetarian for the wrong reasons too i think, around the time my eating disorder got more severe a few years back, but then when starting recovery i tried meat again and found i genuinely didn’t like it. i don’t even really get cravings for it, i’ve found that i enjoy meat substitutes far more than actual meat. people think i’m totally crazy but i don’t miss it at all!

  79. July 31, 2011 10:26 pm

    Love this! I grew up in a family of heavy meat eaters. Meat was the main part of every dinner that I can remember and that’s what I thought was “normal.” Up until about a year ago, after my divorce, when I finally had to stop and ask myself what was I craving did I realize that the “craving” wasn’t that high on my list. I don’t believe in food labels (and I applaud you for your open-mindedness and thoughts about listening to your body and staying in tune with your cravings), but I’d say that I probably include meat in my diet 1-2 times a week on average. Since living on my own, I’ve discovered just how much I LOVE fruits and veggies…especially “new” ones or the ones that make people ask, “What is THAT?!” Haha!

    And I just have to say…that pic of your lunch is GORGEOUS!! Love it!!

  80. August 2, 2011 12:28 am

    i have been trying to eat less meat, but it doesn’t help when your family isn’t like that. So yes, if I had my choice, I wouldn’t eat meat, but I don’t really have that choice right now.

  81. Peter permalink
    December 24, 2011 2:41 pm

    I have not had fast food with the exception of pizza for 10 years now. I have reduced my intake of meat with the exception of turkey, chicken not fried and on occasion tuna by 99.9 percent (god as my witness). I like to make 2 quarts of yogurt every week. My dog gets 1/2 cup and I have 2 cups every day with bananas blended and some honey. I am a big fan of roasted broccoli, Parmesan and olive oil. The dog also likes that but will not eat raw broc. I am also an exerciser to a point. Since I work for the airlines handling luggage I question not getting the right amount of protein but I just can’t seem to eat the meat again. When I go to Costco I go and look it then walk away with a lost desire but I just can’t seem to want it. I’m a 48 year old male and it is really strange about the red meat thing…. O’ well, off to the park with the dog in a bit…

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