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Old 12-01-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Breaking Vegetarian

Hello all.

I've decided after much consideration and research to break my vegetarian lifestyle today. I've been a vegetarian for over 5 years now. After starting LC and having my main source of protein being tofu, it hasn't been going very well. Needless to say, I've had a few complications with my estrogen, menstruation, and such. Every doctor I've been to has recommended I should start eating meat.

SO! I'm going to try to eat some meat today lol. I don't know how I'll do, the thought of it scares me a little. But, I know it's highly urged on a LC diet, and I need to do what's best for my body.

Does anyone have any tips? Since I wasn't eating meat while reading DANDR or Why We Get Fat, I'm not informed of the daily oz of meat recommended a day. What kinds of meat should I be eating? Do I keep the fat on it?

Thank you to everyone.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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Think of what types might be easier to consume (if you don't have a meat aversion). I recommend sardines, skin on poultry, fattier cuts of steak like rib eye, and of course eggs.

Start slow, 3-4 oz per meal should suffice and you can build it up as needed, but that is a good cornerstone to get the enzymes and nutrients required. My basic formula is three eggs at breakfast, a tin of sardines or 4 oz of chicken at lunch, and broiled red meat or more fish at dinner in the same quantities, unless I'm craving more. This is plenty of protein for most folks without being excessive, and it is from a good variety of sources.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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I tried being a vegetarian last year for a few months, and gained over 10lbs When I started eating meat again I started with fish and worked my way to chicken. Beef and pork were last for me.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mom23kids View Post
I tried being a vegetarian last year for a few months, and gained over 10lbs When I started eating meat again I started with fish and worked my way to chicken. Beef and pork were last for me.
When you started eating meat did you start losing?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:21 PM   #5
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When you started eating meat did you start losing?
Nope-kept gaining, sigh I added meat but did not cut back on the additional carbs I had added when becoming a vegetarian. I was eating a LOT of bread products-so I was still eating them, just with meat added. Now I follow a calorie cycling woe and eat carbs and meat in moderation. Also, I've drastically cut back on sugar and that seems to have had a significant impact on my weight loss.

Last edited by mom23kids; 12-01-2012 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:26 PM   #6
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I'm a 20+ year vegetarian who got fatter and fatter on a grain and vegetable diet. Now I'm a HFLC vegetarian and losing well. I rely heavily on dairy now and fortunately my system handles it well. I've wondered if I could go back to eating flesh but the thought isn't appealing at this point. Hopefully it'll keep working for me as I'm very thankful I haven't had to make that choice. Good luck to you. Hope it works well and your system adjusts quickly. Consider taking enzymes to help with digesting flesh initially. It might be a rough few days.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:58 PM   #7
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I was a vegetarian for five years, many years ago. My main advice would be, whatever type of meat you choose, take it slow. Start with really small portions and gradually work your way up. Your body isn't used to digesting meat any more, so it takes a little time to re-adapt to it. I think your body has to start producing some enzymes that it hasn't produced for awhile, or something along those lines. Anyway, it takes a little time. But I do think you are doing a very good thing for your health, so hang in there!

I'd just start with whatever is most appealing to you. I started with crab legs, simply because I loved them and missed them and craved them! But just go with whatever sounds the most appetizing to you. As long as you keep the portions small at first, you should be fine. And yes, keep the fat - its so good for you!

Good luck!
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:08 PM   #8
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My two best friend were vegetarian when I met them. They both started with hamburgers.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:33 PM   #9
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Love your lovely avi picture, goldgirl.

There are so many good protein sources that are vegetarian, and tofu is down on the list.

Lentils, 18 grams of protein per cup
Chickpeas, 12 grams/cup
Tempeh, 41 grams per cup
Black beans, 15 grams per cup
Nuts and nut butters, varied
Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
Other legumes, varied
Grains, varied

We have a vegetarian site here at LCF, so if you wish to continue fully, or somewhat, with that way of eating, look them up for guidance and support.

As to getting into the eating of animal protein sources, fish is a good place to start, as well as eggs. Poultry is also good, and when you start into the red meats, just the lean is a bit easier to digest at first if you aren't used to it, and then get into the fattier cuts.

Being vegetarian and slim and healthy is certainly possible, and you can be strong and sturdy and of good muscle and bone without being a meat eater. Picture the great oxen pulling the wagons across the prairies. But I can see why you would run into eventual health troubles if you relied strongly on soy for most of your protein. To fill your daily/weekly need for protein, that would be a lot of photoestrogens. I'm not even sure if tofu is a complete protein, so if you remain vegetarian any time in the future, make sure you know how to combine your foods/amino acids so that you are getting complete protein intake. Being a vegetarian successfully is a lot more than just not eating meat or animal products. Wishing you good luck!
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
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My husband has been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for many years and all of his blood work and other markers are amazingly good. His main sources of protein are cheese, beans and eggs. He does eat some grains, but not all that much (not by choice, he just goes with what his body tells him to eat.)

If you haven't been eating dairy or eggs, you might want to start off with a bit of those and see what happens. (If it has been part of your diet you may be getting more animal protein than you realize.) As for meat, it seems to me that the smart course is to experiment a little and see what you like. Just don't go whole hog (so to speak ...) until you see how your body reacts. As has been said, meat takes some digestive power, (which I found out when I started eating more meat than I was used to.)
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:25 AM   #11
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i would start with tuna, and smoked salmon. and eggs if not already eating. and more fish. good luck!
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:10 PM   #12
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So far I ate around 3/4 of a hamburger. Couldn't finish the entire thing.

I might eat some steak tomorrow and see how that goes down.

I'm using some ketchup to get it down. Is that acceptable if it's only 2 tbs. sugar free?
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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Chicken has a mild taste that will take on whatever seasonings you put on it. I would also go for mild-tasting fish like talapia or orange roughy at first. Salmon is very healthy for you, but it has a very fishy taste. If you aren't used to it, it is gross.

Good luck. Hope you can find some things you love to balance out your diet.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:18 AM   #14
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Yep catsup is ok if sf.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:26 AM   #15
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Start with something that smells good to you.

I personally don't think vegan is a healthy diet. We have the teeth of an omnivore, we have the intestinal length of an omnivore and we have the enzymes of an omnivore. So it makes sense that we should eat the diet of an omnivore.

Meat is easier to digest than vegetables. That's why cows and sheep have multiple stomachs, horses have "mile long" intestines, and rabbits eat their own feces to pass them through a second time.

I don't recommend a carnivorous diet either, a good mix of both seems to work best for me.

Note: I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist and am not qualified to give medical advice so follow the advice of your health professional.

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Old 12-03-2012, 09:30 AM   #16
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Just go slowly...mainly because the digestive enzymes used to break it down may be lower in you since it has been so long since you've last eaten meat. It will take a few weeks at least to build those up. Best wishes!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #17
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I was a vegetarian for 40 years, just occasionally eating meat when served it socially, but stopped this year because I couldn't keep my carbs low enough to lose while eating vegetarian. I seem to be unusually carb sensitive/insulin-resistent, however, and some people do manage to combine vegetarianism with low carb and weightloss successfully (see the vegetarian thread under "plans"). I always ate dairy and eggs and nuts, and I still make them a major part of my food intake. I personally find fish, poultry (especially roasted chickens picked up from the grocery store, that I don't have to cook myself), and ground meat mixed with sauces and veggies easier to deal with than big hunks of meat like roasts and steaks, from a psychological point of view. I agree with going slowly, if you haven't eaten meat for a long time.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #18
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My eldest daughter was vegetarian for about 5 yrs and broke it with hamburger. I agree with Julie that the digestive track needs time to catch up to a swing in nutrients. I would suggest probiotics.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:26 PM   #19
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If you have time you might want to make some bone broth (chicken or beef). It is very nutritious and would give you the meat flavor to get started, and be easy on the digestive system. You could also add some of the actual meat (in small pieces/shredded) if you wanted to.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #20
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Cheeseburger without the bread. Yum!

I was a vegetarian [AND low carber for a while] for 6+ years. And I was miserable, always tired. I was always outdoorsy and into sports. I was dating an executive chef who thought fish wrapped in bacon was vegetarian. It just dawned on me one day, no one ever told me vegetarianism was bad for me or unhealthy, I liked how I ate and I ate lots of protein and fat (I ate cheese and dairy).. SO, I was skiing at Vail pretty hard one day, first big powder day and my body was taking a beating. I stopped in the warm lodge for lunch and I was like I am NOT having a veggie burger. I need real meat. I don't know where that thought came from, but it turned into the best cheeseburger I ever had in my life, and the first actually since I was kosher before that, too!

I never looked back. I go on/off LC, but I never quit cheeseburgers. I never had any problems with the "transition," and if you think of your liver as a petri dish that you can add to and things react, your liver works best without the carbs. All of my drs told me to stop eating so much soy, I don't know if it made a difference but I like to think that it did.

My sister's first non-veg food was the grossest hot dog ever and she loved it, felt awesome after it.

I think you should just take the plunge, eat something you really crave, maybe start with fish if it's a little less scary for you. Bon appetit!
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by juliekaboolie View Post
Just go slowly...mainly because the digestive enzymes used to break it down may be lower in you since it has been so long since you've last eaten meat. It will take a few weeks at least to build those up. Best wishes!
I have read that the enzymes do not take that long to change over at all and I don't think this is a big problem, especially just after 5 years. Had she been a vegetarian since birth, it might take longer, but I seriously doubt it the way that the body is able to switch which enzymes are produced. Ketoadaptation takes longer than that because it is more involved, but you don't go slowly into it, you need to completely cut out carbs in order to get to the point where you are making enough ketones for energy and for the brain to function without hindering the process with insulin. Probiotics are helpful. I also recommend reading Phinney and Volek's books "Low Carb Living" and also the Eades' Protein Power books because they discuss the biology of the liver and metabolism in addition to low carb.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:23 AM   #22
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Very interesting thread - hadn't really thought about how difficult a transition would be for someone who was a longterm vegetarian.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldgirl24 View Post
Hello all.

I've decided after much consideration and research to break my vegetarian lifestyle today. I've been a vegetarian for over 5 years now. After starting LC and having my main source of protein being tofu, it hasn't been going very well. Needless to say, I've had a few complications with my estrogen, menstruation, and such. Every doctor I've been to has recommended I should start eating meat.

SO! I'm going to try to eat some meat today lol. I don't know how I'll do, the thought of it scares me a little. But, I know it's highly urged on a LC diet, and I need to do what's best for my body.

Does anyone have any tips? Since I wasn't eating meat while reading DANDR or Why We Get Fat, I'm not informed of the daily oz of meat recommended a day. What kinds of meat should I be eating? Do I keep the fat on it?

Thank you to everyone.
I didn't eat beef (not the same as being veg, I know) for twenty years. What got me back was listening to my body and realizing that I needed it. To make my transition back, I began with very high-quality cuts of meat, a little bit at a time, prepared just the way I like (medium with garlic butter). Give yourself time to adjust, and good luck.
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