Disease Proof

Eating Less and Less Meat

Meat, the older I get, the less I crave it. And no, it’s not just because I work for Dr. Fuhrman. In fact, my waning taste for meat and other animal products started in college—my avoidance of dairy, even earlier.

I remember being a little kid, eating my Fruit Loops with 1% percent milk—and twenty minutes later puking up my breakfast! The switch to skim milk wasn’t much help. And soon thereafter yogurt and cheese got the heave-ho too. Although I admit, in college I had my fair share of late night pizzas, but that didn’t last long either.

Now prior to college I grew up in a fairly meat-centric Italian family. Sure, my mother did her best to expose me and my bother to different kinds of fruits and vegetables. I was probably the only kid on the block eating fresh figs, zucchini, chestnuts, cactus-pears, and scallions, but, I was still getting a decent dose of French fries, hamburgers, and ice-cream. I seldom ate fast food, barely any supermarket junk-food, and I almost never ate fried- or deep-fried stuff. And candy? Most of my Halloween goodies and chocolate Easter bunnies ended up in the freezer, only to be used in the occasional batch of cookies.

I probably grew up eating considerably healthier than many standard American families. Not bad, considering my grandfather regularly made his own pork sausage and salami! But it wasn’t until college that my desire for meat really took a nose dive. The college dinning hall is sight to behold—typically teeming with food that would make Dr. Fuhrman hit the ceiling like a cat in the cartoons.

Mine was no different; station one dessert; station two meat and potatoes; station three griddlecakes and omelets; station four sandwiches; station five pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, chili, and French fries. To their credit, they did have a salad bar—loaded with cheese, bacon bits, croutons, and ranch dressing. After a few months of watching my peers scarf down meals of ketchup drenched hotdogs with a side of Lucky Charms and milk—oh I’m serious—I figured there had to be a better way. These people looked terrible, and it didn’t appear spaghetti topped with nacho cheese and bacon bits was very health-promoting. So I flipped the script on my diet even more.

Red meat, sausage, and ham were the first to go. Then followed by white-bread, cheese, and the little butter I was still eating. A typical college meal for me started to look like this: chicken or fish (sometimes no meat at all), side of veggies, some sort of rice or pasta, and usually a small salad or various pickled veggies from the salad bars. A far-cry from the way I eat now, but leagues above my standard American classmates. So, why do I bring all this up?

Because for years I thought it was strange that all on my own, without any outside influence (excluding observation), I just up and changed my diet. I naturally felt less compelled to eat meat. Why? I’ve always eaten meat, sure never to the extent where I was eating bacon and eggs every morning, but I’d always eaten it. No one in my family is vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian—where did this urge come from? I still don’t know. But today, I found out I’m not alone.

I Was Just Really Very Hungry claims she is 75% vegetarian, which is funny, because during my college dietary renaissance I referred to my eating habits similarly. In fact, I still consider myself 90 to 95% vegetarian. After all, as I’ve pointed out in Eating to Live on the Outside, I’ll still eat fish or chicken from time to time. Okay, I’ll let I Was Just Really Very Hungry explain her own experience:
I find that the older I get the less I seem to crave meat. When I was in my teens and 20s I felt deprived when some form of meat or fish wasn't the centerpiece of a meal, but nowadays I think that more than half the meals I eat don't have either of those. Overall I think I am about 75% vegetarian (well, lacto-ovo vegetarian) in my eating.
Now, if you check out the post you’ll probably be taken back by her occasional foray with Walliserplatte—a platter of sliced meats and cold cuts—but I find it interesting that she too is just naturally pulling away from meat. Maybe it has something to do with her traditional Japanese upbringing, a lot like how my mother shielded me from many standard American foods. Either way, this is pretty amazing to me, how something can just click and change your whole outlook. Anyone have a similar story?
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Mary - November 17, 2006 3:42 PM

My story is not so similar, but pretty amazing on it's own. I've grown up on the SAD and I was paying the price physically. I'm about 15-20 lighter and I was very close to being overweight according to my BMI. I knew I was overweight though.

I grew up eating all types of meat. My favorite was chicken. I used to say how I could eat chicken all the time at every meal. I've never liked milk. I would always have it in my cereal, but never finish it. I didn't know there were any other alternatives.

I would have never gone vegan if not for my best friend. She's going to school to be a vet tech and asked me to go vegetarian with her. I said sure why not! I figured I'd do it for a week and see what happened. Well I fell in love with it. I've never looked back. I was vegetarian for 4 months and have been vegan for well over a year.

My brother was vegetarian when I was in middle school and was vegan in high school. Unfortunately he's neither now and my parents have a negative attitude towards veganism and healthy eating in general. My older brother (not the vegetarian) and I made a bet to see who could be vegetarian the longest. I was probably in the 6th grade I don't remember who won but when I ate meat again it was so disgusting. But I forced myself to eat it and I wish I hadn't. Anyways thanks for posting this!

Oh I think you should try Eat to Live on the outside with this restaurant, Heart Attack Grill (http://www.heartattackgrill.com/). No joke, this is a real restaurant!

Jamie Nadler - November 17, 2006 9:42 PM

Its amazing how your tastes change when you get older isnt it? when i was a teenager i could eat mcdonalds every day...now? once in a while i crave it or bk or wendys, i eat it, feel sick and totally lose interest for a long time....and i notice i eat less meat than i used to, like as a kid i loved steak and liked it rare....now i still like it as much, but crave it much more rarely and eat it closer to medium

Jude - November 22, 2006 12:41 AM

I always hated meat, but the college cafeteria experience cinched it--that's when I became a vegetarian. It's never had as much to do with health as with a hatred for meat. Both of my brothers are vegetarians, too, although one of them will eat meat if it's served to him. He told me once, "I'm not one of those *obnoxious* vegetarians who won't eat meat if I'm at someone's house." I told him that I *am* an obnoxious vegetarian. I'm not a situational vegetarian--I don't eat meat just to be socially acceptable. It's been 32 years for me.

PathToEnlightenment - October 28, 2007 12:31 AM

After much research, evidence shows that we are designed to be herbivores on a biological level. Why the hell has the human species been eating meat all this time I wonder?? I've finally opened my eyes to this reality -- this madness has got to end. There is an absolute proper diet for us humans - which I believe to be 99% veg/fruit based and 1% seafood, and of course as close to mother nature as possible. I mean seriously, do we need to eat another dead carcass in order to survive??? Ridiculous. I believe our ability to process meat is a biological defense, I mean the human body is definitely an intricate machine. Just because we are ABLE to eat animal meat, doesn't mean we were designed to. Think about how much of our daily lives is focused around eating dead animals -- I mean really think about it. And does our society give a damn about our health needs? I think not. Why are we eating meat? Cholesterol is found only in meat, our human liver is not designed to process cholesterol. A real carnivorous creature eats meat after a fresh kill. You won't find a lion putting anything in a grill, or having to season the meat with salt and black pepper and paprika and all that stuff to mask the taste of flesh. The lion has REAL canines, and a stomach with a HIGH acidity level to digest the meat, and a shorter intestinal tract so the dead animal remains does not stay in the body for long. Well what about the Protein?? The amount of protein from a meat source is wayyy to much for the body to handle, so what happens with the excess protein? The body will eventually find the need to deplete calcium stores in our bones to help process the excess protein. I encourage everyone to research the topic of meat in the human diet fully -- and never again eat anything without questioning it. Now the fundamental argument is what it is that we really seek out of life, afterall, enjoying a delicious piece of steak is one of our mortal pleasures. All I know is this, I'm no longer tainting my body with dead animal remains, animal milk/cheese(casein protein==sickening) filled with hormones and other bullshit - It just doesn't make sense, there is a better way. In my eyes, eating meat in the long run does not pay off. If you need an eye-opener -- go visit PETA's website, although animal rights are certainly not my foremost reason for eliminating meat from my diet-- but you can't help but notice this cause). Thank you for reading this series of somewhat random thoughts, and to the author of this article - Please, do away with that Filthy "Gallus Gallus" Domestic Foul and its eggs in your diet, it only defeats the work all those good veggies are doing. I'm realizing Food is just a damn business. We Humans would start selling Kentucky Fried Shit if a new batch of scientists said shit was a good source of protein. I've been animal meat free for about 3 months now (sad isn't it? You'd think I'd be a seasoned vegetarian), If I could go back in time I'd shoot the first person that tried to feed me meat -- aahahahahaa. And on another note, some entity needs to go after the Dairy Industry, I may be assassinated for even saying that much.

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