So I Ate Meat for the First Time in 5 Years..

February 12, 2017

    So I Ate Meat for the First Time in 5 Years..

    Paleo Sweet Potato Bun Lamb Burgers for an easy a delicious whole30 recipe!
    my paleo sweet potato bun lamb burgers!

    I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post about this but as I was walking home from Whole Foods this morning, the thoughts started pouring out of me. Especially since many of you have written to me, or commented on a recent Instagram photo asking about this ever since I dropped the meat-eating bomb on my Instagram Stories a couple days ago.

    So here’s the deal my friends. Last week I ate meat for the first time in over 5 years. Yup, we are talking REAL meat. Cooked by me and ate by me.

    I didn’t wake up one day and decide to not eat meat a few years ago. It was a gradual process that happened over time right after I graduated college. I noticed that I hadn’t ate any animal protein besides fish for a few weeks and really didn’t crave it anymore.

    I never have been a huge meat-lover though. Growing up I never liked chicken (unless it was a chicken nugget) and the only beef I wanted was a bacon cheeseburger or hot dog. This was also around the same time that I was sneaking Pop Tarts in my mouth when no one was looking, so needless to say, much as changed since then.

    Fish was all my body wanted when I stopped craving meat so I began listening to it. This is also around the same time that I began eating a lot cleaner and figuring out what foods I enjoy. I didn’t like the idea of eating something that I didn’t genuinely like. No one should eat foods that they don’t actually want to eat. And I was only eating meat when I was either being served dinner at a friend’s house or because it is what my Mom made me. Never because I requested it.

    It took me about 4 months before even telling anyone beside Jord I stopped eating meat. Just goes to show how nobody really noticed because my eating habits didn’t change much.

    I do want to make it clear that I have always thought that grass-fed, no hormone animal protein is good-for-you. It provides great nutritional value and protein for us. I still made it for Jord all the time.

    So what did I eat for the past 5 years? A ton of wild fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Pretty much anything besides chicken, bacon, beef, turkey, lamb and so on. I wouldn’t eat a soup if chicken broth was the base. I didn’t touch a meat pasta sauce and I certainly did not use the same cooking utensils for my dinner and Jord’s dinner. The “cross contamination” through me for a loop.

    Jord and my family were always super supportive during this whole phase and always wanted to make sure I would find something to eat at a restaurant, etc. There were many jokes that I would crave meat again when I was pregnant (which I am not right now!) and my eating habits would change. I knew my non-meat phase wasn’t permanent. I have just been waiting until I actually craved it again.

    A few months ago, I was sent bone broth (code RACHL for 20% off orders) to sample. To be honest I wasn’t really interested in sampling it but I knew Jord would love it so I accepted the offer to have some shipped to us. He literally was obsessed and I was so happy to see him drinking it because of the amazing nutritional value it has and it is filled with collagen.

    When we were eating dinner about a month ago he was drinking beef bone broth with his meal, and I asked to smell it (yes, I smell all food before trying). It surprisingly smelled really good so I asked to try it. I had been marinating the idea of trying it for a bit because of how good it is for you, and so I took a sip.

    And I loveit. After a couple sips though I was done. I couldn’t drink more than that at first.

    Then I tried chicken bone broth a few days later and basically gulped the entire thing like it was water. It was SO GOOD you guys! This was two weeks ago now and since that day, I have had a cup of bone broth every single day. Chicken and turkey bone broth are my favorite though. The beef still doesn’t taste as good to me, which is odd because I have always liked beef more than chicken and turkey from an eating perceptive.

    Anyways between drinking bone broth and making so many flipping meat recipes for Jord’s Whole 30 reset, I was craving all the meat. A couple weeks ago I was making a beef bolognese, turkey chili and chicken and it all smelled amazing. My body was telling me to eat. The craving had finally come, 5 years later.

    20-minute Homemade Paleo Burrito Bowls for an easy and delicious Chipotle-like burrito bowl made in your on kitchen!
    my homemade burrito bowls!
    Paleo Guacamole Buffalo Chicken Pizza made with free-range organic chicken and a paleo pizza crust for a delicious gluten and dairy-free pizza recipe!
    my guacamole buffalo chicken PIZZA!

    I decided to try chicken again first so I made these crispy almond flour tenders with a bunch of spices, dipped in egg and flour then baked. I took a bite and slowly chewed since Jord thought I was going to have stomach pains afterwards. But 3 chicken tenders later, NO stomach pains. No weird digestive issues afterwards, nothing. And the next day, I had beef and yesterday I ate turkey burgers.

    And you know what? I felt SATISFIED. Something I have not felt in months. I kept finishing meals and was looking for something else after. It was a combination of being mentally and physically hungry but clearly my body was deficient in something. It was not getting enough or it wouldn’t be telling me this.

    This whole process really proved to me how much we need to listen to our bodies and what we crave. It is so so important you guys, I cannot stress that enough. It doesn’t matter what your friend craves or your boyfriend or mom. It only matters what YOU want and what works for YOUR body. If you look at something and it doesn’t look good, don’t eat it. If you see something that looks amazing to you but no one else wants it, who cares? Eat it. Listen to your body.

    I know this post is getting long but I truly want to tell you every thought I have about this topic.

    I also have been reading Alisa Vitti’s LIFE CHANGING book, Woman Code (more to come about this) and seriously revamped my eating habits. I took an interest in this because I have not had a “normal” menstrual cycle since going off the pill and have an urge to learn more about hormone imbalances, the female body and just understand what is going on in there.

    I am listening to my body, fueling it with the foods it is craving and not comparing myself to anyone else. If you don’t eat meat or the thought of eating animals grosses you out, that is fine. You do you, and I will do me because that is what is most important here. Fuel your body with what it needs because you only have one, so might as well make it as amazing as possible. As my dad says “your body is a temple”.

    Now Imma go eat a flipping ROASTED CHICKEN Jord made and I am salivating just smelling it.

    A few of my tips for anyone who would like to reintroduce meat into their diet:

    • Start with something simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a bacon cheese burger or something that doesn’t sound good to YOU. I loved that I started with bone broth, which eased my way into trying all the meats.
    • Try anything and everything that smells good to you. Sounds crazy but I never in a million years would think lamb is my favorite meat or bison! I only tried these because they were being cooked around me and I really was craving them. Our bodies change overtime and your tastebuds could enjoy something it never used it (before you stop eating meat).
    • Don’t let anyone get in the way of YOUR journey. I didn’t tell anyone I was starting to eat meat again except Jord until I was comfortable with my decision. People always have something to say and most of the time we are better off without anyone’s negativity. Confide in those you trust so you don’t let anyone influence you in what you think is right for your body.
    • If you feel sick, don’t force it. Some people feel ill after taking a first bite of meat in awhile. I personally didn’t experience this but if you start to not feel well, pace yourself. Take a few bites today and try again tomorrow or the next day.
    • Focus on quality animal products. Grass-fed, hormone-free, etc. I stay away from any conventional animal products when I can. I only cook meat that I know it is sourced from a good place (like Butcher Box!).
    • Here are a few of my favorite meat recipes from the blog: Paleo Sweet Potato Bun Lamb BurgersAvocado Oil Chicken TendersPaleo Burrito BowlsGuacamole Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Skillet Turkey Burgers.

    Love you guys.

    xx, Rach

    I love seeing you what you make my recipes!
    Don’t forget to use the hashtag @rachLmansfield and #rachLeats on instagram!

    44 Responses

    1. I’m a former vegan who eats meat when the mood strikes. Sometimes it’s daily, sometimes it’s once every couple of months. I agree that it’s important to listen to your body.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

    2. Thanks for sharing all this Rachel! I’ve considered going vegan for various reasons, but I honestly cannot be satisfied without meat sometimes. I crave quality red meat for the iron especially! Feeling very encouraged to do me, thank you.

    3. thank you so much for sharing!! i’m a current pescatarian (have been for five years as well) and my boyfriend follows a primal diet. i’ve started trying some of his meat dishes here and there and have decided to start incorporating meat (slowly) into my diet again. i’ve been researching the best ways to start so this really helps! and soooo true about the bone broth. that stuff got me too!!

    4. Thanks for sharing! I have been an on again off again vegetarian since I was a teenager, almost solely based on what my body is telling me it needs. I’ve had stretches of several years of not touching a bite of meat because it just never sounded good, and then I’ll eat meat again because I would crave it, and continue to eat it until I no longer wanted it. It’s always kinda been that way (I learned pretty quickly not to call myself a vegetarian after the first few rounds of going back on and then off of meat- too much explaining. Good for you to listening to your body!

    5. Thanks for this post, I don’t eat meat but it’s so important to normalize eating however you want when you want because its YOUR body. And I surely will eat meat too if my body wants it. xx

    6. I’m so glad you wrote about this because it’s not something to be ashamed of, but I feel like many people are. I have gone through phases where I didn’t eat much meat, but like you I simply didn’t crave it. I wish more people would tune into their bodies like you and stop labeling their diets, but rather just eat real food most of the time. Thank you for sharing Rachel 🙂

    7. Loved reading this post and how you were totally open to trying something you were craving because you are tuned into your body 🙂 I’m also trying to get back “aunt flow” after years on the pill … I had NO CLUE it’s not easy! Thanks for all your AMAZING content – you rock girl!!!

    8. Thank you so much for posting this! I was raised a vegetarian and have never eaten meat in my life, but have been oddly craving it lately and have been thinking about trying chicken for the first time. I have been researching what to eat for the first time, and how people have felt, so thanks for openly talking about this! 😀

    9. Such a refreshing post! I loooooved your podcast with Jordan on The Balanced Blonde. I also got a lot from Alissa’s Womancode book. I never had a normal menstrual cycle (and I’m 42 y.o.) until I truly got in touch with my body and hormonal needs. It took awhile, but now my cycle is synced with the moon and it’s so predictable and amazing. It feels so good to have a normal cycle and feel balanced for the first time in my life. Sending you tons of love and support. XOXOXOXO!

    10. I can’t quite find when you posted this but wow… weird!! I never really liked chicken and I haven’t eaten meat (besides fish) in three years… I recently had some pretty strong cravings and after walking back and forth to the meat counter, I finally went for it this past weekend. I made a grass fed hamburger and damn was it good. I just went to the store and bought bone broth so we’ll see how that goes! Thanks for sharing your story and giving me more confidence to share this moment with friends. It’s weird how something like food can work it’s way into your persona. You rock!

    11. Rachel, thank you so much for this. I went WFPB/vegan about a year and a half ago and ever since, have been experiencing some minor acne around my chin/mouth. I was off the pill for a whole year before I went vegan and my skin was not bad, so I’m concerned I’m missing something. I’ve been adding more fats into my diet, especially fish and eggs, and my skin has cleared up a bit. I even ate some local organic chicken last week with no side effects!

      Mentally, I’m still nervous to eat meat because of everything I’ve read in How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger, but I’m also reading WomanCode and feeling like, regardless of the science, I need to listen to MY body. So thank you for giving me the extra push to do so.

    12. I am so glad I came across your Blog!!! My hubby and I are trying to conceive but my menstrual cycle is irregular and at times non existent. I don’t ever eat meat and today I made homemade chicken nuggets.. and it was delicious! I just hope to keep it up. Your blog was very inspiring to me:) how long did it take you to get pregnant after starting your new food journey?

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