8 years ago I "accidentally" became a #vegetarian. (Well mostly, it was once in a blue moon that I touched ground turkey or chicken). For sure though, red meat got the cut back in my early 20's. I say accidentally because it really wasn't intentional. Growing up every weekend my dad's idea of a good Sunday was grilling for that dinner. Whether it was steak, ribs, brisket, you name it we probably had it. I will also say he is a BOMB griller.
At the rate he grilled you're probably wondering, "Taryn, how did you accidentally ditch the meat then?" Well my dad started getting worse symptoms of gout, and the doctor told him that he needed to stop eating red meat. So we ditch meat, and started getting the vegetarian meat substitutes. This was fine except he didn't last with that plan, I did.
For 8 years, I managed to still hit my protein goals using various sources (mostly egg whites) and while my workouts / physique seemed decent internally I knew I wasn't at my best. I've been anemic for quite a while now, and I also know that my iron levels are not where they should be. To be honest this is something that can be common with those who transition to a non meat based diet. (Not saying there is anything wrong, just saying make sure your body is still getting the vitamins / nutrients it needs).
This past week I decided to incorporate meat again, specifically red meat, back into my diet. Call it an experiment, but I was curious how I would react or how I would feel. A common issue when you haven't had red meat (or really any food say dairy) after a long period of time, is that your digestive enzymes for it aren't as high. This makes digestion suck tbh, and can cause you to feel uncomfortable. The benefits though (stronger immune system, iron support, better sleep, added heart health, and protein is easier to get in) made it an easy decision to give it a whirl.
My approach / the results:
I picked bison > ground beef due to it being a leaner source of red meat.
Grass fed > regular
1/2 a serving vs. a full 4 oz.
Had a back up digestive enzyme support supplement (didn't use it though).
Ate mid day so I had time to let it digest vs. sitting all night with a fuller stomach.
Each day after added more to now have a full serving.
Here's what happened:
The next day I felt leaner not bloated.
Weight actually lowered.
Sleep was deeper so my apple watch says.
Energy in the gym increased.
Energy overall increased (I had felt like I needed a nap mid day FOREVER now).
Do I think it was worth it, absolutely. If you're someone looking to re-introduce a food back into your diet, I think my approach can be used regardless of the food. Also allow your body time to adjust back to it. Like I said I don't think there is anything wrong with those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan. The biggest reason I stopped is I knew I was deficient, and I needed to fix that.
Also peep below my friends meal. Buffalo turkey / chicken meat balls + brussel sprouts. YUM!! Didn't try the sprouts but the meatballs HELLO meal prep additions.
Nutrition help @transformwithtaryn.com