But I’m not. After I became pregnant with twins in 2013, my vegan lifestyle (which I had strongly advocated for two years) got the boot after I realized that beef was the only thing that my body would tolerate. Turns out that I had run headlong into anemia without realizing it, and was bordering on a serious B12 deficiency despite tons of supplements. Anyway, I reverted to an omnivore diet and I haven’t looked back since. Returning to a diet of meat, dairy, and eggs helped me to feel fuller, more energetic, and also less frustrated at the consistent lack of options at most mainstream eating establishments.
That is not to say that I advocate an omnivore diet for everyone on the planet. It’s just to say that it’s what I’m doing right now. Meanwhile, some of my closest friends (including the one that I happened to marry) continue to swear by strictly vegan diets, and some even only do raw, macrobiotic, vegan fare. One of my kids eats meat but no dairy/eggs, another does poultry but no beef or pork. Here’s the thing I’m saying…
We’re all different, and we may all need different things in order for our bodies to be right. Judge not, dear ones. Vegans are not weird, and omnivores are not evil. And I’m starting to realize that if one group is healthier than another, it might not actually have anything to do with whether or not they eat animal products. I’m saying this because in my experience, vegans and vegetarians eliminate more than just meat from their diet. When someone makes a commitment to a meat-free lifestyle, they very often make a choice to get rid of some other things, too. Things like:
1. Excessive sugar and foods with tons of high fructose corn syrup
2. High fat/high cholesterol food items and foods laced with saturated or trans fat (e.g. potato chips are vegan, but not too many vegans eat them)
3. Processed foods liked packaged meals, foods high in sodium and hydrogenated oils
4. Refined carbs like white rice, white pasta, white bread and crackers
5. Sedentary lifestyle (sitting around a lot)
So, it is highly possible that these types of things, and not meat itself, cause a great deal of the diabetes, heart disease and other health problems plaguing our communities and U.S. society in general.
That said, I do take issue with the various antibiotics, hormones, and crazy chemicals being added to all of our foods (meat and non-meat) due to industry (i.e. monetary) interests. Many vegans and vegetarians opt for organic foods, and I similarly try to choose organic, no-hormone, no-antibiotic, free range and grass-fed meat when possible (and affordable) to do so. I still think that we ALL need to consume way more veggies and fruits in our diets, but I no longer insist that everyone eat only these things.
But hey, what do I know? I’m just an omnivore trying to eat more nuts (for protein, of course). What do YOU think? Are you a recovering vegetarian, vegan, or carnivore trying to figure this food thing out? Drop me a line and let the AfroGranola community know where you stand on this issue.