C is for Carnivore (and Chik-fil-a….)

Okay, here it goes. As you all know I have been vegan for the past 8 months- no meat whatsoever and only having dairy a handful of times. I got the idea to try out this diet after reading the book Skinny Bitch as well as watching the Oprah episode where 300 of her employees attempt being vegan for a week. I thought to myself- I bet I could eat like this! I wanted to see if I felt healthier physically and mentally.

Not gonna lie, the first week was kind of hard. My diet had never been vegetarian nor remotely close to vegan before so making the transition was a little shocking to my body. I felt kind of strange for a couple days as my body was getting used to the absence of meat and dairy. But after a week or two I felt good! I had figured out a few things to eat and felt a sort of lightness that I had been expecting to feel (from reading about being vegan and things of that nature). I felt that the headaches I used to suffer from quite often were becoming more rare and I also felt a of sense of empowerment in a way.

As the months rolled on people would ask me questions such as “What do you miss eating the most?” and “How do you go without cheese? I could never do that!” I know these questions seem to be obvious questions someone would ask but I never really knew how to answer- I truly felt like I didn’t miss anything from my old diet. I felt satisfied with how I was eating at the time.

Slowly things began to change- I started to dread going out to dinner with my friends for birthdays and/or date nights for the sheer fact that I had almost no options. I would usually end up ordering a veggie plate (always minus dairy) that almost always resulted in a large disappointment; I  would end up eating the rest of the tables french fries because I was so hungry and it was something I could eat. When I was eating meat and dairy I very rarely ate french fries which made me start to wonder if avoiding meat and dairy was helping or hurting me.

I started to feel less and less satisfied with my meals- not to mention the fact that I didn’t know what the heck to eat most of the time! Breakfast was always a no brainer but the problem presented itself almost every day at lunchtime and dinner. Oh the daily question- what am I gonna eat today? Sure there were tons of recipes I came across that I wanted to make but finding the time to get all the ingredients and make meals that take an hour or more on a daily basis became frustrating, especially on a busy schedule. There lies the problem- I had started this diet in pursuit of a healthier more natural diet but had ended up turning to easy and convenient foods that lacked the nutrients I need. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch or cereal for dinner just wasn’t cutting it- I was feeling less and less healthy.

Even when I could find the time to plan and create a more balanced meal I still felt hungry not too long after. I must mention that before I started this diet I rarely ate heavy sweets such as cakes/pies and when I did crave sweets I would eat frozen yogurt or something light (I’m talking about on a daily occasion- I would certainly allow myself to splurge from time to time). But for some reason a couple of months ago I started to crave sweets like nobodys business. If we would go to my favorite vegetarian restaurant and they had vegan cake- I of course couldn’t help but get a slice and just devour the whole thing! And these are very large pieces of cake I’m talking about. This was happening more often and after I would indulge I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have the self control I used to have. After speaking with a dear friend of mine, she helped me realize that my strong urge for these heavy sweets was probably my body’s way of telling me it’s not getting everything it needs. I couldn’t have agreed more. I felt like I was depriving my body and it was rebelling against me (by craving calorie-dense, high fat treats)!

A week ago Cameron came to visit me in Athens- we went to dinner before a date-night with my two roommates and their dates on Thursday night. When we arrived at the restaurant both Cam and I were famished! As we sat there looking over the menu I saw that the veggie plate was really the only thing that suited my diet (ordering it without the dairy sides it included) so that is what I ordered. The kitchen lost our ticket which resulted in an extra long wait for our food; as we waited I had realized that what I was really craving was cheeseburger (which is what the other 5 people at the table ordered!) Of course I was starving by the time our food came and was extremely unsatisfied- over-oily greens with sauteed potatoes just was not doing it for me. So of course I reached for Cameron’s fries as well as everyone elses’ at the table. During this time I realized that I would have been so much better off getting a hamburger- I would have been eating more “real” food and actually giving my body what it needs and wants.

Over the next couple days I was telling Cameron how I wanted to start eating dairy again but realized that I really wanted to eat dairy and meat. For the first time in a while I was craving those foods. It was a hard decision to make initially but once I realized that that was truly what I wanted and felt was the healthiest decision for me- it was easy! One morning Cameron made me half a biscuit with a little egg and cheese on it. It was delicious. Next day I made myself a couple eggs and had a couple sips of cow’s milk. I wanted to start slow to avoid a major tummy ache. Then came the epic night…..

On Wednesday night (after I got my Zumba on) I came home and was of course super hungry for dinner! I thought to myself… well I guess I better have a protein drink while I think of something to whip up… but then I decided I had a better idea. Tonight was the night I would eat meat!! It was kind of a scary thought to me but it was oddly exciting. For some reason I had Chik-fil-a nuggies on my mind (yes I called them nuggies). I decided to get an 8 pack to take home and eat with some plain broccoli. Before I took the first bite it was funny because I was nervous! I mean I had gone 8 whole months without eating meat at all- it felt funny! But man, it was darn good I’m tellin’ ya!! I definitely finished the 8 pack and was so satisfied! Not to mention the fact that the dinner I had just eaten had 28 grams of protein- the most protein packed meal I had eaten in a lonnngg time.

“Mommy I support you!!” -Love, your favorite little buddy  **cheesy I know… just felt like I needed a picture to break all this text up!!

From that point on I knew I was back to being a full on carnivore. Throughout this experience I have come to the realization that everything is better in moderation; I want to eat a natural, balanced, and healthy diet. I have been feeling extremely happy about my decision and have had so much support from my family and friends. I am really thankful for having gone through this experience because I truly learned a lot- including how to listen to what my body needs and wants. I will say that I started out eating a vegan diet for the sole purpose of seeing if my health improved but came out of it with more compassion for animals. Although I have decided to go back to consuming animal products- I will say that I will try my best to buy organic (grassfed & free-range) as often as possible and would love to support the farms who abstain from animal cruelty.

Sorry for the lonnngggg story but I just wanted to explain myself fully (I’m sure I left a lot out) on the reasons why I have reverted my diet back. I am feeling really good about it and am excited to really enjoy my meals again! It’s a great feeling- and hey right in time for Thanksgiving right? I know my mom must be happy- no ‘special’ dishes she will have to make specifically for me! Okay well sorry again for the length of the post- night night!

Love, Shelby

p.s. I’m hoping to post some workouts soon! And maybe even a new recipe featuring drumroll please… meat!  haha k byyyeee


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