Thoughts on Meat & Dairy

Thoughts on Meat & Dairy

Before I begin, it is my hope that this post be a discussion where people can share their viewpoints. Any rude, offensive, or judgmental comments will be deleted. I say this because this issue can really cause a lot of feelings. Let’s all share our thoughts and have a conversation, shall we? 

As my love of food and healthy living grew, so did my desire to learn more about where my food and drink was coming from. I began reading articles and books every chance I could and watched documentaries on a variety of topics related to health and food. During that time I learned many disheartening things about our food and our drink and our diets as a whole. It has completely changed the way I eat and want to eat.

As a former meat and dairy lover, I struggled with learning certain truths because they were things that I loved the taste of. I wanted to overlook how I felt after eating certain foods because I didn’t want to miss out on taste. Recently some of these thoughts have changed dramatically. 

Dairy

I’ve known that I was lactose intolerant for several years now. Dairy makes me break out, feel bloated and sluggish, and gives me tons of digestive issues. These days, I avoid all dairy and not just the lactose found in dairy. Milk itself is the perfect nutritional drink for a growing baby cow; why should a human be drinking something meant for a cow? This question has been plaguing me for a long time now! 

Now that I no longer eat any dairy (not just lactose), I don’t have any of the digestive issues and my skin has been much clearer. Dairy is hard to digest in general, so it’s been a real life saver to avoid it. Plus, with such delicious dairy free options these days, I haven’t missed out on the taste! 

Meat

This one is perhaps the toughest for me. It’s so hard when pretty much all generations within the past 50 years in America have been brought up learning meat is a necessity in our diets. We learn it makes us strong, that we need the protein, and that it’s healthy. Plus, I am a Foodie and know the delights of a perfect steak, juicy burger, and grilled chicken. However, after learning more about how our bodies function with and without meat, I made many dietary changes. I now eat a mostly plant-based diet using vegetarian sources of protein every day. I no longer purchase or cook meat in my home at all. I never feel over full, bloated, or sluggish after a meal and I have so much more energy. I also get to eat larger portions and eat more often so I’m pretty okay with that 😀 

For now, I’m not placing any kind of label on myself as a vegetarian or vegan because I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. I still enjoy fish and I still eat eggs pretty regularly. Since I can’t eat gluten, I have to be flexible as my options are sometimes slim. I’m doing my best to bring something I can eat to a party or going for the vegetarian option while out, but sometimes there’s just not an option! 

Now What?

Lastly, after learning about some of the horrendous practices that occur in order for us to get our meat and dairy, I got very turned off. I was also shocked at some of the environmental impacts that eating meat places on our environment.  For the most part, I no longer crave the food I thought I couldn’t live without; and I think that came with time. 

Whether you agree with me or not, I think it’s important to be knowledgeable about what you’re putting in your body. I’d highly recommend watching Cowspiracy (on Netflix currently!) to learn more about the meat industry and eating meat in general. It’s a life changer. 

For now, I’ll be sticking to my mostly vegetarian diet, and seeing how I change over time. Who knows? Maybe some day I will feel comfortable enough being 100% vegan. For now, I’ll be enjoying mostly plant-based foods and not beating myself up should I eat something non-vegan or non-vegetarian. 

Thanks to Amanda for letting me Think Out Loud today!

Thoughts? Do you think Dairy is healthy? Are you an omnivore? Should we continue to eat meat as the norm?

Tell me in the comments below!

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32 thoughts on “Thoughts on Meat & Dairy

  1. Such an interesting post, Heather! I know what you mean! The only dairy I consume regularly is Greek yogurt with my breakfast every morning. 🙂 I’ll occasionally have cheese but I can take it or leave it. In terms of meat, I used to be a pescetarian, meaning I only ate seafood, but in April I jumped back on the lean chicken and turkey train because I realized I needed the extra protein. I don’t eat red meat, beef, or pork and I never really did growing up either. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! 🙂

    • I can understand that–I’m trying to be really mindful about my protein intake and see if i need to add anything more in to my diet. I have a deep love of seafood and can’t see myself giving fish up completely anytime soon! Salmon is a go to dish for me at restaurants!

  2. Thank you for sharing your reasons for giving up dairy and meat with us! Like you, dairy has adverse effects for me but I have never gone to a doctor to be diagnosed. I know my body well enough to know when I eat something it doesn’t like. I haven’t cut out dairy 100% [I still eat feta 1-2x a week!] but I do stick to mostly dairy-free foods [almond milk, cashew milk ice cream, etc]. Meat is a tougher one for me. I could probably go without meat for a while, but then I get a sudden craving for it. Plus my husband is a huge meat eater. I personally don’t feel as if there is anything wrong with eating meat as I believe God created animals for us to eat, however I do understand the environmental issues and unethical treatment of them. I’m not a fan of all that! But meat is probably something I won’t ever give up, though I do tend to go vegetarian when my hubby is away!

    • Thanks for sharing! I think the fact that you can enjoy meat and the fact that you can enjoy a vegetarian meal is pretty cool. Also, you have some amazing vegan recipes on that blog of yours!

  3. Great post! Once I learned about not only the awful practices that go on in dairy and factory farms, but also the physical/biological affects of meat and dairy, it was impossible for me to continue eating it. You know what they say- knowledge is power 🙂 I surprisingly haven’t craved meat, cheese, milk, anything since becoming vegan. I don’t beat myself up for not being perfect either, but I try the best I can! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  4. I hear what you’re saying–I think it’s so important for people to be more aware of the meat industry and how icky it is, not to mention terrible for the environment. I’m sure I would eat a lot more vegetarian sources of protein if not for my IBS. So many sources of vegetarian protein are really hard for me to digest, including wheat, legumes, many kinds of nuts, and many soy products. Thank goodness for tofu and quinoa! I’m glad to hear that eliminating/minimizing dairy and meat has helped you feel so much better.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle with IBS! Many people close to me struggle with that and I am with you on digestive issues–so hard! I understand that when you have something like that, going full animal-free isn’t so attainable.

  5. First of all, love the way that you started off this post. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that everyone has the best of intentions and everyone thinks that what they are doing is best… but I absolutely love that you don’t pressure people into siding with you and that you look for alternatives or commonalities across blogs and relationships, rather than difference. Two huge thumbs up your way!

    Living in Colorado and working on a ranch for a big chunk of my life (my husband worked on another ranch, strangely enough), I’m incredibly picky about where I get pretty much anything I eat. Not necessarily because of conditions or anything (though a concern), but more because of processing.

    Similarly, my mother-in-law was raised on a farm, but is a vegan because of stomach issues. Though she has what she calls, “not A+ days” where she’ll have non-vegan foods, as well.

    It’s great to see, even in the comments, that we’re all conscious of the foods we eat, and that we’ve all made different decisions based on what is best for us personally. Whatever we do, as long as we can live our definition of a full life, I think is best.

    Thank you for sharing!
    XO, Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

    • Thanks, Jessica! I was so hoping to frame this to everyone as my thoughts and I was hoping everyone can see that I am respecting any differences in opinion. I did not know that you grew up on a ranch–so cool! Thats a great point–I absolutely believe that too–we can’t all have one thing that works best for us–we’re all different!

  6. I’m grateful for the sensitive way that you put this post; and I do agree that some of the practices in our country are not kind or good. The righteous man regards the life of his beast, and that is not happening in some of the big corporations. We buy most of our meat from a family farm, so they don’t have the same problems as many larger corporations, but this is an issue I’ve definitely been wrestling over and thinking about. Thank you for sparking more thought in my head!

    • That sounds pretty neat that you are able to purchase meat from a farm! Yes, this is an issue I’ve been wrestling with for years off and on and even still!

  7. I way respect the way you framed your discussion. Personally, I do eat meat and dairy and not restricting it from my diet has helped me overcome an eating disorder. But I agree it’s so important to be informed and try to limit those products when we can.

    • Thank you, Cayanne. I was very much hoping that everyone would see this in a respectful way! I’m so glad that you have overcome an eating disorder–so amazing! Being informed is number one for me!

  8. First of all, love the disclaimer. Posts like these really do seem to bring out the haterz & Internet trolls.

    I hate to say it, but I guess I’ve never thought so much about it dairy or meat was healthy as a whole for everyone, but rather just about what it does to me. I can handle greek yogurt, but that’s about it. Cheese is okay, ice cream (which is probably related to sugar AND dairy) makes me feel pretty bloated & sluggish – so I proceed occasionally & only if I’m willing to endure the consequences.

    I’m a meat eater – and I think I always will be to a certain extent. The BF is a hunter – but the rule is, you kill it, you eat it. So I am confident knowing a lot of the meat I eat was free range, prepared well and killed “humanely” – or as humanely as it gets I suppose. I do find that I often eat vegetarian meals sort of naturally. I find that with the right combination of ingredients I don’t miss meat in a meal.

    I also find posts like these so interesting. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Jessie! I think if I was brought up around a hunting culture or my significant other was a hunter I’d probably have different thoughts! This is why I love reading other people’s opinions and experiences!
      That’s cool that you enjoy vegetarian meals naturally–I find that if you use the right spices you wont miss the meat!

  9. I really enjoy these kinds of discussions when people can remain respectful, and I commend you for putting it out there. I went meatless overnight about 2 years ago, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll never go back. I’ve never been big on meat in general, and the only reason I went back to it after being vegetarian for about 4 years was so that I could make sure I was over all the mental parts of my eating disorder. But now? Knowing what I know about the industry? Yeaaaah no. I don’t consume dairy on it’s own because of the negative effects it seems to have on my eczema, but I’ll still use it it baking. It’s definitely something I want to move away from in the long run though.

    • Thanks for sharing, Amanda! I can understand wanting to be sure you weren’t eating meat for the right reasons. I agree with you though, once you learn about the practices and also the negative effects on the environment and our bodies over time, it can be a turn off! Also, your blog (and hopefully mine) is living proof that you don’t have to eat bland and boring without meat!

  10. Great discussion! Overall, I think it’s just important to realize that what works for one person won’t work for another and there is no perfect diet for anyone. I couldn’t live without greek yogurt in my life and I love a good glass of chocolate milk after a run. Undoubtedly, though, I think anyone can incorporate more “vegetarian” or “vegan” practices in going meatless once or twice per week.

    • Thanks for sharing, Sarah. I really respect your thoughts as a dietitian! Great point and I absolutely agree that one way of life/way of eating cant work for everyone!

  11. I love how you started this post! There is no need for people to be negative when you are just sharing your opinions. I can’t eat much dairy, and I really don’t eat a whole lot of meat. I love how you said you’re not giving yourself a label. I think that is such a great idea! Basically, I think just eating what’s healthy and right for you is good enough without any kind of label.

    • Yes! I also think that what is good for your body and for you will change depending on your life’s circumstance. I’ll probably eat different than I do now when I’m pregnant, when I have kids, after kids, etc. I think listening to your body is really important! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  12. Love this post! I have the same exact views as you do. I personally haven’t eaten meat (I do eat seafood) for over 12 years now and don’t miss it a bit. I cook chicken for my husband every once in a while, but we eat mostly plant-based too. It definitely can be tough being gluten free but luckily our world is adapting at a rapid pace. I do not each much dairy either besides a little greek yogurt and eggs occasionally. I haven’t had cow’s milk in probably 10 years. To me, almond milk is such a great replacement. I have watched way too many documentaries to every drink regular milk again. We are the only adult mammals that drink milk (from another animal)… that just doesn’t make sense to me. It is sad because our pediatricians push it and most of them have had less than one week of nutrition training. I am a firm believe in “to each their own.” I think everyone has the right to make their own decisions and do what they feel is best for their bodies. But I do think everyone should do their own research and then make a decision rather than following someone else’s advice. Woahhh.. that was long. Love this topic … I could go on for hours.. 🙂 Have a great weekend!!

    • Wow we should meet up for coffee and just alk about this it sounds like! I wish you were closer! haha–yes yes yes! I often wonder what I’m going to do in regards to milk with my own child in the future. I dont think i want them to have cow’s milk! Ill definitely breastfeed if i can for as long as possible btu after that? Im just not sure!

  13. I think you may just be my food soul sister. I still occasionally eat dairy (usually cheese on pizza) but I always feel sick afterwards. It’s funny, I didn’t even eat dairy until I was 20!
    After education myself and speaking to several doctors who all told me that meat and dairy weren’t helping my health issues at all, they both gross me out.

    I often wonder why people drink cows milk as well!

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    • I’ve been dairy free for a few years now and definitely feel better. Of course my issues with gluten were also causing problems too but dairy was a major contributor! I’m still eating eggs and some fish here and there (mostly when out to eat) but for the most part, i just am turned off by it!

  14. Love that you touched on this topic in such an open minded way! I’ve been vegetarian for one year and have started to limit my dairy intake. I don’t think I’ll go full fledged vegan anytime soon, but I like to not contribute to the dairy industry a lot. 🙂

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