How to Start Eating Meat Again: Transitioning Away from Vegetarianism
I get quite a few emails from vegetarian readers asking me how to start eating meat again after a period of vegetarianism or veganism. Although they see the health benefits of recovering from omnivorism, they are hesitant about the transition itself. As you all know, I have a number of vegetarians in my life, and […]

how to eat meat again - starting with a steak

I get quite a few emails from vegetarian readers asking me how to start eating meat again after a period of vegetarianism or veganism. Although they see the health benefits of recovering from omnivorism, they are hesitant about the transition itself. As you all know, I have a number of vegetarians in my life, and there are many present and active in our MDA community. I sympathize with the thought that accompanies their engagement, but I choose to eat meat and obviously encourage others to do the same for optimal health.

I have found that their concerns generally fall into four areas which I will call taste, digestion, morality and psychology. For all vegetarians interested in joining the omnivorous side, allow me to pick up on your concerns and offer some suggestions with the primordial mind.

Taste and texture

Some vegetarians after many years are still nostalgic for certain meats (Bacon seems to be the most common), while others have completely lost all semblance of thirst. Perhaps they were so successful in satisfying their taste for umami, they learned to live happily without any source of meat. Alternatively, they may have spoken vehemently about taste for a long time.

Faced with the interest of recovering the nutritional benefits of meats, they wonder how to rebuild a positive relationship with their old price. We are all creatures of habit, and we tend to lean towards the familiar. As hard as it may be for meat lovers to figure out, giving up on a food group for years (and in some cases decades) means disengaging from it altogether. Associations with meat can become listless at best and disgusting at worst. A reader worried because he had come to hate the smell of grilled meat that hung around his neighborhood from the corner restaurant. "If I can't even smell it," he said, "I wonder how I'm going to put up with the taste any more."

Readers will no doubt have some great advice on the subject, but let me offer you a few suggestions to help ease the taste transition. It goes without saying (except I'm saying it) to take it easy. Use small pieces of meat (grated or minced) as a garnish in your already favorite dishes. Add some shredded lamb to a ratatouille. Include small bites of chicken or shrimp in a Greek salad. Throw some ground beef in a vegetable stew.

Otherwise, let someone else cook for a while. Make your first forays into a restaurant. Look around and see what others are eating. Go with a visually appealing dish or something that sounds good on the menu. Bring an experimental mindset. If the restaurant doesn't do it for you, ask some carnivorous friends to share some of their best dishes. Host a potluck. Try to try as many things as possible. Who knows, you might like it.


Many vegetarian readers share a more delicate concern. They worry - either because they've heard they should or (in some cases) they've experienced problems in the past - that their bodies can't digest meat anymore. Let me say that there are a lot of lies on this issue.

Would I suggest a 10 year old vegetarian jumpstart their meaty lifestyle with a big bone steak or blood sausage? No. But I think there is a way for just about anyone to get the meat back in if they take it slow enough.

Most of the clamor revolves around enzymes in the stomach. People report that their stomachs simply no longer produce meat-digesting enzymes and are forever stuck on a plant-based diet. Most of the time, I hear this statement coming from people who have been vegetarians for five years or less.

It's one of those times when I wish I could point my finger at a study group and say, "See, there's really no need to worry that a few years have selectively demolished your digestive profile." . " Unfortunately, I have not yet found a specific study in this direction. (If you know of one, send it to me.) Nevertheless, reason and experience can often tell us what scientific research cannot. While long-term vegetarianism or strict veganism can possibly reduce the production of certain protein-directed enzymes, this should not be enough to stop it, let alone nullify the genetic potential one has to produce them.

Having said that, I can understand why people don't want to jump to the bottom of the pool right away. Some people, especially if they have been vegans or vegetarians for many years, experience digestive upset in the first few days or weeks of including meat. (Similar in a way to a sugar burner turning a fat burner during the low carb flu period.) Rest assured that doesn't mean you'll always be nauseous. In my experience, most people who take it slowly say they have little to no digestive issues during the transition.

Nevertheless, here is a modest suggestion to aid in the efficient digestion of meat.

Moral hangups about meat

Granted, there is no sugar coating the bases. Yes, it was an animal and - unless you were looking for death on the road - it died to be food. As bad as a person may feel this act, of course it is the way of life. Nature is not a gentle, magnanimous force. We evolved to eat both meat and plants, whatever some may say. Eat meat (especially after baking was added to the mix) was a big boon to our species. Yes, we can live without it, but we live better with it.

Having said that, I can understand the discomfort many people have with the modern meat industry. In an appropriate correlation, the husbandry practices that produce the healthiest meat also tend to be more humane and less destructive to the environment as a whole. It's not a perfect scenario, but it's a better one.

Nowadays, it is possible for most people to find grazing meat raised with more humanity, either within driving distance, through local co-ops and buying clubs, or by direct mail. If local stores don't have what you're looking for, look for area farms and natural buying clubs available to you, and check out farm-to-consumer mail order options. You should be able to know how the animals are raised, what their diet is and even which facility is handling slaughter and processing. Consider the facts, weigh the financials, and choose the best you can.

Then there is always the do-it-yourself approach. As unpleasant as killing an animal must seem, this option offers the best chance of ensuring that an animal has had as natural a life (and human death) as possible. Some people fish for their dinners or raise their own chickens for this exact reason. Raising a small herd of cattle or sheep is obviously more complicated, but I know a few people who do. People too hunt, of course, for this among many other reasons. I admit that I have made a mental 180 in recent years around the question of hunting. There are, of course, cruel and irresponsible hunters, but friends and MDA readers (among others) have helped me see how hunting - when done with respect and skill - offers a humane and even respectful way. to relate to the animals we eat.


Often, people's emotional reserves are mostly overtaken by the previous factor. Sometimes, however, there's another level of aversion - a kind of heebie-jeebies feeling. This is more common in people who have been vegetarians or vegans for many years or who focus on the carnal “disgusting” aspect of the meat to maintain their engagement.

Some vegetarian readers have told me that they try to ignore the meat in the dish. They tell themselves - in vain - that this is just another ingredient. Their efforts to disconnect thought from sensory experience end up making matters worse. The flesh is all they can think of.

While I can see why they would want to put it out of their minds and just do the deed with as little thought as possible, maybe the reverse approach is in order. Light the grill or, better yet, a campfire. Occasionally give his primordial due. Make it a ceremony. Think about this animal and all it has to offer you now. Think about your ancestors and what they sacrificed through the ages to achieve basic survival. Grill them all. Celebrate the choice you have to make today. Eat with your hands. Feel the invigorating energy of meat and savor its connection with the essential and the wild. After all, we are all animals at the end of the day.

How to start eating meat again after being a vegetarian or vegan

  • Start with good intestinal bacteria. To integrate fermented foods, and leave with a probiotic supplement for at least a few weeks before and after restarting the meat. A healthy intestinal environment paves the way for optimal digestion (among other things of course).
  • If you've ever had digestive issues with meat, try the broth, especially bone broth, for the first week. It's good nutrition and it could be easier to manage. Continue the broth until you are ready to switch to solid meat.
  • Eat meat or fish on its own and stop eating for a few hours. (Make sure to eat it earlier in the day rather than in the evening.) Allow plenty of time for digestion and stomach emptying if you want to gauge how you will feel.
  • Use a marinade that contains an acid like vinegar or a natural meat tenderizer like bromelain in pineapple.
  • If you are having persistent problems, try short-term HCL or enzyme supplement therapy.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Have you made the switch to meat? Know someone who has? What helped (or not)? I would love to hear your thoughts.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark's Daily Apple, sponsor of the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he explains how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of many other books, including The primitive plan, which was credited with spurring the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating people on why food is the key to achieving and maintaining optimal well-being , Mark launched Primitive cuisine, an authentic food company that creates staples for Primal / Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 cuisine.

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About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no volonté to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.

There are variantes of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no assistance from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff groupes de muscles, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.

tera set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral position at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck position. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.

From this starting position, use your back to sweat the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. to control my pace, I usually pull up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting position in 2 seconds.

By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.

We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.

But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big impact on their current and future health.

Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than 7 percent of calories should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole grains and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally réactive and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even bermuda bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of soutenu activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.

It’s important to maintain a saine weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be hard on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your probabilités of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider substance nicotinique replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.

Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. to protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.


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