Why I Started Eating Meat after Two Decades of Vegetarianism

Startled Into Eating Meat Again

As a longtime fan of yours, I remember reading that when you had cancer, you started eating meat again. I’m at a dietary crossroads myself and would love to know why you made the shift. —Syl Stenhouse, London, England

In 1989, after twenty years of macrobiotics, then renowned as the diet for preventing cancer, I was shocked to find that I’d developed invasive cervical cancer! Asking myself how I could reverse it, I knew that I needed to add meat to my daily diet. This knowing was based on an incident from the summer before.


I was backpacking in an alpine meadow in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and absolutely everything was right with the world. My favorite vegetarian foods were safely strung on tree limb out of bear reach, and I was luxuriating in the leisure to just be. While ambling through some reeds, there was an explosive whoosh a pace from me as two white-tailed ptarmigan took flight. I recoiled in surprise. But the next instant was more surprising: I found myself lunging forward in a primal effort to seize my supper! I missed the birds, caught my breath, and realization dawned: tofu wasn’t cutting it. When I made my way down from the mountain, the first thing I bought was not a veggie burger. Daringly, once or twice a month, I added poultry and then a little beef back into my diet—and in all seriousness, it did feel daring, as I was a vegetarian spokesperson and strongly identified with this stance.

Overcoming Cancer

With the cancer diagnosis, I bowed to intuition rather than principles, and meat became a daily staple. I said no to the recommended hysterectomy. I worked with alternative health-care practitioners and increased my meditation practice, and six months later I was—and have remained—cancer-free. That was 28-years ago.

Now here’s what I’ve observed with my Face Reading and Diet Consultation clients. Today people throughout the world commonly have digestive issues including increased intestinal permeability, systemic inflammation and autoimmune conditions. Contributing factors include poor-quality foods, stress and environmental issues. To regain one’s health, many people require lifestyle shifts and an exploratory abstinence from problematic foods. It’s heartening to witness people of all ages regain their health by eliminating foods that challenge their particular digestion. For some examples, see these Before and After photos.

That’s my experience. Now, ask yourself: What is your optimum diet? If your energy is low and your digestion is challenged, consider an elimination diet that temporarily excludes potentially problematic ingredients, typically dairy, eggs, foods with a seed coat (grains, beans, nuts and seeds) and nightshades. Your healing options include meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits and fats. This describes today’s popular diets that go by various names including an “autoimmune diet” or Whole30 (not a generic paleo diet). Such diets meet all nutritional requirements. But here’s the crucial point: they enable you to mend your gut. Good luck, you have your health to gain

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