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.

Onions
Onions

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

6 Responses to Startled Into Eating Meat Again

  1. Hi Rebecca ! It has been decades since I last saw you. What fun to read your advice on FB. I, too, was macrobiotic for about 15 years, which saved the life of my daughter, Allana. You and Sandy were central in that miracle. After that, with working intensively “in the world”, I realized my body, spirit, and mind needed more. I added fish and chicken, and later added animal orotein a few times a week. With the grass fed, happy farm options available to us, meat is a rich and tasty addition. Where ther was once rice, I am now grain free, and my gut is happy. Allana is now a superb Functional Medicare Practitioner. Sending you love, Karen

    • Karen…How lovely to hear from you. Not long ago I was recalling you and a colorful piece of your art that hung in our home. Nice to hear of Alana. Yes, thanks be for how diet changes helped her at a critical time.

      Indeed, globally, our digestive prowess has declined resulting in an increasing number of people who cannot tolerate grains. Good on you for tracking your own needs and adapting as necessary. Much love to you, Rebecca

  2. Hi Rebecca…thanks for sharing this important story with us. After taking some of your classes in Boulder, I practiced macrobiotics and ended up with ovarian cysts. There seemed to be a link with soy products for me. Now that most soy is GMOed, do you still eat it?

    On another note, I’m curious as to how you liked living in Crestone? My husband Marlow and I are considering retiring in the San Luis Valley area, and I remember you, Peggy Markel, and Jill (Gillian) living there. Would you recommend that climate/area? I have chemical sensitivity and have to live where the air and water are clean. I hope all continues to be well with you. Sue Seecof and I were reminiscing about you and your lovely family recently…fond memories, for sure.

    Thanks, lovely,

    Allenda (I worked at the Green Mtn. Grainary Herb Shop)

    • Hi Allenda, Lovely to hear from you and recall rich memories. Re. soy, the relevant question for you is: are you able to assimilate soy? The number of people unable to tolerate soy continues to grow. YOu mention chemical sensitivities. That suggests corresponding digestive issues in which case I’d consider an elimination diet to identify problematic foods. Re. Crestone, yes, it’s a remarkable area. Check it out; and good luck in finding your perfect spot.

  3. The same thing happened to me! I was vegan/vegetarian for many years and a nutrionist told me to start eating animal protein.I feel much better now, though I continue to eat a mainly plant based diet.

  4. Dearest Rebecca,

    You continue to inspire and inform. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisedom. And the beautiful photo of Snow-capped Mount Shasta.

    Happy Thunder Moon

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