Why I thought I cannot live without meat

Markus and I no longer have meat cravings, but when I smell barbecue or fried chicken, my brain still tells me something out there is delicious. I just do not want to eat it.

Sometimes, I wonder what my younger self would think about the choices I have made, the life that we have so far lived. I know that most of how it turned out were impossible for who I was before, especially the diet switch. Who knew I could ever live without meat? I certainly did not, and for solid reason. 

Five years ago:

I ate my bodyweight in chicken wings. My favorite was spicy Korean chicken wings and would eat a box of 12 every other day.

On that one day of the week where there was an all-you-can eat chicken wings offer at some bistro or bar somewhere, I always gathered my gym friends and devoured buckets, way more than anyone else.

Looking back, it is a wonder how I fit all those chicken wings in?

How about meat with a side of meat?

10 years ago:

My diet consisted of fast food, coffee, donuts, and Pringles. I was essentially powered by junk food. And no, I was not 14 years old. I suppose this diet explained a lot of my decisions in life.

15 years ago:

I would rather die than eat vegetables. My mother is a fantastic homecook, except with vegetables that she cooks to hell and back.

20 years ago:

Actually, this can go back to the day I was born. The Philippines is pork country. It is a cultural thing from the time of the Spanish, and by now, pork runs in our Filipino blood. When I switched my diet, I honestly thought I would starve.

But I did not and here we are. Maybe it is a good thing that I already ate as much meat as I could in the past, because the future will not have any.

Or who knows actually? Life has its own way of twisting and turning that there is no saying how we end up, no matter how ridiculous one thing sounds to us now. We can be doing anything and everything and it is what makes life fun, doesn’t it?

32 thoughts on “Why I thought I cannot live without meat

  1. I understand completely! I used to devour chicken wings. I’m vegan now and still have meat cravings but it doesn’t actually taste the same anymore so there’s no point. I feel so much better not eating meat I wish I did it sooner. There are so many great meat alternatives that I still get to eat the foods I love.

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      1. My husband had digestive issues that made us give up meat. I would go back and forth and just wanted to support him at first. When we saw the documentary “What the Health” we decided to go completely vegan. I used to eat fish or chicken every now and then but health issues have moved me to stick to the diet.

        My favorite meals are just vegan versions of what we already loved. Tacos, spaghetti, nachos, fried chicken, burgers and fries. I just used Beyond or Impossible burgers, Gardein ground beef and vegan cheese. We don’t miss anything because I always find a good alternative.

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        1. You are so sweet. It is really nice that there are alternatives for people who really cannot have meat or any food for health reasons. I have not watched What the Health, but I did see The Gamechanger and related to the athletes that are able to perform on a plant-based diet. And your meals sound nice! There is really no problem because plant-based food is delicious. I have a question: are the convenience plant-based products on supermarkets considered as processed food?

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    1. I suppose this is true. For the longest time, meat is a luxury. It is a common immigrant story, from Italians coming to America and so on. But now, meat is readily accessible. Maybe at some point things will change. Actually, I see plenty of organic plant-based food sold at premium. It frustrates me a lot because good food must be accessible for a cultural and social change. It will be a tragedy if high quality food becomes luxury.

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  2. I believe there’s hope for everyone to start eating healthier.

    Like you, my mom would tell me it’s as if she’s serving me poison while it was just Chopsuey. She tried her best to lessen the junk I was feeding myself but to no avail.

    I started eating veggies when I was preggy with Brook, it was 2012… but I was partly gagging while eating because I hate fibers getting stuck in my throat. Moving forward, 2019, I started doing Keto and now, all I crave are the veggies we’re allowed to eat. Chopsuey is now my favorite to my mom’s delight!

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    1. Serving you poison – that made me laugh. Yes, I agree with you. We can always do whatever we want with our diet. Nothing is impossible as long as we find a reason to do it. And that was awesome, forcing the veg for Brook! The things mothers do for the babies. I am not educated about keto, but I am glad it works for you!

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    1. It is hard to connect the two individuals, honestly. But at least we can laugh about it. We enjoy a tofu preparation of the Filipino classic pork sisig. It is fast and simple to make and really tasty with a soft egg. Like comfort food!

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  3. A fluke of circumstances caused me to discover that dead animals smell like bacon for a couple days before they turn. You’d think that would put me off bacon! It didn’t.

    I find the hardest part of being vegetarian (which I currently am not, again) is how good cooking meat smells!!

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    1. Yes, the smell is really something. But thankfully, I can appreciate it without eating it. And that is an interesting story. I believe you and hope I do not have to find out for myself. Haha!

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  4. I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years now, but sometimes the smell of cooking meat makes me wonder what it’d be like if I “fell off the wagon.” A few days ago, while walking down the hallway of my apartment building, I caught the unmistakable odor of barbecue pork fried rice. (We have quite a few Filipino and Cantonese residents here, so the smell of cooking pork is quite common in the halls.) Yes, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and was hungry at the time, but if someone had handed me a plate of that fried rice, I probably would have forgotten my reasons for not eating meat and devoured it in seconds, the smell was that good!

    That said, on the few occasions where I did eat meat, usually because there was nothing else available and I’m prediabetic, meaning I need to eat at regular times, it was always a disappointment. The taste was never as good as the smell, and the texture felt strange in my mouth, like I was chewing rubber. My stomach would also balk at the fat content in the meat, and I would end up sick later in the day. My doctor, who is from Taiwan and thinks meat is a necessary part of a healthy diet, insists “a little animal protein won’t kill you.” So I do eat fish from time to time, but probably not enough to make my doctor happy. It is tough to transition to a completely vegan/vegetarian diet, but I think the rewards, ethical, environmental and physical, are well worth it. I hope you continue eating a meat-free diet, but if you decide to go back to being an omnivore, at least you tried and understand the impact it has on the planet and your body. 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog, by the way!

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    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. The smell of cooking is really unbearable sometimes, I feel you. And Markus also commented the exact same thing with meat – it is disappointing at best. I hope you are able to enjoy a diet that is good for your values and your health at the same time. I also eat fish and seafood when I know where it came from and how it was caught. This is important to me. As for meat (poultry, beef, pork, and so on) I just cannot eat it. I get the runs! Why did you choose to eat plant-based 20 years ago?

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      1. I’d been vegetarian on and off for a number of years, but what got me to stay was the death of our much-beloved dog, a little Pomerpoo who accompanied the kids and I on our many adventures driving across country. It may sound absurd, but in my grief, I thought about how hypocritical it was for me to cry over this one dog when animals are slaughtered every day for food, including many dogs in Asia. I wondered why westerners value one species of animal over another and are repulsed at the thought of eating their pets, while it’s acceptable for them to eat cows, pigs (who are as intelligent if not more so than dogs) and poultry? I also read Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” around this time, which affirmed my view that the way animals are treated as food/agricultural products is unethical. (That said, I still eat dairy products after becoming sick on a strict vegan diet, which is why my doctor insisted I eat seafood and some meat. I still refuse to eat the latter—I don’t think I can anymore—but I will cook the occasional wild-caught salmon.)
        It’s helped a lot that my older daughter married into an Indian family that’s vegetarian. They’ve taught me how to cook many basic Indian dishes that are both delicious and nutritionally balanced. I think American food preferences are changing, especially as more people link physical and climate health to a plant-based diet. If it benefits the welfare of animals, so much the better.

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        1. Oh, thank you for sharing a part of your story. Sorry to hear about your dog. I am honestly having a moment with chicken eggs – here I am saving turtle eggs but why am I eating chicken eggs? But this is for another time. I am glad you are able to respond to your health and I wish it continues to be better. I can be stubborn with mine. And lucky you for having inspiration and learnings into veg food! We had to start from scratch but it has been fun. I think what matters is we are conscious of why we eat what we eat and not just mindlessly do so. Room for empathy is created this way. It is also humbling when we realize we are not above anything. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Really appreciate you.

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  5. I laughed out loud when I read about your mother cooking vegetables to hell and back. My mother, who is a wonderful cook, does the same. Everything is boiled until it turns into mush. I enjoy steamed, roasted or stir-fried veggies much more than boiled.

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    1. Yes! Veg are so nice when prepared better. There is a lot of texture and flavor that people miss out on. Also, you can get really creative with veg and they can have another surprising life. Having said all that, I am curious why our mums enjoy cooking the hell out of veg?

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        1. 15 – wow! I understand. Still, I imagine there is less waste when we cook food that gets to be eaten. I am so satisfied when food I made is just enough to fill everyone and there is no waste.

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  6. I suppose the older we get the more body conscious we become. It’s good that you are making better lifestyle choices and not just downing junk food because it’s on special. As for giving up all sorts of meat completely… yeah we don’t see eye to eye there 😅 just cause I love fish!

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    1. I agree, age has a lot to do with it. But as you know, eating plant-based just fell upon us basically. I also eat fish and seafood when I know where it came from and how it was caught or farmed. Markus also eats fish, but not seafood.

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  7. Meat every day has reduced to meat no more than 3 times in a week and we aim to reduce it to once a week by the summer! But we’re not counting the days or recording everything because like you say ‘life has its own way of twisting and turning’. 🙏

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    1. Why are you choosing to eat this way? Happy it is working out so far! And it is no surprise that eating less meat is not hard. There are plenty of other tasty things in the world, right?

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      1. there are several reasons, but mainly I try to do my part for the environment – even if I know I am nowhere near what we should all do unfortunately 😦 I also like to try new recipes all the time, and veggies are great to “experiment” with!

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        1. That is super. And yes, we can all do more, but something is always better than nothing. I also agree with trying new recipes. We are now at a phase of decorative focaccia. Haha! What are you currently working on?

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