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Oct 25, 2006 07:11 PM

missing meat and other forbidden foods?

Have any of you had to give up foods you used to eat regularly, and do you miss these foods? I'm talking about permanent lifestyle changes, such as becoming an ethically-motivated vegetarian or starting to keep kosher or halal, or perhaps discovering that you have a severe food allergy. (I'm not thinking about giving up, say, red meat for health reasons--that sounds like a rule that can be safely be broken on special occasions, which would make it somewhat easier to live with.)

Do you continue to miss the forbidden food, or do cravings for it go away after you haven't eaten it for a while? Is it best to avoid temptation completely, or can you happily eat your salad while everyone else is having lobster (or whatever is the case for you)? Does it make a difference if your significant other/family members/friends share the same dietary restrictions or are supportive of yours? Do you ever cheat, even when you know you shouldn't?

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  1. Yeah, I do miss pork sometimes. Its a constant vigilance that you have to keep to make sure the wontons are made with shrimp not pork, or that the crust of that amazing looking pie does not have lard. At residence, I coveted my roomates' sweet and sour pork but funnily enough they were the ones who helped me over come the temptation. Still looks good though sometimes!

    4 Replies
    1. re: beany

      what made you give up pork? i think i would die without bacon.

      1. re: lintygmom

        Actually I have never really eaten pork except for a couple of mistakes and one or two acts of rebellion. Its religious. I have heard that vegetarians find the smell of meat cooking really disgusting, and although I used to find that impossible, I do think the smell of bacon is repulsive. Wierd eh?

        1. re: beany

          Aside from the fact that the smell of bacon makes me drop to the floor in a puddle of happy drool, I was wondering if you were kosher, since shrimp aren't kosher either. And I didn't know if shrimp were halal.

          1. re: lintygmom

            :) what can I say...different strokes for different forks!!

            Yes, I am Muslim, so no pork for me but thankfully shrimp is totally ok :)
            (really thankfully!!!)

    2. Many people taking various cholesterol medications are banned from eating grapefruit, including myself. Apparently there is some side effect which increases the amount of the medication in the bloodstream which can be dangerous. Or something like that - I'm no doctor, so don't quote me on it.

      I miss it incredibly. And no, the craving has not disappeared. It only makes me miss it more. Obviously, this isn't in the same league as someone who has made a complete lifestyle change, but damn, I really do crave them and miss them a lot.

      And no, I haven't cheated once in the 2 years I've had to discard them from my diet. I'm too afraid of what might happen if I eat it!

      5 Replies
      1. re: sivyaleah

        I find that Fresca which is only grapefruit flavored and does not contain grapefruit is something that helps me when I have grapefruit cravings. It is not just cholesteerol but high blood pressure meds too that forbid grapefruit.

        1. re: Candy

          I guess if you enjoy soda that helps, but, alas, it's no substitute for a piece of fruit.

          I'm not a big soda drinker in general and lately have issues w/soda anyway too believe it or not - I take another med for migraines which has this odd side effect of making soda taste awful. Weird huh? However, I have found that natural sodas like Virgils Root Beer & Cream sodas are fine and plain seltzer with natural syrups, such as Monin are ok, so I can make myself a Vanilla soda - yum!.

          And yes, thanks for pointing out about the BP meds too, I forgot to mention that one!

        2. re: sivyaleah

          there's an enzyme in your liver that breaks down many different drugs (called p450 cyp3a4). Many drug interactions and side effects are based on the fact that some drugs increase the effectiveness of this enzyme and others slow it down. Grapefruit juice slows it down, so if you're taking a medication metabolized by this same enzyme (like statins) this may lead to unexpectedly high levels of the that drug in your blood. Statins themselves carry a risk of rhabdomyolysis (muscle cell breakdown), so slowing down the metabolism of this drug and raising blood statin levels increases your risk for developing rhabdo.

          It's not like you are doomed if you accidently have grapefruit juice, but it's a good idea to avoid it -- better safe than sorry. And this is also why it's important to see your doctor regularly to be sure that your body continues to respond properly to the dose of any medication that you're on.

          1. re: amandine

            Wow! Thanks for that detailed explanation! So, I guess if I had a bit of grapefruit intermezzo now and then, maybe I wouldn't be too at risk LOL. Good thing I get my blood tested every 6 months :-)

            1. re: sivyaleah

              whatever your doctor says is okay. :) i heard about one case that a gentleman on statins died after having 2 or 3 glasses of grapefruit juice every day and ran into serious complications... but i don't know which / what dose statins he was on.

              props to you for taking care of your cholesterol and being wise about interactions and such!

        3. have eaten no cows, pigs, or any other land animal or waterfowl in 25 years and have never craved any of it.

          my husband [the cook in our household] does not share in my dietary restrictions, but is supportive and has learned to cook great meals for me. with the exception of one sorta clueless sil, everyone i know is aware and supportive of my dietary choices.

          1. It looks like I may need to give up a lot of carby foods (for health reasons) in the next little while. Considering that I'm ADDICTED to carbs (of any kind) this seems like it's going to be the death of me. I have a friend who gave up all things sweet 2 years ago and is thriving, but I don't think I have the willpower to do it. I have no resistance to these kinds of things.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rbc

              We were overly addicted to simple carbs as a result of a very poor low fat diet which made us fatter and fatter, notice how much low fat diets rely on pasta and the like? Go figure, we thought we were doing the right thing. Our MD suggested cutting out the simple carbs. Weight went down, cholesterol and blood pressure improved. We do allow some, but not many, complex carbs in our diets now and honestly there is just not a whole lot that we miss any more. Our occasional pasta is Dreamfields. If we have a fruit juice craving I buy the light varieties that use Splenda in them. A lot of fruit does have some fiber, but not much and lots of sugar we just don't need in our (personally) diets. You can do it and just ignore the alarmists. We are slimmer and healthier than we were almost 4 years ago. Go back to the old low fat regime? No way.

              1. re: Candy

                I don't eat regular pasta anymore - switched to spelt and kammut pastas (which I much prefer the texture of anyways). i'M talking more about very simple carbs (cookies, cakes, basically anything made of pure sugar).

              2. re: rbc

                carb cravings self-perpetuate. ease off (slowly), substitute with protein sources and you might find youself feeling less "addicted."

                but give up all things sweet?? that's not a way to live. :) give up all the sweet things that you don't really really love, and eat slowly the ones that you do.

              3. I was vegetarian for a long time. Not only did I not have trouble staying away from meat, but strong meat odors would make me nauseous. Vegans aren't putting on airs when they claim that the smell of meat makes them sick; it really does. So in that sense, most vegetarians don't really miss meat. (I do know a vegan who occasionally eats burgers, but for this reason I suspect she's a poseur.)

                The one thing that does get difficult is the lack of variety. Even in NY, I would always get a bit envious of the many choices available to meat eaters. I didn't want to eat meat; I just wanted a better selection.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dunstable

                  I was vegetarian for about ten years, and really didn't miss meat at the time. I'm sure there were occasional cravings for pepperoni pizza or bacon, but no major struggle. I did at one point try to go vegan, but it wasn't worth it to me, between my love for cheese and how useful eggs are in pastry.

                  I agree with you about the lack of variety. I usually tell people that what pushed me off the wagon was getting a job in a restaurant where the pantry girl next to me was cooking bacon every day, but also I just got so tired of being limited. Going out and having your choice of usually the pasta dish or cobbling something together from the side dishes, having to worry about what has chicken stock in it, etc. I wanted to enjoy more foods and not always feel singled out. I don't eat that much meat now, but I do eat things that I like and generally enjoy the variety.