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Vegetarian transitioning to omnivore lifestyle -- any advice?

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Thanks in advance. I've been a vegetarian for 22 years, during most of which I ate milk and eggs, so animal protein is not completely foreign to me.

Any tips from anyone who has made this transition? Has anyone had bad reactions to reintroducing red meat in their diets?

I'm especially interested in establishments which serve organic, humanely-raised animal products, with a special emphasis on the latter. What are some Manhattan-based butchers and restaurants to visit? I know of the Meat Hook in Williamsburg, and there's "Bareburger" in Astoria..any other places? Much appreciated -- I love these boards.

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The Meat Hook
100 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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  1. Back in the day, I was vegetarian (but eating dairy and eggs) for about eight years, but then I started planning a year overseas, and decided that I needed to toughen up my belly to withstand the rigors of international travel. I wanted to be able to eat anything I encountered overseas (mostly Russia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico), so I spent a few months training my stomach to handle, say, tripe and sausage and chicharron and anything else I might run across.

    The weird part is that I had no trouble at all. I started with fish (I think my first non-vegetarian meal was shark, of all things), and was eating the most greasy, disgusting, cheapass sausage pizza I could find within a month or two. Vegetarians like to scare each other into thinking that our bodies will go into complete revolt at the first sight of a bacon bit... but it certainly wasn't the case for me. I had no unusual gastrointestinal distress during that transition period at all.

    And maybe our family just has a gene for easy post-vegetarian transitions, but my sister was a vegetarian for about 15 years before she randomly started chomping on beef one day at a Thai restaurant--and she had no trouble at all, either. Hopefully it will go just as well for you... good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: UnitedNationsOfFood

      Like you, hubby and I are planning to live abroad (Senegal, to be exact) at some point. Not only have I not had any trouble, but I might actually feel better. I just feel more grounded, even energetic. Have you had that response? It's only been 2 weeks, but I must confess, I've been really enjoying the transition.

      1. re: Aucoin

        Yeah, I think I did feel better once I started eating meat. More generally, I'm pretty convinced that I felt worse when I ate "too carefully" as a vegetarian. I think our bodies (or at least mine, anyway) needs an occasional infusion of dense, fatty, greasy, food to keep itself sharp. If I don't eat a super-dense meal about once a week, I feel like crap. I probably don't need to eat them once a day, but... well... I'm on a quest to eat as much international food as I can while I'm in NYC, and I'll worry about my waistline later. ;)

        I also think I had more digestive issues back when I was a careful, hyper-health-conscious vegetarian. Now that I eat massive quantities of street food (including the street meat that would have scared the crap out of me when I was a vegetarian), I have no digestive troubles at all. Go figure.