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Feb 13, 2012 08:35 AM

Your help in transitioning me back to eating meat.

Helloooo Hounds,
I have frequented these boards for many years and now I come to you with a HUGE request for help. I have been a vegetarian since I was 17. I am now 35. Over half of my life that is. The history might be important to some of you so I will give you a brief overview.

My mom was a vegetarian. I found some of her literature and read way too much. I became disgusted with how we mass-produce and the unnatural raising and sometime cruelty involved. I couldn't imagine putting the stress and hormone induced flesh in my own body.

I still feel the same. But I also feel that although this is the typical way of corporate farming, there seems to be a resurgence of traditional farming. I like that. I understand the food chain and the need for a diet closer to what our ancestors lived off from.

I can now purchase meat where the animals have been raised in a respectable way and not injected with growth hormones or subjected to tight living quarters or abuse (i understand this is assumed) and this makes me more comfortable with the idea of eating meat again.

I already cook meat for my husband and child. My last pregnancy had me so ill, I resorted to eating chicken stock to keep from losing more weight. (I couldn't eat vegetables, I would get sick)

I am now pregnant again and seriously considering adapting a lifestyle of incorporating some meat and fish back into my diet.

I need help.

I wasn't a huge fan of seafood even when I did eat meat. But fried fish I could handle.
I ate a lot of chicken. We ate roast beef and meatloaf a lot in my house.

My main deal is texture. So I've struggled with chewiness.

I'm looking for any advice from people like myself or from hounds who have recipes they think might gently work me back into meat.

i'm thinking i'll start with soups where broth is incorporated and maybe fish (no oceanfare for me right now with being pregnant - however open to it eventually)

So, I beg of you dear hounds, any recipes out there you could help me out with?

Also, this is really a hard topic to discuss, so I'm hoping we can remain civil. I don't judge anyone else's food choices, please respect my own journey with food!

And above all, THANK YOU.


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  1. I'm sure you'll get LOTS of options, but if you're concerned about chewiness, ground meat will probably help you. Chicken meatballs can be moist and tender, and you can flavor them any way you want.

    Regarding seafood, if you can find some sustainably farmed flaky mild white fish, like cod or tilapia, those would be good gateway fish. One thing you might like would be to mix some pieces of baked cod into mashed potatoes, then bread with panko and pan-fry.

    3 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Thank you KateCM. I really appreciate any help. I'm just having a helluva time.

      1. re: lollya

        If you're in Minneapolis, you are where the king of freshwater white fish calls home. I'm talking about the delectible walleye. and it's MUCH better for you than any farmed anything, especially tilapia. The French dish Hachis Parmentiere is basically really good mashed potatoes with flaked white fish folded in. I'll bet you'd like that -- especially made with walleye!

        Message me for some recipes to transition into meat eating. I did that also.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Hachis Parmentier is red meat - traditionally ground beef, but gone uptown with shredded, cooked duck.

          You're thinking of Brandade de Morue - the fish-pie version, and yes, probably much better with walleye than with salty, fishy cod.

    2. I see you're in Mpls. you could try going to the deli counter at the Wedge and get small containers of things with meat in them and see what works for you. (Many years ago I lived a few blocks from there and lived on their deli sandwiches. Yum!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        Love your name Weezie. I think I'll use Weezieduzzit as my motto. I am in Mpls and do frequent the Wedge. This is a great idea. Thank you.

      2. The easiest flesh protein to eat with regard to texture would be white fish. If you can eat fried fish, you might be able to eat a sauteed fish filet. Since ethical food production is important to you, I'd visit Whole Foods, and read the packages to understand the where the fish came from. Fresh or flash frozen white fish has a mild, neutral taste. Some of it disintegrates when cooked too long, and other fish toughens. So, you would want to follow package directions closely when preparing it for yourself. I like a simple baked fish, but since you have eaten fried fish, perhaps sauteeing it briefly might be a better choice. You can top the fish with a sauce made of sauteed halved cherry tomatoes, chopped onion or shallot, a little garlic and finally capers or chopped greed olives. You do the sauce right in the pan in which you sauteed the fish.

        The other mild, neutral flesh would be chicken breasts. These can be sauteed, after pounding them flat, the same way you fix the fish. They can also be poached in a simmering broth, such as a good commercial chicken broth.

        Possibly a flexetarian cookbook might be of help to you. Good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo

          Thank you. I should let you all know I tried fish last night. I'm dedicated to fixing my diet!

          Thank you. A Flexitarian book sounds wonderful. There was one that came out but I can't remember the title...must google.

          1. re: lollya

            '"The Flexitarian Table." It was a Cookbook of the Month a few years back.

        2. I was trying to use only "politically correct" meat for awhile and I quickly learned that grass-fed beef requires different cooking techniques. I made a chili that, though the sauce was delicious, was completely dry and stringy in texture because the beef was so lean and had virtually no marbling. I'm not being such a purist now but hope to go back to it when I have more control over my budget. Not sure what the solution but am thinking a butcher at a place like Whole Foods or other natural store could give you advice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kleine mocha

            I completely understand. We have a local butcher I might need to go meet. :)

          2. Not a recipe, but it helps if the meat is minced or ground. Small pieces alleviate some textural issues. Start with a very small portion and see how you do.

            1 Reply