Another Grain Fed Vegetarian & Vegan, Saved by Grain Free, Gluten Free Paleo

Read Jennifer's story.

Hi Richard,

Long time reader....

Mmmmm...veganism! it took me a while to learn the lesson that not eating meat is just a delusional quest for health.

As a little girl, my very, very, very favorite food was filet mignon. My dad would actually chop it into tiny bites, deep fry it just so the outside was crisp and the inside was still blue and toss them to me like I was a little bird.

At 18, I found idealism and became a vegetarian. I was one until I got pregnant with my son at 22. Those four years were the first time in my entire life that I struggled with weight.  I just got thicker and thicker so just kept eliminating more and more fats and eating more and more grains in futility because that just led to me getting thicker and thicker.  When i was in my first trimester, I started craving meat so badly that I ate it as much as I could (filled with guilt...those poor animals!) as raw as I could and eating grains at the other meals to pay for my sins.

I omnivored it for the next 9 years. Then, I decided to go hardcore vegan. I never made it to the raw state and I can't even imagine the horror that my poor bowels would have had to go through if I had. As it was, I developed a horrible case of IBS with my seed oils, quinoa, and daily raw salad and tempeh salads.  My depression reached an epic low (I did lose weight but I was not digesting a THING...it was literally going right through me). I did this for a year.  I developed really painful eczema on my feet and hands and finally had to have surgery on my bowels.  I have since discovered how gluten intolerant I am. I was also in constant pain.  Sugar is vegan (well, brown sugar is...I wouldn't do white sugar because I'd read somewhere that bones were used to bleach it....honey was way off limits because the bees didn't make it for us... I was in a sad state!). My joints hurt, I was insomniac.  Truly it was ridiculous in hindsight....but, I worked in a health food store and it was supposed to be such a health promoting diet that i just kept slogging through it.  Possibly the worst side effect of my veganism was that I became such a self-righteous, pompous asswipe....and I knew asswipes, what with the IBS and all. But I digress....

One night at a party, my friend's husband, a chef, brought some pulled pork he'd smoked (I lived in the south) and I just fell into it as if it were a soft bed of delight.  It wasn't until a year and a half ago that I found Mark's Daily Apple and then Free the Animal a little after that.  I spent the entire summer doing it paleo. it REVOLUTIONIZED my life.  My skin was beautiful again, I had energy to spare, My digestion was a thing of beauty....and I lost weight without trying.

Last year, though, the earthquake hit Haiti, where I'm from, and when I went to help out the week after, I just had to eat whatever I could.  When I was driving back from Miami, I was in a bad car accident that I'm only just NOW feeling mostly healed from.  So, this past year has been very difficult because I've not been in a place to follow the lifestyle, as I haven't been in a position of controlling much of my food. BUT.....six weeks ago, I picked it all back up.  I had wings for breakfast today after a fasted HIIT and lifting heavy things.  Already in the past few weeks, I've debloated, sleep has been better, and energy is coming back in spades. YAY MEAT!

Okay....that was a lot more than a meat story, but whatever.

Thank you for your blog and your continued work!

vegangirl
Vegan Girl
cavegirl
Cave Girl

Well, more success stories sporting bikini-clad after shots, please! Uh, ladies only.

So there you have it. Simple. Effective. Forward it to a vegetarian or vegan today. Do it now! And Please share it with your skeptical Facebook Friends and Twitter Tweeps. Buttons up top.

Comments

  1. All of these stories are just propaganda. She’s probably on steroids. I bet she also ate her cat.

  2. much prefer male rooster to cat. :)

  3. Recently, I had a booth at the National Food Expo with tens of thousands of people attending. There was an exhibit section for Vegan/Vegetarian food products and other ‘Health’ promotions for their lifestyle. Many of these people attending booths and buyers who are in the lifestyle dropped by my booth to sample my liquid Food Supplement (www.rushmoresuperfoods.com).

    Each and everyone utilizing the vegan/vegetarianism programs appeared to be very sickly, thin, pale, face blotches and sang high praises of their lifestyle. Without exception, they all appeared to be very sick and not a single one looked like he/she were healthy. In fact, some looked like they just got out of a concentration camp.

    All those working my booth including some celebrities made the same comment over and over…
    “that person needs to eat some meat”…. as they say, ‘you are what you eat’…..

  4. I would forward this to my vegan friend, he’ll still say we shouldn’t eat meat because it’s actively harming animals needlessly. He doesn’t see his need for food as a need, but actively admits that it’s ok to buy grains and things because a bugs life isn’t the same as a cows, and that the number of rodent deaths from factory farming is unsubstantiated. He claims moral consistency is his driving motivation, but I say his lifestyle is a contradiction. Anyway, things like this wont sway most vegans until they experience what the diet does to them over the long term, and then they’ll discover eating properly and write testimonials like this.

  5. Stabby says:

    I have less of an issue with vegetarianism/veganism as I do with the naive belief that grains, seed oils and tofu are healthy and should constitute significant amounts of a diet. Everyone deserves to be healthier than that. If someone gets enough fat, eats non-toxic carbs, takes a boat-load of supplements and a ton of other stuff then they can be reasonably healthy long-term. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to try but if there are little idealistic girls who just can’t stand to see Bambi’s mother on their plate then -somebody- should get their shit together and guide these people in a reasonably healthful direction.It is the folks who take the “it’s all good as long as it’s not that dirty sinful rot-in-your-colon meat” attitude that rankle me.

    • Good point, Stabby. We spend a lot of time ragging on vegans. Although it can be entertaining and great fun, it’s fairly pointless to argue directly with a religious belief system; there’s no common ground. However, if we can get enough information out there to get between veganism and the innocently ignorant, then we can help spare the health of a lot of people .. and make the world a more friendly place to live .. for both people and animals.

    • Derek S. says:

      Good points. Personally my “paleo” eating habits have morphed over the past two years from a high-meat/low-carb/high-SFA model at the start of my journey into something resembling an “almost-vegetarian” macronutrient profile of low-meat/low-to-moderate-carb/high-MUFA diet. I’ve also seen it referred to as a “Mediterranean low-carb” type diet.

      Whatever the terminology I’ve found, for whatever reason, that my blood lipid numbers, muscle-building capacity, fat loss and general feeling of well-being are much greater with my current diet than it was during the first 18 months on your typical low-carb paleo diet.

      My guess is that it doesn’t matter one bit how much or how little meat you consume as long as you eat nothing but whole, natural foods that are prepared in a way that allows your body full access to all the nutrients (in other words very little raw food except some fruit). There is room for variation based on personal body responses and not everyone will be the same. The caveman diet works for me but in a limited fashion. A “Mediterranean” style diet works wonders for me and that’s what I’m sticking with, based on much experience.

      P.S. My version of “Paleo Mediterranean” consists of little to no grain, lots of vegetables, lots of olive oil, lots of fish, moderate fruit, a few legumes, little dairy, little meat, no sugar or other processed foods of any kind. I limit the raw foods to salads which are not the focus of a meal, as we cannot absorb nutrients from raw veggies very well.

      • We all need the same nutrients, but don’t need to get them from all the same foods. The trouble with veganism is you can *not* get all the nutrients you need from the foods you are allowed in that ideology. Note I said “foods” and not “supplements.” I understand a supplement as something you take when you are not getting enough of a nutrient. If you *have* to take a supplement and not just because you were stupid and didn’t eat enough eggs in the past week then you need to re-evaluate what you are allowing yourself to eat.

  6. Good for you, Jennifer!

  7. Adam Landry says:

    Awesome job!

  8. Shaunna says:

    Bees didn’t make honey for us…but apple trees make the apples for us!

    • Philippe says:

      Touché

    • Derek S. says:

      Exactly…bees are sentient beings and we cannot demean their work by stealing it for our benefit. Bees of the world unite! Unionize the bees! Fight the capitalist oppressors!

      *sarcasm intended

    • Agree, but, fruit trees didn’t exist in groves when Grok roamed the land. They were most likely a rare find and just for a few months out of the year. I’m sure that equation changes when you get closer to the equator, and that nut bag Harley.

      The one only defense to honey is that if you were going to pick a calorie source, to store for survival purposes, raw unadulterated honey has an infinite shelf life stored in a cool dark place. They found this in King Tuts tomb and it was still edible. Don’t think an apple will last that long but the seeds probably will if they are heirloom.

      I think the best thing bees do for us, better than honey, and that’s pollinating. It’s been said that if it weren’t for bees man would not exist, but I’m not sure that holds much logic with carnivores. Cows eat grass which doesn’t require bees intervention. Interesting none the less.

      Thanks for stimulating thought on this with your comment.

      • There are no heirloom apple seeds, apples planted from seed never grow true to type because modern apples are an entirely manmade creation. ;)

      • Saturated fat stores better than honey. There were fat Egyptians getting heart attacks. I’d take pemmican over a honey stash any old day.

        Only some plants bee-pollinate. Some wind-pollinate and some self-pollinate. And for plant foods such as tubers it really doesn’t matter how they pollinate since they have multiple ways of propagating themselves and we don’t tend to eat the fruits of tuber plants anyhow.

        I understand why people are hysterical about honeybees disappearing but those aren’t even indigenous to North America. One wonders how this continent wound up full of indigenous tribal people before Columbus showed up if they really needed the honeybee to exist. And these days our diets tend to be grass-based, not fruit-based–and grass wind-pollinates.

      • Thanks Dana for the insight. I need to wiki pemmican. Got me on that one.

  9. Derek S. says:

    A new documentary is premiering this week called Forks Over Knives. It espouses the tenets put forth by T. Colin Campbell. Should be a hoot.

    • Joe Branca says:

      well I say bring it on. If it makes a big impact it means a more manageable demand for meaty goodness for the rest of us. Ok, that’s a little selfish, but…

    • Quick people, we need to pool our money and fund Denise Minger to make a sequel.

    • Carlos says:

      Did you catch Roger Ebert’s review of it? Interesting how he mixes all these vegan *facts* with a classically religious quote: “I once was blind, but now I see”.

      • Carlos says:

        Sorry, forgot the link: rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110511/REVIEWS/110519995

    • Yeah… the tenets he wouldn’t even base off his own data. What a sad man.

  10. Lute Nikoley says:

    OK, the NY steak us defrosted, and it’s going on the grill right now. Maybe I’ll have some left over salad with it.

  11. She looks stunning! Good work Jennifer.

    I’m still trying to work out the right proportions of meat msyelf, hoping to have all that sorted soon. Like Jennifer, my gut issues seemed to improve miraculously with the inclusion of more meat in my diet… except now I have completely lost my taste for veggies and seem to just want to eat steak & fat all day long! Either way Im looking forward to any kind of dietary experimentation that involves MORE steak.

    Great to see these success stories!

  12. Wow high five Jenn!

  13. Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer. I thought it was great.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Thanks Jenny! As always your writing is terrific- thank you so much for linking this to my Crossfit page- we have so many people this will help! :) <3

  15. thank you for all the wonderful feedback! @mia-the gut issues will keep getting better and better. the fat actually helps the lining of your gut from everything i’ve ever read. @suzanne-i’m glad that this is helpful! again thanks everyone…i plan on getting healthier and hotter. :)

  16. Chris says:

    Great story and wonderful photographic evidence – a beautiful lady

  17. Tin Tin says:

    All this talk of bikinis and challenges has given me a thought. How about a bikini competition – vegan versus paleo? Post the bikini picks on freetheanimal.com without mentioning the pedigree (paleo/vegan) of the bikini clad babes and let the readers vote. If the vegan chicks win, we all eat veg for a month.

    • Bonnie says:

      This doesn’t really work. I have three or four female vegan friends and they are gorgeous and look the picture of health (although they all have various health problems). Most vegan ladies are nowhere near emaciated (except for the ones with eating disorders) and they don’t tend to be fat either. Women survive a hell of a lot better on a low-protein, low-fat diet.

      Meanwhile, there is paleo-style me, constantly consuming animal products – and I am still skinny, flat-chested, and everyone asks me if I’m vegan. ><

      Make it a beefcake contest though and we'd win every time!

      • Bonnie, by beefcake contest, do you mean who are the beefcakes going for? I think that all things remaining reasonable, the meat eating woman will have a huge advantage with the guys.

  18. Curmujeon says:

    Ewww! A WHOLE MONTH? After doing meatless Mondays for 6 weeks, I really look forward to Tuesdays now. Not really vegan on Mondays since I eat the usual eggs and 1/2 pint of Seinfeld nonfat yoghurt(only 10% fat). Not sure I could go totally vegan.

    Did anybody check out the Future of Food conference in Washington, DC last week? There’s some coverage in the Washington Post this week. Haven’t read it all yet, but one article talked about making wheat “more nutritious”. Another was about how the poor people get the short end of the stick because they can’t afford better food. I’m sure it’s full of the usually misguided CW, though there may be some valid issues presented like the sustainability of the current big agricultural model.

    • They’re right about poor people not able to afford better food but it’s not what they’re thinking. Fruits and veg are so damn cheap. It’s the meat that’s the problem. Yes, you could encourage the poor to learn how to make things like broth but simply getting more beef into their diet, and I mean the real stuff, not the canned stews chock-full of starchy crap? That’s another thing entirely. I mention beef because its fatty-acid profile seems to suffer the least of any of the food animals going from pastured to grain-finished. Chicken is the usual meat of the poor and it’s PUFA city. They already have so much going against them; Medicaid sucks, they’re at the mercy of medical CW anyway and they’re not going to get any help from that quarter dealing with inflammation and chronic disease. Then on top of that they get to throw more PUFA on the fire.

      Shit. I almost forgot. It’s leave-food-by-your-mailbox day in the U.S. I better go grab some tuna.

  19. What I cannot stand about Durianrider (among many things) is how he selectively chooses his “evidence.” Sure, you can find fit vegans, but you can find fit people on just about any diet.

    Maybe Mark doesn’t look the way he did–doesn’t really matter. Guy is almost 60 years old. I’ve watched videos from him and he exudes energy. Much more articulate and not so damn hateful like Harley.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    • Exactly..show me another 60 year old guy who looks even remotely as healthy and “vibrant” (to borrow a banana boy catch word) as Mark.

      Or how about an almost 80 year old man who looks as good as Art DeVany?!?

  20. Although if you find somebody fit on paleo (as in the current example), he’ll inevitably claim it’s steroids anyway. You can’t win.

  21. I love reading inspirational stories like this! I need one of my own…
    Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to hear examples of REAL people in REAL life with REAL struggles. (Like mine!)

  22. I just made pizza today. I resisted the best I could. I pulled out the ingredients, put them back, pulled them out, put them back. I did this a few times. Finally I said, “Wtf.” I pulled them out and made it.

    Now I am feeling guilty about eating it, but I was really hungry and I had the ingredients and not much else in the house. My compromise was not eating the ends, but I doubt it made much of a difference. About to pull off the toppings and throw the rest out.

    Back to trying to steer clear of grains.

    • No one should feel guilty about what they eat. If grains don’t bother your digestion (I know some people are severely intolerant of gluten) then why not eat pizza once in a while? If you stick to paleo 99% of the time, the other 1% isn’t going to really matter. If you’re so strict you never allow yourself anything you want, you might wind up not sticking to how you want to eat.

      This is one thing that really bothers me about vegetarian and veganism, and that is they really push the guilt trip. Like we’re all supposed to feel guilty about the way the food chain works *snark*

      • Curmujeon says:

        Yes, I’ve got dead pig rib ROTTING in my bowels!!! And I’m loving it! Maybe we should be more in their face about consuming animal flesh. Call it what it is–cow, pig, chicken instead of those comfortable euphemisims that we use.

        Proud Carnivore/Omnivore

      • Actually, if you look at how the animals are treated in most modern farming, it is difficult to eat meat without feeling guilty. Really look at the videos and the slaughter ones as well.

        On the other hand, not eating red meat or at least a whole lot of seafood and poulty is in the end very unhealthy. Going vegetarian and worse vegan hammers your health.

  23. I am forwarding this to an ex who is vegetarian. Awesome story!

  24. Efrat says:

    WEll, I’m vegeterian since birth. I resisted each time I was offered meat or chicken when I was a a baby and toddler.
    I do not tale supplements. I smell meat and it makes me wanna puke. Fish are about the same…
    I eat dairy, and eggs only inside something cooked (can’t make myself swallow an egg).

    I always thought that while being pregnant my body will be clear and tell me if it “changed its mind”. Well, it hasn’t. I had no craving for meat, the smell was still horibble as ever.
    I homebirthed, so it was cruicial my hemoglobine levels were high, they were, without taking suppelments.

    My dada has an elergic reaction to meat (my mom is a carnivor). I beleive it is not good for me either, hence the reason I did not touch it when a baby. I’m the only person in my family without any alergies (I do not touch a bunch of other foods, peanuts, fresh tomatos, bananas…).

    Most people argue I’m leaner then before I got pregnant (and then they clained I just lost weight), I hardly weight myself.

    I believe some people are either not meant to vegiterians, or apply the wrong food choices to their bodies within vegiterianism (some use processes foods, microwaves etc). I do not believe this means being a vegiterian is bad for you.

  25. Sebastion says:

    I have digestion issues when I eat meat (any amount).

    I was a vegetarian, but not for very long, maybe two weeks, then the lack of protein and the overload of soy started wearing down on my body (and at 250 pounds, that was a really bad thing) and I started having chest pains, which is not normal for an 18 year old.

    I can eat eggs, cheese, yogurt…but anything else makes my stomach cramp up and it goes right through me without any of the nutrients actually…being soaked into my system.

    I had never felt so horrible in my life, stomach wise. When I moved past the cramping, I did have more energy, could do more and so on.

    So, why can’t one integrate a vegetarian and a paleo diet together? Impliment the ideals of both? Whilst one wouldn’t get meat, there are many protein powders that work just as well.

    I know many paleoians (is that even a word? Oh well, it is now) will say “Protein powder isn’t paleo!” Well, I honestly don’t actually care. -shrugs- To me, it’s not about sticking to the status quo, it’s about feeling good, if I have to use something that isn’t entirely paleo, then so be it.

    Honestly, I don’t see why the two ideas can’t be integrated together. You /can/ get the amount of protein and fat that one needs from protein powders (MANY hemp protein powders are cold expeller pressed and you just have to check the ingredients).

    Also, the ridiculous immaturity up in the comments is really unneeded. Pissing at a person for what they like to eat is about as stupid as pissing at someone for being a different color then you.

    Honestly, I’m 18 and I know better then to judge a diet without trying it and I have tried every diet since I was 12, not because I needed to diet, but because I was honestly interested in how each diet effects the human body. -rubs my forehead-

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