How I Reintroduced Meat into My Pescatarian Diet

Warm Salad with Grilled Meat and Rocket Salad

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I stopped eating meat in 2017. It was a decision that I made after a couple of nutritionists told me that eliminating meat could help with my anxiety disorder. At the time, it made complete sense to me. Animals have hormones and my hormones were completely out of whack. So why not eliminate those added hormones from my diet and see if that helps. At that point, I was willing to try just about anything. I jumped head first into eating only plant based food and the more time that went by, the more I worried about how I would reintroduce meat into my diet, if I decided to down the line.

A few weeks in, I noticed an undeniable exhaustion kick in. I couldn’t get out of bed and I was having trouble functioning. I added nutritional yeast and vitamin B supplements into my diet, which helped a bit, but I felt like I was missing nutrients that my body needed. After speaking to my doctor, we decided it would be best to add eggs and seafood back into my diet. Things were good, but my anxiety wasn’t lessening at all.

I toyed with the idea of reintroducing meat into my diet for a while. But the more I read and the more I spoke to friends who had made that same transition, I was afraid. Some people got very ill while others had no issues and actually felt better once they started eating meat again.  I am usually the 1 out of 10 people that experience the crazy symptoms, so the idea of eating a piece of chicken and spending the night laying on the floor of the bathroom, sounded like nothing I wanted to have anything to do with. So I put it off.

Last week though, I put my big girl panties on and asked for a bite of Super Dad’s rotisserie chicken at dinner. It was humorous. I tore off the tiniest piece of chicken I could. I held it. I looked at it. I contemplated if I was making the right decision. It took me a full 10 minutes to get this tiny piece of chicken into my mouth and then another few minutes to actually swallow it.

And then I waited.

I’m not sure what I was waiting for. A stomach ache? Nausea? Who knows. I expected my body to revolt against this foreign substance, even though I had consumed it religiously for over 38 years before I decided to abruptly stop one day.

Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. It took me a minute to get out of my own head about it and remind myself that I wasn’t ingesting something illegal or foreign, but once that was done, I was perfectly ok. One bite mission complete.

The following night at dinner, I ate a bigger piece of chicken and experienced the same non-existent side effects.

Every bit of research I did, said the same thing… start slowly and start with chicken. Once you are sure your system is ok with chicken, move to turkey. Do the same with pork and eventually beef. Getting your body used to it gradually will be easier on your system. As of today, I’ve successfully eaten chicken three times with no side effects. This week, I’ll try turkey.

While eating meat isn’t for everyone, I have decided that reintroducing it is best for my health. Should you decide to reitroduce meat into your diet as well, here are some helpful tips I picked up along the way.

  1. Start slowly and in small quantities.
  2. Eggs and dairy first (if you’re vegan) and then poultry.
  3. Make sure you have no issues with digestion before moving onto the next type of meat.
  4. Lastly, add red meat in small quantities.

So tell me… do you eat meat? If not, do you think you’ll ever reintroduce meat into your diet?

Also, make sure you check out this recipe for the best vegetarian chili ever. Even meat eaters love it!

After being a pescatarian for just over two and a half years, I decided to add meat back into my diet. Here's how.

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. Great advice! I was vegetarian for about a year & pescatarian for another 20 years. As I’m getting older I feel like my energy is low, so I have been considering adding organic meat into my diet. I am so nervous & the thought makes me a little queasy. I’m concerned it’ll have other negative effects, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to try & thank you for posting this! Maybe I’ll try meat for a month or so & see if it helps my energy. 🙂

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  2. Im am a pescatarian transition back to meat due to low iron I am 15 and have had this diet for 2+ years thanks you for the advice

  3. That’s great to hear, I ate meat, and I’m so happy with it. I enjoyed reading your post about your meat journey. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I also stopped eating meat in 2015 when I had gall bladder issues. These are also the steps I took when I went back to eating meat.

  5. I am glad that you have a good transition on starting eating meat.
    I love eating meat like chicken but in a moderate way I still need protein. I don’t eat beef because it gives a bad effects on my tummy.

  6. I didn’t know that there was a connection to animal protein and anxiety disorder, although it does make sense, as everything is interconnected and we are what we eat!

  7. Glad you didnt really have any adverse effects! I’m also that person who gets all the side-effects and weird things that “could” happen if you (fill in the blank.) So I get the nervousness behind adding the meat again!

  8. I’ve definitely gone through my long stretches of vegetarian, pescatarian and meat-eating. I did vegetarian for 3 years before adding fish back and then eventually just meat in moderation. Finding what works for you and is responsible is the best option.

  9. It seems like the transition would be pretty good for you! I have actually thought about doing the pescatarian thing.

  10. I do eat meat. I would say it is my main source of protein. I have eliminated other things and the reintroduction is scary.

  11. It’s tough reintroducing meat back into your diet after having eliminated them for so long, but I am glad you had a good experience doing so! The process has to be gradual. After my daughter went on Keto for a year, she tried adding carbs back but it took some time. She got so sick and gave herself a leaky gut from it. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  12. I have been struggling with my diet. I’ve been trying to eat healthier. Its good that you have found a way to introduce meat back into your diet that works for you.

  13. Cutting out meat isn’t for everyone, i had to reintroduce it to my diet too and it was the best thing I did.

  14. I won’t reintroduce meat into my diet and into my life… I’m a happy vegan girl for 6 years now but before going vegan I have been vegetarian for almost 30 years x

  15. I love meat but do not eat beef. But chicken and lamb in moderate quantities during weekends. Pork only when am eating out. But our daily must have is fish.

  16. I am a meat-eater and I can’t live without, I tried but failed. However, I do go for vegetarian few days a month for religion purposes.

  17. Ahhh this reminds me so much of my journey back to eating meat, I was veggie and vegan for 10 years then one day my craving for tuna fish got so bad I just caved in. Eventually I was eating all kinds of meat again and it was like I’d never stopped. It wasn’t the big deal I made it out to be. But I still worry about whether eating meat is a problem for the planet etc.

  18. In the end there may be so many diets, but the best is always the Mediterranean. Not much, but everything.

  19. Yes, I do eat meat and I can’t imagine a meal without any meat. I don’t eat chicken and turkey though. It is carbs that I have to limit because of my diabetes. I am glad you were able to start having meat again and hopefully, you are on your way to better health.

  20. I think you’ve done great. Dealing with meat can be okay so long it’s balanced with your fruits and veggies I suppose. I am not much of a meat person anyway.

  21. I suffer from anxiety as well and I’m trying to take meat out of my diet. At the moment I’m still eating a small amount of fish and chicken and I’m feeling good. I’m glad you’re doing much better now.

  22. I love meat so much! I cannot imagine my diet without meat. I am glad that you had not side effects reintroducing meat in your diet!

  23. I eat meat and I can’t imagine cutting it from my diet. I feel like I need the protein and especially the iron from red meat.

  24. What a beautiful and sincere share of your journey reintroducing meat into your diet, Heather! Thank you for your tips and personal experience.

  25. that is fascinating that your doctors say meat can negatively effect your anxiety. i hope your anxiety is better. i have ptsd and it is in remission or however you want to describe it but i know anxiety can take a toll on you. HUGS!

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  26. Wow! That is one lifestyle change! As they say, you really have to try a lot of good food! YOLO!

  27. That seems like a very wise way to do this. I would be interested to learn how your whole journey goes with adding meat, if any one meat seems to be the culprit.

  28. I think it is smart to add meat back into your diet. There are so many great options out there to choose from.

  29. I know some people who get the worst stomach aches and nauseated and others (like you) that nothing happens! I am thrilled you didn’t suffer from any adverse effects!! That’s phenomenal news 🙂

  30. Our bodies are so different and they may run better with certain foods. My body works the opposite and meat makes me sluggish.

  31. I think the meatless diet can work for some people, but it’s definitely not for me. Even when I added extra plant protein, I just didn’t feel as good as when I was eating meat.