From Vegan Back to Omnivore
Talk about mind blowing. Back when I lived and worked full-time on my family’s ranch my sister was a photographer in our hometown. There was another local photographer who I became mutual friends with on Facebook. I regularly shared photos of ranch life and the work we were doing. I vividly remember conversations through direct messages that felt highly unproductive. This person was so filled with the lies that Netflix documentaries pushed out to the masses. I quickly felt they were past the point of retrieval. Fast forward 16 some odd years later. While on Instagram the other day, I received a message from a gal looking for some local grass-finished beef. I got to visiting with her, and low and behold, it was her! I asked her if she’d be willing to share what pulled her from being a vegan back to omnivore. Below you will find her powerful narrative that speaks volumes to our biological desires and nutritional demands that beef satisfies.
A Moment of Reflection
I often think back to my twenties with a cringe. The things I believed, the choices I made. It’s hard to forgive yourself, but I’m learning, now, approaching my mid 30s, that forgiving myself (and others) opens up the door to freedom, to moving forward in joy and opens the gates to deep love for myself again and others too.
Starting the day I watched too many documentaries on the new to the world, Netflix (2007), I became a vegan. I threw out the milk and just quit meat cold turkey or tofurkey. I was young and a very visual person, so the images really effected me and I had no thought that they could be produced to line certain industries pockets. They felt like they were made to bring awareness and create a change. That was good and maybe whoever made them felt they were. Demonizing dairy and meat wasn’t the right way. We need those foods and to create a healthy balance. Combining ancestral foods like liver, raw milk and grass fed beef by sourcing them locally or raising them ourselves. These are just my personal thoughts but ones I feel deeply could positively change our communities.
Fourth Trimester Pulls Vegan Back to Omnivore
Fast forward 7ish years and being pregnant. I really wanted to not have to consume meat but knew I needed protein so was very vigilant in documenting how many grams of protein I had each day. Once she was born though, there was no food to fill the void of a nursing mother and I needed meat…so I did. I listened to my body and oh how I wish I could do it over and give the nutrients she needed while in the womb. This choice to go vegan did give me one good thing and that was learning to cook more creatively with vegetables, sauces & herbs. It was a learning curve to cook in a whole new way without dairy or meat.
Unfortunately, during that time we consumed a lot of Earth balance (canola and other unhealthy oils), nut milks(additives) and fake meat. I’m so embarrassed and also laughing. So what changed my mind? How did I go from being a vegan back to omnivore? I mean I literally had a shirt that had a picture of a cow on it and it said, “not your mom, not your milk.” Now I’m sitting here waiting for my dream of a dairy cow or goat to come to fruition. Maybe you’re thinking I change my mind a lot, but let me tell you, I’m very stubborn. In the same breath, l’m also willing to listen to others and my own intuition. It was my willingness that brought a change and that still small voice.
How I Went From Vegan Back to Omnivore
I think it was a combination of things that over time filtered into my life. It wasn’t just one day I decided everything I believed about food was wrong. It’s hard to really pin point one thing. As I was getting into my late 20’s I started having children and thinking about their health which lead me back to food. They have had pretty rare genetic diagnoses from birth (ichthyosis, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, rashes related to their genetic skin condition). I needed to find natural ways to help them. Doctors literally had no answers except “antibiotics” for every rash or stye. Sadly, I listened the first couple of times out of fear when it really was not necessary. The only thing I could give them for their eyes was cod liver oil and butter oil and the results were miraculous.
Over the last few years I’ve just found the voices I could trust and followed the money when it comes to a narrative that is being pushed. Something I am really passionate about, my hope and dream, is to get back to growing all our own food. Supporting local farmers when it comes to things I can’t produce myself. The supermarket wasn’t even around before 100 years ago.
Have you ever read about “victory gardens” during WWII? During the 40’s, home gardeners produced around 40% of our nations produce. I’ve felt that we have lost that connection to source. Where our sustenance comes from, our hands in the soil, connection to the plants and animals and medicines that heal us. That care, toil and love with our environment and foods is so beautiful and fulfilling. It’s a relationship and really the most beautiful love for us from our creator that’s been stolen from us by convenience. Maybe this is a radical idea, but that’s okay with me.
Disconnected From the Source
During COVID I remember walking through the store after two years of not going inside (I was able to order and pickup my groceries curbside). Today, I went in. Everyone was still in masks (I live in Oregon). I cried when I got to my car in the parking lot because I was and still am so disconnected, from people, from my food.
The act of walking through a fluorescent lit building, placing plastic wrapped food in my cart without a smile or eye contact from anyone felt like a nightmare I didn’t know how to wake up from. The answer to me was to move to Tennessee, haha! That didn’t pan out for us, but I can start where I am. I can grow what I can and be thoughtful about what I can source from my farmers. I am able to form connections with them.
Learning New Skills
That is my lifeline right now, learning how to grow and store food, and how to care for animals. The skills that have been lost to our generation for the most part, which breaks my heart. That we don’t know how to grow a potato or can bone broth, or make butter may not seem important to some. But, it’s just been this big awakening in me, to start learning as much as I can. It’s a beautiful stirring in me.
I’ve begun, from knowing nothing except how to pour a box of cereal or make hamburger helper as a child to a woman with a deep desire for stewarding what I have been given. My small spot of earth, to teach and care for my children in ways I wasn’t. I am learning and growing right alongside them. It’s been the most beautiful gift of time together and seeing life’s blooms of quiet blessing.
Beef Speaks For Itself
Whether you love the flavor of grass-finished beef or you prefer grain-finished, you can rest easy knowing you are consuming a safe, wholesome and nutritious complete protein. If you are interested in knowing the nutritional differences between either, check out this concise graphic below that lays it all out.
What I Learned From Her
I am so thankful that Laura was willing to share her personal story of how she went from vegan back to omnivore. I think we don’t get to hear these stories because there is often a lot of shaming. As an agvocate we often group extreme perspectives such as vegans in one category. They are too far gone. They won’t ever change. Well, here is living proof that some people do in fact change. An important thought to keep in mind the next time you visit with someone who may have also watched one too many Netflix documentaries.