Let me start out by saying that for about 14 years of my life I was a strict vegetarian. I put in the time, and dedication. I mean I didn’t even think about eating meat, nor did I have any desire to eat it. About 2 or 3 years ago I started to feel exhausted, lethargic, and most of all frustrated with my lack of energy. I thought to myself, for a twenty-something this is just not normal! I also noticed that meat was actually looking appetizing, and so I guiltily started to read a few articles about vegetarian converts, or the option of being a “flexitarian.” It had been in my constitution for so long to stay away from meat, both for moral reasons, and because I never felt the need to eat it. So when all of a sudden I found myself craving it, I knew something was up. After reading many articles on the topic and discussing my symptoms with my doctor I slowly started to feel more comfortable with the idea of eating meat again.
I remember it so clearly, the switch in my head. I woke up one morning (after sleeping my usual 10 hours) still feeling completely exhausted. I threw on some jeans, and marched myself down to my local butcher. Minutes later there I was cooking bacon. BACON. My boyfriend still describes it as one of the best days of our life together so far. The sizzling, crackling, bubbling sounds of the meat cooking in the pan was like music to his ears. I was still nervous, wondering if I was going to vomit the moment it touched my lips, so of course I cooked the shit out of it! None the less, I ate bacon that day.
I have to say I never looked back after that day, my energy improved, and I felt generally more balanced. Today, because of my commitment to eating clean real food as much as possible (and because old habits die hard) I still find myself eating a mostly plant based diet. But there are days when I just need to eat some meat, and on those days I say, “sometimes you just gotta eat bacon.” I am a bonafide flexitarian, and that works for me, simple as that.
Red Quinoa Salad With Apples (And Bacon)
A flexitarian delight
1 cup red quinoa, cooked
1 medium-large red apple, chopping into small cubes
1 cup fresh parsley chopped fine
1/3 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
1 tbs raw honey
2 tbs EVOO
4 strips bacon cooked (preferably from a butcher so it’s less processed)
Step 1: Cook quinoa and set aside. Chop apple and parsley to prepare.
Step 2: Cook bacon. I like to do this in the oven, there seems to be less grease and you can easily dispose of any drippings. Then chop cooked bacon up into small chunks like bacon bits.
Step 3: Mix parsley, apple, crushed walnuts (optional), and bacon bits into quinoa. Add EVOO, and honey and stir in until the quinoa is covered. The oil helps distribute the raw honey evenly.
Step 4: Serve cold. The mixture of the salty bacon with the sweetness of red quinoa and raw honey is so delicious.
Note: You can make this recipe without the bacon for a veggie delight. Eating meat on the occasion works for ME, but I understand that may not be everyone’s opinion.
There are lots of different sides to the meat debate, and there’s lots of information out there about the benefits of vegetarianism, veganism, and eating a diet that includes meat. Here’s an article I found interesting about flexitarianism and the question of whether or not we should be eating meat. What are your thoughts?