For me, excluding red meat from my diet is one of the best decisions I have ever done, however the process did not come overnight. I began suffering severe physical symptoms of anxiety after I broke up with my ex in April 2011 after 3 years together. It was a horrible breakup that police had to intervene. My happy domestic lifestyle was turned upside down. I was so anxious I felt like I couldn’t breathe. A month later I was able to get steady anxiety medication because my weight dropped below 90lbs which is not good for a person taller than 5 feet tall. In June of 2011 I enrolled in summer school to clear my mind and feel accomplished. Sometime during that summer I learned about cruelty-free cosmetics. I learned that thousands of animals are taken from their mamas and forced to drink chemicals and get poked in the eye then observed until they DIE!!!! Over the next month I could not stop thinking about all the baby animals. I had nightmares about being tortured and cut open alive. I was determined to quit these bad thoughts of guilt and fear of hurting something that is capable of love and cuddles.
Today I am red meat free after help from a nutritionist. Eventually every time I looked at ribs, I imagined my own family being cut up. I snapped and quit eating anything furry. However, I started to feel very fatigue and weak. It looked like I was very ill. I went to the doctor to find out why I was feeling so yucky. The problem was that red meat has proteins that I needed in my daily diet which I suddenly stopped eating. I already had a genetic predisposition of anemia so the nutritionist and I had to work out a battle plan of transitioning to this new diet. I slowly transitioned off various foods week by week until January 2012. In the process I began taking lactose intolerance pro-biotics so I could have dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Vegetables became a must, but not just any veggies. I had to eat more kale and ones high in iron. I still eat fish and chicken. I don’t plan to quit fish but eventually I would like to quit chicken. I’m not able to quit eggs and chicken yet because I still need those nutrients in my diet to stay functional. Overall, the diet plan I am on works for me.
I am not sure if I am feeling a placebo effect or if I really am healthier but my body feels more energetic and my mind is less groggy. A big reason for this was because when I ate red meat it was usually fried in its own fat such as bacon and hamburgers. I guess sandwiches could be healthier but for the most part I ate a lot of greasy meat from fast food. Also I was eating a less rounded diet and I was not taking vitamins. Whenever I get an anxiety attack now while on my anxiety medication the physical symptoms are less severe.
From this experience I’m convinced that body and mind really do go hand and hand when it comes to eating. Food affects the overall function of the body. If the body is feeling good then the mind will feel less weighted down by physical problems. However, as I learned it is not good to not understand the body's input of nutrients. I recommend doing research or getting professional help with any major diet decision, because sometimes it can do more harm than good. Transitioning your diet may be a longer process than you want, but in the long run it is worth it. If this the lifestyle you want, I can tell you right now that this is a good goal that can be accomplished.