First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to me regarding last week’s post. To be honest, it was really hard for me to write and talk about some of those things, but hearing all of your feedback and support made it so worth it. Part of the reason I started this blog was to talk about my struggles with a healthy body image.
Several years ago (before I started blogging), I stumbled upon a blogger who openly shared about her struggles with an eating disorder. Her openness and vulnerability inspired me to want to be more open about my own issues in hopes that not only others could relate and know they were not alone, but that we would combat these negative thoughts together.
Satan wants us to keep all of our sin struggles to ourself. He doesn’t want us to be authentic and vulnerable with others and God because he knows we are set free when we confess our shortcomings.
Two passages on this topic come to mind:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
So if you are struggling with a healthy body image or an eating disorder, talk to someone. Don’t give Satan the power by keeping it to yourself. I hope to continue to write about eating issues and share my journey to finding freedom from my struggles.
But now onto the real topic of discussion for today: my transition to eating meat (only chicken so far) and what I think this will look like in the future.
I knew about a month or so ago that I wanted to surprise P for Valentine’s Day with barbecue chicken. He LOVES barbecue, but we have not been able to eat it together since we’ve been dating because barbecue restaurants rarely have anything vegetarian to eat (except maybe a baked potato and cole slaw). So I thought the ultimate surprise would be to not only make his favorite kind of food but eat meat all at the same time!
But there was no way though that my stomach was going to be able to handle barbecue chicken at the first go around, so I spent a couple weeks prepping myself to get there, mentally and physically. I had also never cooked chicken before, so that was something I needed to do some research on.
Prior to going to the grocery store, I did research to learn about Whole Foods meat grading scale and where the chicken comes from at my local Whole Foods. Once I had confirmed that the chicken was hormone-free and antibiotic-free, I was ready to try it. I asked the butcher for only half of a breast (got to start somewhere) and after a confused glance or two, he eventually obliged.
In my research I had also found this AMAZING tutorial on how to cook chicken. And when I went to cook the chicken, it turned out perfectly the first time! (This was a miracle in and of itself.) I seasoned my chicken with a little olive oil and lemon pepper (the same way I cook most of my fish), but only ate half of the half breast because I was concerned it wouldn’t sit well the first time. But I felt find the rest of the night and the next day when I ate the rest of it for lunch. (This was a good sign!)
Two weeks later, I tried chicken again and upped the intake to half a breast per meal, seasoned and cooked the same way. And again I felt fine after eating it. So after this second experience, I decided I was ready to make and eat the barbecue chicken.
I found this recipe for barbecue chicken “burgers” and was especially drawn to it because I could throw all the ingredients into the crockpot and not have to worry about it. The recipe suggested eating the “burgers” with guacamole and shredded cheese, so I did exactly that. I also made some roasted okra (P’s favorite) and bought sweet potato tortilla chips at Whole Foods (these were a BIG hit!).
Despite my nerves, everything turned out great and his reaction was priceless! I wish I could have gotten it on camera because he nearly cried. Yes, cried! He was so excited! And he LOVED the food as well. It couldn’t have gone any better.
I felt totally fine after eating the barbecue chicken the first time, but when I tried eating some of the leftovers the next day, that didn’t sit as well. I think moderation is key, and I overdid it by trying to eat the two meals so close together.
Overall, I would say it was a very successful surprise! It was something that I know meant a lot to P, so I’m glad I did it.
But there were (and still are) some mixed emotions after, only because I feel like I have failed at being a vegetarian. This is completely irrational thinking, considering I was a vegetarian for 5 and a half years (and you can’t really “fail” at being a vegetarian), but I can’t get the thoughts out of my head.
So what does this mean moving forward? Am I a meat-eater? A part-time vegetarian? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been hard to label, and I frankly don’t want to put a label on it. I have a tendency to do things ALL or NOTHING, 0 or 100, so this type of restriction I don’t think is good for my personality type.
I like the idea of eating what makes sense in each situation. For me, I think this looks like still eating mostly vegetarian or pescatarian. I love eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains for my meals. But I think sometimes there will be moments where eating chicken or some type of meat is my only option and instead of eating nothing (which I have done), eating the meat is the better route to go.
I’ll update y’all as I go along because this is a journey, and I’m not sure where it’s taking me right now. In the meantime, thank you for your support, love and encouragement! It means the world to me.