As I’ve been looking into changing my diet to heal my ulcerative colitis, I have noticed that many of the most successful ones advocate great things; cutting out sugar, refined flours, and unnecessary crap. All these things sound great to me.
However, many of them, most notably the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the GAPS diet, at least in the initial phases, involve a lot of animal products. The idea is that you reset your gut health by getting rid of bad bacteria and inflammation, and then slowly widen the range of acceptable foods, building back up to a healthy, diverse, and balanced diet.
As a proud vegetarian and adamant advocate for humane practices and environmental consciousness, I don’t feel super comfortable with the idea of killing other animals just so I can be healthy. I understand that animal products have unique and powerful healing properties, but I still don’t love the idea of downing large quantities of bone broth several times a day.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was younger and more ignorant about the horrific conditions animals face on farms or the huge carbon footprint caused by livestock farming, I was fine with enjoying a plate of organic chicken nuggets or the occasional cheeseburger. I didn’t really think about the fact that I was consuming an animal that had once been alive, just like me, that was a thinking, feeling being. Ignorance was bliss.
Those days are long past. Now, I can hardly look at a plate of chicken or beef without feeling nauseated and upset, my mind churning with images of overcrowded pens and young animals ripped from their mothers mere moments after their birth. On the rare occasion that I eat a small amount of fish, I feel guilty after eating it, and question whether the taste was really worth that animal’s life.
I know that it sounds a bit theatrical, but it’s true. My compassionate nature is my achilles heel. In most situations, my instant reflex is always to care for others before myself, to make them the priority. This gut (ha, no pun intended) instinct is the same whether the third party is animal or human.
However, sometimes this comes back around to haunt me, because when I don’t take care of myself, I bottle things up (again, not wanting to burden those around me), and that leads me to lash out at those who mean the most in my life.
Maybe I need to let go a little bit, and put myself first for a little while. So, if a diet that includes animal products on a temporary basis would help to reduce inflammation and allow me to follow a plant-based diet long term, I’m willing to consider the possibility. Don’t expect to see pictures of burgers on my Instagram anytime soon, though. Baby steps.
Sous Sus Chef
PS: If you have any questions, or would like me to do a longer post about vegetarianism, leave a comment below!