Why I ate turkey: How celiac disease drove me to give up vegetarianism

This picture of me shocked my friends and family. That food on my fork? That’s turkey. Not tofurkey, but real, bonafide animal meat.

The shocking part? I haven’t eaten meat in over seven years.



So why start eating it again now? Because I reached my breaking point.

I reached a point where my moral stance against the meat industry and overall disinterest in eating meat filled with hormones and other nasty things was outweighed by my frustration with celiac disease. There were so many times when I would go to a restaurant or party and think, “If I only ate meat my life would be so much simpler right now.” I never actually had the urge to eat it because the thought grossed me out, but I sure thought about it. I made the decision to start eating seafood when I was diagnosed because I felt like I couldn’t anything at all (plus I love the taste of seafood and have fewer qualms with eating it). 

However, lately I’ve been thinking about eating meat more and more. Thinking that a little bit of organic, humanely-treated turkey or chicken every once in awhile isn’t going to kill me. It actually could make me feel better and more satisfied with my diet. It could simplify my life and take some of the pressure off of me when dining with others. And it’s probably healthier than eating so many soy protein-based foods (which I’ve tried to cut down on).

So, I used Thanksgiving as a test run and had a little turkey with my meal. I’ll admit, the first bite was kind of hard to get down because I wasn’t used to the texture. But after that initial few chews, I was fine. Since then I’ve had a couple of bites of turkey in a salad and on a sandwich, and it’s been…nice. It fills me up, and I don’t mind the taste.

Now, I don’t plan on becoming a huge carnivore, or eating pigs and cows any time in the foreseeable future. But I’ve realized that eating a little white meat every so often doesn’t diminish my beliefs about vegetarianism. It’s just helping keep me sane! Voluntarily limiting my options in my gluten-free diet was always a struggle, so now I’ll have a few more things I will eat.

I’ll make it a point to get quality meat, so I feel good about my decision each time I cross the aisle to the carnivore side, but I’m loving the feeling of having more options open to me.

What do you think? Have you ever tried something new or something you didn’t think you like in order to expand your palette on a gluten free diet? 


7 responses to “Why I ate turkey: How celiac disease drove me to give up vegetarianism

  1. A Table in the Sun

    I’m with you….a bit of meat is imperative when you are gluten free. I know for myself that I must eat a small bit of meat protein each day, or I’ll be starving all of the time. Nuts just don’t make a good substitute.

  2. I was a vegan for six months and I loved it…I felt really proud of myself for overcoming the challenge and living more compassionately / sustainably, etc. But then I noticed that my health was really starting to go down the tubes no matter what I did, and I had to make the switch back to an omnivore’s diet. It takes courage to change, and I learned that my relationship with food, animals and life is a complicated one. We’re all different, and I commend you!

  3. Good for you for listening to your body!

  4. Oh wow! I totally understand how hard that must have been for you. I was a vegetarian for 3 years and wanted to put some weight back on so I tried to go back to eating meat but could only manage chicken and white fish so I haven’t eaten red (or pink) meat for 15 years.
    Now that I am Coeliac, for the same reasons as you, I am WISHING I could get over my aversion to the smell and texture of red meat and just EAT it. But I don’t think I ever will.
    And I notice you say chicken, turkey or seafood. I guess you won’t be eating red meat either. (BTW, I do heat bacon and ham as I am ok with those textures and smells, mmmmm,)

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