Traveling as a Carnivore

So, I am attending this 12 day course in Albuquerque, New Mexico on how to therapeutically train the most severe dyslexic students to learn to read.  It is an excellent course and I am very excited to be here.  But, at the same time, I have also been somewhat terrified, too.  When one is traveling to a new place and does not have the same comforts of home, it can be a daunting task to figure out what to do about food.  Now add that I have only been a carnivore eating absolutely no sugar or carbohydrates for about a month on top of that and the fear of what to eat doubles exponentially.  I certainly cannot eat at the regular places and must plan out the food I am going to eat before I leave.

Luckily, the driving part was only a four hour jaunt.  My husband and I left around noon (after lunch had ended).  I brought water but figured that we would go shopping when we arrived in Albuquerque.  After all, it is only four hours away.  When we were about an hour out from Albuquerque I began to feel hungry.  Uh oh!  I did not want to be tempted to eat a carb or something with sugar in it, so I knew that I could not stop at a convenience store lest I break down and buy something I should not.  It is not simply a diet, after all.  I am working to literally save my life.  So, I had better start taking this seriously and not tempt myself to fail.  But, I was getting hungry.

Thirty minutes passed and we finally came to a town outside of Albuquerque named Bernalillo.  A very fine town with many fast food establishments simply throwing their signs at me.  By this time, I was hungrier and wanted to eat.  But, what could I do?  I practically began to panic… until… I saw… IHOP.  Oh man!  I was so relieved.  No, I was not going to get a stack of pancakes topped with real butter and dripping with syrup, although that did cross my mind briefly.  But, what they do have are omelettes!  Eggs and cheese with lots of fun veggies added.

So, I pulled into IHOP even though I was pulling a trailer and the restaurant was on the left hand side of the road with lots of city traffic.  It would be worth it to wait a little for the traffic to clear just so that I could eat and not compromise my new way of living.  I do not know if you are aware, but IHOP is not exactly a go to place for dinner apparently.  There were only two other families there when my husband and I entered.  But, it did not matter to me.  Not one bit.

I ordered the vegetarian omelette.  Why did a new-found carnivore not order the ham and cheese omelette, you ask?  Well, because I am not just any ordinary carnivore.  I am a converted carnivore from vegetarianism and so… living with the picture of the death of the animal on my mind every time I imagine eating meat haunts me.  And I have many real pictures of animals dying in agony to last me three lifetimes.  I simply cannot eat the flesh of an animal that may have died in agony.  I have to “know” (and I mean actually see the package) that the animal was humanely raised, grass fed and never entered a feed lot.  I cannot know this with the meat that is used in restaurants unless the meat is local.  So, I simply do not order meat in restaurants unless they only serve local meat.

Okay, so unbeknownst to me at the time I ordered it, the vegetarian omelette at IHOP is smothered in hollandaise sauce.  Oh no!  Temporary panic began to creep up.  Luckily, the waitress came out just in time to let us know that there was only enough Hollandaise sauce for one omelette and I quickly sacrificed the Hollandaise sauce on my omelette and opted for Swiss cheese instead.  Phew!  Crisis averted AND my husband could have it the way it was meant to be prepared.

Next time, it will be important to plan ahead for any hunger that I might feel while on the road and pack some healthy snacks to munch on so I do not get overly hungry when there are so many tempting places to eat that would not help me in the least.

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A Different Kind of Hunger

Being a carnivore for about a month now has really changed things for me.  I have noticed a difference in the way I’m hungry.  First of all, I’m not starving and a feeling of despair and foreboding has not come over me one time since I have been a carnivore.  I have also only been slightly hungry with a tiny little nagging ache in my stomach.

Previous to eating meat, I would feel excruciatingly hungry to the point of panic.  (My husband can attest to this, I’m sure.)  I had to eat right then and had to consume exorbitant amounts of food to fill the overwhelming bottomless pit that was my stomach.  There is a reason I became 370 pounds, after all.  The amount of food that would satisfy me was also over the top.  I didn’t feel comforted until I ate enough to fill like I was bursting.  The most comforting foods to me were pasta and anything potatoes.  Oh my, I could put away enough pasta to feed ten starving people in Africa.  It was sickening.  But, the truth was, my brain wouldn’t shut off.  It wouldn’t allow me to feel satiated and so I would eat and eat pasta, bread, and/or potatoes until I would feel sick and overstuffed from the amounts.  I would not be surprised if it expanded in my stomach once I ate it, either.

Within the last month, I have actually had two meals where I ate grain-based foods.  One was a home-cooked cheese lasagna casserole and the other was a home-made cheese enchilada dish.  You would have thought I had not eaten in years.  I devoured them with abandon.  My husband barely completed a moderate portion and I had already gone back for thirds.  I reverted right back to the habits that formed me since the summer of my eighth grade year when I first became a vegetarian.  It was not a pretty sight.  I even shocked myself.

In thinking about these two meals amidst a myriad of carnivore meals, I have realized that I respond differently to meals with animal protein than I do with carbs and cheese based meals.  Completely differently, in fact.  Not only do I no longer feel ravished, but I do not feel the need to eat fast or more than I should.  I am not in a panic at all and my plate does not seem to overflow its edges.  I do have to say, though, I feel the need to eat less, but more often.  I find myself naturally eating 5 to 6 meals a day instead of one super large one at the end of the day.  I do not crave meat.  I do not feel starved after eating it and I can eat fewer portions and feel satisfied.

I really enjoy this new kind of hunger.  It seems to be a healthier way to feel.  Without the panic of when my next meal will be, I can relax… enjoy less stress… and go about the rest of my day without thinking about food.  What a freedom!  I had no idea it would feel this way.

Sneaky Sugar

I do not know if you know or not, but sugar is basically in everything!  Since I’m trying to avoid sugar and carbs, I find this exceedingly disappointing.  It’s so difficult to eliminate it when it is in everything there is to eat.  As I sift through the various items at the grocery store, my heart sinks with every label housing some of the overwhelming sugary names.  There is high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, organic sugar, agave, honey, corn syrup, fructose, and on and on.  All of these culprits create a high glycemic index in the body and I can no longer afford that.  This is the reason why I’m going from a vegetarian to a carnivore… this added sugar thing… this glycemic index thing… this overload the kidneys and produce too much high blood sugar creating an environment where my insulin has to produce too much of itself to combat the overload I have placed on its abilities.

But, did you know (because I did not) that sugar is even in meat?  That’s right!  Sugar, honey, sweeteners, what-have-you, is infused in meat, especially lunch meat, bacon, and sausages.  I had no idea.  I even found sugar in chicken strips!  This sugar craze is absolutely ludicrous.  So, I’ve found that I can eat white chicken breast, turkey, beef and pork only if they have not been processed beforehand… and of course, not breaded.

I have not yet checked fish for sugar, but I would not be surprised if imitation crab meat had sugar (or any form of sugar) in it.  Oh, that sneaky sugary beast plagues my life!  I will root you out and never touch you again if it is the last thing I do!

Bloated and Sick

So, I didn’t have any meat thawed last night for dinner.  I did not plan ahead.  I notice that eating meat means one must plan ahead or the meat is still frozen and takes a delicate touch and lots of time to unthaw it before cooking it.  SO, I didn’t.  I decided instead to make enchiladas.  Well, enchiladas don’t take that much effort and most of the time spent cooking them is in the oven when I can do other things.  I was hoping to be able to do other work around the house instead of cooking and my husband was coming home tonight and I thought he would also enjoy them.  Well, since I did not have any meat thawed, I wasn’t able to put any meat in the enchiladas, so I went with cheese and sauce.  As many of you know, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, too.

This is a typical dish I would make before switching to being a carnivore.  The amount of cheese it takes to make this dish more than makes up for the lack of meat.  The tortillas, cooked first on a skillet, covering the cheese will become one with the cheese and only the hint of corn will be left.

The enchilada dish looked great going into the oven and looked even better coming out of the oven.  The cheese was just the right amount of brown on the top and the sauce bubbled gently around the tortillas.  It smelled like a small piece of heaven was awaiting my dining pleasure.  And… I was hungry.  You see, I had only had cheese sticks for breakfast and a salad and cheese sticks for lunch and that was half a day ago.  My insides ached for something with substance.

So, after allowing the enchiladas to cool, I cut into the dish and placed the piping hot Mexican goodness on my plate.  When I raised the fork to my mouth, I knew I had made the right choice for tonight’s dinner.  However, only moments later after several more bites, my stomach grew to bursting and I felt horrible.  Something growled low in the bowels that held the entails of the meal.  The light feeling I had had beforehand had completely disappeared and I now felt heavy and slow.  My mind became cloudy, my mood became dark and I felt like sleeping.  This feeling persisted throughout the rest of the entire evening.  I felt like I had completely reversed all of the progress I had made in the last week of eating no carbs and no sugar at all.  Corn tortillas are apparently carbs from hell or enchilada sauce must secretly be smothered in sugar.

The surprising event was the overwhelmingly speedy response my body had to the carb/sugar overload.  I am grateful for this opportunity to see just how much havoc these types of foods have literally been wreaking in my life.  I no longer crave this sickness.  I am through feeling down and depressed.  I want freedom and if it takes eating oven roasted chicken breast and a side of green beans for the rest of my life to do it, I will.

Life or Death

Well… I’ve come to a conclusion; a very drastic one.  After twenty-five years of being a lacto-ovo vegetarian, beginning at the very end of my eighth grade year, I have decided to become a carnivore in order to save my life.  You see, I am 370 pounds and each day I dread waking up and feeling heavier; or going to sleep and hoping I do not die during the night.  It is literally a life or death situation in which I must do something drastic to change my weight or I will likely die within the next few years.  Since I am only forty years old, that’s pretty insane.

I became a vegetarian at the age of thirteen when I experienced the torturous, prolonged death of a rabbit in extreme distress.  The rabbit was seizing and it was unclear what the causes were.  Because I raised them for 4-H, I was responsible for them and therefore it was my responsibility to end its suffering life.  However, it proved too much for a young middle schooler and although I tried once to snap its neck in a quick motion, I did not succeed.  The rabbit became more distressed, but I could not muster up the courage to try again.  My grandfather finally had to end the life, but I would become severely traumatized by the event and ever after refrain from eating the flesh of any living thing that had died including: beef, chicken, rabbits, fish, shrimp, bison, etc.