Q) What makes this chicken leg so special that I post its pic & write about it?
A) This is going to be the first bit of chicken I will have eaten in nearly 20 years!!! That’s what!
Nearly 20 years ago, I decided to become vegetarian for health reasons. It started as an experiment of only 2 weeks duration and in that time, I felt so GOOD that I decided to make it permanent. Before going permanent I ate one last meat meal and slept reaaaaallly poorly & had nightmares. Going back to my vegetarian diet I needed less sleep and woke up 'bouncing off the walls' with energy.
I was of the mindset that maybe us humans weren’t meant to eat meat, and as you probably know there is plenty of ‘evidence’ to support that theory, right? (?)… but there is equally plenty of evidence to counter it too. I went with how I felt in my body, and made a lifestyle choice to quit meat.
I also had brief stints being vegan (6 months x 2) & eating raw foods (6 weeks), and for 6 years I did not eat any animal flesh which also included eggs. I also went off dairy (because “we’re not baby cows”, right?), and consumed a predominantly VERY low-fat diet (because apparently fats were bad) & even gave up salt for a few years (because we were told that was bad for us too!). I started drinking soy milk (all the rage back in the late 90’s) and when all the soy-substitute products came in… the mock meats, the soy proteins, soy yoghurt etc, I ate them too. Soy (lots), vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some grains.
6 years after first going vego, I knew I wasn’t putting the same efforts into creating interesting, nutritious meals and I started to feel a little... ‘blurgh’… and I started to crave fish. So I re-introduced fish & seafood occasionally and felt better for it. A pescetarian diet is how I have eaten (mostly) since (but still no eggs & very limited dairy or fats up until recently).
I really wanted to give up ALL animal products for ethical reasons & this played on me for many years to the point where I even contemplated going vegan again. But I just wasn’t 100% convinced this was how all humans were meant to live. How could I counter the argument that my ancestors for generations & generations have eaten animal products and they say “humans aren’t designed to eat meat’? Plus we can’t get ESSENTIAL B12, other than from animal sources.
Fast forward another 10 or so years & I start to become really ill. I tried to treat my illness naturally (no pharmaceuticals, only herbal remedies) wherever possible and used food as my medicine. I did make some significant improvements in my health by identifying & removing foods that had now become triggers to symptoms (surprise, surprise SOY was now my kryptonite!) but I haven’t been able to heal completely.
I then discovered mineral balancing (courtesy of the dot-connecting research I found in the Magnesium Advocacy Group), and this combined with my studies in Nutrition enabled me to learn about biochemistry and that vegetable sources of certain nutrients aren’t easily converted by the body to usable forms, particularly if you don't have the right minerals to create the right enzyme pathways to do that job. Take Vitamin A, for example. I ate carrots by the bucket load but this does not help you if your body can’t carry out the 12 steps it takes (yes, TWELVE) to convert Beta Carotene (a vitamin A derivative from carrots & other vegetable sources) into usable Vitamin A aka RETINOL. And retinol is ESSENTIAL for the regulation of iron around the body (amoungst other things). Funnily enough my blood markers have showed limited iron in circulation ever since, and seeing as the body has an in-built iron-recycling mechanism, without the retinol the iron ends up getting ushered into your tissues (e.g.liver, kidneys, spleen, brain, adipose tissue/fat etc etc) and is not in circulation. Doctor telling you you're anaemic, anyone????
As part of my mineral balancing program which was the conduit for the most health improvement I had experienced in YEARS, I needed to take cod liver oil (another ancestral “food” used for good health) for its RETINOL, and grass-fed (un-defatted) beef liver for its bioavailable copper, retinol, B vitamins, and catalase (one of the body’s main antioxidants). I couldn’t bring myself to EAT actual beef liver so I took capsules instead. I hate/d to admit that every time I introduced a supplement or food source of animal origin I felt better for it. Quite the turnaround from 16 years prior!
Truth be told, I actually don’t really WANT to eat meat. I don't crave it, never did. I love animals and would love to not have to kill them for my dietary purposes so this is really hard for me! But I have to acknowledge (& swallow a very bitter pill) that the diet I am on no longer serves me & potentially it never did (not for the long-term anyway).
I still support vegetarian and vegan diets as a type of cleanser, and believe that you can probably feel quite healthy on it for many years and even HEAL from certain conditions! But after this, if there is a ‘perfect storm’ of stress-induced mineral dysregulation, you may find that your body needs OTHER foods to build & recover. We must learn to listen to the wisdom of the body, for in it lays real power. The body is also in a constant state of flux, and we have different nutritional needs at different times and food can truly be used as medicine if we learn to listen to it.
And this is where I am at. I want to say I have tried my BEST to get 100% well utilizing DIET and I can’t let preconceived ideas stand in my way.
So this chicken leg is my foot in the door to RE-introduce meat for health reasons.
I don’t plan on eating meat every day. Maybe a small quantity once every few days, I can’t say right now. Hell, I don’t even know how I am going to get this chicken leg down!!!! But…….. I did decide that if I was going to do it, that I would try to find a local farm where the animals are ethically raised & cared for, and they have been fully grass-fed and grass-finished. I even thought I would like to visit the farm and ask about the slaughtering process. I think that if we as humans are meant to eat meat, then we are also meant to CARE about best farming practices and giving the animals the best life possible. I am happy to say I found that farm!!! (see Full Circle Farm, Jilliby NSW - Have a watch of their video, it’s quite inspiring).