Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.
I used to be a foodie, but I no longer eat red meat or processed foods. The reason I stopped so abruptly over a year ago might shock you.
I didn't make the decision to give up those foods for health reasons—though doing so has benefited me in many ways. Nor am I not a vegetarian or a vegan—though my meat-eating habits have certainly changed.
The Strange Reason I Changed My Diet
I was standing in line at Food Lion on New Year's Eve on December 31, 2019. In my basket were some pigs' feet. I had planned on "eatin' good in the neighborhood," as the Applebee's slogan says.
When I put a couple of packages of pigs' feet on the counter, the cashier asked me how to cook them. As I was telling her, a man behind me jumped into our conversation and gave me his opinion about eating pork and red meat. What he said grossed me out so much that I haven't eaten those foods since.
I am deliberately not telling you his exact words because you might never beef, pork, or any red meat or processed food again. Every time I think of eating those foods, I remember what the man said and haven't been able to eat them.
What I Eat Now
I used to go to Subway and ask the waitress which sub had the most meats. Then I would buy a foot-long sub with all the meats and fixings. It was so big that I joked that "When I eat a sub, I eat a sub." I requested it to be cut into three parts so I could have a piece for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Even though I love subs, I haven't had one in over a year because of the processed meats. Now I make my own wraps without pepperoni, salami, roast beef, ham, and the other meats. I have gotten used to my wraps, and they taste just as good as I remember the subs to be.
I used to love chopped barbecue, but I no longer eat it because I once saw some gristles in it that looked like something else. Therefore, I stay away from any food that is a mixture of ingredients. That is strange because I used to love processed foods so much that when I was five years old, I said I did not want to die because I did not want to leave all the "longie sausage" behind. Just think, I haven't had any bologna sausage, Italian sausage, smoked sausage, sausage patties, hot dogs, or hamburgers since 2019.
I have begun to use more spices and seasonings than before. Some of my favorites include cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasonings, oregano, cinnamon, and hot mustard.
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No More Fast Food Restaurants for Me
I did not go to any fast food restaurants in 2020. I know the workers are wondering where I am. I have gotten into the habit of cooking my own food. That way I know what's in it. I used to eat supreme pizzas with all the meats, but no longer. I now purchase a cheese pizza and put my own toppings on it such as green peppers, red onions, spinach, mushrooms, and other vegetables I have on hand.
I eat a lot of stir-fry vegetables over rice. Sometimes I add shrimp to the mix, but I make sure the shrimp have been deveined.
I used to cook chicken livers because they are very inexpensive. I added green pepper and onions to the gravy, and they were so delicious. A Christian friend of mine said we shouldn't be eating animal organs. I no longer eat them, but I sure do miss them.
Health Benefits of Not Eating Red Meat and Processed Foods
I didn't stop eating red meat and processed food for health reasons, but I have observed many benefits resulting from clean eating. I didn't do it to lose weight, but I have noticed a significant change in my weight and love the way my clothes fit. I don't feel bloated hours after I eat as I did before I cut out a long list of foods.
I am a diabetic, and I have noticed that my blood sugar readings are within range. I eat throughout the day as I should, and I am never hungry. I am able to fall asleep faster, and I have more pleasant dreams. I don't suffer from headaches. I feel that my body, mind, and spirit are balanced.
Since I gave up eating processed food, I have noticed that I am not depressed as I used to be. I no longer have mood swings and memory issues. I have noticed that my skin is smoother, my hair is healthier, my nails are stronger, and my eyes are brighter. Eliminating red meat and processed food is not a fast, but I am experiencing some of the same effects as if I was fasting. My brain health is much better, my mind is sharper and I am more creative. My spirit is at a higher level, and I can hear from God much clearer.
I had no idea eliminating red meat and processed food would change my life so easily and so quickly. I admit that sometimes I think about what used to be my favorite foods, but I don't miss the foods enough to return to them. Now that I am in a rhythm of healthy, clean eating, I feel so good I don't intend to go back to my old ways of eating.
Craving for a T-Bone Steak
Once in a while I have a craving for a T-bone steak, but I know that if I eat one, I might not be able to stop again. Besides, I still remember what the man in the line behind me at Food Lion said.
I often cook chicken wings and catfish in my air fryer. I eat cream of mushroom soup, New England and Manhattan clam chowder soup. I also like lobster bisque.
Ignoring Others' Advice
When I share what I have been doing over the year, people offer advice and suggest what I can eat and cannot eat. They suggest plant-based foods, turkey burgers, and other such foods. However, I ignore the advice because I don't like mixtures. I no longer eat foods that I can't see and recognize the ingredients. Therefore, I stay away from "mystery meats."
I believe I was able to go over a year without eating red meat and processed food because it was my decision and not the advice of others. However, I know that I would not have been able to do it on my own if the man behind me in line at Food Lion had not said what he said. I am not mad with him—but sometimes I do miss having a juicy T-bone steak.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.