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I Haven't Eaten Red Meat or Processed Foods in Over a Year

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.

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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.

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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.

Cheese pizza with veggies

Cheese pizza with veggies

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.

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2021:

Whatever he said must have powerfully influenced you and remains in your memory today. I am happy for you that you notice good health benefits.