To start eating meat after being veggie for 27 years

(75 Posts)
Sleepswithbutterflies Fri 11-Jul-14 11:34:09

I became veggie when 4 years old.

Sadly over the last few years I have developed allergies to soya, quorn and nuts.
We are struggling massively to get pregnant and at our last ivf cycle my eggs were completely screwed.
I'm wondering if it is to do with the fact I basically have no protein in my diet. In studies high protein diets have shown to increase egg quality quite well. I'm only 31 and have good egg reserve so in theory my eggs shouldn't be so useless. I've checked and I'm supposed to have about 40g a day for my weight. I reckon I manage less than half of that on a normal day.

I'm contemplating eating meat (even though it goes against everything I believe in and I don't even like the smell / taste of it very much from what I can remember) - would it likely make me ill after not eating it for such a looonnng time? I remember liking turkey and sausages but not fish, beef or lamb. I'd probably only eat white meat tbh.

Shall l do it? Fertility wise I'm in last chance saloon.

stubbornstains Fri 11-Jul-14 17:35:30

Seeing as we have a lot of people with an interest in conception nutrition gathered here, I thought I'd ask something I've often wondered...how about eggs? I've always imagined that eggs were really good for TTC, since they contain all the nutrients needed to make an embryo grow....is there any truth to that, do you think?

Absofrigginlootly Fri 11-Jul-14 17:09:38

Sleepswithbutterflies if you feel that you're on your 'last chance' with the IVF and your fertility Drs have recommended that you up your protein intake then please don't feel bad about giving meat-eating a go! People will comment/judge whatever you do in life so you have to just do whatever you personally feel comfortable with/is the right thing for you at the time. No one else is living your life, in your particular circumstances. I don't think it's very supportive of people to be saying things like "it's a shame/sad to give up being veggie" etc

If you feel that you will look back one day and regret not 'doing everything you could' (I'm NOT saying you should/would feel this way...just responding to what you have said) then what do you have to loose by giving it a go???

Yes, you may feel that you are abandoning your principles and it can be a hard stumbling block to get over...it was for me after 10 years of being a strict vegan! But the way I looked at is was that my baby did not asked to be conceived, s/he has not made the choice to be veggie/vegan and there is scientific evidence to show that animal-based proteins are superior to plant-based ones in terms of fertility/pre-natal development etc. And at the end of the day I decided that my baby's health and development was more important than that of a chicken's! wink. I appreciate that lots of people may disagree with this point...but I am just saying that this is how I LOOKED AT IT...not that everyone should view it the same way (before I get flamed!!).

You have to do what is right FOR YOU!!!!

Honsandrevels Fri 11-Jul-14 17:01:09

I'd been vegetarian for 24 years before I started eating beef when pregnant with dd1. My iron was constantly low and nothing I did increased it. I felt much, much better and ate it till birth. I started again with dd2 and have carried on after her birth.

I still think of myself as a vegetarian just one that eats beef for health reasons. I'm still v prone to low iron.

My first meal was half Quorn mince and half meat in bolognaise. It was meat in disguise and made it more palatable.

SunshineAndShadows Fri 11-Jul-14 16:51:58

Hi butterflies

Just wondering - have you actually checked with your specialist that protein levels are likely to be the cause? Could it be something else like Vit B deficiency (quite common in veggies) or something immune-mediated e.g.coeliac? You should be able to get plenty of protein from whey powder (great in a smoothie) and dairy sources. There are lots of vegan and vegetarian athletes out there and even some body builders e.g. www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=article_torre_008

If you do decide to eat meat and are concerned about animal welfare please DO NOT eat chicken. The chicken and pork/bacon industries are the most intensive in the uk. It's much kinder to eat lamb or beef which are reared to better standards.
Good luck

annikins37 Fri 11-Jul-14 16:46:53

YANBU - when we had trouble getting pregnant second time around I saw a nutritionist who said one of the most important things for conception was protein. You have 'saved' many animals before and can again after if you want to, but I would go for it at least for now. Also, sounds like a petty thing to try, but I strongly recommend Agnus Castus from a chemist - for us it worked when ivf had failed - no promises, but has to be worth a try...

lotsofcheese Fri 11-Jul-14 16:09:41

OP, I suspect you're probably having more protein than you realise. For example, a pint of milk has about 18g protein. Eggs, dairy products & baked beans & other pulses probably take you to the RDA level.

However, if you feel you want to add some high biological value proteins, perhaps make a start with fish, then progress to chicken & eventually red meat.

MaryWestmacott Fri 11-Jul-14 16:01:19

Also you might find it easier have meat and fish included in pasta/rice sauces so you aren't faced with a chunk of meat on your plate. Make it more like your current diet...

MaryWestmacott Fri 11-Jul-14 15:57:53

I'm not nor have I ever been veggie, so can't comment on that, but if you are going to start eating meat again, I would start with chicken in things like stir fries, with a little (perhaps one chicken breast between 2 of you) and lots of veggies to make it more like your current diet, then increase. For chicken and other meats, it is easier to get organic and more ethically reared/slaughted animal products, which might 'sit' better with you, but you will pay for it.

Lamb is another good 'bland' introduction meat, it's slightly sweeter and if you cook it down in a sauce/curry for a long time it can be very tender and the texture might be more pleasant to you.

You can do things like spag bol with really good steak mince (cheap mince isn't worth it! all fat and not a great flavour), again, make with half the recommended amount for a recipe and then work up.

Anther thought, you didn't like meats at 4, are your parents (like mine) of the "well done" school of cookery? I thought I didn't like beef until I left home and discovered "medium rare" - pink meats might seem a bridge too far if you've never eaten meat, but might actually be easier for you to eat, the texture is a lot nicer.

I would avoid sausages unless from a very good butcher until you are used to eating meat again.

also fish, it's now very easy to get ethically sourced line caught tuna etc. worth looking into?

LadyGnome Fri 11-Jul-14 15:21:41

If you don't want to eat oily fish as one of your protein sources then consider this product
www.udoschoice.co.uk/products/udos-choice-ultimate-oil-blend

Its a good vegetarian source of EFA.

Sleepswithbutterflies Fri 11-Jul-14 15:13:58

Well, they had very hard shells (usually seen in older women) and the embryos were slow to grow. All eggs fertilised and had hardly any fragmentation (none in most cases) but they were sloooooow. By day three only 2 out of 9 were where they should be and it was towards the bottom end (should be 6-8 cells and they were 6 cells).
We have issues with dh's sperm so had icsi but had no idea my eggs were useless too.

Hakluyt Fri 11-Jul-14 14:53:10

Not sure what you mean by your eggs being screwed......?

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 11-Jul-14 14:51:10

I think it'd be a shame to start eating meat again when vegetarianism and veganism are such healthy ways to eat.
I would research your protein sources like others suggest, and the actual amounts needed and how that statistically improves your chances.

Good luck, whatever you do.

writtenguarantee Fri 11-Jul-14 14:46:38

I'm eating eggs and yogurt and drinking milk but I'm still nowhere near the recommended amount of protein.

3 eggs hits 40g of protein.

I think logging your food is a good idea, but my impression is that it's pretty easy to get your protein while eating vegetarian. remember, beans and pulses have a lot of protein too. if you are eating eggs, beans and pulses and i doubt that you will be low on protein.

that being said, I think you should do what's best for you. I would ditch the vegetarianism if that's what the doctor recommends for you to sort the issue. I say that as a vegetarian. Good luck.

Olaffles Fri 11-Jul-14 14:45:58

Also a veggie here - took Zita West supplements that are supposedly good at increasing quality of eggs. Maybe worth a try? Check out fertility guru Zita west's website for more info...

scandichick Fri 11-Jul-14 14:42:58

I recently started eating meat after seventeen years off it - it has gone pretty well, although it was a little hard to digest in the beginning. Good luck!

DamnBamboo Fri 11-Jul-14 14:28:23

OP if you eat dairy and eggs, then ethically speaking eating meat should be no issue for you.

If you simply don't like to eat meat, then that is a different issue.

WaveorCheer Fri 11-Jul-14 14:20:43

Whoops - have you had your vitamin d levels tested?

DamnBamboo Fri 11-Jul-14 14:19:40

Bearing in mind it's not just about the amount of protein you consume, it's about the quality.

You want something with a PDCAAS of 0.8 or higher.

You can achieve this by combining specific sources but if you are allergic to nuts and soya and quorn, it might be difficult.

Seitain is very low quality protein.

WaveorCheer Fri 11-Jul-14 14:19:38

I was veggie for 25 years. Now been an omnivore for the last eight and would never go back. I believe you need animal protein for optimal health.

Eggs are great - get free range organic and eat every day. Add extra egg y
Have you

findingherfeet Fri 11-Jul-14 14:16:52

I was veggie for 18 years, I discovered when TTC I was very anaemic (non existent ferritin levels and needed b6 injections)

Obviously your TTC journey is more complex than mine but the month I started iron tablets/injections and eating steak (! Very strange) I got pregnant, this was my 11th month of trying. I also gave up the booze that month which I'm sure did me good!

You're not being unreasonable, being veggie can be perfectly healthy but my diet wasn't.

3 years on, I now really enjoy some meat although most meals are veggie still but I feel so much better.

LadyGnome Fri 11-Jul-14 14:10:01

Quorn is not soya based its mushroom /funghi based

ObfusKate Fri 11-Jul-14 14:07:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DenyDenyDeny Fri 11-Jul-14 14:04:02

OP its legumes it seems you have a problem with legumes.

What nuts are you allergic to? Peanuts?

Soya is a legume, quorn is soya based and peanuts are also a legume. Id keep an eye out for lentils, they are too.

Do you use quinoa? Theres more protein in quinoa per lb than there is in a steak.

Although its far easier to eat pounds of steak than it is pounds of quinoa!

stubbornstains Fri 11-Jul-14 13:56:01

This is all very interesting. I'm a pescetarian and was on a low-carb diet when I conceived too very easily at 35, and again at 38. I went off that (stopped losing weight!) and went on the 5:2 instead. Now, at the age of 40, I'm struggling TTC.

Hmmm...age or diet? Maybe I should try low carbing again! Worth a try...

When I was low-carbing my protein came mostly from fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese and quorn (I know the last is no good for you). I think that if you don't want to eat meat, you should be able to eat enough protein without it.

If I was you, I'd avoid artificial protein products though. I think that fresh, unprocessed food would be much healthier.

sunflower49 Fri 11-Jul-14 13:52:48

I agree with birdsgottafly Do some research on protein sources . It must be difficult when you're allergic to nuts and soya, but not impossible. Soya isn't all that good for people anyway. Plants, as well as animals, are made up of proteins.

I am vegan, had blood tests recently and my protein levels are fine, having said this I do believe people are all different and that some areas of nutrition we do not fully understand yet-hence loads of people always say we need meat for protein, or we need milk for calcium, or I would drop dead by going vegan, or you can't live without dairy etc etc.

Then there's the fact that to absorb protein we need other nutrients, and amino acids. Do some more research to make sure you're well informed, and good luck!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now