Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter
These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter

Jennifer McShane

Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin
Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin

Ali Dunworth

How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)
How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)

Lauren Heskin

The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks creepy good
The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks...

Lauren Heskin

‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer Soulé on who inspired her new music
‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer...

Sarah Finnan

3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000
3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000

Megan Burns

8 things no one told me about the first trimester
8 things no one told me about the first trimester

Lauren Heskin

The Budget contraception scheme still holds women in Ireland responsible for safe sex
The Budget contraception scheme still holds women in Ireland responsible for safe sex

Kate Demolder

‘Romy & Michele’ actress Cortney Wolfston on being fired while pregnant
‘Romy & Michele’ actress Cortney Wolfston on being fired while pregnant

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why


by Ellen Bird
27th Dec 2018
I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why

While I’m no health professional, I’ve come a long way where healthy eating is concerned. I read ingredients religiously (and understand them), I know where my greens come from and where my almonds are milked (joking, obviously). I’m just a girl well-versed in the topic of #health, informing you of my experience.

Highly medicated on supplements

The month of November began with instructions to take twenty-five drops of silver with breakfast, massive plastic-covered L-Glutamine tablets thirty minutes before both lunch and dinner, lemon balm drops on my salad, two zinc tablets in the evening and finally finishing the day off with another two probiotics. It’s been almost two months and I’m still highly medicated on supplements. Overnight I had gone from six years of veganism (vegetarian when I wanted to be) to introducing red meat, chicken and a whole load of fish back into my diet. This was not because I was fed up eating soy-inducing tofu chunks, four eggs a day, pasta for comfort and getting bloated on chickpeas. As everyone prepares themselves for veganuary, ready to chow down on everything raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-fat, high-fat, and of course, vegan – I’m tucking into my newfound life of eating meat. Why? Well, honestly, because I have a parasite.

Since I began messing around with food groups at age seventeen, my digestive system has been a mess. From going vegetarian, to being a hardcore vegan (before finally deciding I love cheese pizza too much), to completely cutting out bread and then eating far too much of it, I went back and forth between vegetarianism and veganism for six years.

The vegan/vegetarian lifestyle made me feel all fancy. I enjoyed sashaying through hipster cafés, flipping my hair and asking for a matcha latte with almond milk and a vegan flapjack on the side. But it wasn’t until three years in that I really began feeling sick after eating. Suddenly, I was fighting awful digestion, but trying desperately to continue living a cruelty-free lifestyle – even though I knew it wasn’t working for me anymore.

I often felt drained, both physically and mentally. I was unwell and unsatiated; I could never seem to get the balance right. After finally making moves to do something about it, I visited a naturopathic doctor. It was the best thing I’ve ever done – for both my health and my mental state. I found out that there was something else going on internally – a parasite in my system causing absolute chaos.

While I knew dairy didn’t agree with me at all before I even got tested, I’d occasionally like to indulge in a not-so-gourmet pizza after a night out, or spoil myself with a fresh croissant laden with butter when abroad in Paris. I was quickly told I was intolerant to all dairy products after my first consultation. I almost cried when she told me I was allergic to eggs, but MSG I could live without (mostly found in Chinese food); soy was a surprising one and alcohol was even more surprising (although gin doesn’t count). On top of all these intolerances, what was most surprising was that I managed to pick up a parasite when in Prague last January. Don’t ask me how or what I ate, because I honestly don’t know – whether it was through contaminated water or food.

Turns out that I had been eating foods that I was allergic to for years. This was making me feel unwell. But once I had a parasite, everything went downhill, fast. The parasite was living on all the food my body was rejecting; growing and multiplying in all its critter glory. The naturopath said that although I didn’t look it physically, I was malnourished – my system needed meat, chicken and fish. As our session neared an end, she asked me if I was vegan/vegetarian for ethical reasons. And while I do love animals and aim to live in as eco-friendly a way as possible, I was willing to begin introducing meat, chicken and fish back into my diet, I was willing to try anything to help.

Do what works for YOU

I’ll be honest, eating those foods again after six years was strange. I started with fish and moved on to chicken. It was weirdly satisfying and never felt wrong; my body soon didn’t feel so ’empty’. Although I still haven’t eaten meat (baby steps), it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my health and for my mental state.

While I’m a sucker for wellness content and all things healthy, the vegan diet just wasn’t right – for me. Everyone’s body is different. Some people thrive on a plant-based diet, but it brought me a lot of pain, both mentally, emotionally and clearly, physically. But that doesn’t mean I can’t live a healthy lifestyle eating grass-fed protein and an abundance of vegetables. Perhaps you’re thinking about going vegan for ethical reasons or conjuring up some drastic New Year’s resolution, but I can’t stress enough how smart your body is, so listen to it. Do what works for YOU, not what’s working for someone else.

Also Read

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

I’m helping detox my body by eating meat again and here’s why
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy