Listening To Your Body

Heart Shaped Vegetable Potato 014-1

For the past three years the thought of eating meat has repulsed me.  Prior to turning to a plant-based diet I was suffering from digestive issues which seemed to be worse when I would consume meat.  Following a dinner containing meat I would wake-up in the morning and feel as though it was still in my stomach completely undigested.

I learned long ago to truly listen to my body.  Three years ago my body was telling me to forgo meat and shortly after that to forgo gluten (which will always be absent from my diet).  I know that is what my body needed because it told me so.  So often people choose to ignore what there body is telling them…symptoms are there for a reason.

This summer my children and I went to visit my sister and her family near Tahoe and then my parents in Santa Cruz.  While in Santa Cruz we went on a berry picking trip about and hour away and ended-up at an old family favorite for lunch, Barbara’s Fish Trap.  When it came time to order I WANTED the clam chowder, so I had it and I enjoyed it.

I slowly began eating eggs more often than usual (I have always kept them in my diet) because I craved them.

Meat followed a few weeks later.  Yep.  Meat.

Please keep in mind that I am not talking about just any meat or eggs, I am consuming pastured meat and eggs.  Meat from animals raised as nature intended.  I do not think we are meant to eat meat from factory farmed animals because THEY are eating diets they are not meant to eat and by virtue of that WE are not able to process their meat well, nor are they as nutritious as they should be.

My foray into a plant-based lifestyle was made because my body requested it of me at the time.  Will I always eat meat from this point forward?  I am not sure.  For now it feels nourishing.  My body will tell me what it needs as I move forward and I will listen.

Is this admission going to upset some Veggie Grettie followers?  I am sure it will.

That being said, I am still Veggie Grettie.  Vegetables are still the absolute basis of ALL of my meals.  Am I eating a huge slab of steak at each meal?  NO, never in fact.  When I eat meat the portions are small and appropriate.

Do I love animals?  Yes and I always will.  I respect and thank the animals that have provided nourishment for my family.

Peace and health,



Filed under Education

49 responses to “Listening To Your Body

  1. Angie

    Good for you! I am a firm believer in listening to your body as well. Right now a vegan diet works for me, but I am fully aware that it may not always work for me. I think the important part is knowing where your food comes from and respecting yourself enough to nourish yourself completely. No need to attach labels (that’s why I shy away from calling myself vegan.) You will still be Veggie Grettie:)

    • Thanks Angie! Labels have always bothered me too, though I have definitely used them and I am sure I will continue to do so. Mostly I just want to be genuine to myself and what I need without worrying about what others think.

      Bottom line I LOVE veggies and am so grateful for their healing powers!!!

  2. Christine victoria Taylor M.S.

    Hmmmm…the body oversees wisdom? How gratuitously convenient for us as self concerned body listening explorers to completely omit the aspect of .listening to your body that is not about me me me in our self obsessed blindness, but the horrifically unnecessary fact of undreamed of terror, barbaric pain and nightmarish ” oh I decided my body is now telling me to murder innocent unsuspecting animals on my new health kik even though it is proven that the human body does not require meat on any level to be healthy, we do not have carnivores teeth or organs, and my nonchalant new attitude murders living creatures without reason.” Hmmm. With all due respect to your body and intelligence, please thoughtfully include the facts that murder of the innocent is involved, millions of people have been raised healthily in non meat eating cultures for centuries, and that it is not, to the surprise of food focused diet explorers, all about us. There are living beings out there being horrifically and barbarically slaughtered for simply existing and one day munching in a sunny field, the next day an unsuspecting bloody pulp. Not required by the human body, proven by science. Food for balanced thought.
    Respectfully, christine

  3. Sirica

    So thankful for your honesty friend! Here’s to health, wherever that may lead us. Love you!

  4. Pata

    good for you, I have not jumped on the totally vegan bandwagon, while I do eat a lot plant based I still sometimes want meat or eggs and just do not beat myself up over eating ….. listening to our bodies is great philosophy!

  5. maureen castro

    You are amazing Gretchen! Love all your great information–keep it up for us 🙂

  6. David Bullock, D.O.

    Wow, I’m sorry your misinterpretation of a subconscious desire to feast on the former tastes (habits not yet totally unlearned) has made you foolishly think your body “was telling you” to eat meat. Perhaps you should read Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD, it is the most authoritative book on diet, nutrition, and how to prolong your disease free life. Although it ONLY has OVER 1,000 scientific references, it is the best documented source of the truth about what our bodies Actually need. Dr. Fuhrman also talks about Toxic Hunger, which is when we feel we need to eat something, and it is NOT a real need of the body, but an old habit and taste or toxin addiction that we still hold in our bodies. As someone else said, eating meat is not only not good for you, it is Very harmful for the poor animal involved, an animal whose consciousness is not a high as our, but is nevertheless, somewhat self aware, and definitely able to feel pain and suffering. Please don’t abandon your vegan ways that were healthier for you and the planet, just to obey an old craving of your habits, not a real message from your body! Namaste, David

  7. Alcoholics body tell them to drink alcohol, so should they listen to their bodies too? Cravings are a sign of addiction. Many of your recipes used processed food products, boxed milks, coconut oil, stevia, etc. so if you were experiencing cravings you were not eating a health promoting whole food plant based diet. If you really wanted to stay vegan, you could have consulted with a plant based doctor, like MIchael Klaper, MD ( with 40 years experience) and find out the true source of your cravings. To justify your behavior simply by saying that you are eating “meat from animals raised as nature intended” is a crock. These animals are not treated or fed any better, and if you truly believe that you are sadly mistaken. You claim to be a graduate of the E Cornell course in plant based nutrition so you should know that the meat from these animals still raises IgF -! and is still a strong cancer promoter. You made your name as a vegan blogger and just like that, you’re no longer vegan. If you TRULY loved animals, then you could not possibly eat them.

    • I wish you the best of luck AJ. Perhaps there will come a time when you choose to be less judgemental of others.

      I have been very supportive of you and unfortunately felt judged by you even when eating a plant based diet…you would make hurtful comments to me even when I would see you in person at an event where I had driven 2+ hours to help give you free press.

      I would advise you not to be as critical of others because you tend to alienate those who are trying to eat more plant based. If they are not doing it perfectly in your eyes then I am sure you always tell them…you seemed to always point that out to me.

      Everyone has their own path in life. My hope for you is that you find peace. I truly wish you well.

      • You have much more class than AJ. I’m also disappointed in her response. However, I’ve noticed she has become more snarky over the last year. I think she needs to add nuts back to her diet.

      • I”m truly sorry that you felt judged and wailted until now to tell me how you felt. My goal is to promote optimum health by speaking the truth about animal products and processed food. Just like no one can make you feel inferior without your permission, no one cn make you feel judged. Still, I would rather be judgemental than hypocritical. The bottom of this page has a quote by Dr. Campbell and reads “a healthy life served vegan”. Neither is true.

        Perhaps instead of “listening to your body” you could try listening to your heart which would tell you that murdering animlals is wrong, if you stay on this path, please just don’t kid yourself or your readers that the way you te choosing to do it is healthier or more humane.

        Love & Kale,
        Chef AJ

  8. shawna

    Thanks for your honesty.

  9. I have been following your for quite a long while. I try to keep my diet plant based but I know from time to time eat meat. I make sure it is organic and not factory farmed. We live out in the country where local farmers raise their chicken and cattle naturally out in the sunshine and fresh air with added antibiotics. I respect your admission and I hope you continue to write your blog it is filled with great recipes and ideas. You are amazing and appreciated and your choosing to eat meat from time to time does not diminish the work you’ve done or your efforts to promote healthy living from a mostly plant based diet. We have conversed several times and you are still an inspiration to me.
    Thanks: Melissa Woodley, Texas

  10. Gretchen, I can’t help but feel incredibly sorry for you that you’ve decided to make this dietary change. The paleo-style diet has been debunked by a multitude of scientists, doctors, anthropologists, not to mention the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that points to meat, no matter how it was raised, as a huge promoter of cancer, heart disease, and numerous other chronic diseases. I’d urge you not to listen to your body so much (those signals can be incredibly deceiving) and instead listen to the evidence out there. If I were you, I’d also drop the argument that you still have compassion for animals. Such an illogical argument really takes away from your credibility.

  11. Elizabeth Ruiz

    It’s great you are thanking the animals for nourishment, but I can guarantee you that not one is say you are welcome. No animal, no matter how they are raised, goes willing to slaughter. As you said,you are eating animals so there is no real need to explain that you love them and thank them because that just sounds like you are trying to ease your own conscience by assuming that the thanks makes a difference to the animal you eating thereby making yourself feel better. Because by that way of thinking, a serial killer can thank the victim for nourishing his desire to kill, negating the crime. I don’t mean any of this as judgmental, just pointing out that the outcome for the animal is the same. As a 28 year vegan, I can tell you that I gave in a few times to my cravings such as cheese and eggs (never meat) and my yearly blood test definitely showed me that even though I craved those things, they did not do my body good. I went back to a completely vegan diet and my blood tests are perfect again. So, for me, I go by my blood tests which, I think, are more reliable then my cravings.

  12. I took Chef A.J.’s class with you a while back but I certainly don’t expect you to remember me. I know you are getting a lot of flack for this but I for one appreciate your honestly. A few months ago I wrote my own blog post renouncing my veganism ( Luckily (probably because I wasn’t so vocal about being “vegan”), I got a lot of praise. For this reason, I raise my wine glass (probably filtered with a fish bladder) and salute you!

  13. Siric

    Oh my, I am saddened to read these judgmental comments. What a shame it is to see well meaning people being so hurtful and rude. I pray you won’t take it personally and will continue this blog, through your honest posts and yummy recipes. Thank you friend for being true to yourself, the person so many of us know and love, just by being YOU!!!

  14. Jen

    How sad for you and the animals! To keep calling yourself veggie is wrong and misleading! Paleo Grettie or Cave Grettie would be more accurate! Nature did not intend for animals to be raised on ANY kind of farm, family or factory, grassfed or feedlot!

  15. Dina Ross

    Gretchen, Thank you for your raw honesty! I will continue to be a loyal follower. I look forward to more blogs and recipes. Life is a journey and thou shall not judge! Keep trudging!!

  16. Dino

    I just found your site and was excited at first because you were a vegan with thyroid issues, just as I am. How disappointing to see this post.

    As Gary Francione has said, if you claim to love animals yet consume animal products, you need to think critically about how you understand love.

    It always amazes me when a “vegan” suddenly decides to not be vegan anymore. They’re louder and more judgmental about veganism when they give it up, yet it’s the vegans who let these people know what they think that are judgmental? If murder makes someone feel better does that justify them murdering people? You’re now indirectly murdering animals to “feel better”. Of course vegans aren’t going to pat you on the back and congratulate you for this!

    • Fortunately I was never looking for a pat on the back.

      Best of luck to you.

    • I LOVE your post and I couldn’t agree more. It’s egregious how these ex-vegans build their platform, and often fame and fortune, on veganism and then use their audience to promote their paleo agenda. One has to wonder if they were ever truly vegan in the first place. That is why in addition to having the ethical part in place, which Veggie Grettie obviously never did or it would not be so easier for her to give up and start consuming animals again, we must follow a health promoting whole food plant based diet so we don’t get these “cravings” in the first place. I have been vegan for over 36 years and had thyroid issues and was able to get off of my medication by going to True North.

      Love & Kale,
      Chef AJ

      • To clarify AJ, I never claimed to be “vegan for ethical reasons.”

        Nor did I ever hide the fact that eggs have always been a part of my diet.

      • This is mean, bullying and down right insane. If you are going to sway a person to veganism it is not by attacking them. I wouldn’t want to join your cause if you were being nasty. As you said yourself, A.J., “it is progress, not perfection”. Although I was never “perfect”, I respected you, your wit and your recipes. Now I think I am going to use your book as fire starter. I know I am not alone here. Lead with kindness! Isn’t that what being an ethical vegan is? Kindness?! Chef A.J., you are not the person I thought you were. I am crushed. Grettie, eat what you want, Love!

      • Dino

        Thanks Chef Aj and I agree with you completely. I guess it’s no surprise that this person called themselves vegan while continuing to eat eggs. Such a shame.

        I also think it’s a shame that so many people are quick to say comments like yours are bullying. Some of the best life decisions I’ve made have been because someone pointed out my faulty logic or called me out on something. She obviously posted this to get support from others, which to me is pretty much asking for a pat on the back. Thankfully some people aren’t afraid to call her out on her faulty logic.

        Nickey- I see this is all touching a nerve with you. Perhaps you should reflect on why it bothers you so much. Nothing I’ve seen in the comments are bullying or insane. You are the only one I see attacking anyone. It took me a long time before I realized that veganism was the way to go and the way you’re reacting reminds me of myself before I went vegan. Very defensive and quick to latch onto anything that justified me not going vegan. In the end, I realized that I wasn’t living honestly. Now I have peace of mind and absolutely nothing can beat that!

      • Well, in her defense she calls herself VEGGIE Grettie, not Vegan Grettie and some vegetarians eat eggs. But up until very recently she dud claim the her blog was vegan, she has since changed the wording but still has a quote by Drl Campbell which seems a bit odd considering Dr. Campbell is against the use of ANY amount of animal products. As a graduate of his nutrition program she would have had to learn that with the exception of B12, there is nothing you can get from animal products that you can’t obtain in a better, nore utilazable from from plants.

        But maybe Grethcen was a plant from the meat industry. It is not uncommon for bloggers and authors to build a fan base promoting veganism just to ultimately discredit it. It is much worse when this happens because it makes the diet look like it’s the problem and makes more people shy away from veganism and health.

        She claoms her reason for eating meat was that she had cravings and was listening to her body. As an egg eater sh probably never lost her taste for animal flesh. But more importantly she never investigated the reason for these cravings. If it was a true nutritional deficiency, which is rare, that could have been detected by a simple blood test. Carnivores have just as much iron deficiency as vegans however. There are many incredible doctors in the plant based movement who have dealt with this for over 40 years. Most of them would have gladly helped her for free, or she could have had a phone consultation with one of them for as little as $75.

        Nickey has also turned her back on veganism so of course she is going to resonate with Gretchen. I do not feel I am being mean or a bully. I am just articlulating what everyone else is saying on the exvegan page (which they will not be able to see) which is much harsher and crueler than the facts and inconsistent logic I am pointing out.

        As far as using my book for kindking, it doesn’t work well. We tried it in Alaska and for some reason, the pages do not burn very well. Thanks for stadning up for the animals who have no voice.

        Love $ Kale,
        Chef AJ

  17. Brilliant and hilarious, AJ ! ! You’ve got me laughing.
    You have pointed out some important points here.
    1) you cannot eat eggs and call yourself a vegan (at least not without being a liar!)
    2) the failure to quit eating eggs probably never allowed her to learn she does not need the ‘taste for meat’ that lead her to her prior food craving which has NOTHING to do with truly “listening to your body,” which in 99.99% of people have NO need for meat. (There are very rare genetic exceptions wherein people cannot metabolize one amino acid into another, which most of us can.)
    3) It is not insane or abusive to point out the hypocrisy of claiming to be one thing, while in fact being another (and setting one’s self up to be a role model who then changes their stance, at least ostensibly).
    4) One correction for you, AJ, you do not need animal products to get B12, they are produced by bacteria, and the reason they are found in meat is due to fecal (crap) contamination from the slaughterhouse.
    5) if you want to deny the validity of being a vegan, just please go watch some of the available videos about what it is like in a slaughterhouse. It is not only a horror for the animals being cruelly torn to shreds, it is a cruelty for the poor humans who have sunk so low that this horror to the human spirit is the only job they could find ! !

    6) Albert Schweitzer: “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

    7) Albert Schweitzer: “Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

    8) Mahatma Gandhi: “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”

    9) Mahatma Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    David Bullock, D.O.
    Board Certified in Integrative Medicine
    Board Qualified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Lifestyle Medicine Specialist
    Nutritional Excellence Expert
    (and Vegan Nutritarian)

    • Thank you doctor! I was curious what Dr Fuhrman would say about meat cravings and here is his answer:

      That is a myth that food cravings means a lack of some nutrient. Food cravings are a form of addiction that fade with abstinence.

      • The reasons for going vegan are valid ones but ultimately, my biggest problem is with people who proselytize their belief or practice. You don’t eat meat? Okay, scoot over, let me eat it. You don’t drink or use drugs? My friend, Justin does. I’ll pass them on to him. You don’t belief in organized religion? Cool. I don’t believe in playing soccer. Find me a soccer ball playing dickhead right the f*ck now. I’m not sure why but I got to set the record straight.

      • Nickey, apparently you missed the meaning of what Chef AJ was talking about. First of all, proselytizing is not the same in all circumstances. For your example, if you hate soccer playing, it, at it’s worst would be a waste of time for the people involved, it would not harm any other creatures or humans (except to waste their time, but also give them some exercise!).
        Secondly, Chef AJ was NOT proselytizing in the sense of just trying to make someone come over to her point of view, i.e. “convert” them. She was just pointing out how Super Hypocritical it is to pretend to be a vegan and have vegan quotes at the bottom of your page while still eating eggs (not being a vegan), and then ‘going back to meat,’ (as if she ever left it)! Pointing out that someone is a hypocrite who claimed to be a vegan is not the same as trying to proselytize or convert someone who has no interest in it in the first place.
        I doubt AJ would have gotten involved in this conversation at all, if the proponent of eating meat had not first dragged in a bunch of unsuspecting vegans into her column under false pretenses. She does not routinely go around attacking people on their ‘eat meat because it’s good for you’ sites, so that proves that point.

        Plus, you comment about others not eating meat, OK, let you have it then, again misses the point that ANYONE who eats meat is contributing to the slaughter and torture of an at least partly sentient being that is capable of suffering and thus is worthy of compassion. Meat should not be eaten unless you physically REQUIRE it, something only one is a million does due to bad genetics. The rest of us not only survive, but THRIVE on a No meat diet, as that way we avoid heart attacks, strokes, cancer, auto-immune diseases and many other chronic illnesses.

        Don’t delude yourself that eating meat is harmless like playing soccer. That argument reminds me of the person who tried to tell me that his smoking was none of my business, as it was what he wanted to do. He said it was like eating candy bars, it affected his health, not mine. He was not apparently aware 5,000 people die per year in the USA alone from “side stream smoke,” and that to use the candy bar analogy, you’d have to say it was more like eating a candy bar and spitting it into my mouth while you ate yours ! !

        Even if you don’t hurt another human being’s health with eating meat (but you do, think of the psychological trauma of the people who have to savagely butcher animals to satisfy your lust for meat), even if that did not exist, you are still hurting creatures that you do not need to hurt during your stay on planet Earth.

        It’s better to now think about your effect on other creatures, rather than wait until you are alive beyond this life and looking back realizing how much damage you did to your fellow creatures!

  18. Julie

    While you certainly are within your rights to damage your health, the environment and murder animals by eating meat, I can’t imagine why you’d want to. I never trust an ex-vegan (especially one who apparently wasn’t even vegan to begin with), so you’ve lost a reader today. Enjoy your new found carcinogens and cholesterol!

  19. Just want to send you some love. There have been some very hurtful, unkind, and judgmental comments here (to put it mildly.) I think you are doing a wonderful thing not only in listening to your body but in boldly being honest and genuine with your readership. No one has the right to treat you poorly because they disagree with your choices. No one. I have been on a similar journey to yours with my body and eating meat and dairy. I find that generally my body does best on a vegan diet, and I feel a strong ethical pull to stay away from animal products, but the subject is not black and white to me. I do eat meat and sometimes dairy. I do so sparingly, but I do it. I think there is a real, palpable grey area that many people want to ignore in favor of pointing fingers at those who live differently than they do. Some hard core meat eaters want vegans/vegetarians to stop being so ridiculous and hippie dippie. Some of those who strictly avoid animal products want meat eaters to stop being so insensitive to living creatures and squash out their selfish carnivorous desires. There is so much anger over the subject and so much finger pointing. You know your body, and you can eat animal products in a conscious way that respects life and supports humane farming practices. You are a wonderful person and very brave for opening yourself up to criticism in your attempt to be completely up front about your own diet while sharing a philosophy about the fabulous benefits of a plant based diet. Keep on doing what you do so well, sharing here and being wonderful you. XO
    Tamar (Ladies Holiday)

    • Tamar, I think you have hit the nail on the head. I started following this post after seeing it mentioned on Facebook and have found the post and the comments following it very interesting–kind of like watching a train wreck, unfortunately, and I can’t take my eyes off of it.

      In defense of Chef Aj, who is my personal friend, I believe that her “enthusiasm” for Veganism is inspiring and commendable. I wish that I was a “perfect” Vegan, because I know that my body doesn’t need animals to be healthy and I also know hands down that this is what is best for the planet and the animals themselves. But yet, even knowing all of this, I still find myself eating non-Vegan desserts sometimes. I wish it were different, but it’s not, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be attacked for my shortcomings.

      I don’t exactly know why I am even commenting here, but I guess it is to say that Aj really means well–her connection to animals goes far deeper that I will ever know, and it really hurts her deeply to see people go from labeling themselves as “Vegan” to “Not-Vegan.” It’s because she is so passionate about animals, which I think is truly amazing.

      On the other hand, I myself wouldn’t want to be attacked for my honesty about my diet, and I do believe that Grettie’s diet will still be far better than 99% of the population, even with some animal in it. I also imagine that at some time in the future, you, Grettie, might find yourself feeling like it might be the best thing to be Vegan again–because life is full of change. Who knows?

      • Hey Wendy,

        I don’t think you eating an occasional non vegan dessert and Gretchen eating meat is the same thing. I don’t think you are claiming that your craving for dessert has a biological basis as she is claiming her meat craving did. Until recently she asserted that her blog was vegan, complete with photos of herself with Dr. Campbell. By giving in to her cravings she is basically saying to her readers that thr plant based diet failed her because it is somehow deficient. If you search her recipes, very few were WFPB or health promoting. She used lots of So Delicicious products, coconut oil and stevia, very Paleo. If she had consulted with any of the doctors in our movement about her cravings they could have helped her and assured her that the vegan diet was not in any way deficient, but perhaps her interpretation of it was.

      • AJ,

        Please know that you do not know the specifics with regards to my body in particular.

        I believe a vegan diet can be a healthy diet.

        You have made your points.

        I would appreciate it if you could direct your attention elsewhere.

      • You are correct We don’t know the specifics of your body, so why don’t you enlighten us? You often shared about your thyroid problems, why not tell your readers what condition you are suffering from that could only be remedied by consuming animal flesh? Than perhaps we could have a better understanding. Did you even try to get help fom any of the plant based experts? I would be happy to pay for a consultation with Dt. Klaper for you. Dr. McDougall would answer your email for free.

      • I am very fortunate to have wonderful doctors and am in good health. You do not need to know the specifics just as I do not need to know the specifics of your health.

        Please focus your attention on those who are looking for your assistance. I do believe you have good intentions that would be better served elsewhere.

  20. Pingback: Elana’s Pantry Banana Bread – Gluten-Free & Paleo | VEGGIE GRETTIE

  21. Wow. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with such undeserved hurtful comments! I was a vegan for 5 years and still love the lifestyle but HAD to add eggs back in. My body needs them and no I did not eat processed or whatever. There are studies for paleo and against it. There are studies for vegan or raw and plenty against both. It saddens me that these “love promoting” vegans are being so Hateful. Humans are mammals y’all! Every body has a different body and there is no universal cure, we are each doing our best. I have tried every diet you can think of (801010-horrible,lowfat,raw,gf,etc) and guess what? Each of those diets works really well for certain people but those are all different just as people are! Good quality meat, dairy, grains whatever! They all for for someone and it is no one else’s job to say what you should or shouldn’t do! I commend you for knowing what is best for you and sticking to it in a world where everyone is so judgmental and it isn’t easy.

    • Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment. I agree…I have never had any other community respond the way some of these people did…it kind of doesn’t match the image I have in my mind of peaceful love-filled people. Fortunately most of the vegans I have met ARE peaceful and living. It always tends to be the few ruining it for the many.

  22. Pingback: Hello Again…I Have Missed You! | BALANCED GRETTIE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *