Transitioning to Eating Meat?


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It's fitting that we'd follow up yesterday's interview with a read question about how to transition to meat eating:

I'm hoping you can help me though, cause I think you have a unique perspective on this.  My girlfriend has been a kind-of-vegetarian/overall-horrible-eater most of her life - we're talking grilled cheese and french fries for dinner.  We've been together 3+ years and she's been eating healthier and healthier, but she still won't really cross that line to eating meat on any regular basis.  She's been talking to me lately about wanting to incorporate more into her diet for health reasons (I've been paleo for 4 months, she's seeing the results and is intrigued), but she says she just doesn't like the taste of meat. I think that's an overly broad statement to make, but I was hoping you'd be able to shed some light on that, as an ex-vegan.  When you switched over, what meat did you 'like' eating?  I'd love to help her and will make any accommodation I can, but I've been a meat eater all my life and have no friggin' idea how I would help someone start to eat meat.  Any help would be appreciated!  =)

I think it depends where your coming from. I was an ultra-health conscious raw vegan, so I had a different experience than someone coming from grilled cheese. It was very hard to add meat to my diet though because I didn't know much about it. As a sad survey of my early paleo fridge shows, I ate mostly fruits, vegetables, and fish. I hated fish to death and pretty much had to bury it in sauce, but I really did believe it would make me feel better...and it did. It took me over a year to get into grease, braising, and offal. I was a faileo, but it was a start.

I've also had junk food eating boyfriends and while my current boyfriend is fairly health conscious, when we met he was mostly vegetarian and his staple meals were canned lentil soup and pasta. He said he really just didn't like most meat. But now he's happily ordering grass fed steak!

I think the most important thing is replacing things like grilled cheese and french fries with any healthier alternative, meat or not. Baked sweet potato fries dipped in homemade mayo are one of my favorite snacks. I also recommend kale chips.

If you cooking varied meals you can also let her try things. That's how I got my boyfriend to eat steak. I would make it for myself and offer him a bite. It was actually raw bison that was one of the breaking points and he realized he just likes his red meat kind of raw. Also, grass fed meat is more palatable to former veg*ns beccause it's lower in fat.

With fish, I could milder fish like striped sea bass and make good sauces to make the food more attractive. Also going together to a good market or getting a tasting menu at a restaurant that really knows how to make things taste amazing can help expose you both to new foods to try. Some of my first exposures to things like bone marrow were at top restaurants.

Also, if you are interested in improving her diet, the onus is on you to cook delicious meals. My boyfriend eats paleo....because who refuses free homemade food? 

So there my secret has been betrayed: tasty paleo snacks, homemade delicious meals, and simple exposure to new foods. And remember everyone has to start somewhere. My pathetic salmon and chicken breast opened up a world of lamb shanks.