I felt the best I ever did in the first 5 years as a vegan. I did not touch refined foods or dairy at all, ate all organic, supplemented with B12, VERY physically active, tons of energy (mountain climbing, hiking, mountain biking, aerobics, heavy physical volunteer work for an animal welfare organization, splitting firewood year after year, physically demanding full-time jobs), and held at 5'6", 120 - 125 lbs. the whole time. I was self-assured and I looked and felt great. I felt sorry for the closed-minded meat eaters out there who cringed when I told them the secret of my vitality was strict vegetarianism. "These poor people," I thought. "If only they knew how good they could feel all the time as veg-heads. If everyone ate and felt like this, there would be no war, hunger, pollution..." Everything I'd read (chose to read, that is) confirmed my beliefs as well.
My closed-mindedness as a vegan almost killed me 3 times, and I was a sniveling, 95 lb. weakling spending hours a day for 6 months curled up in fetal position in pain and refused to be hospitalized before I decided to try eating meat again. And I hated the smell and taste of it for a while. But a few months after that, tests confirmed I was anemic, deficient in almost all minerals and was an immunological diaster. Guess what? Boy, am I open-minded now! I read everything, from every point of view now. (Not just the ER4YT point of view either.)
Now I know it was the blood sugar rushes that gave me all that energy and voracious appetite. Now I know that cutting out dairy made me feel the best ever, for a few years anyway. Now I know why I slowly became increasingly irritable and impatient and could not handle job stress, even though the stress decreased as I took lower and lower paying jobs. Now I know why my poisoned appendix blew, I spent 18 hours in the ICU with and 10 days with an NG tube shoved up my nose and in my stomach, adhesions later strangulated my intestines and I never recovered from those emergency surgeries that never should have happened 6 and 8 years ago.
But now, from a simple diet change a year and a half ago and a few supplements to help replace all the minerals I've lost, I know why the vigor is returning. I'm on the trail and the bike again, but I'm not splitting wood yet. I planned and built a large porch on my house, wrote a how-to book, signed a nice publishing contract and did all the photography for it last summer. Much, much more than I could have handled 5 years ago.
Sorry about this length, but the opinion of closed-mindedness struck a personal nerve. As a vegetarian (still at heart) before people ever heard of tofu, I thought I was the most open-minded person out there. Turns out I was more than a little single-minded.
So, as Steve says, it's your choice to eat what you want. If you feel good as a mostly-vegetarian, stick with it. If you think this plan will benefit you but you don't want the meat, eat your HB's and neutral veggies and skip the meat. But if you're looking for for vegetarian O support, I'm afraid the pickins will be pretty slim around here. (This board has been swarming with recovering Vegeholics lately.)
My heart is with you - you remind me of me 10 years ago, and I liked me then - I was a good person - I'm just mad at that me now for throwing 10 years away. (But how was I supposed to know - I felt great at that time.)
My very best wishes for you,