“What Made You Stop?”: 35 Former Vegans And Vegetarians Share Their Stories Of Going Back To Meat
There are tons of topics that are bound to get people all fired up because they care so much about the issues. However, there are very few things as controversial as judging someone else’s eating habits. Whether you’re an omnivore, a vegetarian, or a vegan, imagine for a moment if someone came up to you and told you that you’ve got it all backward.
However, people do change their diets all the time. You often hear about people ‘quitting’ meat, but you rarely read about the reverse happening. Redditor u/Seyli04 sparked a very interesting discussion after asking former vegans and vegetarians about what finally made them stop and embrace meat again. They spilled the beans in the comments. Scroll down for their stories.
I was a vegetarian for 1,5 years. I came home to care for my grandfather, last stages cancer. Upon my arrival he made a lot of meat food that i used to love. (Gołąbki, he made the best i ever ate). He forgot I don't eat meat. I told him that and I watched his face became so sad... f**k it, I'm going to eat it. He was so happy to cook for me while he still could.
I was a vegetarian because I thought I hated meat. Turns out my mom couldn't cook, she never used seasoning. So once I got out on my own, and started cooking for myself, I learned I actually do like meat.
Had absolutely no energy. Couldn't work out, which is something I do to help with my disability, so I was essentially bed bound during my vegan year. I will never ever do that to myself again.
I love animals, but I'm not crippling myself more than I already am over them. I simply need meat to gather the energy to do the daily tasks able-bodied folks take for granted. I tried, but it actively worsened my life, so I stopped.
Most people you speak to are likely to have wildly different understandings of what we should eat and what we should avoid like the plague.
Speak to a bodybuilder or someone living in the countryside and they’ll probably tell you all about the benefits of meat, fish, and eggs. Meanwhile, talk to someone who has embraced veganism or vegetarianism and they’ll regale you with tales about the health benefits and moral reasons behind switching to a plant-based diet. Like most things in life, finding a balance between extremes is what’s important.
We all have different experiences with food and our bodies have varying needs. What works for some of us might not work for others. Someone might see huge benefits from switching to a fully-vegan lifestyle. Others might find such a diet completely impractical for their local area, far too expensive, and might not find the dishes as tasty as those using animal products.
Becoming a mother. If I don’t eat leftover chicken nuggets I don’t eat.
I was à vegetarian for 23 years. I was 39 and pregnant. I wanted to make sure my baby had everything she needed. It was already a high risk pregnancy. When I craved meat for the first time in 23 years I started eating it.
Vegan dishes can be delicious, we know that for a fact. But it would be naive to think that everyone would enjoy them. Or that everyone has the time and resources to cook delicious vegan meals from scratch. Especially if your other family members are fans of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and spaghetti bolognese and think that potatoes are the equivalent of green and leafy veggies. Eating healthy is absolutely essential! Sometimes, however, you have to make compromises.
However, if you want to live a long and happy life, one of the main things you can do is change your eating habits. You can copy what the Japanese and Sardinians do!
I was vegetarian for over a decade but was constantly having to take iron supplements. To make matters worse my body was not absorbing the vegetarian sources of iron including loads of leafy greens or even vegetarian iron supplements at all (no change after 6months) and I had to use the ones from animal sources anyway. I felt i gave it a good hot go! Once I started exercising i was always tired and hungry too. I don't eat all meats, I eat kangaroo (it's over populated here and culled) and fish but I'm actually making progress in fitness and no longer exhausted.
I got pregnant and all I could think about was eating meet. I had no issues being vegan, had energy and everything but during my pregnancy I felt like if I really crave it that much there must be a reason, so included it in my diet again. After that I still have plenty of plant based meals but I also eat meat and eggs when I feel like..
My ex forced me to be a vegan, and when she cheated on me the first thing i did was ordering 3 triple cheese burgers at mccdonalds, damn did that meat taste good.
The authors of ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ took a look at the diets of some of the most long-lived people around the globe. They found that centenarians in Japan usually eat rice, miso soup, pickles, boiled or seasoned vegetables, fish, and soybean-based foods (e.g. tofu or natto).
The food that they eat is grown locally. Moreover, they avoid junk food and processed food, as well as sugary snacks and drinks. Their portions are also smaller.
Meanwhile, Sardinia, in Italy, is also full of very long-lived people. Their diets are mostly low-fat and plant-based. They eat wholemeal bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruit, cheese, but they also eat meat sparingly.
I was training for an Ironman triathlon. I know there are loads of vegan distance athletes out there killin it, but on my budget/lack of creativity I found myself eating spoonfuls of coconut oil to get calories. Then I read coconut oil production is also super destructive and just got so frustrated and angry. Shortly after I got dizzy and fell off my bike, nearly skidding down a steep hill into the Yarra river, and that night I ate a whole rotisserie chicken.
I was vegetarian for over 20 years. While having chemotherapy I was craving protein so went back to meat.
Later lived off grid and ate our own chickens, pigs and goats.
Realized I was using being vegan as an excuse to enable my eating disorder. Less options for me to eat, almost never had to eat out with friends/family or on the holidays. I do love animals/Earth and told myself that’s why I was vegan but….. I don’t fully know.
I couldn’t fully recover until I had a less restrictive diet.
Living a quality life means finding balance in what you eat, having an active social life, and getting plenty of movement. Stay away from sugary and processed foods as much as possible, remember to stay hydrated, and you should be fine!
According to BBC Future, research has shown that people generally find vegans incredibly annoying. “Though it’s natural for people to disagree, the passionate rage—and even mild irritation—that veganism stirs up seems to defy rational sense,” Zaria Gorvett writes.
Many people (aka ‘veganophobes’) think that vegans are overly smug, judgmental, over-zealous, and hypocritical. Another part of the equation is that people tend to ignore unpleasant realities, incompatibilities, and paradoxes (e.g. eating fish and chips even though you keep a pet fish at home). So when someone forces us to face our cognitive dissonance, we’re likely to get all defensive and lash out.
Traveled and lived in places where there truly was not adequate nutrition available as a vegan - true malnutrition is awful. Plus, cultural expectations in those areas around entertaining guests, hospitality, celebrations, and rituals don’t always leave the option open to refuse a specific food without offending or hurting the host or community, which meant that I needed to consider balancing my preferences with the needs and practices of the communities I was living in.
Today, I’m primarily plant-based in practice but don’t call myself vegetarian or vegan. I learned a lot about how I think about food, food culture, and the privilege of choice from those experiences.
I almost died from malnutrition two weeks ago. I’m literally 120 pounds at my best and couldn’t think or get out of bed anymore. I realized that I cannot live a restrictive lifestyle while simultaneously dealing with a “abnormal” ED
A change in health circumstances led to a (doctor-recommended) restrictive diet which meant cutting out a number of fruits and vegetables. Couple that with gluten intolerance and veganism and I could barely eat anything. I had to prioritise my health.
I was a pescatarian for 20 years so I ate fish, but no meat. Developed Graves’ disease and have to avoid all iodine (in anything from the sea). I went into remission after reintroducing meat.
Way too many of the vegetarian/vegan substitutes rely on tree nuts/peanuts/soy, which I'm severely allergic to. As it is, I follow a mostly pescatarian diet, unless someone else wants to do the cooking for me!
Realized I would rather eat meat than eat like 15 different supplements and vitamins every morning
Found out my body just trends towards anaemia. I was vegetarian for 5 years as a teenager and just dealt with it but then I got really ill and my doctor basically told me I would need monthly iron infusions or I could eat meat again. I chose meat. Tried to go back to vegetarianism recently but felt such an enormous drop in energy levels I just couldn’t maintain it.
Because I actually like meat, but learned about the horrors of the meat industry. It also ended up playing into my disordered eating pretty bad, which got even worse when I tried to go vegan. Now I let myself enjoy meat, and just try to be better about where it comes from, and in general try advocate for local food.
My mom went through all kinds of trendy diets while I was growing up. She started pescatarian, then vegetarian, then vegan, then raw vegan. She bounced around all of those for a while until the last 5 or so years when she got into crossfit and went Paleo and now Keto.
I am moderate to severely anemic and have been my whole life. I only got meat when my stepdad wanted to grill or if we went out to eat. So I was involuntarily vegetarian/vegan. I'm much happier now and not constipated from having to take cheap iron supplements all the time.
A car crash. I was badly injured and lost a lot of blood. Afterwards I could barely eat but I kept craving a cheeseburger. My friend took me to Maccies and l got me one saying if my body needs it then it needs it. I was diagnosed with anaemia shortly after and told I can either take iron tablets, have shots once a month or just have meat occasionally. I took the fish, burger and occasional chicken breast route.
Sometimes I try new meats (I was a veggie for 10+ years) and I still can’t cook meat apart from fish. But I tend to be curious and if there’s lamb to try I will. But I still hate processed meat, I won’t touch sausages or sandwich meat etc
Anemia and vitamin deficiencies. My spouse continued with his vegetarian diet and is now vegan. Both times I have attempted to re-join him I’ve either fainted, been admitted to the ER for falling down and finding out I’m hyper anemic, or one time started having vision problems due to a severe, vitamin K deficiency… Just doesn’t work for my body.
Vegan for almost a decade. Conveniently was also a great way to hide my eating disorder.
I've tried to be a vegetarian two different times in my life. Both times I had to stop after a few months because I got tired of having no energy, feeling tired all the time and having problems concentrating.
And yes, I *was* taking all the recommended supplements and vitamins at the times. As soon as I switched over to a more omnivorous diet, all the bad symptoms went away in a few days.
Today I do eat meat, but I try to keep my consumption down and only do it about 2 times per week. This seems to be the best balance for me.
Allergic to soy, but also very susceptible to low B12 and anemia. Not a great combo lol
I was a decently strict vegan. I wasnt throwing fits over it or caused any problems when i attended social functions with food, but 100% of the food I cooked or bought myself was vegan.
Basicly, I started working out. And i took the whole thing kinda seriously, since I was unhappy with my body. Turns out its real f*****g hard to hit protein goals with vegan food without either going over the calorie limit or having it taste like s**t.
I wanted to travel more, and it always sucked not being able to properly experience a kitchen of whatever country. Apart from that I just didn’t feel like it any more. No idea why, was very rigid with it for 7 years. Life is weird.
I've been vegetarian for 9 years nearly 10. Recently started eating fish after a trip to Texas. Got tired of always being so limited on food options. Since eating fish again, I have much more energy and feel quite healthy. Cooking and meal planning is also significantly easier.
my hair started falling out, I got my first cavity in years and I just over all felt like s**t. Its a lot harder to get all the nutrients your body needs when you are not eating meat, for me it was anyways.
I was both vegetarian and vegan(at different times), but each time I started to become extremely anemic, my skin was almost white, I had no energy, etc. I'm allergic to most fruits, tree nuts, etc. So I wasn't getting enough iron or protein in my diet because I couldn't eat most things needed.
I moved to a new country and didn't want to have to deal with refusing food and missing out on culture and new experiences. I just told people I liked vegetables.
I was diagnosed celiac and all my safe foods became dangerous. But I’m healthy and alive. 1 year in and thinking of going back vegetarian now that I know what having celiac means.
I was a vegetarian for 10 years and honestly I just felt like it was too much of a pain. I still limit my meat, I won't prepare it for myself and if given a vegetarian option I will choose that. But if someone prepares meat for me or there aren't other options easily available I'll eat it.
I am still 99% veggie but after 8 years, I realized I really enjoy meat as one of the pleasures of life, and found it hard to deny myself completely. Especially living in France where the veggie options suck sometimes.
So now, I try to only eat meat on special occasions and appreciate it and enjoy it to the max. I generally try to only eat it at good restaurants so it should be perfectly cooked and normally locally sourced.
No one is perfect, and a strict diet is hard (for me) to keep to 100% being a bit of a rebel at heart so this is a great compromise.
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