Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat

by Sarah Activism, Green Living, Healthy LivingComments: 132

It appears that for the vast majority of vegetarians, abstaining from meat is only a phase rather than a permanent life choice.

According to Psychology Today, roughly 75% of vegetarians eventually return to eating meat with 9 years being the average length of time of abstinence.

The most common reason former vegetarians cited as the reason they returned to meat was declining health.   One vegetarian turned omnivore put it very succinctly:

“I’ll take a dead cow over anemia any time.”

Other former vegetarians cited persistent physical weakness despite eating a whole foods, PETA recommended diet while others returned to meat at the recommendation of their doctor.

Another big reason that vegetarians returned to meat was due to irresistable cravings.    This occurred even among long term vegetarians.  Respondents talked about their protein cravings or how the smell of cooking bacon drove them crazy.

One survey participant wrote:

“I just felt hungry all the time and that hunger would not be satisfied unless I ate meat.”

Another put it more humorously:

Starving college student + First night back home with the folks + Fifty or so blazin’ buffalo wings waiting in the kitchen = Surrender.

Sustainably Raised, Grassfed Meats Prove Enticing to Vegetarians

About half of vegetarians originally gave up meat for ethical reasons.  Pictures of confined animals standing on concrete in their own excrement and the stench of factory farms on country roads from 5 miles away is no doubt plenty of reason to turn away from meat.   Some former vegetarians, however, have recognized and embraced the grassfed movement back to sustainable and humanely raised, cruelty free meats as a real ethical alternative.

Some of these converts back to meat view buying grassfed beef and other sustainably raised animal foods as a new form of activism similar to their boycott of factory farmed meats when they were vegetarians.

Berlin Reed, a long term vegetarian with the tattoo “vegan” on his neck is one of these.  Now known as “the ethical butcher”, he believes that promoting customer contact with butchers which has been lost in recent decades with the rise of factory farming is the key to an improved and sustainable meat system.

Omnivores Healthier Than Vegetarians

The article in Psychology Today ended on a baffled note with the author wondering if meat eating could potentially be in our genes?

I submit that the results of this survey are not surprising and are in fact a testament to the research of Dr. Weston A. Price.   Dr. Price traveled the world in the 1920’s and 1930’s visiting 14 isolated cultures in the process.  During this adventure which he documented in great detail with amazing pictures in his masterpiece Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price concluded that while the diets of these natives varied widely, nutrient dense animal foods high in the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K (also known as Activator X) were the common denominator.  Consumption of these animal foods were revered in these communities as they bestowed vibrant health, ease of fertility, healthy children, and high resistance to chronic and infectious disease.

This discovery was a disappointment to Dr. Price who had expected to find the vegetarian cultures to be the healthiest cultures of all. But, the vegetarian cultures he examined displayed more degeneration than the omnivore cultures which surprised him given that these vegetarian cultures did indeed have superior health than the Americans of his day.

However, he could not deny that the health of the indigenous omnivores exceeded that of the vegetarian cultures with those consuming marine seafoods of all kinds exhibiting the most vibrancy of all.

Therefore, in the famous words of Pink Floyd,  “Eat yer meat!”

And, while you’re at it, make sure it’s grassfed because even meat eaters hate factory farms!



Sources: Vegetarians Beat a Humane Retreat Back to Meat

Why Do Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat?

Picture Credit

Comments (132)

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  • Elaine Walker

    From simple nutrition point of view, it is much easy to have balanced nutrition diet by eating vega and meat.

    February 17th, 2012 12:03 am
  • Ralene

    wow, this is a great site! I was a vegetarian for a few years as a young adult, only because my father and grandfather were butchers and I had to help in the shop. It grossed me out and the raw smell was too much. When i got pregnant it was over! I craved meat so much it was uncontrollable lol. I have watched my kids and neice and nephews now go through the stage of not eating meat, right after the movie “Food Inc” came out. I have stopped eating meat again for 2 weeks and honestly i am sick, and very tired. But I cant get over the guilt to start eating meat again.

    February 16th, 2012 1:47 pm
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  • Ted Striker

    I’ve been vegetarian for a year and never felt better. Lighter, sense of well-being, and don’t have any problems with cravings. You should discuss the flip side of people like Brock Lesnar who got diverticulitis from too much meat consumption, or President Clinton, who switched to a plant based diet, and it cleared away the plaque from his heart. What about Coach Mike Mahler, a vegan kettlebell guru, huge guy full of strength, health, and vitality. Every veggie girl I’ve ever met has been absolutley beautiful. Not sure what your crusade against us is, I think you secretly wish you could do it but know how hard it would be.

    January 31st, 2012 4:20 pm
  • hoshioni

    what about the un-radiated egg? the grassfed ones from hens that arent laying for children? isnt that the ultimate comprimise?

    January 21st, 2012 3:45 am
  • andychrism (@andychrism) (@andychrism)

    Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat – The Healthy Home Economist

    December 6th, 2011 12:22 pm
  • candace

    I am an omnivore, but more importantly, I am a locavore. I have not seen any comments here that address the fact that vegans and probably most vegetarians are surely supporting big ag, petrochemical fertilizers, & mass transportation of their varied culinary choices. I eat fruits and veggies when they are fresh and in season, or I preserve. I eat local meats, dairy, and eggs. I do not shop at the grocery store. I will not prop up large, monocrop farms (even organic ones) that destroy soil fertility, ecosystems, and kill more small mammals than a local, small farm does.
    I garden organically and manually kill hundreds of bugs each year in order to do so (no way around it). I milk goats and harvest few “kids” a year and maybe some venison and raise laying hens. I believe that living in this way is gentler on the earth- we are actually building topsoil here- and is a truly sustainable system. Massive monocrop farming, dependent on petrol-think corn, soy, & wheat- is destroying topsoil at an alarming rate. Just because you don’t see the blood of small mammals on your out of state lettuce does not mean it isn’t there (metaphorically speaking).
    And if we stop eating and milking cows, what will become of them? keep them for pets? anyone who thinks that probably hasn’t mucked a barn or hauled water in the dead of winter.

    December 4th, 2011 2:21 pm
  • Heather

    I was vegetarian for six year before returning to meat last December (2010) when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Willow. Best choose I ever made.

    November 15th, 2011 9:51 pm
  • Saab

    Been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I don’t drool when I see cuts of meat laid out on a grocery store counter, or when I see a dead animal on the floor. Also, my taste buds don’t have taste for amino acids, only carbohydrates. Also, I think vegetarians living in impoverished villages will undoubtedly be more malnourished than the average meat-eater that can afford to eat it. Also, I found something interesting that I thought I wanted to share with all of you whether you’re meat-eater or vegetarian:

    No thanks, I’ll have the cilantro please.

    November 11th, 2011 4:18 am
  • Dsm

    Kosher slaughtering lying jew.

    October 15th, 2011 7:41 am
    • Dsm

      “I’ll take a dead cow over anemia any time.”

      Perfect jew phrase. .

      October 15th, 2011 7:56 am
  • Me

    My mom has been vegetarian for approximately 35 years. She has made it her business to do her own research in terms of what, how much, when, etc. to eat to maintain optimum health. So far, so good.

    I also have an aunt who has been vegetarian for at least 25 years. She’s thriving as well.

    I agree with Paul. There are as many variables as there are people and eating meat may or may not be a good choice, for as many reasons.

    Vegetarian… Meat eater…

    More important for me is eating fresh organic food, drinking clean water, breathing clean air, and getting enough sleep. :)

    September 30th, 2011 6:52 am
  • Dennis A. Reid (@DennisAReid)

    Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat – The Healthy Home Economist

    September 25th, 2011 3:45 pm
  • JJ

    I am a little skeptical about this article. I was raised as a vegetarian and never experienced any protein cravings or poor health. My parents have both been vegetarians for 50 years and they are in excellent health and look to be in their 50’s instead of nearing their 70’s. In addition I have many many friends and family members that have been vegetarians for decades or even their entire lives. Many of the older people in my community enjoy excellent health into their 80’s and 90’s.
    Also I wonder about a study that showed that Seventh-day Adventists, who have a vegetarian culture, are the longest lived people on the earth?

    September 23rd, 2011 4:00 pm
  • April

    Interesting article–however, I never read many posts about people who have been raised vegetarian. I am 30 years old, vegetarian for life. Never had a health issue besides the flu–same goes for my siblings. My parents are 60 and they look 40- both vegetarians since the age of 20. Now it may just be good genetics, but this type of living has not done me wrong yet. I respect cultures for eating meat, but I have no respect for people turning a blind eye to the awful abuses that factory farmed animals are subjected to every day and the harm that it does to our earth (number #1 cause of deforestation and groundwater pollution). I respect people who raise their own meat, slaughter, and prepare it as our ancestors did, but the reality is that most people in our country (USA) don’t do that. I believe that at one time, eating meat was necessary, but not anymore. I’ve tried steak, fish, hamburgers, chicken, etc.–all the things that my friends say they could never live without. My first thought when I tried them was…so this is what everybody gets so worked up about? I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    September 20th, 2011 4:25 pm
  • scarey

    I am a light vegetarian, I do not eat ANY mammal or fowl, just a little seafood on occasion, a lot of veggie meats like MorningStar and Gardein, and my carbs are roasted or steamed, never fried. I feel better and my appetite is much smaller. When you don’t pack your body with slow digesting meat, your capacity gets smaller, and so does your appetite. Of course that also means don’t gorge yourself with major carbs esp fried as that will induce your appetite as well, so it’s not from no meat, it’s what else you are putting in your belly. As far as those that think going back to eating “grass fed, cage free, free range..etc” is ok, maybe you are not realizing that it’s not just HOW an animal is raised but what they endure just prior to slaughter, the horrific abuse and torture by those that work at slaughter plants. So it’s not necessarily the farms they come from raising them, but what happens to them once they leave there. From the horrific transportation to the slaughter plant, the ATROCITY that MOST people are unaware of, THAT is what MUST STOP!!!

    September 5th, 2011 9:48 am
  • cat hunter

    As a pro-meat raw ‘vegan’, I am somewhat unusual lol

    Great article, and in support there is much material on how vegetarianism and veganism is no healthier than meat eating. In addition I would add, that having worked in both farming and hunting, a vegan world would reduce biodiversity, cause a further decline in animal welfare, and according to some studies, reduce the mean IQ of the ever growing and ever more futile population.
    Having said that, I have just lost 126lb and recovered terminally declining health by dropping many food groups, including meat from my diet. The further up the food chain you are, the more toxins you ingest from animals all the way up. I can only suggest that the people who have given up this vastly improved diet have not done sufficient research to get a full range of nutrients from other sources.

    August 28th, 2011 7:11 am
  • Briana

    Thank you! I will give it a go =)

    August 27th, 2011 9:40 pm
  • Briana

    “And, while you’re at it, make sure it’s grassfed because even meat eaters hate factory farms!” This really touched my heart. Thank you for saying that. I am new to this real food style of eating. I am just recently coming off of a mostly vegan diet. I was in between vegan and vegetarian for 5 years. I adopted the diet because of the horrible treatment of animals and for my health. I became vegan when I was 17, after my mother passed away from breast cancer. I did research, and the vegan diet seemed the best for cancer prevention. I did not and do not want cancer….so I was determined to do all that I could. I was also pretty unhealthy. Suffering from depression, anxiety, PCOS (although at the time I did not know I had this), PTSD, Reflux, OCD. UGH! So, of course, PETA’s website assured me that all my ailments would be cured with a vegetable centered diet. Well, here I am, 24 years old….and still suffering from most of the above =( Through fate, or divine intervention, I was introduced to the Primal/Paleo diet. After much research and looking through Facebook, I came across your blog. It has been extremely helpful to me! Thank you so much for doing this. This is a difficult transition for a former vegan, but I live in Seattle…so there are plenty of great farmers that I can get connected with. Do you have any good resources for GERD? Since going grain free, I have noticed an improvement for sure; but not cured. Maybe it will just take some more time. My husband and I are low on funds right now, but I soon hope to do the GAPS diet. I am pretty sure my gut needs to be reseeded, if you will =P I have taken way too many antibiotics in my life unfortunately. In the mean time, I have been eating a lot of fermented foods and taking probiotics. Thanks again! <3

    August 27th, 2011 7:17 pm
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Brianna, thank you for sharing your story. My husband suffered from GERD for years and raw cream did the trick for him He ate raw cream with almost every meal for several months (8-9 quarts per month believe it or not) and he was pretty much healed. He has occasional bouts but usually when we are traveling and eating out at restaurants a lot.

      August 27th, 2011 7:25 pm
  • Vicky

    I have been vegetarian for over 30 years, my husband as well. We are rarely ill and we have brought up three children as vegetarians who have been strong sports people and very academic and artistic. We will never go back to eating meat or animal products..that is our choice. Most of our meals are now vegan and there is enough evidence to suggest that a vegan diet can help prevent and cure heart disease and cancer. But whatever the arguments for and against a meat-free lifestyle, in the end it boils down to choice.

    August 16th, 2011 7:14 pm
  • Lucila-Ecuador

    Please Sarah, could you send the exact article of Psychology Today where you found this information? My husband who is vegan wants to read more of it.

    August 8th, 2011 8:48 pm
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Lucila, the article is sourced with a link at the end of the blog.

      August 8th, 2011 10:35 pm
  • Tati

    I am a vegan for a year now / former vegetarian on and off for about 9 years. Aaaand a nursing mother of my 8 month old healthy (!!!!) Son.
    I think people who were vegan/vegetarian and went back to meat simply didn´t even get to know variety of vegan foods, let alone of preparing it. There is a big difference between “side dishes” eaters and people who actually got to learn the whole spectrum of vegan kitchen.
    I don´t miss meat, I trully feel sick thinking of how nasty it is and what it does to my body. I remember my two month detoxification when I went 100% vegan: I was sweating and I stunk non-stop, I had to shower 4-5 times a day (had never ever problems with that before and after) but it wouldn´t help at all! My body was clearly getting rid of all the poisons.
    I feel great since I eat vegan, I have so much more energy, I enjoy my self-prepared healthy food more then ever before. I lost some weight without any dieting, my skin got so much better. I could go on and on with the goodie-list! I am happy and trully balanced. And, yes, my Son is going to eat vegan. I am not going to make the same mistake like my parets did with me only because they didn´t know better.

    July 24th, 2011 12:35 am
  • Cherie Pfeiffer (@cheriepfife)

    Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat – The Healthy Home Economist hmmmm well, I’m on year five…

    July 14th, 2011 1:27 pm
  • Julie

    Hi Sarah,
    I just read this article and thought you would enjoy it. A former vegan butcher:

    July 12th, 2011 9:19 am
  • drutt

    I don’t understand the desire to attack those people who are vegetarian. I don’t see why some meat-eaters see it as their duty to educate non-meat-eaters in the ‘errors’ of their ways. I really don’t get those people who think they’ve got any right to tell their pregnant friends what to eat (her body, her diet… please don’t think her body isn’t her own just because she’s pregnant).

    Live and let live. I don’t lecture people in what they should eat, and I expect other people not to lecture me. If any of my friends tried this, well, they wouldn’t be my friend for long.

    July 10th, 2011 3:43 pm
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Obviously, the majority of folks are not needing a lecture to leave vegetarianism behind as this survey shows quite clearly. Their observation of their failing health and/or cravings for some complete protein as found in meat is quite enough!

      July 10th, 2011 4:04 pm
      • drutt

        But the suggestion that people need to leave vegetarianism behind or they’ll fave ‘failing health’ is a nonsense. Some people have difficulty in establishing a balanced vegetarian diet in the first place, so perhaps it’s just not for them. Other people, particularly in Europe it would appear, have no problems in maintaining a good vegetarian diet and living healthily that way for decades.

        I don’t think it’s right to push an agenda that everyone should eat meat. As I said, live and let live.

        July 11th, 2011 6:38 am
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          You can call it nonsense, but obviously it is not because most people who return to meat cite exactly that (failing health) as their reason. Are you calling them liars for what they have observed and decided to do (return to meat)? Doesn’t seem to fit your “live and let live” philosophy too well, does it?

          By the way, a “balanced vegetarian diet” is a contradiction in terms. An omnivore diet is balanced – a vegetarian diet is by definition imbalanced because it does not include any meat. Kind of like saying someone who eats only meat eats a “balanced carnivore diet”. This too would be ridiculous to say because it would also be imbalanced because it did not include any plant foods.

          July 11th, 2011 7:31 am
          • Wishing for a less biased writer

            Yep, Sarah, your agenda is clear, sad and biased. “Balanced” could mean many things, but for you it means a diet that includes “eating meat.” I wish you could better yourself and your audience by having a more nuanced view.

            July 19th, 2011 1:58 am
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            You are exactly right. This is my blog and I am incredibly biased toward health which is why I encourage people to eat meat as healthy indigenous cultures have done for thousands of years.

            July 19th, 2011 7:41 am
  • Nienke

    I left a comment about the ‘us’ against ‘them’-comments I see over there, and here, too.
    Because I also mentioned this post (or actually, the comments on this post) in it, I though I’d post the link here, to be thorough:

    July 10th, 2011 2:15 pm
  • Lindy

    Having been a vegetarian for 10 years, I’ve learned that our own individual make-ups are the most important factor in how we handle a meat-free diet. I don’t crave meat, I didn’t after I stopped eating it, my body just doesn’t need it. I initially became a vegetarian because I noticed I felt better and more energetic without meat, even through both of my pregnancies. However, I know a ton of people who could never live without meat. It’s all about what works for you.

    I’d be curious as to how many of the survey participants took up vegetarianism for ethical or trendy reasons. It’s possible that ethics aren’t strong enough to sustain one’s physical needs, at least not in all cases.

    July 10th, 2011 1:40 pm
  • hmm

    how odd. i’m a vegan and i have never missed the taste of meat. which is the reason i don’t eat mock meats, i don’t like the texture of meat, real or fake. even the smell of barbeque makes me think of burned cow flesh.. not beef. i am also definitely healthier on a raw vegetables/fruits diet and i had less energy when i used to eat meat. guess we’re all different.

    July 10th, 2011 8:20 am
  • Jessica

    What about the fact that human bodies are not designed to eat meat?(We have herbivore teeth(our “canine” teeth are bs and could obviously not rip into an animal.I’d like to see you try to eat a chunk of raw meat,let alone a live animal),saliva,intestines,etc..and clearly drinking milk from another species is unnatural) ,so it makes no sense that you would be deficient in anything without it. I’ve been vegan for 7 years and I’ve never been healthier. I haven’t gotten a single cold/flu,etc.since I cut all of that crap out of my diet,my skin looks amazing,I have more energy..I also think it would be almost impossible to become deficient in any vitamin/mineral or not get enough protein unless you’re eating total crap. Almost everything now-a-days is vitamin fortified,and as long as you eat a varied diet you get everything you need…

    July 8th, 2011 3:47 am
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Jessica, we have both canine and herbivore teeth .. hence we are “omnivores”. Denying the obvious when it is sitting right there in your mouth is foolishness. Our bodies not designed to eat meat? What ludicrous propaganda is this? Dr. Weston A. Price studied 14 indigenous cultures that were all supremely healthy and they ALL ate animal foods .. and were healthier than the indigenous vegetarian cultures.

      July 8th, 2011 10:37 am
    • Emily @ Butter Believer

      Hey Jessica, have you ever accidentally bitten — and thus, ripped into the flesh of — your lip? Gee, how could that *possibly* happen with those herbivorous teeth of yours?

      Take a look at an actual herbivore’s mouth. Pretty sure my horse, goat, and the neighbor’s cow are lacking those “BS” canines.

      July 9th, 2011 5:24 pm
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  • Annette K. Scott

    Sarah, Thank you for this post. Clearly, by virtue of the sheer number of responses and their length, you have hit a chord! My quest to eat in accordance with my concurrent desires to be radiantly healthy and in alignment with my ethics regarding our place in the web of life on this living planet began in earnest at 16. I will turn 42 this year – I share this so that I might illustrate the number of years that I have wrestled with the “how to”. Over that span of years I have moved through years of being a vegetarian, a macro/micro eater, a vegan, a juicer, a raw foodie. For the past 4 years I have used Nourishing Traditions and Weston A. Price’s work as my guide.
    I continue to adapt and learn as I go forward but it is here, eating grass-fed or naturally reared animals, eating local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, that I am best able to integrate my emotions and my critical thinking skills regarding the environment and my ethics. I work diligently to walk softly upon the earth, live simply and beautifully knowing that I am putting the very best of myself on offer because I am healthy and resilient. Nutrition is the key and foundation to that for me and yet, I know that conscious eating is a very personal journey. May we ultimately all meet in peace and eat together. Be well and thanks for the thought provoking work!

    July 2nd, 2011 9:30 am
  • April

    Sarah, I didn’t know if you were aware of this…
    Yesterday evening (June 30) i was watching the news, and saw pieces of a report. It seems that an international coalition of chicken farmers selected representatives to come to the US and take a good look at “how we do things.” Of course the idea is to increase efficiency and decrease financial loss in factory farms around the world. I am afraid I have just witnessed the early stages of decline in the health of countries that have far surpassed us in the recent past.

    July 1st, 2011 2:46 pm
  • jami

    I was an on again off again vegetarian for 10 years, beginning in high school. As mentioned in your post, I began abstaining from meat after becoming aware of the conditions these animals are kept in, which are truely horrific. But I ALWAYS had cravings. I never felt healthy, and I cheated a lot. And really, what was I doing to actually address the problem I had with the care and treatment of animals? On a whim I got a few ducks to put in my yard for eggs, which led to wanting more ducks, needing a bigger yeard, getting a bigger yard, then hey, why not get a few goats out there too? The absolute joy I get from caring for these animals, and yes, raising some as a meat source now, has opened my eyes so much more to how people can have unbound love for animals and eat them too. I get the rest of my meat from small local farmers, and am fortunate enough to have an open invitation to any of these farms any time I want to check things out. Instead of just standing by with the “Well I don’t eat meat, so I’m not part of the problem” attitude, I have found a great network of omnivores who have such admirable passion and dedication to increasing awareness of how we can have our animals and eat them too.

    July 1st, 2011 12:10 pm
  • Primal Toad

    This is my first time here… great blog! Thanks for posting this on my facebook fan page! This is an awesome post that all vegetarians should read.

    A vegetarian diet is simply not healthy. I mean, does a vegetarian realize that Vitamin B12 is an ESSENTIAL nutrient? And that the ONLY natural source is from animal products? Without supplementation and fortification, a vegan would DIE soon. Who would a vegan want to see die first? A healthy cow that grazes on grass or him/herself?

    July 1st, 2011 12:03 pm
  • Meagan

    I was a HARDCORE vegetarian for 4 years and within the last year have come back to the omnivore side. My original reason was for moral/ethical reasons. I did not agree with commercial factory farming due to the waste, animal cruelty, quality of meat, as well as the treatment of workers. Being pressured to slaughter 450 animals a day in a line with dull knives leads to very serious injury with immigrant workers having no medical/insurance protection whatsoever. The entire business practices of these huge factories are completely corrupt.

    I also opted out because at the time I was reading controversial information about the health benefits of going RAW and vegetarian. And that more meat equaled more risks of cancer. I do agree that going RAW and vegetarian for a brief amount of time is cleansing, but I am a firm believer now that an omnivorous diet is best. During the 4 years that I was a vegetarian I lost too much weight, my joints were always somewhat sore, my hair was dull and lost a lot of its natural curl, my skin had no color, I tanned less well and couldn’t maintain the little bit of tan I had at all. I did feel “lighter” in the sense that my digestive functions were a breeze and after a meal I was never tired/lazy. However, I had less energy overall. My family harassed me constantly to gain some weight and I was never once complimented on my figure. ( I was flat chested and had no butt!)

    In the last year I have gained back about 15-20lbs (I always seem to fluctuate between those last 5lbs) I have a full curvy figure again and have received so many compliments. My hair is shiny and the natural curl is back! My skin isn’t colorless anymore and when I get some sun, it stays nice and tan for a long time. I still have my normal 2 bowel movements a day, but instead of them being extremely soft they’re the healthy #4’s. (Bristol Stool Chart)

    I eat limited amounts of meat, no more than 7 ounces a day, however I eat a lot of eggs and dairy and try to limit my amounts of grain. I do not eat meat when I eat out at a restaurant, unless they purchase locally. All my meat is organic grass-fed beef or poultry. And I try to eat fish at least once a week. I actually have a lot of hunters/fishers in my family, so we always have some elk, foul or freshwater fish in the freezer. I have to say I have never felt better in my life. It takes a bit more work, but eating an omnivorous diet with whole foods cooked the traditional way really makes a difference. I can vouch for it!

    July 1st, 2011 3:04 am
  • Kelli

    Everything on this planet lives on the death of others, its been that way for millions of years. Animals and plants decompose in the soil making it fertile again. Humans need animal fats so the least we can do is raise the animals humanely. You can never be truly healthy without cod liver oil and butter.

    June 30th, 2011 8:35 pm
  • Jack Carone

    None of these warnings about health problems and recidivism are reflected in my personal experience, either with my own health or the condition of the hundreds of vegetarians and vegans that I know. if you must eat the flesh of abused animals ( and don’t kid yourself about “organic” or grass-fed animals not being abused, no one wants to die, you realize), then do it, but skip the rationalizations.

    June 30th, 2011 3:50 pm
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Jack, this is not so. Study of the Native American tribes which depended and followed on buffalo herds for survival document how a buffalo would typically “sacrifice” itself to the tribe when the time for slaughter came near. The buffalo would stand away from the safety of the herd and willingly offer itself as food for the tribe. Of course, the Indians were grateful to the buffalo and never wasteful – using every part of the animal for food, shelter or clothing. Grassfeeding of animals attempts to replicate this in some ways by being respectful and grateful to the animals which provide us the food we need to be healthy and treat them with utmost respect and care while they are under our stewardship.

      July 1st, 2011 7:50 am
      • Jack Carone
        you can rationalize killing, but it is still killing.

        July 3rd, 2011 2:27 pm
        • Lava

          Better start rationalizing the tiger, and the lion, and the eagle. And the vulture.

          July 7th, 2011 2:22 pm
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            Exactly. It is the circle of life after all. What about all the bacteria and bugs you’re killing as you walk on a sidewalk. Where do you draw the line? The fact is that humans are omnivores (note the pointy canine teeth in our mouths! We are not meant to subsist only on plant foods!) and denying this is not only foolish but leads to rapid health decline which is why most folks come to their senses within a few years and once again eat meat. Hopefully, from sustainable family farms!

            July 7th, 2011 3:05 pm
          • Emily @ Butter Believer

            Ack, you beat me to it, Lava. Was going to ask Jack if he believes all predatory animals are “abusers.” Lol! Darn that food chain… so cruel! 😉

            July 9th, 2011 5:17 pm
        • Nienke

          So then, what would you call the broccoli (as said before) on your plate?
          Still alive and happy to be chewed up?

          Killing is not such an awful thing, people do it on a daily basis (though, most of them, don’t do it themselves). It’s the life before the killing that counts, and also the way the killing is done. Monoculturing a crop, feeding it on fake minerals, and then ripping it out of the earth with heavy machinery really isn’t so much better than bio-industry meat.

          Killing an animal with respect, an animal that has lived a good life until you take it; that really isn’t so much different than growing a healthy crop and harvest it when it’s ‘ripe’.

          July 10th, 2011 2:10 pm
  • Candice

    I am a vegan, been one for a year and a veggie for 2 years. Since switching my diet to plant-based I have never felt better. As a teen I suffered from acne, eczema, mood swings, bad PMS, etc… When I was 20, a friend told me the hormones and stuff in the dairy I was eating were causing all my problems. So I quit eating dairy. 2 weeks later my skin was clearing up (I kept using the same soaps, etc…). I had already stopped eating red meat (red meat is linked to heart disease which is the #1 killer in women!). So I was only eating turkey, chicken and fish. So after awhile I was only eating fish. I finally gave up fish. In the 2 year vegetarian span (although you might classify this as vegan because I wasn’t eating dairy) I only had two relapses, where I craved tuna salad (tuna and mayo mixed together and ate it with Doritos). There was about a year where I was irritable and crabby and it turns out that was my body detoxing and I was craving the chemicals that were in the dairy, meat, etc… See, food companies put drugs in junk food and you get addicted and just like any druggie or alcoholic you might go through a relapse or be very irritable because your body isn’t getting its “fix” if you will. So now I’m going on 4 years vegan. I have never felt so good. This plus exercising makes me feel great. Yes I buy the occasional fake meat (just like anyone would stop at McDonald’s a few times) just for a treat. I do take supplements too. I take a multi, wheatgrass, chlorella, and spirulina. I make green smoothies every day. I cook about 90% of the food I eat myself. The 10% being processed food/treats.

    Now, reading the comments here just further proves my theory that not everyone was meant to be vegan/vegetarian. I don’t know many people in my life who tried being vegetarian and it almost killed them or anything. I do get flack from a few family members for being vegan, but my response is usually “why do you criticize my food choices when I haven’t and will not say a peep about yours?” Maybe they don’t understand and never will. I just know my body and my message is find what works for you. If it’s vegan, great! If it’s meat, great! I don’t push my beliefs on others because I know it’s not realistic. Not everyone will want to be vegan and not everyone can. Find what works for you and stick with it! Cheers!

    June 30th, 2011 1:50 pm
    • Meagan

      Candice I can fully understand how you feel better from going vegan/vegetarian. I do believe that dairy and meat that is filled with hormones and antibiotics are toxic and will make you feel awful. Being vegan/vegetarian is very cleansing. Your body digests so easily and therefore you can get rid of all the buildup of crap that your body has been buried under forever. If you feel great, stick with it.

      I personally just felt that over time, I wasn’t able to keep up with my daily energy expenditures with the way I was eating. At the end of my 4 years of being hardcore vegetarian/vegan (I ate limited dairy) my body started declining rapidly. I think my body had done the majority of its cleansing and was telling me that it was ready to start eating meat again. The instant I did (of course I only ate organic grass-fed, hormone/antibiotic dairy/meat in small proportions daily) my health came back and I feel I’m at a peak.

      I truly hope your vitality maintains itself, but if for some reason you start feeling sluggish and a bit lacking in any way, I hope you’ll reconsider allowing a bit of good clean animal protein back in your diet and see how you feel. Good luck and cheers indeed!

      July 1st, 2011 3:17 am
      • Meagan

        edit* i meant hormone/antibiotic free dairy & meat. whoops!

        July 1st, 2011 3:35 am
  • Drea DeyArmin via Facebook

    We were vegan for a while ourselves. You have more in common with them than you realize. The reason we went vegan was for health reasons. We knew the traditional American diet was not making people healthy, so there had to be a different way. So, we ended up with vegan resources telling us that’s the way to health. We even tried all raw for a while. However, we didn’t feel healthy. We ended up going to extremes. Black bean soup at home one night and then McDonalds another night. I know now it was nutritional deficiencies screaming out to us. However, I was still convinced that the traditional American diet was not the way. Through a variety of sources, we landed upon Nourishing Traditions. What a difference that has made!!! Bad cravings are GONE! Like I said, you hold a similarity to vegans believing that listening to the government and mainstream medical advice is not going to be how one regains health. It’s just that how it plays out for vegans and those on traditional diets is much different!! For us, it was a matter of time. We’ve now got all sorts of glass jars around the house making kombucha, kefir, lemonaide, and other things I have to explain to guests!!! Keep up the good work :)

    June 30th, 2011 12:26 pm
  • Paula Jager

    Excellent post, really enjoyed this one! About 10 years ago I went through a vegan-fish eating vegetarian stint for about 3 1/2 years. Results: steadily declining health, horrendous cravings/mood swings, negative body composition changes. Been Paleo/Primal and WAPF combo for over 5 1/2 years. Issues all resolved and to this day still improving even tho I am older. Probably the healthiest I have ever been in my life and at 51. Course, the exercise helps also:)

    June 30th, 2011 10:55 am
  • marie

    I am confused on whether to eat grains at all after I read Cure Tooth Decay by Nagel. Is the soaking instructions enough as explained in Nourishing Tradition to decrease the phytates in grains/rice and beans to make them safe to eat? I am wondering about buying unbleached white flour and making my own bread and selling my grain mill. Please if you could clear this up. I don’t know if my own homemade wheat yeast bread is okay to eat —- at least for my cavity prone child. We are doing the cod liver oil/ high vitamin butter too.



    June 30th, 2011 9:04 am
  • Maeghan Fredriksson via Facebook

    I gained so much weight when I went vegetarian/ border line vegan. I was sick & tired all the time. I read nourishing traditions and have lost 60lbs without exercising.

    June 30th, 2011 7:32 am
  • Mikki

    I was a vegetarian for oh, about two weeks while in my early 20’s. It was “trendy.” I got over it quickly. I am amazed at the amount of “recovering vegetarians and vegans,” that attend our WAPF chapter. I notice most came to their senses when they hit their 40’s and up. That’s probably when it all caught up to them health-wise. Most ended up anemic or with pellegra! They give our chapter quite the testimonies at our monthly meetings!

    June 29th, 2011 11:32 pm
  • Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    I have a friend who is goimg vegetarian and has been eating like this for a few weeks. She is also six weeks postpartum and nursing a baby. I am worried for her and her baby and I will definitely pass this along to her! She needs WAPF right now and so does her health!

    June 29th, 2011 11:25 pm
  • Anna@GreenTalk

    i have to agree with Alessandra. I have been vegetarian for a year. I was a flexitarian before and liked more vegetarian meals anyways. I sleep better and my hot flashes went away. My vegetarians/vegan eat soy and processed products which is no different than eating a junk diet. Processed food is the problem. I only eat fermented soy on occasion, been soaking my beans forever, and eat sprouted wheat bread.

    I wondered if the study Sarah talked about the type of diet the vegetarians were on and how much soy and fake soy foods they were eating. From my experience, I think you have to look at the diet of someone who is eating vegetarian or beef, then make an opinion from there.

    There are so many different opinions out there which diet is best for people. Dr Mercola says it depends on body type. Dr. Barnard advocated a low fat vegan diet to rid yourself of diabetes. The bottom line is eating a healthy whole diet, vegetarian or not.

    I stopped eating meat because of the cruelty of eating animals.

    June 29th, 2011 11:10 pm
  • Annie Yanuzo Conant via Facebook

    @Ali–yep! the prep time is why I rarely advise people to be veg…I figure it’s easier to at least start by altering the food they currently eat and just prepare healthier versions…organic, grass-fed. Being healthy has nothing to do with being “vegetarian”, it’s about the quality of food we eat and the proper proportions for our body types. :) There are plenty of unhealthy vegetarians!!!

    June 29th, 2011 8:17 pm
  • Ali Grevillea via Facebook

    i have never felt so healthy as when i was vegan, eating mostly organic, whole foods i cooked at home myself…. i pine for those days now – unfortunately im too busy to give so much time to food prep now.

    June 29th, 2011 7:01 pm
  • Alessandra

    Probably this is a very American-centred study, I think that the situation in many other countries is different. I know some vegetarians who went back to eating meat (even if only occasionally), and some to eat fish, but mostly I know of vegetarians who turned vegan! Not me, I have been a vegetarian for 23 years now, and both my children are vegetarian (never had meat of fish), yet they are healthier (much healthier!) than their school mates, and top of the class too. They do lots of sport too, more than the average American kid I believe). It is very unlikely that they had missed any nutrients :-).
    But maybe the people I know who are vegetarians tend to be also passionate about food, and can cook, I am Italian, obviously I know a lot of European vegetarians, and many Indian vegetarians too, then a few Taiwanese and Vietnamese (note that all the Asians have been vegetarians for many generations) and their cuisine is excellent.

    I believe that the problem with the US (and possibly the UK, where I lived for 6 years) and even Australia and New Zealand (where I live now) is the bad diet in general. Only a few people spend time and effort cooking, most of the food (vegetarian or not) seems to come from packets, some families have take-aways twice week or more, or trays of food ready made to defrost, and very few people know how to cook vegetables.

    It is not possible to become a vegetarian if you don’t care about what you eat, and don’t cook at home. It is obvious that you don’t need meat and fish to live well and be healthy (look at me! And I don’t even take supplements! I didn’t even need iron when I was pregnant, while most of my meat eating friends had to take it in pills even if they ate liver!) but meat eaters in NZ (big meat country, and the cows eat grass only here) have a really high percentage of health problems, obesity, cancer, diabetes, hart problems, low immunity and so on and on and on. It is not just meat of course, it is also fat and sugar, but mostly is bad cooking, or no cooking. Long time Vegetarians are healthier in anglo-speaking countries because they tend to cook at home with good produce, from scratch, and have a various diet. Those who cannot do that will fail, and will be forced to eat steaks again to get enough energy. In the long term they will suffer again because their problem wasn’t lack of meat, but lack of proper meals.

    Mi advice? Doesn’t matter if you are a meat eater, a vegetarian or a vegan, unless you eat good food, have a varied diet, and cook properly (instead of opening packets) you are going to get sick.

    June 29th, 2011 5:55 pm
    • Tim

      I could not have said it better, so I won’t try.

      I will just add that I have been a vegetarian for 22 years, and I am a construction worker and can go toe-to-toe with anyone I work with at any task. Honestly, I can usually go longer. It is not the presence or absence of meat in the diet that matters as much as the nutrient content and balance. While I may get hungrier sooner, that could be attributed to faster metabolism because of or in spite of absence of meat. So I eat smaller meals more often. So? That does not make me less healthy.

      As for humane killing of animals, that is a contradiction in terms I do not think I can ever make peace with.

      July 7th, 2011 10:52 pm
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Considering that the people you are working with most probably eat mostly processed foods in their diet isn’t really saying much. Why don’t you compare yourself to some really healthy omnivores and not folks eating the Standard American Diet? I’d be interested to see you go to Paula Jager’s gym (she writes the fitness posts for this blog) and see if you can go toe to toe with those folks who are in shape as you obviously are but eat a primal diet. You might change your mind about how healthy your plant based diet is after that.

        As for the killing of animals, you are killing plenty of animals such as insects and small rodents with your construction work. Insects are still animals after all. The great news is that you can be very healthy eating insects as your animal food. I was reading about a grasshopper stir fry dish that is a seasonal delicacy in Uganda. If you are killing them in your work, how can you justify not eating them on humane grounds?

        July 9th, 2011 11:24 am
        • Wishing for a less biased writer

          Sarah, why do you choose only to respond to Tim and not Alessandra? Is it because you are biased towards finding justification for your guilty meat eating behavior? I would be interested in how or if you could respond to Alessandra who provides a more enlightened observation rather than someone trying to fit evidence into an argument. You can do better, I hope.

          July 19th, 2011 1:55 am
    • Brandi

      I thought I would also mention that I had no need for Iron supplements during pregnancy either. Having less than 2 years between kiddos is hard on the body, but mine bounced back just fine each time all my blood tests were in the excellent range.

      February 19th, 2012 8:00 pm
  • Terri

    I was mostly vegetarian for about 30 years, and started eating meat about three years ago during treatment for cancer. I thought I was eating healthy, and did eat and drink a great deal of soy. During treatment my grandson came to live with us and when my husband started cooking hot dogs for him I was amazed by my craving. So I went in search of healthy meats and eventually discovered WAPF. I now love eating the grass fed beef and bison I buy from the rancher and the chickens I get from my CSA, although I still prefer to eat a great deal of vegetable as well. I agree that the quality of the meat is key and still eat vegetarian or fish at restaurants unless I know the source.

    June 29th, 2011 5:37 pm
  • Sherry R

    I was a vegetarian for 7 years, 3 of them I was vegan. I ate tons of soy products as well as whole grains (unfermented) , lots of beans, nuts and seeds. During that time I could barely get out of bed in the morning, had to take a nap everyday, and was 30 pounds overweight. But the thing that really convinced me to start eating meat again was being diagnosed with hypothyroidism after having three miscarriages. I had three children before becoming a vegetarian, so I knew I could bare children. My doctor at the time told me low thyroid can be a cause of miscarriages as well as having premature births. I am happy to say after coming to my senses and choosing to eat meat again I got pregant and had a healthy baby boy, who is now 14 years old.

    June 29th, 2011 4:33 pm
  • Laurel Blair, NTP

    I’m not surprised at all that most vegetarians eventually change their ways. What surprises me is that the average time it takes is 9 years! 2 years is how long it took before my health deteriorated to the point that I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and was forced to conclude that something was seriously wrong with my diet. Of course, I was in for a shock when I found the WAPF and realized that by avoiding meat, eggs, and most dairy (as well as eating excessive amounts of improperly-prepared whole grains and beans and raw vegetables) I had become deficient in fat-soluble vitamins! It took me 3 months to come to terms with this and start eating meat again. I remember reading about bone broth and having the most intense cravings for it! My body was desperate for minerals!

    June 29th, 2011 2:27 pm
  • Erica

    Hi Sarah,

    I believe I read in one of your posts that you once drank soy milk. How long did you drink it for? Also, do you suffer from any long-term health issues due to the soy? The reason I ask this is because I drank soy milk for a short period of time prior to finding the WAPF.

    June 29th, 2011 2:23 pm
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Erica, I did not drink soy milk for long and never drank that much. I did not seem to suffer any long term issues from it.

      June 29th, 2011 4:12 pm
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        By the way, I drank it for maybe 1 or 2 years at the most.

        June 29th, 2011 4:15 pm
  • Nathalie

    Just to say, I was a vegetarian for 7 years and I started eat meat again while pregnant, my body asked for it and I took it seriously. And know, after 3 years of traditionnal foods, I realize all my health issue (joint pains, pollen allergy, libido loss) were nutrition deficiency related. I also get less sun burns now :)

    June 29th, 2011 1:44 pm
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I just looked and the ad right now is for grassfed beef! :)

    June 29th, 2011 1:38 pm
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    My dad was vegetarian for 7 or 8 years when I was a kid. He never got over the cravings, either. He’d done it for health reasons — not ethical — so I remember him caving a couple times towards the end when presented with a restaurant burger, and finally “losing” the battle when we were out for Thanksgiving dinner one year. We all encouraged him to eat meat again. A lot of what he was eating wasn’t even real food (some was — he did introduce me to a lot of interesting veggies! But also fake butter, “diet salt,” and soy substitutes). He gets quickly anemic on a vegetarian, low-fat, low-calorie diet. Big surprise, right? Because of his example, I dabbled in vegetarianism several times throughout my childhood. It never lasted more than a couple months at a time.

    I even remember a couple of times that I’d eat “perfectly” for a few days (according to SAD) and I’d feel so…bad. No energy and starving. And I’d conclude “I need fat” but I had no way of explaining why, at that time. I just strongly felt that I did. In college I drank the fattiest milk available in the cafeteria because I was somehow sure it was better for me. My parents said, “Do you think milk fat is good for you?” I kind of did but had no explanation.

    Once I found real food it all finally made sense! Imagine that. No more dabbling in vegetarianism or low-fat or any of the other “popular” diets. And my family’s healthier than ever. I’ve even passed this info along to my father who is not entirely convinced (he still uses aspartame and eats packaged foods if they don’t have trans fats — I’m trying so hard to convince him to switch to Stevia and try making and freezing his own meals!). But, there’s progress.

    So, ultimately…this doesn’t surprise me at all. :) I STILL can’t wait to see how my new baby does, because it’s the first one where I had real food through my whole pregnancy. We’ll see!

    June 29th, 2011 1:11 pm
  • Starr Covey-Skinner via Facebook

    I had anemia when I was a meat eater, since I have chosen to be vegetarian I now do not have it.

    June 29th, 2011 1:10 pm
  • sara r.

    I was nearly vegetarian before I got pregnant. My health had been declining and I didn’t know why. My thyroid was low and despite rigorous exercise I continued to gain weight. My thyroid wacked out when she was 5 months old but recovered. I now eat a traditional foods diet and I am right at the weight I thought I should be with much less exercise. Good thing, because now I don’t have time for that amout of exercise. I didn’t eat meat because I didn’t like the texture ; now I mostly cook it on the rare side.

    June 29th, 2011 12:33 pm
  • Sera Ant via Facebook

    I’m vegan, and allergic to everything I could never eat meat though, just thinking about a slab of flesh in front of me makes me want to hurl… I get sick enough from soy, and wheat among other random things I don’t think I could keep a dead animal down…

    June 29th, 2011 12:26 pm
    • Erica

      Hi Sera Ant,

      The following statements in parathesis are from the article “Copper-Zinc Imbalance: Unrecognized Consequence of Plant-Based Diets and a Contributor to Chronic Fatigue.”

      I think that you may need to go on the GAPS diet due to the allergies. Since you seem to not really tolerate meat, I wonder if you have a copper-zinc imbalance: “I feel that digestive recovery is the beginning, whether a person is coming from the standard American diet or some version of a light or fat-restricted diet. As in my case, the particular nutritional dilemmas a person has gotten into can tell a lot about the struggles developing in his or her body. Gittleman, who had studied the work of Paul Eck, develops his point made above: “Many people switch to a lighter diet because red meats and other types of animal protein feel ‘heavy’ in their system. Ironically, this feeling can develop from copper excess, or zinc deficiency, or adrenal insufficiency. Individuals with copper-zinc imbalance have trouble digesting and absorbing fat and protein in particular, so they often opt for diets that avoid foods rich in these nutrients.”

      Being vegan for a number of years without getting adequate zinc in the diet can be very dangerous, especially in the modern world. Without adequate zinc, large amounts of copper can be stored into the tissues and can cause a lot of problems: “Disruption of the copper-zinc ratio is an overlooked contributor to intractable fatigue that follows excessive reliance on a plant-based diet. The result is toxic accumulation of copper in tissues and critical depletion of zinc through excretion.”

      Here is the article for you regarding this issue:

      June 29th, 2011 2:20 pm
    • mezzovoice

      I am not surprised that you get sick from soy. It is not something one should eat in any quantity, unless fermented. But “I can’t keep a dead animal down” is vegan-speak. I never think of meat as “dead animal” just as I never think of broccoli puree as “dead vegetable”. Both were alive before they end up on your plate. Rather than taking this depressive look on food we should be grateful that the world/God/the Universe, take you pick, provides us with things to eat to keep us healthful and happy. Not using these resources means refusing the gift of nature and denying your body the things it needs. Respect animals, by all means, But don’t forget that, by nature, you are nothing but another animal and deserve that same respect

      July 2nd, 2011 5:39 am
      • Emily @ Butter Believer

        I LOVE this.

        “Dead vegetables.” Ha! What a great response to one of the more popular, illogical “vegan-speak” catchphrases. Well-said.

        July 9th, 2011 5:06 pm
  • Sera Ant

    I never felt good before I was vegan…

    June 29th, 2011 12:12 pm
  • Krissy

    I too was vegetarian /nearly vegan for nearly 9 years. I began eating meat with my pregnancy in which right away I began severely wanting meat. Even vegan friends of mine talk about having to eat cheese or sushi in their pregnancies. Years earlier my body was craving “something”…..I tried adding in eggs for a year. Unfortunately in the early years I also consumed a lot of soy. I was always chiefly concerned and opposed to “factory” farming. We consume grass fed, organically raised meats, I still wil not eat beef; however, we lots of bison instead. I do eat some raw cheese; I do not drink cow milk either. I still think milk cow milk is basically for baby cows. Great post!!!!

    June 29th, 2011 11:51 am
  • Linda

    Very good post, Sarah. Last weekend I went to a baby shower for a relative who is vegetarian. I very badly wanted to find a way to tell her about eating well for her baby and herself. I found a post you wrote (don’t remember when) about the sacred foods cultures ate. It was excellent. I hope you don’t mind but I copied some of the main points and wrote the name of your blog at the end so she can look you up. She started reading the note and then gave me a puzzled look. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her since so I don’t know if she thinks I’m as loony as the rest of the family does. I couldn’t help thinking she will be a new mother bringing a brand new baby into the world. We all want our babies to be as healthy as they can be but we don’t really know how to do that anymore. I should mention she does eat seafood so I guess she’s not a strict vegetarian.

    June 29th, 2011 11:39 am
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Linda, feel free to use that info any way you can to get the word out especially to women of childbearing age who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant. It is so much easier and better to prevent problems in your child than attempting to backpedal later and fix the problems that occur from the mother not eating a nutrient dense, traditional diet during pregnancy and feeding this type of diet to her child during his/her growing years.

      June 29th, 2011 11:52 am
      • Brandi

        I have been a vegetarian since I was 15 (14 years). I have four children between the ages of 18 mths and 6 years old. I did not eat any meat throughout my pregnancies, and my children are all very healthy and rarely get sick. I too find it offensive to say that we are hurting our children by eating this way. Many vegetarians get rid of the meat, but think it is ok to eat a bunch of processed foods & “fake” meats. That tends to give vegetarians a bad rep. We eat whole fresh foods, vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes and some grains which we soak/sprout ourselves, and nuts & seeds. I workout intensely 5 to 6 days a week, and never feel like I am lacking energy to make it through my workouts or my day. The only supplement I need is Vitamin B12 and since the DRA is pretty low, I don’t feel bad about having to take a single vitamin daily. If these vegetarians are switching back to meat due to lack of energy or health, they are not consuming a good variety of foods to ensure they get everthing they need.

        February 19th, 2012 7:53 pm
    • Angela

      Just want to mention that I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and never ate a bite of meat my entire pregnancy. My son was born 100% healthy and was almost 9 pounds. I nursed him for 13 months and never lacked milk for him. He is very bright and healthy. To say that vegetarians are possibly hurting their children during pregnancy is offensive to me. There are many people who eat meat because they don’t give any thought to their diets at all, which seems much more dangerous to me. I doubt you will find too many vegetarians that don’t think daily about what they are eating.

      January 20th, 2012 5:33 pm
  • Kari

    My friend was vegetarian & just recently went back to eating meat.But the thing is she doesnt even eat good! She says shes against factory farms,but she eats it & fast food!! And me the meat eater is eating grass feed beef & not supporting factory farms. Idk seems a bit backwards to me.

    June 29th, 2011 11:35 am
  • Caroline

    My mom has been a vegetarian since she was 12 (she is 62 now) for no reason other than she doesn’t like meat. It grosses her out. But…she doesn’t mind soup made with real stock, wears leather, and would cook meat for the family she just wouldn’t eat it. She subsists almost entirely on hard cheese, nuts, and fruit with an omelet thrown in every once in a while and a weekly pizza night. Not the optimal diet for sure, but at least it’s not filled with gross soy-based fake meats and whatnot. Those gross her out even more than real meat thank goodness!

    I too used to be a vegetarian…but I recovered. 😉

    June 29th, 2011 11:27 am
  • Brenda

    I see story after story about people who had to go back to eating meat to feel better and get energy back. I know for myself if I go without eating meat for even one lunch or dinner that I feel unsatisfied, I get hungry so much faster, and just feel anxious. I saw a vegetarian say that people miss eating meat because “people are addicted to meat”……… it is sugar or a drug. I had to laugh at that one. Our bodies crave meat for it’s nutrients, not because it is an additive substance.

    June 29th, 2011 11:25 am
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Excellent point Brenda. There are good cravings and bad cravings. I sometimes get cravings for fish eggs and I can tell you they are NOT addictive! LOL I think I sometimes get these cravings because there is some nutrient in them that I desperately need.

      Even a sugar craving can be good as it tells you that your gut is imbalanced and that you need more fat in your diet. Cravings are information we need to listen to and when we ignore them we do so at our peril.

      June 29th, 2011 11:32 am
  • Annie Yanuzo Conant via Facebook

    I personally will probably never return to meat eating (vegetarian for 12 yrs, now vegan), but I fully support and even encourage others to eat whole food diets that include organic dairy/eggs and grass fed meat. The only ‘meat’ that I ever miss is pepperoni, hahaha.

    June 29th, 2011 11:22 am
  • Kristen Sanders via Facebook

    some of the healthiest people in the world eat tons of seafood. As long as you’re not buying farmed fish and you pay attention to where it’s coming from, seafood is good for you… certain types of fish in particular. Especially fish broths

    June 29th, 2011 11:15 am
  • Lisa

    I learn so much here! Thanks, Sarah, for all the informative posts. ~Lisa

    June 29th, 2011 11:14 am
  • Jennifer Klain via Facebook

    Interesting, however I would NOT RECOMMEND EATING PORK BACON, HAM, ETC. Not only is pork not recommended in the Bible but it usually not nitrate/ite free.Grass fed is the way to go. Also, seafood I would stay away from. It is the cockroach of the sea.

    June 29th, 2011 10:57 am
    • Rachel

      I’d suggest you read Romans Chapter 14. The Bible clearly does not condemn one food over another, that was certain religious leaders of those times that made up those rules and stated that anyone who broke their rules was ‘unclean’ and ‘unworthy’.

      Also, seafood is not the cockroach of the sea – that doesn’t even make sense.

      June 29th, 2011 3:06 pm
      • WordVixen

        I think Jennifer meant that lobster is the cockroach of the sea. As far as I know, it has that nickname because it kind of looks like a bug, and because they’re both indiscriminate scavengers.

        You’re right though- the dietary laws had a purpose in the Old Testament (there are probably many reasons, but one speculation is that by not allowing pork or shell fish, the Jews could no longer easily eat with gentiles- severing a major point of influence. Dunno if that’s true or not though.), but were abolished in the New Testament.

        June 29th, 2011 5:44 pm
    • Lauren

      Let’s leave religion out of it and say that, if you’re worried about your sources, stick with ruminants. Pigs and chickens are omnivores. That means they’re harder to keep well, and also that they can’t be purely grass (or grain, which is baby grass) fed and be healthy, so it’s not always the “way to go”.
      Besides the ethical obvious, why do I care how healthy an animal is if it’s “just” going to be killed so I can eat it? Because I’m only as healthy as what I eat, and that goes for plants too – 2-week-old broccoli isn’t going to fuel my body like something fresh from the garden.
      And yeah, processed crap is still crap, whether it’s Hot Rods or Frosted Flakes. In meat products, if it’s pink, it’s probably got nitirites/nitrates in it. In homemade brisket or slow barbecue that comes from celery or other natural sources, but day in and day out, especially from factory sources, it’s likely not wise.
      Interestingly some shellfish can be sustainably farmed, making mussels f.ex a more common menu item on fish nights in my house than salmon.

      August 5th, 2011 6:50 pm
    • scarey

      Are you really that ignorant??? First of all, the Bible should have NOTHING to do with what you eat. Secondly, as a divemaster, I can tell you lobsters are NOT considered the “cockroach of the sea”.

      September 5th, 2011 9:31 am
  • Susan Ventura via Facebook

    it was an extremely difficult realization for me that my body really needs animal protein. but my whole mindset has changed in the last 15 years or so with the proliferance of grass fed/pastured animal farms and seeing first hand how well the animals are treated. i’m fortunate to live in an area with great access to good meat. yes it’s expensive but i stretch it as best i can.

    June 29th, 2011 10:42 am
  • Nancy~The Wife of a Dairyman

    My sister in law and brother in law have too, gone from being vegetarians to carnivores….they now have much more energy and claim they feel so much better with regards to their health. Great post:)

    June 29th, 2011 10:32 am
  • Megan Mcnew via Facebook

    I returned du to the fact mony got tight and i try to only eat all natural harmone free or free range but that can get expenise the only reason i can eat meat is becuse i dont see what happens if i lived on a farm we only be eating what we grow and all the animals would have names and be pets i cant kill something that i take care of its not in my nature to be like or kill anything liveing dont like hunting i think its mean.

    June 29th, 2011 10:19 am
  • Terri Brimigion via Facebook

    we only returned because we raise, hunt, or fish for our meat now.

    June 29th, 2011 10:12 am

    This is a wonderful post and so true! We know a family who have been vegetarians and are returning to a meat-eating diet, and sure enough, the mother had been craving eggs for so long and really relished in eating an egg the other day. Their daughter is loving eating meat again as well. They were eating a lot of soy and the mother had a lot of digestive issues. She went to a naturopath I recommended (who happens to be a WAP chapter leader) and I am sure she gave her the soy talk. :) Her gut is being healed now, which started their road to vegetarianism, since meat would cause digestive upset with the mother. I am just so delighted that this family, especially with growing children, are back to eating meat!


    June 29th, 2011 10:05 am
  • Erica L. Howard via Facebook

    I was vegan for a while. Certainly didn’t last and didn’t make me feel healthier. Now bacon is my best friend along with all the other meats, eggs and cheese. I feel much healthier now.

    June 29th, 2011 9:57 am
    • Paul

      What did you eat when you were vegan? You can’t just say “I went vegan and it didn’t work”. That is so vague. Let’s get some details and I’ll guarantee that I can diagnose your failure.

      July 7th, 2011 1:35 am
      • Ariel

        Look, Paul, it has been proven (look it up) that the only way to get vitamin B12 (a REQUIRED nutrient) is to eat animal products! And don’t tell me that “I just need to take supplements.” Supplements aren’t found in nature. If we were ment to be vegan, we’d be able to produce our OWN vitamin B12, like herbavores. But we’re NOT herbavores, hence the reason why humans are OMNIVORES, and need to consume both plant AND animal foods!

        October 25th, 2011 8:23 pm
        • Nancy

          This argument makes me want to cry. We are HERBAVORES. Our teeth look just like the grazing cow and deer. NOT like the omnivore bear.
          The reason we require B12 supplements while following a vegan diet is because modern man has sapped all of the nutrients out of the soil. If we rotated crops as our forefathers knew to do, we would get all the nutrients from our food.
          These arguments stating man should be omnivorous are self satisfying and errant. The reason most people would go back to eating meat is laziness. It is much easier to throw a steak on the BBQ than to chop and prepare a nutritious vegan meal.

          November 21st, 2011 11:36 am
          • Les

            Sorry Nancy, but our teeth are closer in nature to the omnivorous chimpanzee than the grazing cow or deer or carnivorous bear. We have herbivorous grazing and carnivorous meat eating functions of our teeth as omnivores do. We do have smaller canines than the chimp that likely come from our discovery of fire and breaking away from eating raw meat. But our teeth and our stomachs are still absolutely built for meat consumption. Its not unnatural in the slightest for a human to eat meat. We are omnivores, not herbivores or carnivores.
            Cry at the argument all you wish; but reason will side with it. I find no fault with vegan lifestyle, but for anyone to arrive at that lifestyle or support it on the grounds of teeth similarities with cattle and deer is erronous.
            I chop and prepare nutritious vegetables and other foods every time I throw a steak on the BBQ. As I’ve prepared vegan meals I really don’t see any difference in effort, so I don’t understand how you arrive at your conclusions that meat is lazy. It does appear to me that calling people lazy for eating meat while claiming that their arguments make you want to cry is the more self satisfying and errant action here.

            December 8th, 2011 1:12 pm
  • Carrie Huggins Willard via Facebook

    Yep, I certainly did. I tried it twice for a year each time, and during that time I was tired, sick… and developed low thyroid.

    June 29th, 2011 9:55 am
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    Good point, Susie. It’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater which is what sometimes happen when folks turn vegetarian to protest the abhorrent conditions of animals in factory farm settings. Meat itself is not the problem – its the methods that are being used to raise these poor animals. Once many discover the sustainability and ethical nature animals are treated in a grassfed setting, many times vegetarians will find their way back to eating meat and enjoying the many health benefits this confers as discovered by Dr. Price.

    June 29th, 2011 9:04 am
  • Susie

    EXCELLENT post! I have toyed with vegetarianism over the years, having come out of the whole 60’s generation, but have never felt that ultimately it was the right choice. I am so thankful now for my big, farm-family raising, and that I have stayed somewhat true to a traditional diet without even knowing completely why. I have two particular vegetarian friends, one has already gone back to meat because of a lack of vitality in her everyday experience, but the other is so into the animal cruelty issue that, whether she feels good or not, she’s sticking to it. I’m going to connect her with this post. I think it presents the issue very well without condemning vegetarianism. As stated, meat eaters (me definitely!) have a problem with factory raised animals too!

    June 29th, 2011 8:09 am
    • Paul

      If a vegetarian is feeling weak or losing vitality, it is most likely because they aren’t doing something right. Undereating, eating too much fat, and yes, eating too much protein to try and compensate for a perceived lack. There are SOO many variables that could make a vegetarian lose health. I’d put my money on undereating any day of the week though…

      July 7th, 2011 1:33 am
    • Siobhan Landis

      A friend of mine was vegetarian for a while, and still decries animal cruelty – she now lives on an acreage outside of town, and her rule is – she “only eats animals that she knows personally”. Thus animals that were raised by either her or her neighbours. Animals that she knows were well-cared-for and well-fed.

      October 25th, 2011 5:34 pm
      • Ariel

        That’s what I do! I used to be vegetarian out of compassion for the animals. I’m an athlete, so it was probably not the best idea. However, I lasted for over a year. My mother has been a follower of WAPF for a while, but she respected my decision. (I think she knew I’d come ’round!) My grandfather thought I was insane, of course, and told me so often. I think he’s the reason I lasted so long! 😀 Then, one night, my mother made a big, beautiful grass-fed pot roast, we’re talking about 9 hours in the slow-cooker, the fat just glistening all over these fabulous roasted mushrooms and carrots, bacon layering the top of it, and the SMELL… Well, you get the picture! My tastebuds sat up and begged, and I swear, my stomach just lunged for it from inside me! And then it hit me: uh, if my body wants the meat THAT much, maybe I should eat it! LOL! Afterwards, of course, my mom sent me to the WAPF website, and after a few weeks of research, I must admit, I’m a convert!

        October 25th, 2011 8:16 pm
        • Bob

          Gimme a fucking break. You seriously were a vegetarian for a YEAR? And you think that was a long time? And then you call yourself a “convert” back to meat, after just a year of basically trying to rebel against your grandpa? Fucking weak.

          January 4th, 2012 10:35 am
          • Fiona

            I don’t think this comment was absolutely necessary. In fact, I consider it extremely rude. Everyone has their own experiences, and whether you agree with it or not, isn’t it a better idea to simply let it be?

            January 5th, 2012 7:53 am

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