Most Vegetarians Return to Eating Meat

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 irresistible 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, Grass-fed 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 grass-fed movement back to sustainable and humanely raised, cruelty free meats as a real ethical alternative.

Some of these converts back to meat view buying grass-fed 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.

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