Why Most Vegetarians Go Back to Eating Meat
If you've ever tried and failed at cutting out meat, you're not alone: Turns out 84% ofÂ vegetarians and vegans revert back to their omnivorous ways, according to a new study by the Humane Research Council. More than 50%Â said they went back to eating meat within aÂ year.
Why are so many vegetarians and vegans giving up? Though more than half ofÂ former veg-only eaters said their main motivation was health, they had plenty of reasons for calling it quits: Many (63%) said they didnâ€™t like that their lifestyle made them stand out. Lack of community also played a role; 84% reported that they were not active in vegetarian or vegan clubs or organizations.
I cook a lot of vegetarian and vegan foodâ€”I studied at Natural Gourmet Institute culinary school, where theÂ curriculum focused largely on a plant-based dietâ€”and I post a lot of my concoctions on Instagram, so people are always asking meÂ if Iâ€™m vegetarian.
But in fact, my approach is more flexitarianâ€”that is, mostly vegetarian, but I do eat meat occasionally, as well as fish, eggs, and some poultry (though chicken isnâ€™t my personal fave). Like my vegan friends, Iâ€™m very concerned about animal welfare and the environment, so I stick to humanely raised meatÂ and always buy organic eggs and dairy. Similar to my Paleo pals, Iâ€™m careful to avoid processed foods and steer clear of refined sugar as much as possible. And in line with the much-lauded Mediterranean diet, I tend to load up my plate with fresh produce, enjoy lots of fish, and am not shy with the good-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
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Flexitarianism to me is the best of all worlds. I love vegetarian food and enjoy the challenge of cooking it as many ways as I can (bonus points if I can get my carnivorous friends to gobble it upÂ it, too). But if I go to a friendâ€™s house, or a special restaurantâ€”or if Iâ€™m just craving a burgerâ€”thereâ€™s no guilt. Why back yourself into a corner if you donâ€™t have to, especially where food is concerned?
If youâ€™re interested in exploring recipes and more information about lesseningâ€”but not necessarily eliminatingâ€”your meat eating, here are some books to get you started (they would all make great gifts, too):
RELATED: 10 Reasons To Try A Vegetarian Diet
The Flexitarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner ($15,Â amazon.com)
The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley ($15, amazon.com)
The VB6 CookbookÂ by Mark Bittman ($13, amazon.com)
Almost MeatlessÂ by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond ($17, amazon.com)