Of my current circle....
I have two friends who, before I knew them. were vegetarians for years before switching back to meat-eating. I recently found out that a male coworker was also a vegetarian for eight years before reverting back to meat. That's three people that I know who are ex-vegetarians.
Not counting myself, I only know one other vegetarian/vegan.
That's a ratio of three ex-vegetarians to one practicing vegetarian (in a very non-scientific survey.) It makes me wonder how many other ex-vegetarians are out there.
I haven't asked these people why they went back to eating meat. My two friends, both female, are sensitive animal-lovers. I've gathered that it was because of "health reasons" and I suspect one was advised by a doctor to eat meat for protein reasons.
Being a vegetarian is more than just a diet choice. It's a statement of values, whether one wants it to be or not. People don't usually become vegetarians because they don't like meat....in that case, they just don't eat it.
It's hard not to be disappointed in people who became vegetarians and then went back. Particularly when it's for "health reasons." There are many other sources of protein, iron, etc. out there that do not have to be dependent on meat. I think it shows a weakness of principle and conviction. I hate to say it, but I have more respect for people who have always eaten meat than those who make the vegetarian choice for years and then just give up.
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I think there is so much confusion about nutrition and diet because most of us know so little about food. The diet and agribusiness industries have made millions off of our ignorance. Doctors as well are looking at research funded by large corporations and supported by the FDA. When politics, food and business mix, the research results can be missleading.
The popularity of the food channels, local farmers markets and the renewed conversations around food and food politics are starting to change this.
Learning about food and eating more plants is a great goal for all of us.
I don't know how people could go back to eating meat after a long time as a veggie, I've been vegetarian for almost 20 years and just the thought of eating meat makes me ill...it's so morbid. Also, can't stand the smell of it either.
I have a niece that calls herself a vegetarian, but eats steak twice a month because her doctor told her to. I think that is completely bogus and that she just uses that as an excuse to eat meat because she's not really committed to the cause.
If my doctor told me to eat meat for my health I'd laugh in her face and then proceed to give her a lecture on nutrition.
Actually, my doctor was worried about my calcium intake because I don't eat dairy. She seemed surprised to learn that leafy greens like chard, kale,spinach, beet/turnip greens are rich in calcium, as are many beans, tofu, almonds, and sesames seeds. Not to mention that you can buy rice milk and orange juice that is enriched with calcium.
Doctors think they know about nutrition...but all they know about is the text book, meat- based, "authority figure dictates" style of nutrition. They don't understand that there's a whole other nutritious world out there to discover.
And just one more note on calcium...soy yogurt. (I highly recommend Whole Soy brand)
I just checked the label on the Whole Soy yogurt that I brought in my lunch...it is 30% calcium.
Then I walked out to my work cafeteria and looked at the label on some Yami yogurt they sell there: the Yami was only 25%.
Interesting post. I'm an ex-vegetarian myself, and know a few others as well.
We created a facebook group with some academic resources and discussion(http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=166290404903&ref=ts). You are welcome to join, we are trying to get an idea of the numbers and understand the reasons for which people quit vegetarianism. I definitely believe it's not healthy for everyone.
Sorry, I was in a rush, it seems i read your post wrong.
Then it may still be interesting for you to read the references and discussion on the group. I am curious how many people would consciously choose to suffer physically and mentally just because they believe in the moral aspect.
I was a vegetarian for almost 9 years and I will regret it for the rest of my life considering how sick I got. You should have more respect for people giving up because of "health reasons". These are valid reasons.
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