People adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons. They might believe meat is unhealthy or unethical, or they may believe that cutting it out of their diet altogether is the best way to lose weight. You may have even made the change at one point or another for your own reasons; or perhaps you’re thinking of making it your New Year’s resolution for 2015. No matter the reason, as I recently discovered, these dietary changes tend to be more of a temporary phase than a permanent change for many people.
You see, results from a new survey indicate that 84% of vegetarians and vegans eventually go back to eating meat; 53% go back within a year, while 30% go back within three months.
The survey was conducted by an animal advocacy group called the Humane Research Council and used data from more than 11,000 American adults.
Reasons for going back to meat ranged from a lack of social support to having trouble managing cravings for meat products.
Look, I know it’s very difficult for vegetarians and vegans to go out to eat with friends or attend dinner parties and avoid feelings of isolation based on their dietary choices. But if your body needs it, don’t feel guilty about eating meat from time to time, especially fish, which is very healthy for you.
Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstones of healthy nutrition—there is no debate about this. They are very nutritious, low in calories, and highly associated with a number of health benefits when eating eight servings per day. Healthy weight, low cholesterol, and a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes are all proven benefits of a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
But that doesn’t mean you should feel bad or guilty about eating meat, or even shun it completely. Much like fruits and vegetables, meat offers nutrition that is highly beneficial and important to your health. Lean cuts of meat offer efficient sources of protein, B-vitamins, DHA, creatine, and a number of other amino acids that help keep both your brain and body healthy and strong.
In my opinion, the best way to approach nutrition is in a balanced way. Including meat as a part of a balanced diet that features lots of fruits and vegetables is highly recommended. Just make sure the meat you’re eating is fresh—not processed—and that you’re selecting healthier options, like turkey breast, chicken breast, sirloin, salmon, tuna, mackerel, tilapia, and other cuts of fish.
When it comes to eating, focus on what’s important to you. Adopting a specific diet or, in some cases, an extreme lifestyle might seem like a good idea at the time, but it often doesn’t work, and these dietary changes could create more problems than they solve. As the results of the survey indicate, vegetarianism and veganism seem to be fad diets for many people. Give yourself the most health benefits by paying attention to what your body needs and eating a balanced, nutritious diet accordingly.
Source for Today’s Article:
Green, A., et al., “HRC Study of Current and Former Vegetarians and Vegans,” Humane Research Council web site, December 2, 2014; http://spot.humaneresearch.org/2014vegstudy.