Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat?"

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Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat?"

Postby loveliberate » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:02 am

I saw this article in a link from Vegan Outreach. Your thoughts?

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ani ... ating-meat
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Richard » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:45 am

Interesting however it irritates me that they are describing "vegetarians" as a group when they talk about people who go back to eating meat... "most vegetarians go back to eating meat". That makes it sound like you have this group of vegetarians, and most of them have a time limit over their heads. The fact is that most likely those 75% were in a transitional stage, or had only just become vegetarian. So really the statistics should be collected differently, as follows:

vegetarian for 1 day
vegetarian for 1 week
vegetarian for 1 month
vegetarian for 3 months
vegetarian for 6 months
vegetarian for a year or more
vegetarian for more than two years
vegetarian

Now I believe you would get very different results. I do not believe that vegetarians who have stuck with it for a year or two would be 75% likely to drop out of it, that's ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of the 75% were not committed in the first place and I would bet money that they only tried it for a month or so

It would be of no surprise to me at all that a large number of people fail at vegetarianism/veganism. What would interest me more is reason why those that really did stick with it for a year or two dropped it. That would be interesting to hear about, and I only know one example of that personally. All other examples I know of are people who tried for a day, a week, a month, then screwed up. I think those cannot be described as "vegetarians", rather than were just starting to follow a vegetarian diet. Likewise, if I go to church for 1 day, I am not Christian suddenly, it is something you commit to.

To be pedantic about it, everyone is vegan when they sleep. Does this mean that all meat-eaters are trying veganism and then failing when they wake up and eat breakfast? Of course, you have to have some kind of time scale and level of determination before you can even describe it as "vegetarianism" or "veganism". I think a day or a week is ridiculous
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby blinki » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:03 pm

It says on average they had been vegetarian for nine years before eating meat. I wouldn't have expect that at all, my experience of folk who stop being vegetarian is they never make it past a few years. But 9 is more than a few and by average it means a lot were well passed that. Maybe my expectations were way off or maybe they got odd results from having advertised it through the sorts of places they did. While it might make getting responses more difficult, I think you'd get a more representative response if you went for advertising it in places which don't have a direct relationship to things that might involve thinking about diet.

I think mostly what it says is there's a problem with education since health and hassle are the main problems. If you have health problems then you don't know enough about nutrition. If you have hassle problems you are either lazy or you don't know how to shop/cook well. Where as cravings and social stuff I think juts has to be put down to lack of commitment. If you really wanted to be vegetarian then you'd get over it. It's not like meat is addictive and I think it'd be rare of the social consequences to be anything major.
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Richard » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:35 pm

blinki wrote:It says on average they had been vegetarian for nine years before eating meat.


That was the average of the people they interviewed, not the average of the apparent 75% of vegetarians who ditch their diet in the separate CBS survey which I was referring to:

"according to a 2005 survey by CBS News, three times as many American adults admit to being "ex-vegetarians" than describe themselves as current vegetarians. This suggests that roughly 75% of people who quit eating meat eventually change their minds and return to a diet that includes animal flesh"

"Over the next week or so, seventy-seven former vegetarians took our survey. As is true of vegetarians generally, the majority of the participants were women. Their average age was 28, and on average, they had been vegetarian for nine years before for reverting back to eating animals."
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby blinki » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:12 pm

Richard wrote:
blinki wrote:It says on average they had been vegetarian for nine years before eating meat.


That was the average of the people they interviewed, not the average of the apparent 75% of vegetarians who ditch their diet in the separate CBS survey which I was referring to:

"according to a 2005 survey by CBS News, three times as many American adults admit to being "ex-vegetarians" than describe themselves as current vegetarians. This suggests that roughly 75% of people who quit eating meat eventually change their minds and return to a diet that includes animal flesh"

"Over the next week or so, seventy-seven former vegetarians took our survey. As is true of vegetarians generally, the majority of the participants were women. Their average age was 28, and on average, they had been vegetarian for nine years before for reverting back to eating animals."

I know and my common sense disposition is to agree with you. But what seems common sense might not be the reality. I questioned the representativeness of their sample because I think that’s where the strangeness of 9 years would have came from. But still 9 years is a lot, it’d need to be a hell of an unrepresentative sample for it not to fit with what seems common sense. 77 isn’t a particularly big sample but it’s not tiny either which makes being so unrepresentative seem a bit unlikely. So while I don’t think an average of 9 years is representative I think it suggests that whatever is the real average is a fair bit higher than we might expect.
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Fallen_Horse » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:41 am

How long does it take for vitamin B12 deficiency to become apparent?

There is your answer.
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Richard » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:13 am

blinki wrote:I know and my common sense disposition is to agree with you. But what seems common sense might not be the reality. I questioned the representativeness of their sample because I think that’s where the strangeness of 9 years would have came from. But still 9 years is a lot, it’d need to be a hell of an unrepresentative sample for it not to fit with what seems common sense. 77 isn’t a particularly big sample but it’s not tiny either which makes being so unrepresentative seem a bit unlikely. So while I don’t think an average of 9 years is representative I think it suggests that whatever is the real average is a fair bit higher than we might expect.


Yeah, of their sample, that average 9 years still startles me. If their target group was fair, I don't know what to say
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby JP » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:21 am

i dont think its a suprise there are flows back and forth, we are still such a small marginal group and it is a hassle to be veggie/vegan - not for likes of us with strong convictions but people who are neither here or there about the issue the small hassles become big.

Just need to focus on making it easier, and increase the retention via education and information sharing.

hey even VF is part of this process :)
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby wannalift » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:29 pm

blinki wrote:I think mostly what it says is there's a problem with education since health and hassle are the main problems. If you have health problems then you don't know enough about nutrition. If you have hassle problems you are either lazy or you don't know how to shop/cook well. Where as cravings and social stuff I think juts has to be put down to lack of commitment. If you really wanted to be vegetarian then you'd get over it. It's not like meat is addictive and I think it'd be rare of the social consequences to be anything major.


The nutrition aspect is definitely issue #1. Its very easy (as in common) for people who are veg*n to be deficient in some nutrient. This seems to be most common with essential fatty acids. So many veg*ns ignore this and then say that they feel fantastic when they try fish or fish oil for the first time in years. This would not be an issue if they were supplementing their diet with flax oil, chia seeds, DHA, etc. I hope more attention is place on this because if you were to ask me I would have to say that fish is the #1 "gateway food" into exiting a veg*n diet for the reasons stated above. Additionally, not getting enough fats in the diet will prevent the sensation of satiety in most veg*ns and will cause them to crave either additional food or non-veg*n food.
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby israel » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:30 pm

Just need to focus on making it easier, and increase the retention via education and information sharing.

hey even VF is part of this process :)


very good - it sums up my thougts - Its beocming easier to be veggie/vegan easier to get food, more socially acceptable , the image of hippes are broken ( nothing bad about hippis - just not what most pepole like)
I might not have been vegan without VF
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby skoptic » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:32 pm

It's shame to hear - it might be the fact that people's principles slip over time... so not to with this topic alone, but more the human condition?
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Sid Delicious » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:49 am

I think age plays a big part in the situation. I've known lots of people who become veggie/vegan (or punk/lesbian/radical left etc etc) when they are teens/early 20s but by the time they get to their mid to late 20s all that generally stops as they slowly slip into being what they used to be or what they said they would never become. Young people tend to hang out with people of a similar mindset and when you get older it can be a bit harder to isolate yourself from the real world and so many people either cave in to the pressure of family or society, or simply just change their set of priorities.
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby NatB » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:04 am

All statistics can be manipulated and everything needs to be taken in context. I have met some "vegetarians" who have gone back to eating meat (and I use the definition of vegetarian losely as some at fish and even chicken!). And many were females of a similar age group as described by the article. I was a fish eating "veggie" in my twenties and early thirties and was also out most nights, drinking loads, and doing a shit tonne of other substances. My diet was crap and my commitment flaky at best. As with the other ex veggies I knew.

I know the article claims people were following a supposedly healthy diet but I would challenge that. I used to think my diet was healthy, just because it was veggie! I used to load up on eggs and dairy (and fish!) and eat lots of starchy crap like pizza, baked potatoes, pasta etc . I had no idea about food an nutrition until I went vegan. Then I was forced to look at my diet in detail and read the fine print on everything. I also started exercising then too.

I would be interested to know how many vegans go back to eating meat. I think you would find the number a lot lower!
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby ratfan » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:08 pm

In my experience one's social circle has a huge impact. Most of the ex-veggies I know (and I'd say in my life more than 75% have dropped away) went back to meat when they ended a relationship with a veg*n or began on with a meathead. All of my ex's, bar 1, have gone back to meat.

I questioned 1 friend who'd been veggie for 10 yrs and then moved in with a meat-eating woman - he said he felt he'd done his bit. They're not together now but he's still eating animals.

I also agree that some people must get fed up with the hassle of always having to plan and think about food. It can be drag - esp when travelling somewhere new. Or just travelling.

But I also wonder if we had an unnatural high in the wake of BSE, foot n mouth? I believe the veggie soc think so - and now it's back to being seen as a lifestyle choice for the more radical few? I might be wrong but I feel there are less dedicated veg*n places to eat in the UK now than say 15yrs ago. (not inc LDN, Brighton)
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Re: Article: "Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat

Postby Arnie » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:54 pm

I agree with most of what's being said, and I do think a large percentage of the 'problem' is that people are incredibly lazy. I don't really understand the social side of things because as a vegan, I know I won't be able to eat in most places, so I'm more than happy to bring my own or just have a drink while my friends order. It's sad to think that people would choose the convenience of being able to eat out over the life of a living thing.

Although I haven't really had much experience with other veggies/vegans (I was the only vegetarian in my circle of friends), I'm currently witnessing my best friend's transformation at the moment. She became vegan at the same time as me but then chose to go back to vegetarian at the beginning of this year because it was 'easier'. I've now noticed that she buys all of her cosmetics from Loreal, and she's planning on buying a leather journal for herself. When I asked her if she was ever going vegan again, she said (or words to this effect) ' I know all that awful stuff goes on, but I've decided to ignore it because it's too much hassle and effort'. I was pretty shocked when she was so blunt about it.

I just find it so strange that people that have supposedly been educated about the awful dairy/meat industry and have spent years learning more than your average consumer, will then choose to turn their backs on it because it's deemed as too time consuming.

I can really see her slowly dropping from Vegetarianism and within a few years I can almost guarantee she'll be eating meat again.
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