Are You Vegetarian? It’s Probably Just a Phase, Research Says



I’ve seen my fair share of vegetarian friends hop back on the meat-eating train: One of my co-workers ditched his years-long vegetarianism for a Pat’s cheesesteak; my good friend, who was vegetarian for years, moved to Israel and got tired of turning to hummus for protein at every meal, so she went for meat; my cousin gave up her 16-year stint of eating meat-free when her pregnancy cravings kicked in; one friend ended her vegetarianism with a drunken dose of David’s Mai Lai Wah sweet and sour chicken at 1 a.m. one Saturday; and a friend, who’d never tasted meat in his life, became a chef and realized that he really needed to know what steak tasted like if he was going to be cooking it for hundreds of people each night. And I’m sure you have a long list of lapsed-vegetarian stories, too.

So I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that, according to new research from the Humane Research Council and Harris International, 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually become meat eaters again.

As the Huffington Post reports, researchers surveyed 11,000 adults and found that a measly two percent were vegetarians or vegans, while 10 percent had been vegetarian or vegan at some point and 88 percent had never ditched meat. They delved into why there were so many former vegetarians and vegans and found that the main reason folks went back to their meat-eating ways was a lack of social support (read: your friends saying, “Um, who orders salad at a burger joint?”). Most others blamed their return to meat on cravings (hello, cheesesteaks).

As someone who hasn’t eaten meat for eight years, I can honestly say I don’t see myself ever ordering a cheesesteak again in my life—but this research suggests otherwise. What’s your take on this, fellow vegetarians and vegans out there?

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