Thick, tough, and chewy — it was a structure I had not been familiar with for years, evoking memories of family dinners and long-forgotten cooking. I stopped eating, quickly opened my hamburger, and set every element aside, cutting the underwear to the precision of a surgeon. My tastes were right: small strips of salted bacon were placed under the lettuce.

“This is bacon, right?” I asked my friend across the table, pointing to my findings by surprise.

“Yes, there is definitely bacon there,” she confirmed, as surprised as I was.

Although the bun cake was 100% vegan (the server confirmed this to me later), I was unaware that the plant-based hamburger would be served with meat bites between its layers. Stupid mind for not properly inspecting the menu, I think.

I have been a vegetarian for five years, and never in all those years did I accidentally come across a meat-based product – until that day three months ago. Did that mean I could no longer claim to be strictly vegetarian? Honestly, while looking at my plate, I discovered that I was not very interested. I continued to eat the hamburger until there was nothing left of it, and since then, I have been just as weak in my eating habits.

5 women why they left the vegan or vegetarian diet

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The number of people converting to vegan and vegetarian diets in the UK has grown at a surprising rate: according to Vegan Society figures, the number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, reaching 600,000 people last year. A record 500,000 people signed up to attend ‘Veganuary’ 2021, vowing to eat only vegan food throughout the month of January. And in his latest food report, Sainsbury’s predicts that vegans and vegetarians will make up a quarter of the population by 2025, with “flexitarians” (people who do not strictly define themselves as vegans or vegetarians, but mostly follow these diets) slightly more than half of all consumers.

Arlysht is clear, there is an appetite for all plant-based things. But while uptake is on the rise, no All of you is turning into meatless meat – some are doing the opposite. There can be a host of reasons why one might give up veganism or vegetarianism, as both circumstances and minds differ. But how does such a decision come about? What is the reason for taking the step to change eating habits, sometimes, decades? We spoke to five women who have taken a step back from their vegan or vegetarian diets, to find out why they decided it was time to change things.

5 women why they left the vegan or vegetarian diet

“I became a vegetarian over 10 years ago at the age of 17, to my parents’ grief. I decided that if I could not kill myself, I would not eat it. This remained my ethic for years, through the countless rubbish of stuffed with peppers and risotto of stormy mushrooms.Then hit 2020. I had gone through a split and everything looked bleak.COVID-19 had started to start, and I decided to make a roast for my house friends.I forgot Quorn, and how I took the chicken out of the oven, I made my decision.

Can I kill a chicken? Yes. Right there, right then. I wanted a taste of how it used to be, on Sundays around the family dinner table. I ate a bite, and it was delicious. Since then, I have worked through poultry and red meat. I have even opened an Instagram account dedicated to my recipes for less used meat cuts, such as offal. The block has allowed me to explore this; after all, it is not easy to soak the stock for hours if you are traveling. If we are going to eat animals, I believe we should not let good meat go to waste. “

leave a vegan or vegetarian diet 5 women explain why they changed

“I’m never been a big meat eater to start with. I do not like red meat or fish and I do not like a lot of milk, so I can gladly leave. Last year on loan I thought I would challenge myself At first, I felt much healthier and liked to create vegan / vegetarian recipes, however, because I am losing weight, I struggled to meet my protein needs.

After six months, I decided to eat chicken again. I felt bad because you see a lot of how meat is bad for you because of the extra hormones and how we should all be vegan, but I had to stifle it and do what was best for me. Now I have found a balance; I eat chicken three times a week and plant-based the other days. I think it is important for all of us to reduce our meat intake for health reasons, but for me, that is what works. “I feel like I’m doing my best without compromising on the things I like.”

5 women why they left the vegan or vegetarian diet

“I ate a traditional diet until I was 15 when I started doing health / fitness / nutrition. This obsession with ‘clean food’ led me to troubled waters and in the past, I could probably have been classified as suffering from orthorexia. .

I became 100% vegan when I started university in 2017, which I found easy considering the world was well prepared for vegans at this point. But this summer, I was drunk with friends and around 5am we ordered pizza. When it arrived, mine arrived by mistake with cheese and I was so worried. After that, I got tired of the idea of ​​releasing things, and two weeks later I ate shrimp, then eggs, then salmon. I’m still not interested in meat, though I can try a cheeky Nando for novelty. Studying nutrition helped me critique the evidence that initially inspired me to become vegan, rather than taking it superficially as I did when I was 15 years old. “I felt guilty when I started eating non-vegan again and I was ashamed to tell people how I felt it was a ‘fall from grace’, but obviously no one cared.”

5 women why they left the vegan or vegetarian diet

“I became vegan two years ago now. During the first block I felt occasionally, so I thought of adding fish / shellfish to my diet as I thought it might help me feel better. I cook my husband’s favorite shrimp my and rice dish, enjoyed it and liked it!

“I have also occasionally eaten poultry during subsequent blockages, as I am spending more time eating at home with the rest of the family that everyone enjoys. I anticipate stopping the meat again when life returns to normal, after the pandemic.But in general, while I feel better about not eating meat, I occasionally feel like I benefit from poultry and fish in my diet.Honestly I think that if the blockage had not occurred, I would not have turned to meat.

5 women why they left the vegan or vegetarian diet

“I had been a vegetarian since I was 17 and I was vegan at 19; my boyfriend at the time was vegan and I loved him. The reason I became a vegetarian / vegan was because it felt like a way out of my eating disorder. .I liked cooking, and watched the food I was eating.But in fact, it again became a gateway to my ED.

In the middle of last year I wasn’t doing great mental health, and that’s when my ED tends to show up. I was unhappy with myself and my body; It seemed to me that all I ate was soft pasta and tofu. Thus, I got tired of the idea of ​​eating fish because it felt quite healthy but did not feel that unethical After I did this, I started eating cheese, then chocolate and fell in love with food again. I tried each. Single. chocolate. in this place because I had never eaten for so long. I do not limit myself and it has completely changed my relationship with food. “I really find joy in it now.”


After all, when it comes to eating habits, what is clear is that there is no ‘right’ way to approach it for everyone. Ideally, your diet should not feel restrictive, or based on the judgment of others, but beyond that it is up to you. The way you choose to eat is a completely personal decision, and the only thing you are must doing, is doing what seems right to you at the time.

If you are affected by the discussion of eating disorders and want to seek help or support, visit the Beat or NHS.

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