Preventing Ex-Vegans: Why Feeling “Normal” Matters

Preventing Ex-Vegans: Why Feeling “Normal” Matters

By | 2015-07-21T14:56:28+00:00 July 21st, 2015|36 Comments

normalThis is my 4th and final (for now) post on tactics for preventing ex-vegans. My thoughts on this topic come from several different types of evidence—including research in vegans and vegetarians as well as research on eating behavior in general.

To summarize, what I’ve already written about:

  •  People sometimes leave veganism (or vegetarianism) because they no longer believe in its benefits—so overhyping the benefits of veganism, promoting unrealistic expectations (like the idea that you could age like a supermodel) can definitely backfire when it comes to encouraging long-term veganism.
  • Likewise, ignoring the issue of ethics can be a mistake. It seems like sometimes we are afraid to talk about it—afraid, in fact, to say that animals matter. The truth is that ethics is a more honest approach to vegan activism and probably one that is more effective in the long run.
  • Finally, while we want to present veganism as easy, we really do fail vegans, new vegans in particular, if we don’t talk about the important details of nutrition. Vegans can and do get sick if they don’t have access to reliable nutrition information.

There are other important issues that we all know about—giving support, and especially sympathetic support when people are struggling with their veganism. Our community needs to provide a safe place for people to admit when they have made a mistake or a non-vegan choice. We need to honor effort and intention even when perfection (whatever that means) is elusive, to respect the challenges that some people face, and to let them proceed at their own pace.

But the last thing that I want to talk about actually covers a lot of ground in terms of encouraging a commitment to veganism. It’s the importance of making veganism feel “normal.”

A study from Cornell University titled “Who We Are and How We Eat: A Qualitative Study of Identities in Food Choice,” looked at this issue. The researchers found that many people (these were non-vegetarians) expressed a desire to view their food habits as “normal,” rather than “extreme.” This is important for our advocacy because surveys of ex-vegetarians found that many did not like feeling “conspicuous.”

We vegans eat (and live) in a way that is very different from the rest of the population. For some of us, it’s not a big deal. For those who value feeling normal, it might bring considerable discomfort regarding their vegan lifestyle. We can’t change the desire to be normal, but we can take steps to “normalize” veganism.

One way is to provide more vegan options that mimic usual eating patterns. The food industry has done a remarkable job of this and the choices are getting better and more diverse all of the time. Veggie cheeses and meats are much better today than they were ten years ago. It’s easier to find vegan options in mainstream eateries, too, and this is something that vegan activists should support.

I am frequently chastised for my stance on veggie meats—which is that it’s okay to eat them. Recently, a blog reader told me that they are “junk foods” that are “worse than meat” (as she had learned in an online course on plant-based nutrition).

I understand that avoiding these foods is an important part of some plant-based dietary philosophies. But nutrition isn’t a philosophy; it’s a science. I know of no evidence that a few servings of veggie meats per week will harm your health.

And it’s not just about convenience—although that is a big part of the benefit they bring to vegan diets. Just as importantly, these foods and others may make veganism more socially and psychologically comfortable for some people. They make it feel a little bit more like what some of us grew up with. They allow vegans to eat at restaurants with friends without having to ask the server to create something special for them—something that perhaps makes them feel conspicuous and uncomfortable.

We know that veganism isn’t about us. And a little discomfort on our part shouldn’t be a big deal given what the animals endure every day. But we also need to be realistic. Going vegan presents a huge challenge for many people. It’s not just about learning to like new foods and giving up old favorites. It’s about choosing a path that puts us out of step with much of society. Depending on who you are, where you live, and what your social circles are like, it can be alienating.

What we really want, of course, is for vegan to become the norm, not the fringe. But until that happens, making it look normal might be what is needed to help some people go and stay vegan.

 

 

 

36 Comments

  1. mike July 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    I have another issue I rarely see mentioned that relates to making vegan social circles supportive.

    I believe one of the recent surveys on current vegetarians/vegans showed that 52% are liberal while 14% are conservative and that they were less likely to be members of organized religion.

    I find that atheist, liberal, and feminist vegetarians/vegans (or non-vegetarians) can be very hostile to those who disagree.

    Catholic Vegan mom seems to have alluded to this:
    http://catholicveganmom.com/about/

    Whatever one’s ideology, one should recognize while it may be that a smaller percentage of religious and other conservatives will consider veganism, the number is not negligible.

    Thus, liberal vegans should not ostracize conservative vegans, because if for no other reason they should not want to encourage 20-25% of vegans to revert.

    • Nicole July 22, 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

      In most of the world, people do not neatly categorize themselves in such a black-and-white way; this seems specifically America-centric perception of the vegan community. I wonder how much of this is actual interactions and how much is someone perspective that every person is one or the other in-group and are at battle with each other. In most of the world, politics is a little more nuanced than this, and does not necessarily connect to one’s religion.

      Alternatively, if someone’s idea of “being conservative” means promoting racism or sexism, that is worth speaking out against, even if someone’s response is to say, “fine, if I can’t be openly racist then I won’t be vegan anymore.”

      However, many people will have disagreements on many topics, and it seems unfair and erroneous to say that disagreeing with opinions is bad for veganism. If I had to guess, I’d wonder if what’s likely happening is these people who identify as “conservative” are just uncomfortable with suddenly being a minority in any context. That’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean they’re being ostracized. At least, not in any greater way than anyone else experiences in society at large for being a minority in some way.

    • Tom August 2, 2015 at 4:51 am - Reply

      Well, I am conservative and atheist … and a strict vegetarian. That’s because being a strict vegetarian is both ethical and the rational thing to be in terms of one’s health and the environment. I am not a vegan because I haven’t gotten around to getting rid of the leather furniture and shoes.
      Of course, I believe that conservatism and atheism are also the most rational and ethical positions to adopt.
      I can assure you that I am in no risk of giving up my vegetarianism simply because some woolly-minded superstitious nitwits don’t find my political and/or religious views congenial

      • prioritarian August 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

        “Our community needs to provide a safe place for people to admit when they have made a mistake or a non-vegan choice. We need to honor effort and intention even when perfection (whatever that means) is elusive, to respect the challenges that some people face, and to let them proceed at their own pace.”

        This is insulting because it assumes a clear distinction between vegan and “not-vegan”. In reality, there is very little agreement on this matter even among vegans. For example, I find SEA palm oil to be repugnant but have no ethical issue with PNW farmed oysters (a dying industry, sadly). Likewise, beegans represent up to 30% of vegans but are harshly condemned as non-vegan by many vegans. Ironically, many of these vegan police happily consume easily-avoided foods coated in lac beetle secretions.

        What is needed is not increased tolerance of “imperfection” — a judgmental point of view — but, rather, increased understanding that there are no clear cut ethical boundaries. Perfection is unattainable. The moral baseline does not exist.

    • soraya beheshti August 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Very good point! I totally agree with you on that.
      I would also like to add that on the point of religion, instead of fighting religious doctrine and making people feel like we are attacking a part of them or their upbringing, we should emphasize the passages that are complimentary to an animal friendly lifestyle. My father is Muslim and I went to a christian boarding school so I ham familiar with both religions and I know for a fact that there are verses on each that support Veganism. Both say that God gave us seed before he gave us dominion over the land. Mohammad chastises one of his followers for stealing the eggs from a birds nest, and again for neglecting his camel. We should emphasize the support for veganism in religious scripture rather than condemn the scriptures entirely

  2. Matt July 22, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    More brilliant and selfless analysis. Thanks, Ginny!

  3. Lori July 22, 2015 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love this article and really appreciate your voice around this issue. I took a “pause” in my veganism for about a month recently because I found it alienating & I was just plain tired of being the oddball with the food issues (at least that’s how I’m perceived). Thankfully my pause was short lived and I’m back to veganism. But I’m so happy to read this! It’s perfectly said and perfectly on-point with my experience. So, I’ll say it again, thank you!

  4. Susan Lavelle, MS, FNP July 22, 2015 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for all your thorough research on this topic, Ginny. I teach plant-based cooking classes and find one of the hardest things for people is the social aspects of eating vegan – that they don’t want to be seen as different and people often “fuss” over them. I have been guilty of emphasizing the whole foods aspect of eating in my classes and appreciate your perspective on the use of meat analogs and other substitutes as a mechanism to help people normalize a vegan diet. I’ll certainly keep this in mind for future teachings. I also always bring in the ethical issues related to eating meat and fish because I do think understanding how food choices impact not just our own health but also animals and our environment helps people to have stronger convictions for why they are making these changes and this, in the end, helps them stay the course. I do have to say though, as a health practitioner I am always amazed at the health benefits of a healthy vegan diet and sometimes feel like an evangelical preacher when I tell people true stories of what others have experienced – much better outcomes than I’ve ever seen in all the years of using medicines and medical procedures! It is so rewarding to see!

  5. Nicole July 22, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    I don’t have a problem with eating veggie or nut meats.

    However, saying “[something about a fast food corporation] and vegan activists should support this” is patently offensive. You don’t get to decide what activists should and should not support. In this case, the corporatization of our food access is connected to the huge class differences that lead to people not being able to go vegan in the first place. When we pretend it’s easy to go vegan, we shame those for who this is a lie. At the least we should be honest and say something like “It CAN be easy to go vegan, especially if you’re middle class, live in a nice area that sells produce, or have a car.”

    Perhaps one day in the future you can do a “preventing ex-vegans” post on how one of the most important ways to open our arms to more vegans is to stop making it an exclusive place for upper-class white people, and acknowledge the struggles some people have that are not just fitting in at the professional luncheon (like food deserts). And of course, we distance ourselves from potential vegans by saying untrustworthy things, like calling slave chocolate and palm-oil based vegan butters “cruelty-free.”

    Here are three wonderful resources that I encourage diving into for anyone who reads this comment and wants to learn more about the inseparable connections between animal rights and human rights. World hunger and violence against women are absolutely vegan issues.

    Academic Abolitionist Vegan:
    http://academicabolitionistvegan.blogspot.com/2013/09/why-putting-non-humans-first-is-wrong.html

    Food Empowerment Project:
    http://www.foodispower.org/

    The Sistah Vegan Project:
    http://sistahvegan.com/

    • Nicole July 22, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

      I would also like to include this talk, “Critiquing Privilege in Animal Advocacy Circles,” which includes Lauren Ornelas from Food Empowerment Project and Amie Breeze Harper from Sistah Vegan Project. They re-iterate many of the points I just made, particularly about food access (how can farm workers go vegan if the only vegan food in their community is potato chips?) and about how welcome, comfortable, or safe people feel in activist spaces (for instance, transgender folk). I think this is definitely spot-on for “preventing ex-vegans” because many people, once going vegan, want to get involved in activism – only to find they are not welcome in those spaces.

      https://vimeo.com/131004617

      • Ian July 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

        Nicole, unless your definition of ‘most of the world’ other than the U.S. means: Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and some parts of South America; then people do indeed seem to use religious identity, often in an exclusivist way as a primary way to identify themselves and define their politics. In most of the world politics is not particularly nuanced or sophisticated, with tolerant and respectful discourse taking place about a wide range of socio-political issues; would that it were. The intersectional approach which has recently become popular in the vegan community – and which I generally support – is in fact only possible without putting oneself at genuine risk in the much maligned bastions of corporatism such as the U.S. and Europe (etc. see above). Try being a gay, liberal, antiauthoritarian vegan with a concern for racial and economic justice in the Middle East, Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, parts of S.E.Asia, etc. The fact that gay, secular, anti racist, pro economic justice etc activists need genuine bravery in so much of the world reflects well on the U.S. and other liberal democracies which are often reflexively maligned for being imperfect.
        Questions of privilege are real but do not need to overshadow all aspects of our conversations. Sometimes a discussion about veggie meats is just that. As well as critiquing the effects of economic injustice and food deserts, gov’t policy that subsidizes junk food and junk agriculture and the poverty that makes both good prepared food too expensive to afford and workers too tired by multiple jobs to cook, we can also look at the roles of people’s own choices and realize that even tired, poor people living without easy access to a good range of healthy foods can empower themselves and make better choices even within a restricted range of options. I work in healthcare and see the effects of people’s choices every day and I know that the same stores that – even in the disadvantaged areas here – sell junk also healthy vegan foods at ok prices. Not every economically disadvantaged area is a food desert. As well as the necessary work approaching the situation from the “victimhood” side and working on issues of poverty, racism etc, we need to encourage personal choice so that people are encouraged to see all the things that they can do even within a constrained situation.
        Last night we had a hearty, delicious, lentil vegetable soup alongside a vegan salad nicoise. Total cost for six large servings was around $10 and all of the ingredients are available in the food stores even in the poorest area in my region. We can not ignore and exclude those in our society suffering from the worst poverty, social exclusion, and so forth but we can and should celebrate the enormously wide range of options that the overwhelming majority in our society actually do have, and finally circling back to Ginny’s actual post, “normalizing veganism” is important and if people whose default, actual practice is eating branded supermarket non vegan food or regularly using chain fast and not-so-fast food restaurants increasingly encounter vegan food in the same places that actually looks familiar to them the likelihood of them feeling comfortable trying it is, I’m sure, hugely increased and much as I might dislike the companies involved, this is where people In reality eat and where veganism is most likely going to be able to easily reach the wider population.

        • Andy July 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm - Reply

          Excellent response, Ian. Thank you for writing this.

        • Christy July 23, 2015 at 7:15 am - Reply

          Honestly, it’s the plant-based community that I see predominantly catering to the rich, white elite. Veganism has always been a grassroots movement that is attainable for all people. No, you don’t need to buy veggie meats or vegan products to be vegan. Everyone can access beans, rice, and vegetables at any grocery store, some corner stores even. Hell even many fast food places offer vegan food albeit not the healthiest. I like what you said Ian!

          • Peskyvore January 16, 2016 at 7:52 am

            Christy, after the beans, rice and veg, where’s the B12 supplement or fortified food? Where’s the iodine – sea vegetables, supplement? The bottom line is that the vegan diet is a restricted diet that needs supplements or specially fortified food, that needs care and diligence. It is a diet for affluent people in Western countries. I say stop telling people who are already heavily burdened to take on another burden and just talk to them about the issues.

          • Dave February 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm

            Peskyvore, a B12 supplement does not have to cost a lot of money; maybe U.S.$15 for 200 pills that are 500mcg each. How many B12 pills one takes per week is another matter, but it should be much less expensive than, say, eating 35 eggs per week to get the USRDA minimum (hope I’ve got the numbers right) of vitamin B12. Yes, eggs have other things in them besides B12, but getting enough B12 from supplements should not be a problem unless one is destitute. I have not purchased eggs recently, but I think using eggs for vitamin B12 for 1.5 – 2.5 weeks might exceed the cost of 6 – 12 months of B12. I do not know how common vitamin B supplements are in various parts of the world, so I will not attempt to address that, but they can be found without too much difficulty in the United States.

            In the U.S., salt is often fortified with iodine. Salt is a mineral; not sure why it would be an inherent problem on a vegan diet.

            Eating a vegan diet does not have to be expensive, and as such is not only for affluent people. Eating farm-raised animal products supports very wasteful businesses — that is something affluent people might choose to afford, but I do not know why it would appeal to poor people. There are things to know about nutrition, but that is true for non-vegans as well. Not sure why you seem to think eating nutritious, healthful food is a burden. Sustainability and health are important issues, are they not?

          • Gigi February 14, 2016 at 9:21 pm

            Plant-based = vegan. Whether you like it or not, someone giving up animal products (in food, clothing, etc. to the best of their ability) is doing as much for animals as someone giving them up with ethics as their #1 concern. The terms are interchangeable. I’ve never heard of anyone putting faux meats above all.. they’re just transition foods, not staples.

      • Gigi February 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

        By being vegan you’re already being an activist. You can start your own vegan groups or just spread the word to family and/or friends. Even if you keep things to yourself, you’re still making an impact, honestly.

  6. DaveDandelion July 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    A great series Ginny and you capped it off perfectly with sober and sage advice (as usual).

    Lowering the bar and de-fringing veganism is much of what Vegan Chicago does in supporting vegans. As if the learning curve isn’t difficult enough, the nutrition and fringe baggage makes it even more so. Organic, anti-GMO, anti-medicine, anti-science etc does the movement no favors. We can have inexpensive, abundant vegan food options that can easily be mistaken for their animal flesh counterparts requiring less of a new vegan.

    Of course, being an anti-speciesist would be fringe-y itself but I’d rather spend efforts there. The focus on the ethical issues is sorely missing in the movement and isn’t that’s what it’s all about?

    Thanks!

  7. Chris Pert July 23, 2015 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Your posts are always a breath of fresh air, Ginny!

    This is one of the precious few vegan sites where I not only learn something new from each post, it’s always backed by good research. On top of that, this information may be useful for growing veganism, or at least preventing ex-vegans.

    Unfortunately, this is in sharp contrast to other vegan blogs where it seems the author and many of the posters are desperately searching for a new dietary restriction to add to their diet. Sometimes, it seems like a bizarre kind of competition to see who can thrive on the most restricted diet. Apparently, grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, nut-free, salt-free vegan rawfoodists are the ultimate “champions” at this game.

    Of course, it should go without saying that the scientific evidence for the benefits of such rigid diets is virtually non-existent. This doesn’t matter to the puritans though, since Dr. So and So told them X will ruin their health in a video or a lecture they recently attended. Sure it’s an exteme minority view, but he speaks the Truth! If you disagree with Dr. So and So, you’re a “junk food vegan” or an idiot(or a shill).

    I hope I don’t sound too negative, but I often deal with such people in real life and on social media.

    Hopefully, this crazy train of diet fanatics doesn’t interfere too much with real vegan outreach efforts.

  8. Kathy July 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Ginny, I just want to express my appreciation for the voice of reason (even sanity) that you bring to the discussions about being vegan. Over and over I’ve lost the thread of “why” be vegan and have found my way again through your books, the Vegan RD articles with comments and responses, and your Facebook page. I’ve also found some other great resources linked on your Facebook. Thanks a lot.

    I just read the current series of posts and comments about Preventing Ex-Vegans. Then I scrolled through a number of other articles and comments on the subjects of weight loss, cancer and diabetes. In all cases, the science or lack thereof is acknowledged and the true reason for being vegan is made clear: the animals. So helpful.

  9. Meredith July 25, 2015 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    this series was great! Thank you for the effort you put in. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years & progressing to vegan. It’s definitely a progression not a sudden conversion & it took me a while to be ok with that. I’m never sure how to respond when someone asks whether I’m vegan, though.

    • Gigi February 14, 2016 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Being vegan is nothing to be ashamed off. Name all the different benefits you know, and at least one of them will stick. Most people just happen to care about their health, as that affects people from day to day, and blatantly.

  10. Linda Ferguson July 27, 2015 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Thank you Ginny for this article. I am almost 63 years old and have been a vegan since I was 14 years old and I raised my family on a vegan diet.
    For too many years, society in general, has expressed negativism toward veganism, and many had reduced it down to a fad. I am a Registered Nurse. I have studied nutrition and specialized in vegan nutrition. I have taught nutrition classes (both general and vegan) in my community and have held cooking classes. It has been in the past 15 – 20 years that veganism has become more popular and more widely accepted. Unfortunately, I have run across many people who are vegans who have unjustly criticized carnivores for how and what they eat with a lot of implied guilt. I believe this is wrong. I believe we need to further educate the carnivorous community with how and what we eat by example, providing good models of ethical behavior at our own dinner tables, and in public.
    Many times our carnivorous friends are very receptive and just need to be educated on preparation techniques, recipes that look and taste good and are nutritious, et cetera instead of being sermonized.

  11. […] Título original: Preventing Ex-Vegans: Why Feeling “Normal” Matters […]

  12. Pierre Parent August 3, 2015 at 5:00 am - Reply

    I feel that reading Professors Gary L. Francione and Anna Charlton’s book, “Eat Like You Care” has helped enormously in making the issue of consuming animals and animal products less perplexing. In the short (129 pages) book, they address many of the concerns or buts that the general public have about being vegan. Highly recommended.

  13. Dianne Rochenski August 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    I have been a vegan for over 7 years now. I do not eat or wear anything from any animal. I never feel out of place with non-vegan friends if we go out for dinner. I always find something on the menu even if it means asking the waiter to have the chef/cook make it from scratch. I’m vegan for the animals and the animals always come first. No one can make me go back to not being a vegan. It’s part of my heart and soul. I have renewed faith in God, more spirituality, perception, intuition , everything that is good. If friends want to make me feel bad or out of place being a vegan, I lose interest in them. I will not give up my veganism for anyone or anything. I live my life to help all animals, not to suck up to this society that is selfish and greedy.

    • Gigi February 14, 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Don’t resent your friends. Try to remember what life was like for you before you went vegan. Sympathize with them, as humans are animals, too. They’re being defensive because they don’t know better. Teach them all the benefits of veganism, and continue to be strong. Simply living in a vegan bubble isn’t doing much for the movement, to be honest.

  14. […] Apr 2013 Location: Minnesota Posts: 2,713 Article About Preventing Ex Vegans http://www.theveganrd.com/2015/07/pr…l-matters.html I thought this was an interesting read and could generate some discussion here. Even the comments […]

  15. Sheryl August 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I love your articles. Because of your nutritional information, I am not an ex-vegan. Thank you for educating us without out any fluff or inaccuracies.

    P.S. I proudly adore vegan meats. I could live off Gardein. For me, they make this way of eating livable.

    P.P.S. Big fan of soy here. Thanks for disabling all the scare tactics out there.

  16. Chris August 18, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Hello everyone,

    I currently eat meat and my world has been turned upside down by having my eyes opened to the meat industry and the amount of suffering it causes. I have read and watched documentaries on the topics of the meat industry, GMO’s, and other ethical issues and I feel overwhelmed. Every ounce of my being wants to cry over the mess the world is in over greed.

    My dilemma is I have heard of vegans/vegetarians getting sick and turning back to meat (Tovar Cerulli, the Dalai Lama) as well as others. My question is do people HAVE to go back to meat to stay healthy when they get sick? Cannot all human bodies convert to a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle without getting sick and do we have science to back it up? From a dietitians perspective do some human bodies need meat? It seems like everywhere you go there are people who say yes and those who say no and the water is muddied.

    My other dilemma is the fact that my spouse does not currently support my lean towards a vegetarian diet. She is an avid cook and the thought of not making dishes that have meat is bewildering to her. The idea of also splitting meals into a meat and non-meat dish sounds silly to her. She takes great enjoyment in cooking for me and our daughter and as my feelings to becoming a vegetarian grow stronger over time however this will inevitably put a strain on my marriage. Please do not take this as my excuse or “way out” to justify eating meat but how have others tackled this?

    • Brendan August 26, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Chris, I do not think anyone “needs” meat to thrive I think it can be a little more challenging for some people like athletes but definitley not impossbile. I recommend reading a book on vegan nutrition like “Vegan for Life” or “Becoming Vegan”.

      As for your partner, I think if you decide to ditch the animal products, you should make your own meals, Your partner will be less resentful if you show that you are willing to do the work in making this transition. I don’t think it would be fair to tell her she needs to start preparing seperate meals. There are lots of books that have some really good recipes. I like “Veganomcon” and the website and cookbook “Oh She glows”. It’s a bonus if you like ethic food like Indian food that is easily made vegan. Give your partner time to adjust to your change. Be open about why you want to do this, without putting pressure on her. I became vegetarian over 10 years ago and my partner was not ok at first with it but now we are both vegans. Good luck!!

    • Dave February 28, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Chris, people do not have to get sick from being vegan. Vitamin B12 is essential, though.

      I hope at least some of the following will be useful:
      https://www.drmcdougall.com
      Use the search feature.

      http://plantpositive.squarespace.com
      This site addresses many “Paleo” claims regarding a vegan diet.

      Books — _My Beef with Meat_, _You Don’t Need Meat_ (I don’t recall the names of the authors at the moment).
      _Eat and Run_ by Scott Jurek is about Scott’s life, running, and a vegan diet.
      They are not vegans, but Udo Erasmus (_Fats that Heal Fats that Kill_, and Dr. Andrew Weil might also be useful.

      Best wishes,
      Dave

  17. […] of Ginny Messina’s insights from her research on veg recidivism. This week, we feature “Why Feeling ‘Normal’ Matters.” Thanks to Ginny for all her research and permission to […]

  18. Nancy October 29, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    My family has adopted a gradual, nonjudgmental course towards veganism. When we visit my parents some of us eat what is put before us including meat, some of us eat a very small amount of the meat and larger amounts of everything else and some of us avoid meat and animal products altogether, even there. When we invite them over we provide yummy homemade vegan foods and they see that it is possible, healthy and enjoyable to avoid animal products. They and co-workers see how much unhealthy weight we are losing since we started avoiding foods with added sugar, avoiding processed foods and avoiding animal products. We have found restaurants like Chipotles and some Indian restaurants that have many vegan, non GMO choices, although we tend to prepare foods at home more often. We bring healthy vegan foods to work and to our Bible study groups and people gradually see that it can be very normal and do-able. Once a week on busy nights a couple of us have a “veggie burger” while another continues to make his usual all fresh vegetable dinner. We spend more on fresh vegetables but, overall, our grocery bill is less.

  19. Rama Ganesan January 19, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Dr. Messina,

    I love your analysis of the ex-vegan phenomenon. Have you considered Dr. Klaper’s carnitine addiction hypothesis? I would like to get your opinion on it.

    “If the person stops ingesting carnitine [when they go vegan], and draws on their carnitine stores, they will begin to experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms—which are alleviated by the ingestion of animal flesh.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tJyb1wTxg4

  20. Gigi February 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    I can’t afford to be an ex-vegan. Drugs and animal products are expensive, and I don’t want to be in pain and misery for (hopefully) the remaining decades of my life. Fruit and vegetables taste even better now that I’m a vegan, so it’s not a sacrifice in taste, either.

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