Stars Align With Research: From Vegan to Paleo

Stars Ditch Vegan Diets and Go Paleo

Um,Bob Harper from vegan to Paleo

has anyone else noticed the recent trend of celebrities abandoning their vegan diets to go Paleo? Just recently we were hearing about actress Anne Hathaway and former President Bill Clinton making the switch away from veganism back towards meat-based diets. Now it’s NBC’s The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper who’s making headlines. In a report published by Inquisitr, Harper proclaimed his love for animal protein and egg yolks, and emphasized low-carb, Paleo-style diets for weight loss. His enthusiasm for Paleo, low-carb, and higher-fat diets might be confusing to the contestants he trains on The Biggest Loser however. The 4-3-2-1 Biggest Loser Food Pyramid emphasizes low-fat dairy products, grains, legumes, and egg whites for weight loss, a stark contrast to the grain- and legume-free, higher-fat nature of the Paleo diet. It’s okay Bob Harper, don’t feel guilty; your actions speak louder than The Biggest Loser’s words.

Guilty and Hungry for Meat

Guilty for meatHarper ended his vegan diet when it became clear that his performance at the gym was “really lacking.” Like Anne Hathaway, he sensed that his body needed animal protein for power, and claims feeling “better” and “stronger” consuming meat. Harper confessed the shame and guilt he experienced when he started eating animal foods again: “In the beginning, I was quietly eating my egg whites in the morning. Oh my God, I felt so bad. I just couldn’t help it. I just couldn’t hide it anymore. It works for me.”

Anne Hathaway also expressed feeling embarrassed when she announced her shift away from veganism and towards a Paleo-style, low-carb diet. In an apology to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) she confessed that she has no plan of returning to her vegan ways. “I just didn’t feel good or healthy…not strong,” Hathaway recalls of her vegan days. PETA responded to Anne’s carnivorous decision by rationalizing that Anne “may have received some bad advice,” and gifted her an array of vegan items including a ‘vegan starter kit’ and a gift basket full of fake meat, in an effort to get her to come back to veganism. Apparently it didn’t work, as Hathaway has recently been spotted eating sausages and eggs with vigor and vitality.Most vegans will eat meat again

I’ll admit that I also felt guilty when I started eating meat again after almost 25 years of not. I had thoroughly brainwashed myself into believing that meat was bad, wrong, and gross, and undoing that brainwashing was not an easy task. But like Anne Hathaway, I too immediately felt better within only one day of eating meat again. Yet it literally took me years of force-feeding myself meat before the guilt started to subside. Why?

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together

A sizable body of research suggests that we eat what our friends eat. I can say from personal experience that during my stint with vegetarianism, I naturally gravitated towards and ended up making a lot of vegan and vegetarian friends. We were sort of like a cult, reinforcing each others belief systems and doggin’ on meat eaters together. When I realized I needed to start eating meat again (after becoming extremely ill from my long-term veg diet), my veggie “friends” were not at all happy about my decision, and they We eat what our friends eatdefinitely let me know how they felt about it. Like Harper and Hathaway, I felt guilt and shame for consuming “animal flesh” (as my vegan friends called it). However, after eating meat for only one day, it became extremely obvious that my body needed the “animal flesh” to survive and thrive. While it took me nearly 25 years to see the light, most people who quit eating meat return to their meaty ways within a few months, according to a new study.

Study Shows Most Vegetarians Relapse Within a YearQuestioning meat

Recent research conducted by the animal advocacy group Humane Research Council (HRC) surveyed vegetarians/vegans in the US, in an effort to better understand what makes people abandon their veggie diets and go back to eating meat. According to their research, 84% of vegetarians and vegans will end up eating meat again: 53% within one year, and more than 30% will return to their carnivorous ways within only three months. Vegans were less likely to ‘relapse’ than vegetarians, with only 70% of vegans returning to meat, compared to 86% of vegetarians. Of the more than 11,000 US adults surveyed in this study, 88% had never tried a veggie-based diet, 10% had been vegetarian or vegan in the past, and only 2% reported currently not consuming any meat, with 1.5% of these being vegetarians and 0.5% vegans.

Start eating meatThe researchers then took a look at the 10% of ex-vegetarians/vegans in an effort to identify the factors which caused them to start eating meat again, which included: difficulty sticking with the diet, difficulty quitting ‘cold turkey’, uncertainty about the decision to quit eating meat, lack of social support from other vegetarians, and health issues (29% of ex-vegetarians/vegans reported health problems related to their veggie-based diets).

Stars and Statistics Agree: Let Them Eat Meat

Let them eat meat like a cavemanThe implications of the HRC study suggest that it’s difficult for most people to maintain a plant-based diet, as 5 out of 6 people who go vegetarian/vegan end up eventually eating meat again…most of them within a year. As an animal advocacy group, the HRC suggested that social support from “other veg folks” is essential in order for people to maintain their long-term vegetarian or vegan diets. I couldn’t agree more that such “social support” will go a long way to keep someone from eating meat, however in my experience, this cult-like mentality nearly killed me. Thankfully, like many others, my vegetarianism was also just a phase. So who is “the biggest loser”? If we answer this question based on the stars and the stats, it looks like the vegans and vegetarians are.

In good health,

Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN

About Kinsey Jackson

Kinsey Jackson, LMP, MS, CNS® is a clinical nutritionist specializing in functional and evolutionary nutrition. Her own experience of overcoming multiple autoimmune disorders by adopting a Paleo lifestyle vastly contributes to her passion for helping others to also reclaim their health and vitality by making informed dietary decisions. View all posts by Kinsey Jackson →

Share it

Subscribe to the blog

4 Comments

  1. JFC

    I’ve been vegan for 26 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees). I lost 25 lbs within the first few months. Today my blood work and test results are of a man half my age!

    Here’s a short video to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice and why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE

    Also, here’s a link for everyone who wants to join the revolution: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/step-by-step-guide-how-to-transition-to-vegan-diet/

    • Kinsey Jackson

      Hi JFC,

      I’m happy to hear that your diet is working for you. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum…I was a vegan/vegetarian for 25 years, and ended up becoming extremely ill as a result of the grains, legumes, seeds, and seed oils that I consumed regularly. In contrast to your experience, my blood-work (which I’ve had done every 3 months for the last decade) drastically improved once I ditched my veg diet and started eating meat (CRP and sed rate decreased to zero, cholesterol markers all improved, ANA is now negative, all biomarkers of absorption increased, etc.). Moreover, my symptoms of autoimmunity (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, alopecia areata, autoimmune thyroiditis, eczema) disappeared virtually over night once I started eating Paleo! You are one of the only long-term vegans I have encountered who has had such a positive experience with the diet, and I’m really happy that it is working out for you! I recently wrote an article outlining 7 Reasons Why a Vegan Diet is NOT Healthy, that you may want to check out. Also, have you read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith? It’s quite enlightening, being written by an ex-long-term vegan. I wish you the best of health in this new year and always!

      In good health,
      Kinsey Jackson, MS, CN
      Paleo Plan

  2. T33CH

    Onegreenplanet is full of misinformation when it comes to the science behind meat consumption. However, they do have a lot of good recipes for food, which is what they should exclusively stick to. As a former vegan, I remember enjoying the elitist/holy attitude. No I look back in shame at the way I acted. I am not a judgmental person, but I became one. Now, I believe people should maximize their health so that they can do more good in this world. Protesting by what you consume is one of the laziest ways to do good.

  3. Bridey

    T33CH how can you say protesting by not eating animals who suffer and die horrible deaths is a lazy way to protest. They say that not paying to support such an industry is the only way to stop these poor creatures and I’d agree. I don’t have a holier than thou attitude at all. I realize that I can’t look an animal in the face and want to eat it as it’s intelligent and has every right to live on this planet and not be consumed by greedy humans. I hope you know what a terrible thing you’re doing to the planet by consuming meat, eggs and dairy.

Leave a Comment

*/