Stars Align With Research: From Vegan to Paleo


Stars Ditch Vegan Diets and Go Paleo

Um,Bob-Harper-vegan-to-Paleo-199x300.jpg 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-meat-300x200.jpgHarper 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 Hathawayanne-hathaway-dp1-254x300.jpg 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-Go-Back-to-Eating-Meat-293x300.jpg

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-Eat-300x196.jpgdefinitely 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-300x220.jpg

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.

From-vegan-to-Paleo-300x233.jpgThe 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-caveman-235x300.jpgThe 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