Born Again Carnivore

If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you know that Jane and I are advocates of a vegan diet for a whole bunch of different reasons.We've been eating this way for almost two years, and at this point, we don't expect we'd ever go back to eating meat or dairy.

Having said that, I also believe vegan-eating may not be right for everyone. Just as there are people who cannot digest gluten, or those who cannot digest lactose, there may be people who don't thrive on a vegan diet.  I'm not a nutritionist, dietitian, physician...

Yesterday, I stumbled across an article in the Times Online in which the author, Tessa Williams, a strict-vegetarian of 25 years, outs herself as a new-found carnivore.

I am not the only staunch veggie to give up a lifetime devotion to pulses and tofu in the past year. The Food Standards Agency in Britain states that the number of people eating a partly or completely veggie diet fell from 9 per cent in 2007 to 7 per cent in 2008. However, we are, on average, eating less meat per head, as Su Taylor from the Vegetarian Society points out. “In 2006 the average person consumed 74.3kg. In 2007 that figure was 74kg - only a slight reduction, but a downward trend. People are realising that plant-based diets are better for the environment.”

Remember Proposition 2, The Farm Animal Treatment proposition which passed here in California this past November? (The proposition deals with three types of confinement: veal crates, battery cages, and sow gestation crates.) One of the biggest concerns I heard people voice about Prop 2 was that it would appease people's guilt over eating meat.  Ms. Williams comments seem to bear that thinking out... "Healthy and natural"  gives an implicit stamp of approval too.

I see my decision to return to meat as part of a bigger change in Britain's food culture. We've shifted away from the old-school “meat is murder” approach, and now well-sourced meat is seen as healthy and natural.

Anyway, if you'd like to read about Ms. Williams conversion, here's a link to her story.


  1. See, I just don’t get that. OK, well, maybe I can see it for people who went veggie for environmental reasons; if someday, we can come up with a way to deal with the dreadful earth-impact of meat and dairy production, though I’m not holding my breath. But for health reasons? After reading The China Study, I can’t see the logic there. And for those of us eating veggie for animal rights reasons, not so likely…dead is always going to be dead. She had it right the first time, meat IS murder.

    While I agree that there are some people who don’t do as well on a veggie diet, I believe they are extremely rare, and are genetic abnormalities. And most of those could thrive, but would have to pay more attention to getting vegetarian food with nutrients they need. But that’s just conjecture on my part.

  2. Totally agree with Sue on this. I’m veggie for health, environmental and ethical reasons. I just couldn’t imagine contemplating eating flesh ever again! One of our old friends was veggie for 6 years then ‘reverted’. I just don’t see how anyone could, the thought of it turns my stomach.

    Also in her article she states she walked past the cows in her farmers field knowing they were roaming free, and a short journey from abbatoire to butcher. How could you LOOK at the cow and think mmmm that’ll be tasty in the butchers in a few weeks? Seriously?

  3. Hi Sue,
    I didn’t really understand Williams’ motivations either. If it were something that happened gradually over time, backsliding as it were, I might understand more. But she seems to have just flipped a switch. Also, the idea of “well-sourced meat is seen as healthy and natural” doesn’t counteract the fact that the animals are being slaughtered, and most of them are being slaughtered brutally.
    I have this discussion with my brother. He buys his meat locally thinking he’s doing great things. But he’s promoting meat eating in a manner that isn’t sustainable. To feed the rest of the population, cattle have to be raised more “efficiently.” Plus all my usual rant about greenhouse gasses and pollution…

    Hi Di H,
    Jane often says how she can’t imagine going back to eating animal flesh. I can see people moving between vegan and vegetarian much more easily, but after 25 years this woman is now an omni? I don’t get it either.

  4. Hi, I totally agree with the above. I can’t believe that someone who was a committed veg for so many years could turn the clock back. It’s nonsense. I also agree with Sue that people who could not do well on a plant-based diet are actually rare. I think it’s mostly psychological. It’s like the flesh eater who tries a vegan dish (without knowing it’s vegan) and likes it. Then he learns it’s vegan and spit it!
    I also read the China Study (brilliant by the way) and eating animals is total nonsense and a crime against our very real natures as herbivores.

  5. Anyone can survive on a vegan diet since animals are not here on this planet to be torture. When it comes down to it people are selfish. They will use any excuse to justify cruelty and their lack of compassion.

  6. “WELL-SOURCED” MEAT???????????? Are you serious???? When will ignorant people wake up and realize? YOU ARE EATING A DEAD ANIMAL. Helloooo. We’re a civilized world (supposedly)..
    Apparently, we can only do what WE know IS best for ourselves, and hope that “mad cow” doesn’t return..course, then we could say..”ya dummy”

  7. Hi Nicole,
    I found it hard to believe anyone could go back to eating meat after such a long period of time. The longer Jane and I are vegan, the more repugnant the idea of eating meat becomes. Not so much the idea of the taste of meat, but rather the thought of how those animals are tortured.

    Hi Kelly,
    I think there’s more to it than that… Our society doesn’t make it easy to be a non-meat eater. And I believe there are many people who don’t associate the pre-packaged boneless, skinless chicken breast with animal cruelty, or even with an animal for that matter.

    Hi MV96,
    I hope you understand that is not my comment, I am quoting Williams. I don’t believe there is such a thing as “well sourced meat.”

  8. TOTALLY understand 🙂 Williams is trying to “condone” her lack of judgement, to herself especially…but, I think also to her friends and people that know her. She’s not very bright.

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