Why more vegans and vegetarians are putting meat back on their plates

(Photo: Tesztoszteron.hu)

(Photo: Tesztoszteron.hu)


For five years, Claire Murray was a vegetarian, confident in her belief that she needed fruit, veggies, and whole foods for nourishment—and nothing more. But 18 months ago, as she struggled with bad eczema and difficulty concentrating, the Aussie naturopath had to cop to a hard truth: meat-free living wasn’t working for her.

“I was confused as to why I wasn’t a beaming, radiant goddess bursting with health,” says the 23-year-old. When she switched to a Paleo diet, Murray says, she felt her energy levels increase.

She’s not alone. Whether you chalk it up to the popularity of the Paleo Diet and CrossFit or the availability of better, grass-fed meat choices, many wellness experts are noticing a major return-to-meat moment.

“We’re in the early stages of a trend,” says nutritionist Dana James, MS, founder of Food Coach. She’s seen plenty of women who went plant-based to feel better in their bodies, but “as they tuned in two to three years later, they realized, ‘Maybe that was more than what I needed to let go.'”

Nutritionist Dana James is seeing more clients go back to meat, she says. (Photo: Dana James)

Nutritionist Dana James is seeing more clients go back to meat, she says. (Photo: Dana James)

“Vegan with a side of Paleo”

New Jersey-based physician’s assistant, Megan McGrane, 29, recently went from vegan to carnivore for health reasons, having grappled with autoimmune disorders for years. “I was like, ‘I’m in my twenties, and I feel crummy every day when I wake up,’” McGrane says.

After seeing integrative guru Frank Lipman, MD, and completing his two-week cleanse (which allows certain types of organic, free-range animal protein), McGrane made the switch, full-time, to what she calls “vegan with a side of Paleo”—Bulletproof coffee in the morning, a huge salad with chicken for lunch, and a small serving of high-quality animal protein with a sweet potato or roasted root vegetables for dinner. She feels great, though the change has been a bit of a culture clash.

“I’m a big yoga person,” McGrane says. “The stereotype of Paleo is Crossfit. It’s kind of a funny mix when you’re sitting in the yoga studio and topics come up like, ‘Oh, did you see the Instagram of my bison burger?’”

Why the return to meat?

Experts agree that hardcore workout is a big reason behind the trend. “Most CrossFit gyms recommend a Paleo lifestyle,” says nutritionist Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition. While it’s certainly not a requirement to join a box, CrossFit diehards tend to become a part of the tight-knit community and culture in a way that doesn’t happen with other workouts. And who wants to be the only one ordering a post-WOD lentil burger?

Plus, the fact that grass-fed and organic meat are “gaining recognition” takes some of the guilt off of those whose main goal is to eat consciously, vegan or otherwise.

But topping the list of meat-free-eaters’ complaints are health and digestive issues, particularly among those filling their plates with hard-to-break-down raw veggies. Nutritionist James has also seen mood issues, from too little protein and too few brain-boosting amino acids.

For her part, Murray says switching from no-meat to Paleo (with a focus on veggies) has generated its share of blank stares and eye-rolls, but her increased energy is all the defense she needs. “I didn’t do it to jump on a trendy bandwagon,” she says. “I did it to eat medicinally, for my health.”

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  1. April 21st, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I enjoyed this article because I think many vegetarians feel guilt if they consider adding meat into their diet, however to say “And who wants to be the only one ordering a post-WOD lentil burger?” is a little ridiculous. I highly doubt the people you are dining with are going to care if you order a bison burger, lentil burger, or ice cream for dinner. This “follow the crowd” approach is partially to blame for the ridiculous fad diets that have led to serious health consequences in the past.

  2. April 22nd, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Good for her. I thought Vegans were interested in Animal welfare, enviroment etc etc. Each to their own. But i am a bit baffled at how you could go from Vegan to Paleo in one step.

  3. April 22nd, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for this! I’m a yoga and pilates teacher but eat Paleo, which got kind of awkward at yoga/vegan meet-ups! It’s annoying especially when people keep giving me grain-loaded vegetarian meals when I’d really rather just a normal meal, thanks! But I think what most people tend to forget is that it’s not necessarily Paleo vs. vegetarianism – you can definitely be unhealthy on both. What unites them is their focus on more vegetables.

  4. April 22nd, 2014 at 10:58 am

    The vegans who go back to meat-eating are probably eating too much fat (nuts, coconuts, oils), and it has clogged their lymphatic system to the point where it can’t flush toxins out of their system. I know because I had that problem after being a raw vegan for 2 years. As soon as I went high-fruit and cut out almost all fats for a period, the rash and lymph issues went away.

    Most vegans are vegan because they do not believe it is our right to kill animals just so we can eat. I think these kinds of articles were written by (or subsidized by) the meat industry because their profit margins are going in the toilet from people seeing how badly animals are treated before they are slaughtered. I don’t care who turns their nose up at what I eat… because I know what I eat keeps me healthy, energetic and tastes great. Meat eaters will be the ones suffering from chronic diseases and cancers. So, if they have so little respect for animals that they would just switch back to eating meat because they got a little rash or something, they are very shallow people who want to “fit in” with their peers.

  5. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:02 am


    I agree that the “follow the crowd” approach is ridiculous and probably the last thing on peoples’ minds, especially if they’re used to the eye-rolls that come with eating mostly plants.

    As someone who eats a predominantly plant-based diet, with the exception of wild game and wild-caught fish, I cannot bring myself to eat farm-raised animals, no matter how humanely they were treated (pre-slaughter) or how nutritious their diet was. What bothers me, and what will continue to prevent me from eating them, is that they are born and raised for no other purpose but to die for human consumption. I can’t get over this.

  6. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This article is a little ridiculous. Where is the proof that more vegetarians and vegans are adding “meat onto their plates?” The Paleo and CrossFit fads, like other fads will fade away. Being a vegetarian/vegan is a lifestyle and life choice, not one that someone phases in and out of. And if someone does, it’s because they were experimenting. Done properly, you can get all the protein and vitamins necessary to live healthfully. The problem is (based on what I’ve read and my nutritionist telling me) that often people begin the meat free diet without proper research, and end up with deficiencies. Perhaps the article should have focused on what those people were missing in their diet ( I don’t believe people get sick from lack of animal protein, in fact animal protein is linked to illness!), and how they can get it with proper nutrition.

  7. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Anytime I see an article such as this, I wonder why there is never any mention about the moral and ethical reasons of one being vegan, especially in this time when more animals than ever are being tortured and murdered and I personally, as a fitness professional for over 30 years see more people transitioning to a vegan way of life. I have seen many “trends” come and go and I know compassion and fitness is sexy and if an individual is not healthy on a vegan diet they may need to visit a doctor and make sure they are eating appropriately for their particular needs.

  8. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for this article. Eating for health is about listening to your body. It’s not about following dietary dogma. It’s interesting to witness judgement from others around one’s food choices… unfortunately I’ve seen it hinder some of my clients’ efforts in making healthy choices for themselves. Hopefully others who read this will start listening to cues from their own bodies and think twice before making a judgement about someone else’s food choices.

  9. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Insert huge eye roll here. I’m so tired of reading articles from vegans “needing” to go back to meat. How about, you just decided to put your appetite before your morals instead of making up some bunk medical excuse? Because that’s all it is – an excuse. There are countless thriving, healthy, happy vegans out there.

  10. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I loved this! I’ve been a vegan for a little over a year now and have been seriously considering adding eggs and fish back into my diet for the past couple of months. I still have no desire for meat, but those animal products do appeal to me and I see the health benefits that come from them. This past weekend I had eggs (free range, organic, etc) and was SO happy that I did. It’s all about BALANCE!

  11. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is a scenario in which W&G should’ve known their audience a little better. I really love this blog, but this article pissed me off. As a very healthy and active (I do Bikram regularly) vegetarian who is working toward being 100% vegan, I have not experienced any negative health issues from my diet. If anything, when I went vegetarian 8 years ago, I felt much better and less lethargic than ever before. The key is finding the right balance of nutrients for your body. W&G, please avoid misleading generalizations like “why more vegans and vegetarians are putting meat back on their plates.” I bet for every vegetarian who goes paleo, there are multiple meat-eaters going vegetarian. Maybe you should look into their transitions…

  12. April 22nd, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Honestly, I’m now going to unsubscribe to this newsletter. Because this article is complete rubbish. It reads like an ad for crossfit and the doctors mentioned. And, as a 25 year vegetarian, I can assure you that most vegans/vegetarians I know do it for ethical reasons, not for some health fad. And where’s the period that vegans are going back to meat? What about true yoga enthusiasts? It’s a lifestyle choice, not a fad. This time you just made up a sensational headline to get more readers. If I want trash articles I’ll read the tabloids, thanks. You just lost a fan and I’ll be sure to tell friends and family to unsubsidized as well. I wanted genuine health information, not pulp fiction.

  13. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I have to say I love seeing the comments above! It is entirely possible to be vegan and healthy, you just need to pay attention to what you are consuming- like anyone does. Doctors are no longer turning their noses up at individuals on vegan diets (at least my doctor doesn’t, and he has been a physician for 40 years in a fairly conservative area). Why? Because so many studies have come out showing plant-based diets to reduce death rates from all disease-based causes!

    If you are choosing to eat meat, then that is your choice, but to talk about grass-fed meat being a conscious way of eating is a bit of a cop-out. Yes, I’d prefer that people make that choice over purchasing from CAFOs, but in no way is it a necessary or the most humane choice.

  14. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    By the way, when W&G solicited vegans-turned-paleo on FB, I tried to warn them that this was a polarizing issue by pointing out the animal rights beliefs behind many of their veg readers dietary choices, but they obviously chose to ignore my subtle suggestion.W&G might want to retract or modify this article in order to curb veg unsubscribers.

  15. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    “Vegan with a side of Paleo”?! No, you are an ominivore. Most vegans are vegan because of ethical reasons, and the health benefits are a plus. All of the “deficiencies” mentioned could of been “cured” using a plant based diet.
    This article was one sided and could be described as “yellow journalism” But the author and subjects need to do their research.

  16. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    From what I’ve seen working closely with Dr. Lipman, most people who switch to a more paleo way of eating feel better not necessarily because they add meat in, but because they eliminate grains and sugars. Whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, there are ways to be healthy or unhealthy — and the people who feel the worst are usually the ones eating a lot of sugar/grains/alcohol/things that turn into sugar in the body. Hence, why a paleo plan can often be a change for the better because all that stuff is eliminated. Health-wise, it’s not about vegan vs. paleo or jumping on a fad diet – it’s a sugar issue.

  17. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Very disappointing article – zero facts about veganism and zero facts about what the ‘benefits’ are to go back to eating meat. Please, take this rubbish down or re-write it. FYI, there are many endurance athletes who are vegan and a fitness magazine called Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine which is all about vegan bodybuilding. Disappointed that Well & Good would write such a ridiculous fluff piece.

  18. April 22nd, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Some of the assumptions made in this article are tiring. People are adopting paleo because of a rise in exercise/cross-fit? Because ‘who wants to order a lentil burger’ after a workout? Come on, those are some ridiculous statements! Go ahead and discuss the benefits of a Paleo diet, but please don’t smear veganism in an effort to make Paleo the champion. Veganism is a growing movement, not a receding ‘trend’ as you describe it. People transition to and from both lifestyles, for various reasons. Some lifestyles don’t work for some people, and that’s fine. Don’t market it as a trend because that particular lifestyle (Vegan) isn’t sufficient. That’s such a misinformed statement. And grass-fed/organic meats remove the guilt? Since when? There is plenty of information out there in reference to organic farming and how it’s not necessarily more humane. Even if it is, that isn’t the only reason people adopt a vegan lifestyle. It’s a larger picture of animal exploitation as a whole. I highly doubt I’d ever meet a vegan who’d readily chomp down a grass-fed or organic beef burger because they now have a ‘guilt-free’ card. This article was really disappointing.

  19. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Most of the vegetarians and vegans that I know and work with as a nutritionist actually do “do it” for the health reasons. And one of the biggest problems I find is that they are not tracking their protein needs, especially if they are ardent exercisers. I’ve been vegetarian for 20 plus years and each meal I consume has a serving of protein, mostly from beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and secondarily from egg whites and fish. I have incredible energy levels, weight training several times a week and I look 20 years younger than my “real age.” I have nothing against adding in meat – but grass fed or not, red meat has been identified as a possible agent in a variety of health issues, when consumed on a “regular basis.” I tell most clients to enjoy red meat once or twice a week (if they want meat in their diets) and to choose the superstar lean cuts. I believe certain health complaints and issues associated with being vegetarian or vegan stem from not being intent on making sure you are getting all the necessary vitamins, minerals and protein that one needs.

  20. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    This article is way off base. I’m so disappointed, but happy to see all the intelligent comments regarding healthy vegan lifestyles! I’ve been meat free for 8 years and vegan for 3 and have certainly been through my phases of eating too many of the wrong things which will result in not feeling well regardless of your dietary philosophy. Veganism is a lifestyle choice. You don’t flip flop back and forth. You can adjust your plant based diet to get ALL the nutrients you need while not compromising your values and beliefs. A recent study by USC along with many many other studies have shown the protein in meat to be dangerous to your health. Are there unhealthy vegans? Yes! You can eat nuts and french fries all day and still call yourself a vegan. I think there are many vegans following some paleo principles NOT adding back in MEAT! When I say principals, I’m referring to excluding processed foods, grains & other items from their diets. That’s what this article should have been looking at, a lot of similarities. You find a lot of vegan menu items to also be paleo friendly. That’s interesting, not reading about a vegan who did not properly manage her diet, wasn’t experiencing her full potential of wellness, blamed it on lack of meat and went back to it. Way to offend all of your devout Vegan readers Well & Good!

  21. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Frankly, I was happy to see this article. I relate and get it. I decided at age 10 to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian, at 18 to start incorporating fish, at 25 began practicing raw veganism in much of my day-to-day. I felt great for the first year or two, but at 29 – with admittedly less energy and resilience than I’d like and frustrating weight gain that won’t budge – it doesn’t feel like the simple key to wellness for me it once did. The more I research and learn about diet from a range of perspectives, the more I am not convinced that a raw vegan or vegan diet is the wisest choice for me at present or as a prospective mom. It’s a completely individual decision, listening to my body and my energy. This is a complicated realization for me – I find raw veganism such a clean and sexy lifestyle and have never felt very drawn to meat – but I’m no longer convinced it’s the best answer for me. I know it got criticism, but vegan with a side of paleo makes complete sense to me – coconut milk and abundant veggies will remain in my fridge, smoothies and cold-pressed veggie juices part of my diet, 100% influenced by my vegan days. But I might sometimes have grass fed butter, wild fish, and occasional grass-fed meat – for health and future health, not for my appetite, thank you.

  22. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    As someone who was once vegan, I can relate to this article. Perhaps I was eating too much fat (nuts/coconut/avocado) when I was thinking it was protein, but the day I switched to eating meat, my energy levels soared.

    I went vegan for health reasons — IBS, primarily. Having grown up on a farm in Oklahoma, I believe there is an ethical way to eat animals, if we treat them with respect. I don’t believe in abandoning the food chain, so to speak, but I am anti factory farming and GMOs, which are everywhere. If you eat meat, you need to be an informed consumer, asking questions and doing research. But finding quality meat is possible.

    When I switched to paleo, I felt a whole lot better, lost weight, and gained strength. But my IBS suffered. I have now found a very happy compromise — just a little bit of meat (i.e. a sardine for breakfast) at every meal is enough. I don’t have to eat half the chicken that other paleo CrossFitters eat. It’s all about listening to your body.

    And there’s truth to some people needing animal protein. I would trust that these women who switched were very well attuned to their bodies before making the decision to go from vegan to paleo.

  23. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    i am happy to see the comments above and am on the side of – if you are vegan, you are vegan for the animals, their health and their welfare. there is no way a real true vegan would simply add back meat. this makes absolutely no sense. if a vegan is not feeling well they should do their research and read books like the china study and whole by dr. t colin campbell. they would find out that you can get all the protein and other nutrients by eating a complete, whole foods, plant based diet that happens to be vegan and low in cruelty and processed foods too.

    well & good – you don’t have to be writing pieces such as this in order to get more readers to your site. we love you and we loved you before you went global. keep it real and do your own research. i am sure there are plenty of vegans out there who would dispute this. i would be happy to be interviewed for your article that attempts to make sense of health and veganism.

    a big fan

  24. April 22nd, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    and one more thing. the line that says, “And who wants to be the only one ordering a post-WOD lentil burger?” is so sad it almost makes me want to unsubscribe to W&G. you just alienated a ton of your readers by making it seem uncool to order a lentil burger. bummer.

  25. April 22nd, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    This is such interesting feedback and commentary, all of which I appreciate. I certainly understand the ethical issues with my comments. I expressed in the first post I wrote about Vegan With A Side Of Paleo http://meganmcgrane.com/vegan-with-a-side-of-paleo/ that this dietary shift was one that was focused on improving issues surrounding my myriad of autoimmune disorders. As a health care provider and health coach I had to step back and take my own advice that perhaps not all diets & lifestyles fit all people. I had reached a breaking point with my symptoms (which were were worsening) and I had to look for a new way. I credit Dr Lipman and his team for helping me with this transition. Jenny’s comments above are very correct, in that this is also largely a sugar issue, as well as a grain issue. I was consuming many grains (albeit whole grains) and legumes previously, and once I took those out of my diet, my inflammation really calmed down.

  26. April 22nd, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This article is highly irresponsible and is really just a shallow and flippant article with no basis for the claims being made. People do not change their true morals and conscientious decisions based on popularity and this statement just glazes over a very real debate and issue in our society.
    The comments however are amazing, thoughtful, respectful and go far beyond the shallow views expressed in this article. It is what the conversation should be, morals and health included.

  27. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Pretty sure the Well+Good folks were kidding with the whole “who wants to eat a lentil burger after a workout” comment. :) They are just telling a story. Really NBD. Peeps love to be offended though.

  28. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you all so much for your feedback and input! The story is meant to be a cultural snapshot of something many people have been noticing happening around them. It’s not a scientific story about which way of eating (vegan or Paleo) is better or healthier in any way, or a value judgement on the issue. We have lots of stories all over the site on the health research related to eating meat vs. not eating meat and veganism as an ethical/moral choice as opposed to a health decision. We hope you’ll explore and offer your insights on those, too!

  29. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve been vegan for 5 1/2 years and I feel amazing. I’m also 26 1/2 weeks pregnant. I had digestive issues but it turned out to be because I have celiac disease, not because of eating a vegan diet. I think that any diet can be unhealthy if people don’t watch what they eat. I get my blood work done every year and eat a wide variety of foods so I am healthy and fit. I became vegan for moral reasons so I would never consider eating meat. People need to be smart with what and how they eat and work out otherwise, yes, they might feel crummy.

  30. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    it’s not “physician’s assistant.”

  31. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    “there is an ethical way to eat animals”… Really? They all end up in the same slaughterhouse. Eating animals is a choice but not an ethical or humane one – leave it at that. This article is ridiculous and offensive and i’m unsubcribing from this site.

  32. April 22nd, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    There is no ethical way to eat animals, agreed Clare.

    Justifying eating meat as a “personal choice” is the same as justifying drunk driving as a personal choice. When you are endangering (or taking) the lives of others as a result of your actions, it’s no longer personal.

    Meat is unhealthy, period. Meat is unethical, period. I don’t care if the animal was raised on the most pristine ranch in the world and spent its days grazing under rainbows – at the end, it was murdered to satisfy someone’s appetite. The whole “slow food” movement was created as a way for people to justify their diet choices.

    I agree this article is laughable and have to question how it even made it up on this site.

  33. April 22nd, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I’m not vegetarian, or Paleo, nor do I subscribe to any one diet ‘plan’. I pick ways of eating that feel healthy and tweak my approach based on nutritional studies in respected journals. I too felt this article read like advertorial and would have benefited from a more balanced reportage. It seems clear that there are health risks to eating meat on a daily basis (especially twice daily) – what of Michael pollan’s maxim “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”? Would be good to see an article that explores this aspect of the Paleo diet. The trend I see is not people giving up vegetarianism or veganism, but the demonization of grains. I actually think whole grains – gluten free if you like – could be approached like mark bitman approaches meat. Eaten in moderation, perhaps a few times a week, as part of a long term, sustainable and healthy diet.

  34. April 22nd, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, shame on you W&G. Do some research before you post completely inaccurate facts about health. The majority of vegans could run circles around the animal eaters of the world. We live longer and healthier lives, and we don’t need a hunk of beef to do it. I read plenty of blogs that feature omnivorous articles, so the fact that you are featuring another perspective isn’t the issue here, but being ignorant and anti-vegan is not okay. I will now be unsubscribing.

  35. April 22nd, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I am so encouraged to see all the comments after my initial comment advocating veganism as the only moral choice and not just viewing veganism as a “food” choice. Please let’s continue the fight against speciesism and evolve as living beings to see the value of all life! Watch Earthlings, Speciesism the movie, and support Nathan Winograd and Professor Gary Francione I am so proud of all who are vegan and am hopeful that everyone will be one day!

  36. April 22nd, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Great post! Balance is key to eating healthy, and it is so easy to get caught up in all the trends.

  37. April 22nd, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    At first this article infuriated me, but after reading many of the other fellow well + good reader’s reactions, I am proud to be a vegetarian. It’s wonderful to know that there are so many of us that are passionate about being humane and healthy at the same time. I try to make an effort not to polarize people that have a different diet than I do, but this article got me worked up. Even in the most basic nutrition text books it states that meat consumption leads to a host of illnesses, and that a plant based diet that covers all of the necessary nutrients can add years to your life. This article is another device to pacify the guilty parties that do not want to comprehend that they are making their bodies into a graveyard. Furthermore, it supports a vanity driven fad diet, one of which will not be adopted by someone that is a vegan or vegetarian for the right reasons.

  38. April 22nd, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    The profession is physician assistant- not physician’s.

  39. April 22nd, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    You can not be vegan and eat meat.Period!
    So the idea of “Vegan with a side of Paleo” is a lie. If you eat meat even occasionally you are a carnivore.

    And the ‘Why more vegans and vegetarians are putting meat back on their plates’ headline should have read ‘Why more vegans and vegetarians are going back to meat’.

  40. April 22nd, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Paleo diet is great!! For people who practice crossfit daily!
    If yiu do not your chances of having a heart atack are great, actually huge. Sure keeping salling the idea of how many vegetarians are coming back ( not as many as meat eaters are becoming vegetarians) because this article is based on a very small population.

  41. April 23rd, 2014 at 12:09 am

    This article explains A LOT!! Cross fit people pushing paleo.Not a surprise. Paleo is a fad diet. It will have it’s day and become less popular just like Cross fit.
    Veganism is not a diet. It’s a way of looking at the world with real compassion and a larger picture view considering animals,our health as humans and the world’s resources.
    Cross fit and Paleo are about the self solely.

    Being vegan actually considers the self and way beyond in a thoughtful way which I can see is not for everyone but how awesome if it were!!!

  42. April 23rd, 2014 at 1:19 am

    I will just say this… to anyone that is speaking of the moral and ethical reasons of being a vegetarian and then switching to paleo, what you are not considering is that she is doing this purely for health reasons.
    2 years I went to the doctor and after looking at my results, she asked me if I would consider eating meat. I said absolutely not, under no circumstances. I had been vegetarian for 15 years. My vitamin B levels were dangerously low. I took supplements instead.
    A year later, I was diagnosed with 2 autoimmune diseases. Terrified, I did a ridiculous amount of research. And everything pointed to the paleo. Everything. Even in the paleo cookbook that I eventually got there was a section on autoimmune diseases.
    I ate healthy, organic, shopped at whole foods, etc.
    I went paleo for 8 months and felt immensely better. I now have introduced rice and certain carbs into my diet. But I can never be vegetarian again.
    So, if your health is in jeopardy, I guarantee regardless of moral and ethical standards, you may very well do the same.

  43. April 23rd, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I have been a vegetarian for 38 years, only for ethical/moral reasons, not realizing that it was a health choice. Just about everyone I told said that I would die without meat, fish or poultry.I thought that they might be right but remained vegetarian.Most of these folks are dead or suffering from health issues.

  44. April 23rd, 2014 at 7:27 am

    “Vegan with a side of Paleo” is all I need to know about this article. There’s no such thing. And Paleo is just some fad that has absolutely no base in evolutinary nutrition. I know people who claim to eat Paleo and give no attention at all to what is local and in season. Do they think the cavemen they are supposedly emulating imported exotic foods from around the world? No. They would eat what was available and in season.

  45. April 23rd, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Thank you for posting this. While I deeply respect and admire vegetarians and vegans, that diet is not for everyone.
    After flirting with vegetarianism throughout high school and college, I decided to fully commit in my 30s. After 2.5 years my health was compromised as I was becoming severely anemic. I tried diet modification, supplementation and acupuncture, all to no avail. Finally I chose to eat a grass fed burger as I was feeling so depleted and desperate to restore my vitality. After only 1/2 of a burger, my symptoms subsided. I was relieved and decided to slowly incorporate meat back into my diet, choosing only the most humanely raised and slaughtered. This decision has changed my health immeasurably and I try to give thanks and pay homage to the animal life that helps sustain my own life.
    So thank you well and good for publishing this perspective and to all the vegetarians and vegans out there-thank you for making your own choices and not judging others for theirs!

  46. April 23rd, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I personally don’t believe in veganism when you want to optimize your diet. Yes, it is much, much better than a regular, “normal” diet and many vegans are very healthy because they not only cut out animal products but also processed foods, particularly sugar and refined grains. Many vegans live a generally healthier lifestyle – including exercise, spirituality etc. However, I would not say a vegan diet is the optimum for personal health – if one cannot stand the thought of animals dying or suffering even when it comes from a trusted source, then that is absolutely okay. A vegan diet is also often a lot more sustainable and environmentally friendly. But incorporating a bit of very high quality meat, fish and eggs into one’s diet is definitely healthy and healthier than eating lots of hard to digest grains and legumes and soy. Be vegan for ethical reasons, but if you just care about your personal health don’t cut out all animal products!

  47. April 23rd, 2014 at 8:08 am

    So … pretty much eat vegetables and good sourced meat? Sounds pretty basic and simple to me. I still don’t understand why we still need to have the vegan vs paleo debate (not referring to this article btw)?
    I think sticking to wholefoods (balancing fruits, vegetables, meats) is the only true perfect diet (by diet, I mean to supply good nutrition for our long term health).

  48. April 23rd, 2014 at 8:24 am

    “Grass fed” beef is slaughtered the same way factory raised beef is. There is no “conscious ” way to eat a sentinent being that has had it’s life taken from it, fully against its will, in a violent terrifying and extremely painful manner. If you don’t care- then just own up to not caring enough to find another way to eat. There are TONS of options between raw vegetables, grain burgers and beef or flesh. Before anyone jumps up with the word “judgement ” go visit a slaughterhouse . I have been to several. Go watch how the animals are shipped to slaughter and how they are handled and finally murdered. The people who make a living slaughtering animals don’t do it because they care or are gentle souls . They do it because they can tolerate the brutality of the job… Stop fooling yourself. If you don’t care- just admit it.

  49. April 23rd, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I went Paleo after a decade of veganism to save my health after being diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease. I went from being bedridden, to completely having my life back just by the inclusion of high-quality animal foods in my diet (bone broth, liver, and fatty fish like salmon and sardines are stapes in my diet) over the period of six months. Supplements didn’t help me when I was sick, but eating real foods with the nutrients I was lacking worked wonders.

    For those of you who think I didn’t vegan hard enough, I was raw for two years, and I did every cleanse on the market. I saw the top plant-based docs, and nothing they could do helped me.

    Since I made the switch, I know many other vegans who have done the same to regain their health due to nutrient deficiencies and autoimmune disease. The truth is out there… I recommend The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne for the science behind why those of us with autoimmune disease need the nutrients in animal products.

  50. April 23rd, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    As a nutritionist all I can say is that most people on a vegan diet will suffer from endocrine issues after a few years. I personally eat very little meat but when I eat vegan I get fat. Plain and simple. It’s not good for my body and I haven’t seen too many long-time vegans who are healthy. John Robbins and Gabriel Cousens. I’ve met many of the “famous” ones and they really don’t look good in person. My daughter spied the formulator of a famous vegan brand and asked me who the crackhead was working at the next booth. He’s aged in appearance by about 20 years since I last saw him 5 years ago. No names but I’m sure if you’re reading you would know him. Even in the China Study, the people ate a small amount of animal product. A fact that is conveniently overlooked. I highly recommend both of Susan Schenk’s books for those who are sincerely interested in the science. Her first is full of scientific studies regarding a raw vegan diet. Her second book “Beyond Broccoli”talks about her mental decline on the very diet that reversed her illness. I personally believe that people who live in a sunny climate are able to do vegan much better. Sunlight is a crucial nutrient that is much overlooked.

    I think veganism would have a lot more fans if vegans were not so critical of meat eaters. How about having the same love for people as for animals? If a person is dying of an auto-immune disease or suffering from eczema, surely hearing about tortured animals is not beneficial. There’s no need to eat GMO-fed cattle or pigs or chickens that are confined to live in their own excrement and never see the light of day. Grow some chickens in your backyard. Buy from a local organic farmer. Buy Kosher meat if you live in a city. There are possibilities to eat healthy that doesn’t involve torture. Death is a fact of life and while uncomfortable for some, it is our current reality.

  51. April 23rd, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I believe it was Crystal in the comments above that thinks vegetarian/vegan is not a fad. Never in the history of mankind (homosapiens) has there ever been a society that was vegan/vegetarian until recently. Eating animals has happened since homosapiens appeared and many scientists believe that is when our brains starting becoming intelligent and growing larger…when we began eating animals nose to tail. So which is a fad?

  52. April 23rd, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I am very disappointed in this article. If anything its the other way around.Paleo eaters are switching to a plant based diet. This article is ridiculous, false and sounds like it was written by the meat industry. Thanks W&G you lost another subscriber.

  53. April 23rd, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    My sister went vegan and was actually forced to stop because her digestion was screwed up so badly! She’s now on paleo with me and we both love it.

    I just did a 3 week cleanse (the clean program) and for some reason have not been craving meat as much afterwards, which is interesting. I try to make my base whole vegetables and add in organic/grassfed meats whenever I crave them. I think there’s a world of difference between conventional and organic/grassfed in the way my body reacts to them, so I try to avoid conventional meat whenever possible.

  54. April 23rd, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Wow, this article is so unprofessional written.. “Why vegans and vegetarians are putting meat back on their plates”.
    Vegan with a side of paleo? In the sense of paleo as meat? How the f does that work?

    Unsubscribing, sick of all you commercial “news” letters. You are just trying to sell stuff..

  55. April 23rd, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I would love to see some data on just how many vegans and vegetarians go back to meat. There is too much loose logic in this article and a sad lack of attribution.

  56. April 24th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    No one diet fits all, and to say so is reckless. There are many who do not thrive on a heavy grain-based diet–google overweight vegan and see what I mean. If your goal is take care of the planet–then you must logically start with self. To attempt anything other than that leaves you with little to no credibility. To all–do the best you can with what you have–and please lighten up.

  57. April 24th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    It’s amazing how vegan after vegan denies the right to make a personal choice of food. As if the experiences the vegan / vegetarian converters have of a deteriorating health, is some sort of fantasy? That is called denial.

    No cow or pig in the world will thank you for sacrificing your health for their sake, if you have the wrong body type for vegan food. The vegan community has grown into a fear-based, dogmatic and disrespectful sect and Im sorry to say I used to belong to it. Peace and love.

  58. April 25th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    There are multiple aspects or levels to “health”. If someone makes the conscious choice to not eat meat for only physical reasons then there is no longevity to that decision. But if one decides to not eat meat for spiritual reasons (no harm to other lives) and also for eco-sustainability for the planet then the physical benefits are only a bonus. I feel this article only focuses on the physical body and does not touch upon the emotional or spiritual body.

  59. April 28th, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Very well said Sharie!

  60. April 28th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Paleo/Ancestral movement absolutely do focuses on local/sustainable/non-factory aspects of food. To deny that is simply an ignorance. That said, being vegan for ethical reason is admirable and that decision should be respected. Likewise, vegans should respect people who did not/could not thrive on such diet. Vegan/Paleo way of eating have lots in common – elimination of processed food being number one. (and hopefully grains/sugar) Both are keenly aware of the danger of factory farming and sugar/food industry’s ill effects.

  61. April 30th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Good article. There are people out here who have done the transition from Vegan/Vegetarian to more Paleo (me) and it’s good to know I am not alone!

    People who are vegans/vegetarians for animal wellness reasons simply need not worry about this article, as it is not an attack on their lifestyle.

    Thank you for sharing!

  62. May 5th, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I just happened on this site as I was googling foods to raise my potassium intake. I have firstly Fibromyalgia and went whole food plant based to improve my health. At first it worked, but now two and a half years later my health has taken a dive. I have very low energy levels, tire easily and hardly ever feel *well*! I think it’s time I added some organic meat to my diet along with the large amount of veggies and fruit that I eat and see how I feel. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain if it gives me back my health and energy. Thank you for this wonderful post and I will be watching from now on. :)

  63. June 18th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I’m really fed up with self-righteous vegan’s who think that to choose a plant based life must be about one thing and one thing only “animal rights.” Sorry, but that is NOT why I became a vegan and if it had been my reasoning I still wouldn’t have been a judgmental boob about it. I’m no longer vegan but I’m not going to attach some new “food consumption” label to myself other than “I eat.” I’m blessed to have ANY food at all.

  64. June 25th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    “OMG I’m a vegan and totally fine therefore this article is full of lies and it’s an excuse to eat meat”
    So you think that just because you aren’t having any problems, no one is?
    That’s like saying “I’ve never been in an auto accident, therefore cars are always completely safe and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.”
    That’s crap and you know it.
    Some people can’t exist on a vegan diet alone, not even with supplements. I’m sorry if that truth hurts, but facts are true regardless of your beliefs.

  65. July 7th, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I can’t eat factory farmed meat because of the numerous upon numerous cases of animal cruelty, not because I want to “glow”. However, more and more people are going vegan because of the compassion they have for animals. When helpless animals are treated better on factory farms, maybe I’ll reconsider but for now, the government has made my choice for me by allowing the cruelty to go on. There are thousands upon thousands of vegans who are perfectly fine and who matter of fact have never felt better and the numbers are growing. I now feel good because of my compassionate choices and because of my health.

  66. September 10th, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Why do they have to switch to another faddy dubious official diet? Why not just go back to eating a balanced diet of what they like to eat within reasonable limits, exercising common sense? Are their lives that empty that food and what they do to get a little exercise needs to serve as the central organizing principles a la religions?

  67. September 11th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    So… people go vegan/vegetarian for various reasons… I for one do not believe in eating animals factory farmed or otherwise and I have immune deficiency /glycemic issues; therefore, if your issue is an animal rights concern, I don’t expect this article to apply at all.

  68. September 24th, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    this article is false there is no excuse that you need meat in your healthy diet..false stamen there are many vegans that are perfectly healthy without it.

  69. December 20th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Yikes – these comments are so sad and disrespectful.

    You can’t talk about being a compassionate person and turn around and have zero compassion for your fellow human beings who are trying to share their different experience about the diet that works for them. It will never be a vegan world but we can make a lot of progress educating people on compassion for animals and compassion for each other. I wish more vegans would be willing to say “I personally disagree” or “that has not been my experience but I understand that it was your experience and I appreciate your willingness to educate yourself further” – many people don’t have that willingness. But the impulse instead seems to be to just lash out and attack anyone who does not share your views.

    Anyway – thanks for the article. I eat a primarily plant-based diet and have explored the raw food community for years, and you’re right – there have been several prominent raw food and vegan proponents – especially on YouTube – that have incorporated some meat as a protein source. I’m lucky that my family has a compound in Santa Cruz with a bunch of chickens – we love the chickens, treat them like pets and they have great lives – and supply us with eggs. Most people will never even experience a live chicken or cow – we’re so removed from our food sources and it’s much harder to teach people to have compassion for what to them is only a block of protein at the store.

  70. December 22nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Vegan dilettantes become paleo dilettantes. Your entire magazine is just a bunch of infomercials for dilettantes and shallow people obsessed with their appearance.

  71. November 23rd, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    There are several reasons why our ancestors of 10,000 to 20,000 years ago lived short, brutish, brutal lives. Their diet was one of those reasons. And the term paleo diet is ludicrous….all of the grains and meat we eat today are 10,000 to 20,000 years down the evolutionary path. They are genetically dissimilar to the meats and vegetables that were eaten during that ancient time. Most of us would not recognize the diet that was eaten and there is NO WAY to replicate it properly. A fad diet is a fad diet is a fad diet. Eat sensibly and take supplements when needed. If you want to make a positive change, give up the processed sugar entirely..sugar is a huge inflammatory agent. From a 37 year long vegetarian, who at 53 is hale and hearty and feels at least 10 years younger most of the time.

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