Transitioning From Veganism To Meat Eating: What To Know

April 24, 2018  |  
1 of 15 african american woman eating a delicious bagel with vegetables at a restaurant looking happy and very hungry

There are clearly still plenty of juries out (whole conferences, really) on whether or not veganism is the proper diet for humans. So we won’t say that transitioning back from a vegan diet to a carnivore one is the right or wrong thing to do, but if it’s what you’ve decided to do, there may be some dynamics that arise from this change that you weren’t quite expecting. As you’ve likely noticed, your diet isn’t just something that affects your body—it’s very much a part of your social life and identity. Even if you don’t think your diet is a part of your identity, other people might—especially those who eat a different diet. You’ve heard it: people describe someone as their “Vegan friend” or their “Health obsessed friend.” Your diet touches more corners of your life than you may realize. Here is what you should prepare for when you transition from veganism to meat eating.


You have to “come out”

You have to tell all of your friends that you’re a meat eater now. You need to say something about it, because they will all jump down your throat with questions the second they see you ordering the chicken wings.


And people can say, “I told you so”

Your meat-eating friends will give you a lot of sass and say things like, “I told you so’ or “Welcome back to the normal side.” For some reason, some friends will take some weird pride in the fact that they were “right” about meat eating.

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Some friends forget

You’ll visit some friends who either forgot you eat meat now, or just didn’t know, and find they made all sorts of vegan accommodations for you. You want to be polite, so you just eat the tofu while everyone else is eating steak.

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Vegan friends feel betrayed

Your vegan friends feel betrayed. Vegans are a tight community, and your non-animal-product-consuming buddies can feel like you went back to the cool kids’ table.

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Meat-eater friends tell you how they really felt

Now that you’re eating meat again, all of your friends who had very strong (hidden) opinions about your veganism come out of the woodwork. You hear a lot of honesty you didn’t need to hear. Everyone wants to tell you all the judgmental things they thought when you were a vegan.

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Your doctor will be happy

Again, the jury is still out, but most doctors worry when their patients transition to vegan diets. They know that it can be very difficult for a person to get all the nutrients they need without animal products, but they can’t tell their patients not to be vegans.

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You can get rid of a lot of supplements

Vegans usually need to eat a lot of supplements to make up for the nutrients they can only get in animal products. So you can stop spending so much money on supplements now.

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You need to start very slowly

You can’t go right back to having full servings of meat at every meal. You can go back to eating meat, but you need to ease into it. Just think of your body as a little rusty on meat digestion.

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Like really slowly

Ideally, you should just consume bone broth at first. It’s the perfect way to ease your body back into meat products. Then, you can go to fish and eggs. After that, you can probably move into meat.

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Eat meat alone at first

When you do begin eating meat again, eat it by itself. In other words, have it in isolation, without any sides. Put at least a half hour buffer between meat and other foods—this will give you a good idea of how your body is responding to it.

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You may lose weight at first

As a vegan, you may have needed to consume a lot of foods in order to get all the nutrients you need. Animal products tend to be more efficient, lower-calorie sources of important nutrients, so you could lose weight at first.

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Get used to stricter expiration dates

I, personally, had a hard time adjusting to the short expiration dates of animal products. I was used to tossing a box of tofu in the fridge or can of beans in the pantry, and knowing I had weeks to eat the stuff. But you typically need to eat your meat within a few days of purchasing it.


Yes, you can still digest meat

Don’t believe the stories about losing the digestive enzymes capable of breaking down meat. If you were only a vegan for a few years, you will still be able to digest meat.

Just add good bacteria

It’s a good idea to add probiotics, as well as foods containing good bacteria like pickled items and yogurt, to your diet. Your digestive system could use the boost during this change.


You’ll face morality questions

You will face some morality questions. They may sneak up on you, especially if you just made this change for personal health reasons, without giving yourself the time to think about what it means to you, ethically. Just be ready to mull over these issues.

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