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Category : Vegetarianism

Deepening Divides : The Caste, Class and Regional Face of Vegetarianism – Economic and Political Weekly

Our earlier article (Natrajan and Jacob 2018) argued that the existence of considerable intra-group variation in almost every social group (caste, religious) makes essentialised group identities based on food practices deeply problematic. We showed that myths of Indians meat-avoidance (vegetarianism) stand exposed when we unpack India in different ways, through the lens of caste, gender, class, and especially region. We also presented evidence to suggest the influence of cultural-political pressures (valorising vegetarianism and stigmatising meat by proscribing and punishing beef-eating in particular, but also meat-eating more generally) on reported food habits. The present article follows up our earlier work by analysing changes in the incidence of vegetarianism over time.

The earlier article used data from three different large-scale, representative surveys. Of these, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) released a new data set (round 4) after our earlier analysis was completed. This allows for a comparison of vegetarianism across the two NFHS rounds, bookending a decade of potential change (200506 in round 3 to 201516 in round 4). The NFHS is analogous to the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in over a hundred countries. Surveys are conducted for separate large samples of women aged 1549 years and men aged 1554 years. Data for round 3 are from 1,24,385 women and 74,369 men. Data for round 4 are from 6,99,686 women and 1,12,122 men. NFHS looks at specific items of food consumption, including eggs, fish and chicken or meat, asking respondents about how often the item was consumed. For our analysis and consistent with our previous article, we consider those who answered never to all three (eggs, fish, chicken/meat)as vegetarian. Appropriate sampling weights were used to construct estimates of vegetarianism within different aggregates (states and social groups).

Decadal Change

From the data, one interesting finding is that there was little change in the overall incidence of vegetarianism in the decade 200515 for women and men: while vegetarianism among women changed marginally from 30.22% in 200506 to 30.97% in 201516, for men it was 20.60% to 20.73%. This amounts to an increase of 0.75 and 0.13 percentage points forwomen and men, respectively (equivalent to 2.5% and 0.6%, respectively). In our earlier article we showed that there exists a significant gender gap in reported vegetarianismabout 10 percentage points higher among women (equivalent to almost 50% more among women compared to men). This gap of 10 percentage points, we showed, was persistent across location (ruralurban), class and caste categories. One interesting puzzle we raised was the existence of the gap only among Hindus (10 percentage points) and Sikhs (a whopping 34 percentage points), much less among Jains and Buddhists (about 5 percentage points), and almost non-existent among Christians and Muslims. We had submitted that this gap could be shaped by gender ideologies within households and communities that placed undue burden on the woman to uphold a tradition, and gendered practices of eating out (favouring men).

The new data show how this gap is persistent, pointing to the possibility of a rigidification of communitarian ideas shaped by food beliefs and practices, but also the social norms rapidly being put in place (partially by state ideologies, but also partially within society through social actors such as community leaders, ethnic mobilisers who craft community boundaries as markers of distinction). We bring this point up in order to emphasise that this overall result (of no change in gender gap over time) hides interesting temporal dynamics for sub-groups of the population. We now turn to examining the intersectional changes across caste and class categories.

Change across mega-caste and wealth categories: Figure 1 (Graphs 1 and 2) shows vegetarianism for mega-caste categories. For women, there was little change (less than 1 percentage point increase) in the decade 200515 for the categories of Scheduled Tribes (STs), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). But there was a relatively substantial increase in vegetarianism for the residual (other) category, broadly including privileged castes (4.4 percentage points increase from 2005, equivalent to 12.4% increase). In the case of men as well, the other category of privileged castes saw a substantial increase in vegetarianism (3.3 percentage points increase from 2005, equivalent to 12.6% increase). This points to an increasing assertiveness among privileged castes with respect to vegetarianism.

Figure 1 (Graphs 3 and 4) shows vegetarianism across five wealth quintiles. There was little change in all except the richest quintile which saw a 3.9 percentage points and 2.5 percentage points increase for women and men in that category, respectively (equivalent to 9.8% and 9.1% increase). This confirms our earlier observation (and some other previous studies cited in our earlier article) that vegetarian practices are correlated with socioeconomic status.

Change across states: Figures 26 (pp 2324) turn to reported vegetarianism across states. Figure 2 plots change in 200515 against the baseline (2005). It shows that, on average, states with higher incidence of vegetarianism in 2005 experienced greater increase in the following decade, and this is true for both women and men separately. This implies that over the decade there is increasing divergence across states. In Figure 2, the graphs on the right (#2 and #4) focus on the 17 states with population of at least 2.5 crore in the last census (2011). Divergence occurs even in this subset. Further, the size of the divergence is substantial: For Graphs 1 and 3, for every 1 percentage point of vegetarianism incidence in 2005, there is an average increase of 0.14 percentage points over the following decade for women and 0.26 percentage points for men, and this relationship is statistically significant at the 99% confidence level. In fact, the relationship continues to hold with similar large size and statistical significance for the higher-population states with only 17 observations.

In Figure 3, the left graphs show the same data as scatter plots of 2015 against 2005. The right graph also shows, for women, the change between 1998 and 2005interestingly, the change in that seven-year period was minimal for the states that showed large jumps in the following decade. All this suggests, quite strongly, that vegetarianism-as a political-ideological driver of cultural distinctioncontinues to be a strong shaper of food practices or at least reported food practices in particular parts of the country and not in others. In fact, we see this at work when we disaggregate the changes below.

Which are the key regions powering the increasing divergence across states over time? There are seven statesall from the west and north of the countrywith at least 2 percentage points increase over the decade. Remarkably, these also happen to be the top-six states for vegetarianism in 2005, as confirmed by Figure 2. As shown in the map in Figure 4, they form a contiguous geographic swathe from west to north: Gujarat to Rajasthan to Haryana to Punjab to Himachal Pradesh (HP), then dipping to Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP).

Among the high growth states (where vegetarianism increased substantially over the decade), it is useful to distinguish the west-to-north diagonal swathe (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, all have increases well in excess of five percentage points) from the two others to the east of these (although still contiguous), UP and MP, which show slightly lower increase. All of the east and south have reduced incidence of vegetarianism over the decade (negative growth). We note the curious cases of Karnataka and Bihar, two states with substantial reduction in vegetarianism (average change -6.7 and -4.0 percentage points, respectively). Although it is important to consider why this may be the case, it is difficult to identify causal mechanisms. Nonetheless, as mentioned in our earlier article, states that show a combination of factors such as a historically strong Dalit movement, a reasonably sizeable Muslim and OBC population, and a moderate but not all-powerful Hindutva movementmay show the most resilience against cultural-political pressures towards vegetarianism.

Figure 5 plots decadal change for women and men across states. There is a broad correlation/consistency in the direction of decadal change for women and for men: either incidence of vegetarianism for both women and men goes up in a state or goes down (all observations in Figure 5 are either in the top-right quadrant or the bottom-left quadrant of the xy axes). The decadal increase is remarkably high in cases like Punjab and Rajasthan (average increase of 19 and 13 percentage points, respectively). By contrast, among the nine states where vegetarianism decreased among both women and men, there were only three where the average change (across women and men) was at least 2 percentage points, and with only two of them having an average of at least four percentage points (Karnataka and Bihar). The reason that the remarkable increases in vegetarianism among states in the top-right quadrant do not end up tilting the all-India figure upwards, is due to the fact that the many states in the bottom-left quadrant have sufficiently large population between them to balance it out. This can be seen in Figure 6, which is the equivalent of Figure 5 with states weighted by their populations (and with all states now included).

In Conclusion

Our analysis has produced the following key findings. There was little change in incidence of vegetarianism over the decade 200515. This non-change or stasis, however, masks a number of changes at the sub national level and across caste, class, regions, and persistent gender gap the socio-economically privileged castes and classes turned increasingly vegetarian. For the country as a whole this was nullified by a (smaller) decrease in overall vegetarianism among the numerically preponderant less socio-economically privileged. A major point to note for regional change is that states in the west and north, which had the highest incidence of vegetarianism at the start of the decade, also had the biggest increase over the decade. Again, for the country as a whole this was nullified by a (smaller) decrease in overall vegetarianism in the rest of the country (east and south). Finally, the size of the changes among states is far greater than the size of the changes among socio-economic groups. This reinforces the point in our previous article that geography (and underlying agro-ecology as well as the cultural norms influenced by it) plays a much bigger role than social group identities and associated cultural norms.

This article is an attempt to identify and describe trends in vegetarianism over the last decade. Although we do not try to explain them here, the trends towards divergence (across regions, castes, classes) nevertheless suggest deepening divides linked to socioeconomic status and culturalpolitical power inequalities. They therefore suggest a tendency towards divergence in attitudes towards vegetarianism, both for socio-economic groups and for geographical regions. If this emerging divergence is indeed being driven by culturalpolitical pressures, then it suggests polarisation that has negative implications for pluralism and democracy itself.


1 The National Sample Survey (NSS), the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and the India Human Development Survey (IHDS)for the years 201112, 200506 and 201112, respectively.

2 Round 2 of the NFHS (199899) also had data for vegetarianism, but only for womens data. The present article supplements the analysis of rounds 3 and 4 with some womens data from round 2. The IHDS, although it had two rounds, did not collect data on vegetarianism in round 1.

3 See /FRIND3-Vol1AndVol2.pdf for details.

4 See for details.

5 There was very little difference in reported vegetarianism across age-groups, for women and men, and for 200506 and 201516 separately. Since the womens and mens data sets are truncated at ages 49 and 54, respectively, the fact that there is little difference in vegetarianism across age-groups suggests that the estimates reported here can be generalised to 49+ and 54+ populations as well.

6 However, for women there was a marginal increase in the incidence of vegetarianism between 199899 (NFHS2) and 200506 (NFHS3). NFHS did not collect mens data for 199899.

7 Unlike for caste, class and regions (where there were variations in decadal change in vegetarianism), there was virtually no change across the categories religion, education status and age-group. This paper focuses on caste, class and regions.

8 Incidence of vegetarianism also increased marginally among SC men (1.8 percentage point increase from 10.8% in 2005, equivalent to 16.7% increase).

9 These are results from fitting a simple bivariate linear regression; approximately similar results continue to hold for quadratic fit.

10 P-value 0.002 for women and 0.000 for men.

11 With 17 observations, the size of the bivariate linear relationship increases to 0.15 for women and 0.30 for men, with p-values 0.008 and 0.000, respectively.

12 In fact, Himachal Pradesh also has a relatively high increase and belongs in this groupit was not represented in Figure 4 due to relatively lower population, but it is represented in the map in Figure 6.

13 Strictly speaking, there is one exception: in Odisha incidence went down by 0.06 percentage points for women (practically zero) and went up by 0.71 percentage points for men.


Natrajan, B and S Jacob (2018): Provincialising Vegetarianism: Putting Indian Food Habits in Their Place, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 53, No 9.

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Deepening Divides : The Caste, Class and Regional Face of Vegetarianism - Economic and Political Weekly

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The Vegetarian Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and Meal Plan

The vegetarian diet has gained widespread popularity in recent years.

Some studies estimate that vegetarians account for up to 18% of the global population (1).

Apart from the ethical and environmental benefits of cutting meat from your diet, a well-planned vegetarian diet may also reduce your risk of chronic disease, support weight loss and improve the quality of your diet.

This article provides a beginner's guide to the vegetarian diet, including a sample meal plan for one week.

The vegetarian diet involves abstaining from eating meat, fish and poultry.

People often adopt a vegetarian diet for religious or personal reasons, as well as ethical issues, such as animal rights.

Others decide to become vegetarian for environmental reasons, as livestock production increases greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to climate change and requires large amounts of water, energy and natural resources (2, 3).

There are several forms of vegetarianism, each of which differs in their restrictions.

The most common types include:

Vegetarian diets are associated with a number of health benefits.

In fact, studies show that vegetarians tend to have better diet quality than meat-eaters and a higher intake of important nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and magnesium (4, 5).

A vegetarian diet may provide several other health boosts as well.

Switching to a vegetarian diet can be an effective strategy if youre looking to lose weight.

In fact, one review of 12 studies noted that vegetarians, on average, experienced 4.5 more pounds (2 kg) of weight loss over 18 weeks than non-vegetarians (6).

Similarly, a six-month study in 74 people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that vegetarian diets were nearly twice as effective at reducing body weight than low-calorie diets (7).

Plus, a study in nearly 61,000 adults showed that vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than omnivores BMI being a measurement of body fat based on height and weight (8).

Some research suggests that a vegetarian diet may be linked to a lower risk of cancer including those of the breast, colon, rectum and stomach (9, 10, 11).

However, current research is limited to observational studies, which cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Keep in mind that some studies have turned up inconsistent findings (12, 13).

Therefore, more research is needed to understand how vegetarianism may impact cancer risk.

Several studies indicate that vegetarian diets may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

For instance, one review of six studies linked vegetarianism to improved blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (14).

Vegetarian diets may also prevent diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels in the long term.

According to one study in 2,918 people, switching from a non-vegetarian to a vegetarian diet was associated with a 53% reduced risk of diabetes over an average of five years (15).

Vegetarian diets reduce several heart disease risk factors to help keep your heart healthy and strong.

One study in 76 people tied vegetarian diets to lower levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol all of which are risk factors for heart disease when elevated (16).

Similarly, another recent study in 118 people found that a low-calorie vegetarian diet was more effective at reducing bad LDL cholesterol than a Mediterranean diet (17).

Other research indicates that vegetarianism may be associated with lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is another key risk factor for heart disease (18, 19).

A well-rounded vegetarian diet can be healthy and nutritious.

However, it may also increase your risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.

Meat, poultry and fish supply a good amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin B12 (20).

Other animal products like dairy and eggs also contain plenty of calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins (21, 22).

When cutting meat or other animal products from your diet, its important to ensure youre getting these essential nutrients from other sources.

Studies show that vegetarians are at a higher risk of protein, calcium, iron, iodine and vitamin B12 deficiencies (23, 24, 25, 26).

A nutritional deficiency in these key micronutrients can lead to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, anemia, bone loss and thyroid issues (27, 28, 29, 30).

Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein sources and fortified foods is an easy way to ensure youre getting appropriate nutrition.

Multivitamins and supplements are another option to quickly bump up your intake and compensate for potential deficiencies.

A vegetarian diet should include a diverse mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, healthy fats and proteins.

To replace the protein provided by meat in your diet, include a variety of protein-rich plant foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, tempeh, tofu and seitan.

If you follow a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, eggs and dairy can also boost your protein intake.

Eating nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will supply a range of important vitamins and minerals to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet.

A few healthy foods to eat on a vegetarian diet are:

There are many variations of vegetarianism, each with different restrictions.

Lacto-ovo vegetarianism, the most common type of vegetarian diet, involves eliminating all meat, poultry and fish.

Other types of vegetarians may also avoid foods like eggs and dairy.

A vegan diet is the most restrictive form of vegetarianism because it bars meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and any other animal products.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you may have to avoid the following foods on a vegetarian diet:

To help get you started, heres a one-week sample meal plan for a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

Most vegetarians avoid meat, poultry and fish, though some also restrict eggs, dairy and other animal products.

A balanced vegetarian diet with nutritious foods like produce, grains, healthy fats and plant-based protein may offer several benefits, but it may increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies if poorly planned.

Be sure to pay close attention to a few key nutrients and round out your diet with a variety of healthy whole foods. That way, youll enjoy the benefits of vegetarianism while minimizing the side effects.

The Vegetarian Diet: A Beginner's Guide and Meal Plan

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Study reveals biggest motivation for people to consider turning vegetarian – The Indian Express

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 7, 2020 3:50:20 pm According to a 2019 study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, middle-aged adults who consume more of plant-based foods and less of animal products are likely to have a healthier heart. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

At a time when many people around the world are considering a more ecologically-conscious way of living, what with turning to plant-based foods and living in tandem with nature, vegetarianism is naturally on the rise. For non-vegetarians, there is a lot of interest in the vegetarian way of life. But more than anything else, it is the health factor which is acting as the biggest motivation for people, a study has found.

The study co-author Christopher J Hopwood, a professor at the University of California, in the US was quoted as saying that the most common reason for people to consider turning vegetarian has to do with health, and not so much to do with the environment or the rights of animals.

ALSO READ |Eat real food, its your best natural defence to fight any virus

According to the researchers who worked on the study, eating is a basic behaviour, notwithstanding individual differences and/or social dynamics. For the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, some 8,000 people of different ages and ethnicity in the US and Holland were surveyed, so as to understand why some non-vegetarians decide to turn vegetarian.

The researchers developed, what is called the Vegetarian Eating Motives Inventory (VMI), to measure the three main motives environment, animal rights and health. It was found that the one clear winner was health, when it came to peoples motivation, ahead of the other two motivations. But, it was also found that the people who are most committed to vegetarianism were more motivated by environmental factors or animal rights.

The study also stated that the people who reason environment or animal rights for their transition are more curious, interested in the arts and open to experiences.

ALSO READ |Craving comfort food? This corn chaat is the answer

Health benefits

According to a 2019 study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, middle-aged adults who consume more of plant-based foods and less of animal products are likely to have a healthier heart, with a lower risk of heart diseases. And according to the American Heart Association, eating less meat can also reduce the risk of a stroke, high cholesterol and blood pressure problems, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Additionally, experts say that a plant-based diet also offers better weight management, given that water content and fibre in fruits and vegetables can make a person feel fuller and increase energy.

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Paul McCartney Keeps Tabs on The Simpsons to Make Sure Lisa Is Still Vegetarian – LIVEKINDLY

Lisa Simpson is still vegetarian because of Paul McCartney.

According to The Simpsons creators, the former Beatle agreed to guest star in the popular animated sitcom under one condition: Lisa remained vegetarian for the duration of the shows run.

David Mirkina showrunner at the time and fellow vegetariantold the Radio Times that even now, McCartney still checks Lisa is meat-free when they bump into each other. He always checks,he said.And hes always surrounded by nine or ten lawyers so its quite frightening.

McCartney appeared on the show back in 1995, alongside his late wife Linda McCartney. The episode, titled Lisa the Vegetarian, saw the eldest Simpson daughter bond with a lamb at a petting zoo. She then decides to stop eating meat, helped along by Kwik-E-Mart shopkeeper Apu and the McCartneys.

Watched by 14.6 million viewers on its first airing, the episode received critical acclaim. It won an Environmental Media Award, for highlighting environmental issues, and the Humane Societys Genesis Award, for highlighting animal welfare issues.

Lindawho was passionate about animal rightstold Entertainment Weekly that the episode gave them a chance to talk about vegetarianism with a wider audience.

Yeardley Smiththe voice of Lisaexplained in the recent Radio Times interview: Lisa is a really effective way of getting a sophisticated and adult message across.

Smith believes her character has always been ahead of her time; she was raising awareness about climate change long before Greta Thunberg was even born. With that in mind, Smith says the show would love to get the 17-year-old vegan climate activist to guest star.

Itd be great if Greta plays herself,she said.Shed be passing through Springfield and find that she has so much in common with Lisa. But the heartbreaker would be when Greta moved on to her next stop.

She continued,Lisa would be with all those people in the town who wish shed just keep her trap shut. Shed have to carry the torch for the rest of the time on her own.


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Paul McCartney Keeps Tabs on 'The Simpsons' to Make Sure Lisa Is Still Vegetarian


Paul McCartney is the reason Lisa Simpson has stayed vegetarian for so long. The musician starred in "The Simpsons" 1995 episode "Lisa the Vegetarian."


Charlotte Pointing

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Paul McCartney Keeps Tabs on The Simpsons to Make Sure Lisa Is Still Vegetarian - LIVEKINDLY

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Vegetarianism The Basic Facts

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While some meat-eaters stereotype the motivations of vegetarians, the truth is the decision to adopt a meat-free diet is a complex, multi-faceted dietary choice.

People of all ages and backgrounds are vegetarians. People who follow a vegetarian diet never eat meat, fish or poultry. Instead, they rely on a variety of plant-based foods for good health and eating enjoyment.

There are many types of vegetarians. Some eat dairy foods, such as cheese or eggs, while others abstain entirely from any food product that comes from an animal.

A lacto-ovo vegetarian, for example, consumes milk and dairy foods, eggs, grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, but abstains from meat, fish and poultry. A lacto-vegetarian follows a similar diet, but does not eat eggs. Meanwhile, a vegan stays away from animal-based products entirely, which, in addition to meat, also includes milk and dairy products, lard, gelatin and foods with ingredients from animal sources. Some vegans also do not eat honey.

People choose vegetarian diets for many reasons, including personal preference, health concerns, dislike for meat or other food from animals, or they believe a plant-based diet is healthier.

Some adopt a vegetarian lifestyle for ethical reasons. Many vegetarians, for example, avoid meat because they do not want animals killed or harmed. These individuals may object to the treatment of animals raised on industrial farms.

The environment is an additional concern for some vegetarians. Issues have been cited concerning all aspects of the environment, such as animal waste from factory farms polluting the land and water or forests that are cut down to make room for grazing cattle.

Religious beliefs also can play an important role in vegetarianism. For instance, followers of Jainism practice nonviolence (also called ahimsa, meaning "do no harm"), and do not eat meat or certain vegetables, such as onions, potatoes and garlic. Hindus also believe in ahimsa and are the world's largest vegetarian population. They believe in the dietary customs of self-control and purity of mind and spirit. Seventh-day Adventists practice a vegetarian lifestyle, while Buddhists also support the concept of ahimsa (although some eat fish or meat).

Many people make the switch to a vegetarian diet because of the potential health benefits. Vegetarian eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes including lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Also, vegetarians tend to consume a lower proportion of calories from fat and fewer overall calories, and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C than non-vegetarians. These characteristics, plus lifestyle factors, may contribute to the health benefits among vegetarians.

Note: A healthy eating pattern is essential in order to obtain the health benefits of becoming a vegetarian. The Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate provide guidance for planning a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet.

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Vegetarianism The Basic Facts

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Eating meat is inhumane, bad for the environment, and harmful to my health. I still can’t give it up. – Business Insider Australia

Welcome to First Off, Insiders new essay series. Were asking writers to reflect on the firsts, both big and small, in their lives. From their first child to their first grown-up purchase to their first act of rebellion, we want to know how these experiences shaped them.

For our second essay, Sarah Miller writes about how a bad date and a juicy steak ruined all her efforts to give up meat for good.

I was in my late 20s the first time I became a vegetarian. This was the 90s, and I was a Park Slope-living, Chardonnay-drinking, early Brazilian wax-adopting freelance writer who still hung out with all my best friends from college.

I was about two steps to the left of basic, and one of those steps was Jivamukti Yoga, my cramped and unfussy studio that smelled like an old pair of tights. I went almost every day.

I was both intimidated by and girlishly obsessed with the studios lithe, graceful, and terrifying cofounder, Sharon Life. She used to give talks before practice about how yoga applied to life. These talks, like yoga itself, were a stunning mix of profound and ridiculous, and I always listened intently. A week or so before Thanksgiving, Sharon told us how terrible it was to eat animals.

When you eat animals, she explained, you eat the fear that animal felt when it died. That fear goes into your own body and sets up shop in your very cells. Oh boy, I thought. I do not like the sound of that. Im never eating meat again.

On the way home I probably ate a gyro or a piece of pepperoni pizza. Or maybe I ate it the next day. Still, Sharons talk freaked me out. Do you think you can eat fear? I asked anyone who I thought might actually give this question serious thought. Most people thought you could not.

At Thanksgiving dinner, where I ate turkey like everyone else, my friend Melissas cousin Serena confirmed that, yes, it was true: you ate an animals fear when you ate its flesh. Was Serena a vegan? She was. (She still is.) She could also pull off complicated yoga poses unassisted, so I thought she might be right.

That might have been the end of it, but a few nights later, I passed by an overflowing garbage can. It was home to many disgusting things bags of dog shit, napkins smeared with blood and mustard, an answering machine with its own exposed, multi-coloured guts.

But its most prominent resident was an enormous turkey carcass. The ribcage hung with leftover bits lacy, intricate, disgusting. I couldnt stop looking at it. I couldnt even move. The full horror of what meat was everything Sharon Life had said about it, what other vegetarians I knew had said, reservations I had about eating it hit me all at once. I thought of the turkey alive, walking, looking around, doing whatever it was turkeys do. Then I thought of it dying, being dead, its flesh being eaten and washed down with beer, wine, Coca-Cola, Crystal Light.

I boarded the F train in a daze of horror, repulsion, and shame. I could not believe that I ate meat, that I had been eating it my whole life, that my body was made out of fowl and fish and fauna, and, of course, fear. I was horrified. Meat, I said to myself, I renounce you forever.

I went to brunch with my friends and I told all my friends I was a vegetarian now. Melissa, who was brassy and contrarian, told me I wouldnt stick with it. No, I swear, I said. The turkey carcass I saw it was life-changingly disgusting.

All meat is disgusting, Melissa said. It doesnt prevent people from eating it. She told me a story about how her husband was a vegetarian for 20 years. One night he went to a party and smelled sausages and ate seven of them and never looked back.

I thought to myself that perhaps Ben did not have a lot of a lot of fortitude, and how I was not going to be like Ben.

It did not occur to me to give up dairy this was the 90s, and being a vegan was considered radical. I tried to engage with people in what I told myself was a tone of innocent curiosity. In reality, my questions were obnoxious.

I was just wondering does it bother you that animals live terrible lives before theyre killed? Do you ever think about the fact that it was painful to be slaughtered, and no judgment here while youre chewing, do you ever think, This used to be someones leg?

The following fall, I went out to dinner with a guy I met at a coffee shop. We were sitting in a nice restaurant and I thought to myself, I am so bored, we have no chemistry. And then a waiter passed by bearing a platter of sliced grilled steak. It looked so good. It looked so much more interesting than the conversation I was trying to have. So I ordered a steak, and just like that, I was no longer a vegetarian.

One problem was the fading importance of the feelings that made me decide to stop eating meat. I thought the repulsion Id felt upon seeing the turkey carcass would always feel as visceral as it did in the moment. I imagined that the magic I saw in the chain of events that came beforehand Sharons talk, the way I only half took it in at the time, the way the rotting garbage heap drove home the point for me, my vegetarianism as yogic destiny would always feel that magical.

I never cut ahead to the part of the story where the initial motivations were no longer strong and there was meat everywhere and I wanted to eat it. I was so sure my smelling-the-sausage-moment would never come that I hadnt planned for it.

Years passed. I moved to California. I continued to eat meat while thinking about not eating it. In the back of my mind, I knew some charismatic megafauna would come along and spur me to renounce meat again. I did not imagine that it would be a male writer from Brooklyn, who, years later, was mocked for writing ridiculous emails to Natalie Portman.

Earlier, my concerns lay with the poor animals and how they lived and died. This time, I worried that livestock and poultry were pumped full of unhealthy chemicals and antibiotics. Worse yet, the environment the entire plant and animal kingdom was under grave threat from the massive resource drain and pollution from factory farming.

This was far more upsetting than the post-Thanksgiving carcass, but as I knew, shock and outrage diminish over time. I needed a sound strategy for getting me through the tough and not-so-tough moments when meat enticed me, and that initial buzz of pure resolve was nowhere to be found.

I took a photo of a page from Jonathan Safran Foers book Eating Animals that contained a graphic description of factory farming and made it the display on my phone. I doubled down on asking people obnoxious questions in the same manner as before, except now they were more like: This is neither here nor there, but do you know how many gallons of water went into making that sandwich? or What images pop into your mind when you hear the words deforested for ranching?

Can anyone guess what happened next? If you think I stayed a vegetarian for the rest of my life, raise your hand. If you think I started telling myself it was fine to eat meat that came from local farms and then gradually started eating meat from any old place, raise your hand, and then give yourself a gold star for being correct.

It is now 2020. There are few defensible reasons to eat meat or fish. Factory farming is abundantly harmful for the animals it slaughters. Eating vegetables is easier for me than many people. The meat industry is on par with the oil and gas sectors when it comes to environmental damage.

I know all this stuff. Why dont I quit meat?

What kind of person doesnt eat meat for the better part of a year and then eats a steak because theyre bored? I will never forget what my mind did when that beautiful steak went flying past me. I thought, Wow, and then I thought, I could just eat that. There is nothing stopping me but me.

My relationship to meat is a reminder of my general hypocrisy: how there are so many things that I believe in theoretically and do nothing about. Its also a reminder that I have a tendency to put my pleasure above my beliefs.

I would love to see the commercial farming industry dismantled. I would even be happy to participate in that dismantling. But as long as meat appears in front of me and I can afford it, I will eat it.

Im willing to fail at being a vegetarian again. Im also willing to succeed, but, Im sorry to say, not in a position to expect it.

Sarah Miller has written for The Cut, the Outline, and Popula.

Read more:

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Eating meat is inhumane, bad for the environment, and harmful to my health. I still can't give it up. - Business Insider Australia

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I have never seen him eat a vegetable: With steak off the menu, officials scramble to feed fussy eater Trump in India – The Independent

Donald Trumphasembarked on his first presidential visit to India, the worlds largest democracy and home to the worlds largest population of vegetarians. Since Mr Trump is a noted beef-eater, in particular a lover of steak and burgers, gastronomically speaking, the visit will prove one of his most challenging.

Its not all bad news for Mr Trump. Indias reputation for overwhelming vegetarianism is overstated, and its thought that more families eat beef at home than generally admit it.

Nonetheless, Indian president Narendra Modi has reportedly planned to serve Mr Trump an all-vegetarian menu. Will he succeed where others have failed?

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

A person close to the President told CNN: "I have never seen him eat a vegetable."

Mr Trump was once challenged to go vegan for a month by the campaign group Million Dollar Vegan, which said it would donate $1m to a veterans charity if the president swore off animal products just temporarily. The group even promoted the offer via a full-page ad in the New York Times. Mr Trump did not take them up on it.

Instead, the presidents reputation for eating a meat-heavy, vegetable-light diet precedes him to this day.

Mr Trumps steak preferences, for instance, are well-documented: well-done and slathered in ketchup. Its an order thats earned him much derision, and its now being used against him by Democratic candidate and fellow New Yorker Michael Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg campaign recently plastered the Las Vegas strip in billboards mocking Mr Trump for various of his habits and failings. Among these was one reading Donald Trump eats burnt steak, followed by the words Mike Bloomberg likes his medium rare.

Beyond steak, Mr Trumps diet has attracted both ridicule and bemusement before. During the 2016 Republican primary, he tweeted a now-notorious picture of himself tucking into a remarkably large bucket of KFC chicken with a knife and fork.

At the time, the Washington Posts Chris Cillizza did a very deep dive into the picture and deduced not only that the bucket was a $20 Fill Up featuring not only chicken but mashed potato, biscuits and gravy.

Mr Trump also doesnt confine himself to KFC: witness this video of him serving McDonalds burgers on silver platters during the government shutdown in January 2019.

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While the president is reputed to be a teetotaller, some worrisome drinking habits are well-established, chief among them that Mr Trump consumes roughly 12 cans of Diet Coke a day. Nutritionists have raised the alarm in response, pointing to the effects of over-consuming caffeine on such a scale.

Some might point out that the presidents diet is his business alone. But his administration is hardly putting healthy eating first.

Michelle Obama spentseveral painstaking years working to promote healthy eating among children, in particular poorer children who rely on school meals for nourishment. The Trump administration, however, has been rolling back the hard-won reforms she pushed through.

If American school meals start to look more like Mr Trumps own diet, American schoolchildren will be in trouble.

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I have never seen him eat a vegetable: With steak off the menu, officials scramble to feed fussy eater Trump in India - The Independent

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Americans say this popular diet is effective and inexpensive – YouGov US

Many Americans aim to eat a healthy diet, and some might be hoping to lose a few pounds. But which diets are Americans sticking to, and which ones are actually helping them lose weight?

A YouGov poll of more than 1,200 US adults finds that a majority of Americans have changed their diet at some point in order to lose weight (56%) or improve their physical health (54%).

Intermittent fasting, a diet where you only eat during certain times of day, is one of the most popular: 24 percent of US adults say theyve tried this diet for weight loss. An equal number say theyve tried the Atkins diet, which emphasizes foods that are low-carb.

About one in five have tried Weight Watchers (21%), the keto diet (19%) and the Mediterranean diet (18%).

But which diets do Americans say have been effective in helping them lose weight?

YouGovs data finds that majorities of people who have used these diets for weight loss find them to be effective.

Almost nine in 10 (87%) people who have tried intermittent fasting to lose weight say that this diet was very effective (50%) or somewhat effective (37%) in helping them lose weight. A similar number of people who have used Weight Watchers (86%) or the keto diet (85%) say these diets were effective for weight loss.

Majorities who have used Atkins (83%), the Mediterranean diet (81%), or vegetarianism (78%) for weight loss also say that these diets were effective in helping them to lose weight.

The diet Americans say is the best weight-loss diet may also be the most affordable one.

Intermittent fasting, which 87 percent of users say was effective for weight loss, is also seen as more inexpensive (80%) than expensive (18%), according to people who have tried it.

That isnt the case for many of the other diets YouGov asked Americans about. Majorities of users are more likely to see Weight Watchers, keto, Atkins and the Mediterranean diet as more expensive rather than inexpensive. Those who have adopted a vegetarian diet for weight loss are close to evenly split: 49 percent say it is expensive, 46 percent say it is inexpensive.

But in spite of the fact that many of these diets seem to be effective according to the people who have tried them, they remain largely unappealing to the American public.

A majority (58%) of US adults say that the vegetarian diet is somewhat or very unappealing. A plurality say the same when asked about the keto diet (47% find it unappealing), Atkins (47%), intermittent fasting (47%), or Weight Watchers (47%).

The only diet of this grouping that was seen as more appealing than unappealing was the Mediterranean diet. Over half (55%) say this diet is somewhat or very appealing; 31 percent say it is unappealing.

See the full survey results and sign up to be a part of the YouGov panel.

Related: One in five Millennials has changed their diet to reduce their impact on the planet

Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,241 US adults, which included 137 who have used the keto diet for weight loss, 165 who have used the Atkins diet for weight loss, 172 who have used intermittent fasting for weight loss, 120 who have used the Mediterranean diet for weight loss, 146 who have used Weight Watchers for weight loss, and 95 who have used vegetarianism for weight loss. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews were conducted online between January 3 - 6, 2020.

Image: Getty

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Americans say this popular diet is effective and inexpensive - YouGov US

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Balancing health with your culture – The Miami Hurricane

The 2010s saw a dramatic spike in new health trends. Specifically, more people turned to veganism and vegetarianism as a lifestyle. The biggest food prediction for this new decade is a plant-based revolution that will take the mainstream media by storm. Its no secret that eating less meat can be beneficial for your health while also helping the environment. However, with these popular food trends, it can be tricky to also honor ones culture. Cuisine is a major part of every culture and it is challenging to try new things while also staying true to your roots.

Since I was a kid Ive always been interested in plant-based food options and I would constantly drag my mom and sister to the quaint vegan cafes that began popping up throughout Miami. I think its important to try new things, especially when they can improve your health and expand your knowledge on the positive impacts eating the right foods can make. Exploring these vegan or vegetarian food trends is especially difficult when your cultures cuisine is very meat-centric. I come from a Cuban background and one of our main dishes is a bistec de palomilla, or butter-fried beef steak, usually paired with a side of rice and beans. As a person who hasnt had any type of steak in over three years, I can leave people confused.

Youre Cuban but you dont eat meat? is a question I hear a lot, but I think its important to separate heritage and culture from health choices because culture can be honored and celebrated in other ways besides food.

My best friend who is also Cuban can relate to this issue, having been a committed vegetarian for almost four years. In Cuban culture, Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena, is a big deal for us. The designated dish for this celebration is lechon, or pork, but for a vegetarian spending Christmas Eve with a Cuban family, it can be difficult to balance this tradition with personal choices.

I think the best way to navigate these situations is to remember that food is not tied to your identity, and although it may feel like food is the center of your culture, you can still express your heritage through alternate ways, including music, dress, meat-free food options and other customs that dont compromise the health-conscious decisions you want to abide by.

While I havent cut out meat from my diet entirely, I feel that cutting out red meat was the right choice for me and it has helped me feel better physically. I no longer feel sluggish after eating like I used to when I had massive cheeseburgers every other week. Now I opt for a turkey or veggie burger, and when Im really craving meat, Ill order an Impossible Burger, which is entirely plant-based but tastes and even looks like the real deal.

The vegan phenomenon is often criticized because it makes people feel outcasted if they still eat meat, but I think thats the wrong angle to take. I think it all comes down to respecting peoples personal choices, whether that means having meat regularly or leaning towards a more plant-based life. And these choices dont define how strong your pride is for your culture, because it is definitely possible to strike a balance between the traditions of the past and the new ideas of the present.

Nicole Macias is a senior majoring in English.

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Balancing health with your culture - The Miami Hurricane

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Harrison Ford Ditches Meat and Dairy and Says he is Vegetarian – The Beet

Harrison Ford isn't just Indiana Jones or the most famous Wookie-loving pilot in the Galaxy. Now he is adding to his many roles. After playing heroes as lovable as Han Solo, Indie and the original Jack Ryan of the big screen, Ford just yesterday announced that he was giving up meat and dairy "to help the environment."

Speaking about his new diet, Ford said: "I eat vegetables and fish, no dairy, no meat. I just decided I was tired of eating meat and I know it's not really good for the planet, and it's not really good for me." This follows his speech last fallatthe UN Climate Action Summit where he spoke about the environmental crisis and saving the Amazon rainforests.

Always fit, always preternaturally youthful and always on the move, Ford is another "cool guy" who has joined the ranks of plant-lovers. When Arnold Schwartzenegger and James Cameron speak out against meat and dairy, and the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet for their health and performance, guys sit up and listen. There is the usual discussion of "Where do I get my protein?" and "What the heck do I eat?" which are all good questions and The Beet has complete guides to the best sources of plant-based protein and 21 days of ready-to-cook recipes as part of our 21 Day Plant-Based Challenge. But less and less, do you hear the line of resistance that goes something like: Real men eat meat. And Vegetarianism is for girls. Because it's not.

Ford says his athletic body is due to his diet more than hitting the gym, according to a recent interview, and insists he doesn't "work out" like crazy.

Making an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he added: "I don't work out like crazy; I just, I work out a bit. I ride bikes and I play tennis and a little bit."

Meanwhile, Harrison has claimed the only people that can save the world are "angry" young people.

The Hollywood icon, now 77, appeared on Tuesday's edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and went into detail about delivering his speech to save the Amazon rain forest last fall at the UN Climate Action Summit.

Asked if he was nervous beforehe gave the speech, the Oscar-nominated actor replied, 'Not until I [got] there - I don't have enough sense to be.'

'I was in this room, I was on a dais ... and everybody else was a head-of-state and I thought, "Oh man they made some big mistake here,"' Ford said. 'But then they let me talk about what I wanted to talk about - which is the environment.' The Daily Mail of London broke the story.

"We've been talking about saving the Amazon for 30 years. We're still talking about it," Ford continued. "The world's largest rain forest, the Amazon is crucial to any climate change solution for its capacity to sequester carbon, for its biodiversity, for its freshwater, for the air we breathe, for our morality. And it is on fire. When a room in your house is on fire, you don't say, 'there is a fire in a room in my house.' You say, 'My house is on fire,' and we only have one house ... They are the young people who, frankly, we have failed - who are angry, who are organized, who are capable of making a difference. The most important thing that we can do for them is to get the hell out of their way."

On a lighter note, Ellen accused Ford of riding an electric-powered bike, a fact he adamantly denied.

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Harrison Ford Ditches Meat and Dairy and Says he is Vegetarian - The Beet

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