In December, I blogged about the Humane Research Council’s report on vegetarian recidivism (Vegetarian Recidivism Survey, Dec 15 2014).
Another report has been released on vegetarian recidivism, this time from the Toronto Vegetarian Association. You can download the 10-page report from their post, TVA Conducts First Study of Lapsed Vegetarians in Canada.
Their study surveyed 1,112 people of which 113 were lapsed vegetarians.
Getting enough nutrients was listed at the most common challenge for lapsed vegetarians with 83% listing it as a challenge (as compared to 44% of current vegetarians). Eating out was listed as the second most common challenge, with 75% of lapsed and 65% of current vegetarians considering it a challenge.
It would be interesting to know in what way they believed getting enough nutrients was a challenge–was this theoretical or did they feel bad and suspect they weren’t obtaining enough nutrients?
The report quotes a couple of the lapsed vegetarians regarding nutrition. One person said:
“I grew tired of spending so much time on meal planning to make sure I was getting the proper amount of essential amino acids, etc.”
That makes me wonder what sort of information vegetarians are getting. While vegetarians should include high-lysine foods each day, there are so many–all legumes as well as quinoa and seitan–that it really takes little planning. Hopefully they weren’t carrying around a 1971 copy of Diet for a Small Planet, adding up all the essential amino acids from every meal.
Another respondent said:
“My iron levels were dangerously low and I needed to reintroduce meat sources of iron into my diet; I began having extreme meat cravings near the end of my vegetarianism and I believe that was my body telling me I needed the iron (which I found out later due to blood tests).”
This is disconcerting, but it also reinforces a view that I’ve been cultivating for some time–that cravings for meat might be due to iron deficiency. I would like to see research done on whether this is the case and, more importantly, how easily iron deficiency anemia can be cured while vegan by using the methods I suggest of adding vitamin C to meals and avoiding coffee and tea at meal times (more info).
I have been discussing the possibilities of this sort of research with a medical doctor at a large university and perhaps something will come of it.