Vegans secretly eat meat

A vegetarian about secretly eating meat

I stand in front of the snack bar and talk to my grandma on the phone. It's about the family reunion. Fortunately, she doesn't ask what vegetarian dishes to cook for me. The man behind the counter asks what I would like. I point to the large currywurst on the sign next to the takeaway. “French fries?” He asks. “Currywurst,” I whisper. “I beg your pardon?” Asks my grandma. "What do you want?", The diner. Oh dear, I've come to this: I'm a secret no longer vegetarian.

Food is political

When I was young and idealistic, I spent months telling relatives and friends: “No thanks, no meat for me, please. I am a vegetarian. ”And the question always came:“ Are you sure? ”I was told that this was unhealthy, this vegetarianism. Proximity to veganism is far too dangerous. And the vegans, that has been proven, lack the most essential nutrients. They become pale, powerless and their hair falls out.

Being a vegetarian was a political issue for me. I was against factory farming, didn't want antibiotics in our food and fight climate change. Vegetarianism was not just a lifestyle, it was a way of life. Giving up meat was my status symbol, an integral part of a group identity.

Finally, when it was accepted that I would eat vegetarian, grandma cooked a little extra meat for Christmas. Finally I was no longer offered sausages and - even if there is still the worry that I might fall off the meat, so to speak, the fundamental debate in my family is avoided.

Secret knocking sins

And then comes the sausage. Or the smell of ham. Or the kebab with meat. The first Bifi after three, four or seven years. And the realization: This meat tastes very good. Why don't I eat this more often?

And that put me in a bind. Will I be smiled at if I eat meat again from now on? What about the political message I am delivering? In any case, adherence to principles works differently.

So I hid my meat consumption and preferred to eat chicken nuggets behind the sofa. Even in front of the friends with whom I worked on convictions and organized vegetarian cooking evenings for many years, I could not admit my return to the lust for meat.

I am not alone in returning to the flesh. A study shows that 34 percent of all vegetarians * become weak when they consume alcohol and resort to meat again. On Beichthaus.com, a young man confesses: "I (m / 27) reveal myself as a vegan, but when I'm alone I still secretly eat meat."

The reasons are different, some are tired of the discussions, others miss the taste of the meat and a third party is troubled by the worried looks of their relatives.

Why are we fooling ourselves?

Sina has a very special reason. She says she hasn't been a vegetarian since she had an abortion. She says that if she kills a fetus, she can eat animals again as well. At first she didn't talk to anyone about it. At first she didn't tell friends who are staunch vegetarians about it. She secretly stole slices of sausage from the dinner table at family dinners.

With the currywurst in hand, I stand at the subway and think about why we renegades are actually fooling ourselves and the others. In a time of individualization, people meet by presenting their identities. We set ourselves apart from one another by positioning ourselves. Our position is defined by what we do and what we consume. I listen to metal music so I'm a metal head. I ride a bike because I'm a climate saver.

Your own credibility depends on how coherently we can present our life narratives. We keep silent about what doesn't fit into the picture.

If we give up part of our identity, we fear that we will no longer be taken seriously and that we will lose former allies. In addition, the feeling creeps in that we have taken a step backwards on the way to a better, sustainable human being.

A changed attitude does not have to mean that we are going backwards.

For example, if we decide to eat meat from now on, but only organic meat, that is a kind of advancement. But what happens instead is that we secretly eat the worst of all bad sausages, which we might even have found disgusting before we were vegetarians. Because the secret consumption of meat is perceived as a sin, we think: if so, then right.

The sausage turnaround does not have to be a step backwards

What does this mechanism say about us and our society? Why can't we allow ourselves and others more flexibility in views? Because there are clear assessments of what is a good and what is a bad lifestyle. At least in the middle class of society. There the following applies among many: eating vegetarian is good, eating meat is bad. If we have made it to the side of the good guys, we want to stay there and are afraid of being rejected by them.

If every belief immediately becomes a religion, it is important that we become more tolerant of the campers.

Sometimes, however, it turns out that our environment doesn't think it's so bad when we give up a belief. When Sina's family found out that she was eating meat again, her mother was relieved. “Finally no more extra sausage for the vegetarian,” she said. Should I try the meat again at the family reunion?