What Happens If a Vegan Eats Meat Again?

Passive, peace loving vegans have been known to flip into super aggressive, go-getter stock trader types or morph into ultra right-wing sociopaths who take up bare knuckle fist-fighting at the weekends as a hobby … after just a few bites of a chicken drumstick.

Of course, I’m only having a bit of fun, but this is a genuine question I’ve seen asked online. So what happens if a vegan eats meat again? We’ll find out …

What Happens If a Vegan Eats Meat Again?

 Nothing happens if a vegan eats meat … unless you have an epic fail and fill your face with loads of the stuff! In this case, you may find your digestion has a bit of a freak-out and you experience cramping, bloating and excessive wind. Your stomach has not used these specific enzymes for a while so there could be some fireworks down below! 


Overhead view of a bacon roll.

At this stage in my journey into a compassionate life which just feels like the right thing to do, I cannot even entertain the idea of going back to eating meat. The thought repulses me now.

It’s funny, the memories that stick in your mind throughout your life. I vividly remember, not too long after going vegetarian 27 years ago, working on the dockside with a mate of mine. He had been veggie for 7 or 8 years I think.

There was a little lime green cafe shack and they’d fry up the bacon every morning to send the early bird workers off to the building sites with a greasy egg and bacon roll.

Even only a couple of years into vegetarianism, the smell of that cafe used to turn my stomach. Same as my mate. We’d often remark how nauseating it was to walk through the wafting aroma on the way to our job.

… and co-workers would say to us, “Cor! How can you not like that lovely smell of bacon in the morning?”. We’d just look at each other knowingly.

The memory of that smell of fried pig carcass stays with me to this day!

Anyway … I digress.

It’s a sad fact many vegans do go back to eating meat. So naturally, people want to know if there are any adverse reactions to expect when doing so.

Can Your Body Reject Meat After Being Vegan?

Profile view of man with hand up towards the camera with the word 'no' in red lettering on the palm.

It’s highly unlikely. Even if you’ve not eaten meat for many years, your body doesn’t somehow forget how to digest it. That stomach acid of yours is pretty strong and will soon get to work breaking down whatever foodstuffs you decide to consume.

It may take a little time to re-adjust to the new regime so you’d be well advised to go slow at first and don’t have a massive meaty blow out on day one.

Due to the fact that meat is generally less readily digestible than plant foods, you may experience some gastro-intestinal issues when you go back to eating meat.

Indigestion, stomach cramps and bloating are symptoms often reported by those who decided the vegan lifestyle is not for them. I often wonder what is the reason they gave up the good fight?

A lack of complete nutrition is usually the answer you’ll be given but it has been proven a vegan diet is appropriate for all life stages. It’s now widely accepted that humans do not need to consume meat for optimal health.

So all these articles you read about how some registered nutritionist or other was compelled to go back to eating meat because they felt ‘weak’ after a couple of years on a vegan diet … well maybe go and have another look over your study notes.

Many of these articles are straight out of the playbook … an excuse to write some anti-vegan nonsense. Pretend to go vegan for a while and then rescind, documenting your ‘journey’.

Someone even wrote a step by step plan for budding bloggers on how to execute this strategy!

Accidentally Eating Meat May Have Psychological Effects

Woman hiding under the duvet.

Vegans tend to be very passionate about their cause; and with good reason. So if you discover you’ve eaten meat by accident it could induce feelings of anxiety or in some rare cases, even panic attacks.

Some of the less compassionate among us will think this is utter nonsense and the advice will be to ‘grow a pair’ or ‘man up’.

As an aside, it’s interesting to note much of the discourse around meat eating is very masculocentric. Some say this is partly because of the inherent death in the product. To deal with it emotionally, a level of testosterone in the body makes it much easier, apparently!

There are scores of cases where vegans have been served meat either by mistake or, recklessly enough, on purpose. There is a small minority for whom veganism is a massive trigger, to the point where they think it’s ok to trick someone into eating meat.

Scooting around the internet, I did find some vegans who reacted quite badly to this situation, psychologically. They had feelings of guilt and remorse. For some, these feelings stayed with them for weeks, or longer.

That’s how strong a belief veganism can be. The desire not to harm animals is of the utmost importance. For vegans, it is simple … animal rights are equal to human rights.

Nothing less.

It’s Not The End Of The World If It’s a Mistake

Wooden jetty looking out towards the open ocean.

Unless you’re one of the very unlucky few who has a reaction to animal products, it’s highly unlikely a mistaken bite or two of nasty animal flesh will have any lasting effects on your body.

If you’re feeling emotional about the whole situation then try to find some solace in the fact, nothing you could have done would have stopped the death of the animal which you ended up eating a bit of.

It’s totally understandable you might have these challenging feelings but it hasn’t changed your moral stance on veganism. Everything you decide to eat will continue to have a minimal contribution to the animal ag industry.

… and what a filthy industry it truly is.

Don’t beat yourself up about it and move on. Put the episode behind you.

Can a Vegan Eat Meat Once In a While?

Pink neon sign in a restaurant window reads '100% Vegan'.

No … well not through choice anyway.

There has been much talk of part-time veganism lately. In fact Oatly, the popular dairy-free milk brand, recently got into a little hot water over an ill-advised marketing campaign.

The more cynical among us believe it was no mistake as it blew up on social media, especially Twitter. There is a solid vegan community on social and Oatly were immediately called out for promoting ‘part-time veganism’.

Of course, there’s no such thing as part-time veganism because it is an ethical position we adopt. We choose to minimise the harm to animals our consumer choices are responsible for. This includes never eating meat.

So you cannot be vegan and just eat meat once in a while. Every ‘real’ vegan will be 100% unequivocal on this. It is a point of principle.

Needless to say, Oatly apologised about a week after running the campaign and I must say, it did seem like a genuine apology so maybe the marketing team just lost their way that day. Let’s be charitable!


So, in conclusion, if you’re vegan and you eat some meat by mistake it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly not vegan any more. But if you eat meat on purpose then you are not vegan. Simple as that. Veganism is not something we dip in and out of.


I hope you enjoyed this article and it has helped crystallise the opinion in your mind. My goal is to bring you the truth. Nothing more, nothing less. Please leave your comment below and share this with your friends.

Thanks for reading and have a compassionate day!




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