Can a vegetarian from birth become a meat-eater?

Not vegan, not pescatarian. Obviously it’d be an unpleasant transition, but can it be done?

Sure, why not?

A vegetarian from birth might not find meat appetizing, like most people in the US don’t like the thought of eating perfectly nutritious insects, but they would be perfectly capable of digesting meat and animal products.

I’m having trouble even imagining reasons why the answer would be “no,” so I’m very curious as to the answers to this question myself.

No doubt the bugger was dead from malnutrition from being a vegetarian (from birth).

I think she’s suggesting that someone who has never had to digest meat products might have difficulty doing so. I’ve heard anecdotal examples of that happening, but I don’t know if it’s really due to vegetarianism as opposed to an allergy or some other issue.

I know one and she seems quite healthy. It’s more than possible to get the nutrients you need from a vegetarian diet.

I was under the impression that vegetarians don’t have the enzymes necessary to process animal protein. Can some one start producing those?

Some of I read is that they cant digest meats Some cant pork some beef others poultry easly. Fish doesnt seem to be a problem.

I have wheat problems. Yet other grains are not a problem for me.

I have hard time believing this is true. Any evidence?

Firstly the human gut doesn’t really produce enzymes to order to the best of my knowledge. It just dumps a whole load of everything into the mix and that’s it. We’re mammals, not fungi.

Secondly what enzymes might be needed to digest meat that aren’t needed to digest plants? Plants are actually far harder to digest than meat, so if you can digest a plant diet you will have no trouble with a meat based diet. It’s not as though the human gut produces a “beefase” enzyme and a “shellfishase” and a “peannutase” and a “coconutase”. It produce a range of generic protein digesting enzymes and a range of generic fat digesting enzymes and so forth. It neither knows nor cares whether the fat or protein comes from a cow or a turnip.

Having said that, any sudden change in diet will produce unpleasant digestive effects, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sudden increase or decrease in plant or animal products. Your gut flora becomes acclimated to your standard diet. If you change it the flora balance will be thrown out and you are almost certain to suffer from bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. But that will settle down after amount or so and you’ll be right as rain.

why wouldn’t vegetarians have these enzymes? I don’t think meat specific enzymes even exist to began with. Where are you getting this information?

I’m a vegetarian from birth. I’ve managed to stay alive, and so did my parents, and their parents before them…

Unfortunately, the vegetarian and especially vegan communities seem to produce nutritional nonsense wildly out of proportion to their numbers. I spend a good amount of time trying to correct some of the blatantly antiscientific “information” and “facts” that online sites perpetuate. Some of it, to be sure, is not ignorance but anti-meat propaganda. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what the OP has encountered. There is no validity to the notion, of course, as **Blake **pointed out.

Really? What did they do before soy formulas were invented? Nurse on tree sap?

I’m vegetarian, not vegan…

OK. Go eat a burger, and if you post here again later, we’ll have our answer.


Just to make it absolutely, without-a-doubt clear, I have a cousin who was vegetarian from birth, but started eating meat some time in his teens, and now eats as much meat as the next American. I think it started as an act of rebellion, but he came to enjoy the taste.

Alas, I was all set to come in here and somberly deliver a Wally-moment announcement from whoever found me slumped over dead at my desk, hamburger in hand, but now Chronos has put an end to that. Ah well…

Actually it was pretty much pure ignorance on my part and horror stories my sister told (drunk vegetarian from birth decides to have a vampire drink with cow’s blood, redecorates the bathroom.) My sister is allergic to most meats, but can eat beef. She can’t eat much of it at a time, but I think a lot of that is psychological (no stupid, roast beef isn’t tough.)

I think the degree of discomfort you feel after first eating meat is directly tied to how motivated you are to start eating meat. I stopped being vegetarian after 10 years by eating a huge bloody hamburger, because i had some really compelling reasons to start eating meat. I felt great.

Anyway, unless you are crazy careful, you are getting regular amounts of animal protein through soup stock, etc.

No, she isn’t. She may not like them, she may even have an adverse psychological reaction to them, but she sure as hell isn’t allergic to them.