Vegetarianism Is Making You Depressed

Feeling down? Ditch the veggies and bite into a big steak. Science says that’ll cheer you up.

Vegetarian and vegan diets are arguably more environmentally friendly than meat based ones. But a Bristol University study warns they also might be making you sad.

People who gave up meat for the study were about twice as likely to suffer from depression. And that those who were already vegetarians had a higher occurrence of depression than those who ate meat.

As an avid meat eater, I can corroborate these findings: if I had to give up delicious animal flesh, I’d be extremely bummed out. But the shifts in mood go deeper than just grumpiness caused by lack of flavor. Vegetable based diets are lower in B12, and often higher in omega-6 fatty acids. These nutritional differences can contribute to mental health issues.

And it turns out that cutting meat out of your diet might not be as healthy as you think. Vegetables are full of all sorts of nutrients, but they are not immune to the negative impacts factory farming has on our food supply.

Just as factory farmed meat is often compromised with antibiotics and other additives, factory farmed vegetables often contain pesticides or be genetically modified, which could pose health risks.

“While it is often healthy to eat things that naturally come from our environment, we have to take into account that our environment is not what it used to be,” Says Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition NYC.

Shapiro says that vegetable focused meals are great, but balance is much more important to a healthy diet. You don’t have to stop eating meat and fall into a deep depression in order to make your body and our earth healthier. Eating locally sourced vegetables and meat is a great alternative to vegetarianism—one that is good for you mentally, physically and ethically.

Some are even suggesting that, if vegetarians want meat-eaters to drink their kool aid, they have to be willing to bend their own rules.

Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike might benefit from a diet focused on moderation and balance rather than restriction. Don’t we all deserve to be happy?