Veganism is far more than just dietary choice. It's a way of life, an ethical belief system, and a departure from accepted norms and values in society. But like all ethical belief systems, veganism often espouses what are deemed contentious viewpoints by mainstream society.
Arguments against veganism usually revolve around our need for protein, the fact that other animals also eat meat and that maintaining a vegan lifestyle would be too expensive. Yes, vegans and non-vegans are often clashing these days, with either side reluctant to concede the views of their opposition.
And we all know how that turns out...
Of course, biases exist on both sides so perhaps the views of those who have experienced both lifestyles should be given special credence. For instance, this woman who used to be vegan and now swears by a wholly carnivorous diet of rare steak.
She became vegan back in 2008 but gave up on her newfound lifestyle just three years later in 2011. So what prompted this stark shift in lifestyle?
Well, 32-year-old Sylwia Tabor from Sacramento, California developed necrotizing fasciitis (NF), a flesh-eating bug, from a spider bite while camping in July 2017.
"I didn’t think much of it at first. It was only a small bite on my ankle," she recalled. "But in late August, I developed this pimple in my groin area, which over the next days grew and grew until it was about the size of my hand."
Tabor was rushed to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with NF before being taken for a three-hour operation to cut it out and stop it spreading. Luckily, she managed to recover pretty well following surgery, having only needed a skin graft to replace the "eaten" flesh from her torso.
But in the months after the surgery, Tabor's digestive system stopped absorbing pretty much everything she ate. As a result, she began experiencing problems with diarrhea and her skin started developing rashes.
"Because I was on lots of antibiotics, which kills all of the good bacteria in your gut that you need to digest things, my stomach was in a mess again and I was feeling terrible like I was during the worst times of my veganism," Tabor said.
She claims her digestive system was "wrecked" as a result of all the fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables she consumed. She had decided to abandon veganism after becoming so weak that she broke two ribs and started passing blood in her feces.
Tabor then started consuming a balanced diet of meat and vegetables. And when Tabor was on antibiotics following her surgery, she discovered the only kind of food she could eat that wouldn't pass straight through was meat.
A friend of hers suggested that she live purely on a "carnivore diet" in order to restore her strength and in sheer desperation she decided to do just that in January 2018. All she would eat, in fact, is rare steak and offal.
"The more I looked into it, the more I discovered that meat eating is the most efficient way of absorbing nutrients, far more so than when you add carbohydrates and vegetables into the mix," Tabor claimed.
Tabor added that as soon as she ate her first piece of meat she started feeling better immediately and was woken from the "sleepwalk" existence she had been living since contracting the near-fatal bug.
Her sister, a personal trainer, initially thought Tabor's decision to stop consuming other nutrients altogether was a bad idea.
"I just feel so much better than I ever have done, even when I was eating a normal diet. For the people who think it might be unusual, I would say just give it a try because it may really help you feel better in yourself."
Tabor is now speaking out against what she calls "vegan propaganda" about the consumption of meat, adding: "I source my own meat from a local farmer."
"I know that it is coming from a good place, so the ethical concerns that I had before don’t worry me anymore," she continued. "Vegetables and seeds – which were for a long time my only food source, are actually anti-nutrients, compounds which if eaten excessively interfere with your gut absorbing what it needs. And that definitely affected me in the long-run."
Vegans out there, what do you think? It is acceptable for someone to eat meat if their health and wellbeing heavily rely on it?