AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Understanding the reasons for and barriers to becoming vegetarian in prospective vegetarians and vegans

by Tara Gallimore

Institution: McGill University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Dietetics and Human Nutrition
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2083129
Full text PDF: http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/thesisfile139139.pdf


Vegetarian and vegan diets reduce animal suffering and are good for the environment. When well-planned, they are healthful and nutritionally adequate for all stages of the life cycle, and may be used to prevent and treat diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality in Canada. Interest in vegetarian diets is prevalent, but little research has been conducted to understand what prevents interested individuals from making this lifestyle change.The purpose of my research is to provide a rich, detailed description of the lived experience of considering vegetarianism. I hope to shed light on the contemplation process, specifically, the reasons for and barriers to becoming vegetarian. This research is the first to explore the perspectives of prospective vegetarians—people who are not vegetarian, but are in the midst of considering it. Interpretive phenomenology is a qualitative research approach that endeavours to understand the ways in which people make sense of their experiences. Phenomenology was used because the topic is exploratory in nature, and rich, in-depth accounts of the phenomenon of transitioning to vegetarianism were sought. Findings revealed that many prospective vegetarians have a multitude of reasons for considering vegetarianism. Their motives are often part of a larger worldview that embodies philosophical and ideological commitments to the wellbeing of other people, other animals, and the broader environment. The barriers faced by those seeking to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle are numerous and decidedly interconnected. Becoming vegetarian requires the attainment of knowledge, skills, and abilities that differ from those beneficial to being non-vegetarian. Changing deeply-ingrained habits and patterns is difficult in its own right, and becoming vegetarian entails these challenges. Yet it further involves resisting social norms and becoming part of a minority group that is not always valued or understood. At its core, becoming vegetarian is challenging because normative societal eating patterns are dominated by animal products. Les régimes végétariens et végétaliens réduisent la souffrance des animaux et sont bénéfiques pour l'environnement. Quand ces régimes sont bien planifiés, ils sont sains et adéquats du point de vue nutritionnel pour toutes étapes du cycle de vie. De plus, ils peuvent être utilisés pour prévenir et traiter des maladies qui sont responsables d'une part significative de la morbidité et mortalité au Canada. L'intérêt pour les régimes végétariens est répandu, mais peu de recherches ont été menées pour mieux comprendre ce qui empêche les personnes intéressées à initier ce changement de mode de vie. Le but de ma recherche est de fournir une description riche et détaillée de l'expérience vécue de la considération du végétarisme. J'espère ainsi clarifier le processus de contemplation, et, plus précisément, les motivations qui incitent les personnes à devenir végétariens ainsi que les obstacles que présente cette transition. Cette recherche est la première à explorer les… Advisors/Committee Members: Katherine Gray-Donald (Internal/Supervisor), Richard Hovey (Internal/Cosupervisor2).