Why people are conditioned to eat meat

why is eating meat so normalised?

There are a wide range of reasons why people choose to still eat meat, despite the myriad of research there is out there. 

Let’s go through the reasons why people choose to still eat meat now. 

The media

The media overall can be really toxic, but more importantly, a big impact on the way people work and operate in general. Granted, it’s a big part of why people still eat meat. 

Cartoons and movies

I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but when I was growing up I noticed a lot of the media liked to express how kids don’t eat their greens. 

Think about it: Kids in cartoons, in adverts and movies, all notoriously don’t like eating their veggies, and it shows. The amount of adults that actually don’t eat vegetables is shocking. 

It’s as if they were instilling it into our minds, from childhood, and it stuck. 



If you were to walk out and about in any major city. By no doubt you’ll be barraged by ads, in all directions, of meat-based products. 

Be it burger stands on the high street, TV ads or IG in-scroll adverts, almost everywhere you go they shove meat down your throat (not literally, obviously). 

Marketing is a big reason why the masses still consume a lot of meat; I guarantee if they were to ramp up the ads with tasty tofu alternatives that we’d see a shift in the average diet. 



A large portion of people worldwide eat meat simply because it’s their culture. Culture can be a variety of things, all in all it’s all about the social behaviours of a particular society, and how they operate. 

Let’s not even get started on the bad rep vegans get. I agree some vegans can be pushy and very passionate in activism, but the collective hate vegans get sometimes is unbelievable.

Restaurants, shopping & travelling

Every vegan’s nightmare is to go to a non-vegan restaurant without having done the research first. Why? Because the majority of the time there is only meat options available. 

This goes for fast food, fine dining, or your general bistro. It makes sense as to why people find it so hard to even approach a vegan lifestyle, there’s barely any vegan options in the average restaurant. 

This applies for most Western countries too, so it doesn’t make traveling any easier. Speaking of traveling, the same applies for airports and supermarkets. 

When taking a flight I almost always have to bring my own packed lunch as it’s difficult to find good vegan options in an airport. 

This doesn’t apply exactly the same for supermarkets and shopping, as most supermarkets seem to be making an effort to stock more vegan options, but in some cities they really make it hard to live a plant-based lifestyle. 

For instance, in the Netherlands, Amsterdam has a myriad of options to choose from, but go to any rural town, and you’re gonna have a really hard time. 

The same applies for Quarteira, my hometown. They’re basically living in the past, and only have one dedicated vegan-only restaurant, I had to cook a lot – which isn’t ideal for someone staying in a hotel for instance. 

Family, friends and influence

It goes without saying that family can be a HUGE influence on why one may choose to eat meat all their life. Not everyone has supportive friends and family and going vegan can be a really alienating experience for those in that situation.

With eating being such a big part of culture in general, when a family or group of friends arrange a barbecue for instance, it can be hard to say no. Besides that, the influence goes beyond into how your parents feed you growing up – Like myself, meat was all that I knew about for many years. 

A sad fact is that for a good majority, meat is all people know, and it’s hard to change the way you eat completely. Trust me, I’ve been in those shoes before. 

A common issue vegans have to face is turning against the status quo. Going in a direction that is compassionate, healthier and better for the environment, can be tough.

You’ll be judged a lot, you’ll not be invited to/not catered for at an event, you can lose friends; it’s understandable why people choose not to quit meat for those reasons. 

The food for the rich

It’s well-known that in the past, only rich people could afford meat. This is another reason that influences culture to also follow suit. 

Not realising that just because it was once a luxury, doesn’t mean it’s something that we should all strive to imitate. A lot of people could actually save a lot of money on their grocery bill if they didn’t eat so much meat. 

Besides that, the rich people of the past also had diseases that only affected them, due to overindulgence. 

My grandad ate meat

A typically excuse people use for eating meat is that their grandma or grandpa ate meat for years, and they lived to a very old age. 

What people need to realise is that times have changed, a lot. The quality of meat back then was much better; in the sense that it was most likely fresher, with less preservatives, and not eaten as frequently as the average Western diet. 

People in the past were also a lot more active. For instance, the average desk worker today could have been a builder, or a farmer, with less tech back then, so they’d be a lot more active. 

This extra activity would’ve made them a lot better off than today’s average person, who’s more sedentary, and eats more processed foods. I’m just saying, the meat your grandad ate was a lot better quality than the packaged franko-meat you get at the supermarket. 

National dishes

Similarly to the travel point above, most national dishes have some kind of meat. Be it chicken, beef, pork or some type of fish, pretty much every culture has a meat-based national dish. 

This again reinforces the reasons why one would choose to keep eating meat, because who are they to question their country’s customs. It goes back to not wanting to be alienated, left out, unpatriotic. 

Luckily nowadays we’re developing more and more veganised dishes by the day; with more and more meat alternatives making it possible. 

We copied predators, which we’re nothing like

A big part of the culture behind meat eating is how cavemen used to eat meat. Unlike primates (which we technically are), predators such as tigers and lions are actually adapted to tear open flesh and eat it raw – blood, guts and all. 

Unlike people, who package, and eat meat only when it’s been cooked to safety. For real though, why liken ourselves to predators if we can’t even digest food like them? 

Poor knowledge on nutrition

A big reason as to why people still eat meat everyday is because they’ve not done enough research on nutrition. This is a big factor that can come back to haunt them in the future if they’re not careful. 

B12 & Protein tho

It’s a well known fact that even the least health conscious knows, meat contains protein. Not just any protein, but complete protein with all the amino acids. 

While this may be true, protein is not the mother of all nutrition. For instance, when women are pregnant, they require folic acid supplements. 

In a five minute search I can find many, many vegan foods that can provide you with enough daily folic acid, but people simply don’t do that research. 

If we were to discuss extremes, such as the carnivore diet sported by liver king, what they don’t tell you is that you risk having deficiencies in Vitamin C, B-vitamins, and vitamin K, to only name 3. 

Also regarding b12, most fail to understand that b12 is a vitamin extracted from bacteria, which was once consumed by drinking water from streams and eating pesticide-free fruits and veggies. 

Most b12 eaten by meat-eaters is actually supplemented in animal feed, making it yet another recycled nutrient that can easily be supplemented directly into the body. 

Unaware of the risks of eating meat chronically

A lot of people eat meat simply because they didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was one of those people. 

I used to brag about eating 5 types of meat at a barbecue as my “five a day” simply because I liked the idea of protein. I then learnt that chronic meat consumption contributes to some of the worst diseases known to man, such as cancer and diabetes. 

Once I educate people on the health benefits of eating less meat, they do tend to listen to some of the points. It’s a shame people aren’t more proactive, but you can’t force people to change!

Vegan food is not nutritional

A big, very common misconception is that vegan food is not nutritional, and that meat is. This is reinforced by our parents, as well as culture in general. 

Who else can relate to growing up and your mum telling you to “at least finish your meat” before leaving the dinner table, I know a lot of Portuguese people can relate. 

When there was less information about food and nutrition, I can understand why people used to be malnourished only eating a select few plant-based foods. 

With the current information available, and the ability to source food from all over the world, along with supplements, there’s really no excuse nowadays to not choose a balanced vegan diet. 

Vegan food is more than nutritionally adequate, it keeps you fit and healthy, and can provide you with better nutrition. For instance, weighing plant-based iron vs meat or (heme) iron, gives you enough context to see for yourself. 

Other reasons people eat meat

There are also other reasons people eat meat, and some of them can be rather simple in concept. 

Cause it tastes good

Let’s be real, most people eat meat cause it tastes good. Not because of the protein, not because of culture, not cause of their nan, most people eat meat simply because it tastes nice. 

I mean, it’s energy dense, it’s fatty and it’s typically salty. The human brain is literally wired to crave these kinds of foods. Hence why they make burgers. 

They’re addicted to it

Speaking of burgers, meat can also be really addicting. Burgers are literally a mic of fat, protein, carbs, salt and sugar. 

If you’re not careful, you can quite literally trick your brain into thinking what you’re eating is a well balanced meal just by those components alone. 

I mean, in red meat there are literally components that activate the body’s opioid receptors. If you were to eat meat everyday, it’s no wonder why you’re so addicted. 

It fills them up easily

Meat is an easy way to fill someone up, considering how energy-dense it is in nature. 

It takes a much bigger plate of vegetables to satisfy someone, as compared to an individual with a plate of steak and chips. 

But finding more satiating foods as a vegan is all part of the process, just because a food fills you up doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 

Meat eating helped us evolve

There’s also the argument that eating meat made us the humans we are today, in terms of evolution of the human brain. 

Even with this argument, there is still conflicting evidence that suggests that meat in fact did not influence the development of our brains as we know it…

Other sources actually suggest that the consumption of complex carbohydrates, in fruits, wholegrain, vegetables and legumes, made a bigger contribution to where we are today in our stage of evolution.

Another argument suggests that we as people wouldn’t have evolved to build tools if it wasn’t for the hunting process and having to kill animals. Then again, don’t you need to utilise tools to peel off tough fruit skin, sprout grains and cook veggies? Food for thought. 

Vegan food doesn’t taste nice

Another simple reason why meat eaters insist on their diet is because they think that vegan food doesn’t taste nice. That is far from the truth, and almost laughable in fact.

When you realise that all good food is a combination of flavours; which come from using fresh ingredients, herbs, spices and salt, you realise that vegan food can be made to taste even better than meat-based meals, with little effort. 

No-one in the 21st century should be complaining about vegan food being bland, and if they are, they could benefit from discovering some new recipes, or try veganising one of their favourites. 

Why do people still eat meat?

It’s not because of nutrition, it’s not because of health benefits, seeing as most people don’t really care about their health. It’s really because it provides the instant gratification of wanting to satisfy their hunger. 

There’s no real die-hard reason. We’re creatures of habit, we thrive in groups and can get easily influenced by others. People still eat meat because they simply don’t know any better, or it’s hard for them to change the life they know. 

As a somewhat new vegan, it’s not my place to judge others for what they eat. I can only suggest an alternative way of life and give you perspective on how to get there (should you choose to). 

The benefits of quitting meat far outweigh the benefits of consuming it. That being said, everyone has their own path and understandably, it may not be as easy for one as it is for another. 

I hope you enjoyed my perspective on why I think people still eat meat. If you’d like to see more posts like this, be sure to spread the word and drop a comment with what you think.