Meat-free diets are ‘unmanly’? Someone forgot to tell Forest
If eating zero meat makes you less of a “masculine” man than those who consume it, then someone forgot to tell Forest Nash.
The 29-year-old Men’s Physique bodybuilding champion and fitness trainer has never eaten meat: he was raised as an ethical vegetarian by his American parents, and became a vegan in 2015.
“There are a lot of misconceptions out there, myths that exist about people who are vegetarian or vegan – the stereotype that vegans are scrawny weaklings who can barely muster up the energy to get out of bed,” says Mr Nash, who moved to Australia four years ago after meeting his partner on a vegan cruise.
“I enjoy showing you can achieve fitness goals at any level on a plant-based diet; I train six days a week and train very hard. I recover very well and feel like I have high-quality energy I can put towards training and other areas of my life.”
The not-for-profit No Meat May surveyed 1000 Australian adults in March about perceptions around low-meat or no-meat diets and found men and women associate meat eating with “manliness”; 73 per cent of male respondents were so wedded to meat, they would rather live up to 10 fewer years than give it up.
No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander, a former meat eater, said the survey revealed how closely Australians linked meat eating with masculinity. It found many believed the more meat a man’s diet contained, the more masculine he was.
“Every year we roll out the [No Meat May] campaign and we do get a lot of resistance from men; 85 to 90 per cent of our sign-ups are women.
“The fact more than 70 per cent of men said they’d be prepared to live a shorter life is ironic as that is what some men [who eat a lot of meat] will experience: one in four men are dying from heart disease,” said Mr Alexander.