Most of my posts as of late have been very gender/sex oriented, and the next 3 will be as well. So this week, I’m going to mix it up, take a break from the gender-talk, and write about something else that’s close to my heart…Namely, the things people say to vegetarians in America. Enjoy!
I have been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since I turned 13 (so 16 years to date). This was the semi-magical age in my parent’s household where you were expected to do your own laundry, start looking for a neighborhood job, start cooking your own meals, and take on more responsibilities and chores overall.
In exchange, you got to make more life choices for yourself…like deciding to drastically alter your diet. Of course, this still meant a talk with my doctor, research into healthy options, and numerous assurances that I was not just trying to become anorexic. But eventually I successfully cut all meat from my diet, and found non-factory farm shops for my dairy/egg needs. It was actually pretty easy to do…ever since the 7 year old me had truly grasped the fact I was eating someone else’s flesh and blood, I’d been grossed out by my parent’s cooking on an intellectual level. (Of course, biologically my mouth *still* waters when I smell roasted chicken or filet mignon, even today.)
Little did I know that so very many people would have qualms with such a life choice! Some things that have happened/I’ve been told since changing my diet:
Being vegetarian is unAmerican.
What the hell does this even mean? America, supposedly the “great melting pot” can’t handle people that don’t eat other animals? I’m fairly confident that my level of patriotism has nothing to do with steak or lobster.
You can’t be a vegetarian, you’re not sickly looking!
Sorry to disappoint, but most vegetarians aren’t “sickly looking”. If you meet one who is, they may have other issues, they could actually just have a cold/flu, or they may be doing their diet wrong. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll be healthy.
You can only be vegetarian because you’re a woman…men cannot be vegetarian.
Au contraire! Men can be vegetarian (or vegan, for that matter) if they wish. In fact, there are many Olympic athletes who are/were vegan or vegetarian. See a small list here: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/07/27/top-10-historic-vegetarian-and-vegan-olympians/
Now, it is true that tofu/soybeans contain estrogen-like complexes, so male vegetarians can have slight breast growth if they eat too much of it. But while tofu and other soy-based meat alternatives ARE tasty…nobody should eat that much of them. With so many foods open to you, why eat soy all the time?
You still eat eggs? Those are baby chickens!
Yeah…no. Although turkeys have asexual/virgin birth capabilities (also called parthenogenesis), chickens do not. I get my eggs from family farms (and from a chicken I owned for 3 years) and they specifically don’t keep roosters around, so none of the eggs are fertilized. Saying that eating a non-fertilized egg is eating meat is akin to saying a human woman kills a baby whenever she has her period. It’s just idiotic.
But how do you get protein?!
Oh please, people. With all the information out there, why still ask this question? Yes, certain types of protein are harder to get and require us veg-heads to eat foods together. But I still eat kosher cheeses, drink family farm milk, eat cage-free eggs, and there are SO MANY plant-based foods with the proper nutrients. Once you do your research, it’s actually incredibly simple to work out a meal plan with good amounts of all vitamins/minerals.
If you love animals so much, why are you eating all their food?
Really? So eating them is better? Not to mention that the corn/grains fed to our meat animals is not the same as what we eat…This isn’t even an argument, it’s just stupid.
Your religion/beliefs are dumb if they include dietary restrictions.
So you make fun of Jews and Muslims for not eating pork? You criticize Jainists for being vegan? You mock Catholics for eating fish on Fridays? You laugh at Wiccans who choose to be vegetarian? You scoff at atheists who dislike factory-farming? Well, at least you’re an equal opportunity offender…
Vegetarians are all hippies!
I’ll admit that *some* of us are hippies. However, most of us are not, and a good number of us are conservatives rather than liberals. I don’t want to bring politics into this, but vegetarians come from ALL demographics.
So, you still eat fish and seafood, right?
No. What part of ovo-lacto vegetarian don’t you understand? It means I will eat dairy and eggs along with my fruits, grains, veggies, and sweets. No lobster, no fish, no oysters, no shrimp, no octopus, etc. If it’s an animal, I don’t want it on my plate.
You know, it upsets me that you won’t at least *try* this steak. It’s really good!
I’m quite sure it is. In fact, it smells good from here! But it upsets me that you keep trying to push pieces of it onto my plate, not to mention it makes you seem immature. If it doesn’t upset me to have you eat a steak, why does it upset you that I’m not?
You just want to feel superior to others.
Nope. I don’t for one second believe I’m superior than omnivores. I simply practice a diet that goes along with my personal religious beliefs and philosophy. I also don’t wear fur or leather, is this “bad” now too?
I also understand that there are people who physically cannot be vegetarian, or who simply don’t wish to be. They’re just as worthy of common courtesy and respect as myself. I’ve found that doing something just to feel “superior” makes one into an asshole…how is that better? Answer: It isn’t.
So, what does everyone think? Do you know any vegetarians? Are you one yourself? What conversations have you had about this topic, and what other odd things have you heard about this dietary choice?