Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things people say to vegetarians

I've been a vegetarian for about nine years. This sparks a lot of curiosity in meat-eaters, which I usually don't mind. Here and there, people have seemed offended by my choice not to eat meat, but mostly these conversations go along the same lines:

How long have you been a vegetarian?
Nine years, though I usually have to stop and use my fingers to count.

Do you eat fish/dairy/eggs?
No seafood -- I don't think I've ever eaten fish, and I remember not liking shrimp -- but I do eat dairy and eggs. That makes me a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Someone who eats fish/seafood is a pescatarian. Someone who abstains from all animal products is vegan.

Why are you a vegetarian?
Meat -- what it is, where it came from -- just grosses me out. But I don't mind if you eat meat! I just can't watch you if there's any bones involved. Thank goodness there's always a million TVs at Buffalo Wild Wings!

Is it hard?
Quitting eating meat, for me, because of the reasons I stopped, it wasn't. The first thing I stopped eating was deli lunch meat and then it went from there.

Some parts of being a vegetarian are difficult -- especially travelling and being a guest at someone else's meal.

And when I first stopped as a self-conscious 15 year old, sometimes people's reactions were difficult. One girl on my volleyball team was convinced it was for attention, and some boys from my church jumped around like bunnies, saying I only ate rabbit food. But as an adult, no one has really given me a hard time about it.

Do you miss meat?
Nope. I miss the ease of not having to worry about having enough options. And, in the first year or so, I used to dream about burgers occasionally. But I really don't miss eating meat.

But ...

there are also some things you hear over and over again that can be pretty funny. So I thought I'd share some of my favorites. :)

You must have so much self control!!
Nah, I just don't like meat. You've never seen me eat ice cream.

I could be a vegetarian if I didn't love ______ so much.
Most common answer: chicken. Next most common: bacon. Sometimes steak.

I could never be a vegetarian. I don't like tofu.
Pah-lease. While I've eaten tofu, I have never cooked it for myself, which means it's not a regular staple in my diet.

Are you allowed to eat _____?
This one always cracks me up. It's like someone out there is stopping me from eating certain things. His Highness the Ruler of Vegetarians will kick me out of the club if I so much as look at an egg.
Yes I'm allowed to eat eggs and dairy. I'm also allowed to eat fish. I'm also allowed to eat meat. I choose not to, though.

I could be a vegetarian but I don't like cucumbers.
Oh yes, that is his Highness's greatest law. Thou must love cucumbers. :)

Are there any aspects of your life that people find really interesting? What kind of questions do they ask you?


Kate said...

This is interesting! My brother was a pescatarian for years, but he said his craving for a patty melt was too strong. And then he just quit. :P

There was a time when I considered becoming vegetarian. Then I laughed at myself. It's not something I felt SO strongly about to make me commit to it. And it really IS a commitment! I can't imagine how difficult it can be worrying about whether or not you'll have anything to eat when you go places.

I always meant to ask you about your vegetarianism. And now I know!

Ech and Will said...

You basically answered all the questions I didn't know I had about vegetarianism. It's not for me, but it's cool to hear about!

jaime said...

I have many friends who are vegetarian and even a couple of friends who are vegan. I've never had issues cooking for my vegetarian friends, but I could not even bake a cake for my intern's birthday/going away celebration last summer because she was vegan.

I think because I live in a city with so many vegan restaurants (and thus vegetarian options), I don't even give a second thought to it! I did cut meat out of my diet one summer and there are days that I consider eliminating it, but I haven't reached that point...yet.

Amy said...

the cucumbers one killed me! :)
I think it's awesome that you're a vegetarian!

Dara said...

I eat meat but I also eat vegetarian a lot, especially if I'm not at home. I find that most veggie offerings include eggplant, and I don't like eggplant! so for me I'd have to say "I could be vegetarian but I don't like eggplant." lol. actually I like meat just enough to not be vegetarian all the time!

Genna said...

My youngest sister is a vegetarian and she gets this stuff so much! It cracks us all up. I would say the hardest thing, just like for you, is making sure there is options. When she goes to volleyball camps and leadership camps or just to a friend's house for dinner she feels awkward asking to make sure there is a veg. option because she feels like she's putting other people out.

Amanda Bumgarner said...

People ask me about my job, being an editor. They either think it's the coolest thing ever or it's super weird that I like reading so much I'd do it all day long.

Amanda Bumgarner said...

Also, I couldn't be a vegetarian because I love me some burgers ;)

Tamara said...

I had no idea for the longest times there were different types of vegetarians - it all used to seem so absurd to me because I was like, "MEAT.GOOD. BACON.BETTER." Without even looking into what it most people I assumed tofu (which I've tried this past year, and eh, not bad) was what veg-heads entire diet consisted of.

I think I could be a vegetarian if I wanted to, but I don't want too. :) Like, I could eat coleslaw but I won't because it isn't my cup of tea. I thought your response with the willpower & ice cream was spot-on. Haha.

Great post Abs!

Melissa said...

Hahaha! Some of these really cracked me up. Those last two - hilarious. :)

My answer to the "I could be a vegetarian if i didn't love _____ so much" would be BURGERS. Oh dear. Do i love hamburgers. :)

Fun post!

Kaitlin said...

hahahaha! some of these are so funny! "you've never seen me eat ice cream" :D also do people really "love" chicken? it's so...boring. anyway the thing i get the most is people seeming like they think i think i'm better than them...if that makes sense. and i don't! it's my decision to eat "mostly" veg, I'm not going to pour red paint on you or anything!

Katrin said...

Haha so funny, you must eat cucumbers and tofu to become a member of the vegetarian club where you are not allowed to eat anything else. :)
Like you, I never had a problem to stop eating meat, it's just a decision you make and then you stick to it. But sometimes people's reactions can be pretty entertaining!


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