Sunday, August 08, 2010

Food Choices

For the last few years or so, I've been a mostly vegetarian.  I ate fish.  However, I am thinking about trying my hand at being vegan.  Now I am not usually one to care about what other people think, but I guess I do kind of care when it alters my life in any way, shape or form.  Why can't people just mind their own business and let me live my own life the way I want to?

Reasons that eating vegetarian or vegan around other people can be a trial:

 Most people don't know what it is and can't pronounce it. Or they don't know the difference.

 It's hard to get a decent meal in a regular restaurant.  And that is important when you are a foodie like me.

People who've heard you're a vegan or vegetarian expect you to be really thin when they meet you. Sorry!  My genes don't seem to work that way.

People expect you to be humorless, strident, and out to convert them.  I really don't give a shit what you eat.  I think everyone should think exactly like I do, however I know that is unrealistic.

People automatically think you're a radical, tree-hugging peacemaker, which maybe you are, but still....

Your in-laws think you are strange. Hell, even your own family thinks you are strange!  It's possible that this was true even before I became a vegetarian.

Your friends tell you that a cheese-less pizza is not really a pizza and will not split one with you.

When you tell someone that you're a vegetarian (because they asked!), they tell you that they really want to eat healthier and then go into all the reasons(i.e., excuses) why its too hard and they can't. But you weren't interested in having the conversation go that direction, and you can't seem to get them to get off it.

It's really tiresome the billionth time somebody asks you, "What do you eat?" with that you-must-be-crazy look on their face.

The food you pack for meals becomes the topic of conversation...EVERY DAY!

Others feel driven to point out that vegetables are alive too! (insert huge eye-roll here)

People will never believe (no matter how often you tell them after they brought it up) that you eat this way all the time, even at home. (After all, you can't live without meat, can you? *snicker)

When people find out you don't eat meat, they jump to conclusions and automatically have the argument, "If we didn't hunt, more deer would die from starvation, and anyone who thinks differently is IGNORANT."  I personally don't care that you hunt and eat what you (hopefully) humanely killed.  Who said anything about hunting?  I didn't.

People assume you'll be offended by every little thing.  Look, I honestly do not care what you put into your own body.  Some people might preach to you, but don't assume all vegan/vegetarians are the same.  Do all black men play basketball?  Do all Asian woman give great messages?  Do all Native Americans wear feathers every fucking day?  Quit stereotyping!

Due to your vegan, non-violence philosophy you must restrain yourself from strangling your "friend" when he tells the "screaming tomatoes" joke for the fifteenth time.

People assume you are vegan because you are trying to lose weight. Then they say, "lean chicken is the ticket! Remember, lean chicken!"

 Your spouse becomes an instant expert on vegan-ism (after all, they know YOU right?) and try to order for you in restaurants.(I will not discuss the eggplant parmigiana incident at this time.)

If I hear that I am taking food away from the bunnies (lettuce) one more time....

People think that you must be anemic or have some other sickness if you're vegan. You just can't be getting proper nutrition! They keep pointing out, "You look kind of pale today" or "You look tired" or "Are you feeling okay? Are you really feeling okay?"

People assume that being vegetarian means you don't do anything unhealthy, like eat chocolate or drink, so when you do those things, they act all shocked. They do make vegan beer and wine you know. (But no one is shocked when your meat eating friend smokes...Hmmmm...)

People you eat out with get exasperated when you try to determine what exactly is in the food you are ordering. (If it were an allergy, it would be fine, but since it's a choice, it's weird.)  This really pisses me off.

It's tiring that your vegetarian lifestyle being the big topic of conversation at EVERY social dinner you attend.  (this blog is different, it's mine and I'll discuss anything I want to.)

When a person you are just introduced to hears that  you are vegetarian, he says,"Oh, what about your husband. Is he normal?"  Wait. What?

When I steal a line from Phoebe on "Friends" and  tell someone that I don't eat anything with a face and they sarcastically reply "well potatoes have eyes and lettuce has a head."  I love that.  Never heard before either.

Being told "You can pick the meat off." In exasperation, I once replied,"Well, for me that would be the same as if I crapped on your food and told you that you could just pick it off. Would you?"

How many omnivores get asked what their typical meals are? And how many of them are quizzed on their balance of nutrients or eating ethics?

And last, but not least:

I hate always having to answer the question, "Why don't you eat meat?" In spite of all the reasons I could cite, the truth is that I just don't want to, and I shouldn't have to justify it every day of my life.


  1. Awesome post! There were a few even I haven't heard (like the potatoes with eyes and the head lettuce!)

  2. great post, love the pictures.
    you write up about a lot that is important people pay attention to because i see it happen a lot with my friends who are vegs or vegans

  3. You should come to Hong Kong, where you'll find a lot of vegetarian restaurants.

    There are two big problems with vegetarianism: it isn't easy to ensure adequate protein intake [most vegetable sources are incomplete]; and there are no vegetable sources of vitamin B12. I'd be interested to know how you work around these difficulties.

    Slow Food summarizes my food philosophy.

  4. My protein intake is fine, and I take a B-12 vegan supplement.

    Incomplete proteins? That's not such a big deal. You already know that grains and legumes are rich in complex carbohydrate and fiber. Now you learn that they can be an excellent source of protein as well; it just takes a little bit of work and know-how. By combining foods from grains, legumes, nuts and seeds you create a self-made complete protein. You see, the foods in one category may be missing amino acids that are present in the foods in another catagory. When eaten in combination at the same meal (or separately throughout the day), your body receives all nine essential amino acids. Voila!