Once you tell people you don’t eat meat, you’ll be subjected to the same string of things vegetarians hear around the clock. I find it funny because it’s almost like an inside joke with other vegetarians because you can relate to what people have said. You know, those people who come up and want to add their two cents. As if you haven’t heard these things vegetarians hear all the time. Here are a few of my favorites that always seem to slip their way into conversations.
The first thing vegetarians hear is a question about protein. “Well, how do you get protein then?” This question always seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. After all, they are nutrition experts aren't they? No matter how many times you talk about beans, tofu, TVP and peanut butter, you’re bound to hear that same question only moments later. Sometimes when I don’t want to get into the list of the benefits of Greek yogurt and hummus, I nonchalantly say, “Oh, I don’t eat protein.” It’s funny to see how people react just to spice things up.
When you tell someone you don’t eat meat, they start to become uncomfortable. If I had a nickel every time someone asked me if it was okay to eat meat in front of me, I’d be one rich girl. I don’t get offended when people eat meat in my presence. To be honest, I think it would be weirder if they avoided eating it because that would make more of a scene.
3. I Was Vegetarian Once
Ask anyone and they will tell you how they were vegetarian once but it only lasted for about a month. They couldn’t live without steak, hamburgers or bacon. Actually, you don’t even need to ask because everyone jumps in with this antidote. Part of me feels that people tell this story over and over again to seem relatable but honestly, it doesn’t do much to rehash it.
4. Picking out the Meat
Be prepared for someone to make a stew or meat-laden dish for you and kindly ask you to just eat around the meat. Sorry, folks, it doesn’t work that way. If you know you’re cooking for a vegetarian, my suggestion would be to cook the meat separately so that anyone who wants it can add it to their dish. Also, it’s never fun picking off the meat from pizza. Just order half with meat and half without if you really want pepperoni or sausage.
5. Recipes with Meat
The one problem I always run into is when trading recipes with people. My friends might say they like a certain type of meat and I’ll jump in and describe a delicious meat dish that I think they will love. Some of my friends are appalled that I would recommend a meat dish to them that I wouldn’t eat. I’m not stupid, I know what works and what doesn’t. Just because I chose not to eat meat doesn’t mean I suddenly lose all awareness that beef tastes good in lasagna.
6. Killing Plants
Talk about how vegetarians are killing plants and I will leave the room. This age-old argument is ridiculous. Yes, I know plants are living but that doesn’t mean they cry out in agony when someone picks them. For the love of all sanity out there, please don’t start this conversation with any vegetarian.
Not all vegetarians stop eating meat for animal rights reasons. I stopped eating meat because I didn’t feel good eating it. Others may do it for religious or cultural reasons. I wouldn’t assume that every vegetarian is necessarily doing it because they can’t stand to see a poor chicken killed. And after a while, meat doesn’t even seem appetizing to you anymore.
If you’re a vegetarian, I’m sure that you’ve heard these things before and even got a chuckle out of looking back on them. If you’re one of the people who raises these points, I hope you reconsider before having the same old conversation with vegetarians. What are some things you hear all the time?