Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vegetarian

I avoid telling people I'm a vegetarian.  When I do finally have to mention it because someone is offering me meat or inviting me to a steakhouse, I cringe inside.  Vegetarians get portrayed as preachy health-nuts trying to push their eating habits on everyone around them, but let me tell you, carnivores, plenty of you can be just as annoying.

So, do you eat chicken?

I am utterly horrified by the sheer number of people who literally do not know what meat is.  Regardless of whether or not you eat meat, you should at least be able to identify basic food groups.

Look, you can have a salad!

If you are at a restaurant with a vegetarian, you do not need to assume personal responsibility for choosing their meal.  Vegetarians have eyeballs and are perfectly capable of reading the menu.

Not to mention, vegetarians eat things other than salad.  Personally, I eat non-salad foods on a regular basis, and I especially avoid eating restaurant salads.  Most restaurant salads consist mainly of iceberg lettuce, which tastes like solidified water and has little to no nutritional value.

But how do you get enough protein?

I've been a vegetarian for almost six years, and I've managed to not only keep myself alive, but also to go hiking all the time without passing out, so obviously I'm getting protein somewhere.  I am not going to list every source of protein in my diet for someone's personal edification and amusement, because that is boring and awful.

Why are you a vegetarian?

I feel like people expect me to have a long philosophical rant about the evils of meat-eating memorized and ready to be recited at any moment, but my reasons for being a vegetarian are pretty dull.  Some people in my family have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and heart problems, and one day I thought, "Maybe if I don't eat meat I won't have to get my heart cut open someday."  Although I must admit, when I see a cute animal, I do derive a tiny bit of satisfaction from knowing its muscle tissue will never end up in my digestive tract.

Now I'm afraid someone is going to be reading this while gnawing on a giant hunk of beef and be offended.  Please don't stop reading my blog, beef-gnawing readers.  I respect your life choices.

The reason that question annoys me is because the person is usually asking so that they can then proceed to argue with whatever reason I give.  "Well, sugar isn't healthy, are you going to stop eating that too?"  "Plants die when you eat them, doesn't that make you feel bad?"  It shouldn't matter why I'm a vegetarian.  Whether I did it because I thought it might be healthier, or because aliens came to my room at night and told me to, I shouldn't have to defend my reasons to anyone.  I don't ask people why they eat meat, and I really don't care.  We should all just eat what we want and not have to talk about it.  If you want to spend the rest of your life eating mud soup, I support you!  (Just don't offer me a bowl, because, gross.)

Now that you're all panicking and wondering if you've ever annoyed any vegetarians, let me reassure you:
1.  You probably have annoyed them, but
2.  It's not a big deal because they probably know you didn't mean to, or
3.  They are harboring a deep personal grudge and plotting your imminent demise.  Move to another state immediately, or even better, move to Siberia.  No one goes to Siberia.


  1. Carnivore? I'm an omnivore :)

    The only vegetarians that irritate me are those that have decided that eating cod is fine because "fish isn't a meat". Sigh.

    Anyways, on the bright side, we're going to run out of meat soon and all of those who eat meat (err, including me) will be eating bugs instead. Om nom nom.

    Ed - Empire's 5-star 500

    1. But carnivore sounds so much more awesome! I guess I'm really an omnivore as well. I eat lots of things herbivores wouldn't eat, like dairy products.

      Also, those cod-eating people were the reason I labeled the fish "sort of meat?" It's really funny how fish is such a weird "gray area" for a lot of vegetarians.

  2. I do love me a good bit of meat (that's what she said), but I'm happy enough on a non-meat diet too. A few vegetarians that I've known have been very holier-than-thou. Ooh look at me, not eating meat, not being responsible for the death of animals, aren't I so moral and upstanding?! At least, when all food sources run out and we have to resort to cannibalism, I won't go hungry :D

    1. Yeah, those vegetarians are the reason I hate telling people I'm a vegetarian. I almost feel like I have to apologize for every douchey vegetarian ever.

  3. I was a vegetarian for a few years. I got sick and tired of the way people picked on me because of it, but when I started eating meat again, it was on a limited basis and because I wanted to eat it. Not because of the pick, pick, pick, such as, How can you wear leather boots? Well, guess what, bitchy person, my boots are faux. My fur is faux. I am faux.


    1. I'm even worse because I actually DO own leather boots, but they were a gift from someone and I really needed them, so I wear them. I mean, the cow is already dead regardless of whether or not I give them away. I guess you could apply that to meat too, but boots last way longer than meat and are also more expensive. That's almost like logic, right?

  4. I sometimes think I could be a vegetarian because I don't eat a huge amount of meat but then I do like a Sunday roast and bacon sandwich! I do hope I haven't offended any vegetarians in my lifetime :)

    1. As long as you didn't ask, "Do you still eat chicken?" I'm sure it didn't even register with them. So you're probably safe.

  5. Haley,

    I am so glad you wrote this post about life choices, specifically foods. You see, I have been continually harassed for my own choices in this matter, so now that you have "opened the door," so to speak, I feel comfortable explaining my stance (no matter how unpopular it may be):

    I am a ... chocolatarian. It is very painful for me to admit and discuss, and truth be told, it is a lifestyle of eating that I adopted at a VERY young age (four, or possible three). Like many people in my minority, I became a chocolatarian because my late mother was ALSO a chocolatarian. (I know what you are thinking-- did being a chocolatarian cause her premature death? no, she died of cancer of the lungs and breast, and there is no link to the chocolate.)

    I have been discriminated against mercilessly ("Try some VANILLA ice-cream for once, MOV!" or "A piece of strawberry shortcake won't kill you!"), and yet, I stay true to my beliefs and my diet.

    Fight the good fight, Haley. I admire you.


    1. It's okay, MOV. You're in a safe place here. Haley's Comic is accepting of herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, pescatarians (that's a real word, I swear), chocolatarians, and sometimes even vegans. It is a magical place where you can be yourself and let your chocolate flag fly.

  6. I like that you went out of your way to explain your reason even while saying there shouldn't need to be a reason. A little confusing, but very courageous. Also, what is tofu and why do people think it's food?

    1. I almost didn't include the reason, but then I was afraid I might get a million comments asking the reason, so I included it. I also thought it would help emphasize the point that my reason is pretty dull. But yeah, I debated about it a little bit, and now my secret is out.

      Also, it's funny you mention tofu, because I don't eat much tofu, and that surprises people. They're like, "How can you be a vegetarian and not eat tofu?" As though that's the only thing vegetarians eat. I mean, if it's cooked well, it's not bad, but if it's cooked badly, it's just disgusting.

  7. I completely agree and feel it's guilt on the part of us meat eaters, we know it's wrong but do it anyway. We do we all care so much what someone else does, why is it a big deal?
    I only have a problem with the people that make a big deal of being veggies then ask in an annoyed voice if there's any chicken for them, idiots.
    Great post as usual:)
    maggie at expat brazil

  8. I am a vegetarian and I get these questions too, but I do it because I can't digest meat...also that shuts them up very quickly, yay

  9. Thank you for saying it so well for the rest of us veggies. I'm going on 22 years or so of vegetarianism. And no, I don't eat fish (grrr!). ;)

  10. Tofu creeps me out, but this blog doesn't. That's why I'm nominating you for a Liebster award. (That sounded like a much better transition in my head.) You don't have to accept if you don't want to. Click on this link to find out more: