If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or even someone who makes conscious health decisions, you can relate to this scenario.
I was recently out celebrating a family member’s birthday and after we finished catching up, we sat down to what was supposed to be a lavish dinner. I was handed the menu and as I glanced over the options I saw filet mignon, chicken-parmesan, and shrimp scampi being offered. Typical.
It then appeared to me that I had three options. I could either politely ask the waiter if the chef could make one of the dishes available to me without any meat, I could choose to wait to eat until after I got home, or I could continue to sit here and beat myself up for not trusting my gut and eating dinner before I left for the event since I have already experienced this scenario 5,000 times. (Number 3 happens a lot)
But before I even had a chance to choose from one of these options, everyone around me quickly recognized that I was not interested in eating what was being offered, in which my response was “I do not eat meat”.
Shock spreads around the table and my “why are you a vegetarian?” interview commences.
All vegetarians, vegans, or even health conscious individuals can relate to the feeling of being bombarded by questions during this infamous interview. The worst part is that the questions aren’t even slightly varied. In fact, they are the same eight questions that are asked over and over again.
To save any vegetarians and vegans from the frustration of being singled out at just about every social event where food is involved, I will now answer the same eight questions that we are continually forced to respond to.
1.) Where do you get your protein from?
This is by far the most commonly asked question that all vegans and vegetarians are tired of hearing. Believe it or not, other foods have protein besides meat. For example, quinoa, nut-butters, soy, tempeh, beans, and the same protein powder that you put in your pre-gym smoothies, are packed with healthy protein (just to name a few). The stereotype that removing meat from your diet will cause you to instantaneously pass out from having a lack of protein to maintain stamina is completely false. I’ve been eating this way for years now and I still made it to this point in my life to write this article.
2.) The animals are going to die anyway, so why not just eat them?
Actually, no. The 56 billion farmed animals that are killed a year would not be dead if more people stopped eating them. This statistic does not even include any type of seafood. In fact, in the three minutes that it took to you to read this article, 540,000 animals were killed in slaughterhouses across the world.
The chicken that you sautéed last night in salt and pepper was also most likely “suffocated, gassed, or minced alive”. Or there is the occasional, breathing of “ammonia and particulate matter from feces and feathers all day long. Many suffer from chronic respiratory diseases, weakened immune systems, bronchitis, and “ammonia burn,” a painful eye condition.”
In addition, non-organic chickens are fed growth hormones and their rapid weight gain causes their lungs to collapse, heart failure, and makes them unable to walk to reach the water nozzle in their cage, which in return forces them die.
Therefore, the myth that animals get “humane sleeping pills” before they end up on your plate is just flat out wrong.
So long story short, yes I actually do this because I do feel like I am making a difference. I choose to not participate in the activities described above. Each vegan saves about 200 animals a year and if that is a difference that I can make while still eating vegan pizza, ice-cream, and being in the best shape of my life, then why not???
Furthermore, another reason why every vegetarian no longer wants to hear this question is because it is typically accompanied by the famous, “You know that plants are alive too, right?”
Yes, I know that plants are alive too. However, the fact that plants do not have sensory organs and do not express fear makes the situation slightly less violent. See the difference?
3.) Aren’t you hungry eating carrot sticks all day?
No, I am not hungry. I eat the same exact things that you do. I eat burgers, french-fries, milk-shakes, and sushi. My food just has different ingredients in it and I feel that they nourish my body and help me to live my healthiest life. Everybody’s health situation is different, but for my own personal reasons, I choose to live this way.
4.) Did you know that it is really expensive to be vegan and eat organic?
The last time I checked, meat was more expensive than fruits, vegetables, and grains.
However, yes, organic fruit is more expensive than conventional fruit. In the same way that some people like to spend their money on designer clothes, I am willing to put an extra dollar towards my fruit in order to not consume preservatives and pesticides. These preservatives can build up in your body and cause cancer, heart damage, and breathing difficulties. I personally just don’t want to eat those.
5.) Where do you get your nutrients from?
There are thousands upon thousands of fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains in this world and I can guarantee you that even the most strict vegan is still not familiar with them all because there are just so many options. For example, did you know that there are 1,600 different species of bananas throughout the world? I know, right now you’re probably thinking, “I have only ever seen the yellow ones”.
But seriously, I was raised on a typical American diet and I know that I ate chicken about three times a week, if not more. I know that I had the same types of foods for breakfast, such as pancakes, eggs, waffles, etc. So why do we get hated on for eating the same food groups as well?
If you are going to go vegan, you have to put some research into your decision. I consume a large variety of foods in order to cover all of the nutrients that my body needs. This has introduced me to so many great superfoods and has also allowed me to create so many new tasty dishes that I absolutely love. I honestly know that I will never go back.
6.) Do you know that there are other ways to diet?
I do not eat this way to lose weight. I am not and will never go on a diet. This is a lifestyle that I chose to live by because I truly believe that it supports my health, as well as my belief in animal rights.
7.) Do you know that this makes you a food snob and a believer in “bro science”?
What does this even mean? Apparently anyone that watches what they eat and stays up to date on the latest research on fitness is a believer in “bro science”. And in terms of the food snob comment, anyone that prefers certain food groups over others is not a snob. Since when did not eating every single food group equally define someone as a snob?
Of course if you were to genuinely ask me one of these questions because you were curious about my lifestyle, I would have no problem answering them at all. But it is the individuals who ask these questions in a manner to try to prove their own agenda against vegetarians, vegans, or “health snobs” that is just flat out wrong.
I have never once went to a party and asked someone why they are eating meat, so what makes everyone else thing that they have the right to question me ordering a salad?
So if you are dating a vegetarian, have a co-worker that is a vegetarian, or have a sibling that recently decided to make this lifestyle change, instead of bombarding them with the “Why are you a vegetarian” interview, try to accept that you may no longer be splitting a dinner with them at Morton’s Steakhouse, but you can definitely still go grab sushi.