I've officially been a vegetarian since I was 15—about five years, now—but I began phasing meat out of my diet when I was just 12. I never liked the taste of it (except chicken nuggets) and I've always been an animal enthusiast, with full pages in childhood photo albums of myself petting various animals.
In my five years as a vegetarian, I've heard many of the same dumb questions and comments and I've become a master at answering them. For anyone who encounters a vegetarian in the near future (probably most of you) here's your guide to things all vegetarians are tired of hearing.
1. "I could never be a vegetarian. It must be so hard!"
Well, good thing it's a free country and you don't have to. I get that it's really hard for some people, and that's why (shocker) those people aren't vegetarians!
2. "Do you still eat cheese and eggs and stuff?"
It's a bit sad how many people still don't know the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan. Yes, I enjoy my eggs and cheese.
3. "You know that being a vegetarian isn't going to save the animals or anything, right?"
4. "Don't you ever want to just eat a nice cheeseburger or a piece of steak?"
Actually, no. My decision to be a vegetarian isn't solely animal or nutrition-based. I don't like the taste of most meats, so bye.
5. "Wow, you must be really hard to take out for dinner!"
Actually, I'm not. Most restaurants these days are vegetarian-friendly, so there's pretty much always an option for me.
6. "Are you trying to lose weight or something?"
NOOOOO. Just like meat-eaters, vegetarians come in all shapes and sizes.
7. "Don't you think you're being a bit pretentious?"
There's nothing pretentious about a person's dietary choice. That goes for vegans, gluten-free, paleo, raw vegan etc. To each their own.
8. "Do you think eating meat is immoral or something?"
No, I do not.
9. "So you only eat salads?"
10. "I once quit eating meat for four days."
11. "How do you get any protein?"
Believe it or not, there are many sources of protein for vegetarians. Stop asking this, please. I cannot answer it one more time.
12. "Being a vegetarian is super unhealthy."
Thanks for the professional opinion.
13. "Ugh, how do you survive without bacon?"
Many ways. Pizza. Chocolate. Cookies. Ice cream. The list goes on.
14. "Tofu is so gross..."
So don't eat it?
15. "If you love the animals so much, why are you eating their food?"
Next time you meet somebody and they tell you that they're a vegetarian, maybe just nod and smile. If they want you to know about their choice or how they do it, they'll tell you.