A little over a year ago, I chose to become vegetarian. Lots of people around me, AKA parents and friends, believed it to be a “teenage phase” I was going through, but since making the choice, I couldn’t imagine going back. To be honest, when I chose to cut out meat, it wasn’t for any particular reason.
Many veg-heads make the conscious switch because of GMO’s, animal abuse, dietary reasons and so on but, in all honesty, I just tried it out of curiosity. Even I didn’t think I’d be able to do it for that long, I’ve proved myself wrong. Vegetarianism has become a part of who I am and has now become a cause I would be willing to advocate for.
After becoming vegetarian, I discovered that there have been a few recurring situations that seem to come up quite frequently in my life.
I’m not a hippie
“You’re a veg-head? Does that mean you’re a hippie?”
“Um, not necessarily? I don’t think exploring altered states of consciousness through psychedelic drugs should be confused with eating vegetables.”
I don’t believe this is the worst connection that could be made for vegetarians. To be honest, I think the hippies of the 60s had some valid points in their time, and universal love is arguably something that the world needs more of today.
I mean, didn’t President Obama just point out that unconditional love will have the final word in his last State of the Union? I do think gun violence is an issue that should be confronted, and love should be free of gender barriers, but me eating fruits and vegetables has nothing to do with believing that. Wait. AM I A HIPPIE?
Regardless, my point is that just because someone chooses something that might be considered “counter-culture,” such as choosing to cut out meat, does not mean they embody or represent the term “hippie.”
I’m not vegan
“I think that’s cool that you’re vegetarian. What do you miss most since choosing the vegan lifestyle?”
Contrary to a surprisingly popular belief, “vegan” is not an abbreviation for “vegetarian.” The two are not the same thing. I repeat, veganism and vegetarianism are NOT the same.
To put it simply, vegetarian is used to describe a diet, whereas vegan is used to describe a lifestyle. A vegetarian chooses not to eat meat. In contrast, someone who is vegan chooses not to eat meat or use animal products in any form. So the next time you explain the difference between vegan and vegetarian to Uncle Joe, realize you’re not alone.
I’m not just being difficult
“Are you sure you can come out to eat with us? I’ve told you that this is the restaurant we’re going to, right? Will you be able to eat there?”
“I think I’ll be fine. Restaurants are usually up-to-date with vegetarian restrictions unless they’ve been living in a hole for the past couple hundred years and plan to lose a couple hundred customers in the process.”
For all of the herbivores reading this, I’m willing to assume that you’ve had this type of conversation once or twice, when people subtly hint that making plans with you is “so difficult” because of your dietary restrictions. But in the great words of Destiny’s Child, I’m a survivor. I will eat a salad and breadsticks if that’s what it comes down to.
I’m not extreme, pretentious, etc.
“I heard you’re a vegetarian. Why?”
“Well, there are a few reasons.”
“Expand. Or is it just some kind of hipster phase you’re going through?
“Um, I don’t think so. I mean, I started cutting meat out because of health concerns, such as GMO’s, but since then, I’ve realized there’s just no need to consume meat and I simply have no desire to eat it anymore.”
“What’s wrong with GMO’s? There’s no proof that they cause bad repercussions.”
“Well, I guess you don’t have to agree with me. It was just a decision I made because I have personal opinions about it.”
“Honestly, I think going completely vegetarian or vegan is a bit extreme and, no offense, a little pretentious.”
There is no doubt that choosing to be vegetarian is going to be a part of your identity. People will interrogate you, and people will probably offend you at times (I’m talking to you, Grandpa). So it’s up to you, fellow veggie enthusiasts, to endure through the offensive remarks because you believe it’s worth it.
- Choosing veggies over meat doesn’t mean we all have the same counter-culture beliefs of hippies from the 60’s. So peace out with that assumption.
- Vegan and vegetarian are not the same, but no matter how many times I say that there will be someone out there who still doesn’t get it. Google that shit.
- We veggie-lovers see you throwing us shade across the table. STOP.
- We’re not criminals and we don’t want the endless questioning. Where’s my Olivia Pope?