10 Questions every vegetarian and vegan is tired of hearing.
Although I am now a fully-fledged vegan, I wrote this a couple of weeks ago as I was just beginning to switch from being a vegetarian to becoming a vegan. And as I have a couple of weeks of vegan experience and 22 years of being a vegetarian, I felt more qualified in writing it as a vegetarian, but hopefully it will be relevant to all.
1. We’ll start with the nice obvious one – “Where do you get your protein from? And what about your iron?” I have answered this so many times I can reel off ‘Nuts, grains and pulses’ in my sleep, not to mention “Green leafy veg has really high levels of iron, it’s actually better absorbed by your body too.”
2. “I just don’t understand why vegetarians eat meat substitutes, if you’re going to eat a vegetarian sausage you might as well eat the real thing/why try and copy meat if you don’t want to eat it?”
My response – “I don’t have a problem with the shape of meat-sausages, I have a problem with the fact they made of dead animal, so as long as it doesn’t have dead animals in it, I will happily eat them!”
3. “Do you mind us talking about meat?” / ”Can I eat this in front of you?” / ”I’m having chicken for dinner, opps – sorry Ruth!”
I understand that these comments probably come from a good, if slightly misguided, place. But talking or seeing people eat meat does not bother me, and never will. I have grown up in a world where the majority of people eat meat, I have sat through birthday parties full of sausage rolls, I’ve seen 101 adverts for McDonalds, fish fingers and KFC and I have waited in line to order kebabs with my friends after a night out. Yes, in my dream world everyone is vegan. No, I don’t get personally offended if you decide to have chicken for dinner.
4. I am very aware this is going to become much more common when I turn vegan – “So what do you eat?”
Well, look at your diet, take out all the meat, add (or increase) the beans, nuts and pulses, and probably a bit more veg, and bam – a vegetarian diet.
5. “Wow! You’re a vegetarian, I could never do that!”
Well I could never eat meat, so how about, you stay a meat-eater, I stay a vegetarian and we are all happy! 🙂
6. “What about bacon? I can’t believe you don’t eat bacon!!”
You better believe it.
7. “You look so well considering you’re a vegetarian”
This one bugs me more than it should, I guess it just shows lack of knowledge about the diet, and assumes the vegetarian diet is somewhat lacking, as they expect vegetarians to be underweight and pasty. It also annoys me that people think of the vegetarian diet as a weight-loss diet, not a moral decision.
8. This is more specific to children who were brought up vegetarian or parents bringing up their children vegetarian. “I just don’t agree with parents enforcing their views on their children, they should decide for themselves if they want to be a vegetarian”
1. I have never heard these people complaining at religious families who go to church, or anyone who baptises or christens their child for that matter. and 2. Parents enforce their views on their children all the time, parents decide what children eat, where they will go to school, what they watch on TV and how much access they are allowed to the internet, to name but a few. I have friends who wanted to be vegetarians but parents didn’t allow it and forced them to eat meat, but these are all seen as fine. I, personally, am delighted my parents brought me up vegetarian and plan to do the same with my children someday.
9. “So what about fish?”
Argghhhhhhh! I have no problem with pescatarians, but please, PLEASE, stop calling yourself a vegetarian so people stop serving/asking me about fish.
10. “Okay, so just say you are stuck on a dessert island, and there was nothing to eat except meat, like nothing at all, you basically had to eat meat or you would die. What would you do then?”
I will get back to you with the answer when aliens arrive and take me to the dessert island, alone, with nothing but meat. (What do the animals eat I wonder..?)
And there we have it, do you have similar experiences? Or more to add? I would love to know if there are any more I should expect now I’m vegan.