Five Things Vegetarians And Vegans Are Sick Of Hearing

I am not, by nature, an evangelical person. I am the kind of person that will quietly enjoy a band or artist for years without ever mentioning them. I am the kind of person that will say "I don't know" when asked what movies she enjoys, even though I know very well. I am a lifelong vegetarian, and vegan for nearly 20 years (bar a time in my teens where I ate some dairy) and yet, I realised recently, that in three or four years of blogging, I have never blogged about it. I am much more vocal on Twitter, where I try to use my platform to advocate for animal rights causes where I can. Still though, I can get so wary of being branded a preachy vegetarian, that I haven't shared with any of you just how much I love this lifestyle. Remaining quiet hasn't saved me from the evangelism of others, however. On a daily basis, I still receive the same line of questioning from meat-eaters who just don't understand the issue all that well. I respect everybody's right to make their own informed decisions and prefer to leave people to eat as they please. In the spirit of leaving people to eat as they please, here are a few things that most, if not all vegetarians, will be sick to death of hearing.

"So why are you vegetarian?" Firstly, and with respect, if you really think about it...this is none of your business. Secondly, it's a very defensive question to ask, because you're demanding that someone explain their personal choice to you just because it's different to your own. If I sat down at a table to have dinner with you and asked "so why do you eat meat?", you would think it rude and obnoxious. It doesn't come across any better the other way around. Thirdly, and most importantly, I am not your vegan library. There is plenty of easily Google-able information on the environmental, moral, and health-related reasons not to eat meat, so if you are genuinely interested in the answer to this question, please show some initiative and do the research yourself. Or not, whatever.

"Do you mind if I eat meat?" This is often a well-meaning and considerate question, but I still find it completely perplexing. The people who ask it seem to be under the impression that I don't share tables with people who have made different lifestyle choices to me, which is a bit ridiculous. I don't care what people eat while I am around, but I have been told not everyone feels this way, so fair enough.

"I could never give up meat" I didn't ask you to, hun. My choice isn't an attack on your choice. I don't agree with your decision to unnecessarily consume animal products that have come from extreme suffering, but I certainly don't want to sit here and listen to your explanations and justifications. I'm not the vegan police. I just want to eat my bean burger in peace.

"Where do you get your iron/protein?" This question is frankly embarrassing, and I wish people would look up "plant sources of iron and protein" before asking it of any veggie or vegan. It is incredibly easy to meet your protein and iron requirements on a plant-based diet. Like most gym-goers, I use the app MyFitnessPal every day to make sure I hit my macro-nutrient goals, and I have my protein goal set much, much higher than the average - I lift weights and train very hard. I manage to eat a gram of protein per lb of my own body weight every single day. All on a plant-based diet. Green veggies, tofu, seitan, quinoa, soy, nuts, seeds, and even things like pasta and oatmeal all contribute to meeting your protein requirement.

"Bacon though?" Sometimes, when someone is particularly insecure about their own choices and goes heavily onto the defensive, they will start to mock you for being plant-based. They often act as if meat is some kind of forbidden fruit that must be torture for you to sit and watch someone else consume, or conversely, that it's disgusting and something they can torture you with. I've had people literally run through a list of all their favourite types of meat and ask me if I've ever tried them. I've had people wave a plate of bacon in front of my face as if it would scare and disgust me. I've had people trick me into eating meat, thinking it was hilarious. A lot of people like to make an awkward joke out of not being able to offer me some of their food as well, because they feel embarrassed. There's no need for this, guys. It's okay. Everything gonna be okay. I hate the smell of bacon, and wouldn't even eat it if I did eat meat.

If you'd like some basic info on the logic behind a vegan/veggie lifestyle, then check out this presentation by The Vegan Atheist, and if you want tips on going veggie, then check out this video by Anastasjia Louise. For general education on veganism, I love Kate Powell. And if you just want a great recipe for vegan pancakes, click here.

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