After reading AsianVeganEat’s entry on Eye Rolling, I decided to write about what I think on the topic.
This topic is something that I have always struggled with when I started eating Pescatarian/Vegetarian. My sister and I are the only ones who do not eat meat in our family so when we do go to family parties, it is extremely hard. When we tell our relatives or friends that we don’t do eat meat; we get this, “Why?, Meat is so good, Animals are on the earth for you to eat” and the awkwardness begins. My boyfriend’s family is Filipino, and whoever’s Filipino understands that it is extremely rude for a person to turn down food when they are invited to eat. After changing their diet, I would not want to go over to his family parties or even family dinners because I knew I would be judged; and they’d probably judge me for FORCING their son to not eat meat. They’d talk in their language where I wouldn’t be able to understand and it really sucks. Over this last year, I’ve thought long and hard on what I could say to people so that they don’t be offended or I appear to be rude or snobby.
The first would just to stay easy-going. When you tell someone that you’re vegetarian, you’re either going to get “WHY?” or “OMG I’m sorry, I didn’t know!” Just stay happy and calm. Tell them, “Don’t worry, I can always find something to eat.” If they want to make you something, feel free to give them some tips on what you CAN eat, such as salads, pastas, etc. Many meat-eaters get stress when they have to prepare something for someone with a special diet because they feel like they have to prepare you a whole new meal that you’d love. Just reassure them that it’s okay, you’ll be fine, and you can probably find something in their kitchen. Being easy going will make things easier for everyone. Or you can always bring your own snacks. Actually, I encourage this, you never know what’s going to be served and don’t want to go hungry, especially when it’s at a place where you’re not as comfortable to ask to raid their kitchen. Haha.
The second step would be when they start asking questions: Why are you not eating meat? Practice, practice, practice your wording and only talk about the positives. Don’t say things like meat is so bad for you, animals get hurt, yadi yadi because those things will most likely offend others. Instead talk about how much vegetables make you feel better, if you’ve lost weight, energy levels.
The next aspect is talking about animals. Should you talk about animals? It’s extremely hard for me to talk about this to people, especially when they’re a little close-minded and judgmental. If I wanted to be rude, I’d just say, “What’s the difference between eating a cow or dog?” But we all know that’s not the way to go…you know, talking about animals brings up a whole other topic. I find it a lot easier to talk about health because you could say you’ve done research and don’t like how animals are treated in factories but then people might ask what about free-range. So I really think it’s your call but I’d just simply say, “It’s a personal choice that I don’t want to eat meat. I always make sure that I get enough nutrients.” Which brings up another point, many people don’t believe that eating vegetarian gives you enough nutrients and if they tell you that, just simply tell them, “You know, I’ve never felt better. The doctor believes my health is in great condition.” Simple as that.
The fourth aspect, what do you say if people say, “OMG I love bacon and cheeseburgers, I could never give that up.” Depending on who I’m talking to, many times, I don’t really say anything and sometimes, I’ll say, “you can still eat cheeseburgers!” Maybe they’ll be fascinated and try it themselves. There are some people that are always going to have something negative to say or something just to counteract what you’re saying. Sometimes, when asked why? I’ll just say, “my stomach doesn’t do well with meat” then no one can really say anything.
I hope that helps; I know how difficult it could be. There are times when I feel like I’m being judged but at the end of the day, their diet is theirs and yours is yours. You know exactly why you’re vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian and that’s what matters. Some people are nice about it and some will never understand. Just be nice and do you. Have a wonderful day.