Stop abhorring herbivores: Keep your hate off my plate

by zana pommier

pommierza@mnstate.edu

The easiest part of being a vegetarian is avoiding meat products. Yes, you read that correctly.

The hardest part? Dealing with people who feel entitled to comment on your lifestyle choices.

As someone who’s been a vegetarian for six years, I have a lot of experience with overly-concerned people who seem to always make my dinner plate their own business.

A lot of people like food because they feel like it’s the only thing they have full control over in their lives. This is not true in the lives of vegetarians, who are constantly bombarded at meals with unwarranted comments from nearly everyone around them.

Despite being such a personal choice, parents feel the need to inform you that you’re just “going through a phase” while friends spurt out “are you sure you don’t want a bite?”

Yes, I’m really sure I don’t want a hunk of your supersized, growth-hormone induced chicken breast.

I don’t care that your “crazy, liberal, lesbian aunt with 15 cats is a vegetarian and is so unhealthy.”

I would much rather hang out with someone open-minded like her than sit here and listen to your condescending comments every time we go out for lunch together.

Then comes the question, “Don’t you just miss meat? Doesn’t this smell so good?”

Actually, no. The longer I go without meat, the more repelled I am by it. And please, don’t tell me you’re actually offended I don’t want to enjoy your hunk of dead animal remains.

Then comes Thanksgiving dinner, when your grandma just can’t accept your choices and slathers gravy all over your plate.

Thanks, Grandma. I always wanted a heaping plate of death on a day of appreciation and thanks.

Afterwards, your cousin, deciding to put you on the spot and bring an argument to the dinner table, asks with a mouthful of turkey, “Hey, why did you become a vegetarian anyway?”

Gee, I don’t know, to save animals? To reduce air pollution? To minimize water pollution? To lower my risk for obesity, diabetes and cancer? To add 13 years to my life? Take your pick.

The best part is when other people feel the need to apologize on your behalf. While chatting with people and making plans for a barbecue, your friend turns to everyone, and with the biggest, most innocent eyes, explains, “Oh God, I’m sorry. My friend is a vegetarian.”

The word “vegetarian” itself just seems to make people pause. It’s almost as if you just told someone you steal people’s underwear.

In actuality, I try my best not to inconvenience anyone with my food choices. Whenever I go anywhere for more than a few hours, I make sure I bring something I can eat.

I don’t feel the need to apologize to anyone for what I put in my body. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I make sure I get the nutrients I need.

I am a perfectly healthy person, so please leave your criticisms off my dinner plate.

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