Posts Tagged ‘omnivore’

How Not to Talk to a Vegetarian

January 14, 2010 16 comments

I’ve been a vegetarian for three years.  A diet choice that is not particularly popular in the United States but is at least gaining recognition in the general public.  I’m not the proselytizing type of vegetarian.  I don’t confront people about it unless they bring it up (or they willingly read my blog, hah).  The most I do unprovoked is to say that I’m a vegetarian and sometimes further explain what my dietary restrictions are if the person doesn’t know.  I choose to be this way, because I’m a libertarian, and I believe that what a person eats is her choice, even if I disagree with it and wish she wouldn’t eat that way.  So I keep my mouth shut about all the reasons to be vegetarian unless they ask me, which happens a surprising amount.

Anyway, for the most part my lack of militance is met with a similar lack of confrontation in return.  They may get a confused look on their face, but that’s generally about it.  In fact, I’m pleased that for the most part, people are genuinely nice about it and express concern in the restaurant or in their house that what I eat isn’t against my morals.  I greatly appreciate this.  Sometimes though, I have a much more negative experience.

An example of such a situation happened last night.  I was out at a pub with four other gals, one of whom is vegetarian like me.  A couple of the omni girls were discussing ordering a pizza, when one of them asked if we liked steak, to which the other one responded, “Oh they’re both vegetarian.”  Myself and the other veg nodded to which the Questioner responded, “Hahahaha, oh really? I ate a baby cow earlier today, hahahaha.”

Even though this pissed me off, I ignored it.  Myself and the other veg turned down pizza, getting fries instead, and the omnis got a steak and potato pizza.  After it arrived the Questioner again started gleefully shoving in our faces the fact that she was eating an animal, had earlier that day, and would continue to, repeatedly mentioning baby animals in particular.

It is hard enough for me to smell and see meat.  Seriously, it grosses me out, and normally I only am able to maintain my appetite when eating with omnis by just making myself “forget” that they’re eating meat.  Like I said earlier.  It’s their choice, and I don’t want diet differences to come between me and my friendships.

However, it is just not cool to gleefully wave in a known vegetarian’s face that you’re eating an animal.  Imagine if you were eating dinner out with a cannibal who started to gleefully tell you how they’d just eaten a baby’s brains that morning.  Would you be able to stomach your own food?  Would you be comfortable or happy at all?

And this sort of thing isn’t a random occurrence.  It happens with relative regularity.  I’ve been taunted by small time farmers who tell me all about how they’re going to slaughter the chickens that day.  I’ve had omnis regale me with the sheer animalistic pleasure they feel in ripping meat apart with their teeth.  I’ve also been taunted that I look ghostly or gaunt and clearly I must be vitamin deficient.  I’ve also been told that I’m slowly starving myself to death.

Well, you know what?  Vegetarians get it that you like to eat meat.  If you didn’t want to eat meat, you wouldn’t.  Ranting to us about how much you love to eat meat reeks either of immaturity or insecurity.  Either you enjoy an easy way to make someone uncomfortable in a social situation or our choice makes you feel insecure for whatever reason.  Maybe you really do feel guilty for eating meat so you lash out.  Maybe you’re worried that suddenly the US will become predominantly vegetarian instead of omnivore.  All I know is, you’re not being respectful of other human beings when you act this way.

I know some vegetarians can be militant, but if the vegetarian you’re around right that instant isn’t being militant and all that happened is she stated she’s vegetarian, just nod and say “ok,” and leave it at that.  I respect your right to your food choices.  You should respect mine.

Diet Terminology

September 29, 2009 7 comments

It’s not easy to live in America and not follow the traditional American diet.  As a vegetarian I am highly aware of this.  Therefore I tend to try to send nothing but happy thoughts to my fellow non-traditional foodies, be they gluten-free, vegan, kosher, etc….  However I kind of have a beef (pun intended) with one group of them right now.  I’m looking at you pescetarians.

It is absolutely cool that you choose to abstain from all meat but fish.  I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.  What really pisses me the fuck off though is those of you who are running around claiming to be vegetarians.  You are not vegetarians!!

From Merriam-Webster: vegetarian: one whose diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products

Do you see fish listed in there? Are fish vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, eggs, or dairy products? No? Then you are not a vegetarian! You are a pescetarian.

Here’s Merriam-Webster to help you out again: pescetarian: one whose diet includes fish but no meat

I know. You’re sitting there going Why does this woman have such a problem with what I call myself, right?

How you label yourself directly impacts me.  It’s hard enough to be a vegetarian and have to explain to people things like it’s not appropriate to give your vegetarian niece marinara sauce cooked with meatballs in it, even though you’re not giving her meatballs there is still meat juice all up in that.  I know you face things like that yourself when you explain that you don’t eat chicken.  Pescetarians running around calling themselves vegetarians means I now repeatedly have this conversation:

Me: “I’m sorry. I can’t eat that.  It has fish in it, and I’m a vegetarian.”
Person: “Vegetarians eat fish.”
Me: “Um, no they don’t.”
Person: “But I know someone who’s vegetarian, and she totally eats fish!”

You are making things more difficult for us vegetarians.  It’d be like if I ran around calling myself vegan and gnawing down cheese.  Vegans already are a bit confusing to the public, how much more would that confuse them then? You are just wrong.   You are using the wrong word for your diet.  Even freaking Merriam-Webster says so.  I know pescetarian is a funky-sounding word and you will probably have to explain it a bit more to the public since it is not as well-known as vegetarian.  Do it anyway.  It’s what you are. If you really want to call yourself a vegetarian stop eating damn fish!