Veggies not offensive


I don’t eat meat. On many occasions I find myself explaining to people why I have made this choice. I am almost always hit with a barrage of questions, which has never surprised me. What surprises me the most is the reactions I get not only from strangers, but from my own friends and family. I never expected that people would get offended or even defensive about my decision.

When I made the choice to stop eating red meat four years ago, the decision came easy. I had read about how cows were treated before they were slaughtered. I didn’t agree with it, so I stopped eating red meat. I didn’t miss it at all and I didn’t think twice.

The choice to become a full vegetarian was much harder. The more I learned about the treatment of all animals before slaughter, the more disgusted I became. So late last spring, I decided to give up meat all together.

Being a vegetarian is something I strongly believe in. It has become part of who I am. Although, I will admit that it hasn’t been easy as I thought it would. I’ve broken down a few times but I have yet to completely abandon my beliefs.

Being a vegetarian doesn’t cause anyone else any harm. It is not as if I am choosing to become a racist or setting buildings on fire out of spite for the government. I realize that with every set of beliefs, there are radicals and extremists. I am not one of those people. I am not setting cows free from their pens or vandalizing labs that do research on animals.

I’m not forcing anyone to change their minds or even asking them too. I don’t call people murderers simply because they eat meat. It seems like others see vegetarianism as a controversial issue, and I don’t. I see it as personal choice and a change in diet based on my own beliefs.

The things I hear from my friends and family are the usually the hardest to swallow. A close friend once asked me “What do you even eat?” I always thought the answer to that was obvious: not meat. People that I see frequently and know very well will still ask if I’d like to eat meat. They know I’m a vegetarian and have been for a while now. On another occasion a close friend said to me while cooking dinner “Well, if you decide to eat meat, you can have what we’re having.”

It’s insulting when my friends and family ask me those types of questions. These people are supposed to support me, regardless of what I choose to eat. They are constantly challenging me about something that I do everyday, something that is part of who I am. I would never ask a Christian friend if they’d like to stop believing in God. Nor would I ever ask a Republican friend if perhaps, today, they’d like to abandon their beliefs and become a Democrat.

I know that in some cases it is a polite gesture for my friends or family to offer me something that is non-vegetarian, simply because it is being served. But at some point, I am the one who becomes offended.

So the next time you invite me over for dinner, assume that I’m not going to want to eat meat. I’ll even bring something that is vegetarian for everyone to enjoy. Maybe we can all bond together over tofu lasagna.