It’s true, things have changed for the better somewhat since I became a vegetarian at the age of 8 (I’m 30+ now), but I still get pretty irritated from time to time.
Here’s my rant – frustrations of a vegetarian.
I Constantly get questioned on my dietary choices
I have no problem talking about why I became a vegetarian for those who are genuinely interested in knowing more about me.
What I do have a problem with is when the conversation takes a steady turn into a more aggressive line of questioning. “Aren’t those leather boots?” “Aren’t you lacking protein?” “Are you one of those vegetarians who preach your ridiculous diet and break pigs out of transport trucks?”
I don’t question why a meat eater chooses to eat dead animals, so I would like the same respect in return.
People see me as a challenge when it comes to finding a place to eat out
When I first became a vegetarian (which would have been in the ‘90s), it was definitely challenging to find options on menus when eating out. In addition I was also a picky eater which didn’t help the situation much. Now in 2016, I can pretty much always find something I can eat on a menu.
The vegetarian diet has slowly, but surely been embraced by the majority of restaurants and there are even some vegetarian specific restaurants that offer no meat on the menu (my fav!). Don’t assume I will be a challenge; let me find that out for myself. The only think I ask is don’t take me to a steak restaurant where you set me up to fail on this.
People forget I’m a vegetarian
How many times have I gone to a work function where I was forgotten about as a vegetarian and the lunch ordered in was full of meat options with no veg ones. I am left to try and pick what I can (usually just a roll of bread and if I’m lucky some iceberg lettuce), while people scarf down their big plate of food.
This has a twofold effect; I am left feeling hangry (hungry angry) and also very awkward as I am apologized too throughout the meal as everyone watches in pity. Word of advice…always order at least 1 veg option or make it vegan to really cover your ground!
“Oh there is a side salad on the menu, lucky you!”
This is border line offensive to me when people get excited that a menu with no other vegetarian options has at least 1 salad on it I can eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad, but not all the time. Instead of inserting your opinion on how lucky I am for having a single option as you have a whole menu of choices, let me decide whether it is a good option and even ask if I would like to look elsewhere to eat.
I have to ask a million questions when I’m at a restaurant
I am waiting for the day when it is law to have a “V” beside all vegetarian options and they are actually vegetarian. When you see veggie soup on a menu you might think “oh good there is a vegetarian option”, however if it contains chicken, beef or fish stock, then it is not vegetarian and off the table for me.
Soup in particular tends to be the menu item I have to always ask more questions about. Part of the reality unfortunately of being veg in a meat eater world.
People mix me up with a those on a pescatarian diet
This is another offensive one to us vegetarians. A Pescatarian, Vegetarian and Vegan diet are very distinct and different. They might have some overlapping features, but they are still very unique. A pescatarian will not eat meat or chicken, but will eat fish, milk and eggs.
A vegetarian will not eat meat, chicken or fish, but will eat milk and eggs.
A vegan will not eat meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk or any other product coming from an animal.
It would be like saying that Japanese and Chinese people have the same diet. They have overlapping features, but are distinct cultures and diets. Do not think that when you offer a fish option on a menu that it is vegetarian. And if you eat fish you are not a vegetarian, you are a pescatarian. Be sure to learn your guests dietary restrictions and not just assume.
“How is it possible that you don’t eat bacon?” grrr
I have never had bacon, I don’t like the smell of bacon, I don’t miss bacon. There I’ve said it. I am not strange and should not be treated like a leper for my distaste of the smelly, fatty, gross looking food. Do you like every single food in the world and should I question you about that?
In fact there are millions of cultural diets that stay away from pork products in general (for example Kosher). Bacon is not the end all be all food for everyone. Sorry to burst that bubble
I cringe when sitting next to a messy meat eater
When lobster or crab is served at a meal (shell on) I can’t help but shudder. There is nothing I hate more than having to spend my dinner dodging flying bits of crab.
I go to a food festival and leave hungry
I have become quite the foodie over the past few years and really enjoy going to as many food festivals as I can. It is usually a 50/50 chance that I will actually have enough options to eat. The Food & Wine show in Nov 2015 had next to nothing for me to try as most of their vendors didn’t put at least 1 vegetarian option on their tasting menus.
My favourite festival is the Vegetarian Food Festival in Sept where my options are limitless!
Some people don’t take my vegetarianism seriously
Do not feel like you can sneak in meat, or not disclose meat products that you are serving me. It would be better for me as a vegetarian if people looked at my dietary choice almost as an allergy. Someone who had an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts would be taken very seriously; I would like the same treatment when it comes to my vegetarianism.
One time in a restaurant I ordered a pasta dish, but asked for it without the chicken. When I was served the plate and moved some noodles around, low and behold chunks of chicken were in the dish. After sending it back I was brought another “without meat”, but sure enough after a few bites in I found a piece of chicken in the dish.
It was clear that the cooks in the back simply picked out what they thought were all the chicken pieces and sent it back out. I don’t want to eat food that has been touching meat. I take my diet seriously and so should you!