You want everyone to stick their nose in your plate?
You love debates and ask for them at every meal?
You are in the right place.
It is, according to us, the most complicated thing to handle. But, relax, with a little bit of experience and hindsight, everything goes well.
VEGGIE IN SOCIETY – WHEN PEOPLE “CARE” ABOUT YOUR PLATE
When you decide to become a vegetarian you can be afraid of cooking, changing your habits, and you basically don’t know what to eat … But you can learn anything! Regarding other difficulties, here’s the biggest.
People can have a serious issue with other people’s food, so better be prepared.
Your plate is regularly going to be husked, judged and criticized even before your first bite. This may seem excessive, but it is actually the daily-life of the vegetarian beginner.
Your relatives (family, friends, colleagues) are going to test and question the logic of your approach…
Changing your lifestyle, your nutrition and getting away from the majority’s practices intrigues.
Among all the questions that are going to show up around you, you will have curious and caring people who will ask you questions very positively. It is during those exchanges that you’ll have the opportunity to explain the principles of our approach.
Who knows, you may plant a little seed that will grow up with time. Anyways, peaceful interactions are always constructive.
FINDING THE WEAK POINT
On the contrary, a lot of people are going to try to find the weak point in your approach.
As if the content of your plate was unpleasant and they had to start a fight.
It often happens during a dinner with a lot of people around the table, to actually be the only one struggling in front of all of them. But don’t be afraid, you are going to become experts in arguments or dodging, according to your mood of the day.
VEGGIE IN SOCIETY – DID SOMEONE SAY IRRELEVANT REMARKS ?
You will hear speaches with a relevancy that can be questioned. As incredible as it may seem, they show up quite often.
“Don’t you think carrots suffer when you peel them?” or also “Oh right, you are now part of those radicals who break butcher’s shop windows?”.
For the most comprehensive people, we also get “alright, you are a vegetarian, we get that, as long as you don’t become as radical as those crazy vegans” …. Oooops.
A lot of people are going to talk to you about soy that supposedly causes the deforestation of the Amazon, of Peruvian quinoa or even of the fact that milk is not an issue since cows produce too much of it for one single calf.
The list is long, and this might happen at every new meeting until the mindsets open. So in the meantime, get prepared!
Several strategies are open to you
Avoid discussions – postpone as much as possible
Don’t mention your diet if not necessary. With a little bit of chance, no one will notice that your burger is made of lentils.
Don’t get into a debate
Clearly say that you don’t feel like starting a big discussion about it (mostly around tons of people around, thanks !). If you want it, invite the person to discuss about it with you afterwards. Most of the time, he or she will forget about it because the hopes of a public debate will have failed like a soufflé. If he or she comes back after that, then maybe this person is really interested in the subject and it might actually be interesting to chat with her. Or maybe it is a really annoying person – then run away !
Get into the debate.
You will need to be armed and prepare yourself like a warrior. Learn the different punchlines you will have to face and draw before they get out of your speaker’s mouth.
Most common questions and remarks
1 – Did you think about the plants? They also suffer when you cut them
One of the reasons I am a vegetarian is that I don’t want to feed of sensitive beings, who possess a nervous system and pain receptors, or better said, of beings who can acyually feel pain.
2 – But seafood is healthy
Putting aside the heavy metals that they can contain; they remain nonetheless beings that have a nervous system and can feel pain.
3 – You are a vegetarian, but do you eat fish at least?
According to the latest news, fishes don’t grow up on trees. Therefore, they are part of the animal reign.
4 – Alright but did you know that your soy causes the deforestation of the Amazon?
Soy responsible for the deforestation is the one that is used to feed worldwide livestock, livestock that will end up in your plate. Consequently, meat production causes deforestation and not vegetarism.
5 – Quinoa farming generates Peruvian people’s exploitation and cashew farming, the Indian’s.
You can be a vegetarian and avoid these products. However, we must underline that vegetarians are a very small proportion of the population. Therefore, it is more a global society problem than a vegetarism issue specifically.
Finally, good news, there are now productions of local quinoa (at least in Europe).
6 – What if you were on a deserted island and there was nothing but a goat to eat, what would you do?
If it is a survival matter, of course that I would eat meat but if I can live healthily and avoid killing an animal for my own tasting pleasure, then I will. Everything is a question of opportunity. It would be improper to expect from a starving population not to eat animals (although in those cases they are often treated with a much better respect than what we do in western countries). Just like it is also improper to kill animals it if is not necessary.
7 – We need meat to be healthy
Wrong. What we need are all the essential nutrients for our body and good health, no matter where they come from. Meat is only one form. We can find all the nutrients in plant-based foods, except from the B12 vitamin.
8 – Wait, you are a vegetarian but you are drinking a soda? And your carrots aren’t even organic?!
Since when is it expected from vegetarians to be perfect in all their choices relative to feeding? Being a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean eating light or organic. It means caring for the animals. A lot of vegans are interested in ecology, but a lot of non-vegans too, and we don’t always criticize them when they drink a soda right?
9 – Your clothes are made by Asian kids. Don’t you think it is more important to defend children rights rather than animal’s?
Why should there be a rank of causes to fight for?
Criticizing this equals saying; stop fighting against harassment when some people are victims of rapes or crimes. Every unfairness is worth being defended! And it is better to be defending a cause by which you’re feeling concerned than defending nothing.
10 – You are vegan but you have a cat … In a way, you are exploiting him.
In a way it is right, possessing an animal for the pleasure of its company when it is not his natural living environment is a form of exploitation. But everything is relative. Nowadays, cats and dogs cannot have good living conditions if they are left on their own in the city. They are not prepared to it (cats may be a little bit more though). But there are many animals waiting for adoption in centers, detained in cages or small concrete rooms because someone gave them up. It is more preferable to see a happy cat in a house than in a cage waiting for adoption. And relatively to animals coming from shops, in our opinion it must be avoided at the maximum since this type of system works based on financial gains and not on animal welfare.
11 – You’re gonna feed him with meat right? You are not going to impose him your diet?
Yes I will! I’m gonna make him suffer not to override my ideas (= what your interlocutor expects). Truth is, cats and dogs are carnivorous (but dogs are more opportunistic and can sometimes eat other types of food). We think that the best to do is to limit as much as possible the purchase of cheap crackers that are nothing more than industrial meat wastes we don’t give to humans (which is already very far from what we can call something nutritionally interesting for your animal) and sometimes try to feed him with real and local meat if possible.
This can seem expensive but adopting a cat to feed him cheaply is not doing him any good. You can ask your local butcher for his unsold leftovers. He’ll be happy to give them to you instead of throwing them away. You’ll just have to select the best parts and your animals will be the happiest. Finally, you can find vegan cats and dog food on the market. They are made to respond their needs so why not try and feed them with it once in a while to change from their usual food!
12 – Sheeps need to be shaved, where is the issue?
A small section is dedicated to this subject page Back to basics (at the bottom).
13 – I don’t understand these vegans looking for meat imitation food, it doesn’t make sense!
We can become vegetarians or vegans for multiple reasons but the lack of interest for meat taste is rarely the first one. Vegans sometimes develop a certain disgust for meat but most of the time it is more an empathetic approach for the animals, a willing to avoid participating to the contamination of the meat industry or even just for a healthier diet.
However, if it is possible to find foods that taste like meat without compromising our commitment, why not?
It is not because you are stopping eating meat that you automatically stop enjoying its taste.