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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Being Vegetarian.. And the dreaded question

I've been a vegetarian for almost three years now, and I don't ever see myself eating meat again. I originally became vegetarian for ethical reasons, I did a bit of reading on factory farming and the power of the meat industry and I just found it shocking and, to put it bluntly, disgusting. As time has gone on, I've also become more convinced of the health benefits of being vegetarian (or vegan, even more so, but that's another story) and so now I'm really enjoying the vegetarian lifestyle. However! I'm sure many vegetarians out there will empathise with this... being vegetarian comes with a lot of "explaining". If there is one question I'm asked most regularly after "How are you?", it is "Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?". I can see why people are interested, and it's fair enough that they are... I guess I was interested in reasons as to why vegetarian people were vegetarians until I became one myself and realised that, just like me, there are probably a whole range of reasons.

So I'm going to be completely honest here, and forgive me if this sounds rude, but it's a question that I find quite... annoying. And I feel guilty for finding it annoying, because I know that whoever is asking is not intending to be annoying, and also perhaps I should be jumping at the chance to raise awareness over the things I have learnt and to spread the word on the health risks of eating commercially produced meat and the unethical behaviours of our big industries. But, realistically, I just can't do that for everyone who asks. I would sound like a broken record. 

And it's not just the repetition that gets to me, it's the kind of "defensive" conversations that can sometimes follow. I have strong beliefs in the benefits of being a vegetarian, for myself and the planet, but that isn't to say I would ever pressure anyone else into becoming vegetarian. That's just not in my nature. I'm not a preacher. It's for this reason that I get confused when people try to convince me that eating meat is OK - whether it's a health argument, or an ethical argument, whatever it might be. I've heard it all. "But surely if the animal is killed painlessly then it's OK to eat it, right? It led a good life" or "What about when you're pregnant? Won't your baby be malnourished?" or "What do you reckon our cavemen ancestors ate if they didn't eat meat?.. Tofu?". I don't know whether they feel that they are benefiting me or themselves from this type of conversation - perhaps they are thinking that I am judging them, or sitting on my high-horse, and so instinctively become defensive. I'm not sure. But it's the type of conversation that I try to avoid.

It's for this reason that these days, when someone asks why I'm a vegetarian, I simply reply "Meat just grosses me out". It's an effective statement because:

1) it's true
2) it's something that cannot be argued against
3) it incorporates ALL the reasons as to why I stopped eating meat - I find both the industry and the act of eating animals quite gross (no offence to meat eaters, really, it's a personal thing)
4) it makes the reason about ME and me alone, not about placing judgments on anybody else
5) it's short and sharp and means we can move the conversation onto something else.

So there it is, just a few random thoughts on vegetarianism. I think I just needed to vent :P 

Hope you're having a lovely day xx


  1. I absolutely hate when people ask me about being a vegetarian. I took a couple years off while pregnant and after having my daughter but I'm back to being veg again and the questions are right back at me. What I've come to think is that me saying I'm a vegetarian immediately (wrongly) offends them and they assume I'm judging them for eating meat and that's why they start being mean or throwing weird meat facts at me haha Like, they feel insecure around me about their eating meat and defend it. Which is insane because I do not care at all that they eat meat and would never ever mention it or try to change their ways!! Congrats on being a veggie for 3 years!

    1. Haha I'm glad I'm not the only one :) I was thinking the other day, if I told someone that I was opposed to wearing a fur coat, I don't think they would bother to ask why... It is a view that is quite well understood and also quite common (I think many meat eaters would be opposed to wearing fur too). But for some reason not wanting to eat the actual flesh of an animal seems like a controversial opinion, and for all the wrong reasons. I think that it's just such a normal part of our culture and our daily lives that some people often don't really think to question it or criticize it. But anyway, congrats to yourself on re-joining to veggie club xx


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