From a lifelong vegetarian

I’ve never eaten meat in my life. But you’d be surprised at how many people have responded to that by asking if I eat chicken. I don’t eat fish either, but it’s more understandable that people ask that since so many vegetarians do eat fish.

The next most frequent thing I get asked is if I’m sure that I haven’t eaten meat. “Have you ever eaten pasta that was cooked in a pot that cooked meat several weeks before? Do you inspect all the food you eat to make sure it doesn’t have any signs of meat at all? Have you kissed a girl after she’s eaten meat?”

I’m sure that I’ve indirectly eaten meat at some point in my life. In fact, it probably doesn’t have to be as removed as some of the suggested scenarios. I’ve certainly eaten veggie burgers that have been cooked alongside actual burgers. It wouldn’t be unheard of for some particle of meat to have ended up in my veggie burger. Accidents happen. Whatever.

The point has never been about some sort of physical purity. In fact, that’s what people ask next. Why do I do it? Well, I’ll tell you the reasons that do not make me do it.

It’s not for diet. It’s not for politics. It’s not for religion. It’s not for pretentious ethics.

In fact, I’d like to take a second to address pretentious ethics. Nothing turns me away from the idea of vegetarianism more than pretentious vegetarians. One will always ask how long you’ve been a vegetarian and why you do it. But before you’re done answering, she’s already cut you off to tell you why she’s better than you.

I’ve been told on many occasions that it’s easier for me to be a vegetarian since birth than it is for some college student on their 3-month “exploration” of vegetarianism because I never had to be tempted by meat at all. I respect that opinion because it’s probably true. I don’t feel any desire to try meat.

But then I consider that everyone who has told me that has only done so to leverage how much better than me, and everyone else, they think they are. For such a person, his agenda is extrinsically driven. He wants recognition, probably moral or political, and he wants it now.

Doing something moral for recognition is already logically fallible, so not much to say there. Doing something political for recognition makes sense, I guess. But I’ll still dislike you for it.

As to why I do it, it’s honestly because I was raised that way and it’s what I’m used to. I don’t think it’s a better way to live than anything else, though I don’t think it’s lesser either. I just think it is a way to live.

 

 

4 thoughts on “From a lifelong vegetarian

  1. Very well put! I have always felt that there is a weird sort of double standard surrounding what we choose to consume. I don’t often (if ever) hear people ask anyone why they have chosen to be a meat eater. On the other hand I have heard, quite unsolicited, many self-proclaimed carnivores gleefully expound on why they love to eat meat. Often the answer is “I just love it.” Which is fine. Yet I am queried on a tiresomely regular basis as to why I have chosen and continue to chose to be a vegetarian. There always seems to be some sort of weighted expectation, a demanding or a reckoning. Simply saying that “I just love it” doesn’t fly. I have been told that it isn’t normal, asked “how do I stay healthy”. I have stopped pointing out (or mostly stopped) that the majority of humans on the planet either don’t eat meat or eat nearly none. Such a thought is hard to hold when you are surrounded by such an affluent and meat focused culture. I often get the feeling that my choice not to eat meat (of any sort) is some sort of affront to some of those who do. My other favorite are those who are afraid I might take offense if they take a bite of chicken or grab a hot dog. ?? I suppose if they were planning on sodomizing me with said bit of food I might get upset, but beyond that, seriously, why should I give a … Again, great post – very well put.

    Like

    • Thanks Peter, I always appreciate your feedback. Many of the self-proclaimed carnivores I’ve spoken to have certainly felt affronted by vegetarianism. It’d be nice if people could realize it’s not about one lifestyle being better than the other. It’s about us having two lifestyles that can co-exist.

      Like

  2. Only been vegetarian for less than a year but I get asked why I’m vegetarian every time I’m out to eat with someone. I don’t have a real reason it just happened. And my friends ask if its ok to eat meat in front of me. Yes I don’t care if you eat meat. It’s a personal decision.

    Great post. 🙂

    Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s