Misconceptions of vegetarianism

[box]Vegetarian (veg•e•tar•i•an) noun: A person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, esp. for moral, religious, or health reasons.[/box]

I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life. And snide comments, looks of suspicion, and having others trying to shove meat in your face are just a few things you have to go through after you utter the words “I’m a vegetarian.” However far we’ve come, there’s still a bit of a stigma towards those who choose not to eat meat. Here are a few that I’ve seen and dealt with.

  • “Vegetarians are faking it” – This may be the most common of misconceptions. Some of my friends would believe I was a secret omnivore who ate meat in secret. I had a friend tell me, “I bet when nobody is around, you go up to your room and eat a bucket of chicken.” Come on, now. If you have been living a vegetarian lifestyle, there is a slim-to-zero chance you are going to waver. The fact is, when you have been a vegetarian all your life, your body actually becomes accustomed to eating only vegetables. Such as, once when I was younger I ate a piece of chicken offered to me by a relative, and it didn’t take long until I felt sick to my stomach. It was at that point that I realized that my body had problems processing meat. Need I say more to prove that most vegetarians aren’t faking it?
  • “Vegetarians believe that they’re better than you” – I really don’t believe I’m better than you because I’m a vegetarian. Growing up, I had only eaten what my mother put in front of me — without any connotation of hierarchy. And this is absolutely true for most vegetarians.
  • “Vegetarian food is nasty” – Alright. As someone who has been a vegetarian for majority of his life, I can say that this is only partially true. Up until the age of 10, I hated eating salads. But wait, I thought salads were the only thing vegetarians eat. How did you survive?! It is in this day and age that the lifestyle of being a vegetarian is accommodated to with much more ease and many more luxuries than the time of our parents’ generation. There are plenty of choices for vegetarian imitation meat in this day and age — and that’s not limited to veggie-burgers. I have eaten veggie-tuna, veggie-fish, veggie-calamari, and veggie-chicken. All of which, may I say, are uniquely delicious. And this Thanksgiving, I’ll be eating veggie-turkey, naturally.

So the next time you come across a vegetarian, instead of prodding them with meat, you can ask them, “What does veggie-turkey taste like?” Their response may be, “It’s delicious, you should try it. I’ll bring some for you tomorrow.” It may not be. But regardless, now you’ve just made a new friend, thanks to yours truly.