Calling all vegetarians – I need help!!!

In the past month, I’ve had my fair share of questions/comments regarding my vegetarianism. Unless people ask me, I have not come out and shared that I’m vegetarian. There really is no need to bring that attention to myself (in my opinion). I just go with the flow. It’s been quite interesting….. Here are a few of my own observations (WARNING: this is definitely a rant!):

1. It’s VERY hard to eat out when you live in rural Iowa. Now, we don’t eat out much, and I always prefer cooking my own food (see why here). However, the times we have eaten out have been pretty much horrible experiences. Very few restaurants in Burlington have any vegetarian menu items besides a side salad. UGH! This is one reason I can’t wait to move to Ames. Even Macomb, Illinois (where I’m currently getting my master’s degree) has more vegetarian options than Burlington.

2. Explaining my reasons for being a vegetarian is more difficult than I thought. I never thought people would be so critical. Overall, my close friends and family have been very supportive. Unfortunately, in social situations, someone will ask me – why aren’t you eating _________ (insert main meat dish item)? Or why aren’t you eating? Then I have to explain myself, and what do people do? Just ask more questions!!! Such as: If you don’t eat meat, how do you get enough protein? Can you eat chicken? How about fish? Is it hard to never eat meat? Isn’t vegetarian food boring? Etc., etc., etc……

There’s also the aspect of attending dinners where there is no vegetarian option. Often I will bring my own dish (when appropriate), but if that is not appropriate then I will most likely eat just a little bit of side dishes. 😦 I don’t want to be completely rude and not eat at all, but I still have to explain myself either way.

3. Criticism from family. I won’t name anyone in particular or from which side of the family this came from, but last week someone in our family apparently was concerned for my health and thought I would become malnourished. Okay, so if you know me even just a little bit, then you most likely know that I’m a bit of a health nut. Look in my kitchen cupboards/refrigerator/freezer and you will notice the amount of really good, wholesome, healthy food that we keep in our home. Why would this change if I’m a vegetarian?

Okay. I’m done. For the vegetarians out there, help a sister out!!! How do you deal with vegetarianism in social situations? I really feel like I’m doing what’s good for me right now. And to be honest, I feel great!

P.S. Rode 22 miles on the bike today and it felt amaaaaazing!!! Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. This is PERFECT riding weather! When I was in college we would do 2-3 rides a day when the weather was this nice out…..oh, the memories….. πŸ™‚


4 responses to “Calling all vegetarians – I need help!!!

  1. I understand completely what you’re going through. Personally, I have discovered that I have these rehearsed ‘bits’ I turn to to easily answer these o so aggravating questions.

    My biggest issue is that I don’t consider things from the questioners perspective – for example, I know that I’ve heard the same stupid ‘uhh but you eat fish right HURR’ line 1000 times, but its the first time this person has asked me.

    So I tell them in brief succinct terms that don’t necessarily attack their intelligence…and it works. Sometimes. As far as vegetarian options, I live in LA, so its a mite easier, but all too often i’m just nibbling the side salad like a damn rabbit.

    Which, incidentally, is what most folks seem to think I am – NO, just because i’m a vegetarian DOESN’T mean I subsist on romaine lettuce and raw carrots…


    Sorry, didn’t mean to rant back at ya!

    Anywho, great blog you have here. Lookin forward to more.

  2. Fortunately, I am from a country where being vegetarian is considered good. I am myself vegetarian and do not eat meat etc.

    In your situation, only thing that can be done is answering the questions! I can not think of anything else! Or maybe a custom shirt with “I’m vegetarian” will work! πŸ˜‰

  3. I know exactly how you feel about the criticism…it’s annoying! Dillon and I are vegetarians just for health reasons, so when people I ask, I leave it at that. If they have more specific questions (like how we get protein, etc.) then I”ll continue to talk about it. But, if people feel they need to be rude about it and are too ignorant to know any better, then I figure they don’t need to know. πŸ™‚

    Also, we eat out quite a bit. We allow ourselves to stick to chicken or fish when we eat out, but if you don’t almost every restaurant I’ve been too is wiling to make any of their dishes vegetarian (if they’re not pre-made). All you have to do is ask! I’ve done this quite a bit and it’s great! Try it out!

    Happy Eating!

  4. I eat a mostly vegan diet because I am horribly allergic to eggs and intolerant of dairy. The decision not to eat meat is a moral one for me. I know this probably sounds strange but since we don’t eat out often either, when we do…I call the restraunt ahead of time of simply scare the living daylights out of them about how deathly allergic I am to eggs and shellfish (which is not a lie on the shellfish part) and explain that it is imperative that my food not come in contact with these items. LOL…they are so worried about the liability that thet are back in the cooler reading the labels on salad dressings. If they don’t offer a vegetarian/vegan option, you can request to have one prepared and let them know what time you are coming. TGI Friday’s used to be really good about that. They would make me a pasta primavera with whatever veg of the day they had and pasta. Almost any restraunt has pasta and vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, squash etc) and nearly anybody can saute up some veggies and toss them with some pasta…one would hope! It isn’t that difficult to throw together a bruschetta like topping for pasta either. Always request that your veggies be sauteed in olive oil instead of butter if you’re a vegan. With a nice side salad, a veggie pasta primavera and maybe a roll or whatever you’ll have a nice meal and won’t look like you’re being the “difficult special diet” person. I stopped worrying a long time ago about whether or not people understand why I eat what I eat. If asked, I will illucidate but otherwise, I just assume the position that I am NORMAL eater and everyone else eats weird stuff. I’m not self-righteous about not eating meat unless someone chooses to pass judgement on MY diet. Then I just ask them how eating something that’s been dead for at least 6 weeks before it even sees the meat case of the supermarket is any more “normal” than eating a nice bowl of lentil chili? Sometimes people ask out of genuine curiosity and I can usually tell the difference and in which case I am more than happy to explain. I have often invited skeptics to dinner at my house. That usually silences any more criticism. What I don’ understand is why it matters to people…why they make it such an issue. My husband eats meat…but he’s usually the first one to come to my defense by telling people that I am such a good cook I could even make sticks and leaves taste good…LOL People really just need to mind theeir own!

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