Defending Yourself as a Vegetarian

This is the last post in the Vegetarian Awareness Month series! It’s sort of a trick post because you shouldn’t have to defend your choice to eat no animal products. I do understand, however, that it’s not as easy to just ignore your family and friends when they ask you questions. It’s especially hard if you live with a person or people who are resistant to the change as well.

I remember reading a question from a teenager in an advice column. He wanted to stop eating animal products for health and moral reasons. He had done his research and was making the choice on his own. However, he was still in high school and lived with his parents, and they did not want to stop consuming animal products. What should he do?

The writer suggested he jump in the kitchen and offer to help make vegetarian options for himself that his family could enjoy as well. I think that’s a great idea. If you’re interested in learning more about where you food comes from and what’s in it, you should also be interested in how it’s cooked! And I’m sure his family wouldn’t mind an extra hand when it comes to making dinner anyway.

I think I’ve established that I believe people should live and let live. I choose to eat a vegetarian diet and you don’t. I’m not trying to convince you your way is bad and mine is superior. Some people just like to give you a hard time. When people do ask you why, explain yourself honestly.

I tell people that there is no way I could kill my own animals to cook for meat, so I don’t feel like I should be eating it. I could never slaughter my own chicken or goat, so why should I stay blind and pretend that it doesn’t happen somewhere else with someone else doing it? I don’t usually include that last part.

Beware, though. There are actually sites out there like this Ask Men article, “How To: Argue Against Vegetarians.” The article assumes that all vegetarians are self-righteous and that we all have a “long-winded treatise about animal suffering that compare[s] your own dietary habits to cannibalism” on hand. Untrue. Sorry to disappoint.

You should never have to defend your choice. You don’t ask meat-eaters to defend their choices at every meal you attend. You don’t ask people of differing religions to defend their worship choices. You don’t ask those with or without kids to defend their choice to procreate or not.

People who are defensive about eating meat seem to have an arsenal of zingers to throw your way like the person who asked me if I approved of the salve labor used to pick my fruits and veggies or the deforestation of South American countries where soy is planted. I suggest thoroughly researching your choice, and, with each new argument thrown you way, do more research into how and what you’re eating.

Happy Vegetarianing!


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