The 3 most common responses I get when I tell people I’m vegetarian

The 3 most common responses I get when I tell people I’m vegetarian

I am quite aware that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my vegetarianism.

It’s a lifestyle choice I made. I have never been the type of person to make choices because of what someone else is doing. I do things because I want to or because I think it’s the right thing to do. No other reason is necessary.

But when the subject of my vegetaranism inevitably comes up in conversation, usually when I say that I don’t want a slice of pepperoni pizza or that we probably can’t go to a meat ball restaurant for dinner, I’m met with the same responses over and over.

So in an effort to stop repeating myself, I am going to preemptively answer all those pesky questions, and can therefore direct people to this informative blog post next time I get asked.

1. But, Why??

This one is usually associated with a confused look, as if the person can’t comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to eat meat. This is actually kind of tough to answer because there isn’t just one reason that I’m vegetarian.

I started off back in 2011 by testing what kind of affects it had on my health, and I saw great results so I decided I should definitely keep going with it. I also knew it was a good thing for animal welfare so I felt like it was the right thing to do.

That was four years ago, and while my original reasons still stand, I’ve also gained a new perspective on vegetarianism. I’ve become aware of the benefits this lifestyle has not only for animal rights, but also for the environment.

(PS. I highly recommend you watch Cowspiracy to get an idea of some of the environmental effects of agriculture, and then follow it up with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Prepare for your mind to be blown).

The 3 most common responses I get when I tell people I’m vegetarian

2. Do you get enough [insert vitamin here]??

Every time someone asks me this, I want to punch them in the face.

For one thing, why is it anyone but a dietitian’s business how many vitamins and minerals I’m getting in my diet.

For another thing, I can guarantee that 95% of the time, I know more about what is in my diet than the person who is asking. I can name the exact sources of my calcium, iron, and protein. Most people will just say ‘meat’ or ‘dairy’ as their sources, but guess what – there are about a million other ways that you can get these nutrients (without the cholesterol and fat, too).

So the answer to this question is yes, I am getting enough nutrients, and my smartass comeback is ‘are you?’.

Pizza Rat costume

3. But what about bacon??

No. Just, no. I did indulge in the occasional serving of bacon back in the day, but now it’s the very last thing I ever want to eat. It no longer appeals to me.

Some people just can’t understand that a person would not want to eat/enjoy bacon, but seriously, that’s similar to presuming that everyone in the world likes dark chocolate, or mashed potatoes. It might be a minority, but there’s definitely people who prefer not to eat these things.

Also, once you watch this super adorable video of a puppy playing with a piglet, you might see why bacon seems less appealing.

I think that people can eat meat if they want, but they should probably be aware of the animal welfare and environmental ramifications of doing so.

Every action has consequences, and eating meat is no exception.

In my opinion, being vegetarian is not really about not eating meat – it’s about making a positive change in the world. That’s what I’m aiming for.

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16 Responses to “The 3 most common responses I get when I tell people I’m vegetarian”

  1. Polly

    Ohhh man I feel ya. As a life-long vegetarian (really, my parents were both vegetarians when I was born), I just mostly get dumbfounded “you’ve NEVER tasted meat?!” or “just try it!” comments.

    The surprise is one thing, but the assurances that I’m totally missing out/deprived are frustrating. None of your business people!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh, that is just the worst! The fact that some people think that vegetarians are missing out is SO wrong. As someone who has done both omnivorism and vegetarianism, I can tell you – vego food is a million times better. More flavoursome, often fresher, and not to mention healthier!

  2. Arianna

    AHAH! Same reactions. But I do get some more equally useless, like:

    – Do you do it for animals or for the environment? Because I just don´t care about eating animals, but I would do it for the environment.. maybe
    – What do you put in a sandwich?
    – how can you survive abroad?
    – I am glad that I am not your mother and that I don´t have to cook for you
    – is it because you want to get skinny? (ouch)
    – eating salad every day must be boring

    I really appreciated the way you wrote your post and especially how you ended it. Thank you!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Haha yep, I’ve also received many of those! As if salad is the only thing vegetarians can eat?? Really, people! And big surprise, it’s actually far easier to cook meals without meat in them.

      Thanks for your comment, Arianna! I’m glad you could relate 🙂

  3. Ashley

    I get the bacon comment as well, and I just can’t understand it. From what I remember from before I was vegetarian (over 6 years ago) there are better tasting things than bacon. Plus, though people probably haven’t ever eaten a grilled aubergine, if they had they wouldn’t still be worrying about bacon.

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Exactly – I was also not into bacon that much before I was vegetarian. I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

      Oh, grilled eggplant is just the best 😀 Grilled zucchini and sweet potato are also pretty high up there. Thanks Ashley!

  4. Emma

    If you ever get another “But BACON?” remark, please feel free to direct them to my comment here:

    I eat meat* and I cannot stand the smell of frying bacon, much less the taste. Both make me feel sick. I think my omnivory mystifies people even more when they hear this, because they can’t fathom why a meat-eater could hate this supposedly wondrous food.

    (*though I am making a conscious effort to eat a lot less meat than I used to, and have noticed another benefit: it’s so much cheaper!)

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Exactly – not everyone likes bacon! I really can’t understand why people don’t realise that!

      And you’re absolutely right about the cost, vegetarian meals are so much cheaper. Thanks for your comment, Emma 🙂

  5. Holly

    I have been a vege since I was nine. I have tried eating meat twice since then but have been unsuccessful. I get all of these comments, totally understand!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s amazing how most vegetarians all get asked these same questions, over and over! Thanks for your comment, Holly 🙂

  6. Shannon Ullman

    I’m vegan and I find that as soon as I mention it, everyone wants to start a huge debate. I actually start to feel anxious in a situation with new people because I don’t want to bring it up and deal with the backlash from others that it brings. Arguing with people starts to feel like staring down a brick wall. I’m also dating a meat eater which makes things a little harder as well. Some days, I can’t help but hate him a little bit deep inside when he is telling me that he is enjoying his meaty lunch.


    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I agree, arguing with someone about it is often like staring down a brick wall. Some people get so damn defensive about eating meat, even if you haven’t said anything about it. It’s a natural reaction to hearing that someone is vegetarian/vegan and it can be a very uncomfortable situation to be in. Thanks for your comment, Shannon!

  7. Chalsie

    Ahah, ‘what about bacon’. I get that a lot too, and you know what, the smell of bacon actually makes me gag. I’ve heard that bacon is the closest smell to burning flesh and that’s good enough reason not to eat it.
    I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade now, so I’ve had my fair share of questioning. But I’ve noticed lately, no one asks anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older and surrounded by more and more new accepting minds, or whether it’s just becoming more normal, but there’s definitely been a shift!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ergh, yuck! I definitely never want to go near bacon again! It’s good that you’ve been asked about it less, and I agree that there might have been a shift in people’s thinking – there’s either been a rise in vegetarianism, or at least people are getting more aware of the environmental and ethical issues surrounding meat consumption. Thanks for your comment, Chalsie!


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