Some of my best friends are vegetarian.

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I don’t hate vegetarians, vegans or people who just breathe air until they die of starvation. I just hate tofu, lentils and anything made of soya that is supposed to taste like meat.

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I couldn’t care less what you had for dinner.

I do suffer from limited patience with people who think they are better than me because they expel enough lentil gas from their rear ends to power a small city.

There’s recycling and there’s recycling.

I also suffer from a malady called sense-of-humor-itis that makes me poke fun at anyone who takes themselves way too seriously.

There is also the looming horror of having to prepare a gourmet vegetarian lunch for my son’s school next Tuesday.

His father is determined to enter into the parental competition and plans for me to whip some Nigella Lawson magical mystery meal.

Cook em rightI was just going to pop into the deli and beg a platter of something and some humus, but apparently I have to pretend that I can whip up a meal that my carnivorous 7 year old will actually eat, but that is obviously uber-healthy and contains no meat, fish, dairy, gluten or traces of nuts.

A very long time ago I met an old man in the streets of San Francisco who said to me, “This is a city of fruit and nuts. I am a fruit and I am a nut. You are what you eat.” And then he walked away humming happily to himself.

I was in fact once a tree hugging veggie person myself. Admittedly it was a bet. I can’t resist a good bet. I lasted my year exactly on the nose before ordering a massive rare fillet steak. By then of course, I was also suffering from kwashiorkor.

It seems to me that now anorexia and bulimia are a no-go people are trying to control their diets by becoming vegan, fruitarian, breatharian and lactose, glucose, gluten and food intolerant. Also these people love to put restauranteurs into paroxysms of panic as they order the most complicated thing on the menu and gradually turn it into a Greek salad.

If you like something, just say so, you don’t have to come up with a medical reason for it. I hate broccoli, brussels sprouts and wheat germ. I’m not allergic to them, although the scent of their cooking makes me sick to my stomach. I just hate ’em. So I don’t eat ’em.

If you eat a certain diet for religious, ethical of health reasons, do it with class and don’t judge the rest of us too harshly.

I love the comments this has received. Wow, almost as much response as the llamas. Although the llamas still puzzle me.

So let me respond as I realise this is a far more touchy topic than Islanic jihadists.

I am very lucky that I live South of the Equator and most of our meat does not come from batteries and antibiotic laden cows. The chickens I buy run free (okay mainly in the streets of the township nearby, but happy nonetheless). Even better, a lot of our meat is game, which is healthier and nicer anyway.

I did live in the States for a bit and after eating a steak there ended up living on Penne Napolitana after my stomach rebelled at all the additives.

Would I slaughter a cow for my dinner – probably not, and here’s where I fall back on traditional male female roles for a handy escape route. My husband would.

Being a vegetarian in a country of meat and two veg means that you end up eating a lot of Greek Salad and ubiquitous vegetarian platter – butternut, creamed spinach and a baked potato.There is only so much Greek salad you can handle.

My colleague, is importing Amazonian grain that has the texture of caviar and is worth its weight in gold. He’s vegetarian, recently vegan in an effort to reduce his cholesterol. I’m trying not to eat cheese in front of him. Apparently it is a lot like lighting up a Camel in front of someone who is trying to quit. Also – he sees a dietician – a lot.

As for the puppies and kittens that Westerners don’t eat – what can I say – don’t order a bunny chow off the street in Durban. Actually, that’s an urban myth – but I’m not chancing it.

We are all lucky enough to live in countries where we can eat whatever we want, where we can change our diets to rid them of allergens. My father-in-law grew up in Dachau. Pigeons, rats and anything on four legs was fair game. Survival mattered. Nothing else. Would you judge him?

And while you’re weeping for the chicken I had for supper last night, I’ll drop a prayer in for the brussel sprout who died screaming in his little vegetable soul. Until prana is a viable source of nutrition, we’re left with what the world can provide. Hopefully, prana will be a whole lot cheaper.

Lions cannot be vegetarian. Without them plucking off the old and sickly Impala, we’d be overrun with the pronking little beasts. Witnessing a lion take down a buffalo is a truly humbling experience. I won’t lie and say I didn’t weep. I did. I also came to terms with the wild.

I care less about why you choose the diet you do, then I care about the sex of the people you sleep with, the colour of your undies and what religion you follow. All are deeply personal choices. If you feel you need to justify them, you need to examine your own motivation.

By the way, mine are purple. Just in case you cared.

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296 thoughts on “Some of my best friends are vegetarian.

  1. Funny post about vegetarians! I became vegetarian not only because it is healthier, but because I found it can have less impact on the environment. I don’t “forcefeed” my views on food to anyone, because it’s a free world. I just ask others to consider what impact they are doing to their bodies and to the environment. And on another note, the World Health Organization put out a statement that being a vegetarian or vegan does not mean you have a mental illness.

  2. I’m not representative of all those supposedly pushing irritating vegans you are refering to, but I will be a voice for the voiceless.. the flaw in this post is it reduces everything down to diet. .. If only it were that simple! Frankly, as a vegan myself, I can tell you that it is really not that important to me what you eat. What is important is the origin of that food, and thus, it is fundamentally not really a food issue at all…

    I mean, if you find a dead accidental road kill raccoon, and wish to skin and eat it, I have no real issue with that. equally, if your cat dies of old age, and you choose to eat rather than bury it, again, that is your choice.. shucks, if your grandma dies and you feel to eat her, then at the end of the day, I see no great moral dilemma.. sure, I may think your choice of food is odd, and ultimately not health beneficial, but at the end of the day, you may think the same about my choices, and no one other than potentially yourself is being genuinely harmed in such scenarios.. this is your choice..this is freedom of choice.

    but if your choice, your voice for freedom, imposes on others, then I will speak out. whether my voice is irritating or not, I will speak out.. and that is precisely what I am doing now. You demand the freedom to eat what you feel to, and yet through doing so, you clearly deny other beings a similar freedom. doesn’t that strike you as being somewhat hypocritical?

  3. This is a FABULOUS post! I was laughing the whole time… I’ve experimented with various diets throughout the years just for fun but ultimately now I just eat what I want. If I’m craving a big bowl of vegetables so be it, if I’m craving a big bowl of ice cream, give me it 😛 Althoughhh, my doctors are recommending that I try a gluten-free diet due to digestive issues *letting out a big wahhh*- I love carbs!

  4. Too funny! (and I am a vegetarian!) Actually, the hardest thing about being a vegetarian, besides not eating bacon, is people assuming that I’m going to give them a hard time about being omnivores when I’m more a live and let live type of gal. Thanks for the laugh.

  5. Such a great post!

    Pushy people are a pain. Whether they are pushy about being vegetarian or anything else. It’s the choices in life that make us interesting and fun. It’s the vegetarian, vegan, carnivore combination that make it fun to eat off of everyone’s plate during dinner. I get that a certain lifestyle may absolutely work for another person (being vegan, being a McDonald addict, being somewhere in between). And we can sit around and have a lovely discussion about the yays and the nays of each lifestyle, but don’t push it.

    I live a lifestyle that tends to be known as being pushy. I’m one of those extended breastfeeding mamas. My two year old has a very healthy eating style. I make an effort to not be a pushy parent about those choices I made though. They are are what work for my family. That may fail miserably with another family. It’s all about choices.

    • You are so right. The best advice I got was from my Jamaican midwife in the UK. She said, “There is no wrong or right with parenting. What works for your family dynamic, is right”.

      As for the breastfeeding you just reduced your chances of breast cancer by something like 60%. That’s something to be proud of. I remind myself of this every morning as my 3-children-later boobs and gravity fight a losing battle.

      • I completely agree. Parenting styles are so diverse because families are individual. Even further, what works for one child in the family may totally flop on another child. The individuality of each family dynamic is what makes the pushiness so frustrating to me (and that goes back to eating styles as well as parenting).

        Yes, I am very proud to be a bf mom 🙂 Boobie bump!

  6. Hands down, one of the best posts on the subject that I have read in a long – long time.

    Your closing paragraph, sums it all up so well.
    ‘I care less about why you choose the diet you do, then I care about the sex of the people you sleep with, the colour of your undies and what religion you follow. All are deeply personal choices. If you feel you need to justify them, you need to examine your own motivation.’

    I am a vegan; however, the whys are my whys, I come from a family of hunters and have hunted myself – I don’t care if you eat meat, or not, I don’t. Okay, so, how about those (insert sports team of your choice here).

    Before I changed my diet – I hated vegans (and many of them, I still find remarkably annoying!) for the simple fact that no one wants to be beaten about the head with someone elses moral imperative. Thank you, lovely post!

  7. what I see as wrong with this post is that you are demanding your right to live the way you want, eat what you want and believe what you want, regardless of the fact that those choices are not always granting the same privileges to others (read: other beings).. It is like me saying “let me keep slaves, and mind your own business.. i don’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t keep slaves, that’s your business. just leave me alone and stop forcing your ideas onto me!!”

    or “let me abuse my children, if you want to treat yours differently, then go ahead and do so, but let me be, and let me treat mine however i want to. i’m not interfering in your life, so stop interfering in mine!!”

    and if you consider those 2 comparisons too far from the issue, then consider instead: “I breed cats to kill and eat them, i’m not saying you should do the same, but for christs sake leave me be, and let me keep my cats in cages all their lives and then do as i want with them. i’m not telling you what you should eat, so grant me the same privilege, and let me eat my cats and puppies taste excellent when they are still only a few weeks old, especially when force fed extra fat, their enlarged livers are simply the best food … my diet is my business, so back off and stop being so pushy, you’re too morally righteous as well as having no sense of humour..”

    the only difference is you guys are talking about different species, and mostly paying someone else to do the dirty work for you.. out of sight, out of mind…

      • I’m not really personally after respect, but would love to see some respect for all the innocent pigs and chickens etc, that are bloodily murdered in the name of one’s right for “freedom of choice”.. doesn’t this strike you as being a little oxymoronic? This is not really a food issue at all, for I fully respect if others don’t want to eat as I do.. if you want to go and eat glass and nails that’s your choice and imposes not on others, if you want however to feast on the flesh of others, then your argument and insistence on such a freedom has a direct and unavoidable consequence of robbing others of such demanded freedom and more….

  8. Hello. I just came across your blog and I’m glad that I did. This post is hilarious! I was a vegetarian and I would have to say I was one of those people who snacked on the smugness of shunning meat. Then I discovered the Baconator. it was delicious 🙂

  9. I try to eat meatless 2 nights a week now…my husband doesn’t like most vegetables if they are cooked, any beans, mushrooms, a whole lot of onion, asparagus, …yeah, the list goes on. every week I feel like I’m at a loss, because I try not to eat the weird, expensive soy-meat substitute a whole lot either LOL. It’s a journey.

  10. Like you, I tried being a vegetarian for a short while. Mine wasn’t a dare, more like a pact. In 10th grade I hugged many a tree, and loved all animals (even the ones on my dinner plate). But after reading a book called Animal Liberation (what a fucking mistake THAT was – the images in that book traumatized me for LIFE), I was so heartbroken (it was my hormonal teen years, remember), that me and three girlfriends decided the right thing to do was to stop eating meat.

    But I REALLY loved eating meat, and went through almost heroin-like withdrawals. And every time I had a craving for a ham sandwich or a burger, my mind would conjure up the hideous pictures in that book.

    I lasted the remainder of my high school years… barely…. sticking to our pact. But when I went away to college, their vegetarian menu was non-existent, and I ended up living on Lucky Charms cereal and potato chips. After a few weeks of that, I jumped off the veggie wagon, and dove, face first, into the biggest slab of beef I could get my ravenous fingers around.

    And while pangs of guilt still plague me on occasion, I continue to eat meat. Only now I do it with my eyes closed.

  11. I have just discovered your blog and have to say this post had me laughing my arse off!
    So true. Keep up the awesome work 🙂

  12. Great post! I love how out spoken you are about it. I’m a vegan for personal and health reasons and I have to say I come across the same prejudices from meat eaters as meat eaters get from vegetarians and vegans, it’s a bit of a two way street. Looking at it in humor is the only way to go. Loved the pictures too! Too funny.

  13. I find it odd that there is this opinion that vegans/ vegetarians apparently force their topic of dietary preference down throats? and yet at the same time there is this prevailing belief that there is nothing wrong with genuinely physically forcing an often unnatural dietary preference down the throats of other beings . This is considered perfectly acceptable. Sure it’s hidden and one may not be personally participating, but others are paid to do it for us. it’s unacceptable for vegans to be a voice for the voiceless, but perfectly acceptable to pay others to imprison rear basically torture and towards the end of their lives after often long drawn out trips to slaughterhouses, murdered and finally butchered.

    i’m not forcing anyone to choose a diet, I’m just stating basic facts, and yes, i do have a sense of humour. i just don’t like dead baby jokes much..

    • Read The Lentil Award. All is forgiven vegetarians after they came to my rescue and helped feed 25 small boys. I don’t believe in trying to make people eat my food, worship my god or vote for my political party.

      • you don’t believe in trying to force people to eat your food,worship your god, or support your football team. neither do i. I also don’t believe in forcing other beings into lives of captivity, suffering and untimely deaths. this is where our opinions differ. this is something it would seem you care little about as long as your taste buds are satisfied. You don’t want to be forced to do something, I don’t want others (read other beings) to be forced unfairly either. I am merely a voice for the voiceless.there is no physical force behind my words.

  14. I find it difficult to dine out with friends who are vegetarian because there’s this fear that they’ll judge me for loving meat. BUT I respect the choice and none of them have tried to make me a vegan yet–so I can deal with that.

  15. If people want to be vegetarian, let them be. But they should let others be as well.
    I don’t like it when they get pushy, and try to force their lifestyle onto others as well. Live and let live, I say.
    Some animal rights groups are a little pushy as well with the vegetarian and vegan issue.

    And there is no such thing as a strict vegetarian. Check this out. Loads of products come from cows. Some parts are used to make adhesives, among many other things.

  16. You don’t care about my food habits, and I don’t want to tell you about my I-was-once-a-veggie story anyway. But I do have a little story:

    As the Vegans raise their flag like the Raw Foodies to evangelically claim that their way is the only way to shiny skin and glowy souls, the Anti-Vegans take offense to their rivals’ flags, and say that they don’t want to be bothered with being told what is good for them and what is not. They put up propaganda on the internet (the modern day grocery-store bulletin board or neighborhood telephone pole), saying that Vegetarians are better for dinner than they are conversation, and that their weakness is in their choices of what to eat, and what to not.

    If the Carnivores don’t like Brussell Sprouts, I haven’t seen any blog posts recently featuring a poster of the drunk, 1930’s Average White Protestant holding up a beer glass to take the validity out of being a Carnivore. Anyway, we’ve all clicked the TV channels past the old nuns sitting in extravagant chairs talking about Jesus, and who hasn’t turned off Benny Hinn at one point or another?

    The Vegans all think they’ve found the right path, and like the Mormons, they tend to want to tell too many people about it. They like to feel superior about their I-don’t-need-no-body diets, while the Average US American Patriot wants to talk too much about how immigrants are invading a country founded on the principle of immigration.

    The logic just doesn’t follow.

    In the end, they all raised their flags in the streets, putting more energy into being against the Other Guys than being For Themselves. And then the Raw Foodie on the sideline wanted to sell his “cook” book, so he just kept telling everyone about how shiny their skin could be if all they ate was his smoothies, peanuts, and jackfruit, and made everyone realize that just as Everyone Else was doing it wrong for them, they were doing it wrong for Everyone Else.

    The End.

  17. Thankfully, I don’t know these pushy vegetarians….but that’s why it’s so weird to me when people complain about vegetarians and lump them into one category. The vast majority of vegetarians in this world do so because it has been in their culture or religion for a very long time, and those are the folks I know….I grew up with this as being quite normal. So I don’t think this post is really about vegetarians, I think it’s about pushy people!

  18. I am a vegan and I would never force my choices of food upon anyone else. At the end of the day it is a choice; It’s your choice to eat meat and mine to not. That’s the end of it really. I never even mention my status of being a vegan unless I’m asked. I don’t think more highly of myself because I am one, and would never say that I am better than anyone else. The only time I get irritated is when someone tries to belittle my opinions on meat eating when all I’ve done is order something that doesn’t contain meat. I just don’t like the fact of eating something that was once alive. I love animlas. I don’t want to eat them. I’m fine being this way and I’m fine with others being the way they are. I just wish everyone felt that way.

  19. Love this! Did you cook your son’s veggie meal yet- how did it go? My blogger friend TinyKitchenStories (www.tinykitchenstories.wordpress.com) posts some pretty delish veggie/vegan recipes. Not that I’ve tried them yet (I’m a full-on-meat-eater) but I also have some awkward veggie friends that I occassionally cook for, so the above blog is worth noting.
    Love & Cupcakes!

  20. Fantastic, funny post. Many of my friends are vegetarians 2 so on my food blog I often post vegetarian dishes. Personally I believe we are carnivores as many other species are. Like you, I eat animals that are running around having a good time until it is time for them to be my dinner… I do think modern practices of caging, antibiotic feeding, GMO corn are unhealthy for both the animal and ourselves and if that is all that is available or affordable, vegetarian is the best choice but like you, I can not stand people who take themselves too seriously and go around preaching… uh-oh… was I preaching? Anyway, keep writing as I am now your follower!

  21. Very interesting post-thank you for sharing. I think everyone has a right to their diet, lifestyle, what gender/gender(s) they are attracted to, etc-as long as they are not being harmful, hurtful, negative, rude or offensive to others and not enforcing what they are doing upon others. Judging others should never be done-nobody has the right to judge another person. I liked the intelligence, wisdom and straightforwardness in your post-it was refreshing and thoughtful.

  22. I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan but have been eating more salads lately and you got it with the gas. Whew. Also I note that I am still hungry when I’m full when I don’t eat a bit of animal protein. Speaking of throwing it down our throats. Jane Velez Mitchell is always talking about how she doesn’t eat meat or sugar. Sugar! Isn’t that one of the major food groups?

  23. That’s really interesting. Over in this part of the world (Malaysia), we, vegetarians have to tiptoe around meat eaters. They look at me like I am a strange bird when I tell people I am vegetarian. There’s only a few vegetarian places to eat and most restaurants have very little vegetarian menu choices. I kinda got used to following a meat eater friend to a regular restaurant and pushing meat off my noodle or rice dishes. If I knew you, I would never judge you for what you eat. Hehe 😉

  24. Fascinating…so, I’m really trying to understand the base ideology here. I have to say, my initial reaction to reading this post was feeling insulted & ridiculed. But, apparently (lest I be considered one of those vegetarian/vegans who take themselves so damn seriously & have no sense of humor) I’m supposed to find all of the “funny” comics/pictures hilarious (especially being compared to a village idiot). It sort of puts me in mind of the old 1800’s “blackface” characterizations, which everyone was supposed to find hilarious, but I don’t suppose the people being characterized found so funny. I imagine people back then who found those routines offensive & un-funny kept it to themselves for a long time, not wanting to be accused of having no sense of humor by their friends & peers. Or of going against the majority of opinion.
    I guess this boils down to the mentality that beings other than human are all just food…to be preferred or not. Sort of like an image I saw recently portraying a drooling imbecile of a Homer Simpson hovering over a plate of steaks, burgers, sausages, etc. and saying “If we’re not supposed to eat cows, why are they made of food?”.
    I don’t go about condemning folks for their lack of dietary evolution. I realize these things take time….but a point to consider; perhaps the planet’s running out of time. If you want to profess to being a “green” person (I personally hate that term), the two actions of most profound positive impact you can make are to not breed like a rabbit, but to eat like one. Be vegan; don’t breed, or do it in extreme (1) moderation…you’ll never have to recycle another plastic grocery bag to reduce your “carbon footprint”!

  25. Great post. I love how you don’t judge and wish everyone felt the same. I recently posted on my feelings about being vegetarian and my struggle with judgement from others. I don’t mind that others eat meat, but I mind if I do. It’s not something I take lightly. That’s my choice and I have many reasons for it, which I really don’t feel compelled to discuss everytime I eat. I love the beautiful foods I can create now that, so its clear, aren’t just vegetables. If you love food, you will love good vegetarian food. Heidi Swansons 101 Cookbooks is a great example.

  26. I am vegan, which I am mostly fine with (sometimes ice cream, cheese, and yogurt call out to me) but the thing I hate the most is inconveniencing other people. I’m probably a very bad vegan in that I eat things that aren’t vegan pretty often unknowingly because I’d rather just eat it than make a situation uncomfortable.

  27. I really enjoyed this article on vegetarian lifestyles. I am a vegetarian who have learned something from this reading. I sometimes try to explain to people who I see suffering with severe allergy symptoms that a vegetarian diet might relieve them of the breathing problems they encounter. Personally, I do not feel self righteous because of my lifestyle, but I am sometimes too passionate about the health and well being of others. Give us a break, we mean well, we only want the best for humanity. In my case anyway!!!!!

  28. I like many before me are a vegetarian who NEVER comments or lectures on what people choose to eat…love the humor and the cartoons..congrats on being one of the choose “freshly pressed!”
    😉

  29. Pingback: Vegetarian… « My Favorite Spaces

  30. Why do vegans/ vegetarians need to force their topic of dietary preference down our throats? One does not want to discriminate on basis of one’s diet – why this attempt at “affirmative action”?

  31. I’m 17 years old, and I was a vegetarian for about 2 1/2 years. I just started eating meat again because I feel that our bodies need it, and no one else I know is a vegetarian, let alone in my rancher’s roots family. I feel that we need to respect all animals, but also know that we need that special protein and iron in our diets.

  32. Well said. I was once friends with a girl who felt the need to lecture me whenever I chose to eat something SHE did not consider healthy enough. If I reached for a chocolate bar, she’d have to nag me and tell me how the health food shop had ‘healthier’ options for me, blah blah blah. Seriously, what is the matter with some people that they feel the need to shove their eating habits or whatever THEY believe in down our throats? Congrats for making it onto freshly pressed!

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