The holidays can be a great time for families to share stories and eat delicious food together. Having only recently adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, I didn't think twice about the impact my diet would have on my relatives. Little did I know, my meat-less diet came with some problems surely every vegetarian has experienced.
1. The shock settling in that yes, you are really not eating meat this year.
You can almost see their eyes widen as you politely wave away that plate of turkey.
2. The incessant questioning on why exactly you’re vegetarian.
Many people have different reasonings behind why they choose to not eat meat. Yes, I’d love to explain to you the rationale behind my choice, but it gets old after a while. How many more times do I have to explain that I just want to reduce my carbon footprint Aunt Janice?
Honestly, is it socially acceptable to just hold a forum at the beginning of dinner?
3. When Uncle Steve jokes, “You’re so brave! I could never go off meat!”
Really, it’s not that big of an adjustment switching to a vegetarian diet. I can still eat cheese and milk, I just find my source of protein elsewhere. Going vegetarian is definitely doable and you could stop eating meat too Uncle Steve if you put your mind to it.
4. Inevitably your very presence brings about a political debate you did NOT want to get into.
Yes, climate change is real Great Aunt Becky and yes I’m going vegetarian to help combat that. Can you pass the potatoes?
5. Relatives will take every chance to question you about your ethical choices.
Yes I know there’s gelatin in these gummy vitamins I’m taking and my purse is FAKE leather Margaret step off.
6. You don’t want to seem burdening so you don’t question the restaurant choice.
I try to be a very chill person because I know it’s hard to accommodate my diet sometimes. I feel bad and don’t want to make you stress unnecessarily so I say it’s not that big of a deal if you choose the restaurant we go to. But I mean, it can be disappointing when there is only two meatless options on the menu. Salads are good though, I’m not complaining.
7. You cook a lot of your own food during the holidays.
You never realize how meat is in all the meals your Nana makes for the family. Sometimes you gotta fend for yourself (which can be a struggle if you can’t cook).
8. You find yourself nervous to tell people you’re vegetarian.
It’s almost a curse word. Some people don’t even understand why someone would go vegetarian. How do I casually bring up that I just don’t want to eat the turkey Aunt Susan toiled over all day? I am never one to turn down food, but if it clashes with my diet please know it’s not a slight to you I swear.
9. People trying to tempt you to eat meat
Yes, I know it smells good Patricia but keep your bacon-wrapped pork to yourself; it’s not working.
10. Some meat-eating people openly worry that you’re going to try and “convert them”
First of all, that’s not how it works. And chances are, whatever I say isn’t going to sway you anyway. It’s a very personal decision and one only you can make for yourself. I honestly am not secretly judging you for eating meat, just like I hope you’re not judging me.
Whatever problems you face, keep rocking it vegetarians, and have an awesome holiday season. You’re helping make the world a greener place.