Being a vegetarian or vegan means that certain challenges are placed in your way. Vegetarians and vegans not only struggle with finding meals that fit in their strict dietary guidelines, they struggle to eat meals without being judged as well. I have been a vegetarian since 2003 and have encountered many awkward social situations simply because I didn't have meat on my plate. I don't mind talking to people about my dietary choices, and many other non-meat eaters feel the same way. As a vegetarian or vegan, you become accustomed to answering many questions.
1. "Why did you choose to become a vegetarian?"
This is the most frequently asked question I get on a regular basis. The answer to this question varies from animal rights issues, not approving of conditions under which meat is packaged or just not liking the taste of meat. Every vegetarian has their own reasons. We don't mind answering this question as long as you are respectful of our answers.
2. "What is the difference between vegetarians and vegans?"
A vegan diet is much stricter than a vegetarian diet. Vegans consume no animal products or animal byproducts, including honey. While vegetarians avoid meat, many will still consume animal byproducts such as cheese and milk.
3. "How do you get your protein?"
Finding protein in meatless foods is not as difficult as you think. Many packaged vegetarian meat alternatives are made with soy, which is high in protein, and are very helpful for beginner vegetarians. Other foods such as almonds, quinoa and black beans are high in protein as well.
4. "I don't know how you do it. There's no way I could be a vegetarian."
Awesome! Most of us aren't asking you to become one. Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles aren't for everyone. Feel free to think this thought, but please don't say it to your loved one that is. You may not mean this to be a rude comment but it is when we're just trying to eat our meal.
5. "Animals eat plants and plants are a living thing too! So you don't feel sorry for the plants?"
Comparing plants to animals is like comparing apples to oranges. This is just a rude and most likely unsolicited question. If you're just asking questions to get a rise out of a vegetarian, just sit down and eat your cheeseburger.
6. "What if I just make something with meat in it? You'll never know it's not vegetarian."
This statement right here guarantees I'll never come eat with you again. You're not being funny when you say this. Not only are you being incredibly disrespectful, but you're also putting my health at risk. Long time vegetarians can't handle eating meat after not having it for years. Sneaking meat into a vegetarian's meal is like giving someone an item that you know they'll have an allergic reaction to.
7. "What do you eat when you go to restaurants?"
The answer to this question truly depends on the restaurant. Some restaurants, such as Mexican and Italian, have dishes that are very easy to substitute meat for beans or cheeses. Some restaurants have dishes that are just as good without the meat. When all else fails, salad is always an option.