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This past Saturday I went to a friend of the family's house for their holiday party. Now, just to preface my story they know that I am both a vegetarian and lactose-intolerant. So, I get to the party and everyone is standing around talking and eating the hor d'ourves. I walk over to where they are set up and look...stuffed clams, stuffed mushrooms with parmesean cheese and beef (or something), shrimp, and tomato-basil foccacia bread. OK. It's a start. So I take a few pieces of bread. The hostess comes over to me and sees that I am only eating the bread and she says to me "Is there nothing appropriate her for you to eat?" which I found very rude. Calmly I replied that I am a vegetarian and lactose-intolerant, so most of the food I can't eat. The she asked me, "Don't you eat fish?" I replied no. She retorted with "Well I have had a vegetarian friend for 10 years, and he always ate fish!" She then decides to announce to everyone in the room "Nicole is a vegetarian, but I think that she is taking this way too far. So you don't eat dairy or fish now either?!". Agrivated, I replied that I am allergic to dairy (but to be quite honest I don't mind one bit!) and I've never eaten fish since I became a vegetarian and walked away. Then dinner time arrives. Again I look over the dishes of food. I end up with salad and sweet potatoes. I'm ok with this. I am not one to make people go out of their way to accomodate me and I don't push my views onto others. It's my personal choice. But she feels the need to (rudely again) ask me if I will be able to eat anything. If you know that I am a vegetarian - wouldn't you at least make one dish veggie-friendly? Let's fast forward to the desserts. We have cheesecake, chocolate cake, and some custard-y looking pie. By now, I think she thinks I am insulting her by not eating any of her food, but just picking over it. Believe me, this is not the case. Had I known that there wouldn't be anything that I could eat, I would have contributed a dish. Instead, I'm starving. Her husband was kind enough to give me some graham crackers. It was quite a miserable and rather rude night.
 

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Ah yesh. This happens many times.

Now.. from now on eat a little before going out. It's a rule for me. Or I ask them kindly if they have any salad mix or something I could have. Usually they are happy to help.

Some people maybe in denial about the vegetarianism, they may want you to "eat normally". Just keep strong and smile.
 

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Being in the same situation as you (vegetarian and somewhat lactose intolerant) I can see how frustrating that could be. You seemed to handle it a lot more calmly than I would have though, which is a good thing. I tend to get confrontational when people disrespect or are rude to me, so I'd say you acted pretty well in that circumstance.

I guess let it be a lesson for next time to either eat something beforehand or call the person hosting the party to find out what food will be there.
 

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Thanks. I really tried to stay calm. What I really wanted to do was yell at her till my face turned purple for being so ignorant. It totally ruined the whole night. I really just wanted to leave right after the first five minutes because of her stupid comment.
 

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That's annoying. The other day I had the opposite problem. I was invited over to a kind of party thing and, because I expected no food that I could eat, I ate something before I went. Then when I got there I'd found that the entire food section had been especially based around my needs with huge selections of food that I love.

All through the night people were shoving food under my nose asking me to eat more, I'd never eaten more in my life! I was already full up when I got there and felt it would be rude to turn down food that had been specially prepared just for me!


-Engelsman
 

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I'm sorry. That was a bad night. I have learned to always, ALWAYS have a Cliff Bar, a Luna bar, or a peanut butter sandwich somewhere nearby. Usually it means my purse, but if I'm not carrying a purse, I'll just keep something in the car.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vahevalarain View Post

This past Saturday I went to a friend of the family's house for their holiday party. Now, just to preface my story they know that I am both a vegetarian and lactose-intolerant. So, I get to the party and everyone is standing around talking and eating the hor d'ourves. I walk over to where they are set up and look...stuffed clams, stuffed mushrooms with parmesean cheese and beef (or something), shrimp, and tomato-basil foccacia bread. OK. It's a start. So I take a few pieces of bread. The hostess comes over to me and sees that I am only eating the bread and she says to me "Is there nothing appropriate her for you to eat?" which I found very rude. Calmly I replied that I am a vegetarian and lactose-intolerant, so most of the food I can't eat. The she asked me, "Don't you eat fish?" I replied no. She retorted with "Well I have had a vegetarian friend for 10 years, and he always ate fish!" She then decides to announce to everyone in the room "Nicole is a vegetarian, but I think that she is taking this way too far. So you don't eat dairy or fish now either?!". Agrivated, I replied that I am allergic to dairy (but to be quite honest I don't mind one bit!) and I've never eaten fish since I became a vegetarian and walked away. Then dinner time arrives. Again I look over the dishes of food. I end up with salad and sweet potatoes. I'm ok with this. I am not one to make people go out of their way to accomodate me and I don't push my views onto others. It's my personal choice. But she feels the need to (rudely again) ask me if I will be able to eat anything. If you know that I am a vegetarian - wouldn't you at least make one dish veggie-friendly? Let's fast forward to the desserts. We have cheesecake, chocolate cake, and some custard-y looking pie. By now, I think she thinks I am insulting her by not eating any of her food, but just picking over it. Believe me, this is not the case. Had I known that there wouldn't be anything that I could eat, I would have contributed a dish. Instead, I'm starving. Her husband was kind enough to give me some graham crackers. It was quite a miserable and rather rude night.
Here is my column from two weeks ago. This got out to over 40, 000 people and I got some AWESOME responses! People (omni's!) had no idea how rude they are.

Enjoy and print out for your 'friends'
 

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I went to a dinner recently and even though there was plenty of veges which were cooked seperately from the meat the subject still managed to come up and make everything really uncomfortable. The hosts (who put on some extra veges for me when they found out) went out of their way to make it seem like they were ok with me being veg, which really just made me feel like they weren't. They clearly felt like it was a big deal but were trying desperately to make it seem like it wasn't. I felt like a bit of a social pariah, now I know how one of their sons must feel - he's gay and knows they're against homosexuality but they can't say anything about it because he's prone to depression and suicidal ideation.
 
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it does seem like she jumped down your throat, by the sounds of things, but i think it might be not that she was neccesarily trying to be rude for the sake of rudness, but more that she badly mishandled her own embarrassment at a failed attempt to cater for you.

while behaving badly is totally inappropriate, i think it sometimes helps to look at what might be underneath it like this. i think that perhaps she might have got her back up over this, while being stressed already at the logistics that come with running a party. she could well have prepared this event with very good intentions, some time ahead consiously thinking "ok, what can V. have, i know my other friend 'the veggie' eats fish, so clams and shrimp, that should be fine
"...etc.

then when you said it wasn't (however nicely you said so) she maybe got her nose totally out of joint, and then procceeded to make a fool out of herself in a lousy attempt to steer the blame to you, in order to not look foolish over her poor hostessing skills/ easily made mistake.

ok, she shouldn't have assumed that you eat fish, but her assumption was based on personal experience, and right or wrong, we all make assumptions with the best of intentions, from time to time, that land us in a pickle.

it might have been smarter for her to call you, and check that you could eat what she was serving before the day, but likewise, you could equally well have called her and said "hey, i just wanna check what you're planning on serving, i'd hate for there to be a mix up with what i can and can't have, and us both to feel awful about it".

i've had similar mixups around food for me too- my bf's relatives know that i have a long list of food allergies and intollerances, as well as being vegan, and so i tell them that i'd much prefer, for everyones sake, to take my own food, or eat before hand, and before every get together, i clear it with them again - because what i eat or don't eat is my responsibility, and ultimately my problem when it goes wrong.

they still try and cater for me, bless them, with mixed results- i've been offered cheese nachos (someone got the 'gluten free' but not the 'vegan') and a salad (loaded with mayo and bacon) and i've had a xmas dinner that consisted of absloutely nothing, lol, but both times, this was my responsibility to avoid. if i want to eat something other than that i've cooked myself, i should never assume that any host knows what i know, or that they're capable of catering for me, because i'm the one who has special food needs, not them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrylove View Post

Here is my column from two weeks ago. This got out to over 40, 000 people and I got some AWESOME responses! People (omni's!) had no idea how rude they are.

Enjoy and print out for your 'friends'
It might be just my computer, how come I could not view the PDF file? Anyone can access the file???
 

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I just checked it again, and I can still read it.

Here it is, not in the best format, but ah well:

Tough being Vegan!

It's not easy being vegan. I don't mean that it is a

difficult lifestyle; I embrace it and love it and

would never consider living any other way. What

I mean is that often we are made to feel like either

an outcast or a target. Case in point, the other day

I was at the store and ran into a friend who was

there with his wife. The friend mentions in

passing that I'm a vegan and his wife gives me a

look as if I was standing there naked or something

and proceeds to tell me how crazy that is. This is

just one mild example. Why do people get so

upset by my choice to not eat the flesh of a dead

animal? I am not hurting anyone and frankly it

has nothing to do with them. I

do have theories though. I think

when someone comes across a

vegan they get intimidated

because they think that we will

think less of them for eating

meat or that we will think we

are above them because we

don't eat it. This is simply not

true; I was a meat-eater at one

time. After I educated myself

about the abuses involved in the meat and dairy

industry I could no longer consume animal

products, it's that simple, it doesn't make me

special it just makes me someone who holds true

to his beliefs and lives it. It reminds me of a great

quote: 'When you know better, you do better.'

While I'm on the subject, don't ask me why I'm

vegan if you really don't want to know. Often

people ask why and then when I tell them they get

very defensive and go on the attack. If you ask me

why, I'm going to tell you, isn't that why you

asked? I think some people ask so that they can

argue the point. I don't know what point there is to

argue. Meat and dairy and filled with cholesterol,

fat, hormones and antibiotics and animals are

horrifically abused until their slaughter day

arrives. These statements cannot be intelligently

disputed. Now about social situations, we have

friends and family that will not invite us to their

houses because they feel they cannot provide us

with anything to eat. Often when we do get

invited somewhere it turns into an apologetic invitation,

letting us know that there may not be much there for us to

eat. I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone out

there know that vegans know what they are. No vegan goes

to a wedding or dinner party expecting to be able to eat

much of the food, it's ok, we don't mind and to be honest

we know better than to ever show up hungry. As a host all

you have to do is respect our lifestyle and realize that it is

deep-rooted. Being a vegan is a moral and ethical choice.

No true vegan is going to eat turkey just because you made

one; it doesn't work that way. It is not an insult to you or

your cooking or your intentions, we will not compromise

our values and no thinking person should expect us to. The

social inconveniences are a very small

price to pay and we are more than

willing to pay it, please don't feel bad.

Likewise don't think that we are

offended because you made meat. We do

not live in a bubble, we are aware of the

world we are living in and know that we

are the minority in this country at least

for now. Happily, the number of

vegetarians and vegans is rising sharply

and that is a trend that is sure to

continue.

Barry Lovelace is creator of Exercise4 Every Body circuit

training DVD's. co-owner of FitQuest Fitness in

Allentown, Pa.. a personal trainer, speaker and all around

fitness enthusiast.
 
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