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Living in Harmony with Vegetarians<br><br>
By Alison Green<br><br>
The Washington Post, 8/25/95<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I concluded, after careful consideration, that eating meat was<br><br>
incompatible with my values, even though I loved meat and didn't care<br><br>
much for vegetables. I was sure my taste buds would rebel, perhaps<br><br>
hold a bean sprout or two hostage in my mouth until I paid a ransom of<br><br>
a burger or strip of bacon.<br><br><br><br>
Happily, it didn't work out quite the way I expected; my biggest<br><br>
problem as a vegetarian has not been the food--which I've found to be<br><br>
delicious and every bit as satisfying as meat--but the bewildering<br><br>
attitudes of my family and friends. Other vegetarians have the same<br><br>
complaints: the weird looks, the silly questions, the hostile<br><br>
interrogations. It seems vegetarians--12 million of us in the U.S.<br><br>
and growing daily--are a sadly misunderstood minority indeed. Thus,<br><br>
I've devised ten simple edicts for meat-eaters in their dealings with<br><br>
vegetarians:<br><br><br><br>
Rid yourself of the idea that vegetarians are spartans who subsist<br><br>
on raw carrots and bean sprouts. The question I hear more than<br><br>
anything else is "What do you eat?" This one baffles me; how would<br><br>
anyone with a reasonably varied diet answer that? I eat spaghetti,<br><br>
stir-fry, hummus, stew, raspberry sorbet, minestrone soup, salads,<br><br>
bean burritos, gingerbread, lentil chili, lasagna, tofu kabobs,<br><br>
waffles, veggie burgers, artichokes, tacos, bagels, saffron rice, lime<br><br>
mouselline, wild mushroom risotto--what do you eat?<br><br><br><br>
Learn some biology. I'm still not sure what to do with otherwise<br><br>
intelligent people who think a chicken is not an animal. For the<br><br>
record, vegetarianism means no red meat, poultry, or fish--nobody with<br><br>
a face. I can't count the number of times waiters have suggested the<br><br>
seafood platter as a "vegetarian" entree.<br><br><br><br>
Especially if someone is a vegetarian for ethical reasons, don't<br><br>
assume they won't object to "just a little" meat in their meal. Would<br><br>
you accept "just a bit" of your cat, or "just a little" of Uncle Jim<br><br>
in your soup?<br><br><br><br>
Quit lobbying for the meat industry. Carnivores seem to think that<br><br>
vegetarians are like dieters and that we want to cheat a little now<br><br>
and then. My father is convinced that if he can convince me of how<br><br>
good his corned beef and cabbage tastes, I'll give in and eat it.<br><br>
Friends try to get me to try "just a bite" of whatever meat product<br><br>
they're eating, on the premise that it's so good, I couldn't possibly<br><br>
pass it up. I sometimes think meat-eaters took their lessons in peer<br><br>
pressure from the bad kids in the anti-drug movies we used to watch in<br><br>
high school. Listen up: no matter how "good" you insist it is, we're<br><br>
not going to eat it.<br><br><br><br>
When a vegetarian gets sick, don't tell him or her it's because of<br><br>
malnourishment. From the comments I hear when I have the flu, you'd<br><br>
think meat-eaters never get sick. When I get sick, there's always<br><br>
someone waiting to tell me it's because of my diet. In actuality,<br><br>
just as there are healthy and unhealthy meat-eaters, there are healthy<br><br>
and unhealthy vegetarians. (And by the way, studies have shown that<br><br>
vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters.)<br><br><br><br>
When you're in a restaurant with a vegetarian, have patience--eating<br><br>
out can be a challenge for even seasoned vegetarians. Despite the<br><br>
acceptance into the mainstream of a veggie diet, most restaurant menus<br><br>
are still cluttered with animal products. Some restaurants seem to<br><br>
have nothing but meat on their menus; even the salads have eggs or<br><br>
chicken in them! Don't complain if our attempts at ascertaining the<br><br>
exact ingredients in the minestrone seem like paranoia; experience has<br><br>
taught us these tableside inquisitions are warranted. After years of<br><br>
quizzing waiters and waitresses, I've found that items described as<br><br>
vegetarian often contain chicken broth, lard, eggs, or other animal<br><br>
ingredients.<br><br><br><br>
Don't make faces at our food. Before you scrunch up your face at my<br><br>
soy hot dog or tofu, think about what you're eating. Just because<br><br>
eating animals is widely accepted doesn't mean it's not gross.<br><br><br><br>
Realize we've probably heard it before. One of the funniest things<br><br>
about being veg is the person who is positive that he has the argument<br><br>
that is going to change my mind. It's almost invariably one of these<br><br>
gems:<br><br>
(a) "Animals eat other animals, so why shouldn't humans?" (Answer:<br><br>
Most animals who kill for food couldn't survive if they didn't do so.<br><br>
That's obviously not the case with humans. And since when have we<br><br>
looked to animals for our standards of behavior?)<br><br>
(b) "Our ancestors ate meat." (Answer: Perhaps--but they also lived<br><br>
in caves, conversed in grunts, and had very limited choices of<br><br>
lifestyle. Supposedly, we've evolved since then.)<br><br><br><br>
Despite popular opinion, you do not have the right to expect<br><br>
vegetarians to compromise personal beliefs for the sake of<br><br>
"politeness." People who would never dream of asking a recovered<br><br>
alcoholic to try their favorite vodka, or demand that someone who kept<br><br>
kosher have some bacon still think it perfectly reasonable to expect<br><br>
me to eat Aunt Sue's meatloaf because I adored it as a child and she<br><br>
would be ever so insulted if I didn't have some now.<br><br><br><br>
Stop telling us humans "have to" eat meat; we're living proof they<br><br>
don't. People who otherwise respect my ability to take care of myself<br><br>
refuse to trust that I did not make the decision to become a<br><br>
vegetarian rashly. I've done plenty of research on<br><br>
vegetarianism--probably more than you've done on diet and<br><br>
nutrition--and I'm confident in the choice I've made. Are you aware<br><br>
of the studies showing meat-eaters are almost twice as likely to die<br><br>
from heart disease, 60% more likely to die from cancer, and 30% more<br><br>
likely to die from other diseases? I wouldn't be eating this way if<br><br>
extensive research hadn't convinced me that vegetarianism is healthier<br><br>
and more ethical than eating meat; a more appropriate question might<br><br>
be whether you can back up your diet.<br><br><br><br>
Now go forth and exult in your smooth dealings with vegetarians. You<br><br>
might find things so harmonious that you'll want to try vegetarianism<br><br>
yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<i>Don't make faces at our food. Before you scrunch up your face at my soy hot dog or tofu, think about what you're eating. Just because eating animals is widely accepted doesn't mean it's not gross.</i><br><br><br><br>
I second this motion. I get so sick of folks making this face like I'm about to eat some kind of sludge I scraped up from the basement floor.
 

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LOL...I third it.<br><br><br><br>
Also, last weekend in Knoxville one gentleman explained to me how his dr said he should occasionally eat red meat because human beings were made to eat red meat occasionally (OKAY....). I said, tell that to all the Indian people and other cultures living on a meat free diet. He explained how they had lived that way for centuries so their bodies were used to it...but you don't want to go from eating meat all your life to not. I said...I don't know, I'm pretty dang healthy and I never touch the stuff.<br><br><br><br>
In the end as my daughter's grandmother asked about the Dr. thing, I said different drs say different things based on what they've been taught (why do we assume drs are gods and that they know EVERYTHING there is to know)...and that different ones who have differing information might not agree with this dr. But that I (and all the other vegetarians out there) are living quite healthy lives without meat. I did applaud the man for eating what he called 'a more healthy' diet. He's in his fourties and just had to have some sort of colon operation.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway...just had to get that in somewhere. I spent all last weekend surviving on salad and baked potatos. I always hate when I have to do that.<br><br><br><br>
B
 

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It makes me want to print up that article and carry it with me....to hand to everyone who feels like they have something "new" to say to me that will make me want to eat meat again. You know, that's not a bad idea...I think I will bring it to work with me tonight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by bethanie</i><br><br><b>In the end as my daughter's grandmother asked about the Dr. thing, I said different drs say different things based on what they've been taught (why do we assume drs are gods and that they know EVERYTHING there is to know)...and that different ones who have differing information might not agree with this dr. But that I (and all the other vegetarians out there) are living quite healthy lives without meat. I did applaud the man for eating what he called 'a more healthy' diet. He's in his fourties and just had to have some sort of colon operation.<br><br></b></div>
</div>
<br>
In highschool, my Doctor tried to talk me into eating meat. He was about 300 lbs.
 

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WONDERFUL ARTICLE!!!! Thank you so much for sharing it, beautiful fire.<br><br><br><br>
She sounds like everything that has been said, discussed and ranted about on these boards (especially the part about people acting like we're on some diet that we want to cheat on and break from, every now and again). I love this article! I've saved a copy to it on my hard drive so that when someone gives me some rant about my ways of eating and how I'm "robbing myself of needed nutrients...", I can print out the article, give it to that person and have them read everything that I want to say, but would look like a over-zealous fanatic saying it.<br><br><br><br>
I especially liked the analagy of asking a recovering alchoholic to try a vodka or someone keeping kosher to have a piece of bacon. Very true! I also love that it's from the Washington Post. That lends much more creedence in the omni mind than an ariticle printed in "Veggie Life" or "Vegetarian Times" for example. The nons are more likely to pay attention to something printed in a "normal magazine" and especially one that's been around as long as The Post.<br><br><br><br>
Yes, I'm saving it for sure and the next person that tells me I'm going to die on this diet, I'm sending it to their email and telling them not to talk to me again about this until they have this article comitted to memory and can quote it ver batium from start to finish. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
(Ok, I'm being sarcastic. I won't make them commit it to memory. Maybe I'll just make them write me a 4,000 word apology instead.... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> )
 

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that article was absolutely priceless <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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That's a great article. Has anyone ever seen a "Living in Harmony with Other Vegetarians"? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Kurmudgeon</i><br><br><b>That's a great article. Has anyone ever seen a "Living in Harmony with Other Vegetarians"? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"></b></div>
</div>
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heh.. i don't know but i think this part of the article would fit in it just perfectly:<br><br><br><br>
"Learn some biology. I'm still not sure what to do with otherwise intelligent people who think a chicken is not an animal. For the record, vegetarianism means no red meat, poultry, or fish--nobody with a face. I can't count the number of times waiters have suggested the seafood platter as a "vegetarian" entree."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That *is* a great article. I only everyone could read it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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If someone is botherings us we can just hand this to them and then ask them how much thought they've put into their diet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You're very welcome you guys! I suggest, like jilhrt2 said, bringing it along with you and pass it out to non-veg*n's when they ask you a question or stick up their nose about your diet. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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Great article, though I have read it before. It raises some excellent points, especially the one about thinking that we're on some kind of fad diet and that we'll cheat. i find that extremely annoying.<br><br><br><br>
But it makes the point that the hardest thing about going veg isn't adjusting to the food - It's the social adjustments.
 

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I also like the point about learning biology. Seafood is not grown from a plant, fish is not is not grown from a plant, cheese is not grown from a plant, and chicken or turkey is not grown from a plant. If it grows from a plant (tree, root, vine... whatever), then I can eat it. If it's not then I can't. That should be really easy, but I guess a lot of people didn't take biology in school.... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:">
 
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