I received the worst reaction to the, “oh hey, I’m vegetarian now” from a different friend last week as I ate a veggie burger with my roommate. His entire attitude shifted once I uttered that phrase, and suddenly he barraged me with comments about never wanting to eat a veggie burger, asking why would I ever choose that over a real burger, and ew, it looks gross. I don’t enjoy being attacked while I eat (or really, at any time), so I tried to change the subject. The comments still came though, and I felt his opinion of me change right then. I smiled and enjoyed my burger.
After watching Forks Over Knives, I spent hours reading online about veganism and the transition to veganism. I remember one person describing how they lost friends, and I thought that was ridiculous. Suddenly, I get it. Why are some people so uncomfortable if their friend eats differently than they do? Conversely, why do so many people (meateaters, vegetarians and vegans included) feel the need to push their beliefs onto others? Why does what we eat have such a religious zeal attached to it? I’m not looking to answer these questions, but rather I am just surprised by these observations.
On a different note, I have grown more confident in my vegetarianism. It’s been just about 25 days of a meat-free lifestyle. I’ve been reading more books about food, food policy, veganism, etc. Perhaps it’s just that I am excited about using my snazzy new Kindle, or perhaps it’s my spiked interest in learning everything I can about food, but I’ve wolfing books down recently. (I’m currently on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.)
My college is known for its vegan and vegetarian options. While this was a fact I proudly promoted as I gave tours, it’s pretty cool to finally understand what it means. In the dining hall, I am aware of food options that I would have never considered previously. The best part is that my suitemate is also exploring these new options. It’s amazing how my plate has transformed from formally being full of meats and breads, often with few vegetables. My plate looks a lot healthier now.