“Grandma was just showing off some of her vegetarian food,” I smiled to my cousin.
“Wait, Grandma, you’re a vegetarian now?” my cousin called out to my grandma in the other room.
“No,” Grandma’s voice sailed in from the kitchen.
A quick moment of silence passed before my cousin turned to me.
“Are you a vegetarian?”
“Uh, yeah,” I responded.
“When did this happen? Last time I saw you, you were still eating meat.”
“I’m a two-week-old vegetarian. I just watched one too many food documentaries, I guess,” I played it off.
“Ah, that would do it.” I figured that she must be thinking about movies of factory farms’ treatment of animals, but I didn’t care to explain that it was actually the science in Forks Over Knives that changed my mind.
A similar conversation happened at dinner with my grandma, cousin, and aunt. I ordered tofu, and the logical conclusion by my aunt: “Are you a vegetarian?” It’s funny that I can’t eat tofu without someone asking if I’m a vegetarian. Don’t meat-eaters also eat tofu? Perhaps my family is just used to me always ordering meat.
“I never ate that great when I ate meat, so if being a vegetarian pushes me to eat better and try new things, then why not?” was my response to my aunt. She seemed satisfied.
I don’t mind answering questions from my family about being vegetarian; I’m not embarrassed, really – although I do sometimes feel judging or puzzled eyes looking me over – I simply don’t feel the need to make a big deal about it.