In the past decade, the number of vegetarians and vegans in the UK has skyrocketed as more people are convinced by the health and environmental benefits of ditching meat and animal products.
Still, that doesn’t mean that veggies aren’t bombarded with silly questions and comments about ditching meat and animal products even though it’s proven that – if followed properly- the diet is perfectly healthy and safe. To mark World Vegetarian Day, we asked some veggies to share what they wish meat-eaters would stop asking them.
Jenny Liddle, former trustee of The Vegan Society
“Where do you get your protein? Oh but you won’t be able to have that will you? You can’t eat that, it’s got cow-juice it it! It must be really hard being a vegan. I couldn’t be vegan – I love my bacon and cheese too much! I’m nearly vegan – I only eat chicken once a week! But what would happen if you were left in the desert and all you had to eat was your camel? But Lions eat meat.”
These comments are irritating because they demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of my own standpoint, and a lack of respect. They also become very wearing because you hear them time and time again. It seems to be acceptable to say these things even though veganism is a protected belief. It’s basically bullying someone for being different, for having a different viewpoint from them. Not great if you’re at the receiving end.”
Lauren Regan-Ingram, 30, account manager, Newcastle
“But plants have feelings too and you eat them, so you should just eat meat.”
Becky Smail, 27, account manager, London
“’But we have been eating meat for centuries, that’s why we have incisors’ and ‘I love animals, but becoming vegan is so extreme’. Surely the meat industry is the extreme one?”
Jennifer Earle, founder of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours and chocolate judge
“Don’t you miss meat? What about bacon? What about protein? Go on, just try a little bit.”
May Hunter, art instructor, 29, Virginia
“But fish is okay, right?”
Aoife Sheridan, construction estimator, 23, Ireland
“I wish people would stop saying ‘You know a vegan diet is really unhealthy for you?”
Tianna McCormick, clinical laboratory supervisor, 39, Colorado
“I wish people would stop telling me that we’re scientifically meant to eat animals. I’m a scientist, trust me, we’re okay without it.”
Janet Kearney, founder of the website Vegan Pregnancy Parenting, 37, New York City
“I wish people would just stop asking refering to fruit as ‘vegan’ when I’m around. ‘Oh, can you have this orange, it’s vegan’. Stop. Just, stop.”
Andrea Short, nutritionist, 31, Wisconsin
“Is it hard being a vegan? I mean, what do you eat?’
Sophie Sadler, 24, senior account executive, Winchester
“I wish people would stop asking ‘but will you start eating meat again when you’re pregnant?’ It’s slightly irrelevant as I’m in my early 20s and not married and have no immediate plans to start a family but one that people seem to obsess over!”
Karin Moestam, 26, Bournemouth
“I get incredibly frustrated with parents who get upset if you talk about giving plant-based food to children. I’ve heard everything from it ‘not being nutritional enough’ to ‘you shouldn’t force your political beliefs on a child’ to it being ‘child abuse’!
“This is especially ironic when coming from parents who frequently give their children McDonalds and KFC, as if that would be preferential to broccoli and beans.”
“Also, when you point out that the earth we live on is literally dying because of the environmental impact of animal farming and meat-eaters respond with something along the lines of ‘I guess that’s a good point, but I could never stop eating steak, it’s just too delicious’. Do they want steak or a planet for their grandchildren to live on?”
Head Chef Pavel Kanja of Flat Three restaurant, London
“Is your dog vegan?”
”I have some chocolate but you can’t have any“
“Is seabass vegan?”
Charlie Pallett, 22, Rutland
“‘What do you eat then?’ With 3million people in the UK vegetarian and vegan numbers rising, it’s obvious we find something to eat. Take the name for example… VEGE-tarian!
‘Ugh, I couldn’t do that’ We’re really not bothered whether you want to be vegetarian or not, or whether you could handle to challenge. We’re vegetarian out of choice, eat what you like!
‘Bet it’s a phase…’ I’ve been vegetarian for over 10 years, and won’t be going back – but thanks for your unwanted feedback!
‘You can’t eat Haribos? Why? How boring!’ Yes. Shock. Haribos (and most squishy sweets) contain gelatin. If you want me to explain what that is, prepare to consider vegetarianism yourself.
‘Your diet must be really boring, eating the same thing all the time!’ Actually, a vegetarian diet is rather delicious and there are so many combinations of foods and flavours you can create without meat, believe me, there is more than one vegetable!
‘I tried being vegetarian once…’ Vegetarian are used to this and most people have ‘tried’ being vegetarian once upon a time.
‘She won’t want to come, she’s vegetarian’ Just because we’re vegetarian doesn’t mean we can’t eat out or attend a local takeout spot or even a fast food place. You’ldbe surprised that most menus cater for a vegetarian and some even supply vegan menus. So don’t think you can get out of inviting us.
Aimee, 29, Cornwall, PR
“Why are you vegetarian? How do you survive? It must be so boring. You don’t eat meat? I bet your boyfriend is unhappy.”
Harriet, 23, Cornwall, PR
“Aren’t you protein deficient? Do you not like going out to restaurants? What is there to eat?”