Ginger Pop: Ten Things to Know About Vegetarians

I grew up never really liking the taste of meat. In fact, those juicy hamburgers my friends liked to down at Whataburger? Those made me sick. My body rejected red meat outright. So when I was 15 I became a vegetarian. I stayed that way for many years until I was told to go on meds for anemia or start eating meat. The next day I started eating meat. But a few years ago when I was told how healthy I was, I elected to return to my vegetarian ways. Living in Texas means I am sometimes slamming my head against a wall. Often times people just seemed confused about some aspects of what I eat. So here are ten things to know about this vegetarian that I would guess apply to many others.

  1. We aren’t trying to shame or convert you. My eating choices are mine; my kids eat meat on occasion as that is their choice. I am not going to ruin someone’s meal by telling them the horrors of beef processing. If someone wants information, I’m happy to provide it. But I’m not here to judge you. If I judge you for ordering a steak, it’s probably because you ruined a good steak by ordering it well done (a crime in Texas), not because you ordered it.
  2. Some of us wear leather. I know. The whole, “I won’t eat it, but I’ll wear it” makes us hypocrites. We’re human. I try to find cruelty free options as best I can. That’s what life is–doing the best you can.
  3. Chicken, turkey, pork, and all those other things that come from animals? Meat. This mostly goes out to the drive thru worker at Burger King who always wants to give me a chicken sandwich when they are out of veggie burgers.
  4. Feeding us shouldn’t freak you out. When I go to someone’s home, I don’t expect them to have food for me to eat. If I know the person well, I’ll just bring something along to share that I know I can make a meal out of with some cocktail olives. If I’m going somewhere I don’t know the situation, I’ll usually eat a snack beforehand just in case.
  5. We can usually find something to eat at most places except steak or barbeque restaurants. I have found that most of these places prepare their vegetables with some sort of meat. Eating at one can be done, but it’s tricky.
  6. We aren’t all hippy-dippy. People sometimes assume that because I don’t eat meat I also don’t do things like vaccinate my kids or shave my legs. Like my eating preferences, those things are personal choices. They don’t have to be linked together.
  7. Vegetarian and vegan aren’t the same thing. They aren’t. Vegans don’t eat anything that comes from animals including milk, eggs, and honey. Vegetarians don’t eat the actual flesh. Again, this is a personal preference and one isn’t better than the other. It depends on the individual.
  8. We also don’t eat fish. Still meat. Just meat that swims. People who don’t eat other meats but eat fish are called pescatarian.
  9. Some of us love junk food. Think vegetarians just eat leafy greens and soy? Many of us love junk food and indulge in it. I have a serious french fry addiction.
  10. Yes, we know bacon tastes good. We still aren’t going to eat it.