Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Oh My!

“Where do you get your proteins?”

“Eating just vegetables can’t be healthy?” 

“You are going against our culture.” 

“Vegans and vegetarians are the same things.” 

I am surprised that my eyes haven’t rolled to the back of my head. If I had a dime for every time I heard these, I would be richer than Jeff Bezos. I dread when I utter the words I’m vegan. People magically turn into health and cultural experts. 

I don’t have a problem with people who eat meat, consume dairy, or wear leather. I have a problem when people jam their opinion about veganism down my throat. I have a problem when people do not hear my truth about veganism. I have a problem when people do not see a different perspective because it makes them uncomfortable. I go against the grain…I get it. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t forget where I am. Our society has a complicated relationship with food, especially with meat. For centuries, meat served as the center of our gatherings. Throughout history, animals were raised and slaughtered to be eaten. People think meat is powerful by granting us nutrients. Our society has normalized meat-eating. Eating plants is different. It goes against the culture, and I can’t blame people for doing what they are taught to do. I go against the culture of meat-eating. 

What if we normalized eating plants? What if we stopped and thought about where our food comes from? What if we think about what we say before we say it? These are the questions I ask myself when someone asks, “Where do you get your protein?”