FAQ From Non-Vegetarians

Last week we learned about vegetarianism through the perspective of Widener student, Serena Turco. This week, in honor of that article, I will share with you my most frequently asked questions and answers that I receive from non-vegetarians.

WHY?

Well, every vegetarian’s answer will be different regarding this answer, but mine is a combination of moral, health, and logical reasoning.

Moral: I started to realize that the chicken on my plate was a life, and not just dinner. I began watching documentaries about the meat industry which revealed the cruel treatment of the animals that are slaughtered. Even as a meat-eater, you should be concerned about these conditions that your food is subject too: crowded, filthy housing, hormone additives, etc. The more I let my mind wander, the more I thought deeply about which animals we choose to consume, and which we choose to invite into our homes as companions. Where do we draw the line and why?

Health: I found myself gaining a lot of weight solely from going to fast-food restaurants. I knew this was extremely unhealthy for me, and decided to find a loophole that would keep me from eating fast-food and force me to eat healthier. For me, vegetarianism was the best option. I still go to McDonald’s for an order of fries from time-to-time because I don’t believe it’s effective to completely go cold-turkey, but since making this change I have significantly reduced my fast-food consumption.

Logical: As a society, we do not dietarily need meat to survive; there are plenty of other methods of obtaining protein. Additionally, there is extensive research on the positive worldly effects that come from living a vegetarian lifestyle such as lowering methane production therefore decreasing the rate of global warming, conservation of water, and freeing up land reserved for livestock.

SO, YOU JUST EAT GREENS NOW?

Well, I ate greens before converting to vegetarianism, but I also eat a fair amount of grains, fruits, dairy, sweets, etc. As long as it doesn’t contain meat, then theres a chance I will eat it (that is if I find said food tasty). There is an untrue assumption that in order to be a vegetarian you must eat like a rabbit. While there are vegetarians that choose to eat this way, there are plenty of others, like me, who indulge in pasta, candy, fries, pizza, etc. from time-to-time.

HOW DO YOU GET PROTEIN IF YOU DON’T EAT MEAT?

Contrary to popular belief, protein is found in a variety of foods from vegetables to dairy to nuts to meat alternatives. If you’re curious, check out this article I wrote a few weeks back discussing what foods to eat to obtain protein.

For me personally, I try to eat at least one meat alternative a day. My favorites are “chicken” nuggets and “chicken” sliders. I also eat a lot of almonds (these are my favorite), peanut butter, and dairy products such as cheese sticks and milk.

Along with protein, it’s important to remember to get your daily intake of vitamin B12. These are typically found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but you can also find it in vitamins such as these.

SO, ARE YOU VEGAN TOO?

Nope, just vegetarian. Vegans are individuals who choose not to use any products that involve animals in the process of creating. This includes foods like milk, eggs, cheese, etc. as well as items such as fur clothing, makeup that has been tested on animals, specific shampoo and conditioners, and even some brands of toothpaste. Veganism requires a lot more knowledge on the ingredients of products and how they are made, whereas vegetarianism is simpler: just don’t eat meat.

BUT YOU STILL EAT MEAT SOMETIMES, RIGHT? YOU HAVE TO CRAVE IT!

Surprisingly, I haven’t craved meat since the first week I decided to go vegetarian. Once I replaced my daily meat intake with meat alternatives, I never craved meat again. While the difference in taste for some meat alternatives is noticeable at first, after eating it once or twice you become adjusted to the taste and crave that instead.

WILL YOU MAKE YOUR CHILDREN BE VEGETARIANS?

I would never make my children be anything they didn’t want to be. In the first few years of life, before a child can make decisions for themselves, I would choose to feed my children a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet. Once my children have the consciousness to make their own decisions, I will not stop them from eating meat if they wanted to. Vegetarianism is a choice an individual will need to make on their own, for their own reasons.

HOW DO YOU AFFORD IT?

Vegetarianism is actually not as expensive as some might assume. I go grocery shopping probably twice to three times a month and spend about $30-$40 each time. This is hardly 20% of my monthly income, leaving me with more than enough money to pay my bills, save, and treat myself.

DO YOU EVER GET TIRED OF ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS?

Yes, and no. Some questions I really enjoy answering because they allow me to inform others of the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, but others are just, in simple terms, annoying to answer repeatedly again and again.

Originally published on VEGETERINISM

Photo credit: Pexels / Kaboompics // Karolina

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