I think I maybe one of the only bloggers that hasn't done a lot of guest posts. There really isn't any reason, I just never got around to finding anyone to post and honestly, I didn't want to put in the effort. However, after over a year and a half of blogging regularly I figure it is more than time to expand my blogging experience and allow guest posts, so here goes.
When I turned 15 I decided to become a vegetarian. Both of my parents ate meat and it was a lot of trail and error before I figured out a way for it to work smoothly. I also received a lot of criticism from friends and family that didn't understand my choices and wanted to help me to be 'healthy'. Luckily I was able to find my own path and enjoyed being a vegetarian for over 10 years. I have heard from a lot of my vegetarian friends that have had similar stories and felt like they had to justify their food choices. Since I am now gluten free I have encountered a new slew of defense of my food lifestyle and all the problems that go along with it. Food choices are definitely a hot topic of debate. Here is a great guest post on being vegetarian.
How to Be a Non-Righteous Vegetarian
It occurred to me recently that vegetarianism has a pretty severe stigma – one that I believe stands in the way of more people adopting vegetarianism as a lifestyle. People see vegetarians as elitist; men and women that are "too good" for old fashioned meat eaters, either because we're a bunch of new age liberal hippies or because we associated eating meat with immorality.
The origins of the stigma appear pretty obvious to me:
• Many people that "become vegetarian" later in life do so for moral reasons and often take a verbally moral high ground, proudly displaying their newfound vegetarianism for all to see.
• People associated vegetarianism with veganism, which has much more of a lifestyle component.
• Meat eaters are a bunch of bullies.
Okay, maybe that's not entirely true. Some meat eaters are really good people, and others are politicians. But in reality the origin of the stigma doesn't matter. What matters is that people that would normally consider vegetarianism end up avoiding it, because they don't want to be associated with vegetarians.
That's not very fair. I'm a vegetarian, and I'm not only awesome – I'm modest about it. I also want there to be more vegetarian food at restaurants, and the only way that's going to happen is if more people become vegetarians. That means the stigma needs to go away, and it's up to us – you, me, and other vegetarians, to overcompensate for a stigma we didn't create in order to make sure that others know how cool we really are.
That's why I propose the following:
• Tip Bigger – Many vegetarian meals are inexpensive compared to meat meals. When you order one of these less expensive meals, be a bit more generous with your tip. You're already saving money on the food. Show the waiter that you're not a vegetarian because you're cheap.
• Be Extremely Nice About Special Orders – I have a relative that is very mean to waiters, expecting them to serve her every need. She's also a vegetarian. She special orders numerous meals at restaurants, and then when she doesn't get them as she wants them, she acts like the person should be fired. Don't be her. If you order a complex meal, be more forgiving of mistakes.
• Hush Up About Meat When Eating – You can argue that meat is murder on your own time. In the interim, let people enjoy their meals in peace. As long as they don't drop their meatballs on your salad, what they eat really isn't any of your business, just as what you eat shouldn't be something they care about either.
• Make Some Fattening Meals – Finally, invite people over for dinner, and don’t try to ruin it with vegetables. Make cheese pizzas and fried potatoes and whatever foods you can think of that are delicious and not at all healthy for you. Show people that being a vegetarian doesn't mean you have to skimp on flavor. Also, don't ever serve tofu hot dogs because those are disgusting.
It may not convert your friends, but hopefully it will start converting the stigma, and over time, hopefully more people will be willing to adopt vegetarianism without worrying about how their buddies will see them.
About the Author: Micah Abraham is a vegetarian and writer for Great Leap Studios. You can contact him at www.greatleapstudios.com.