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Vegetarians: Follow the golden rule

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won
Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

So you’ve made the decision to become a vegetarian?

One minute you’re feeling high and mighty, the next you catch yourself in a Red Lobster reciting “Finding Nemo” in your head. “Fish are friends, not food.”

Damn it, fish aren’t my friends. Ten minutes later you’re chowing down on a crab cake like Samuel L. Jackson eating a Big Kahuna Burger.

The vegetarian lifestyle is cyclical with fluctuating feelings and constant urges. It’s important to remember that being a vegetarian is a choice, just as the decision to not be one.

So I urge vegetarians: Please stop trying to convert people.

Nobody wants to hear it. Tell an omnivore and they’ll look at you like Willy Wonka sarcastically wanting you to tell him more. Tell a vegan and they’ll still consider you a demon. Tell a vegetarian and they’ll just classify you as one of the annoying ones.

Vegetarianism is a great choice to make, don’t get me wrong. People do it for health benefits, ethical reasons and religious purposes. Whatever reason draws you in, it will be an exciting change that certainly dominates a lot of your thought process.

A lot of people picture vegetarians as shrill creatures, chewing on celery in the fetal position while soaking up sunlight as their primary source of energy.

So when a person breaks into this diet and realizes that they are the one and only exception, they want to tell the world.

Just. Don’t.

Certain vegetarians seem to think that they are better than omnivores. Remember that becoming a vegetarian is a choice, as is not becoming a vegetarian. Respect other people’s dietary choices. It is ignorant to feel superior toward somebody simply because they make different lifestyle choices than you.

The golden rule of vegetarianism: We don’t like our dietary choices being questioned, so don’t do it to others.

On the other side of the spectrum, some vegetarians completely fail to acknowledge the fact that they’re vegetarian. Not telling those that you live with or eat with that you have certain dietary restrictions is just pure stupid. This can lead to confusion and makes it inconvenient for both parties.

There’s no reason to pretend like you’re not hungry and that you’re just not interested in something. Embrace your lifestyle choice.

It’s easy to understand why people are hostile when it comes to vegetarianism. It’s a drastic change.

Some vegetarians (the ones that convert for ethical reasons) are the ones that see every piece of meat as destroying the world. These are the ones that give vegetarians a bad rap. Of course, they can argue that every meatball is a life taken away, but yelling this at some poor soul trying to enjoy dinner is not going to save anything. Especially if you have broccoli breath.

Before assaulting some guy just trying to eat a chicken Parmesan, consider the fact that you may very well be eating meat once again in your life. If you’re a veggie-lover until you die, you most likely ate meat before you made the conversion. Lay off on the people trying to enjoy their food. You can never be sure if people have certain deficiencies that require them to consume meat.

If converting people is really such a drastic need for you, sit people down with a non-aggressive tone. Teach people why you made the change. Don’t be condescending, really just try to help them better themselves. Let them see the benefits of the lifestyle radiate off of you.

If you’ve become a vegetarian to be healthier, you might as well stop immediately. Plain and simple, vegetarians do not just eat vegetables. Many early vegetarians will find themselves pounding away at chips, soda, cookies, etc. Vegetables can still be infused into a diet that includes meat, and lean meats are very healthy.

If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, join a gym. Drink more water and boost your metabolism. Simply erasing certain foods will not do the trick. It’s what you add to the equation.

A lot of vegetarians experience lethargy when they first make the transition, leading them to take more supplements and vitamins. There are really a lot of things to consider before dropping the meat.

Navigate your status as a vegetarian with caution. Rock the middle ground between being self-entitled and shy.

Sam Rios can be reached at [email protected] or @theeemessiah on Twitter.

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    Alisha Bernal // Apr 22, 2016 at 12:10 am