Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vegetarianism - Is it such a difficult concept to understand?

Disclaimer: This post of mine is in no way intended to offend the people who eat meat products or to promote vegetarianism. This post simply reflects my thoughts and opinions when people question my vegetarianism, and that too an extent which throws me off.

"So you have never had any kind of meat in your life?"

"You don't even eat eggs?"

"You must be eating the seafood then?"

"what do you eat, then, for like dinner?"

"How do you make sure you are getting enough proteins in your diet?"

"And you do not allow your son also to eat meat products?"

"How do you bake a cake then?"

"Do you feel restricted when it comes to choices you have when eating outside?"

So, this is just a sample of questions I am showered with when I tell people that I do not eat meat or eggs. and it happens everytime I mention this. So much so, that now I have stopped mentioning it explicitly and occassionally try to avoid group lunches at work.

Why is vegetarianisn such a difficult concept for people to grasp?
Why can't it be a lifestyle I chose and not be related to religion or a medical condition?

Vegetarianism is a perfectly healthy lifestyle, which started for me as a part of the religion I belong to. But over time, it has become a preferred lifestyle for me. I have stayed in hostel for 3 years, worked out of my hoemtown for about a year and have lived in US all by myself for about 6 months. All these times, it would have been more convenient for me if I had opted for food choices that were more readily available. But somehow I couldn't bring myself to do that.

And now even after living in US for about 7 years now, and that too in locations where Indian grocery items are not easily available, I never felt the need to reconsider my decision or felt restricted in my options.

I am perfectly happy with my lifestyle as I explore new receipes for cakes and pies everytime I bake them, as I try all different combinations of 10 different lentils available in grocery stores, as I explored new food options such as tofu, coucous, 10 different varieties of greens, salad combinations, variety of cheeses, pastas and yogurts.

And as for my son goes, I am following the same policy which my mom followed. As long as he is too young to make his decisions, I would make this decision for him so that at least he knows what lifestyle he came from. But once he iscapableof making his own decisions, it's all upto him and I would be happy for him either way.

So, why this blog? Well, when people ask me all those questions, sometimes, it is not the occassion or time to give all the above explanation. But I always feel singled out in the crowd, which is not a comfortable feeling for me. And I always want to say some or all of these things to them. So what better way then to blog it off...

Dil se...


Solilo said...

Seriously! do people ask such questions? It is irritating indeed. How about minding their own business.

I mean food choices like many things are personal so why question someone. As long as we eat a balanced diet, who cares if there is meat or not.

BTW I am a meat eater.

Sunny said...

i would agree to an extent where in people, just start hating us because we a re meat eater or veg eater.

Its totally a personal choice, but some people actually ask to look for another table, this is Veg only table.

I mean grow up people!

Swaram said...

Been there! Ppl ask me during team lunch whether the only options I hv is dal rice n curd rice! Then I see them laying their hands on the veg delicacies too ;) So, they just wanna say something!

U said it rt - Its a style we chose n we r perfectly happy with it!

It came to me from the family too but I can as well go the other way esp nw that we stay by ourselves n there's no one to watch over us! But I just luv it the way I am n don't want a change!

Dil se said...

@Solilo: That's right, these are the exact questions I have been asked so many times.
And more than their being intrusive, I guess I am more affected by the feeling of being singled out as some strange creature whose has no taste buds for "good" food.
Thanks for your support. I hope more people think like you.

@ Sunny: welcome to the blog. You are right,people do need to grow up and start respecting other people's choices.

@Swaram: Thanks for the support buddy!! I remember I brought veg biryani for a potluck lunch once at work, and not a single bite was left in the bowl. It was all gone within half an hour :-)

Sara said...

I eat meat but I know that vegetarian diet-daal,yogurt etc have enough proteins,calcium and anything that the body needs!Why do people think that only meat and eggs can provide a balanced diet?

Meira said...

goodness! That's pathetic. But I also hate those pure veggies who look at non vegetarians with disdain.
I really like your approach of letting your children developing their own tastes. Not too many parents do that.

I am a veggi who eats egg. Though since my husband is a non veg I have started sampling few of the dishes.

Dil se said...

@Sara: I agree with you 100% on this.
@Meira: You are right. We do need to respect each other's choice and not make an impression about the person based on my own choice of food/other things.

ES said...

When I was in Chennai, I never had a problem with group lunches as at least a handful of us were vegetarians, and generally there are no questions asked as to why. But when I went to Coimbatore, I was the only person in a group of around 25 ppl who was a vegetarian! Naturally, they were curious about it!

I will tell you one more thing: They try to make us eat non-vegetarian because they feel guilty about eating meat. Its very similar with people who drink alcohol. If we don't, then they'll try to make us drink! But when they see that I am firm, they leave me alone.

Personally, I feel that there is a wide range of tasty dishes in vegetarian diet itself and hence I don't have to look anywhere else.