Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Vegetarians and Vegans, Have you had others disrespect your dietary choices and how did you respond?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36545points) September 27th, 2010

One of my nieces has been following a vegetarian diet for a long time. The other day a male friend of hers offered to cook dinner for her. Kind of a date, but nothing serious at this time. She gets there and he has a nonvegetarian meal layed out. The only thing vegetarian was one vegtable dish. She turned around at the door and left. I heard the story and my first comment was you don’t have to worry about the relationship progressing any further. Is it common for others to assume you’ll just throw aside your dietary practices to suit them? I couldn’t believe the disrespect this showed.

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53 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

When I was vegetarian, my family never respected it. My mother wouldn’t even let me prepare a vegetarian entree for myself when I was home, stating that it was ” the height of ignorance and bad manners” not to eat everything that was offered.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth I’m trying to respond but I’m coming up with WTF.

JustmeAman's avatar

I find that others don’t respect the fact that I do not drink. Often times I am laughed at and they still push the booze on me. Even in traveling when I say that I want water I have been laughed at and they asked if I was from Utah and a mormon. In many places I was given the bubbly water which I can’t stand. So I understand your dilema and hope that others hear and respect your convictions.

JilltheTooth's avatar

It seems to me that things like being vegetarian, which in popular myth denotes a super healthy lifestyle (there is so much junk that a vegetarian can eat, and I did!), or not drinking, is taken by others as being a tacit reproach of their own choices. Rather a narcissistic viewpoint, huh.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am now very used to it – I figure it’s not about my choice but their guilt.

chels's avatar

My parents have been awful when it comes to this.

They’ve said things like “What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re 21, grow up” (on numerous occasions) as if my choice was some how immature.

My step-dad once told me that “chicken is poultry, not meat” and that I should eat it.

My mom taunted me at a BBQ we were at by saying that “I couldn’t eat the brownies because they were made from some kind of animal” or something like that, and proceeded to laugh about it when I got upset after I realized she was just being mean about it.

We went out one night for my birthday and I was craving a hamburger, so I figured what the hell, and decided to get one. When the waitress came with our food my stepdad proceeded to say that if I refused to eat meat at home again he’d “shove it down my throat.” I ended up not eating it.

They’ve told me that it’s “fucking stupid” on many occasions.

Now mind you, I’ve never asked my parents to make me separate meal. I usually just eat the pasta and whatever else, or make myself something. The meat I don’t eat isn’t going to waste since I have two other siblings.

That’s only a few things, but I’m starting to just ignore it.

crisw's avatar

All the time (I have been vegetarian for almost 30 years now!) I am happy to engage in discussion with those who truly want to know why I am a vegetarian, but I find most people really don’t want to think about the issue- thinking about it might create too much cognitive dissonance, and most people don’t want to be bothered with dilemmas like that.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

These answers suck more than I expected. By the way, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. I was just amazed that anyone would invite a vegetarian over and expect them to eat meat. I guess I was just showing my naivete(however you spell it)

JilltheTooth's avatar

Every Thanksgiving I have people over for dinner. I do the turkey and a bunch of other stuff and everybody brings something to add to the dinner. Every year at least one person asks me what my daughter (who is vegetarian) is going to do… Are you kidding? There are 47 side dishes! These always seem to be the same ones that decry her food choices. Go figure.
@Adirondackwannabe ; BTW, you spelled naivete right.

chels's avatar

@JilltheTooth That’s the thing that makes me laugh. It’s like… what, just because she won’t eat the turkey she’ll starve or something? What are people thinking?!

JilltheTooth's avatar

I find it amazing that otherwise polite people feel they have the right to comment on what goes in someone’s mouth. I mean really, in what universe does that affect them? These same people would never comment on my underwear. Is what I eat any less intimate than that?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Did he know that she was a vegetarian?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@papayalily Yes. Mindblowing isn’t it.

JustmeAman's avatar

We have a few vegetarians in our family so when I fix for them I always have something special for them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JustmeAman I do the same thing for my neice at Chrismas time. I always make a special dish for her. It’s kind of interesting. The other young people in the family will usually try whatever I make, and they’ve got hooked on some of the dishes. The older people turn their noses up.

JustmeAman's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe

Isn’t that funny when they turned away. LOL I have a nephew and his spouse along with a few others though the nephew and his family are vegans and he is very strick on this. He will not kill a fly or spider in his home he takes it outside and lets it go.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Huh. I always make sure to prepare a dish I know that they like and have heard them say they like or have seen them consume before. Well, at least for the first time. After a couple years, we’ll get more into trying new stuff. But I have a friend who hates guacamole and blue cheese, and even though I LOVE those, I would never dream of making something she couldn’t eat – that’s just such a tool move.

FutureMemory's avatar

When I was a teenager everyone I knew fucked with me for being a vegetarian – even my father. Now after 21 years they’re all used to it and know it’s not just a phase.

JustmeAman's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe

I think maybe I wasn’t clear on what you said. Sorry about that you said the older ones turned their noses.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I dont disrespect peoples life decisions but I get angry when people don’t respect mine. I am not a vegetarian or vegan. I eat meat and I don’t appreciate it when a vegetarian or vegan tries to talk me into it. I do not feel guilty because I have nothing to feel guilty about. As far as fixing dinner for a vegetarian or vegan. I find it very disrespectful to invite them to dinner and fix things they won’t eat. I can easily fix a vegetarian dinner for them. As for vegan goes they would be better off going to a vegan restaurant because there is almost nothing in my house that is vegan. I wouldn’t know the first thing on cooking a vegan dish unless its spaghetti and sauce or a salad with nothing but vegetables.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JustmeAman I understood what you were saying.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I guess it comes down to respecting others wishes and preferences. I don’t see why someone’s else choices, that don’t affect me are such a big deal. I think the guilt thing might be part of the answer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mikewlf337 I agree with you as well. Some of the vegetarians and vegans can be pretty militant.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Mikewlf337 I wouldn’t know the first thing on cooking a vegan dish

Consider learning – it’s good to be well-rounded.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Mikewlf337 You probably know lots of vegan dishes and just don’t realize it. For example, hummus, salsa, risotto.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for clarifying that the guy knew your niece was vegan.

It drives me bonkers when someone knows of a dietary requirement or preference and isn’t willing to accommodate it. When I took over facilitating a week-long workshop, I built in a pre-class questionnaire that asked for their dietary preferences (as well as physical needs). Occasionally, it required overlooking the eye-rolling of the cafeteria employees, but I made sure it got done. I even started having the menu (including break foods) posted and asked them to let me know if they wanted something special.

A niece’s SO has been attending our annual family beach week, and he is a vegetarian. When we plan out the meals, we make sure he will have enough to eat while we chow down on seafood.

And really, it goes beyond accommodating vegans. There are an amazing amount of people who have allergies, dietary restrictions, religious beliefs or just a plain dislike of certain foods.

Plucky's avatar

I grew up on a farm and when I was 11 yrs old I wanted to be vegetarian ..my dad and stepmother would not allow it. I remember so many nights of sitting at the table staring at the meat until 1–2am because I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until I ate it. Then, I’d get sent to bed after not eating it ..wake up in the morning to my cold plate from the night before with the meat on it (rule was that I wasn’t allowed to reheat it or add any condiments). My stepmother would go as far to call the school to let them know that I had to eat it at lunch (if I still hadn’t eaten it at breakfast) ...thankfully my teacher would let me throw it out.
Their reasoning for making me eat it? It was never really explained other than “you’ll sit there until you eat it.” The first time I asked to become one, my stepmother said “you’re just doing this so you don’t have to eat liver, tongue and heart again…so no!” (added into that sentence were a lot of curse words) ..and that was that.
When I left home, a few months before I turned 14, I realized by the time I was 15 that I could finally do what I wanted with my diet (took awhile to realize freedom I guess).

Over the years, I have had so many people disrespect my diet. But, the people that really mattered learned to accept it and when there is a family dinner…there is always vegetarian dishes available. My sister is a vegetarian as well.

Another note ..my life partner eats poultry and fish. My sister’s fiance eats pretty much any meat. So, no I do not look down on people that eat meat nor do I try to “convert” them. But I will defend my diet if someone starts up with me about it.

I do not tend to hang around people that do not respect my personal dietary wishes, so I do not have the issue/fear of someone slipping meat into my food as a prank or what have you. Kudos to your niece for doing a 360 on that date :)

Seek's avatar

Just for the record, up until last week, I would literally eat anything, and my diet has only changed because of a health issue.

No matter what else I made for a dinner party, I always made sure there were a few vegetarian options, and a couple of them Vegan, just in case someone showed up that had a restricted diet.

We carnivores aren’t all barbarians. ^_^

perspicacious's avatar

I don’t see your little story as a big deal. He invited her to dinner and cooked for her—she can eat or not. And for her aunt/uncle to post it online seems a bit odd as well.

JustmeAman's avatar

@perspicacious

The guy that cooked for her knew she was vegetarian and would not eat meat. Do you still think it was okay for him to cook meat products and from what is said there wasn’t much else for her too eat. You don’t think that is disrespectful from one that is supposed to love her?

JustmeAman's avatar

Well maybe not love her be care and respect her? I guess if it was just a date love had not entered the picture.

perspicacious's avatar

@JustmeAman Yes. I think if you want to invite someone to your home you may cook what you want to. They may eat it or not. I didn’t get that they were in a special relationship other than friends or acquaintances. People are too hung up on what is disrespectful in my opinion. Everyone you know need not walk on eggshells around you being sure not to say a word that might offend or offer you a meal that includes something you choose not to eat. Just say no thanks and keep on going. We seem to have a generation of whimps really. People seems to be offended by half of what others say and do. It’s a bit pathetic. It’s tolerance run amuck.

Seek's avatar

@perspicacious

Are you saying that if your significant other bought you a chocolate birthday cake, knowing full well you’re allergic to chocolate, you’d be perfectly okay with that, and wouldn’t find it all thoughtless or disrespectful?

JustmeAman's avatar

@perspicacious

No I agree we get to worried about the little things but I don’t think this was a little thing. It may be that he just is self centered and doesn’t think of others. That is possible and if so then in time maybe he would think of someone else besides himself but he knew what he was doing and who he was inviting but he may not have been aware enough to actually think about her and had himself only in mind. I have done that long ago and I didn’t have a clue that I had done anything that was pictured as not very nice. He could be that way.

crisw's avatar

@perspicacious

There is the matter of common courtesy. If you don’t know that someone is vegetarian, then I can understand your position. But if you do know, it’s a simple courtesy to meet their needs- it is at no cost to you, and in the end saves you time, money and frustration at preparing something the person will not eat. I always let inviters know I am vegetarian- I don’t make any demands and i am fine eating side dishes, but I don’t want someone to spend hours preparing something I won’t eat.

And, sometimes, it can be a more important matter. What if someone has severe allergies? I have friends who have a child with a peanut allergy; it would, I think, be the height of rudeness for me to fix a peanut dish if they were coming to dinner.

Tink's avatar

My mother told me that she is embarrassed to go out somewhere with me because of my ‘problem’. She considers my no-meat eating diet a disease. And she flipped out when I told her I am considering going vegan later on. She gave me the I’m living under her roof and until I move out of there I won’t be able to do it speech. My dad has always been more comprehensive with me, he is the only one on my side.

The rest of the family bothers me about it every single gathering or party I go to. After 4 years I would’ve figured they would finally get it that I am not going to eat meat again no matter how much they bug me about it, but they never do. I have never and never will make them cook me something special, sometimes I eat before I get there or I take my own food.

When they see me eat my food they say things like “that looks like dog shit”  or “that tastes like dog shit huh?” but have they ever tried my food? no, so how would they know it tastes like dog shit? The only response I ever get from them is “you’re stupid”. And they look at me like if I’m from a different world. Which is one of the reasons I don’t like eating in front of them, I usually stay in the kitchen or sit somewhere by myself.

One of my cousins told me that some of the family made a bet on who would get me to eat meat again. Those fuckers. And they’re grown people, immature ones too.

Even with all the shit they give me I can say I pretty much like/enjoy being vegetarian.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Tink Do you eat pasta? And do they eat pasta? Pasta is just so yummy, why are they being mean to it?

Tink's avatar

@papayalily Yes I do eat pasta, occasionally. And so do they. I like to make my own mixture of different food not only focusing on eating what’s there because it gets a little boring. They’re just plain mean.

perspicacious's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr This wasn’t a husband; it was a friend or date.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@perspicacious But how do you become a husband if you don’t show that you care?

Seek's avatar

@perspicacious

Uh huh. And if the friend/date doesn’t care enough to acknowledge his friend/date’s dietary choices, there’s zero chance he’s going to become a husband.

perspicacious's avatar

Who said he wanted to become a husband.

Seek's avatar

He apparently didn’t even want to be a good friend.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@perspicacious Well, almost all husbands were once a date, so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. But even if he was just looking for a one-night stand, preparing a meal you can both share (as is the point of the dinner-date, sharing a meal together) shows he sees her as a person, not just a pussy.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Okay, I have been doing homework all day but I have to answer this question.

I haven’t eaten red meat in about ten years, poultry in seven years, give or take, and fish in three years. People love to tell me that I’m unnatural, stupid, ignorant, yadda yadda yadda. I even had one guy say, “Vegetarians cause as much harm to the environment as meat-eaters do.” Where did that come from? I just told him I was a vegetarian and as soon as the words had left my lips, he jumped to debunk a supposed myth that no one had mentioned.

Many times, people ask me what I eat. I respond, “I eat the same things you do, just without the meat.” Noodles don’t have meat. Tomato soup doesn’t have meat. Muffins don’t have meat. Scrambled eggs don’t have meat. Grilled cheese doesn’t have meat.

@perspicacious: Do you know what happens to someone who hasn’t eaten red meat in a while when they eat red meat? It’s like getting the flu and getting really bad diarrhea at once.

Jabe73's avatar

I eat alot of vegetables but I do like to cook unprocessed meats as well. I eat more vegetables then anything. It does not bother me personally unless they lay a guilt trip on me for consuming meat or telling me my diet isn’t as healthy as theirs. I do not draw first blood here on this issue. To each their own as far as I’m concerned.

crisw's avatar

@KatawaGrey

”... as soon as the words had left my lips, he jumped to debunk a supposed myth that no one had mentioned.”

This is very common. Many people are threatened by vegetarianism. It’s a really hot-button issue, and some people get defensive when a vegetarian just walks into the room! Honestly, I participate in a lot of discussions on controversial issues, and I think vegetarianism generates the most heat by far- more than abortion, more than evolution, more than atheism. I don’t mean productive, rational discussion by this; I mean unabashed vitriol without even an attempt to be rational.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@crisw It’s really something, you know – we’ve only been vegan since January of this year and had many vegetarian/vegan friends prior but it never mattered to us or them and everyone got along.

partyparty's avatar

No I have never had others disrespect my dietary choices.

I am not vegetarian, but I do have weeks when I don’t eat meat (by choice).

If I was having a party I would always make at least one vegetarian dish. If the meal wasn’t pre-arranged then I would of course ask their preferences and cook accordingly.

I have a friend who is allergic to prawns (unknown to me), which I had served to him. As soon as I knew he was allergic I took the prawns away and cooked him something else. Not a problem. I respected the fact that he told me, and I was more than happy to make another dish for him. He equally respected the fact that I didn’t become upset because he couldn’t eat the food. So glad he told me.

My SO’s father was vegetarian, I have friends who are vegetarian, and I cook accordingly.

They don’t have issues with me eating meat and I don’t have issues with them being vegetarian. So it works fine.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@partyparty: I want to smack all those people who freak out when someone eats meat. They make me look bad. ~

partyparty's avatar

@KatawaGrey It realy doesn’t matter to me whether someone is vegetarian or a meat eater. I am more than happy to cater for them.
Each to their own I say, and we should respect each others wishes :)

perspicacious's avatar

@KatawaGrey That may be what has happened to you. I’ve never known it to happen. I go longs periods of time not eating meats quite often. Then I’ll decide I want a meat loaf or something—I make one—no problems at all. Our bodies actually like meat.

Nullo's avatar

I have no qualms with vegetarians of necessity, or those who simply don’t like meat very much. But I have no patience for vego-activists.

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