Dear Omnivores, stop eating our food!
My name is Jess. I’ve been vegetarian for about the last two years and vegan for about 2 months. I no longer eat animals or their by-products like milk, cheese, yoghurt or eggs. Or the flesh of a poor cow/chicken/lamb/fish/crab/octopus.
Now one thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of years is that when I eat out, I have to be a lot more cautious. I can’t quickly skim over the menu and decide on a BLT or a chicken schnitzel. I generally have to be quite annoying and ask for a variation of something on the menu. Doing this gives me sickening anxiety about what the wait person will think. Literally every time I’ve done this, I’ve had nothing to worry about. My anxiety passes.
However, there has been some more annoying things happen of late which are really starting to make me a bit flustered.
You see, omnivores tend to get a bit taken aback when you mention you’re a vegan/vegetarian. They don’t really understand how food works it seems.
“But where do you get your protein!?” They gasp. “What about your iron levels?” They say inquisitively. And my favourite, “How are your B12 levels, I hear only you can get that from beef….what is B12?”
Everyone becomes an expert on your health and watches what you cook at home or what you order with such fascination. They gaze at it with wonder. Can vegan meals really look that good? There’s no blood on the plate. They wonder how it tastes.
Which is where my problem starts.
Eating out with non-vegan friends is something I don’t really have a problem with until it comes to ordering. If they want to eat animals, that’s ok. I don’t necessary like it but up until a few years ago, I too ate animals. I can’t judge people for not being on my path.
But it’s after I’ve ordered my food and it arrives on the table looking like the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen, they get curious.
“Ooh what’s that!?” They ask. “Mmm, that smells good!” They say. “Are you sure that’s not real meat?” They question.
And then they want to try it.
THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS.
I totally want to invite non-vegans to my awesome vegan party but don’t come between me and my food!
When I order a vegan pizza and you guys have all decided to share a Hawaiian or a pepperoni, DO NOT ask for a slice of mine. You cannot reciprocate this share as I cannot eat your Meatlovers pizza. You don’t get to try my caramelised onion, pumpkin and spinach topped pizza just because “ooh, it looks nice and fancy and oh I’m so cultured eating vegan food!”
By all means, branch out and try a Vegan version the next time you hit the pub, just don’t be offended when I refuse you a taste of mine. Yes, it is delicious but I don’t ask you for a ‘bite’, I like my food just as much as you. If you truly are keen to try a vegan meal, order your own. It gets you out of your comfort zone more than anything and will open your mind to great tastes. And then there’s no awkward moments around the table unless I offer for you to try some of my food.
This might sound harsh, but I don’t eat vegan food because it’s exotic or because it’s a cool term to have on my Instagram profile, I eat vegan to live out my values and to bring awareness to the fact that millions of animals suffer every day just to be put on our plates.
Deciding for the meat free option shouldn’t be because it looks nice or it’s just something different. It should be a decision made because you are refusing to partake in the cruelty that is the factory farming industry.
So dear omnivores, if you are eating meat in front of me, please don’t ask to try some of my food. I don’t appreciate it. Please just eat your meal in peace and I won’t make eye contact.
Jess — a proud Vegan