Dear non-vegetarian friend…

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Thanks for worrying so much about how I might be lacking proteins. But I am not, I promise.

I am writing this message to tell you dear non-vegetarian friend that I really appreciate the fact that you worry so much on my health and on the levels of proteins I eat everyday. Don’t read any irony in this message. I honestly thank you. As a typical vegetarian joke says (yes we do have those): I get them from the same place your « protein » find theirs. Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but plants have proteins. Wait, what? Yep. Have you ever wondered what do elephants eat? gorillas? cows? Yes, you have guessed it right: plants. And if you are afraid I am lacking something or that I am too weak, fear not: my doctor says that I have never been healthier, and that is exactly how I feel. Studies show that vegetarians are less likely to have cancer, diabetes 2 or cardio-vascular diseases. If the topic interests you, The China Study is a very interesting book on a 20 year study made in China on the relationship between the consumption of animal products and chronic illness. And if you are more a TV kind of person, Forks over Knives explain that study in a Netflix documentary. And just to close this paragraph, I also sometimes wonder why nobody was worried about my health linked to food when I was eating every day junk food.

And, no I can’t eat fish. I wish I could, but hey…

Although I, again, truly appreciate your worry about my lack of protein I have to say that a fish is still an animal. And I would ask you to read the upper paragraph one more time.

And I promise I will not destroy farmer jobs. Who knows, I might be creating some?

I also would like to tell you that you do not need to worry for the farmers from which you believe I am taking out their bread and butter. With the way mankind is growing there will be a huge need to plant more vegetables and cereals. and as the land is not (yet) very expendable there will be a need for more land for cropping. Philosophical note: mankind is growing and I truly hope that its humanity will grow along. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

And no I won’t become a hipster-arrogant-veggie.

I also thank you for worrying that my behaviour will go from your fun-dear-friend to an arrogant-hipster-veggie. I can guarantee you, changing what goes on my plate does not have such a power. Although it is proved that eating less meat makes people calmer, I might even have less anxiety and might be less nervous. And that is good right? And to prove you wrong how I will not be a more boring person, look! I can even tell a joke about vegetarians:

Q: How many vegetarians does it take to eat a cow?

A: One if nobody’s looking.

And I promise I won’t bore your palate with grains and tofu everyday.

Well, to be honest with you: I don’t like quinoa, I don’t eat chia porridge bowls everyday and tofu gets in my plate only once every 2 weeks. To the salads, vegetable bowls, you can also add pasta, pizza, burgers, lasagnas to my eating program. And eating parmigiana eggplant, parmesan backed zucchinis, spaghetti squash is everything BUT boring. As a matter a fact, I have never eaten as well and as diversified since meat disappeared from my fridge. Let’s put it like this: before I got home and put a steak on the grill with a salad or some vegetables. If you take the steak away (which is super easy to make right?) eating the side is a little (a lot) boring. So you discover your new inner little chef and start rocking in the kitchen. I mean, I have a food blog! Me!

And yes, I know I am naive about the animal cause. But I am the way I am.

Perhaps it won’t change a thing. But I do know that because I haven’t eaten meat in one year, 236 animals did not end up to my plate according to the Vegetarian Calculator. I also know that I can walk next to a farm showing a cow to the kids saying « oh look how cute! » without coming back home just to eat a steak. How we all relate to animals is always very personal. Some people are very sensitive to them as I am. Others not. That’s just the way it is. And as I am, I thought it was much easier for me to simply not eat them.

And I promise I am not such a nightmare if you invite me for dinner.

Tell my parents that. Imagine a Christmas when you do not eat scallops, oysters, foie gras, turkey. I love all of these things, but I simply do not eat them. But I won’t stop anyone from eating them, as it is their choice and I respect that (except for the foie gras of course which is truly animal torture… oh sorry I said I wouldn’t say anything right? oops). But when a vegetarian comes over you should not stress. Have a green salad for him/her and a platter of cheese if him/her is not vegan (oh I know this is another topic!) and give them the side (vegetables, potatoes, etc…) in a larger portion. We really are not annoying, and trust me we do not want to bother so we will be happy just with the attention that our hosts have thought of at least one little thing without meat. And don’t forget we love pizza, pasta, lasagna, risotto! And when we travel with people, we just compensate by cooking all the time to alleviate the stress of the hosts. Free chef at home? Not too bad, right?

And I won’t try to impose my view of the world. But I will engage the conversation with you. Because that’s what friends do, they talk and they listen.

We (vegetarians) have each one our way of living our « vegetarism ». Because being a vegetarian is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. It is a change of behavior that is fostered by important beliefs, may they be related to the animal cause, health or environment (or all of them). Some of us are loud about it, some of us want to keep it quiet. But one thing you should know: most of the time when we talk about being a vegetarian the story started the following way. You are in a restaurant, there are no good vegetarian options. You ask the waiter if there is any way you can take the meat out of that dish. But it is not enough because sometimes people don’t consider bacon as meat for example (« that’s just for the flavor honey »… honest story…), so you have to tell the waiter you are a vegetarian and then it starts. Someone from the table will ask, and then the debate is on the table. Some people will be very caring and curious in the discussion. Others not. We are often accused of being extremists, aggressive, but I can tell you I have lived my share of aggressions having dinner. With people trying to find every possible argument to convince me that I am making the wrong choice. How can not eating meat be a wrong choice as long as I am healthy, happy and decreasing my environmental impact?

So to you my dear non-vegetarian friend, do not worry. I am fine, healthy and happy. I am in line with my convictions and I promise I am trying not to bother you too much with my life choices. So let’s cohabit in harmony and keep both pairs of ears open to discussion and friendly debate. Understanding different perspectives and points of view has only made the world a better place. Never the other way around. Thanks for having taken the time to read this until the end.

Gotta go now, gotta cook a vegetarian brunch :)