Alright greenies – let’s get real. Whenever you make a major life decision or change something about the way that you look, think, or live – people are going to ask questions. Sometimes they will criticize, and other times, those who really care about you will respectfully try to discover the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ behind your decision. Being a vegetarian was something that only hip, hippie, liberal and/or animal rights activists could do and get away with. Well, times have changed my friends! So how can you answer both the easy and the difficult questions that your friends and family will inevitably have? Read on.
Wait – you’re Vegetarian now? What does that mean?
Well, there are many different kinds of vegetarians, but generally speaking we don’t eat meat products. We still eat dairy and eggs, but rely on a more plant-based diet. Some vegetarians don’t buy any products that are made from animals, including materials such as leather. There are also vegetarians who will not purchase products that have been tested on animals. During the production process, animals are often treated inhumanely.
So, you are vegan now?
Nope! All vegans are vegetarian but not all vegetarians are vegan. Vegans abstain from consuming all animal products, including dairy, eggs and even some types of alcohol.
Aren’t you worried that you won’t get enough protein?
Initially, we were somewhat concerned but we quickly learned that plants contain a lot more protein than one would think! We also don’t need to eat as much protein as we thought. We covered this issue in more depth in our previous post, Is meat the ultimate source of protein?
Apparently in the 1920s, Americans began to eat much larger portions of meat. Humans have always been meat-eaters by nature, but originally it made up a relatively small portion of our diet because it was not as plentiful as plant food. The bottom line is that I can get all of the protein that I need from eating a diverse, plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Isn’t it hard to go out to eat? Does it annoy your friends?
Vegetarianism is more mainstream now than ever before. Restaurants have plenty of meat-free options and most are willing to accommodate our dietary needs. So, unless our friends are dying to go out for some Brazilian BBQ, eating out is simple!
Are you doing this for weight loss? *(You are already too thin!)
The answer could be yes or no. Many people go vegetarian to lose weight, but many others do it for various health, environmental, and animal rights reasons. We are personally vegetarian for environmental reasons, though animal rights do play a role. In terms of health, if you have an annoyingly sensitive stomach (*cough* Mrs. GGC), going meatless could cure a lot of your ailments!
*We have heard this a lot from our families in particular. Our best response is that we are still eating the same amount of food, if not more than we were before! We have done our research and are smart when meal planning to make sure that we are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need. Don’t worry – we good!
Why are you doing this?
Going vegetarian has many benefits: it’s good for your health, vegetarians have been shown to live longer, and vegetarians experience fewer instances of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It is also great for the environment. The meat industry is the 3rd largest producer of green house gases. Eliminating meat is the most significant step that an individual can make to positively impact global warming! And, the animals appreciate your love. Many farm animals are subjected to deplorable conditions and are treated inhumanely. Since meat has become so affordable and available, humans have forgotten how valuable these animals are to our survival and that they should be treated with respect for what they give us.
How the hell does being a vegetarian “save the world”?
We know that it sounds crazy to some people, and maybe even exaggerated to others. It seems like a small step, but small steps can have a HUGE impact. Calculate Your Impact
Going vegetarian for one month saves 17 animals from slaughter and saves 164 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere! SAY WHAT?! The CO2 released from making one cheeseburger is equal to running your AC for 24 hours straight. Our one choice – one change – can influence others to try out this new and beautiful vegetarian lifestyle. The more people who go vegetarian, the more that everyone (and every thing) will benefit. Your diet makes the single biggest impact on the environment. Plus, animals are cute and I want to save them! You can’t argue with that.
These questions are based on interactions that we have had. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter what, whenever you make a big decision or change in your life, own it! We “announced” that we were starting this blog and initially some people looked at us sideways. We told our families that we were giving up meat, and my Italian mother nearly fell off her chair. We felt silly and embarrassed at first. BUT – it isn’t silly, and it shouldn’t be embarrassing. Being a vegetarian is great. Being an environmentalist is significant. Being an activist is powerful. Do it. Own it. Love it. @goingreencouple
What are some of the questions that people have asked YOU? How did you deal with them at the time? Talk to us – we would love to hear from you.
Mr. and Mrs. GGC