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Why do people hate on vegetarians???

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I recently decided to become vegetarian the tuesday after Labor day. It started off as a healthy way to loose weight but the more research and reading I did, the more I realized I can't bring myself to eat an animal that has suffered the way pigs, cows and chickens do. My husband jumped on the bandwagon with me so he could loose weight as well but as soon as the choice turned from mainly weight loss to something ethical, he became all defensive and now it seems like I have to defend my choice to him everyday. I'm by no means a perfect veg head, I still eat fish but i'm trying to wean myself off of it. I thought I could go cold turkey but i guess i overestimated myself. Even now as i type out this blog, i am defending myself via text message to my husband. Here is how the conversation has gone so far:

Him: "Did you read that Dole article I told you about yesterday?"

Me: "I was able to read half of it. I don't eat Dole brand lettuce. I wonder how it got contaminated."

Him: "My point is that lettuce can be improperly handled too."

Me: "I agree. That's why I'm wondering how it became contaminated."

Him: "But don't you see? Yet another reason why vegetarianism is not better than eating meat."

Me: "I see your point but it still doesn't change how animals are treated. When it comes down to it, I don't want to eat it."

Him: "But what about how vegetables are mistreated?"

Me: "They don't have a CNS. They don't feel pain."

Him: "So why are we special just cause we have a CNS? Why does that make it ok? You still eat eggs and drink milk. What about those animals?"

Me: "Honey, why do I have to defend myself to you? You are my husband, why can't you just support it and say ok baby, if that's what you want. If I became a vegan you would really go crazy."

Him: "You're damn right I would. I personally think vegetarianism is a new wave, pop culture, pu**y ass decision. I honestly think you're smarter than that. No wonder most vegetarians are women, only women would make such an illogical decision. Besides, I miss sharing a meal with you."

Me: "Honestly now, we can still share meals together. And I resent that comment by the way. I've never ragged on you about any decision you've made, other than when R*** lived with us. This is just about food. Why get so bent out of shape?"

Him: "Have I made an illogical decision since then? And besides, food was both our lives, it was something we loved and now we can't share that any more."

Me: "Lol. Yes we can. I told you I don't mind cooking for you. I still eat fish (which makes me a pescatarian vs a vegetarian). Remember the conversation we had the other day?

Him: "Yeah but i still feel bad."

Me: "Why baby? I've never felt bad for doing things for you. It doesn't bother me to cook for you. I'm still cooking for us."

Him: "I guess...."



So yeah, that's been my whole lunch hour for the most part. I'm sure to a neutral party he seems like an a$$hole who is afraid of change and truthfully, he can be. It's so weird b/c just last week he was saying he loved how much more creative I've been with dinner. And men say women are emotional and illogical. *sigh.
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HOOPYLORAX 9/19/2007 3:19PM

    I know what you're going through. I have been vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for over a decade now, and my husband still eats meat. He, unlike your husband knew what he was getting into, though, as I had been veggie before we started dating.

While it seems that your husband is being very illogical and fearful to you, (and I agree, his arguments are silly) you must understand that food is a VERY emotional issue. For everyone. Think of how much the concept of eating meat from an animal that has been abused disgusts you now. Most meat eaters cannot, and will not allow themselves to empathize with their dinner. Most take the stance that since there are already so many people doing it, it really doesn't matter or make a difference whether or not they do. Therefore, they see someone who is taking a stand as a threat to them. They take any action by a vegetarian as a direct judgement of them. You must remember that your husband has a pre-set expectation of your behaviour. Any diviation on your part reflects on him, it is a threat to his perception of his own self.

It also doesn't help that our society is big on perpetuating the stereotype of vegetarians as granola and moonstones hippies. We are dismissed out of hand as flaky and out of touch with reality. But that again is due to the cultural threat that we are perceived as to the status quo. Also, remember that this is not an isolated event. Humans are very resistant to change, even when we know that it can happen, and must happen. Look at other major issues abroad in our country right now: dependance on foreign oil for one. We Americans know that our petroleum-based society is not sustainable. We know that our dependence on oil is unhealthy for our enviornment, our economy, hell, even our lives with the growth of global terrorism. We KNOW this. And yet, we do not change. Change is hard, change is scary. We know the parameters of our daily lives as they are now. We cannot concieve of how much any small change may expand to take over those lives. So the safest course of action (emotionally if not rationally) is to stay as we are. Look at smokers who continue to smoke after losing a lung to cancer. Look at heart attack victims who still eat those greasy cheeseburgers. Look at all those women who stay with abusers out of desperate fear that the next one will be worse.

It is going to take a lot of time and paitence on your part to help your husband realize that your decisions are not judgements of him, and that you are really serious about sticking to your guns on this issue. I would highly recommend that you find a support group online for new vegetarians . The veggie discussion threads here on sparkpeople are great, but they are more for the lifestyle of those who are already established, or new veggies with practical questions rather than helping new vegetarians deal with the emotional ramifactions of vegetarianism from the general public.

I wish I could say that this is the only time you'll have to deal with emotional and irrational reactions when someone finds out you are a vegetarian, but you'll be facing this for years. I would recommend, however, that you do more research and try a different track with your husband: there are more arguments in support of the vegetarian lifestyle than just animal cruelty. Read up some on the evironmental impact of the Standard American Diet, (SAD). For instance it takes something like 20 acres (can't remember, I'm pulling this off the top of my head) of grain to create 1 lb of beef. That same grain could feed a small group of humans for a year. Look into the impact of American factory farming on the environment. Read up on the health issues involved with the SAD.

Most of all, have paitence with him and with yourself. Going veggie is a big step and like any big step, it will take time for you both to adjust.

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JENNO79 9/19/2007 2:43PM

    First of all, just tell him to do a little research and he'd quickly debunk all those silly myths. You could just the Vegan/Vegetarian team here on SP to learn a little more yourself and get support.

Vegetarianism is not new, it's been around with our species since (probably) we came into existence. Many scientists have pointed out that our bodies (teeth, digestive systems, etc.) clearly indicate our species was not meant to eat meat. Not that anyone wants to hear that. After all, we weren't meant to eat a lot of the crap we do... especially that those heavily processed snacks most of us love. Also, the whole vegetables suffering idea is of course ridiculous, but if he wants to play that silly card, let him. There's the cold, hard fact that fewer vegetables would "suffer" through a vegetarian diet since you wouldn't be feeding the animals vegetables throughout their lives just to fatten them up to make food for you.

I could go on and on, but why? I've been a vegetarian for 10 years now and I've heard it all. You can have a discussion if he's willing to stick to facts, but it's really just an education problem. Quite simply, he just sounds like any person confronted with a subject they know very little about. Either he's willing to accept it or not. It's his choice if he wants to be a selfish jerk and worry only about how he perceives your choice affecting him. Some people are sadly like that. The vast majority of people aren't like that though.

I have no friends or family who are vegetarians, but no one gives me a hard time about it. Yes, I went through a lot of explaining when I was first starting out, but no one ever tried to make me feel bad about my choice, the just wanted to understand it. Most people are actually quite accepting and accomodating.

You could just agree to disagree and maybe he'll stop bringing it up. However, the hard truth is, if he's not going to be one of the good people who accepts and accomodates your decision now, he may never do it. And that may mean that he isn't right for you.

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