“You don’t know what you’re missing!”
“Aren’t you bored of eating salad and vegetables all the time?”
I know you’re a Sikh but why not try the beef burger? Want it!
These are just a few of Many comments I’ve had since I became vegan and gave up alcohol over 20 years ago.
I never liked alcohol or meat, but, for a long time, I followed the crowd, ordering burgers and a glass of wine, too afraid to be myself and wanting to fit in.
I decided to quit drinking because I didn’t like how I was feeling, and initially stopped eating meat during the bird flu outbreak. But after getting used to a vegan diet, I decided to stick with it. I found that I was happy to eat alternatives to meat, such as tofu, soybeans, and additional vegetables.
But while I was comfortable with my decision, it seemed as if not everyone was.
I was embarrassed to go out with friends because at that time they were drinking and eating meat. When I go, as the only person who hasn’t, I feel out of place – especially when people feel the need to comment on it.
I had friends and colleagues telling me to “try this meat dish” after I told them I was a vegetarian. “But you’ve been eating it, so why not give it a try?” They would say, laughing when I politely shake my head.
What kind of thing to say to someone? It’s like telling someone who eats meat and loves alcohol to become vegan and give up drinking. I wouldn’t say anything like that to anyone.
People often assume it’s because of my culture. me once He told one of his colleagues and he said it was strange because in Sikh weddings you have a lot of alcohol and meat dishes.
I had to make it clear that it had nothing to do with my religion, it was my choice. It’s ignorance – I don’t understand why people feel the need to question my decision.
It’s something I’ve had to put up with a lot over the years.
When I work in the corporate world As a marketing professional, people might suggest I’m not a good fit, because the culture is about drinking and having a good time. But why don’t people understand that I can have fun without alcohol? Any work culture that indicates otherwise is considered toxic.
Things like this make it hard to feel “fit”, and to build professional and professional relationships.
When I say I don’t drink, people suddenly seem less interested in communicating with me, as if they assume I’m boring. People have said to me, “We’re going to a steakhouse, so it might not be right for you.” “When we do something that cares more about vegans, we’ll let you know.”
Even though I know a lot more vegans now than I did, and a few people who don’t drink, I still feel like I’m in the minority. Comments like this make me feel left out and it annoys me.
In my experience, vegetarians and non-alcoholics are often making them feel left out and too embarrassed to ask for what they really want; Like ordering a mocktail off the menu, for fear that someone would call it.
Other times, people act as if you’re overly sensitive. For example, there were times when I went out to dinner and ordered a vegetarian dish. The people I’m with have said things like, “Are you OK with eating meat in front of you?”
Or, at the other end of the spectrum, I had people touch vegetarian dishes with cutlery that was on a meat plate, or I put meat on my plate and then asked to eat around it. I find this offensive.
It’s time for vegetarians and non-drinkers Give the same respect as everyone else.
I’ve put up with this kind of behavior for years – but now, I’ve had enough and it’s time to speak up, not be silent. I am proud to be a vegetarian and don’t drink.
People who don’t drink alcohol or eat meat are no stranger, and we know how to have a good time – you don’t need either of those two things to enjoy.
As a vegetarian, the idea of meat anywhere on my food makes me vomit, so the next time it lands on my plate, I don’t want to remove it or eat it around, I want a new dish – and I want to be reassured that the vegan food in restaurants is properly made. Separate from meat dishes.
This is what we deserve.
People seem to think because I don’t eat meat or drink that I’m missing something, and when the truth is, I’m missing nothing – I’ve been there, eaten and drank it knowing I feel better about myself now that I don’t. I love being me.
I wouldn’t change for anyone and it’s time to stop assuming I’m boring, just because of the lifestyle choices I’ve made.
I have a lot of other interests, such as volunteering, traveling, climbing, swimming, henna art, and exploring new botanical places to visit. To me, this is more interesting than the food I don’t eat, or the alcohol I don’t drink.
It’s my choice and I refuse to feel the pressure I felt in the past – I’m proud of who I am now.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your opinions in the comments below.
MORE: Research says a vegetarian or vegan diet may reduce cancer risk
MORE: After my boss had to take me home for being so drunk, I knew I had to be sober
More: What’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan diets?