[VUE Weekly - opinion]

I had a colleague recently tell me that he hadn't yet confessed to his parents that he was a vegetarian. Despite the fact that he's in his mid-20s, living on his own and holds a good job, telling his parents that he's a vegetarian is beyond his confidence. When I asked him why, he said that he thought they'd likely disown him. "There's no way they'd accept that I don't eat meat," he predicted.

"I think I might have an easier time telling them I was gay: at least that way they could say I was born that way. Sometimes going vegetarian feels like rejecting everything you've been taught growing up, especially in a household where every meal is centered on meat." Unlike being gay or being born stupid, vegetarianism is a choice. Today's parents can accept a gay child and offer support to their not-too-bright offspring, but why the heck would someone choose not to eat meat? This got me thinking about the pitfalls of electing the vegetarian lifestyle.

I started asking friends to tell me their stories about being a vegetarian, and I found that there is a great deal of resentment from the herbivore camp. Everyone had a story to tell about some culinary disaster at the hands of well-meaning hosts.


Which brings me to number nine: Don't serve tofu dogs. Seriously; tofu dogs are not gourmet food. Vegetarians did not give up meat and then regret that along with steak they now have to forgo hot dogs. Whoever thought of making a tofu dog that resembles a hot dog clearly was not an epicurean.


Three: Stop asking questions like, "You eat fish, though, right?" No, vegetarians don't eat fish. Fish is flesh. So are shrimp, mussels, chicken, snake, guinea pig and rat. Some vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy products (cheese, sour cream), but they don't eat sentient creatures.

Which brings me to two: Quit calling yourself a vegetarian if you eat fish. You're not a vegetarian. You can't cut back on Big Macs and call yourself vegan.


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