As vegans in a meaty world we have all faced this inevitable, unavoidable awkward situation: guests at a family barbecue saying they would like their steak still “mooing,” (ew), or when we are subjected to a room of veg-lifestyle bashers and have nowhere to turn for support or guidance. It’s a tough spot, and I have been there so many times: from working at a restaurant with a very heavily steak-laden menu, to being subjected to people labeling this lifestyle as self-deprivation.
The worst, though, was when people asked what they could eat at my wedding, since there was no meat on the menu; this bothered me on a different level completely. It was OUR day. Weddings are about the couple, not necessarily the guests, and besides that, we had spent a pretty penny on the enormous spread of delicious food. We had made sure that there were “normal” things on the menu; nothing to freak out the non-vegans. During cocktail hour we ate delicious eggplant bruschetta and also stuffed ourselves with vegan spinach popovers–incredible and “normal,” right? We also checked the vegan alcohol network Barnivore to make sure that the beer and wine we were serving was in fact vegan friendly. FYI: Sam Adams Octoberfest beer is vegan friendly, autumn beer lovers rejoice!
It was at this point when I found my backbone: if you don’t want to spend four hours at our wedding celebration eating delicious food that does not contain meat, then don’t come. Easy. But I was kind of angry at myself for thinking this way, since I was becoming almost as close-minded as they were. It’s a hard place we may all find ourselves in eventually and this is how I am learning to cope with these sticky comments and situations:
The snarky comeback option:
“How would you like your steak cooked, sir?”
“If you could walk the cow over here, that would be just perfect for me.” (This is an actual quote, I almost tackled this man and dragged his butt out back.)
“Oh dear, I will find you a waitress who understands your love for animal cruelty. I don’t speak jerk.” (What I wish I had said.)
There is always the kind option:
“Do you feel weak ever? How do you find the energy to exercise without animal protein?”
“Actually, studies have proven that a well-planned plant-based diet provides the right amount of calories and protein for an energetic girl like me, without any of the yucky additives, cholesterol, and growth hormones in meat.”
There is the option of staying neutral:
“Well I could never do it. I love the taste of red meat too much.”
“There are so many different flavors in the world to explore, I would hate to be weighed down by one in particular.”
The believe in yourself option:
You are doing this for you and to save thousands of innocent lives, right? I thought so. Then be brave! You have millions of people standing behind you, even if you don’t see them every day. We are ready to be your biggest fan, your loudest, cheeriest cheerleader and your strongest defenders. We will fight to end the cruelty that exists in this world together and eventually we just might win. Use that as a driving force and don’t you dare let anyone rain on your vegan parade. If it means walking outside for a second to cool off, then do it, but don’t let the veg-bashers get you down. Everyone has something they believe strongly in and we can use this to appeal to the emotions of those who try (sometimes unknowingly) to offend us. Pretend you are Eleanor Roosevelt and remember that “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
How do you deal with these situations?
Have a fantastic day!
Also by Kate: 5 Reasons Why Going Vegan Is NOT Scary
Kate Coffey is the founder of Forever Fascinated Blog, a vegan, the lucky co-parent to Miss Wednesday the Wonder Pup, a French speaker/lover of anything French, U.S. Army Wife who is on a mission to spread the good word about living life to its fullest!