Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
I love talking about health and sustainability. I also love helping people make the transition to a healthy, vegan diet. I wouldn’t work at a raw, vegan restaurant if I didn’t. However—I typically do not like answering the following questions:
Why did you choose to become vegan?
Why do you choose to eat dead animal flesh?
This is a totally reasonable question. The problems, though, are context and genuine desire for a truthful answer. Do you really want me to answer this question? Do you honestly want me to get into animal slaughter and injustice? Right now, at dinner? On a first date? I can go into all of the moral/ethical implications. I’ll touch on great health benefits and positive environmental impact. I can tell you that cutting animal products completely out of your diet will reduce your carbon footprint by two tons. But chances are, you don’t really want to hear about it. You will listen for about a minute and then you will say, “That sounds cool and all, but I really love cheese.” And I’ll roll my eyes and say, “Yeah, who doesn’t?”
Where do you get your protein?
Where do you get your fruits and vegetables?
I can go on and on about the unnecessary obsession Americans have with protein. I can talk about the complete lack of anything good for you in the SAD (Standard American Diet). I can tell you that I eat minimal amounts of “fake meat” (processed soy), and still get adequate protein (I get my levels checked, I’ve never had a problem with it). But let’s be honest. You really don’t care about my protein levels. I know you don’t. I will tell you where I get my protein but you will not be listening. You will be envisioning the juicy hamburger you had for lunch today and feeling grateful that you are not a vegan.
I hope this helps you look like less of a jack ass next time you meet an attractive vegan in the Whole Foods check out line. Instead of “Where do you get your protein,” try, “I see that you are purchasing hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are so great. What an excellent source of protein and omegas. Maybe we should hang out sometime and eat some hemp seeds together.” I’m almost positive it will get you a date.
With all this being said—if you really want to learn about veganism, lets talk! Ask your questions. If I can’t answer them, I can at least guide you to a more informative source. And as far as other people eating meat goes, I’m not one to judge. As strongly as I believe that a plant based diet is the most sustainable diet, I honestly don’t really care about what you ate for breakfast this morning.
Be conscious about what you eat. That’s all I ask.
Denise Cartwright is an explorer of life. She is 22 years old. Her interests are many and her limitations are none. She is passionate about sustainability, social justice, equality, and finding joy. She loves making connections and bridging the gaps between religion, science, and spirituality. She believes that nothing is impossible and is always looking for an adventure. She lives in Salt Lake City with her cat, Prudence.
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