22 Things That Aren’t Actually Problems For Vegetarians

vegetarian problems

Actual image from the inside of every non-vegetarians’ personal meat locker.

Recently, there was a listicle posted on Cosmopolitan’s blog (and reposted to Yahoo! Shine) that made me and my co-workers roll our eyes. It’s entitled, 22 Problems Only Vegetarians Understand,” though “22 possibly concocted non-issues” would probably be a more fitting title. I have been flip flopping between vegetarianism and more flexible diets for about 10 years now, and I never experienced any of the “problems” the author lists–if I did, I never viewed them as problems. Before I break down each of the 22 alleged problems, I need to type for a second about how we have to stop pretending that being a vegetarian makes one a special snowflake. 

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Los Angeles, went to a liberal art school for punks and hippies, and live in Brooklyn currently, but in my experience vegetarianism is not a rare choice. Eschewing meat such a prevalent restriction that it’s hardly noticeable unless they make a big deal out of it. Even then, hardly anyone bats an eyelash because it’s so freaking common. If someone makes a big deal about anyone else’s diet, they are being an asshole and should be brushed off as such. 

Now, let’s go these alleged vegetarian problems and why they aren’t even real:

1. Your carnivore friends are more likely than you to loudly announce your vegetarian status to the waiter/person handing out free samples at Costco. A simple “no thank you” will get the job done. Plus, my face won’t turn bright red!

The author writes carnivores as if her non-veg friends feast solely on animal flesh. If her friends are out to humiliate her on their frequent trips to Costco with fresh animal blood and disdain sloppily dripping out of their mouths, I suggest the problem is that she has shitty friends and not that carnivores have made a habit of publicly shaming vegetarians. Further, if a loud proclamation of your vegetarianism is embarrassing, you might be the one who has an issue with it, not those murderer carnivores you pal around with.

2. You get tired of being lectured about protein and iron by people who have half their arm inside a family-size bag of Doritos. Seriously? Do you even know what a vegetable looks like?

I agree that it’s shitty when people act like their diet is superior to yours and judge you for your choices. People who eat Doritos aren’t too stupid to know what vegetables are, just like you’re not too stupid to know about protein and iron.

3. Coworkers that you eat lunch with feel the need to defend themselves. That’s cool that you only eat chicken on Mondays, Wednesdays, and on federal holidays. Can we get back to dissecting every detail of Beyonce’s Grammy performance?

They should write passive aggressive listicles for Cosmo instead. Maybe your coworkers are defending themselves because you keep lording it over them that you’re a vegetarian and they’re trying to relate to you? I don’t know. Sorry that it bothers vegetarians when other people talk about their diets, I guess.

4. Everyone assumes that you love yoga, kale, and accent braids. OK, GUILTY. But I also love whiskey and binge watching The Sopranos.

I find it hard to believe that this person is troubled by the assumption that they’re healthy and it gives me second hand embarrassment that they feel the need to qualify themselves by proudly declaring their love of hard alcohol and HBO.

5. People you just met harass you about your reason for being vegetarian. Do you really want to have a GROSS debate in the middle of Zara?

Why does any stranger at Zara know anything about your eating habits in the first place? Who cares what someone at Zara thinks?

6. Every time you groom yourself, there is an internal battle about switching to all animal-cruelty-free products. Those poor little bunnies – damn, my hair is SO SOFT. OK, I will change after this bottle runs out.

This implies that unless you are a vegetarian you do not struggle with the ethics of animal treatment. Not true.

7. Your S.O. will make a big deal about picking out a restaurant every time. The consideration is heartwarming, but you inform them that you would rather not be treated like a freak. Besides, you always manage to find something on the menu. “I’m, like, super chill.”

Everyone has trouble picking restaurants with their “S.O.” EVERYONE.

8. After making that self-rightous claim, you will ultimately end up at a restaurant that has NOTHING you can eat. Um, can we get some more bread over here?

Somehow vegans, people with celiac’s disease and those who keep kosher manage to find things to eat at restaurants without an issue.

9. You will be confronted by your carnivore friends about wearing leather. Explaining that it’s not real leather, or that you purchased it second hand, doesn’t seem to satisfy them.

Those foul carnivores with the bloody teeth again, they’re insatiable when it comes to shaming. Maybe the author should give fewer fucks about what their friends think of them and their personal hypocrisy. Just say you don’t care enough about animals to forego leather and flip those carnivores the double bird from behind your back on your way to find better friends.

10. Everyone under the sun has an opinion about your body type. Oh, you thought vegetarians were all ballerina-type waifs? Sorry to disappoint you, new boyfriend of my friend from college who I only saw on the street by chance. I happen to like what I have goin’ on here.

If you’re a human woman on the Earth, everyone under the sun has an opinion about your body type regardless of your meat consumption habits.

11. All family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving, are a nightmare. No celebrating for you, young lady! You will experience most items on this list on rotate for the entire day.

It’s not a celebration unless your personal needs are specifically catered to!

12. Being the only one who responds to the post-script on a dinner party invitation asking if anyone has food restrictions. Token Pain in the Ass.

You’re probably not the only vegetarian going to the dinner party or the only person with dietary restrictions. Someone might even have an allergy or something they didn’t impose on themselves.

13. Vegetarian cookbooks rarely have color photographs. Zzzzz. Whatever, I’ll just go to tastespotting.com. Drooling now.

Well, now I’m convinced. Being a vegetarian seems like a hard knock life.

14. On Jan. 1, at least one of your friends will “go-veg” to lose weight or “just to see if I can do it.”

Godforbid people eat what they want with impunity. Why support your friend on their endeavor when you can hypocritically judge them instead?

15. Other vegetarians are miffed to find out that you are dating a carnivore. Oh he’s handsome and funny and treats like the goddess that you are, but he eats meat? You poor thing.

Who cares what other vegetarians think? Let it roll of your back.

16. Loser dudes will take it as a challenge to be the one to break you. Is this a male primal instinct thing? It’s super creepy!

Get away from loser dudes who try to control you.

17. Vegetarian guys think you automatically want to date them. Thanks for the drink. No, it’s OK, I’ll call YOU. So soon. Miss you already.

I’ll be fair: this one must be annoying.

18. When an ASPC ad comes on, everyone in the room looks at you like it’s all your fault. ”In the arms of an angellll” *crying*

This has literally never happened once to anyone. Everyone hates those commercials and no one blames anyone but the ASPCA and Sarah McLachlan for their existence.

19. You get asked about what you will feed your children, regardless of whether you have expressed interest in having kids. Yes, I plan on letting Hans make his own choice at age 12, when I finally let him out of his plastic bubble. I’ve also picked out his outfit for his first day of school.

Gag. Not an actual problem.

20. You eventually learn the truth about Jello and marshmallows. But what will I put in my hot cocoa? :(

I heard smugness foams nicely when melted in hot cocoa.

21. You get confused with vegans and pescatarians constantly. Cheese? Honey? Fish? Ice cream?

Those stupid idiots not knowing the specifics of your particular diet and trying to clarify are so rude.

22. People will ask you about your feelings towards the smell of bacon. Yes, it smells delicious to me too, okay?

I know, it’s really annoying when people ask your opinion. It’s just the worst. The nerve!

This person seems seriously preoccupied by what other people think of them and their choices. I truly hope that they become more comfortable with their decisions and stop sweating the small stuff. Caring about what other people think of your diet is no way to live.

Read the original list here//Image via Shutterstock

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      Yeah, this list seems more like a list of personal problems for the vegetarian who wrote this post. I’ve been a “pescetarian” (I eat fish but no “land animals,” for lack of a better term) for 11+ years now, and I know so many people who have food restrictions that I hardly stand out.

      The one thing that I do find really annoying is when people lecture me on iron/protein. I’m well nourished and if I have any issues with my diet it’s from the excess of baked goods that I eat and not my iron levels.

      • Joanna Rafael

        Those people don’t know what they’re talking about and are tedious!

    • MeghanZeiler

      Mostly time I am avoiding to eat the Non-vegetarian and eat a only vegetarian.

    • Kim Kindrew

      I’m a pescetarian, and I honestly have not really encountered any of those problems. And if they really do exist, then I’m happily oblivious to them!

    • Kim Kindrew

      I’m a pescetarian, and I honestly have not really encountered any of those problems. And if they really do exist, then I’m happily oblivious to them!

      • Joanna Rafael

        That’s the right attitude. If this shit is happening, be secure enough to ignore it!

    • Stace

      Not that these are really problems as much as minor annoyances that may or may not apply to other types of people, but I actually really related to the list. To my fiancé’s conservative, cattle-farming family, my vegetarianism is a BFD. It took 3 years for them to accept that the roasted veggie Mac n cheese I bring to thanksgiving is not automatically “weird” because it was intentionally made without meat by me. And the “what will you feed your children?” question absolutely has come up thanks to their monumental concern over our hypothetical, nonexistent children.

      • Joanna Rafael

        Your fiance’s family sounds horrible. I’m sorry you have to deal with that kind of nonsense.

      • Stace

        I think they mean well… They just don’t like things that are different and they REALLY like babies. And hunting.

    • Sam Inoue

      To be fair being asked what you feed your kids when people find out your vegetarian (which I don’t advertise to everyone), they act like I will starve them or something. Thank you my kids aren’t suffering because of how I eat.

      • Joanna Rafael

        What is that about? How creepy and violating.

      • Sam Inoue

        I guess they think its helpful, like maybe I didn’t know kids need protein. Though anyone with kids gets pretty used to being judge for everything, veggie eating just gives them new things to say.
        But most of the things on this list just sound like entitled whining. Is she saying strangers say these things to her? Cause how do they know shes a vegetarian, does she wear shirts?