Let's Talk About it: Vegetarianism and Anti-Veganism


Everyone is probably sitting there like what? Vegetarianism? Doesn't this girl run a book blog? Yes, I do, but I also really love to share my thoughts and something happened yesterday that is making me itch to do so, and I don't really know where else to do it where I can foster a great discussion as well.

My university requires everyone to take a public speaking class because they think such skills are essential to the job market today. I 100% agree with this, so I was looking forward to taking this class and have to admit, now that it's almost over, that I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that it is important. The way that my specific professor chose to structure the course is with three speeches: one where you introduce yourself in three minutes, one where you do an informative speech in seven minutes, and one where you do a persuasive speech in ten minutes.

Today was the start of the persuasive speeches, and I chose to do mine on vegetarianism. While other classes get to do their speeches on "why blah blah blah is the best otp out there" or "why macaroni and cheese is the best invention since wonder bread" my class has the type of professor that requires our speeches to be controversial, which is actually really challenging. So I went with vegetarianism because I could become a veg-head extremist and talk about world hunger, and cute animals, and health benefits for ten minutes, even if I didn't become a vegetarian due to starving populations in the world because I was five. How the heck was I supposed to know about any of this back then?

In reality, I became a vegetarian over 15 years ago because meat simply does not sit well in my stomach, because I wasn't a fan of my mother's way of cooking meat, and because I think meat is gross. Do I care if people eat meat around me? No. Do I care if people want to engage in a lively vegetarianism vs. anti-veganism discussion with me? No. Do I care if people try to shove their opinions down my throat just because they think meat is delicious? Yes, I do...a lot. I try to avoid shoving my dietary beliefs on other people, and I expect the same treatment in return.

Right before my speech, my professor had an anti-vegetarianism/veganism presenter head up before me. This was essentially what felt like a ten minute attack on me, with lots of eye-locking and smirking here and there. This guy knew exactly what my speech was on, and I was completely blindsided by his topic with no advanced notice whatsoever. My Professor was almost upset when I chose to not question him at the end of his speech and instead allow my own speech to do the talking. I did not sign up to be personally attacked or thrown into a surprise smackdown, and I was livid when this happened.

I had to go up immediately after this guy and present a ten minute argument on a topic that I support, but with arguments that I don't necessarily agree with. No, I don't think the entire world should become vegetarians because there is such thing as the natural food chain and some people have too many allergies to do so, but I think everyone should seriously consider a vegetarian lifestyle because of its health benefits and ethical views. So when I finished, it came no surprise to me that this student immediately raised his hand to attack, and that I was able to defend myself enough that the professor had to cut him off and allow someone else to speak. I felt like this guy was just aggressive and volatile at times, instead of informative and civil, and that is not a fun feeling, made doubly crappy when I ended up walking to the cafeteria behind him to pick up an OJ while he and three of my classmates just ripped my speech to shreds.

I was forced to stand in front of a class spewing arguments I don't really believe in to get an A, only to be thrown into a surprise verbal smackdown of ideals against someone who is very aggressive and opinionated when I prefer to avoid verbal confrontation when it involves forcing your ideas down other peoples throats. There's a difference between debating a topic and attacking someone over their views, and I personally felt attacked and the way in which I was hit just really frustrates me a lot.

So I just wanted to take a moment to ask you guys, what are your thoughts on vegetarianism? I personally am a proud vegetarian that loves cheese, but I could never go vegan because of that. I think having a proper discussion without jumping down someone else's throat is healthy, and I want to see that happen here.


Are you a vegetarian? Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? Or is it simply not for you? Share your thoughts below!

15 comments:

  1. Wow that's horrible! So presumably your teacher knew this would happen and almost encouraged it by putting you two after each other? Gosh, I'm so sorry.

    I'm totally a non-confrontational person so I would HATE that.

    I'm not a vegetarian and most likely never will be. It's just not for me. I like meat too much and don't like other stuff well enough. I would probably have a massive protein deficiency or something.

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    1. Yes! And he got annoyed when I wouldn't bite, so to speak. It was so frustrating!!!!

      I hated it, trust me.

      I feel like if you've gone this far in life without being a vegetarian, it may be too late to start because your body is used to protein levels, as you mentioned. Because I started young, my body could adjust to lower protein levels and alternative means of protein without me getting sick, I think.

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  2. I just want to give your professor a good shake. What the hell is wrong with him?

    I personally don't think I'll ever become a vegetarian for the simple reasons that Ashley stated above me. But like, I'm not one of those "BACON IS THE BEST YOU ARE A STUPID WEAKLY VEG" people and I *hate* those people. It feeds into the macho bro culture that I hate so much anyway. On the other side, I dislike the militant vegans who shame people for not being veg - they don't realize that being able to lead a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle is a huge privilege. So basically, I'm with you, in letting people do their own thing. We can all coexist while believing/practicing different lifestyles for *whatever* reason.

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    1. He likes politics a little too much for his own good. A lot of the class is him droning on about his political views, and I have respect for everyone to believe in what they want, but I don't want to be talking about it consistently unless I am in a political science class.

      Anyway, I hate people like that, too. It's a little ignorant to react that way to vegetarianism if you ask me. I don't run around screaming CHICKEN IS DISGUSTING in peoples faces, so why can they scream BACON IS BOMB! in mine? I think that no side should be militant really. Every person has the right to take pride in their diet and no diet is superior to another because different people have different beliefs and different bodies can handle different foods, but coexisting always seems wonderful and never actually happens. Like in class. Where coexisting should be fine.

      UGH. College.

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  3. That was an asshole move on the part of your prof - especially with no warning! I love a good debate but this certainly doesn't sound like it.
    Uhm for me food's a personal choice, much like clothes or reading choices so I dislike people who get in my face proclaiming their way is correct. Nope, it's a matter of taste. I like meat, I would probably be able to go vegetarian (I often cook veggie meals *because I like veggies*) but veganism is too extreme for my taste (CHEESE YUM). But I'd never tell someone they were weird or wrong for not eating meat.
    I had a colleague at uni say to me: "How can you even eat meat - do you know where it comes from?" (uh, yeah, animals?) and then she high-fived another colleague for being a vegetarian... like they were in a club or something.

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    1. This did not feel like a good debate. There was no respect and, I don't know, WARNING?!

      I personally don't understand how someone can go vegan. Their diet is even more limited than vegetarianism, but mad props to those who do it successfully. Like you, I will never find the willpower to give up cheese...or yogurt...or milk.

      Us vegetarians tend to be attracted to each other because we are a minority, but the situation you just described is totally immature. I promise most of us aren't like that. EVERYONE knows where meat comes from. If you want to enter a challenging discussion about meat, then talk about the harmful affects meat production has for those animals raised for slaughter, for the environment, at times for one's health, and even for those starving in third world countries. But do not sit there and be ignorant and ask if people have no idea where meat comes from. Worst argument ever. Totally annoys me...gah!

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  4. I could never, ever be a vegan or vegetarian because I love meat. But that's something I know about myself, and that's as far as it goes. Like you, I'm not going to make someone else eat what I think they should, and I'm cool as long as other people give me the same respect. The only time I will consider speaking up is if I see someone attempting a vegan/vegetarian diet in a manner that could be unhealthy. If it's used as a crash diet or is an unbalanced enough lifestyle that the person is robbing themselves of the nutrients and vitamins they need, then that's cause to speak up. (But the same could be said about meat-lovers who ignore the rest of the pyramid.)

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    1. I totally agree with you! I did actually encourage one of my friends to stop being "vegan for 2 weeks" because she was trying to lose weight. She was doing it ALL WRONG. Being vegan is not eating purely small amounts of lettuce to lose weight, and I think some people don't realize that.

      Your last statement is very true, too. A healthy, balanced diet is necessary for everyone and all diets to remain healthy. A lot of people lose sight of that, especially when arguing ABOUT which diet is superior. The answer: THE HEALTHY ONE.

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  5. I'm also a vegetarian. My reason for becoming a vegetarian is kind of odd, since it began out of my extreme fear of dead things, but if I'm being honest, I was never a fan of meat. Now, I could NEVER be a vegan. This is because I LOVE milk & cheese, as well as other foods that have dairy or egg products included (most desserts, pasta, etc.). But, really, I have no problem with other people eating meat as well as vegans. In fact, I'm the only vegetarian in my family and I still eat dinner with them, I just eat all of the side dishes. Really, food is food and, in general, people have different tastes. I won't judge other for what they eat (unless they eat human flesh. Then I might get judgy).

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    1. Yay fellow veg-head! *high five*

      I could never be a vegan either because I am so reliant on milk and cheese for protein and also just because YUM. A fear of dead things? Interesting...

      I'm the only one in my family, too, I just get first dibs on side dishes or first helpings of pasta before they add the meatballs etc etc. I hate it when my family goes out of their way to make an entirely separate meal for me, but I also appreciate it because it means they respect my dietary wishes and values.

      I would get a bit judgy about cannibalism, too. haha I think anyone would ;)

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  6. Sometimes people just suck. You didn't deserve that and I'm sorry you had to go through it. If I had a wider food pallet and more patience/time for cooking, I would probably try to be a vegetarian because I love animals and kind of hate that I eat them. I don't really get what the argument would be against vegetarianism? In my eyes, that is a kinder lifestyle.

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    1. It is, but the whole argument is nature and evolution mainly, to which I personally disagree and say evolution is meant to be changed. Religion was created before modern inventions existed, so even orthodox Judaism has changed with the times in regards to Shabbat and stuff. What's to say evolution is any different? Humans are a species, eating habits can evolve too. But that's me getting into the heavy stuff, so I'm going to stop there ;)

      Thanks for stopping by Nicole! Perhaps one day you can become a vegetarian in the future!

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  7. Whoa, that sounded intense(in a bad way of course). I can't believe you had to go through this situation and he sounds like an a-hole. Anyways, I could never quit eating meat because I love meat WAY too much. But yeah, I never think someone should just shove their opinions down your throat simply because they think they're right or something along those lines. My mom has been a vegetarian since (if I remember right) she was 18 or 19. I've never thought it was strange; it was just a preference.

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    1. It was not fun at all! That's cool about your mom! I've been told that when you're pregnant you crave the nutrient your child needs most, so a lot of vegetarians tend to give up their vegetarianism to eat meat so their child can be healthy. It'll be interesting if I ever decide to have kids just because I've spent way more of my life not touching meat than I have touching it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I'm glad I found your post. You certainly handled the situation a million times better than I ever could. I am not a public speaker, and I also have a hard time defending my personal views- on anything. Vegetarianism is definitely a tough topic for Americans to deal with. My fiance and I have been vegetarians for almost 3 years. We didn't feel like we had to tell anyone... We thought "why is that even a thing?" But since we're close with our families they ended up finding out because it was around Thanksgiving that we decided to stop eating meat. So, at a family thing at my grandmother's place all of my family told us that a few of my cousins were vegetarians for 5 years and they stopped because they got tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Ramen.... I didn't have the patience to tell them that wasn't even vegetarian food, and that's also not what a vegetarian diet should consist of...

    It's quite scary that a lot of people (and it is A LOT) tell you to your face that you're either crazy or that they would go crazy [not eating meat], and that it's unhealthy not to. It's the same with being an atheist, and not having kids, or being married [yet]. People be nuts! I wish I had the ability to effectively speak my mind on "hot topics", but I don't think I ever will. I had a great time in college, however, I basically made it a priority to learn everything I could about everything I had strong feelings about, i.e. religion and food. (I was a food management major turned anthropologist!)

    Anyway, awesome topic! ;)

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