How to Respect a Vegetarian

Published May 28, 2012 by Maryanne

fruit

Happy Memorial Day Fellow Bloggers!

It’s a day to respect what our soldiers fought and died for. This morning I lit my candle and took a moment of silence three times throughout the morning and afternoon.

Today also marks the day that starts off the summer cook-outs. As a vegetarian, it’s hard enough getting through the winter holidays with people not getting it. Now there’s a whole slew of summer holidays to get through with people not getting it.

It really is a shame that people don’t make more of an effort to understand the vegetarian lifestyle. Yes, some of us are vegetarians because we love animals. But we are also vegetarians because we care about our health and are conscious about what we eat.

So here are my top five issues with people who don’t understand the vegetarian lifestyle and hopefully someday in the future, life will be a little bit easier for all of us.

Top 5 Tips for Non-Vegetarians

1. TRY the food that a vegetarian brings to your party!  I’ve been to numerous parties where I was the only vegetarian. I’d  bring food and not one person touched my dish. I find this insulting and hurtful, especially because I’ve been told by a lot of people that I’m a great cook — vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Some even said I should open my own restaurant. Vegetarian food doesn’t meant it’s tasteless or just “grass.” That old  “rabbit food” joke went out the same year your mullet did, so we vegetarians are just sick of hearing it!

Most people can afford to lose a few pounds anyway by eating something healthy, so just be a sport and you may be pleasantly surprised.

2. Fruit and vegetables are delicious without unhealthy toppings! Strawberries are delicious. Period. They do not need whipped cream on them or to be smothered in cheap ass milk chocolate. String beans are very tasty raw. They do not need to be put into a casserole with breading and cheese overload.

3. For the love of God, give the veggie burgers a separate section on the grill. A friend did that for me once and I was absolutely tickled! That was very thoughtful and unexpected! No vegetarian wants a veggie burger with meat juice.

4. CHEESE IS NOT VEGETARIAN! I can’t say that loud enough. Unless it specifies on the wrapper, “suitable for vegetarians” cheese is not vegetarian. It contains rennet, which comes from an animal source.

5. We Eat a Helluva Lot More Than Pasta and Vegetables. To everyone in the 21st Century who is entertaining guests, I highly suggest buying a vegetarian cookbook or do some heavy duty “Googling.”

I dread going to yet another party, wedding,  or gathering where the only thing I could eat is pasta, potatoes and salad. And cake is made with animal lard, so when I refuse cake do not be offended.

It would be nice if there was something sweet I could enjoy at the end of my meal, besides a generic fruit salad purchased at an A&P. There’s a ton of vegetarian and vegan desserts that can be purchased pre-made or you can experiment and make yourself by just doing a Google search for “simple vegan desserts.”

So to all the non-vegetarians in the world, please be a little more creative. I beg you!

–Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

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11 comments on “How to Respect a Vegetarian

  • I always accommodate anyone who comes to my house to eat or drink. I stock what I know someone likes weather it is a diet restriction or a preference some don’t eat gluten, or are vegetarians. I even cook their veggie burgers on foil so it don’t touch the grill where meat has been cooked. Same for the veggies I grill. I guess it is like keeping a kosher house. Some Jewish people do that daily. Besides grilling meat is really not healthy, it causes carcinogens, veggies and fruit grilled does not have that problem. Besides, we go out of our way to stock liquor that our guests want, why not the food too. Thanks MaryAnne for the Tofutti dessert idea. I will stock up the next time I have guests over.

    • Yes, I know first hand that you totally cater to your guests. I loved the night we came over and you had all the hummus and other goodies. YUM!!!!!

      I didn’t realize grilled meat is not healthy. Thanks for letting me know … more info to pass along to meat eaters.

      Tofutti is wonderful because it uses real sugar and no artificial ingredients (last time I checked, some products you have to keep reading labels because they change so often!) There are so many different Tofutti products out there too, to try. I’m sure your girls would love them!

      • True! It’s always seemed odd to me that people criticize or try to argue me out of my vegetarianism…it’s my choice – why do they care so much? Haha, it was fun to commiserate with you. 🙂 looking forward to more of your great posts!

  • Maryanne, I have a world of respect for you and other vegetarians. It has to take outstanding willpower to eat a vegetarian diet in a world of meat lovers. My question is how can you tell if a salad dressing or sauce contains animal fat?

    • Thanks Andrew, and now that is a very good question. My answer is, you don’t. So when I eat out, I eat simple as possible. Or I’ll tell the waitress I have food allergies and ask her to ask the cook what is in something. When I order a salad, I say I’d like to make my own dressing and just ask them to bring oil and balsamic vinegar.

  • Yeah!!!!!!! No one could have said it better than you. It seems like a very lonely place sometimes being the only vegetarian at an event. That’s why I love going to vegetarian places so I don’t feel like an outcast all the time.
    By the way, there is always a “veggie burger” spot on our grill. People should know better but don’t unless you ask, I guess. Some people just don’t think!

    Great post, my vegetarian friend!!!

    • And not only because you don’t feel like an outcast at vegetarian restaurants, but because you have choices — MANY CHOICES — instead of just going for a salad or a veggie burger!

  • My daughter has a few Indian friends and they happen to be vegetarians. It is so cute when a young girl tells me she is a vegetarian. They have so much pride in their beliefs. I have another friend who is not vegetarian, but eats mostly organic and does not eat wheat gluten. Her big question is if she is having a party, should she buy organic for them and spend the extra money when most of the guests would not know the difference? Thoughts?

    • I only throw a party once a year at Christmas time and love to prepare meals. Since I’m eating the food too, I always get organic. Unless I’m gung ho on a certain recipe and organic isn’t available for a certain food because it’s not in season. Then I’ll go local or non-organic.

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