You don’t eat meat?

It’s been 7 years exactly since I made the decision to change my diet and then coerced my flexible husband into changing his. When we make new friends, we don’t tell them. It has become a little more tricky now that I “do vegan” for a living, but we both evade and defer the questions until eventually the newbie says,

“So……you don’t eat meat?”

Seven years later, it’s still awkward.

My mom recently told me about a genetic trait that people have that causes thumbs to look the same as a toe. She suggested that she wanted to tell her toe finger co-worker about her new found knowledge, thus pointing out that my mother noticed she is a carrier of this genetic trait. I digress into my mother’s apparent absence of social cues, only to help you understand the level of awkward the no meat conversation elicits.

Over the last 7 years I have realized that food/ diet is equally as divisive as religion and politics. For the first 3 years after I changed my diet I was so starry eyed over the positive changes in my mood, physical appearance and athletic performance that I was blind to the sudden decline in social engagements. So sure of myself and my decision to isolate my family from meat and friends, I stood on my soap box loud and proud. Dear reader, let’s discuss my unscientific and under-researched observations of the social world from atop my soap box. For ease, I am dividing our friends and family into 4 categories:

Uninterested By-stander: This isn’t the foodie of the group. He or she eats because it’s a necessity for survival, but doesn’t have an opinion. Maybe this person would eat a veggie burger just the same as a beef Wellington. Albeit, he or she likely thinks your new found experiment is a little over the top. Just the same, they don’t care. If you want to share your passions, you will encounter a glazed expression within the first 90 seconds.

Know-it-All, Meat or Die: If I had to choose one type to be my least favorite, the know-it-all is definitely the one. He or she read the BOOK on the most recent pro-animal protein trend; be it paleo or keto, and knows it all. If you encounter this person, don’t engage.

Foodie: This person loves food. All of it. It is incomprehensible why anyone would eliminate any food group. Health nor environmental issues trump delicious, unadulterated food. This person is a lot of fun to engage, because they like vegan food too!

Aspiring Vegan: Your new friend has latched onto you for life and needs to know everything about cashew cream and nutritional yeast immediately. They want to “be vegan”, but CHEESE is the issue (gosh that stuff is good!). What do you do when you go out to eat? What about pizza (cheese)? Will my husband leave me (bacon)? It is fun to have a new friend.

There are so many amazing (and life saving) benefits to adopting a plant-based diet, but a word to the wise….don’t take yourself too seriously and you will have more friends.