Doctor Love: Need to Veg

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
My partner and I are vegetarians. This is a lifestyle choice that we made four years ago and neither of us have had animal flesh since. We eat a huge variety of vegetarian foods and both of us are healthy and fit.
Recently we were invited to a Thanksgiving party. The hostess is a good friend and she made veggie burgers for us – something we did not expect but really appreciated. One guest started a conversation about eating meat and asked us if we would serve turkey and ham at a Thanksgiving party if we hosted one at our home. I explained to him that we would never host a gathering on an occasion when it was traditional to consume turkey and ham. By this time there were many people gathered around and one of them laughed and told me I was pretty selfish considering my “special diet” had been considered by the hostess and another said he would sneak beef broth into my food. I never asked for a special food item, I would have been very pleased to enjoy the non-meat items along with the rest of the guests.
I am embarrassed and hurt. I never try to force my beliefs on others. I don’t get preachy or condescending, so why do people mock the fact that I don’t eat meat? I feel as though, like religion and politics, my decision is not something others should feel compelled to criticize. Why is a vegetarian diet often so ridiculed and questioned? People immediately assume my diet is bland and unappetizing without meat. If I hosted a party, should I be forced to prepare meat in order to be a polite hostess?
/s/Need to Veg

Dear Need to Veg,
Anything that isn’t perceived as the “norm” is often ridiculed. If someone doesn’t understand something they often laugh and judge.
Your friends are aware that you are a vegetarian and why, and the offhand comments of a party guest should not affect you in any way. To suggest that you would not know if your food had been altered by a meat based product is both ignorant and rude. Ignore it.
As far as serving meat to your guests, you do not have to compromise your beliefs to feed your friends. With your huge selection of interesting recipes and a selection of fresh vegetables you could make sure none of your guests left hungry or unhappy.
Lastly, if you feel you must respond to criticism from others, remind them that you have never seen a campaign advising people to “eat more meat.”

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