Talking to a vegetarian fanatic can be annoying?
NUTRITION As a group, vegetarians are a fascinating anomaly. Meat eaters sometimes stare at us as if we were guppies swimming in the water glass set on their dining table. Inevitably, someone asks, "Why did you become a vegetarian?" The answer might range from briefly informative to ear-deafening chatter. As a vegetarian, it's not my goal to convert everyone. It's my preference to avoid meat, just as someone else might exclude offal, pork, red meat, gluten or dairy. I have been doing it so long that the sight of cooked flesh does not tempt to me, despite valiant efforts of some carnivores.
When I dine out with a group of friends, we are conscientious about each other's preferences and usually find a place where vegetarians and omnivores are satisfied. They often taste my entree out of curiosity. I may even inquire if their meat is tender. Occasionally, I may even recommend a meat entree that I once enjoyed if the guests are unfamiliar with the menu.
Balancing Diet Obsessions
Have you noticed blogs where people, perhaps because of a health condition (i.e. celiac, diabetes, hypertension, etc.), must eat a restricted diet. It's a nice resource for people with similar ailments. Some, though, go beyond the education of kindred patients, they promote their diet as THE best and only way for everyone to eat. "Use Stevia not sugar." "Raw sugar is the most natural sweetener." "All butter comes from sick cows." "Eat butter not margarine." "Corn oil is natural." "All corn oil has GMO." The polarization of one viewpoint to the exclusion of any variation can be evidence of an obsession.
Truth be told, practically anything you buy from the market or at a restaurant is processed and has varying degrees of undesirable characteristics. Actually, I can understand that for some, the only way they can stick to a restricted diet is to become a little "obsessed" — relatively speaking. If that works, then more power to 'em. They might condition their minds to hate everything they formerly loved. Such obsession can drive them to "correct the minds" of everyone else who is transgressing against their personal ideals. Balance is necessary.
People are likely to make only minor dietary modifications. In the long run, they end up eating what they prefer (perhaps within the guidelines of medical restrictions). Bananas are a high source of potassium. But guess what? Shocking words for a vegetarian: I don't care for them. I might include a small piece in a smoothie or occasionally enjoy a banana nut muffin — same goes for strawberries and melons; I just don't love them. It's a personal idiosyncrasy. My tongue does not enjoy the texture.
Don’t Try To Tempt a Vegetarian With Meat
I wasn't always a vegetarian. Therefore I remember how to prepare various meats. I also know that tasting contributes to a favorable dining experience. A vegetarian who cannot taste the entree is effectively cooking in the dark. (No offense to blind chefs.)
It is usually not a good idea to ask a vegetarian or vegan why they don't eat meat while dining. What is simply "meat" to a carnivore is viewed more anatomically — muscles, skin, carcass — to a vegetarian. It's about as appetizing as peeling off a homicide victim's skin or muscles and frying them. Responding to a friend's inquiry why I can't eat something with meat broth, I graphically responded, "If someone boiled a human and offered you the broth, would you consider it edible?" He said, "Point made."
Quite frequently I tweet recipes that attract vegetarian or vegan followers. Naturally, it shocks them if I tweet a meat recipe — causing my follower count to drop a bit in protest. I have a Pinterest food board that is limited to vegetable dishes — not to convert but for the simple reason that I don't cook any meat dishes. Visitors are welcome to prepare any of the vegetarian meals along with their favorite meat entree. As people begin to see the variety of ways vegetables can be prepared, some may choose to become vegetarians. But that's a personal choice.
Here's my balanced tip for food bloggers. Sure, everyone prefers to hang around people with common interests. But do we need to convert all those with whom we engage? To anyone dying to know why I became a vegetarian, there is a long answer but I'll share the short one that most carnivores actually prefer to hear: "It's for health reasons." As for everyone else, eat whatever helps you to stay A Bit More Healthy. [1-3]