People say that us vegetarians/plant-based dieters are waaay too defensive. The thing is, society as a whole forces us to defend the truth about the plant-based diet against their simpleminded ideas of a stereotypical vegetarian. To them, a vegetarian is somebody trying out a new diet fad, who doesn’t really understand that humans “need” meat in their diet.
In truth, all we really need is fancy looking fruit.
So these insecure carnivores (read: jealous friends and family who don’t have our willpower) then ask us stupid questions or make uninformed statements about our new diet:
- “How are you going to get your protein? You’ll get vitamin deficiencies!” Turns out, there’s plenty of healthier foods that can fight deficiencies vegetarians face. Protein: Eggs. Lentils. Brown rice. Fish. Depending on how devoted you are to a plant-based diet, there are plenty of alternate sources of protein. Vitamin B12: Eggs. Greek Yogurt. Iron: spinach (preferably in smoothie form!).
- “All the vegetarians I know are sickly creatures!” Well they’re doing it wrong. They’re not really vegetarians. They’re junk food enthusiasts who don’t like meat. But I already know what your follow up question will be:
- “The vegetarian diet can’t be as healthy! You’ll be missing important nutrients!” Read this:
“Studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses….appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009).
Ha! Take that you cynics!
- “Humans are supposed to eat meat.” There’s a whole argument that exists saying that eating meat goes against our evolutionary roots. I don’t want to go into it, frankly, because it’s complicated and I’d probably end up going into some philosophical discussion about the meaning of life. So, instead, I’ll just combat your question with this little tidbit:
Becoming a vegetarian ALSO reduces risks of diseases
Let’s hear what the Harvard Medical Journal has to say on this subject:
- “Hundreds of studies suggest that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, and there’s evidence that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer than nonvegetarians do.” (Harvard Medical Journal)
- “According to a 2007 report from the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, if you stop eating red meat (whether or not you become a vegetarian), you’ll eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer”
- “Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In studies of Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians’ risk of developing diabetes was half that of nonvegetarians, even after taking BMI into account. The Harvard-based Women’s Health Study found a similar correlation between eating red meat (especially processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs) and diabetes risk, after adjusting for BMI, total calorie intake, and exercise”.
So when the anti-vegetarian naysayers get bored of flinging barely-reasoned questions at us and our soundproof logic, they create and play games such as “Defensive Vegetarian Bingo” and poke fun at our diet.
Let’s be the bigger person, here. Show those meat-eaters we don’t care what they think by not stooping to their level.