I don’t think it’s controversial to state that there are quite a few people in America who think vegans and vegetarians are annoying, in the way they might find it annoying when someone pipes up that they’re “gluten-free.”
As irritating as I myself find self-promotional special-dieters of all stripes (I’m looking at you, gluten-free-for-no-reason and I’m-on-a-juice-CLEANSE people!) I can honestly say that it goes both ways.
When I was vegan, I made it a policy to Keep My Trap Shut. Because it really can be a conversation stopper to drop a lead balloon like, “Thanks, but I can’t eat cheese,” or “That looks delicious, but I’m vegan.” I generally just said “No thanks” and left it at that.
Fair dos – as a larger woman, people generally expect me to “be on a diet,” so my “no thanks” was probably mostly met with a mental “Well, of course she’s not having any – she’s a FATTIE!”
Still, it did come up. Sometimes, nothing but “I’m a vegan” works to stop coercion. “Oh c’mon – just ONE little piece?! It’s delicious! I made it with Real Butter! It’s my Grandma Gesundheit’s recipe! You’ll LOVE it!”
In those situations, a firm “That looks amazing, but I’m vegan, so I don’t eat butter,” was often my only recourse.
And it was in those situations that I learned that the vast majority of Americans are probably never gonna be 100%, hard core, card-carrying vegans.
|Better looking food in future, I promise!|
Reactions ranged from incomprehension (“Dairy doesn’t count, right?” and the divinely moronic “But chicken isn’t meat!”) to horror (“You don’t eat ANY meat?!”) to a strangely bellicose stance, as if I’d said not simply “No thanks,” but “No thanks – AND YOU CAN”T HAVE ANY EITHER!” The belligerence was often married to a fiercely proprietary attitude (“I couldn’t LIVE without MY BACON!” or “No one’s taking away MY STEAK!”) that put me back on my heels a tad.
So what to do? If we accept the premise that not many Americans are vegetarian or vegan we know that isn’t enough people to move the dial on climate change.
Here’s the money quote: “The just-released “Vegetarianism in America” study, published by Vegetarian Times (vegetariantimes.com), shows that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. In addition, 10 percent of U.S., adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.”
But if everyone could be convinced that it’s possible to make a big impact on their carbon footprint while at the same time getting to eat at least a little of THEIR BACON – well, would that be a good thing?
I submit that it would.
The challenge, of course, is to convince not just with statistics, but with recipes. Delicious, healthy, life-affirming recipes that are 90% plants and 10% animal (organic, sustainable, cruelty-free, of course) products.
And that’s what this blog is setting out to do. Please stay tuned for delicious foodie goodness, complete with shaky-cam bad quality pix from my trusty new iPhone 4S!