Can people stop hating on vegans
So we meat again
Much like marmite, people either hate or love vegans, edging more towards hate. Before we continue, I am not a vegan. (yay!) I am a semi-vegan (boo!): a vegetarian who doesn’t like cream or cheese (unless on pizza) – niche, or fussy?
I agree, fussy, but at least I’m not the vegetarian who has three jaeger bombs and can be subsequently found in a ditch outside van of life eating a burger with a shameful yet satisfied look on their face. A ‘Diet Veggie’ is usually caught in this compromising position, a mere three weeks after proudly declaring that they don’t eat meat with the expectation of reaching their summer-bod goals of 2018. To be fair, I don’t completely judge here because any reduction in meat intake is good.
Too many people seem to hate vegans. I can understand why it would be annoying if they’ve given you an unwarranted, unprovoked lecture on why eating meat is a sin, but just the words ‘No thank you, I’m a vegan’ triggers a face which resembles that of someone who’s watched you cook their hamster in the microwave whilst instantaneously beating up their innocent loved ones (that took a turn, apologies).
The most inane response I usually get when saying I’m a vegetarian is: “but you must eat chicken?” I’d sort of understand “not even marshmallows” or “goose-fat roast potatoes” but chicken? Sorry? That’s just wrong on every level possible.
A typical argument that an anti-veggie usually makes is that that plants we so greedily devour are also being killed. I don’t particularly enjoy involving myself in this conversation as the fact someone can possibly suggest chopped coriander and a cow experience the same pain or maltreatment is SOOOO TRUEEEE. I actually witnessed a coriander cry after tucking its baby coriandita into a bed of soil. It was endearing.
Another misconception is that a vegetarian’s diet is limited to rice and beans – eaten shortly before shouting ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ – and the occasional butternut squash. Oh how wrong you are. Prior to 2015, Wagamama’s ginger chicken udon was an adventurous meal for me. Now, and I’m not saying I’m ‘Mr International’, but I eat food from a variety of countries and cultures. Check. Me. Out. I’m not saying that all you insensitive, anti-environment, animal murderers (jokes) have a restricted, unearthly diet; I’m just saying vegetarians also have lots of options too.
Before coming to Cambridge all of my family told me I wouldn’t be able to sustain vegetarianism so may as well give up now, and after so much talk/shouts/attacks on my delicate ears, even I began to envision myself sitting under my desk, crying to some books, listening to Leona Lewis’ ‘Bleeding Love’, whilst eating a bacon roll.
To offer some context; my family don’t support my decision. My sister is prone to asking all the above questions in a sarcy, science-studying-and-dispassionate manner, whilst my mum can be found in the kitchen masking a weak sob saying “I’m so fed up of cooking two meals” or “you don’t know what you’re missing”, to which I remind her that I ate meat for 16 years and know exactly what I’m missing, or not missing. However, I have certainly proved them (and my insecure self) wrong.
It is also amazing how friends can go from being a normal meat-eater to a fully blown nutritionist once they become aware of your eating habits. No one cares about your protein intake until your veganism/vegetarianism is revealed. If your concerns are health related and you don’t think you will consume enough protein undergoing a vegetarian diet then get yourself a pen and paper and take some colour-coded notes. Quorn, for instance, is a complete protein since it contains all eight essential amino acids. The PDCAAS for mycoprotein is 0.91, fractionally behind beef at 0.92. Because of the egg albumen in Quorn pieces, the PDCAAS for these is 1. I haven’t a clue what that all means (humanities degree) but it sounds pretty smart. NB: My classic dish is quorn bolognaise with tomatoes and onions, or chilli quorn carne (you: thank you; me: you’re welcome, just call me Nigella.)
I've found that being a veggie at uni has been surprisingly easy. If you are happy to have chips after a night out, in place of a burger, and can refuse the chicken curry in the great hall then hop on board this magical, lentil-fuelled train of fun, laughter and happiness.