A couple of nights ago some dude at a lovely guesthouse that I was staying at openly called me a derogatory F word for professing how much I love tofu. Now, I understand that the use of this word has been used in countless more serious and degrading manners but, none the less, it got to me. Normally I would laugh it off and get on with life, but such an abject reaction to a simple pronouncement over a soy based product needed investigation. It was the first time that I have then proceeded to aggressively defend plant based lifestyles in the stereotypically preachy vegetarian manner that unfortunately seems to be so rife within social media. Needless to say, I destroyed him and any counter argument he threw at me. It ended up with me declaring that he was an ignorant douche bag* when he was pining to the ‘but it tastes so good’ line. Not eating meat, cheese and milk (I still eat eggs for various travel related reasons) has become a large part of my life over the last two-ish years so I have become proficiently adept at squashing any rebellious carnists who want to play with me in my arena, but when that line arises there is nothing more to say.
The only reason I’ve felt compelled to write about this is because last night I had a similar conversation over the dinner table with a group of guys and girls that I’ve been biking with over the past few days, who noted that the only food I’ve been able to procure on the road today was water spinach and rice. I genuinely don’t think they know many vegetarians and the similar questions arose, when did you start? Why did you start? Don’t you miss meat? What do you eat? All of which i tactfully answered in the jovial ambiance of the evening. Then things got a bit more serious, “don’t you feel like less of a man?” one of the Dutch guys asked. This is where I know things are getting desperate in the discussion. I always proudly respond by asking “how does not paying someone to kill animals for me to eat make me less of a man?” followed by “I bet I can down a beer quicker than you” just to take the edge off and to let people know that I can down pints pretty quickly, an apparent sign of manliness. It was here that someone raised the same point of which the dude in the hostel had so ingeniously pronounced; not caring because meat tastes so good.
Unlike the dude in the hostel I actually like these guys and the debate has been the only slight blimp in an otherwise fabulous group energy. I had been travelling with one for four days, will potentially be travelling with two others for the foreseeable future and we are all off to Hoi An in a few hours’ time to celebrate a companions Birthday. So, unlike the dude in the hostel I laughed it off and ate my spinach and rice. It was only really this morning as I woke up that I realised that if I do want to continue making friends with people from countries who haven’t encountered much education upon the wholly irrelevant and illogical nature of the animal agriculture industry, then I can’t just go around calling them douchebags when they don’t agree with me and immediately convert. It kind of goes against my principles as a giant monster carrot murdering vegetarian but I’d be happy to try and elicit my views in a friendly and positive light with my new-found friends if the subject happens to arise again.
*If you are still an ignorant douche bag and reading this on my blog then you’re probably one of my friends or family so you knew what you were getting in to when you first read the title and I apologise for nothing. Another question I get asked a lot is, don’t you find it hard? In all honesty dropping meat was ridiculously easy. Milk and cheese less so but as I’ve become more educated upon the subject I already look back in horror at my past consumer habits. When I’m in a more stable and constant environment eggs will be gone swell. The hard bit is not what you take from your life as when you make the change and realise the connection what you get back is so much more. A healthy, compassionate, sustainable, fairer and more economically viable standard of living. The hard bit is seeing those around you, those that you love so much, not even acknowledging something that you care about so much as even the tiniest bit relevant.
Peace and love yall x