It happened again the other day while in the dentist’s chair. The nurse with the vacuum thing began asking me questions about India and the Indian diet, and raised eyebrows and tut-tutted about the quantity of vegetarians in India and how bad for you a vegetarian diet is … “We really just do need meat and meat protein”.
Had the one side of my face not been numb I would’ve engaged her in a conversation, as I often feel the need to do, pointing out her ignorance. And then sometimes I just sigh, nod and smile. There is a vast proportion of the population that feels threatened by vegetarianism (and, I guess, by any alternative life choices that are different from the norm), and sometimes I just cannot be arsed to point out their misinformation and obvious prejudices.
The truth is that I DO NOT need chicken, fish and red meat to sustain myself on a day to day basis. Just look at how I can string words together and type out whole blog posts with my healthy nails tapping away at the keyboard, my shiny hair reflected back at me in the monitor. I build muscles through my yoga practice (no wasting away here) and should I hurt myself, my wounds heal in the normal amount of time. I am more well read in terms of nutrition and the nutritional contents of food than most carnivores, and, most importantly I think, I don’t make anyone else’s’ dietary choices my business (I don’t think I’ve ever asked an omnivore if they get enough fibre, eat too many refined carbs, or overdo it on the cholesterol …).
There are a variety of reasons why I am a vegetarian, and yes I battle with the fact that I have some leather shoes … as far as possible I buy ‘green’ products and faux leather goods. It’s a work in progress. I really don’t care if you’re not a vegetarian; I just battle with stupidity and ignorance. Have an informed opinion and make educated decisions about what you eat, where it comes from, what it’s packaged in and the whole chain of events that got it onto your plate. And leave worrying about my protein intake up to me.