Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Don't Eat Anything Green - or How Some People Can't Accept Vegetarianism

I think I mentioned that I went to Chicago a couple weeks ago and was completely impressed by the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants all around the city.  I know Cleveland is a lot different than Chicago in so many ways, but...I still don't understand why we still have just a smattering of vegan and vegetarian restaurants around town.  But in a way, I do...

I'm helping to plan a year end event for my department at work.  With a limited budget, our venue options are somewhat limited, so we're working with a party center, of sorts, within a short distance of where I work.  I'm on a small project team helping to plan for this event, and it's dumbfounding to me how intolerant some people can be when it comes to dietary restrictions.  Someone who wasn't aware that I'm Ms. Vegetarians-Taste-Better had the nerve to say, "I see no need for us to have anything without meat at this party.  How many vegans (pronounced vay-gans by this person, even after I corrected them) do we really have anyone?  Doesn't everyone eat meat?"

That statement made my heart sad.  In my workplace, we're a culturally diverse group.  I know of a few vegans, vegetarians, celiacs, and people who are lactose intolerant.  Are we the majority?  No.  But why shouldn't our needs be accommodated?

Apparently my coworker isn't the only one riding the meat train.  When speaking with the catering manager at the selected venue about providing a vegan and a vegetarian option, he flat out told me, "We're too politically correct these days.  These people really ruin it for the rest of us.  I don't eat anything green!"

These people?  Really?  Hello man who's drinking the kool-aid from the old boys club fountain - have you not noticed that the vegetarian and vegan food industry is growing?  Sure, here in NEO our options may be somewhat limited, but there are plenty of mainstream restaurants with vegan and vegetarian options.  And if the vegan/vegetarian food industry was so unprofitable, how would businesses like Vegan Sweet Tooth, Flaming Ice Cube, and Root Cafe get the capital to start a business?  I'm sure I'm a little jaded, having grown up as a vegetarian, but I tend to forget that some people actually hate vegans and vegetarians. 

To be honest, it took everything in me to not put this guy in his place.  That day will come after my company has an event at his venue.  Although I wonder if I should even bother?  You can't change the way some people think, but I really feel like education and awareness is really the key to tolerance...with most things in life, including veganism and vegetarianism.

Have you encountered any sort of discrimination based on your dietary beliefs/restrictions?

3 comments:

  1. It's weird how a kid can't take a peanut butter sandwich to school anymore, but adults are so close minded and say that kind of stuff still. Constantly when choosing a restaurant, my family asks "is there anything you can eat there?" like I have some sort of disease.
    And the "I don't eat anything green" comment makes me so mad just as a fitness professional. I'm going to assume that guy is overweight after making that comment. And then people wonder why they gain weight and get sick. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tiffany O'NeillNovember 9, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I always say that people fascinate me! Becca and I were just talking about this subject the other day. My favorite comment I have gotten at VST was "I am giving this to REAL people...I need a REAL dessert". haha. I constantly remind myself...
    1. Keep educating the ignorant and uninformed.
    2. You can't win them all
    3. Live your life the way you want to live your life...and be Happy!

    Keep up the great posts Roxetta!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stumbled on your blog! I had a really similar conversation a couple years ago at my workplace when I casually asked if anyone wanted to "maybe" bring something to our holiday potluck that I could eat (besides a fruit/veggie tray). For a group of tolerant people, I never hear such complaints! The only one who actually went out of her way was the oldest person I work with! She made seitan steaks! And they were great!

    /\/\ike

    ReplyDelete