7 Things All Vegetarians Understand

People go vegetarian for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because they just don’t like the taste of meat. Sometimes it’s because they want to help the environment. Sometimes it’s because they want to be kinder to animals. Regardless of the reason, being vegetarian comes will a lot of shared experiences. Here are seven things anyone who has been vegetarian for a long time will understand.

1. As a kid, you were not enticed by hotdogs or chicken nuggets.

What was in those pink, fleshy tubes?! And why are those chicken nuggets perfectly uniform? You were more than happy to chow down on a Boca Chick’n patty instead. Bonus: no disgusting lumps of gristle…unlike a chicken nugget from McDonalds. (True story, haven’t eaten a McD’s nugget since.)

2. Unless your parents were on board with the whole vegetarian thing, you ate a lot of simple carbs.

Cheese pizza, pasta, mac and cheese… you get it. If you lucked out and had a parent who was well-versed in the ways of tofu, things were much easier. Shout out to my West Coast mom who knew her way around a brick of seitan. But realistically, I also ate a lot of spaghetti.


3. You are fully sick of hearing about protein, iron and vitamins.

It seems like no matter how many articles get published on the subject, someone is still convinced that vegetarians (and vegans) don’t get enough protein. Or iron. Or folic acid. Or vitamin B12. Or sunshine. Or whatever. Au contraire, my meat eating friends—there are innumerable plant-based sources of all of these things. In fact, there are tons of vegetables that have far more iron in them than a bloody steak, so there.

4. The smell of bacon is gross to you.

Mmm, rendering pork fat. How enticing! NOT. If you don’t grow up eating bacon, it’s kind of gross to think about. Additionally, you do not understand everyone’s obsession with it. Does it have to go on everything?

5. You know exactly when you’ve eaten something that has meat in it.

YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL. Something just tastes off and invariably you feel sick to your stomach later. I remember eating sautéed carrots on vacation once and remarking that they tasted strangely smokey… then the penny dropped, and I had to ask the hotel manager to please label the things that had meat in them. Then I cried. Sorry, piggies.

6. You are so darn sick of a grilled veggie plate.

Ahem, caterers and restaurants everywhere: THIS IS NOT A MEAL. It seems like everyone in food service is laboring under the delusion that vegetarians eat nothing but grilled zucchini and spongy eggplant. This is patently untrue. We will eat anything as long as it doesn’t have meat in it. So please, diversify your options. This is 10000000x worse when you are at a wedding and have to bring some almonds in your purse so you won’t faint from hunger.

grilled vegetables photo
Flickr | Sherry J. Ezhuthachan

7. You automatically feel connected to other vegetarians

It’s like a secret little tofu-eating club! You are bonded! Enjoy your friendship, filled with bean burritos and veggie lasagna.