Whether it’s for environmental reasons, in support of animal rights or simply to explore a new kind of lifestyle, lots of people will be giving up their bacon butties and fried chicken this World Meat Free Week (27 September – 3 October).
Veggies and vegans will likely be delighted to have some new plant-eaters on board, whether it’s just for the week or it inspires a more long term diet switch, and happy to answer genuine questions. After all, we get it – giving up meat could be a big transition.
But…any carnivore who quizzes their veggie friends cynically, hoping to prove going meat-free is badly thought out and wrong, should think again. Because it can be quite annoying. If that’s you, here are some of the things you really shouldn’t say – and why.
1. But where do you get your protein?
Plants can be an awesome source of protein and experts agree that it’s not necessary to eat meat to get your fill. A well-planned vegan diet can provide you with all the nutrients you need, especially if you’re including lots of tofu, lentils, tempeh, chickpeas and beans in the mix.
Chances are, your pal has done their research, eats well and is not putting their health at risk.
2. But aren’t humans designed to eat meat?
Some people say it’s natural for humans to eat meat as we’ve been doing it for centuries. But whether it’s right or wrong is irrelevant – let’s just respect each other’s lifestyle choices.
3. You’ve changed
Nobody likes to hear this phrase as it implies that the change is for the worse. Just because a newish veggie doesn’t want to order in a Nando’s anymore, it doesn’t mean that they’re any less of a friend.
Even if it’s said in jest, this kind of comment makes plant-based eaters feel as if their lifestyle isn’t being taken seriously, and some people are very passionate about the reasons why they don’t want to eat meat.
4. Don’t you miss bacon?
It can be hard to give up meat in the first few weeks and months, and if someone is going cold turkey for ethical reasons, there’s probably been points in time that they’ve wanted to throw in the towel.
Even if they miss bacon sarnies, there are a whole number of reasons why they might want to tuck into a seitan burger instead.
Pointing out how great their favourite meaty foods are is a pretty unsupportive thing to do. Really, you should give them a pat on the back for exercising great control and discipline.
5. You know that’s bad for your health, right?
Unless you’re a licensed medical expert, don’t try to wade in with your own opinions on how valid a meatless diet is.
There are lots of differing opinions in the medical world about which diet is best for our health, so rather than adding to the noise, we should probably simply accept that we aren’t in a position to comment.