What People Should NOT Say to a Vegetarian and What to Say When They Do

We’re all very preoccupied with being politically and socially correct. We try not to say anything that will offend the nearest person of another color, another country or another religion. But we can also offend those who live or eat in a way that’s different from the way we do. Obviously, most of the readers here are vegetarians or vegans, but I bet you know a lot of people who aren’t and I thought you’d enjoy this article from this week’s HuffingtonPost.com, called “Vegetarian and Vegan Pet Peeves: What Not to Say to Someone Who Doesn’t Eat Meat“. I’ve passed it on to a few people I know and maybe you can pass this on to a few of your own friends and family.


The editors over at HuffPost polled their vegetarian and vegan Twitter followers and Facebook fans and asked them what things they hear a lot that make them crazy. Here are some of the results and a few mostly humorous possible responses.

1. “Do you wear leather?”


2. “I tried that. Some people just need to eat animals to live.”

This one kind of implies that vegetarians and vegans must be genetically different from meat-eaters and trying to point out that you really can get a complete diet from plant-based foods often leads to a lengthy debate that we just don’t want to get into. I’ve never heard a vegetarian say that some people just need cauliflower in order to survive.


3. Where do you get your protein?

The woman who submitted that one says, “No one ever cared about that before I was a vegan; why do they care now?!”


4. “But you eat chicken, right?”

Just go ahead and face plant on the nearest convenient surface.


5. “So what DO you eat?”

Well, everything else.


6. “How could you not like bacon?”

“How could YOU not like pigs?”


7. “Make sure you take supplements.”

Coming from someone whose diet includes potato chips, french fries and chili dogs.


8. “You’re missing out on life.”

No, I’m planning on living all the way to the end of a pretty healthy one.


9. “Oh, I’m a vegetarian too, except for the occasional chicken or steak. Know what I mean?”

Well, no.


10. “But you used to love to eat meat!”

I also used to love Tom Cruise, but I got over him, too.

Obviously, this post has been intended to lighten things up a little and have some fun. But do pass the link on to your meat-eating friends so that nobody has to be uncomfortable when you talk, including them!

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3 Responses to What People Should NOT Say to a Vegetarian and What to Say When They Do

  1. Jenny Sangler June 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    What do you think about these vegetarian pet peeves? Do you normally get offended with these questions?

    – Jenny Sangler

  2. Beth Armstrong Leahy June 29, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I don’t get offended but I do wonder why so many seem to get almost defensive about the fact i don’t eat animals. Do they assume I am judging them because they DO? I never try to convert people and I don’t usually even mention it unless I have to but some people still feel like they have to undermine my choice or question it. Are they trying to make themselves feel better about THEIR choice? I don’t know but it’s really weird to me. It’s almost like I make them feel guilty just by saying I’m a vegetarian. Maybe deep down they know eating meat is wrong??? One man makes a lot of pointed comments to his little grand daughter when I’m there such as…”Good girl, look at all that steak you’re eating…it’s so GOOD for you!” Strange.
    I live in Maine, have 2 grown (meat-eating) kids, trained as a vet. tech., work at a clambake place and love the beach. I went veg about 15 yrs ago; the day I watched “Meet Your Meat”. Thanks for this blog!

    • Jenny Sangler June 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Hi Beth – Thanks for the great comment! I appreciate it!

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