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5 Things Not to Say or do to a Vegetarian at Work

One of the growing trends in the United States, Canada and Great Britain is transforming a carnivore diet into a vegetarian one. Polls continue to show a gradual increase in the number of vegetarians, or individuals eating a vegetarian meal once a week. Whether it’s due to caring for animals, improving one’s health or saving money, vegetarianism is becoming popular. 

With that being said, a majority of the population is still comprised of meat-eaters. Although vegetarians are sometimes viewed as judgmental militants who will guilt you for eating a piece of meat, many vegetarians are reporting that exact type of behavior from their carnivorous colleagues. 

It is regularly reported among vegetarian circles that these herbivores are constantly asked about their meals in a condescending manner and are the recipients of questionable looks from their fellow employees. In other words, vegetarians aren’t necessarily the favorites of the workplace because it can make office parties and catering difficult for the organizers. 


Here is what The Veggie Table writes regarding this relationship between meat-eaters and vegetarians: 

"One of the issues faced by many vegetarians is dealing with non-vegetarians. While it’s true that some vegetarians will make comments and try to ’convert’ meat eaters, I think the majority of us see it as a personal choice and accept that some will choose to eat meat and others don’t. For some reason, many meat eaters are unable or unwilling to reciprocate in kind, and take it upon themselves to attack or try to ’knock some sense into’ vegetarians." 

Here are five things not to say or do to a vegetarian at the office: 

1. "Don’t you miss the taste of meat?" 

Indeed, it can be quite hard for a novice vegetarian to go through their day and not miss the succulent taste of a piece of chicken or steak. However, as time goes by, vegetarians become indifferent to the aroma and taste of meat. Many meat-eaters can’t fathom this, and it’s understandable: who wouldn’t want to imbibe an angus beef burger at one time or another? 

2. "Are you a vegetarian because of animals?’ 

There are many reasons as to why a person becomes a vegetarian. For some, it’s because they feel it’s right and that we shouldn’t kill animals for our personal satisfaction. For others, they want to improve their health. There are different motives. What usually follows the question is the co-worker attempting to find out if you wear leather or fur, or an argument about how humans are meant to eat cows, chickens and turkeys as part of the evolutionary process. 

3. "You must think I’m a terrible person" or "Do you hate me because I eat animals?" 

It would be great if the world stopped killing animals for their flesh. However, vegetarians aren’t likely to judge another person for eating meat as it’s their personal lifestyle choice. They aren’t going to start preaching the gospel of vegetarianism and attempt to convert a meat-eater. Furthermore, vegetarians aren’t going to enter into a fit rage because you decided to eat a pulled pork sandwich. 

4. An analysis of the vegetable dish 

To gain their sufficient levels of protein, vegetarians will consume a lot of beans and other vegetables that contribute to protein intake. Some meat-eaters will often analyze the dish and become perplexed that there isn’t a trace of meat. This often resorts to questionable looks from the person in question and then a certain amount of discomfort. 

5. "Come on, just take a bite out of this hot dog!" 

It can bother some meat-eaters that you’re a vegetarian that they will continue to prod you to eat a piece of meat. "Stop making a fuss," "Just do it" and "You’ll cave in" are some of the common remarks for the insensitive meat-eaters in the office. Vegetarians just don’t want to eat meat. It’s that simple. 

What people do and eat are personal lifestyle choices and aren’t the business of anyone else. Vegetarians are inundated with the exact same questions on a regular basis, though they likely don’t mind answering some of the questions as they can dispel some of the myths behind vegetarians. Unfortunately, some carnivores take it too far and can’t accept there will be vegetarians around. 

Photo by Mike Haller via Flickr.