This prompt came from a medical doctor
The Plight of Vegetarians
As the Earth trudges closer and closer to a climate apocalypse, it’s easy to get caught up in the flashy signs of our extinction. Snowstorms are ravaging parts of the south that are neither accustomed, nor prepared for them. Coral reefs are dying a rate that they will probably never be able to recover from. Miami, Florida has, at most, 20 years left above water no matter what we do to save it.
But with all these climate change-induced disasters, there’s one group that’s consistently left out of the conversation: vegetarians. Vegetarians are the vanguard of climate warriors because other than abstaining from having children, switching to a plant-based diet is the single most effective thing an individual can do to help the cause.
Climate change is largely driven from major companies that refuse to acknowledge to their part in destroying the planet we live on, but who’s going to make them stop? The government? You must be new here.
So, if we can’t bring guillotines to Exxon Mobil executives’ houses, it behooves us all to become environmentally conscious in our diet. As a vegetarian, I know the struggles this kind of life entails so I’d like to lay them out before converting you.
This is the chief concern I hear from people who are so engrossed in the American Way that they could never envision leaving their precious meat behind. They say things to me like “don’t you miss steak?” and “I could never go without my cheeseburgers.”
The problem with missing meat isn’t that the urge to sink my teeth in an animal is so strong that I need to do it that instant. After a month or two of learning how to make better food than any of you carnivores, I don’t miss it at all. The real problem is that I have to listen to you bitch and moan about cutting out what is only ever supposed to be 20% of your diet.
Meat isn’t nearly as important to your dietary health as most of you believe. Protein isn’t hard to find in other sources and meat replacements like Beyond Meat are rapidly approaching the point where difference in taste is negligible, so I’m not sure why this is still a point of contention anyway.
Being lumped in with vegans
Listen, I have many vegan friends, and I commend them for their efforts, but it isn’t the life for me, nor should it be the life for everyone else. In 20 years or so, there literally won’t be enough land on the planet to support our meat consumption at its current state, so something is going to have to change. Either people will naturally start switching to plant-based diets or meat will become so expensive that the price point will force people away.
A similar problem exists in veganism, but people are loath to talk about it, especially us vegetarians. Veganism requires a certain level of wealth that’s inaccessible to a large portion of the population and many vegan products aren’t as environmentally friendly as they like to believe (like the overreliance on almonds).
But apart from all that, vegans are also extremely annoying. My vegan friends will read this article and yell at me, but it isn’t their fault. It’s every vegan organization’s fault for propagating the lie that vegans are as insufferable as the PETA. Meat consumption and relying on animal products in some way is necessary for most of the world to ensure people don’t starve, which means the vegan lifestyle will never be accessible to everyone.
Vegetarianism, on the other hand, is accessible. It’s far cheaper, supports more crop diversity, and is generally healthier than both veganism and carnivorism, so maybe next time, put some respect on our name.
Going to restaurants in America
This is literally, only an American problem. Few countries on Earth are so wrapped up in meat culture that they don’t even offer a simple vegetarian dish on their menus, but the US bucks that trend.
Every “American” style restaurant has 3 pages of the same meat dish in different forms and even most salads are invaded by chicken. It isn’t hard to make good (or even great) vegetarian dishes and doing so would boost business as well as health in the community. But nevertheless, if I want to grab lunch with my friends at the barbeque spot, I’m usually stuck eating mac & cheese like a 12-year-old (but I do love mac & cheese).
Being morally superior
Now this is the real struggle of a vegetarian. As I’ve explained, the vegetarian lifestyle is cheaper, tastier, and the best thing one can do to save our planet, so how do we deal with the weight of our superiority?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to walk down the street and mutter “I’m better than you, and you, and you” at people who pass by. It feels even better to host dinner or brunch at my house and force my guests to eat food that doesn’t rely on a shitty cut of beef I picked up at the store. But the burden of being better than most people does get me down every now and then.
The only solution to this problem is to have more vegetarian friends to sympathize with. So, this is my pitch to you, the reader. Try a meatless Monday. Start ordering vegetarian dishes at restaurants to expand your horizons. Just give the lifestyle a chance and I promise you won’t be disappointed (but don’t overdo it on pasta early on, because those carbs will catch up to you quickly).
The plights of vegetarians are as numerous as they are undeserved so don’t take this dietary change lightly. But in times of doubt, remember that you’re doing more than any person you know to save the world.