For everyone who is interested, because so many of you apparently are: I don’t believe in labeling myself so far as my lifestyle, i.e. eating or exercise habits, are concerned.
I don’t eat meat, and haven’t since the age of 16, but in recent years, I’ve started eating fish occasionally. Most recently, I’ve decided to abstain from eggs and dairy products. If you must label me, I guess that makes me “pescetarian with vegan tendencies.”
You know, this may shock you, but I eat the foods that I eat, and don’t eat the foods that I don’t, because I like my plant-based diet. It makes me feel good.
Sorry for the “ranty” tone of this post, but this is really getting to me. And don’t get me wrong– I’m all for discussing nutrition, alternative lifestyles, cooking, and food in general. If you know me, you know this. Some things I am NOT for, are your subversive criticisms, judgments, or “tests” so far as my diet and exercise habits are concerned. They are NOT subtle, and I see right through your “casual inquiries.”
With the exception of one of my house mates whose food I have commented negatively upon (sorry, Ryan…), I don’t stand there telling you about all of the disgusting ingredients to be found in your nasty frozen dinner. Nor do I give you my “humans are the only animals who drink milk not only as fully developed adults, but who drink the milk of other animals” lecture upon your telling me you just ate a whole (gallon!) carton of ice cream.
I don’t question your eating habits, and I would appreciate it if you would please refrain from questioning mine, thank you.
I choose oat brans, nut butters, fish, lentils, quinoa, fruits, and all of the delicious, yummy greens (kale, chard, broccoli, spinach, etc.) as my staples NOT because it’s “hipster” (what does that word even mean?), NOT because I’m actively trying to lose weight, NOT because I’m a snobby bitch whose on her high horse and has a superiority/inferiority complex about being more environmentally savvy than you. I eat these types of food because I like the way they taste and they make me feel good.
I ride my bike, take long walks, and try to incorporate as much Pilates into my daily routines as possible, NOT because I’m a compulsive exerciser trying to burn off every calorie I consume, NOT because I’m vain and image obsessed, NOT because I want attention. I do these things because they’re fun and they make me feel good. Not to mention, I want a strong core so that I can bust awesome dance moves like this guy. I’m not kidding.
Am I environmentally conscious? Absolutely. Agricultural waste is THE number one source of pollution in the United States, and animal waste, unlike human municipal waste, goes completely untreated. That is pretty nasty.
Am I health conscious? Absolutely! After having suffered through basically every eating disorder that’s out there (most overwhelmingly, binge-eating but I’ve gone through my fair share of hellish restricting, binging, and purging) and watching my closest friends suffer from the same, I’M SICK OF IT and am desperate for recovery. I want a healthy relationship with food, and I want my friends to have the same. Not to mention, I’m quite the temperamental individual! The healthier the lifestyle I can maintain physically, the better off I am in my other faculties (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally!) Do I think I’m better than you because I don’t eat animals (okay, besides fish) and you do? NO.
Honestly, a carnivorous diet stemming from locally farmed animals is FAR more environmentally savvy than a vegetarian one stemming from cheap carbs bought at grocery outlets. I’m the first one to admit that “vegan” or “vegetarian” does NOT equate “healthy!”
Honestly, people should eat the foods that they want to eat, and not eat the foods that they don’t want to eat. At what point did things lose this degree of simplicity?
If it isn’t okay for me to criticize your food, why is it okay for you to tell me my oat parfaits look like “baby food?”
If it isn’t okay for me to ask you why you eat meat when so much waste is due to agriculture, why is it okay for you to ask me “where I get my protein?”
Seriously. Eat your damn cake, and don’t ask me about my vegan one. Unless you’re genuinely interested. Than by all means, ask away.
But honestly, if you’re not genuinely interested, please follow that golden rule. Because your comments are triggering, and they’re not helping me stay healthy, and if you’re being honest with yourself, you know they’re not helping you stay healthy, either. So you eat your cake over there, I’ll eat my cake over here, and we can be friends for ever and ever and ever.
questions/food for thought:
Have you ever been the target for food or eating-related bullying? Sounds extreme, but to me, such comments and questions regarding my eating or exercising habits, really feel like bullying. Thoughts?
Have you ever made a negative remark (i.e. bullied) concerning someone else’s food or exercise choices? How might you treat that situation differently, if you could go back to that conversation and do it over?