A Vegan Rant: I Just Want to Eat in Peace

Posted in: Activism, eating vegan, Health, meat alternatives, Plant-Based, Rant, Vegan in ScPA, Vegan Living

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People miss all kinds of things when they turn vegan, from cheese to bacon to leather shoes. In my weaker moments, I certainly pine for animal flesh in various forms and wish I could find affordable half-decent vegan dress shoes. What vegan hasn’t had that one dream where they go back to the “good old days” in one way or another? However, the one thing I miss most about my omnivore days is being able to eat a meal in peace.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t enjoy eating around others under the best of circumstances. The blinding rage that fills me when my ears hone in on chewing noises, and the difficulty I have timing my bites with the flow of conversation, were issues that existed long before I made the decision to forego animal products. What truly ruins eating in public for me, now, are the constant questions and comments I get from every single person who sees me.

Mild alcoholism aside, I’m a fairly health-conscious person. As a result, my meals always include vegetables of some sort. It’s one of my rules, but, apparently this rule is not the norm, because I’m constantly shocked by how fascinating the act of eating vegetables is to some people.

Yes, Linda. I’m eating broccoli. Yes, Ron. Broccoli is good for you. Yes, Paul. I’ve had cauliflower before. Mary, please don’t tell me about that one time you ate a carrot. Aside from the fact that eating a carrot shouldn’t be a noteworthy event, I’m eating right now and, also, I don’t care.

Remember that time someone was eating a ham sandwich and everyone came up to them and commented on sandwiches in general?

Hey Bill, ever eat a turkey sandwich? I hear bologna is good for you! One time I ate a roast beef sandwich.

You probably don’t because this never happens.

I realize that vegans eat things besides vegetables, but I personally don’t like faux meats and the like. However, I’m sure that if I did bring something as provocative as a Beyond Burger to work, my coworkers would be just as fascinated.

Another thing is that I always get the standard vegan questions and feel like I have to defend my food choices every single time I eat around people. While I appreciate people’s curiosity, not being dismissive and condescending to these questions in order to get back to the matter at hand, eating, is a challenge. All I want to do is take a break from answering to others for a little, while I try to enjoy my meal.

Actually, protein is in loads of stuff. No, I don’t miss cheese. Yes, potatoes are vegan. Yes, I can eat strawberries. I can eat bacon; I just choose not to.

Remember that time someone walked up to someone eating a ham sandwich and started bombarding them with question about sandwiches in general?

Hey Bill, where do you get your fiber? Do you miss BLTs? Why don’t you eat BLTs anymore? Are hot dogs sandwiches? (Side note: No, they are not.) Can you eat turkey sandwiches? How about roast beef sandwiches?

You probably don’t because this never happens.

My point is that, sometimes, hell, ALL THE TIME, I just want to be left alone and eat in peace. Knowing that every single person who sees me eating will either evaluate my food to see if it adheres to their arbitrary standards or pepper me with questions about veganism makes every public meal an extremely anxious experience for me. Is it bad enough to make me become an ex-vegan? No. However, it is bad enough for me to give people dirty looks and eat in secluded spaces, e.g. my car.

Being a vegan does not make me a vegetable fanatic who just can’t wait to discuss all things produce, and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m always looking to promote veganism in any way I can. I’m a person who is only trying to live life and eat a meal in peace. So, for the love of mushrooms, next time you see me eating, no matter how interesting my iceberg lettuce is, or how you need to know right now if olives are vegan, just keep walking.


Deb Volker

Thanks for sharing! It’s good to know when I’m being intrusive and I really hadn’t considered it before, in this case!

Carol Ann Parrish

So true. The question, “But what do you eat?” is equally “amusing” and maddening. I try to proactively counteract some of that by on occasion posting photos of an easy, typical meal that I’ve been eating for years before I became an ethical vegan, like rice/quinoa bowls filled with everything but animal products. Not rocket science, but my hope is that it will save fellow vegans from having the experiences you so wittily highlighted. Thanks so much for this blog! Peace, Love, & Understanding -C


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