When something is not mainstream or widely practiced, myths start to form about it, due mainly in part to general ignorance of that thing.
Vegetarianism is no exception. As a vegetarian, I’ve come across your general misinformed assumption about what I eat. This list will hopefully clarify some common misconceptions regarding vegetarianism.
First of all, it’s probably a good idea to explain what vegetarianism is. Now, while there are several forms of vegetarianism, central to all of them is the dietary abstention of any animal flesh (i.e. meat).
What do you mean he eat no meat? That’s O.K., I make lamb. Do vegetarians eat fish? No, vegetarians don’t eat meat, but people take the word meat to mean cow meat or red meat. When vegetarians say they don’t eat meat, they include poultry and fish under the definition of meat. So don’t be surprised if your vegetarian friend doesn’t eat turkey in Thanksgiving.
So I guess you don’t get much protein? This is a one of most common assumptions made about a vegetarian diet, that it’s largely devoid of protein. Many tend to think that you can only get protein from animals. While vegetarians don’t get as much protein as their omnivorous counterparts, they get enough to live in good health. In fact, they are less likely to over consume proteins, which is a common occurrence among meat-eaters. Dark green leafy vegetables are know to have high amounts of protein. Soy products (e.g. soy burgers, soy milk, tofu) are perhaps the most abundant source of protein for vegetarians. Wheat gluten (also know as seitan) is very high in protein and is used as a mock of meat.
Great, another left-wing, “I’m spiritual, but not religious” hippie type! Not all vegetarians are vegetarians for the same reason. Some have spiritual justifications while others have political reasons. But these aren’t the only reasons. Some people are vegetarians because it helps reduce their carbon footprint since maintaining livestock raise carbon levels in various forms. Others are vegetarians on ethical objections to killing living creatures and/or killing them in a cruel fashion, as is commonly done. And still others are vegetarians because they just don’t like how meat looks like or tastes
Wasn’t Hitler a vegetarian? NO. While Hitler reduced the amount of meat he ate, he never really did away with it. He also took supplements containing animal products. The myth of Hitler as a vegetarian is more Nazi propaganda than fact
O.K., so I eat meat, you don’t see me trying to convert you to “meatatarianism”! When people think of vegetarians, they picture a self-righteous evangelist on a mission to rid the world of meat-eaters and giving you mean looks as you bite down on your bacon quarter-pounder with cheese. In reality, this represents only a minority of vegetarians. Most of us don’t really care what you put in your mouth.
I’ll walk slow so you can keep up. Guess what, not all vegetarians have skinny, fragile, alien-looking figures. In reality, there are many vegetarian athletes, from bodybuilders like Andreas Cahling to tennis players like Bille Jean King. Did you know Pamela Anderson is a vegetarian too? How’s that for full-figured!