It never ceases to amaze me how people (usually strangers) feel the need to bust out with declarative statements defending their right to eat meat, junk food, and generally unhealthy fare just because I’m in their presence eating something like a tempeh BLT or ordering something vegan off of the menu at a steakhouse. I’ve collected a few of these outbursts for the archives because much later, when I think of a catchy comeback that no one will hear, I can usually amuse myself.
1. I’ll bet being skinny runs in your family, right? You can eat whatever you want and never gain an ounce. (Snappy retort: Actually, no. My mother was overweight and had two heart attacks because she ate animal foods just like you. Since I’ve been vegan, my plant based meals are just generally low cal.)
2. Life is too short to worry about everything I put in my mouth. (Snappy retort: How’s that working for you so far? Actually, if you’d just worry about a FEW things you put in your mouth, you could definitely improve your health and lose a little weight.)
3. How do you get your protein? You’re not anemic, are you? (Snappy retort: Peasants in China are healthier than we are in the United States because they can’t afford anything other than beans, rice and vegetables. I’m just following their lead.)
4. I don’t have time to cook. (Snappy retort: I don’t have time to go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, either. I figure I might be able to chop a head of broccoli and boil a pot of brown rice somewhere in my busy schedule to avoid that.)
5. You wear makeup and shave your legs. I didn’t think vegans did that! (Snappy retort: Hey, Gramps…welcome to the 21st century! Hippies from the 60’s have nothing to do with vegans today.)
6. Animals were put on this earth for us to eat. That’s why we have the bigger brain. (Snappy retort: Yes, and now it’s time to use that bigger brain to help heal our bodies and save the planet. We are the only species that drinks the reproductive juice of another animal and we keep drinking it even though it is responsible for chronic disease…milk. Even baby calves are cut off at a certain point! Going vegan is the only way to save ourselves and the environment.)
7. My grandmother smoked a pack of cigarettes every day of her life and lived to 97. I’m going to be fine. (Snappy retort: The environment and the food your grandmother ate were not ransacked with the chemicals and hormones we ingest today. Genetics are not going to save you. I’m afraid you’re going to have to do a little work, yourself.)
There are so many more but you get the drift. I try to draw on my “patience reserves” when I hear comments like these because I don’t ever want to be the defensive one. I know what I’m doing is right. It’s tough being the good example on a daily basis but that doesn’t mean I can’t vent and ruminate about it all later in my own home over a pan of vegan low fat “death by chocolate” brownies. True revenge.