People will generally ask why you’re a vegetarian for two reasons:

1. They’re curious about the lifestyle.

2. To pick a fight and “be right.”

Try to determine which motive you’re working with if possible:

  • Some inquiries are genuinely out of curiosity.
  • Some people are insecure about their life choices, or simply hurting inside.

In all cases, it’s important to remember that their energy about this topic has absolutely nothing to do with you personally.

Many times, when people see someone else making a conserted effort to make positive changes in their life, it forces them to become aware of their own choices.

They can become defensive because in that moment they feel like it’s a comparative attack. Although you’re not outwardly saying anything negative, inwardly (to them) it can feel like you’re saying “I’m better/healthier than you.”

My approach is simple…

Think up a short, light-hearted answer ahead of time.

I remember that whatever their motive is, it’s not about me personally. I try to keep my energy light and humble, and tell them I’m a vegetarian because it offers me a positive “experience.” I find that it’s much harder to argue with someone’s experience.

For instance, when asked the v-question, I may reply with something like this:

“Eating plants makes me feel more energetic throughout the day. I get more done and my mood is generally more elevated. Even if it’s psychosomatic, it works for me.”

It’s hard to argue with a statement like that.

In fact, I beat them to the punch by essentially saying that even if I’m crazy and it’s all in my head, I feel better and it makes me happy. I know some people will argue with the sun shining, but you get the idea here.

Important Tip: Notice that I’m not citing facts in my response. This allows the ones who are truly curious about becoming vegetarian to proceed in a productive dialogue about nutrition with you. Removing ego is key.

There’s a difference between being of service and humbly offering information (when asked), and being the all-knowing vegetarian/vegan salesperson of the year.

how-im-vegan-vegetarian

Another example of keeping it light is when people ask: “What can you eat?” I might reply with “Anything that grows out of the ground.” That’s a substantial amount of food to list and stops them in their tracks.

Or if you have mischievous moments like I do, go the humorous route. Tell them you hate plants with every fiber of your being:

“It’s my life’s mission to take out as many of those SOB’s as I can. A ruthless patch of zucchini once maimed my cousin in a dispute. Yes, zucchini have a mean streak and I’m avenging my cousin one salad at a time.”

Other Tips:

Don’t: Talk about your diet until asked
Don’t: Preach or be self-righteous
Don’t: Get defensive and take comments personal
Don’t: Be obnoxious when dining out/ordering