Vegetarians break molds

By Hayley Devitt

If you’ve ever ordered from Jimmy John’s, you might have noticed the phrase “peace, dude” under its description of their Vegetarian sub. As an ovo-lacto vegetarian, I’m not offended by this because the restaurant is known for its humorous ads and graphics.

I do wonder, though, why vegetarianism brings up this image of a serene, tie-dye wearing counterculturist, when a diverse range of individuals have chosen not to eat meat.

For that matter, there are quite a few vegetarian stereotypes that are silly and irrelevant.


Dirty hippies

Again, a lot of different people are vegetarians. But, if you recall the Haight-Ashbury cat-eating incident, hippies aren’t necessarily vegetarians. Were Lord Byron and George Bernard Shaw hippies? Vegetarianism was around before the ’60s term “hippie” even existed.


Weirdos, outcasts of society

In other places in the world, especially India, meatless diets are the norm. Gandhi didn’t eat meat, but neither do Joan Jett, Christian Bale, Ellen Degeneres and Natalie Portman.

These people are considered cool and significantly contribute to our culture, so how can herbivores be freaks? And, of course, Sir Paul McCartney is famously vegetarian. Enough said.


Elitist and judgmental

None of the vegetarians I know think they are better than meat eaters. Most will agree that everyone is allowed to pick and choose what is preferred in a diet. I don’t expect everyone to buy into the vegetarian lifestyle; all I know is that it works for me.


Animal rights extremists like PETA

Concern for animals is a big reason to go veggie, but it is not the only one. Some are in it to lose weight or reduce their risk of developing heart disease. Furthermore, a diet is not a religion, so we don’t all treat it as “do or die.”


Anemic, malnourished and emaciated

The notion that plant-based diets can’t provide all necessary nutrients is false. Few realize how much protein is actually in vegetables, grains and legumes. Not to mention, leafy greens are full of iron.

While there are inevitably some vegetarians who aren’t responsible about their diets, most are very careful about taking in what a body needs; there are even vegan bodybuilders.


Don’t enjoy food

This comes from the belief that all vegetarians secretly wish they could eat meat. Others think a meatless diet is considerably limiting.

I enjoy food very much, but eating becomes a more rewarding experience when you are conscious and careful about what goes on your plate. All of the dishes I enjoyed before going vegetarian are flavorful and filling without meat, so I don’t miss it.

A lot of vegans say that food tastes better with “zero guilt” when it comes to animal suffering and their waistlines.

So, in conclusion, vegans can have their cake and eat it, too. Though I’m not totally dairy-free and egg-free, I find vegan baking highly satisfying and exciting.