Coming Out of the (Veg) Closet

I never truly thought about the moment of ‘announcing’ that I wasn’t eating meat or dairy anymore.   It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, since it was impacting me and my grocery expenses.  That was until I made plans with a friend for lunch and when we were trying to think of a place to go eat. All of her suggestions were turned down since they lacked vegetarian options.  Then I realized I needed to break the news to other people that this would impact.

I told my immediate family members and the reaction was, “I’m not surprised, that’s cool… so what do you eat?” My grandfather, who was raised on a farm and raised consuming real meat and dairy, simply replied, “so what does that mean? I’ll try something you make as long as you know I’ll eat it.”

My grandmother was a different story… she’s very talented in the areas of cooking and baking, and could very well be the Pennsylvania equivalent to Paula Deen.  Are there dishes of hers that I might miss?  Yeah, but I hate waking up the next morning with a dairy hangover (phlegmy throat).  Her reaction and support to my decision was very similar to the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding finding out that her daughter’s fiance is a vegetarian.  After spending a long weekend visit eating mainly raw veggies, fruit, dry cereal, oatmeal, and vegan burritos she said I’ll get “through this phase because the vegan cult will die out soon.”

My friends wondered how we’ll manage going out to eat, but it’s been easy peasy so far.  They’re learning and convinced that it’s a pretty delicious life to have.  It’s cute to hear their reactions when they’ve tried vegan meals or baked goods!On the other hand, some people reacted as if I had told them I had a disease that hasn’t been identified and I’m taking one day at a time.

Conveniently, around this time VegNews did an interview with Portia de Rossi about being vegan and I find that she had worded it best, “Listen, I think it’s more difficult to be vegan than gay. I think people have a harder time accepting it; people feel more uncomfortable with a vegan at their dinner table than they do a lesbian.  It’s confronting.  It’s kind of suggesting that what someone else is doing is bad or wrong, and it hits them on a more personal level.”

The best reaction came from my childhood best friend, “so does this mean you walk around with a lunch pail incase you need food or you randomly end of going out somewhere or just to be prepared?  I called one of my buddies fat and the next day he turned vegan and now I just hear the crunch of carrots all the time. I’m not surprised, you hippie.”

I don’t carry around a lunch pail, but you may hear some crunching 🙂


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