Not me I hope! --->
My youngest has been a vegetarian since she was 10-- three years now. She did not go to this place easily--she was one of the biggest carnivores I had known until she made the leap. I once saw her eat 12 pieces of bacon. She could eat half a potroast by herself. The night before she became a vegetarian, in a last hoorah, she ate three corn dogs.
But it was important to her and I have always supported this very thoughtful and well-informed decision. So I am always surprised by the reaction her decision often gets from people.
You'd think that in this day and age this would not be such a big deal but people often react to her news as if it were novel, or an invitation to debate, or worse, some kind of anti-American behavior.
Let me explain her decision quite simply: she does not eat animals for the same reason you do not cook your dog for dinner.
She kind of has the high ground on this one--there is no moral reason at all that we eat cows and pigs but not cats and dogs. It's just our culture. And I probably don't have to remind you that cows and pigs aren't exactly treated as well as our cats and dogs prior to their slaughter.
So you can see her point, even if you don't want to stop eating meat yourself.
Now I know you don't want to be one of those people who responds in a goofy manner so I will give you a few tips for the next time you encounter a vegetarian:
1. Please don't ask why she is a vegetarian: I know, I used to do this all the time too thinking I was making clever conversation--but the fact is most vegetarians have chosen not to eat meat for ethical reasons not health reasons so there's your answer. Additionally, it is just more polite not to require an explanation for the same reason you are not required to explain why you just ordered that bacon cheeseburger. It is tiresome.
2. Don't worry about the protein: People, adults especially, like to tell her she won't get enough protein if she doesn't eat meat. This is a big fat myth. The American diet is loaded with protein. If you eat an egg for breakfast, a piece of cheese for lunch, and some beans for dinner you have just had more protein than most of the world has in a week.
3. Don't worry about what to feed a vegetarian: Hostesses often stress over this, "But what does she eat!" Umm, let's review...EVERYTHING but meat. You do not need to make a tofu turkey or anything, she'll eat the veggies and rolls thank you. But what about her protein, you will ask--no worries, she's only eating one meal at your house, she already got her daily protein (see above).
4. Do not say "You don't eat meat? Not even chicken?": Really people, this one is pretty simple--she does not eat animals. Yes, fish and chicken are animals. If you TRULY don't get this one, a basic biology class may be in order.
5. Do not try to convert her back: She will not give YOU a lecture for eating meat (though she could) so do not give her one for abstaining. You'd be surprised how many (usually men) people give her this speech.
Well, there you have it--the basics on how to politely communicate with a vegetarian. She is a friend to all animals, healthier than us, and a better steward of the earth's resources (the quantity of grain and water to raise one cow is crazy).
So the next time you meet a vegetarian instead of rolling your eyes or asking "Why?" just smile and say, "Good for you!"