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Yes I eat healthy. No I am not vegetarian.

August 23, 2012

BBQ-steaks

Funny thing seems to be recurring lately. People keep thinking me I’m vegetarian, or worse – vegan. Vendors at the farmer’s market for some reason think I’d be more interested in their vegan products. Acquaintances halt their meat-centric stories with an “Oh wait, you’re vegetarian, right?” And friends casually throw in a nod to vegetarianism in my honor during a conversation. Of course I find all of this somewhat offensive. After all, I run a freakin’ paleo/primal blog – how dare they?! :P

So this got me thinking – why does this keep happening? What is it about me or my actions that makes people think I’m vegetarian? (And how do I stop it…)

The theory I’ve come up with thus far is that for a lot of people (too many), vegetarianism is synonymous with healthy eating.

When I’m studying an ingredient label at the market, the vendor probably wonders what I’m looking for. The only logical answer in their mind seems to be meat, so they try to sell me on their vegan offerings. Because really, what else could I possibly be avoiding?

As for friends/acquaintances, perhaps it’s too shocking for them to hear that I eat lots of meat and fat. The only part of the conversation about my diet that sticks is that I eat “healthy”. And that I’m on some sort of “special diet”.  The most popular diet that that comes to mind is vegetarian/vegan – so they run with it.

It probably doesn’t help that I’m slender and look healthy, which seems to throw people off. Obviously someone who devours meat and butter can’t possibly look like that – they must be vegan.

It may be true that us paleo/primal folk eat more veggies than many vegetarians (due to their high consumption of grains and carbs). But that doesn’t negate all the glorious meat and fat. I’m not vegetarian. I’m not vegan. I eat paleo.

My initial reaction to these comments was a mixture of shock and mild annoyance. It has since ramped down to mere amusement at the irony. I just look forward to the day when I get asked if I’m paleo more often than if I’m vegan.

Do people assume you’re vegetarian/vegan?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron August 23, 2012 at 6:39 AM

Nod. Happens to me all of the time.

As you say, vegetarianism has somehow become synonymous with good health. And like you, at this point it just amuses me. Part of me is even temped to say that I don’t eat meat just so there will be more of the good stuff for those of us in the know.

Btw, you rock with your butter tasting parties. It reminded me that I want a shirt that says ‘I eat more butter than you’ on the back. Maybe that would thwart some potential vegetarian questions :)

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[email protected] August 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Ha! Not a bad idea with the t-shirt. And I quite like that particular slogan. It’d be a pretty good conversation starter too. Or it might have the opposite effect and just cause dumbfounded confusion. I’d consider it a win either way :)

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Sandra May 12, 2014 at 8:29 PM

That’s a we-ooth-ughtllut answer to a challenging question

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Kyle Knapp August 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Same here. When people are told to come talk to me about diet or health because I am so passionate about it, one of the common assumptions is that I am vegetarian or vegan. I get a kick out of seeing their reaction when I start in with liver, butter and met talk… :)

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[email protected] August 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

I’ll bet the reactions are priceless :)

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Naomi/Dragonmamma September 5, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Yep, I get this all the time. I work at the YMCA as a fitness coach, and people ask me all the time (I assume because I look good and am one of the strongest women at the gym) if I’m vegetarian. I love bursting their bubbles!

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[email protected] September 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

It’s fun, isn’t it? :p

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Kjoto October 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

People don’t assume I’m a vege. They assume I am crazy. I’m sure we’ve all been through this but when I tell people what I don’t eat they look at me like I have 5 heads and ask what do you eat?! As if grains and dairy are the answer to health and well being.

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[email protected] October 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

lol. those kind of conversations remind me how differently I eat from the rest of the population.. otherwise I’m so used to this style of eating that I somehow seem to think everyone else eats this way, too.. same thing when I go out for burgers – I always forget to ask for bunless because to me, burgers don’t come with buns..

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Alicia @ Humble Foodie October 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I get the same reaction! I’ll explain paleo/primal (including animal protein, fats, etc) to friends and a little while later they’ll say something like “wait so you don’t eat meat, right?” or “so you’re kind of vegan now?” Because of this deep-seated cultural acceptance of vegetarianism as the healthiest diet, I can tell give someone a clear explanation of the way I eat and yet it goes in one ear and out the other- they hear healthy or mindful and only take with them the assumption that that means vegetarian/vegan. Usually the only way I can convince them otherwise is by cooking a big paleo meal and serving it up along with the dietary explanation. :-)

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[email protected] October 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Exactly! And yah, seeing us eat all that meat should help to clarify once and for all :P Maybe I should just start randomly chewing on jerky throughout the day..

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