“But you look so well! How long? Well I’d never have guessed”. These comments have been made more times than I can count over the last 21 years.
Doubtless kindly meant, I still feel dismay that my admission should produce such incredulous responses. Have I undergone some unfortunate illness? Major surgery perhaps or a life-changing crisis? No, I’m a vegetarian.
There still seems to be a prevailing opinion that vegetarians should be stick-thin (ah, not me then), and with a complexion that’s permanently the colour of putty. Nope, that’s not me either.
In the days when I worked in a (very) large open plan office I was the only one who didn’t pick up every sniffle that was conveniently spread by the euphemistically named air-conditioning system.
Cue further comment about the vegetarian lifestyle as well as puzzled questions about what I actually ate.
Resisting the temptation for a bit of sport with some outlandish and unheard of ingredients I would point out that that everyday dishes such as macaroni cheese, jacket potato with salad or a pizza without meat are all vegetarian meals. “Ohhh yes”, would be the response as I watched the light bulb of understanding flicker, albeit briefly.
My reasons for becoming a vegetarian are many and include the ethical issues of animal welfare and the sustainability of our planet as well as personal health. It’s a highly individual decision and I’ve never sought to influence those around me by preaching this belief although I have, regrettably, witnessed it on a few occasions.
Becoming a vegetarian isn’t difficult to achieve, nor is it tricky to maintain. A little thought and a little planning go a long way. We’ve managed to re-think our attitudes towards recycling and energy efficiency for example, why should vegetarianism be any different?
So while I’m flattered that I apparently look ‘really well’, I’d be delighted to receive fewer comments on my appearance and see more light bulb moments which last longer than a flicker.