How can I answer why I went vegetarian without offending someone?
Stay positive and respectful. When someone asks you about being a vegetarian, it’s important to show that it’s a positive decision and that you enjoy eating this way, especially if you hope to influence them to become vegetarian themselves someday. Here are some suggestions on what to say:
“You’d be amazed at how many health benefits there are from eating this way.”
“When I learnt about how the animals are treated on most factory farms, I couldn’t bring myself to eat meat any more.”
“You probably haven’t heard too much about this, but in fact the raising of animals is very damaging to the environment, so I wanted to do something to help.”
Don’t get negative. If you give a negative or boring impression of eating vegetarian food, you can be sure that they will be put off for a very long time. Many people are also turned off by scary or horrific images, so it is usually counter-productive to say anything along the lines of the following:
- “Let me tell you all about the horrible diseases you’re going to get by eating meat”,
- “Here’s some gruesome pictures of how animals are treated on factory farms”
- “People who eat meat are responsible for global warming, water pollution, burning down the rainforest and even global hunger. How could you live with that on your conscience?”
Don’t come on too strong. Some people just can’t handle food issues. The most important thing to avoid is overwhelming a person. If they stop asking questions, or don’t show an interest in the subject, then move right along to a totally different topic. Sometimes, the message takes a few months or even a few years to sink in, after planting the seed.