Having been a strict vegetarian since I was seven years old, I’ve seen it all when it comes to how people react to my lifestyle choice. To me it was never a big deal – I stopped eating meat and fish, that was it. It didn’t change me as a person, I was always the same ‘Cheryl’ and yet peoples reaction to me was somewhat different. I used to get people criticise me all the time and want to challenge my beliefs by trying to get me into a debate. I never asked for their opinion, nor did I give mine, but that still never stopped them and to a lesser degree it still happens now – people always want to challenge me on why I’m a veggie. What I do find interesting is the change in perception of vegans. It’s now considered ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ to be a vegan – I think social media has had a huge part in this. People posting trendy photos of buddah bowls and colourful overnight oats in cool jars have made the perception of veganism trendy. I don’t think the same can be considered for us veggies – it’s certainly more socially acceptable to be a vegetarian than it used to be, but veganism, perhaps because its more strict and requires a greater deal of discipline has really taken off over the last couple of years. I think it’s great that it’s far more socially acceptable to be open about your lifestyle choice, but I still think vegetarianism has a way to go.
My husband is an avid meater and he will tell you, I’ve never tried to ‘convert’ him and yet I still see the vague look in some peoples reaction when they’ve invited us round for dinner and then I have to tell them I’m a veggie. It’s not a big deal – certainly not in our household anyway. I can eat anything other than meat. That’s it.