posted on Jul, 28 2009 @ 12:30 AM
The topic of vegetarianism has been discussed several times before on this site, but I want to address a couple issues that bother me - sort of my pet
peeves as a vegetarian, but with large enough implications to warrant discussion here.
Firstly, in my experience I have noticed a general prejudice toward vegetarians from meat eaters. Combing through vegetarian-themed threads on this
site from ages past, I saw an overwhelming amount of pro-meat, anti-vegetarian sentiments. I understand that vegetarians/vegans are a minority at
present, and I also understand that like any other ideology or lifestyle, there are vocal and preachy adherents who spark resentment and defensiveness
from those who do not agree with them. But these are a minority within a minority. On the internet and in life, whenever the topic arises, I have
observed fairly consistent patterns: Vegetarians make a case for not eating meat, whether based on moral/ethical, health, environmental, economic,
etc. arguments, while meat eaters often grow defensive of their carnivorous diets and portray vegetarians as weak, unnatural, self-righteous, etc.
In all fairness, both sides can be equally aggressive and vocal about their dietary preferences, but since vegetarians are a minority, the general
negativity toward us feels more oppressive. Personally, I'm not in the position where I would tell a person how they should or should not eat. I
became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and while I cannot deny that I believe eating animal flesh is "wrong," I recognize that morality is
subjective. I just find it somewhat offensive that a healthy concern and compassion for animal life or an expression of enthusiasm for a flesh-free
diet is so often attacked and derided by a surprising number of people. For example, I was verbally insulted by a woman recently for insisting upon
transporting a harmless spider outside of a building instead of squashing it. She called me a "PETA freak."
Do I just have bad luck in seeing this pattern, or does anyone else, vegetarian or otherwise notice it as well? What does it say? Is it an expression
of machismo? Pure defensiveness to overcome subconscious guilt? Or simply popular prejudice? Something else?
The second pet peeve of mine is the pervasiveness of gelatin as a food additive. Gelatin, as most know, is created by boiling the bones and connective
tissue of animals. It is a byproduct of the meat industry, and therefore cheap. I believe it is (primarily) for this reason that the food industry
throws it into everything that requires a gelling agent, despite the existence of alternatives such as carrageenan, agar, pectin, various gums, or
simply creative recipes which use combinations of ingredients in such a way as to make the addition of gelatin pointless.
This would not bother me as much were it not so prevalent in American foods. Obviously, we could talk all day about how horrible the food industry is,
and how sick it is making us. This is a popular topic even in mainstream circles. But my point here is to talk specifically about gelatin. It is
aggravating to see it listed as an ingredient on so many labels when it is completely unnecessary. You find it in locations one would never think to
look unless they were concerned about its presence. Some popular examples: Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal, Skittles, Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, most
refrigerated chip dips, and Tropicana Omega-3 Orange Juice. Of course you will find it in marshmallows or most anything marketed as "gummy," (with
the exception of special vegetarian alternatives). It is annoying, time-consuming, and costly to avoid gelatin if one desires certain types of
Again, I know I am operating from a minority perspective, and this is one issue with the food industry among many. It just annoys me in the way that
the presence of high fructose corn syrup in everything annoys others.
Does anyone else care to weigh in on both or either of these topics?
[edit on 28-7-2009 by CrowServo]