I’m sure that anyone with an unconventional diet (ie. vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, ect.) has heard this question – “So what do you eat?”
Generally, if someone says they have celiac’s disease and explains what they have to eliminate from their diet, people feel sympathetic to their symptoms. The circumstances seem to be a little different when a diet is a lifestyle choice rather than a medical choice. WHy are people so much more critical when you’re making your own choice to live the way you do?
Last Sunday, I spent some time with my family. They’re your typical Mexican family – a pot of beans, some carne asada, and some tortillas are their basic meal staples. Eating with them has always been limited, and that’s fine. I don’t expect them to alter their way of life to accommodate me. But when I have to spend two hours explaining “what I eat”, I get a little irritated.
Many reactions run through my head in this scenario. They range from explaining, in painful (and often mocked) detail what I actually do eat, giving them a smartass answer, or just ignoring them altogether. But I’ve decided that this is exhausting and I don’t have the patience to decide what type of mood I’m in before responding.
If someone has genuine interest in a plant-based diet or is truly unfamiliar with the practice, I will very happily provide them with knowledge. It’s the condescending tone that I hate. If I had a dollar for every time I had been asked this in the last 10 years, I could quit my job.
So, the next time someone asks me “what I eat”, I’ve decided I’m going to answer politely, and then turn it around. “I eat a plant-based diet. No souls have to be tortured to provide my meal. Now, what do YOU eat?”
How do you guys handle that question? Because, let’s be honest, you’ve heard it. More than once.