Ahh, the freedom of choice. The freedom to decide what we wear, what we listen to, the presidential candidate we want to vote for, the color of our cars, and the option of choosing the food we want to indulge in on a daily basis. While most of us enjoy the right to choose almost anything and everything we do, we also have the freedom to speak our opinions, even when they aren’t asked for.
We’ve all been in a situation where someone pushes their opinion and lifestyle choices upon us, even at the dinner table or in the school cafeteria. Imagine sitting down at the table and seeing a nice, juicy, perfectly roasted chicken breast with potatoes and some of that “good for you” green stuff. Minutes pass by and another person sits down next to you with a plate full of delicious rabbit food: lettuce, carrots, onions, peppers, and all the healthy fixings. You’re enjoying your food, she’s enjoying hers, when suddenly she looks over and says, “You’re eating animal flesh!”
Animals Are Not Ours To Eat; Or Are They?
While many vegetarians rarely push their dietary beliefs on others, some go a bit overboard; the organization PETA comes to mind, especially with their Lettuce Ladies and Veggie Love campaigns. Of course, we shouldn’t stereotype all vegetarians as pushy, demanding, and frankly a bit “out there.” However, when you come across that one vegetarian who just can’t keep his food to himself, you may start to feel that all vegetarians are obsessed with what they perceive as a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Joseph Serra, a Michigan dentist, has his own opinion about vegetarianism. ”I don’t think it’s for nutjobs, I just don’t think it’s as healthy as a lot of people think it is. That’s just a personal opinion. I think if people choose to have that type of diet then that’s their choice,” he said.
With freedom freely ringing, some vegetarians try to promote their lifestyle to others, with many arguing that meat-eaters are cruel, unnatural and less healthy. While persuasion sometimes works, in the case of some vegetarians looking to spread the goodness of veggies, it can have the opposite effect.
“I don’t like to be sold,” explained Dr. Serra. “Most vegetarians that are pushy like to tell you how great their diet is and how poor yours is. I’ve heard them talk about how animals are slaughtered and mistreated, etc.”
Passive Persuasion, Not Preaching
Even if meat-free diets were healthier, and even if the slaughtering of animals is the worst sin that humans can commit; vegetarians don’t do themselves any favors by aggressively pushing their beliefs on others.
“Again, I hate to be sold,” Dr. Serra said. “I can be influenced about certain things, but I would hope the other person respects my beliefs. I try to do my best and not judge others. I would hope the others would do the same. I have many friends who hold different beliefs and lifestyles than me, and they never try to coerce me over to their side.”
So whether you’re part of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or the People Eating Tasty Animals organization, you have the freedom to eat what you choose, but beware! Proselytizing your dietary convictions gets old, and isn’t likely to change the hearts of those who love to chow down on delicious, tasty, protein-packed meat (or not).
Here’s an example of what might be construed as “preachy” vegetarianism that doubles as something of a counter-point.
The Michigan Institute for Advanced Dental Health
42010 Grand River Ave.
Novi, MI 48375