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June 9, 2008 / lazybug

Veggie or Non-veggie?

A few days back I was invited by Career Economy to provide my views on the topic “Should we all be vegetarians?” This, as their mail said in no uncertain terms, was in “sincere praise for your [my] exemplary expertise on the topic”. My reply, or more aptly a rant, was as follows:

No one can decide for everyone. Whether one chooses to be a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian (or a bit of both) is purely a personal choice. Neither a spouse, family, state or religion have the right to impose upon an individual their will in this regard. Unfortunately that’s not what happens. But that’s a different topic altogether.

It is a well known fact that both Veg and Non-veg food have their benefits for the human health. My question to the supporters of vegetarianism then is, on what basis has it been concluded that Veg food is better than Non-veg?

In India, religion and caste play a key role when it comes to the food one is allowed to eat. Hindus are considered to be largely vegetarian. But there are castes that eat Non-veg. Brahmins have to stay away from meat. The ‘lower-castes’ need not. Then there are the Bengalis, who, irrespective of their position in the caste-based hierarchy are ‘certified’ to eat fish. Might one ask on what basis were these rules put in place? May be if a convincing answer came by, one could argue that religion and caste are the right criteria for deciding what food one eats. One will have to curse his / her destiny then for not being able to eat the food of one’s choice. Till then, however, individuals should be allowed to choose what they eat.

OK. May be I degressd a bit by bringing in religion, but then I had to make my point. What you say?

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14 Comments

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  1. Chittaranjan / Jun 9 2008 7:14 pm

    Religion and caste aside, IMO its the ‘growing-up-environment’ that may have an effect on people’s choices. A hosteller or a boarder would take to eating meat more easily than a normal householder. Unless of course the family also is non-vegetarian 😐

    So its 75% personal choice, 15% availability & 10% …economy!

    P.S: “Career” & “May be” :mrgreen:

  2. Liju Philip / Jun 10 2008 12:30 am

    As long as no one forces their choices on anyone else, its ok. But off late, the veggies are sort of becoming militant and come out with their crappy justifications. I ask them to bugger off.

  3. Ottayan / Jun 10 2008 1:19 am

    Vegan is the new religion.

  4. Arul John / Jun 10 2008 3:20 am

    My parents have switched to a mostly veggie diet. My wife eats veggie most of the time. Some of my close relatives (my favourite aunt) eat only veggie. I’m the carnivorous one, but I’m slowly turning veggie. Its a matter of choice.

    @Chittaranjan: Economy and availability play a vital role in converting hardcore veggie desi students into meat eaters. Most of my roomies were all veggies in India. Upon coming to the US, they started eating meat because veggie food was very expensive and rare to find. A hamburger (beef) or a chicken burger was less than a dollar, while a veggie burger cost about $4.

  5. Chris / Jun 10 2008 8:35 am

    I am a vegetarian, and when people ask me why I now just say it is my personal beliefs. I used to try and explain, because I thought that’s what people wanted when they asked – but very often I would do this and people would then accuse me of being belligerent.

  6. Chittaranjan / Jun 10 2008 5:33 pm

    @Arul: When I said economy and availability, I was thinking abt. in India…where Non Veg. is priced higher than the veg dishes (more often than not!) didn’t at all think it would be the other way round in the US.

    I know of one Vegan gal….faces a torrid time whenever she joins us for a lunch or snack 😐 IMO Veganism is yet to spread!

    @Akki: “May be” & “vegeatarianism” (tag) :mrgreen:

  7. lazybug / Jun 10 2008 5:44 pm

    Ycee: Like Arul says, economy too plays a vital role. And in cities, as in villages too, parents have a big influence on the child’s food habits. But in cities religion may not be as important as in villages. I am a Brahmin and am not suppsed to eat non-veg…I don’t give a damn! My dad introduced me to non-veg food. 🙂 I corrected the vegetarianism thingy, but where’s the may be?

    Liju: I am aware of the behaviour of some of them hardcore veggies. Can’t help it, can they?

    Ottayan: Vegan is boring. You a veggie?

    Arul: Agreed!

    Chris: Thank you for the comment. I understand how you feel when that happens. 🙂 Carry on doing your thing. 😉

  8. Chittaranjan / Jun 10 2008 7:20 pm

    @Akki: Agree a li’l bit on the parental influence. That lasts for maybe only 10-15 years max…but after that, its pretty much the person’s choice. Even I was introduced to eggs n’ chicken soup by my dad…but that was when I was down with chickenpox 😐

    That reminds me of the health angle….ppl. with high cholestrol are asked to cut down on meat and skinny ppl. are advised to eat meat etc etc.

    P.S: “may be if a convincing answer came by…”

  9. Prasanthi / Jun 12 2008 7:28 am

    Well, after all comments, I would say, firstly ‘Career Economy’ didnot come to right person to comment on “Should we all be vegetarians?”. I know the answer from you would be NO. isn’t it Akhil? Ofcourse, from me as well 😉

  10. vinay / Jun 13 2008 4:31 pm

    I agree with a few points.

    @Liju: “veggies are sort of becoming militant and come out with their crappy justifications”

    Same applies for non-veggies. I observe that non-veggies and people who have converted to eating non-veg (like Akhil) are more vociferous in voicing their opinion against vegetarians and believe that pure vegetarians miss a lot in their life. They are seen as someone who has committed a heinous crime.

    Sorry Akhil for taking your name but you are a perfect example.

  11. lazybug / Jun 13 2008 5:17 pm

    @Ycee: Health angel is indeed very important. Try chicken soup the next time you have a stomach upset. 🙂

    @Prasanthi: Indeed.

    @vinay: My grouse is not so much against eating veg at all. I eat more veg food than non-veg food on any given day. I hate it when the veggies act all pricy by refusing to eat from the same plate that has a non-veg item or serving from the only ‘veg’ spoons. It gets worse when they bring in religion.

  12. Chittaranjan / Jun 13 2008 6:20 pm

    Is the ‘health angel’ a friend of the tooth fairy? :mrgreen:

    And what you’re construing as ‘acting pricey’ is more often than not related to likes and dislikes..and hygiene too sometimes. Have you ever tried serving food with your bare left hand (not by using any cutlery) amongst a table full of people? I’m sure it will be frowned upon. Why? May I ask?

    I, for one have no qualms about eating off a plate which has had NV on it or using a spoon with which NV has been served. But I will NOT do the same if the plate/spoon in question has even a sprinkling of curd on it. Coz I hate curd and don’t eat it. Simble.

  13. prityjaiswal / Jun 14 2008 7:20 am

    let it remain a matter of personal choice and sensibilities. You hate wen veggies act pricey and they hate it wen u make it casual!

  14. Manpreet / Jun 17 2008 10:11 am

    Guess it is all a matter of personal beliefs and the choice of the moment. I used to be a veggie (eggitarian) for a long time, then started having chicken, then one fine morning I woke up and declared I wanted to be a veggie. Not sure how long I m gonna be like that.

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