13. Vegetarians

“I don’t go around promoting beef or poultry, shoving it in people’s faces. I don’t castigate people for eating steak sandwiches… I’ve seen some of you herbivores and if you wanna argue health, y’all need to eat some kinda supplement.” – Immortal Technique, “Beef and Broccoli” (Album: Revolutionary Vol. 1)

Eschew McDonalds if you want. I don’t care. But if you go traveling and some poor local family invites into their home and they offer you some food with meat in it, eat it. The head of the household works his/her fingers to the bone at some despicable multinational factory for that protein, so you better eat it. Their family doesn’t shop at Whole Foods and they certainly can’t afford GNC supplements. Besides, if you’re so open-minded, you should check your prejudice at the door and try something new, right?

Still, if you insist on being a vegetarian, don’t tell me it’s for the damn animals. Unless you’re a hard-core, badass vegetarian living in a treehouse in the middle of a forest somewhere waiting to eat the apple that falls off the tree, you’re using animal products. I saw you eating gummi bears the other day and last I checked, those shoes aren’t hemp. Your necklace is though.

But it’s the preachiness of it all that kills me. Backpackers are huge preachers. And most preachers are hypocrites. Even Martin Luther King had a fling on the side. Just do your thing. I won’t attack you. But don’t attack me when I’m elbow deep into a rotisserie chicken.

Part of being a backpacker is being broke. Making the most of a tight budget. You don’t sleep in hostels by choice; it’s out of necessity. Desperate times call for desperate measures: I’ve had to cut down my meat intake when I was traveling and strapped for cash. It sucked. As soon as I could eat meat again, dude, I was on it.

Maybe it’s a fashion statement. After all, it goes well with your whole backpacker motif: hemp necklace, cargo shorts, Birkenstocks, dreadlocks (or even worse, white girls with corn rows – they end up lookin’ like Sprewell), book about Buddhism in your bag and Ben Harper/Jack Johnson albums on your iPod.

Here’s a story for you:  A reformed vegetarian, Jack Johnson now serves as an important role model to backpackers everywhere. Apparently there is still hope for clued out hippies. “If anybody invites me over, I eat whatever they serve,” he said. See? He figured it out. It wasn’t worth all the pretending.

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4 Responses to “13. Vegetarians”

  1. Random Person says:

    I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled upon this post. I also realize this post is over a year old. I still feel interested enough to comment. I read this with an open mind, but I still disagree with pretty much everything you said. Actually, you got a lot of things wrong.

    I don’t go around harassing people for eating animal products. My best friends and closest family members eat meat. I don’t hold myself to a higher degree. I love them and want them to be happy, not to be forced into something. I don’t tell people what to eat, but sometimes I like to inform them on what they are eating. Though that’s usually only triggered when someone ASKS me why I’m vegan or if someone, like yourself, throws out biased nonsense without doing a little research.

    Even after being asked about vegetarianism I still feel pretty hesitant to talk about it. It’s not a subject that someone can talk about in depth for only 30 minutes. I have spent a lot of time doing research on vegetarianism, animal rights, the environment, health, etc., and it could take forever to try and explain what factors into why I follow this lifestyle. At the same time, I hardly know anything because there is so much out there to learn. Hey, I bet there are also a lot of meat eaters who have done more research than I have, but I wouldn’t say that’s often the case. The fact that the vegetarians you are speaking about sound a lot like those PETA freaks makes it quite obvious you don’t really know what you’re talking about… you probably also don’t really care if you do.

    If I am backpacking, not starving, and someone invites me over for a meal, I’ll tell them ahead of time that I appreciate it, but want to pass. If they worked so hard for the food then good, they’ll have more left overs because I’m not eating it. I am at the point where animal products make me sick, should I still eat them simply because I am invited? It’s just as rude to expect someone to eat what you make them as it is to not eat the food prepared for you. If I made someone vegan cookies (by the way, I’m a pretty poor person so cookies would be a BIG deal for me to make) and they don’t like chocolate or if they are allergic to gluten then OH WELL. It doesn’t matter how much effort I put into it, people are going to eat what they want to eat and I totally respect that. Oh, and vegetarians don’t need supplements anymore than omnivores do. But I bet you didn’t check your sources before making this judgment, did you? Balanced diets are key and there are plenty of deficient meat eaters out there who are just as much of an embarrassment to omnivores as junk food vegetarians are to healthy herbivores.

    And what does living in a tree have to do with not even meat? Isn’t that what someone who wants to live naturally would do? It’s obvious that vegetarianism isn’t the natural diet for humans (though neither are diets consisting of grain or dairy, but let’s not get too deep into that.) But there are some vegetarians who to believe that, so when they say they are living more naturally are you going to tell them they are stupid and their diet isn’t natural? In other words… They should live in a tree even though they are not following a natural diet? Even though that’s not even the point of vegetarianism? And no shit that they still consume animal products. Vegetarians simply don’t eat meat. Vegans are the group of people who AVOID animal products altogether, but to accuse them of having a contradicting lifestyle is pretty silly. Vegans don’t agree with animal exploitation. Obviously you can’t avoid these products entirely, but the point is to reduce the use of them or, at least, not contribute to animal suffering as much as one can. I also like to avoid violence as much as possible, but I’m still guilty of getting into a couple fist fights. Why? Because I am not perfect and neither is vegetarianism or veganism.

    And Jack Johnson can eat whatever he likes. I like his music and maybe it’s a bit cool that he avoids meat, but I don’t really see why his opinion is relevant. I don’t base my opinion on what’s cool or popular. I come to conclusions and personal views because I think about these subjects in depth, question them, observe situations, and spend a lot of time finding what information I can. Even then I STILL might change my mind. Learning is a never ending process. So, yeah, it’s a bit annoying when someone with a “know it all” attitude jumps to such grade school conclusions, posts them for the world to see, and because of that, encourages other people to share the same views when their own are completely biased and, most likely, uneducated.

    And I’m not a dummy. I know most of this post is for humor purposes or to at least feel witty. But I suppose I can only be laid back for so long until I get a little irritated. I don’t blame you though. Most people are guilty of such, well, retarded judgments. I can’t say I have never done something similar. Eat whatever you like, but if someone feels like informing you on what you are eating is that really a bad thing? Is understanding what really happens in this world going to ruin your meal? I mean, if you don’t see anything wrong with eating meat then why should it? And if you are simply just annoyed then be annoyed. There are a lot of douche bag vegetarians out there, but aren’t most people fucking dickheads anyways? Why not be the bigger person about the entire thing? Or reply with something witty, maybe even offensive, to that dumb vegetarian ruining your meal, but save it for those who deserve it, not the ones who keep to themselves and can easily eat next to someone eating a steak.

    I know I came across as a bit of a douche here. I really don’t give a shit what you’re eating, but I do like to educate people, so if you come across someone handing out flyers just ignore them or accept them and get rid of them later. I can’t see how activists are invading your life. I never had anyone come into my house and throw my animals foods away when I ate meat. That doesn’t happen.

    Maybe you will read this and think I’m a cock, maybe I am. Or maybe you’ll learn something, maybe you won’t. Hey, maybe you just won’t care either way.

    No matter what, take care and happy backpacking.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Things I hate about some Canadian backpackers (and I am Canadian):

    They are fucking douchebags who write douchey blogs – probably some useless cunt from toronto.

  3. momo says:

    “If anybody invites me over, I eat whatever they serve,” he said. See? He figured it out. It wasn’t worth all the pretending.

    You took that quote completely out of context. Before he said this, the article noted that he is not a strict vegetarian anymore. He’s only comfortable eating anything that is served because of that reason, not because he wants to placate the hosts.

    I suppose people with peanut allergies, lactose intolerance and other various ailments should also just shut up and eat so as not to offend either eh?

    When invitied into a home, hosts usually go out of their way to make the guest feel comfortable – that is the case in Canada or Laos. They don’t want you to be grossed out or get sick by eating food that is unhealthy or goes against your dietary restrictions. BTW, there are many vegetarians in Asia – would you cousel an Indian vegetarian to shut up and eat meat when visiting Thailand?

    You are such a fucking douchebag.

  4. deborah says:

    The joke is on this joker, I’ve been veggie all of my adult life (and the numbers getting up there!) I have travelled to MANY countries in the developed and developing world and as a non-meat eater I happy to report I have never spent days spewing out of both ends due to eating dodgy meals.

    The consumption of meat is not all about animals, if you had a pea size brain (given you appear to have one full of shit) you would know that the environmental impact of the PRODUCTION of meat is HUGE. Hope you done plan on having kids because the world is on a quick slippery slide down and wont be much left thatks to the likes of you.

    Im out seeing the world while its still there. What I don’t like about backpacking is dickeads like this who travel to go to pubs to get pissed, idiots you would have a lot of money staying home to not remember what you did, stop wrecking places for us who are actually interested in the country.

    Happy Travels everyone…………..

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