AI: You eat that? DIE IN A FIRE!

What is it about food that turns people into horrible assholes? Like, you’re hanging out, drinking beers, playing Jenga and one person in your group is like “Hey! I’m hungry! Who wants to get some food?” And then the discussion begins about where everyone wants to go. And then one person pipes up, “I don’t care I just want to make sure there’s something there for me to eat.” Then everyone looks at that person annoyed because yeah, obviously there will be something for them to eat. It’s a damn restaurant, FFS. And then the person qualifies that by saying they have some kind of self or medically imposed dietary restriction. AND WITH THAT THEY RUINED EVERYTHING. The conversation moves from “Yeah, we all would like pizza!” to “Hey, you’re a huge asshole and you don’t even know how to eat and let me tell you everything that is wrong with your diet and why you merely speaking up that you want an option is oppressing me. AND WHAT ABOUT BACON? DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT BACON?” And the food-restricted friend is like “Um, what the hell is wrong with you? I’m allergic to tree nuts what does that have anything to do with bacon?” Melee ensues. Everyone starts throwing beer bottles at each other. A few people get stabbed. The police show up. A few people get life in prison. The rest block each other on Twitter. Guaranteed. Every fucking time.

First, let me propose a rule that anyone who invokes bacon during any food argument is automatically banned from contributing anything else to the conversation… or really any conversation at all for the rest of the day. Or week. Or maybe ever.

What is it about other people’s diets that makes people insane? People are emotional about food. I get that. But I don’t understand the hostile defense of our diets.

For example, people REALLY hate vegans. Like, you have that one friend who you’ve known for 20 years then one day they happen to mention in a conversation that they are vegan and suddenly everyone in the room is screaming at the vegan telling them to get off their pretentious soap box and FUCK YOU BACON BACON BACON I LOVE EATING ANIMALS STOP ATTACKING MY WAY OF LIFE. Actually, just utter the word “vegan” and everyone assumes you just said “Please tell me how much you hate vegans.”

Then there’s the “I’m better than you because my diet is better than yours” folk who are always countered by the people who think they’re better than the healthy food eaters because they eat nothing but deep-fried lard balls covered in hollandaise and alfredo sauce. One likes to give you unsolicited advice on what is wrong with your diet. Whenever possible. They sit on social media and wait for you to mention that you’re eating yogurt and they’re like MONSANTO IS KILLING YOU WITH GMO YOGURT FRUITS! THAT’S LIKE THE WORST THING YOU CAN EAT! TRY KALE! MAKE YOUR OWN YOGURT! OUT OF KALE! The other makes YouTube videos to evangelize how you don’t even need lube to masturbate while eating cheesy onion-ring burgers.

And people generally think they know what you SHOULD eat based on what THEY would do in your situation. We tell people who are thin to eat more junk food. We tell people who are fat to eat… well, really nothing at all except maybe just a handful of tapeworms. And we especially love to tell poor people to try harder to eat healthy.

And what’s with the horror that kids have deadly food allergies? As if not bringing in confetti guns filled with peanut butter sugar cakes to school is a violation of my basic human rights and I shouldn’t be willing to surrender that right to a bunch of kids who are like “Please don’t let me die. I just want to learn math.” It’s weird that people are more concerned about their right to hurt children in the name of food than about actually hurting children in the name of food.

Do you get food judgey? Are you a defiant mayo-sturbator? Do you eat healthy? Do you hate people who eat different foods than you? What food lectures drive you crazy? How do people think you can put ketchup on a hot dog? Who the fuck does that? That’s basically the same as drowning puppies.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. It’s funny, because we just bought some bacon. I was avoiding it for so long because “SATURATED FAT WILL KILL YOU!”, but it turns out that probably isn’t true and that it was the sugar all along.
    I don’t even know what to think about food anymore, so it’s hard to preach. I’m pretty confident sugar is bad for you, at least in “bottle of fruit juice” or “chocolate milk” quantities. And I’m pretty sure I lost weight over a 6 month period because I cut out bread and fruit juice.
    But for the rest of you? I couldn’t say. It does seem those vegan people live longer, or whatever, so I can’t hate them too much.
    On the other hand, I sliced and marinated flank steak in orange juice and soya sauce the other day and BBQ’d it in a wok with vegetables that had been seasoned with olive oil and a balsamic vinaigrette, so I don’t think I’ll be going vegan anytime soon myself. But you guys knock yourselves out.

  2. Love this topic. I used to get food judgey and now I really try not to because I think it gets a bit bullying at times. Still, who can help feeling morally superior when you’re the only one at the table who ordered a salad when everyone else has fries? “Look at me; I’m so full of willpower” Then you steal the leftovers before the plates are cleared!

    1. The comment section shows that most of us resemble the food gunfight described in this article. We are all emotional about our food and think our way of eating is the right way, despite how we’ll all try to say we’re better than to judge other people for their food preferences. These comments (per usual of any food discussion) are full of passive aggressive judgementalism towards people who eat differently.

      That said. My diet is best diet, so don’t you criticize it, you hitler-like meanie..

  3. I have some friends that are paleo. In the beginning I just avoided all of these conversations with them by letting them prattle on endlessly about their diet (as people who are heavily restricting their diet are prone to do.) Now they have calmed down with it a bit and we don’t have to talk about it, which is great.

    However the one thing I will soapbox about with them, and anyone, is food that is pretending to be other food. It is probably because I grew up on a diet all the time, but I hate food that lies to me. Don’t call something a chocolate donuts if it doesn’t actually have any wheat or eggs in it and has not been fried. No matter how delicious that thing is you are setting it up for failure, failure at being the thing it said it was. Call it something else.

    There is a chain of vegetarian (vegan?) restaurants. I was excited to check it out, thinking that I would be able to get a delicious vegetable based dish that I would enjoy, because that is hard to get in a fast casual environment. However the only thing they had were sandwiches that would have been delicious with real meat, filled with fake meat. There were guacamole and bacon burgers with fake burger and bacon!

    I don’t think we’re doing tofu, or banana chocolate mush, or cake baked with applesauce any favors when we try to call it real food. The lie of it is what causes me the most rage. I’m not saying that imitation can’t be good, or even better in a different way from the real thing. Why can’t we just give fake foods their own identity?

    (Also I absolutely CAN believe that it is not butter, and that it is actually worse for me than butter, thank you very much.)

    1. Tofu is its own food. Maybe not its own American food, and certainly it is sometimes chopped up and called “fake ricotta” or grilled up with steak sauce as a fake meat. But I don’t think it was invented 2000 years ago strictly as fake meat for vegetarians. ;)

      Also, not one that you mentioned, but nutritional yeast! Also its own food despite the strong association with veganism. My meat-eating parents taught me to sprinkle it on popcorn, and people who have never tried it because “it’s just for vegans” or “it’s just for health-food freaks” are missing out, because YUM.

      1. Oooh! They had this at the movie theater in my hometown! Brewer’s yeast on popcorn is superior to fake butter flavored butter on popcorn in every conceivable way.

      2. Oh yes! Nutritional yeast, ground up real quick with a little quality chili powder, and sprinkled over popcorn. Tastes amazing, and I’ve found most people (that I know, anyway) won’t bother you for some because, ew, vegan food.

    2. I have a love for soy bacon that far exceeds real bacon. Sure it’s masquerading fake food, but damn if I don’t love it.

    3. I don’t think we’re doing tofu, or banana chocolate mush, or cake baked with applesauce any favors when we try to call it real food. The lie of it is what causes me the most rage. I’m not saying that imitation can’t be good, or even better in a different way from the real thing. Why can’t we just give fake foods their own identity?

      There’s a fine example of food judgementalism right there. Other people’s dietary choices isn’t real food. “Real Food” is only what you define it as.

      Nice way to miss the whole point of the article.

    4. Um, tofu is actually very healthy, and very much a “real food” in that it is minimally processed. It’s a great source of protein, and I think it’s used in a lot of veg*n cooking because it’s versatile. It’s definitely an improvement over processed gluten like boca burgers health-wise.

      Really, I’d be interested in learning why you think a food that’s been eaten for thousands of years in a large chunk of our globe (to no ill results) isn’t “real food”. I’m also curious as to why you think tofu is imitation anything. It’s tofu. Most of us eat it AS TOFU, rather as an accent or a star in a dish. Just because you as a non-Asian see it as something “weird” or “other” doesn’t erase its history as food.

  4. I’m going to eat what I want, keep walking, and hope that I somehow live long enough to make it to the Singularity, while occasionally yelling at my friends that THAT IS NOT SOY MILK BECAUSE SOY BEANS DO NOT HAVE BREASTS!!!

  5. I’m a foodie, which could cause people to put me into the pretentious category, but the sort of food geekery that I enjoy expands the sorts of things I appreciate rather than narrowing it. For example, if faced with a Vegan, rather than bemoaning all that the Vegan is losing out on by not eating butter, I think of all the awesome and delicious Indian (ghee-less) and Ethiopian food I’ve had, and start thinking about how to change veggie dishes I like that they fit. It’s like an engineering puzzle, but the result is delicious food!

    The thing that does annoy me, however, are when people start talking about Organic and GMO in religious-like terms. It quickly gets very mother-earthy and or paranoid. On one hand, I’m all for more sustainable farming, and if Organic is the only way that can be done, fine. But if it can be done other ways, great! Practically, I still have to wash my produce when I get home. if not to wash away pesticide residue, then to wash off all the bug-poop.

    GMO is a pet-peeve. I’ve yet to hear an argument against GMO foods that isn’t some paranoid luddite argument from ignorance (I’m looking at you Tom Colicchio), along the lines of ‘we don’t know what the consequences will be!’ To which, in my head, I think, this is the environmentalist foodie version of Pascal’s Wager.

    Ugh. Yeah, so there’s that.

    1. I agree that a lot of the GMO talk is silly and pretty anti-science. But there is a real argument against it, and it’s this: GMO in theory is perfectly fine and possibly VERY beneficial. It’s not used that way. Most GMO crops are designed to be able to withstand a ton of pesticides and herbicides, which translates to a lot more harmful chemicals entering our environment and messing up all sorts of ecological processes then traditional crops. The other problem is that it allows companies to trademark seed, which is a new thing, and Monsanto et al. use that to exploit farmers, here in the US and especially abroad.

    2. Ooh, someone actually interested in the non-woo reasons to oppose GMOs. Okay, here goes (I’m going to talk almost exclusively about plants – animal farming has its own host of unique issues that complicate matters further; much of what I’m saying can be applied to animals as well, but to consider exactly how, we’d have to delve in to the other issues around animal farming, and this is already going to be a long post). The overreaching problem is one of the necessary agricultural approach. With traditional farming practices (including selective breeding), what one has is a whole lot of smaller farms that are selecting, generation after generation, the best seeds to re-plant next year in that specific context, on that specific farm. The result is that we wind up with a wide diversity of crops that are ideally suited to the specific place that they are being grown – they have been adapted to the local environments through a process of human selection. With GMO seeds, we (almost always) have a single genotype that has been developed for a hypothetical, abstracted ideal growing environment, one which does not exist outside of a lab. In order to get the ideal hypothesized behavior and crop yield from the seeds, it’s necessary to alter the environment, sometimes radically, to match the hypothetical ideal as closely as possible. This is a terrible practice from the standpoints of efficiency, sustainability, and even profitability (in the case of small, locally-owned farms – for factory farms, the model is profitable due to the major differences in structure).

      While we’ve always modified our environments to be more hospitable to a certain degree, what we tend to do is adapt our own behavior to best suit our environments, to the extent that we even eventually alter our population’s genetic make-up. One big reason is greater efficiency – it takes less energy, typically, to adapt one organism – and many of them if we’re talking populations genetics – to be suited to an environment than to alter an environment to suit the organism. We don’t try to, for example, drain segments of the ocean where we want to drill for oil so we can use the same kinds of oil derricks we use on land, we adapt our method of mining to the new environment, and we use scuba suits and submarines and robots to construct the wells. We don’t try to control the temperature of an entire city or country, we carve out smaller pockets we can maintain at comfortable temperatures, like our clothed bodies, houses, or cars. Terraforming is generally far more costly (in time, energy, money) than adapting to the extant environment, but it’s necessary for GMO crops designed for a single idealized environment. Also, because the local environment tends to be the result of pressures from the surrounding environments and local meteorological conditions, it will tend to shift back to the state it was in before human intervention. This basically means that the necessary terraforming is not a one-off expense (in terms of time, energy, money), but an ongoing process.

      This also ties into the sustainability issues. The ongoing need to curate the environment is wasteful versus farming crops that might have lower yield per plant but require no (or little) irrigation, are already adapted to resist local pests (thanks to centuries of selective breeding for such resistances), are already adapted to the particular seasonal cycle of the area, etc. The kind of ongoing curation that is necessary typically becomes more intensive over time as well, since the crop is not adapted to local conditions and may deplete particular soil nutrients faster than they are replaced, out-compete instead of coexist with local flora that might be useful for things like housing bacterial responsible for nitrogen fixation or combating erosion, encourage a population explosion among local pests, etc. which will require additional interventions to keep the environment at the near-ideal required for the GMO crop to be productive.

      Also because of this ongoing and perhaps escalating process of terraforming and environmental curation, as well as patent concerns and the lack of ability to preserve seeds for the next planting in the case of terminators, GMO crops are often less profitable, especially for small farmers who cannot leverage the kinds of economies of scale and subsidies (be they cross-industry, state-based, or consumer-based) that large factory farms can. Ultimately, GMOs are one further extension of the factory model of production, with the intent being to generate large numbers of identical, interchangeable products in a controlled, managed environment, and they really only come close to their potential under such conditions. While industrial production techniques can certainly increase production and quality, they also have a tendency to rapidly deplete resources and impact environments in ways that are detrimental to the flora and fauna that adapted to live there, including people.

      Finally, being (usually) clone seeds, GMO crops seriously threaten food security. Traditionally-selected crops maintain a certain degree of variability, and a pest that attacks such a crop is going to be less likely to kill off all of it as a result (same is true for drought, unexpected temperature shifts, etc.). The diversity lowers the odds of total crop failure, as the cost of ideal, near-identical production from every individual plant. The single genotype of the GMO clone seeds creates universal susceptibility to environmental changes, such that crop failure will tend toward all or nothing. While the problems laid out in the preceding paragraphs aren’t unique to GMOs (factory farming of traditionally-selected seeds can result in some of the same problems, especially when farming seeds in environments very different from those in which they were selected, though GMOs necessarily suffer such problems), this one is.

      So, yeah, a lot of the rhetoric opposing direct genetic modification and promoting organics is complete woo-based bullshit. However, there are a number of very serious concerns with our current primary approach to food production, and GMOs necessitate using these problematic methods. Even ignoring the intellectual property concerns, which could be easily remedied if our national leaders could agree that patenting genetic sequences is absurd and not allowed, there are some big concerns about GMOs that are based entirely in reality.

      1. I forgot to mention that while organic farming can be accomplished entirely without petroleum (and greatly increased human and non-human animal labor), both the production and growing of GMO seeds requires it at present, which will potentially make the stated problems increasingly severe as we burn through our oil supplies.

        1. Err… A few issues with this:

          1. A lot of them are engineered to produce their own pesticides, which, of course, freaks out a lot of people who don’t know the biochem involved. Then again, the same people will freak over someone adding 2% more of a complicated sounding name, to a food, when the substance in question was originally found (and is, in many cases, probably made via some genetic process, not a test tube, in all cases), which was originally found in a plant. This is one of my irritations with “restricted diet” people – many of them restrict them out of delusions, ignorance, and paranoia. The ones that don’t… I just wish would stop telling me that I would be better off on their diet too.

          2. The “hypothetical” environments are not hypothetical. Most of the GM going on are for “drought resistance”. They are being produced with the intent to grow them in places where its either not possible to bring in vast amounts of extra water, or because we would need to drastically alter the environment to bring such in, possibly using say.. oil to run trucks to deliver it, or other expensive resources, many of them not available to the people that they are expecting to help with it. The real issue is a bit like the thing with show CSI last week, where two people get killed by an altie-medicine quack, do to an obsession with a woman who has a very rare genetic disorder, so rare that her husband (one of the victims) stole the formula for a drug, which the company refused to produce, because it was “not profitable, given the tiny number of people who needed it.”

          The point being, companies that produce this stuff plan to make a profit. Many of them are probably too damned stupid to do the math, and realize that the cost of buying their seed is, in the long run, probably worse that “drastically altering the environment” to grow something that won’t in the location its needed, in the first place.

          Plants – don’t need to be resistant to pesticides. Resistant to “local conditions”, where they are a poor fit, and where, unfortunately, so is ever other possible plant you might want to farm, definitely. In which case, you have two choices – drastically alter the environment, so something will grow, or drastically alter the plant, so it can grow there. Both options are expensive, probably prohibitive, for the people that need them. But.. the former, ironically, isn’t going to result in a big GMO company suing them over “saving seed”.

          As for using “natural” method to simply breed something for the environment.. Depending on what plant it is, whether there are even already varieties better adapted, and a whole host of other issues, including, “Does any version of it even contain a gene for X vitamin, or other thing we want to add?”, you are talking about decades, or generations, or even *never*, to come up with a version that can do what is needed.

          I have no doubt there is a lot of bad GMO. I also have no doubt that painting the whole thing with a wide brush, which includes claiming that X, Y and Z issues is true of all of them, is going to neither solve the bad ones, or accomplish what is needed.

          In any case, just the idea that one would engineer a plant for non-existent conditions, and that *that* is what requires drastic changes to the places they grow it… is ignoring the fact that some places “no” version of the plant are, or can be, adapted for, and just planting them things in fields, at all, is “drastically” altering the local environment. If the species you are planting not only isn’t, but can’t be, or they actually haven’t even bothered to, adapt it to that climate/soil/etc. well.. what do you think growing it there is likely to require, GMO, or “naturally breed”? The reality is, almost *everything* won’t grow in certain places, and some places, almost nothing we can eat *will* grow. That is the whole point of trying to adapt it. But, someone trying to produce higher crop yield isn’t “necessarily” also bothering to make sure the crop in question will grow someplace where the crop can’t grow in the first place.

          In any case, you seem to be under the impression that they can’t/don’t, if planning to grow something in, say, an area bordering a desert, recreate the soil composition, humidity, and other “known” factors of the place they expect it to be planted. But that, instead… they grow the stuff like it was on some other planet, or something, then get all surprised when it won’t grow on earth any more. That just doesn’t make any sense at all, frankly.

      2. John H., I’m really interested in what you have said. Do you have any resources you could recommend to learning more about this? I’ve been pretty uneducated and on the fence about GMO foods because I’ve had a hard time finding anti-GMO arguments that aren’t woo based but I’ve also had a hard time finding pro-GMO resources that aren’t tied to Monsanto.

    1. I see your atheist vegan and raise you atheist proponent of HAES and permissive eating. Nobody likes hearing that fat folk aren’t inherently unhealthy and thinness does not make one a superior person.

  6. Growing up with significant, but not life threatening, food allergies, I’ve always had to deal with being the one who has to make sure there’s nothing in my food I can’t have. I was, however very fortunate that none of my allergies made it super difficult to eat out, and if something did slip by me, there were consequences, but they were never dire. I think the biggest problem is there’s just soooooooo much information out there constantly telling you that what you’re eating is wrong. Every body and their mother thinks they have some key to a healthy diet, and there’s no end to what those can be. It’s all ridiculous, though. Eat what you like. If you’re unhappy with the results of your diet, maybe try a change, get some help, whatever you need, but don’t push it on other people.

  7. I have both a tree nut allergy and a stomach condition that means there are a few foods I can’t eat, namely meat (minus seafood), and grapes. I also shouldn’t have a lot of milk, but I do anyway, but this does mean I eat vegan. I love food, and I love food I can eat without getting sick. Those are my criteria. I have had to hear an absurd amount of nonsense about food. Like people telling me what my beliefs/ideas about food are before I’ve even said a word, having to hear all the anti-vegan vitriol, to be honest I have heard more mean and ranty stuff from the meat-eaters than the vegans. Their chief complaint is usually that vegans are always jumping down their throats about not eating meat. So far my score is about 10-1 meat vs vegans jumping down my throat. Also lately some of my bf’s family are on a gluten-free thing thinking it’s healthy or something and I’m like NO WAY am I making my diet more restricted and expensive. I wonder if people without allergies understand how scary and annoying having allergies can be. I know what kind of food is good for me, I don’t presume to tell other people what’s right for them. The best food advice I have ever heard was “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

  8. I went through a dietetics program but never got my RD, but even I don’t attack people for what they eat! If people ask for advice, I’m glad to give it, but everyone is free to make their own decisions about what goes in their body. It’s ridiculous that anyone feels they have the right to say anything to someone else about what they eat. Also, people really need to realize that kids with allergies are in REAL danger and so what if your kid can’t have a PB&J because someone in their class has peanut allergies – not that big a deal when you consider it’s a kid’s LIFE!

  9. I want to murder the Gluten is EVIL proselytizers. And everyone who ever moralizes food, which is pretty much everyone I know outside of a few HAES and FA bloggers/activists. Food has no moral value! It is literally amoral.

    Food allergies and intolerances are one thing. But fuck yo ridiculous, arbitrary, self-imposed restrictions for the sake of hating yourself into skinnier pants, under the guise of some bullshit “health” reasons, for a few weeks until you inevitably gain it all back and then some and have to repeat the whole process of making yourself and everyone around you absolutely miserable, ad infinitum. Seriously.

    1. On the one hand, I’m bitter because I’ve been told all my life that I’ll spend my whole life battling my weight, have blamed my family for their bodies and my genes, and bought into the thin=beauty/moral superiority thing. On the other, as long as my coworkers are always dieting, I get more of the sweet goodies brought to the office for sharing.

    2. First it was eggs, then it was dairy, now it’s gluten. It’s always something, it seems. Food is poison! Don’t eat anything! Except cleanses, those you can do, because two weeks of shitting out juice five seconds after you drink it is tres healthy.

  10. I don’t really care what someone else eats. You’re vegetarian? Good for you…don’t care. You’re vegan? Good for you…don’t care. Me, personally, I’d love to become meatian, but I don’t see that being sustainable. You eat organic? Hey, you’re the one paying for it, not me, so knock yourself out. I get tired of the constant THAT’S GOT HFCS FROM MONSANTO, BECAUSE MONSANTO IS EVIL, AND ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THEM IS A CORPORATIST.

    I personally like making fun of what’s in our food. Take vanilla. That “natural flavor” vanilla is really from a gland near a beaver rectum. So, now, when I eat vanilla ice cream, I like to say “This tastes like beaver ass!”

      1. Am I the only one that doesn’t get grossed out by this sort of stuff? Like, when everyone was FREAKING OUT that bugs were being used for food coloring in shakes and shit, I was like … okay? That makes sense! So much sense. But it didn’t gross me out.

    1. Yay culinary anthropology! Now I’m torn between being completely appalled by this information and being distractingly obsessed with what else is in our food. I kind-of want to ask you for a list, but just the vanilla was almost too much information for my delicate sensibilities.

    2. The funny thing is on our last Bali trip, they told us the coffee beans we bought came out of an animals ass, but that the vanilla beans came off a bush. Maybe I got that mixed up…but they sure were nice vanilla beans!

      1. Jack, if I understand correctly, which may or may not be the case, actual vanilla beans are a plant product. It’s the artificial vanilla flavoring that comes from an animal ass. Hey! I just realized that I get to be all sanctimonious for using only pure vanilla extract! Except that I do eat store-bought vanilla ice cream. dang….

  11. The only thing I get really judge about are the I’m holier than thou food diet purists. I hate trying to look up simple information about gluten in food because there are always a ton of comments from other gf people telling me how horrible I am for eating this food and I deserve to get sick as a result. Sorry but I just want to be able to eat something. Also the ketchup on hotdogs people. Elyse has it right and that’s just like drowning puppies, mustard or bust. :)

  12. Oh the food fight. I encounter this problem almost daily because I’m the person with the food allergies/aversions. Most of the time, I just go out to eat by myself so as not to disturb anyone’s craving for bacon, but when someone asks to go to lunch or dinner with me, I like to choose the place. This usually results in a fight because the place won’t serve any bacon. I like to torture my pork-loving friends some times.

  13. And the food-restricted friend is like “Um, what the hell is wrong with you? I’m allergic to tree nuts what does that have anything to do with bacon?” Melee ensues. Everyone starts throwing beer bottles at each other. A few people get stabbed.

    Elyse, I just love this post *so* *so* much.

  14. I have a friend who is, by any definition of the word, a vegan, but she tells people that she is a “strict vegetarian” because she hates the assumptions people make about her by a) other vegans (“oh, you must be a animal rights activist/you must think meat is murder/you must want to blow up factory farms”), b) non-vegans (“oh, you must be a hippie/you must be a New Ager/you must think animal life is more valuable than human”), and c) every single person in the world (“here are my mostly poorly-conceived opinions on your decision about how to lead your life”).

    1. I’m amazed she doesn’t get all that for being vegetarian. I do. I didn’t tell my ex-roommate that I was a vegetarian for months because of all the horrible shit she says about vegetarians. I’m baffled at how not eating meat makes me a bad person in so many people’s eyes.

      1. She may, I think it’s just noticeably more tolerable than if she said she’s vegan (plus she lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where every other person has some sort of dietary restriction.) After all if she wants to avoid being served a steak at a friend’s house, she has to say something.

  15. My favourite food story: Used to have a friend who was a self-declared vegetarian on account of the poor treatment of animals in abattoirs. Of course, she would eat chicken and fish and rabbit and lamb. And yes, bacon. But she was always proud to stand up and be counted as a vegetarian. Of course, she also believed in Bach’s Flower Remedies, too….

  16. I deal with this near constantly, thanks to the fact my boss is an organic vegan. I really could have given a shit about vegetarians and vegans before, except now I have to get preached at all the time. I do on site work, I never know where I’ll be or if I’ll be back at the office, or if I’ll have a place to sit down. So I can’t really pack lunch, I eat out every day ($$$ >_<). Every time I walk in with a bag from McDonald's or Wendy's or whatever, I have to get at least a disappointed look, if not a comment, or if he's in the mood a brief rant. Yeah, I got a box of chicken strips in here. Maybe a burger. Know what I didn't get? A soda, and frequently not fries either. Know what I've lost since cutting out all that sugar? Weight. Know what I still get to eat? Meat. Cheese. Eggs. Basically whatever the hell I want that isn't a giant pile of sugar. I'm an adult, I can make my own dietary choices, and I can defend them if provoked enough.

    The scenario Elyse described happens every year when it's time to pick where we hold the company holiday party. There are only a handful of places in the area that A) Serve true vegan food prepared in acceptable manner (seriously, it's like kosher rules, it's insane), B) Also serves food the rest of us would want to eat, and C) Has space for such a thing. Oh, and we already know that we don't like some of the options we do have for various reasons. So, this is always fun, and winds up coming right down to the wire before we get it booked.

    At least I get to work for an atheist, even if his dietary beliefs border on religion.

  17. I think people are pretty annoying about foods, but I thought while I was pregnant was the worst. Some people just watched what I put in my mouth in horror. Every meal ensued with a debate weather I was eating the right thing from co-workers. ‘You are eating mushrooms? That is fungus, you can’t eat that.’ ‘Is that tuna? OMG, my friend so and so never ate fish while she was pregnant, just in case.’ Etc.

    1. Yes! I remember people saying “well, if it were *me*, I wouldn’t eat anything that might have a risk.” Everything has a risk. Are you supposed to starve yourself?

    2. Oh yes this.
      I just remarked the other day that when you’re pregnant your life gets micromanaged because TEH BÄHBEE. Once they’re out it’s all the genes.
      After I miscarried my first pregnancy I wanted to do everything “right” for the second one. After about two weeks of “research” *coughinternetcough* I decided that I could either keep eating normal and just cut out the raw cheese/meat/fish/alcohol stuff or I could starve healthily…

  18. There are several reasons for hating the special diet people. The first is that, at least in the circles I travel, it’s self imposed in order to show what a speshul snowflake they are. Which is also the motivation behind your average Whole Foods customer.

    They claim allergies, but they weren’t actually diagnosed by an actual doctor.

    I don’t eat South Asian food because they put coconut in everything. I don’t make some bullshit medical reason. I simply tell people that I don’t eat things that taste like ass. If the group insists on it, I’ll go and simply stop at Jack-In-The-Box later.

    Don’t even get me started on the wine and beer snobs.

    1. They claim allergies, but they weren’t actually diagnosed by an actual doctor.

      I have a friend who has a thousand “allergies” and food sensitives and of course is caliac. OF COURSE SHE IS. I still have a livejournal (shush!) and so does she and she keeps track of her “food and allergy” diary. Every day, she lists all of her reactions, etc. My feet are puffy today! Must have been gluten in that gluten-free item!

      She’s never actually went to a doctor.

      So much fucking confirmation diet. Maybe your feet are swollen because YOU WERE ON THEM ALL DAY AT WORK?!

    2. There are several reasons for hating the special diet people. The first is that, at least in the circles I travel, it’s self imposed in order to show what a speshul snowflake they are. Which is also the motivation behind your average Whole Foods customer.

      Well I’d say that you probably blog for the same reason, to show what a special snowflake you are.

      I eat vegan because I don’t like killing yo, simply put. Part of that I guess you could say comes from my ethnic background (a lot of Indians don’t like killing animals, and I grew up partially in that culture) otherwise I could give a wet fart less about being special. I care far more about if people like my comedy shows.

  19. Both my kids have a mild form of PKU, and are on a protein-restricted diet. I am so sick of hearing about how bad for them all those carbs and alll that wheat are. Yeah? As bad as brain damage? And it drives me nuts when I tell people they can’t have aspartame (which has phenylalanine, the amino acid they can’t break down due to a genetic disorder, as a primary component) and they say “oh, yeah, that stuff is terrible, I never eat it.” Like it is in any way as bad for them as it is for my daughters.

    My cousin has (real, honest to goodness) Celiac’s disease, and truly can’t have gluten without needing blood transfusions for anemia. She tolerates my “gluten free” relatives who are following the fad remarkably well.

    I am a pseudo-vegetarian. I just don’t really like meat. My husband is a classic picky eater. We both hate it when people pretend that “restrictions” like this are as important as a real medical restriction.

  20. My daughter goes to school with a girl who has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy. The tree nut allergy is very likely lethal even with an epi pen on her person at all times. It has been a source of constant amazement to me how many other parents simply don’t care. She can no longer eat in the cafeteria with the other kids because there are many parents who will not comply with the nut free school. So many are unwilling to do the small amount of extra work to ensure this child is safe at school. At this point my daughter has been in her class for 3 years and I no longer have to think about which snacks are ok in lunches and which are only for after school (even when I am making lunch at 5 am half asleep). Heck I have even made trail mixes that were nut free when it was my daughter’s favorite munchie. It takes so little work and can have such a great impact on her quality of life. I will admit that the first few months were a huge adjustment but all I had to do was put myself in the shoes of her mother who has to think like that all the time plus the other serious dietary restrictions she has that don’t impact the other kids. The other parents simply don’t want to be bothered with making the changes to ensure this child is safe and that is so inconceivable to me.

    1. This is just out of curiosity, but why can’t your daughter have any nuts in her lunch? I f understand that such issues are a problem with very small kids who’ll just grab stuff and eat it, but I have several cousins with severe allergies and they always just stuck to their stuff which was safe. I understand that contamination is a problem when things are prepared in one place, but that shouldn’t be an issue if everybody eats their lunch

      1. Cross contamination, even in trace amounts, can kill someone with a food allergy. Nut butters are messy making this contamination extremely easy and even a whiff of nut-dust is enough to evoke a reaction.

        1. The little girl has to eat in the Administration office because the peanut butter in the same room as her will start a reaction, and from talking with her mother, that is her mild allergy. If my daughter ate almonds (or some other tree nut) before school, didn’t wash her hands and touched this girl it could be life threatening. There are other students with less severe allergies who do not react as strongly but it is so sad to see a small child having an allergic reaction because she wants to sit with her friends at lunch. The school reminds parents throughout the year but most ignore it.

        2. Ah, that might explain my confusion. Nut butters aren’t a big thing in continental European cooking, so that’s probably why there has never been a problem (AFAIK) around here with other students bringing their own stuff as long as the allergic kid knows what not to touch.

    2. People really suck.
      My sister was good friends with a girl with severe nut allergy, they had a joint birthday party and their mums worked together to make sure she could eat everything there. The whole lot of party food was totally nut-free, because the idea of having to bring a packed lunch to a party and eat away from your friends is the saddest thing ever.

  21. I eat pretty much anything, though I have tried some more restrictive diets in the past in an effort toward weight loss. They always turned out either too expensive or ineffective. I have friends who eat like me, and friends who have various restrictions. My partner is a not-very-strict vegetarian. I have friends with celiac disease, friends with food allergies, and friends who are vegans. I also have friends who eat gluten free, organic, paleo, and other food choices. I’m pretty comfortable with all of this EXCEPT when they turn their judgement on me. I’ve had friendships end because I’d been told how to/not to eat too many times. I absolutely will not tell someone else how to eat, and I am fine with someone explaining their reasons for whatever their food needs/choices are. But when they start telling me how I should eat (which happens a lot because I am fat) it’s really painful for me. It’s especially painful when I know that their instructions are not founded in any good science (no, I will not loose 50 pounds if I stop eating legumes) or when they don’t stop when I ask them to.

  22. Elyse, I really enjoyed this post, but I’m gonna have to stop reading Skepchick while drinking beverages cos my sinuses got a thorough cleanout from the tea I was drinking. I thought i was safe after the first paragraph, but you got me again with the deep fried lard balls in hollandaise and alfredo and the onion ring burger!

    Then I went back and read
    in hollandaise
    and alfredo sauce
    3 times slowly. I want some!

  23. Over the last four years, I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, mostly through working out and, of course, having an overall healthier diet. I like the “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” philosophy mentioned above. But as I’ve changed my lifestyle, I’ve learned more about how my body reacts to foods and therefore I know to avoid certain things. For example, I’m going about 90% dairy-free not because of weird ethical stuff but because truly, cow’s milk products make me GASSY. Embarrassingly, painfully gassy. And I can live without milk and *sob* cheese and I never liked yogurt all that much anyway. It’s just not worth it to suffer that kind of gas when I’m trying to teach.

    That said, I won’t preach to others that milk is evil, and cheese the enemy, and I won’t turn my nose up at my friend who went gluten-free and found she had less cramping and diarrhea in her life as a result. I reserve the right to silently laugh to myself at the people who are sharing their “Paleo-friendly!!” recipes for zucchini lasagna on Twitter because I have my doubts that Betty Cavelady was eating such things way back in her time.

    1. Do you have the same reaction to goat cheese? What about harder cheeses? Or harder goat cheese?

      I have a friend who gets SUPER gassy from cows milk cheese (especially the softer ones) but harder goat cheeses are fine.

      Not saying “ZOMG EAT CHEESE EVEN IF IT HURTS YOU!” but if you think it may just be cow’s milk or soft cheese (and you really miss it), you could always experiment to see if there are any cheeses out there that don’t kill your stomach. I wrote off fried food for a while, and then I realized it was only certain fried foods that set off my stomach, and was relieved that I didn’t have to give up on all of it.

  24. I actually don’t like bacon. Like, it tastes really bad to me. Whenever I tell anyone that, they freak the hell out like I just said I was a serial killer or something. I understand that most people are fans of bacon, but that’s no reason to literally yell at me for multiple minutes about my food preferences. Seriously not cool.

    1. My BFF actually hates bacon. After I wrote this post we were talking about how in any conversation you can substitute “I don’t like bacon” for “is there anything better than sex with kids?” And the reaction is pretty much exactly the same

      1. “First, let me propose a rule that anyone who invokes bacon during any food argument is automatically banned from contributing anything else to the conversation… or really any conversation at all for the rest of the day. Or week. Or maybe ever.”

        There has to be a connection between Nazis, Teutonic monsters, Mary Godwin and Bacon (Francis or Roger?) The Bacon Corollary to Godwin’s Law?

        P.S. Francis Bacon, at 45, married a 14 year old girl.

    2. I have a good friend who dislikes bacon. We tease him about it only because Bacon happens to be his nickname (unrelated to his dislike of the food).

  25. I wish I had fewer cultural, environmental and possibly genetic food hangups. Some regularly consumed foods make me gag, while in my heart of hearts I want to be at the forefront of the wave of entomophagy I think should come next. I’d love to be the dick who says “I don’t eat any animal without a larval stage.” Instead I’ll comfort myself with the knowledge that consuming bacon brings me closer to unity with the universal consciousness.

  26. Entire careers were devoted to bringing home the bacon. Folks had a good breakfast of bacon and eggs then proudly proclaimed they were off to bring home some more bacon.

  27. I’ve had a rocky relationship with vegans and vegetarians. A decade ago my brother and a few of my close friends fell in with this really woo filled medidation/faux-Buddhist cult thingy and they all went complete vegan. And you could tell that they hated it. The look on my brothers face when he finished reading the ingredients on a bag of fricking cookies and realized “I can eat these!” was painful to watch. The whole thing was preachy and judgemental and massively unhealthy for them all. I was so relieved when it finally all came apart.

    OTOH, my niece is Vegan and my sister and her boyfriend are lacto-vegetarians. When Thanksgiving rolls around and I roast turkey they don’t say a word. I make a vegan dish to share and they bring a fake meat roast thingie and all is well. And everybody is happy.

    There is a strain of aggressive vegan out there, cut from the same cloth as the asshole, no compromise atheists who give us a bad name by drive by trolling liberal Christian blogs. The kind of folks who downgrade one of the best Vegan options in town because they aren’t exclusively vegan. Melt in Cincinnati has to clean its Facebook page of those fuckers all the time ( right down the street from me). I usually point those folks to Richard Carrier’s excellent writing on the subject. (

    1. Also… I LOVE BACON. I love it so much I’m gonna cure and smoke my own this summer. Cuz I’m a Foodie goddammit.

  28. The thing that really rubs me the wrong way is how people make a big deal out of my vegetarianism for me. At company meetings, there’s almost always a joke about how someone stole “my” sandwich or mmmm meat’s so good. I’m vegetarian for a whole host of reasons, but mainly moral and societal, and this can really make me feel like there’s no point. Sometimes it seems that vegetarianism existing has bifurcated our society so that if you’re not a vegetarian you have to be pointedly, vocally, non-vegetarian. Like if you eat a sandwich without a stack of meat in it the choice will be made for you an *poof* you’re playing for the other team now. I’m almost certain that by merely announcing that I am vegetarian, I have caused more meat to be consumed.

  29. So this! My family decided to go vegan for a while, just to try it out as a lifestyle and if we could do it. We went for about a year and a half, re-evaluating each month whether we wanted to stay committed. I didn’t miss meat so much. I learned alot about what is in my food and got to be a better label reader. I finally learned how to cook and had a great time doing it. I tried lots of new things and I got informed about the myths both pro and con living vegan. Those were all good experiences for me. However, the social reactions were awful. I shrugged it off at first and then was just so tired of people either feeling guilty that they put butter in something at a potluck or or grilling me about why I don’t eat meat and then acting like I’m being preachy when I answer. It was also getting impossible to suppress an eyroll when someone said something incredibly stupid about protein, the hypothetical vegan utopia caused extinction of farm animals, or tofu turning boys gay. The other side of that coin was how being vegan seemed to encourage people to tell you about their woo, alt-med, voo-doo bullshit. It really made social interactions less fun. This isn’t why we gave it up, but it was a factor.

    1. Yeah the big positive of vegan is that you learn how to mix up vegetables into awesome dishes.

      The downside is the hate & not being able to find others who are skeptics so often.

  30. I pride myself in being not picky. “What do you like?” “FOOD!” And I think I’ve said this here before, but fucking christ, eating is a pain in the ass. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to eat. At other times, however, I really enjoy eating. Can’t we turn it off, like a switch?! That would make my life so much easier.

    I’m not vegan, but I’ve had delicious vegan food before. (But fake cheese is AN ABOMINATION.) My best friend is pescetarian and I am also pescetarian when we hang out together. I often revert to a vegetarian diet just ‘cuz it’s easier and I’m lazy. But I enjoy steak.

    I’m not a fan of mushrooms because of texture reasons, but I can pick those out. So I don’t even bother asking anymore to ask them to be left off the pizza.

    Whatever. If you’re buying, I ain’t arguing.

  31. This year I’ve been a vegetarian for fourteen years, exactly half my life. I really don’t give a shit what other people eat, but I do have a problem with terminology and I’m not sure if that counts as food elitism. It bothers me more than it should when people who eat fish call themselves vegetarians. How are fish not animals? I mean, eat them all you want, but you’re a pescetarian. Also “vegetarians” that eat meat as long as it’s raised in a way they find acceptable. Good for you, but you’re not a vegetarian. I just metaphorically roll my eyes and move on, though.

    Where I’ve lived has made a big difference on how people treat my vegetarianism.
    Midwest: so baffled they couldn’t even make fun of me. Just “Oh. I couldn’t live without eating meat.”
    Seattle area: mocked constantly.
    Portland area: completely a non-issue and vegetarian food is always provided without fuss or comment.

  32. One thing that aggravates me is the whole “privilege” argument when it comes to characterizing any diet.

    Eat lots of meat. Privileged.
    Vegan/Vegetarian. Privileged.
    Paleo. Privileged.
    Gluten-Free. Privileged.
    Like to Cook. Privileged.

    The news for anyone who pulls a privilege argument is that MOST EVERYONE IN THE US IS PRIVILEGED over the rest of the world in their diet. Especially when you’re talking about an internet forum, it’s usually one privileged person playing more-destitute-than-thou and calling the other privileged person privileged.

    In many parts of the world, people eat what they can, and what that is varies on where they are. The mere ability to choose so many diets is privilege and it applies to all of us.

    1. Hang on a minute. I see you painting with a very broad brush there, and in general terms I agree with what you say. But I can’t help thinking – some may say that the same arguments could be made about feminism too, but I know that you would not do that and neither would I. So what is the fundamental difference here? Is it perhaps, freedom of choice?
      On another note, I would hardly call those who have are medically obliged to eat gluten free diets, in order to avoid a painful and undignified health meltdown, privileged.

  33. “Militant vegans” are like “militant atheists” – if someone has a chip on their shoulder about a specific topic, it’s not the topic that’s to blame. Such people are, generally speaking, assholes about *lots* of things.

    My sister eats paleo-style (always prefaced with “without the bullshit”) for health reasons, and my brother’s gf is vegan for health and ethical reasons. Amazingly, they are both delightful people to share a meal with, separately or apart!

    1. “if someone has a chip on their shoulder about a specific topic, it’s not the topic that’s to blame.”


  34. I have a number of diseases that put me in the hospital quite frequently. I sometimes mention it in social media conversations (like posting an update from hospital). I don’t even mention what the disease is, or the fact that one of them (the main one that triggered all of this) was from an airborne virus. I have been told, on several occasions, that if I ate vegan, or paleo, or cut out all wheat products and went gluten and sugar-free, or whatever, I would have never gotten the disease in the first place. That I must be one of “those” Americans who eat the “SAD” diet. That I must have eaten unhealthy. And unfortunately, one preacher is a friend from my atheist group in town.

    I listen, nod, and eat my–whatever, hamburger, salad, vegan hot and sour soup, deep fried shit, whatever.

  35. Um, I have no allergies and I eat what I think tastes good. (I may be fussy and hate onions & most condiments and love meat, but… I’m just gonna go sit over there, okay?)

  36. I guess most of us, whatever our eating habits are, have already gotten a lot of shit for it from one side or the other and it makes us defensive.
    What’s pretty characteristic about any of those conversations is that they’re never helpful or productive.
    I swear that I never ever got any sensible advice from a vegan or vegetarian on how to reduce my meat consumption (which actually isn’t big). Other than TOFU!!!
    Which I hate.

      1. Well, not anymore. I already did that some time ago by switching to animal friendly farming. I figured out that if I went back to the meat consumption of the 1950’s or 60’s (European) I could afford the high prices, not support factory farming and still have some meat. It’s still too high for my liking, but that’s outside of my control because we have to rely on other people cooking for us.
        And yes, I actually know how to cook vegetables. That’s probably the omnivore’s equivalent to the bacon trope: The assumption that I eat meat because I don’t know how to cook veggies.

          1. Noone here, but believe me, people have.
            As I said, it’s the equivalent of the “bacon” response.

  37. When Elyse asked the question “are you judgy when it comes to food”, everyone here should answer YES.

    I mean just loooook at the passive-agressive disdain for other eating habits in this thread (yes, me included…), it’s clear that most all of us can’t leave well enough alone.

  38. I’m pretty compassionate about food allergies and intolerances.
    I’m pretty judgy about self-imposed food restrictions, whether religious, philosophical or fashionable.

  39. First, let me propose a rule that anyone who invokes bacon during any food argument is automatically banned from contributing anything else to the conversation

    Thank you for that.

    Have you heard the joke, “Q: How can you tell which person at the dinner party is vegan? A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” I’ve been the living, invisible example of how that’s just another case of the “toupee fallacy.” What I’ve learned in my life is that oftentimes, you just can’t win. I’ve had jobs where I tried to be closeted about my veganism, and it just made people wonder why I was so “anti-social” (since I wasn’t eating cheesecake in the breakroom at 4 p.m. when someone brought it in). And when I was upfront about it, just putting it on the table and trying to move on, I would get the third degree about it, and then treated like the annoying person trying to mess everything up for everyone. I tried so hard to make food not an issue … But for so many people, it just is.

    I have been a vegan for 17 years. I don’t like bringing it up in social settings. It puts people on the defensive, because they assume you’re going to be some judgmental “militant vegan” even though you haven’t said one word about it and are trying to avoid the subject … Either that, or you’re treated as a novelty or a killjoy. I mean, in worst case scenarios. There are some people who are just cool about it, and don’t make a fuss just like I’m not making a fuss either. But it has been awkward often enough for me to dread the subject. Just let me eat my damn Tofurky sandwich in peace!

    1. I was vegetarian for 22 years (the recession made me stop buying the >$5.00/lb Tofurkey. (BTW, all you effing newbie vegetarians that made my little dietary choice so damn expensive because it was hot/trendy? Thanks for nothing.)

      I’d eat meat if it’s all there was, but VERY often, folks would notice my dodging the meat and ask about it.

      “Are you vegetarian?”
      “Yeah, it’s just something I do.”

      I was surprised how LITTLE animosity replying that way caused. Maybe it’s just my area that’s more accepting?
      It may be helpful that I make it explicitly subjective. Something *I* do. Or is it the casual nature of the word, “just”?

      1. Most people are cool. I don’t want to misrepresent my reality amid my venting (maybe I did). I would love for people to react with utter disinterest, because honestly I think my veganism is pretty uninteresting. But it seems like the annoying reactions I get are divided between the weird third degrees and the weird defensiveness. Either the “What do you eat?” questions or the “I want to be vegan but never could because …” comments.

        Your reply sounds great. It does seem like a way to get around other people’s propensity to feel defensive when faced with someone else’s personal dietary choices.

        And re: the Tofurky. I remember when the stores would stock it for Thanksgiving, fail to sell out, and slash prices on Black Friday. I’d shell out just a few bucks for a whole thing of it and have my feast in December. Now they’re usually sold out, and even if they’re not they’re still full price. Dang!

  40. I try not to be judgy about that sort of shit. I am super passionate about food, so when I’m going somewhere with someone new I always ask if they have preferences or restrictions, because I want them to have the best experience possible at whatever restaurant we go to. There’s a chinese restaurant we go to bi-weekly because it’s delicious, but also because there’s something for everyone regardless of dietary restrictions. A majority of the dishes we get are fish, veggies, or tofu, despite most or all of the people attending (depending on the day) being omnivores.

    I tend to be slightly restricted in that I am pescetarian unless the meat is sourced from farms that use more humane methods of raising and slaughtering the animals. That’s my preference, and none of my friends are douchebags about it. Other people’s dietary restrictions DO NOT ruin our day. In fact, there are a lot of dishes all of us probably never would have thought to try if we didn’t have someone with a restriction in our group at the time.

    When I bring food to work, I make a point of not bringing pork (no matter how it was raised) because I work with Muslims. I may not agree with the why’s of their restriction, but it really doesn’t affect me, and it’s not fucking hard to bring delicious food that doesn’t involve pork. When I held my housewarming party, I made a point of having a large number of vegan options (in the form of salads and dips, as well as some fake brats since it was a cook-out) as well as vegetarian and omnivore. It took no effort, made me proud because I’d made most of it, and it was consumed by everyone, not just those with restrictions.

    I can understand the frustration of some parents who are told their kids can’t bring PB to school. When you’re rushed, a PB+J or PB+fruit sandwich is one of the fastest things you can whip-up, while still being somewhat or very healthy. But if it was your kid, you’d probably see it as a small sacrifice on the part of others so your child can experience as much of school as possible.

    I think it comes down to the calibur of people you’re talking to. Some people are just trolls, or ignorant. But I think things are changing more and more. When someone at work was figuring out a headcount to bring food, they asked if I was a vegan or vegetarian. I said I was a pescetarian, and they brought me a vegetarian sticky rice bun, while everyone else got a chicken one.

    I get annoyed by anyone who gets preachy about their eating habits, or about others’. I also get annoyed by people who are making ignorant food choices because “Oprah said this lemonade cleanse really works!” Bitch, no. I will definitely pipe up if I hear people trying to get anyone I remotely care about to take part in pseudoscientific/bullshit diets for the sake of “health”.

  41. I don’t care what other people eat. But I HATE when they tell me what to eat : you should quit meat or you’re a demon/murderer/look at this puppy. You shiould eat more green (‘cos your bmi is 29, bitch!) Please quit gum, it creates air in you gut (??)…Coke will kill you, I use it to clean my toilet mwhahaha… etcetcetc.

    1. Yeah, exactly. And, the thing is, the ones with real problems generally “don’t” feel the need to bring it up **all the time**. You get someone that is in the category of, “I didn’t bother considering stress, poor diet in general, or a dozen other things, but after I changed jobs, stopped eating fast food at all, started taking high doses of vitamins, wearing my special magic bracelet, bought a gym membership, and, oh yeah, the really important thing – started only buying shit marked ‘gluten free’, or which contains anything whose label sounds like it contains anything I vaguely remember, from some place, was used to make some certain breads, I felt much better. Maybe you should try going gluten free too! Blah, blah, blah, blah….”

      Want to slap those people upside the head, and since I work in a grocery store, I have at least one every few days whining about how the health food store, where they also get their homeopathic remedies, and lots of “great advice”, carries X product, why don’t we. “Uh, because, for the most part, we are not selling complete bullshit yet, I mean, other than some of the crap on the medical aisle, where you might find a few company branded altie med stuff?” People with real problems don’t, usually, spend all their time harping about how everyone else would be better off too, if they just tried this new diet, or avoided such and such products. The ones that “discovered” that they feel better, in the total and complete absence of any awareness of how many things they changes in their lives, at the same time, seem to need to tell *everyone* about it, especially if they where previously told by a doctor, “You don’t actually have any specific problem we can detect.” When someone goes off on this, especially when its in some case, like the hypothetical situation in the article, but the conclusion is not that they had a real allergy… its all I can do (and sometimes I fail at it), to not say something that might ‘annoy’ them.

  42. Been a vegetarian for sixish years now, now plans to change that. Luckily for me, I’ve lived in places with lots of produce, do really well on a veggie diet and like every kind of fruit or veggie I’ve tried except Red Delicious apples. Comparing my pre-veg time to more recent. I have encountered a few very unpleasant vegans (though their unpleasantness was mostly in the tendency toward racism, classism and ableism in their proselytizing), but I have encountered so, so many more angry/defensive meat-eaters.

    The only shaming/judging I do of other people’s dietary choices (from HAES, veg*an, whatever) is when people eat chicken/fish/bacon and call themselves vegetarian. No, fuck off, those are not plants and you are making things harder for the rest of us who have to patiently explain over and over to people that chickens are birds, not plants.

  43. QUOTE: “And then one person pipes up, “I don’t care, I just want to make sure there’s something there for me to eat.” Then everyone looks at that person annoyed because yeah, obviously there will be something for them to eat. It’s a damn restaurant, FFS. And then the person qualifies that by saying they have some kind of self or medically imposed dietary restriction. AND WITH THAT THEY RUINED EVERYTHING.”

    I am that one person. I was born without the ability to break down a certain protein enzyme (my genetic metabolic disorder is called PKU, if you want to Google it). The only currently available treatment for this is a strictly protein-controlled diet. I get ten grams of protein per day and usually have to plan my entire day in advance of going out for a meal just to make sure I can order something off the menu. When I let my diet get out of control I experience headaches, dizziness, inability to concentrate, and mood swings/depression because the impact of the undigested protein keeps my brain from functioning properly. Long term effects can include severe mental illness and neurological disability, and it can also cause severe physical and neurological defects in a fetus if I’m pregnant.

    I have no stake in what you eat and I don’t try to impose my dietary restrictions on others, because that would be absurd. And if there’s really no place I can eat, like if I’ve already had my entire daily 10g anyway, I’ll just opt out of the decision-making process. But socializing in food-related settings can get absurdly difficult for me, even around friends. Most restaurant offerings have at least some protein. Even meal-sized salads usually have something added to make them stick to the ribs (like chicken breast or nuts or cheese), and I will have to ask for that part of the salad removed. Weirdly, I don’t want to spend $10 on a plate of lettuce and leave the restaurant still hungry. As it is, many restaurants leave me ordering a couple of side dishes (like a baked potato and some rice, or fries and coleslaw). But I have been to restaurants that have literally nothing I can eat, and if people want to go there for dinner, that means I DON’T GET DINNER.

    Most of my friends are pretty considerate of my restrictions and will give me power of veto for restaurants because they know how severe my restrictions can be. I’ve never had friends complain that I’m keeping them from eating what they want because of my own disorder, even when I sometimes have to step in and say, “Sorry, but that pizza place really doesn’t serve anything I can eat”. I don’t think I’ve ever triggered a melee. Still, I’ve often worried about being a burden to people I socialize with because of my limitations; sometimes I even hesitate to say something because I’m afraid of being perceived as overly controlling or as “ruining” social gatherings. I had to teach myself to ignore my hesitation and speak up anyway because the health effects of having high protein levels are getting more pronounced as I get older, and I really don’t like the fuzzy-headed feeling I get after overdoing it for a few days at a time. An attitude of annoyance that I “want to make sure there’s something there for me to eat” or a belief that my objections might ruin a social gathering would probably be a deal-breaker for me in most friendships.

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