While being vegan might be a lifestyle choice and something of a trend in the world today, there’s no reason to boycott vegan restaurants or mutter bad things about them just because it’s not what you like. As a hardcore carnivore, I have always had my issues with veganism because I find that there are quite a few who believe it’s their job to shove their beliefs down your throat. I’ve often compared veganism to some sections of Christianity, where if you don’t believe in what they do, then you’re a heathen or a monster or a combination of the two. While some of them might be a little intense and too much to handle, most of the time vegans get a bad name because people just flat out assume that they’re weird for giving up the basics in life and changing their diets.
But I am now fighting for the vegetarians and vegans of the world. Or at least trying to.
India is a large country with 1.252 billion people and of that number, at least majority is non-vegetarian. Despite what movies will have you believe and what people say, there are definitely more non-vegetarians in India. But there are also a large number of vegetarians and that’s known to pretty much everyone everywhere. In a country like India, the balance of restaurants is pretty substantial, because if you go to a restaurant like a Sangeetha or a Sarvana Bhavan, you’re not going to find any non-vegetarian food on the menu. In the south of India, the Brahmins and the Iyers are usually very strict about their vegetarian diets and nothing can change their minds. Some of the younger generation do venture into eating non-vegetarian food, but never at home and never in front of their parents and other family members.
I know a lot of non-vegetarians – whether it be in my family or my friends or people I work with – who will never set foot inside a vegetarian restaurant by choice. Even if you held a gun to their head, they would never do it. And the reason why? Well, there is no good reason. They just don’t want to be anywhere near vegetables!
Why defend them?
I’ve always wanted to know why people don’t even like walking into vegetarian restaurants, it’s not like you can get a disease from being there. Sure, a lot of these restaurants might not be clean, but that says nothing about the food. Some of the best breakfasts are vegetarian, even. Think of a South Indian staple like idli and sambar or even dosa and you can be sure that vegetarian food isn’t the end of the world. It’s delicious, it’s healthy and it’s nutritious, so why do people hate vegetarian food so much? Granted, you can eat all these vegetarian dishes with non-vegetarian add-ons, but what makes these dishes special is that they are vegetarian and best eaten that way.
A lot of the time vegetarian food is shunned because people don’t like vegetables or the way its made. To some, eating vegetarian food might be about learning to appreciate something new or even acquiring a taste, but it’s not the end of the world if you have one extra vegetable in your meal. Like I mentioned, as a full blown non-vegetarian, I’m defending the vegetarian restaurant system simply because I find that vegetables and all the magical things that can be done with vegetables is something that you couldn’t do with non-vegetarian ingredients.
We might have digressed from the question, but the most important response to that is why not defend them? Besides being something that we don’t want to eat, what is wrong with eating at vegetarian restaurants? And if you don’t like vegan or vegetarian food, then don’t visit those restaurants, it’s really that simple. Yes, a sacrifice or two for the sake of your friends might be required, but it’s not the end of the world and honestly there are so many places you could go with your vegetarian friend that would allow both of you to enjoy what you’re in the mood for.