GUIDE TO ROLEPLAYING A VEGETARIAN
Contrary to popular belief, no, vegetarians don’t all think they’re better than you, and most of us hate PETA. We simply have our own views and morals when it comes to our diet, views and morals that are often attacked or considered invalid by some narrow-minded people, something your character will soon find out. This is a
short guide to helping you understand what your vegetarian character will experience in the world and what concerns they may have health-wise. I will also include a few plot points your character as a vegetarian may be able to use. Before asking any questions please note that this is written all from personal experience. I am not challenging anyone else’s views, and this is strictly my own opinion.
You need to determine what your character’s reasons are for abstaining from consuming meat. Some vegetarians don’t eat meat for health reasons; an-all vegetable diet will ensure an almost cholesterol-free diet. Some people are just plain allergic to meat, or their digestive system cannot tolerate it. Other vegetarians will do it for moral reasons, believing that the meat industry is inhumane, that there are very very few humane or painless ways to mass-kill animals. Some people just do not like the taste of meat.
Now you need to define what kind of vegetarian your character will be. Personally, I believe that vegetarian means you do not consume animal flesh. Some others will argue that that includes not eating eggs, honey, or dairy products as they are a secondary source of animals, but that is all a personal choice, and someone will argue with your character about this, no matter what. There is always some asshole omnivore who thinks your decisions are a direct challenge to his own, and your character will have to either stand up for themselves and try to explain their views, which 99% of the time will end up being a very pointless argument. Vegetarianism is a choice you make for yourself, not because of the advice someone else has given you.
The following list is sourced directly from Wikipedia. There are a number of types of vegetarianism, which exclude or include various foods.
Confrontations are for the most part few and far between, but when they happen, your character will find them irritating and repetitive. It is up to you to decide whether they will stand their ground and explain all the reasons why they believe not eating meat is a better choice, or to just explain politely that it is their choice and not anyone else’s. There are literally hundreds of reasons why someone can choose to abstain from eating meat and if you’d like some, simply google ‘Why should I be vegetarian?’, or the movie ‘Earthlings’. Frequent questions your character will be asked include ‘Where do you get your protein?’ (Beans, lentils, protein shakes, tofu), ‘What are incisors for?’ (Evolution. We are evolved enough to make our own choices, yeah?), and ‘You pussy treehugger.’ (Usually I just ignore these people.)
There are definitely a fair share of health risks your character may encounter, including a lack of protein, not enough Vitamin B and B12, not enough calcium, not enough iron, and not enough Vitamin D. There are countless foods and products your character can use to supplement these losses, but if he or she doesn’t eat enough of them, then yes, they will have a high risk of becoming sick. For example, if your character doesn’t eat enough protein they may have a lot of muscle loss. If they don’t have enough iron, they will risk having anemia.
Your character will have a really hard time ordering food when they dine out or get takeaway food. Most non-homemade vegetarian food can be guaranteed to be deep friend, pan fried, or loaded with carbs, and they’ll wish restaurants knew there were other alternatives to meatless dishes than pasta.
Your character does not have to love animals or have an outstanding amount of care to be vegetarian. In fact, a lot of people don’t realise someone is a vegetarian until after the person mentions it to a waiter. Because of the huge amount of stigma attached to vegetarianism, most vegetarians will not boast their choice. Sure, it can be something to be proud of, but the only vegetarians you’ll meet who shove their choice down your throat are assholes. Hopefully, your character isn’t a stereotypical asshole vegetarian, or god forbid, a vegan.
What’s the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan, you say? Well, being vegetarian is a dietary choice. It means you don’t eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry, and in some cases, eggs, honey or dairy food. Being vegan is a lifestyle choice. Vegans will actively avoid products that are in any way connected with animal abuse, including but not limited to: products tested on animals, leather, fur, suede, medicines tested on animals, seeing animals used for entertainment (circuses, sports, etc), pets, and any kind of scientific research.
Here are a few plot points your character may come across as a vegetarian: