As I'm still flirting and getting used to being a vegetarian after 31 years I really enjoy the meat "substitute" products. Y'know Tofu dogs, veggie burgers etc.
I mentioned to a friend that I was going to be having something like a "Tofurkey" roast on Christmas day and they basically laughed in my face and said I wasn't a proper veggie if I ate these things and might as well eat meat.
Their reaction took me aback and tbh I said very little. In my head I was thinking, well actually it's not the same at all, my sausage "shaped" dinner hasn't got to my plate through horrendous suffering on the part of some poor animal.
Instead I just sat there and took what I can only descibe as abuse :(
I'd really appreciate others thoughts of meat substitute products and how you justify them
To me, eating a tofurkey roast is no stranger than a meat eater eating a meat 'loaf' (ew...). People take meat and grind it up and shape it into patties, nuggets, etc. What is so bothersome about taking soy or wheat or another veggie protein and forming shapes with it?
That being said, don't eat faux meats too often they are really not a health food. Better to make your own veggie patties and loaves etc normally, and reserve the faux for once in a while.
Faux meats can also be a good transitioning food to fill in the gaps while you're flirting or newly veg.
I would pick a time when things are calm and gently confront your friend about this treatment.
Arlene, geesh, can't friends really be something?!?
While it is true that many long-term vegans/vegetarians eventually lose the taste for faux meats, there is certainly NOTHING strange about you relying on them quite a bit at first! Meat analogs certainly serve a variety of purposes beyond just 'transitional' foods as well:
Perhaps you would like to share a meal with carnivores and herbivores alike and provide something that everyone feels comfortable with; perhaps you require the convenience of a prepared meal suitable for vegans; perhaps you would like to offer your host an easy option at a BBQ; perhaps you are feeding the neighbor's children; or perhaps you simply like the flavor or texture of meat but wish to forgo the cruelty!
Either way, there is an astronomical difference between your tofu pup and a real hot dog in that no pigs, chickens, cows, turkeys, raccoons, penguins, or whatever else is in a hot dog were slaughtered for your consumption when you choose the tofu pup.
I'm not sure whether your friend is a hardcore vegan/raw-foodist/macro just looking to "one up" you or a hardcore meat-eater looking for a reason to disrespect your new lifestyle. But, as a long-term, mainly wholefoods (though not technically superhero/macro due to my love of tomato, eggplant, & nutritional yeast) vegan, I say FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT (and ignore the naysayers).
You are doing something amazing by abstaining from meat - that is something to celebrate, not knock down! You keep up the great work and don't let anyone get you down. Usually when people get aggressive or defensive, it's because they know deep down that there's something wrong with how they eat. If you're being a positive, kind influence, 99% of the time it's them, not you. So keep drumming to the beat of your own heart, eat as much Tofurkey as you gosh darn please, and let the naysayers spend their holidays eating animals - I promise that if you remain positive, yet firm in your beliefs and behavior, they will begin to respect you for it. And if they don't, well, then they aren't a true friend.
Thanks so much for all your kind responses. It really echoed a lot of what I was thinking in my own head, but hearing it from you guys gave me strength. Things have progressed with the friend. He's throwing a Xmas party this weekend and actually twittered me "thai red curry, cheesy courgette balls, breads n homemade dips for the veggy option what ya think?". How warmed was my heart. I think he's obviously thought about it and for whatever reason I'm just so pleased that he's accomodating me. Much love xox