(Nicole Goss / The Poly Post)

Respect people’s diet choices

So, I don’t eat beef anymore. It’s not that big of a deal.

At least, it shouldn’t be.

Not eating cow meat is a recent change in my diet. Cheeseburgers were my go-to cheat meal and a nice, thick steak was always on the menu for my birthday. It came as a shock to my family when I announced that I would be giving that all up.

On nights I’m not home for dinner, I’ll find out that my family had food from In-N-Out, or some other burger joint, so they could “get their fix” since I was not there.

I didn’t ask them to change their diet with me. My parents replaced ground beef with ground turkey months before I made this decision. But now it seems to have become an issue and they always bring it up when there’s a swap made to accommodate my new diet.

(Nicole Goss / The Poly Post)

I’m not a vegan. I eat chicken and pork and I still love cheese.

My decision comes from research I’ve come across about heart complications related to red meat consumption. I’ve also seen a few documentaries about how the beef industry releases copious amounts of greenhouse gases and leads to deforestation.

This is what I tell people when they ask why I decided to give up beef; why I no longer consume cow.

After I’ve said my piece about heart complications due to red meat consumption and the industry’s environmental effects, people always say, “But it’s so good.” I know how good it is. They tell me there’s no stopping the meat industry. I know that too. And they tell me they’re going to eat it anyway. I hope they enjoy it. I really do.

But this is something I didn’t think I would have to deal with. Now, I realize this is what I used to do to vegans. I wondered how they could go without eating some of the foods that are part of the established food pyramid. How could they not eat this or that? I was unable to grasp this.

I would tease my vegan friends about not having cheese or not eating a hamburger. This is stuff they probably hear all of the time; I know because now I’m dealing with it when I go out. I have to explain why.

Perhaps it’s because it isn’t a religious decision. I had a friend who couldn’t eat pork or pork products due to his beliefs. No one said anything other than, “It’s because of his religion.” They wouldn’t demand further explanation. That was it.

I know someone who is on a ketogenic, or keto diet. If she doesn’t lose weight, her health complications will worsen. She consulted a doctor and a trainer before partaking in the keto diet. But whenever she turns away food, people ask why.

Their curiosity turns to astonishment and utter disbelief that someone would put their body through such a diet. But she needs to. She’s taking all of the steps necessary to make sure her diet is safe.

Unless they’re genuinely invested in her journey, then forcing their opinions on her (without proper research on their part) gets old.

So, I gave up beef. I gave up carne asada tacos and I can’t order beef cuts at Korean BBQ. Leave it alone. Please and thank you.

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