Vegetarianism is a growing part of our society. Though at one point it may have seen odd, it is now a recognized and respected ethical system. There are 7.3 million vegetarians in the U.S. Even more people than this occasionally follow aa vegetarian based diet. I think it is safe to say, that vegetarians are accepted and supported within our society.
As a vegetarian, you may at times feel surrounded by carnivores pressuring you to change your ways. I don’t believe there has been an official poll taken on how most people feel about vegetarianism, but vegetarian diets have been around for hundreds of years. Even Ben Franklin ate a vegetarian diet for part of his life, believing it to be healthier than a meat-based diet.
Actually, I think America is one of the more vegetarian friendly countries of the world. Restaurants are required to have at least one meatless item on their menu because so many people choose not to eat meat. I’ve been vegetarian for about 5 years now and I haven’t really gotten any flack for it aside from a few people who were pretty ignorant in the first place. I think Americans don’t see anything abnormal about vegetarianism and have accepted it as a fairly common thing.
I think it depends on where you are living. Some people and places are more accepting of the vegetarian lifestyle than others. The more meat-centric the culture, the less acceptable it will be to step out of that tradition. I think we are moving towards a society more accepting of the vegetarian lifestyle because of health and environmental reasons and because it is more visible in popular culture. This shift can be seen in simple changes in American culture, such as the addition of the veggie burger to many restaurants and the campain for Meatless Mondays.
In my life, I believe two of the most important decisions I have made were becoming a vegetarian and then becoming a meat-eater again. I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons and was one for 4.5 years. During that time, there were people who respected my decision and people who thought I was crazy. I started eating meat again for health reasons, and since, I feel that people are more accepting. But this is very much due to practical reasons, because it is harder to cater to a vegetarian/vegan. Like with anything, there will be a spectrum of opinions and judgments.
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