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16 Thoughts a Vegetarian Has at a BBQ

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This summer marks 10 years since I decided to become a vegetarian. It was before my senior year of high school, and I had made a few lifestyle changes to be healthier, and I realized that I hadn’t eaten meat in a couple months. And it wasn’t just the health reasons. I really just did not prefer the taste of meat, and with my new, healthier lifestyle I began to discover a whole plethora of flavors and dishes that I always preferred. So I decided to make the label official and never looked back.

The change was for the most part well-received by the people in my life, but living in Kansas City, MO, the barbecue capital of the world, meant that I definitely found myself on a few occasions being targeted for my non-meat eating ways, especially during summer cookouts. From walking into the barbecue to the point of almost getting ready to leave, this is what it was like to be a vegetarian in the Midwest.

No, I will not fall over and die of starvation right now. There are definitely things here I can eat, and look: I brought my own veggie-friendly sides! (This isn't my first rodeo.) 

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Why don't I eat meat? Why does it matter? I’m here to enjoy everyone’s company and generally bask in the lovely summer air. We can talk about my non-meat-eating ways later…over e-mail…maybe.

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No, I can’t eat the potato salad just because it’s a salad. It has bacon bits. (Okay, mostly, it’s just that potato salad is disgusting and this is just a nice way of saying it’s not your potato salad, it’s me. But really it’s the potato salad.)

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Um, that's a pig. A whole pig. Roasting on a spit in the corner.

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Yes, I really do love pickles. I’m not just eating these because they’re one of the main vegetables here.

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Just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I want a meat substitute. Veggie burger? Bleck. I'm perfectly fine with these lovely sides that I made and brought from home. And if I gave up meat, why would I want to eat something meant to taste like it?

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Grilled veggies? Yes! Definitely. Would love some of those. Thank you for asking.

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Whoa, whoa: Please clean that grill and the pinchers off before putting those veggies on there. I did not sign up for meat-greased veggies when we made that agreement. Cross-contamination is not cool.

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What’s that? My sides are the bomb? I know. It’s really not as painful as it may seem to be a vegetarian.

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No, I’m not still hungry. As previously mentioned, there is a lot of other food here, and believe it or not, it’s all very filling.

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For the last time: I decided to stop eating meat because I started making healthier decisions, didn’t prefer the taste, and found myself eating more of other things and less meat-based meals.

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What do I eat? Are you serious? Come on, now. You just saw me eat a full plate of food.

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Hold up. Don’t even pretend that you’re interested in becoming a vegetarian, thee with KC Masterpiece smeared all over your face. Talking about it right now is cute, but I know you better (and so do you!). If you really want to, you will. And we don’t have to talk about it.

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No, I don’t judge you for eating meat. To each her own. I’m not here to convert. (Just please keep our conversation over here, out of sight line of the pig remains.)

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Ohhh, yes, I do eat dessert! I’m not a perfect health foodie. I just eat what I want. And I don’t want to eat burgers and hot dogs.

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Hey, there hasn't been an eating-related questions in the past 30 minutes. I think I did it. I think I survived. Or everyone’s just a little tipsy by now and totally distracted. Amazing. Pour me another glass.

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