I respect people who live the vegetarian lifestyle for religious reasons or out of personal commitment to prevent cruelty to animals, and I do not want to antagonize people who are vegetarians for those reasons. But there are many people who become vegetarian simply because it sounds like a cool thing to do, or their friends and family members are doing it. If you know someone in the latter category, you can try to persuade them to give up vegetarianism by setting out the following three facts:
1. Vegetarianism is unhealthy. While many people who live the vegetarian lifestyle will tell you that they are healthier than non-vegetarians and that they can get all the vitamins and nutrients they need from fruits and vegetables, the reality is that it is very difficult to fulfill all of the human body’s dietary needs without eating meat. Some people work really hard and accomplish that goal, but many people will not. Most people will be healthier if they eat meat in moderation.
2. Vegetarianism is socially awkward. It is difficult for true vegetarians to have dinner with friends or business colleagues. It is a hassle ensuring that any food served meets with the requirements of vegetarianism. Like any strict dietary code, vegetarianism forces people to spend a lot of time deciding what they can and cannot eat, and for most people the cost of that hassle outweighs the benefits of vegetarianism. There is also the possibility of offending other people by not eating their food.
3. Vegetarians miss out on some great food. This third factor might sound flippant, but it is actually quite important. In modern society, food has cultural value, as well as pleasure value. People who do not consume any meat dishes miss out on a larger cultural aspect of life that the rest of us take for granted. This missed opportunity affects one’s quality of life, and for many people will offset any gains in quality of life derived from vegetarianism.
Let me reiterate that I have nothing but respect for people who choose to be vegetarians for religious or ethical reasons. With regards to people who become vegetarians for other reasons though, you might want to discuss the three facts listed above in order to encourage them to accept meat into their diet.