forewarning, this is blatantly inspired/stolen from shauna's blog. i decided after commenting on one of her entries, that since i had already expended the effort, i might as well x-post the ideas.
shauna wrote about how one can incorporate tofu or soy milk into their diet now and then, enjoy the taste and the health benefits, and still not be about to turn into a big hippie. hell, it doesn't even mean you're going to turn into a vegetarian. these days, it feels like both of these labels are lumped together and for whatever reason are associated with a degree of negativity. but WHY?! is there something so wrong with striving to have a healthy, balanced diet that doesn't involve the killing of animals? is it so terrible to make simple life choices with the state of the environment [and our FUTURE] in mind? i don't think so.
from my personal experience as a strict vegetarian, i've noticed that most people are very quick to judge. if you're eating tofu, you MUST be a vegetarian. if you don't even eat fish or chicken stock, you're so radical you MUST be a vegan. and then after they've decided that, they actively make a point of LOOKING for something that'll mean you've strayed away from that. they're WAITING for you to fall on your face so they can say 'i told you so', or make it seem like you just weren't good enough or something along those lines.
eating tofu or drinking soy milk now and then is GOOD for pretty well anyone. little steps like this are making a positive difference in ones health and the environment. who CARES if you haven't made every single, radical life-altering decision out there?! every little bit helps when you're doing something better for yourself and better for the world you live in. RIGHT?!
i mean really, it's none of your business what anyone else eats anyway. if you want to eat meat, all of the power to you! and i think THIS might be where the 'conflict' lies. so many carnivores get so frustrated with radical vegetarians and 'hippies' if you will, that the guard goes up and they become big hypocrites. if you're angry that "an entire group of people" make you feel like your lifestyle is 'bad' and 'wrong' and 'judgmental', then why would you turn around and throw the exact same accusations at another group of people? you already know you don't like being treated that way. i thought the golden rule accounted for something...or maybe we just all need to go back to kindergarten.
there's radicals on both sides of the fence, so i think it's just important to remember the basic principles of respect and treating others the way you want to be treated. and hell, be open minded! remember the dr. seuss book, green eggs and ham?! you might find vegetarianism a lot like that...without the ham of course.