Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Vegetarianism: Food for Thought

A workshop on being a Vegetarian in a non-vegetarian world Experiential Intercultural Workshop designed by Kate La Corte Department of Communication Studies, West Chester University
Spring 2009


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Table of contents Part 1 y y Part 2 y y y y y The Disgruntle Vegetarian By: Kate La Corte (teaching essay) 90-minute workshop outline Class agenda PowerPoint Slides Stuck in the Peanut Butter Activity Materials Analysis of participant evaluations Trainer notes

The Disgruntled Vegetarian
By: Kate La Corte
It all started when my 10th grade English teacher handed out the annual summer reading list. On this particular summer s list was the book; Fast Food Nation by Eric Scholosser. As I progressed through the book, my selections at the vacation restaurants started to change. I started to no longer order that juicy prime rib off the menu but rather opting for the nice garden salad. This, however, is a lot harder then it sounds. Many of my meals would either be a serving of an appitiezer as my entrée or I would create a meal myself with random selections of sides off of the menu. Many times I would edit an entrée on the menu so much that I had created an entirely new dish. I am not the only one who found the simple activity of ording off of a menu to be challanging. Ali Moss reflects back on her first ordering out experience stating, The next day, I walked into a Blimpie s. It was to be my first challenge. Preparing to order a cheese sub, I looked up at the menu and noticed a veggie burger sub. Excellent, I thought, This is going to be easy. I was so wrong (Moss, 2003). Ali Moss has obviously felt some of the same vegetarian pain of ordering as I have. My favorite incident of this was at a recent family event I was forced to practically argue with the management to serve me something I was able to eat. It was a sit down dinner with multiple courses served, all of which included meat. So I pulled the waitress aside and politely asked her that for the main course if I could just have a bowl of pasta. She went to talk to her boss, a few minutes later I suddely hear from behind me, You don t want no meat? I told the manager that I was a vegetarian and if she could simply give me a bowl with some pasta I would be quite satisfied. Well apparently this was not something she was readily going to do. The conversation went something like this; So you re a VEG. Well, I m a vegetarian, if you could just give me


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

So you don t eat meat. How bout some fish? I don t eat any fish, just please give me a bowl of SO then what do you eat? Could you just give me a bowl of pasta, please? But I got two other courses with pasta in them, so I m not giving you a third, so what do you want. Really it s fine, I love pasta, I m Italian and really it is fine. She walks away and comes back moments later with the cheif. So you don t eat no meat? No, really a bowl of pasta is fine. You re a VEG eh? How bout some roasted vegetables and a spring roll instead? That s fine. Now of course this was very nice of him to make a separate meal for me, but the simple fact that I had to argue with the staff was quite frustrating. And unforunitly this is not the only time I have had a reaction similar to the one above. An even more frustrating conversation at times is when the topic of my dietary habbits come up with someone who did not know about it previously. This of course always leads down two roads, one being that they are impressed and state over and over again how they could never give meat up. The second of course is those who try to convince me that eating meat is good for you and that I am being silly not to eat it. This I always find amazing , if I told them I do not eat bread no one would even bat an eye lash, but the moment you say you do not eat meat everyone seems to have an opinion on the topic. For those who take the direction of trying to make me change my mind, it comes down to one very simple problem. They don t understand why. The majority of people I have conlideded on this issue assume that it is because I have a great undying love for animals and that is the sole reason I would take such a radical approach to my diet. This however may be a product of the culture of the United States and the lack of education Americans receive other then the occational People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conmerical or headline on their nightly news. Americans are simily not exposed to Vegetairan Culture. On of the reason s behind it maybe be due to what Bobby Allen found when he conducted a study of Vegetarianism in Politcal magazines, Vegetariansim isn t covered in politcal magazines. And demonstrarted by articles in The National Review and The Nation, politcal affiliation


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

doesn t matter when if comes to ignorance about vegetarianism and veganism. Maybe it s good that political megazine s don t tackle vegetarianism, keeping the practice and lifestyle a non-partisan issue. But I think it behooves politcical periodicals accorss the nation to cover an issue that has such a widespread cultural, economic, and evironmental impacts as vegetarianism, not as merely a brief aside to Dennis Kucinich or Ralk Nader (Allen, 2008). My grandmother is a perfect example of this and is quite funny about the topic. Untill recently whenever she would introduced me to a new family member or one of her friends it would go something like this, This is my oldest granddaughter Kate, she is a student at West Chester University and a vegetarian! My mother and I were not sure we should take offense to this comment, as it she seems to be slightly calling me a freak or rather she just finds it fabulous. However, a recent development has occurred. This past christmas I received a vegetairan cookbook from my grandmother. I viewed this as a sort of peace offering on her part, which I am glad to see it only took her five years to make. Along with the prior introduction of being a vegetarian, anytime we sit down to a meal, my grandmother must remind the entire table that I am a vegetarian. This I always find slightly odd because my young cousin, Colin, is extrmely allergic to peanuts and she fails to announce this at meal time. However, I think the reason she has such a harsh reaction to this is most likely due to the lack of information on the topic. As my grandmother and many like her, the knowledge gap on Vegetarian culture is huge and many times non existant. All in all I do not regret my decision to become a vegetarian, granted I do get some funny looks and have had some irritating incidences that were caused by it. With the every changing world, I hope that some day the choice to not eat meat will be as widely accepted as to drive a Honda instead of a Ford. But it is who I am, and people can take it or leave it, just pass me those peas please! References: 1. Allen, B. (2008). Vegetarianism in Political Magazines. Vegetarian Journal , 30. 2. Moss, A. (2003, August 23). Tales of a teenage vegetarian. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from Supermarket Guru: http://archive.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/2329


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Workshop Outline
Goals: y Participants will learn about Vegetarians including o Different types o Dietary habits o Why people choose to become vegetarians y Participants will reflect and understand: o What it is like to live in a non-vegetarian friendly world o What would make someone become a vegetarian? o How to be sensitive when meeting others who are different then themselves.

Before Workshop 12:00-12:15

The Disgruntle Vegetarian Read accompanying teaching essay Those people who only eat vegetables. Breakout Activity-Make list with class of stereotypes of Vegetarians. Talk about the pros and cons of each stereotype for vegetarian culture. Ode to Vegetables Information Lecture- Serve vegetarian friendly and dietary balanced food. Talk about diet, food pyramid, different types of Vegetarians. I want a BLT without the B Restaurant Menu Activity Students are paired off and must order from the menu given to them, however there are no vegetarian friendly meals on the menu- GET CREATIVE! Life Connected Video and Discussion-Watch clip from Life Connected. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6_hjA4cdjM Discuss vegetarianism and reason why people do it, besides for animal rights. Lead discussion on why Americans view meat as such a central part of their meal and why not eating meat is viewed harshly. Also answer any questions the class has at this time about being vegetarian.





Getting Stuck in the Peanut butter Role Play- Sticky vegetarian situations. Pair students up and give each a situation a vegetarian will run into and have them act out and discuss each situation with the class. Evaluation Would ask students to sit and reflect on what they had heard and if they would have a different approach next time they meet someone who is a vegetarian. Students will free write.



Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

PowerPoint Presentation

Let us first watch a video

Vegetarianism: Food for Thought

Activity-³Getting Stuck in the Peanut butter´

Situation One
You a re invited to a Wed d ing . T o nly o p tio ns he o n the d inner c a rd a re Chic ken o r Beef«

Now let¶ s role play som e stic ky situa tions Vegeta rians get into.
Rem e m b er: ‡Yo u ha ve to b e p o lite ‡Do n¶ t of fend a nyo ne ‡Do n¶ t g o on a ra nt

Wha t d o you d o ?

Situation T wo

Situation T hree

A t a Re st a ura n t, y o u o rd e r a c he e se q ue sa d illa , b ut th e y st ill p u t c hic ke n in it«

Yo u g o t o a n a c q u a in ta n c e h o u se fo r d in ne r, th e y se rv e a nic e p rim e rib a nd lo b ste r fo r d in ne r b ut n o t m a ke v e g e t a ria n frie n d ly m a in c o u rse a s w e ll«

Wh a t d o y o u d o ? Wh a t d o y o u d o ?


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Situation Four


Wh a t d o y o u d o ?

Materials for Getting Stuck in the Peanut Butter Activity
1. Print out each slide 2. Cut out each slide 3. Give slide to each group

Situation One

You are invited to a Wedding. T only options he on the dinner c ard are Chic ken or Beef«

What do you do?


Yo u a re o n a f irst d a t e w ith so m e o n e y o u re a lly like , it¶ s tim e t o o rd e r d in ne r, th e y o rd e r th e b e st c u t o f m e a t o n th e m e n u a n d p ro c e e d t o d o th e sa m e fo r yo u«

VEG AN. For the People. F or t he Planet . F or t he Animals. (2008, 8). Ret riev ed March 13, 2009, fr om YouTube: htt p:/ /www. youtube.com /watch?v=U6_hj 4cdjM

ugus t


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Situa tion Two

At a Resta ura nt, you o rd e r a c hee se uesa d illa , b ut the y still p ut c hic ke n in it«

Wha t d o you d o ?




Yo u o to a n a c ua inta nc e house fo r d inne r, the y serve a nic e p ri e rib a nd lo b ste r for d inne r b ut not a ke ve eta ria n friend ly a in c ourse a s e ll«

Wha t d o you d o ?


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

Situa tion Four

You a re on a first d a te w ith so m eo ne you rea lly like , it¶ s tim e to o rd e r d inne r, they o rd er the b est c ut o f m ea t o n the m enu a nd p ro c e ed to d o the sa m e fo r yo u«

Wha t d o you d o ?

Evaluation Strategy
I would like to see if they learned anything about being vegetarian other then what people eat and how they feel about animals rights. I would hope to see if they understand the bigger picture of it all. In addition to understand the values many people place behind not eating meat. So instead of just saying that people become vegetarians because they love animals they should understand there are many different reason s people become vegetarian other than animal rights. In addition I hope they think about approaching people with a difference then them differently than just blurting it out or trying to change their mind.

Trainer Notes
Video and Group Discussion- Be ready to answer more personal questions if you are a vegetarian yourself. These questions tend to be to why you picked to be a vegetarian and not just general question about what a vegetarian is. Also, when discussing the video be prepared with more than just a few questions in case you do not get much response back. Try to ask more questions that would influence the group to talk amongst each other and not just to the instructor. Some of the questions I asked and had prepared were the following:


Vegetarianism: Food For Thought

y y y y y

So why do you think individuals choose to become vegetarians? Why do you think not eating meat is such a big deal compared to not eating something like carbohydrates? Why do you think Americans view meat as such an important part of the meal? Do you associate PETA with vegetarianism? Do you think if people associate PETA with vegetarianism, it gives vegetarianism a negative connotation?

Getting Stuck in the Peanut Butter Activity- Again be ready to answer more person questions if you yourself are a vegetarian. Make sure the students understand that they cannot offend the person that is offending them. If time allows have them act out the situation so that others can see how awkward it is for the non-meat eater. Doing this may provoke more conversation among the group about situations they themselves had been in that were not ideal.