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how do you answer when people ask, "CAN you eat cheese?"

i get so irritated when people ask me crap like this... i always answer... "i can eat whatever i want.  i chose not to."

is that nit-picking?

it really bothers me.

Eh, I don't let things like that bother me anymore. There's no use being, I guess, "technical" with people who are either completely ignorant or condescending. They don't care what you have to say no matter what you say. So in such a situation I would probably just say, "No, I can't eat cheese" and then move on in the conversation.

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"i can eat whatever i want.  i chose not to."

I'm always saying this to annoying people....

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I usually say something like that too actually, like "Well I could if I wanted to but I don't want to." And sometimes I slip in something about, "what with the ties to the factory farming and inhumane slaughtering industry I just don't want to." but I'm doing that less because I get sick of hearing the variet of inane responses I usually get. :)

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"It's not a can't-have, it's a don't-want... um, you DO realize you're eating breast milk, right?! and from a whole other species?! Seriously, man... that's pretty gross. What ever made you decide that was a good idea?! How bizarre..."   

or

"Well, you know, it's just that I've got this allergy to animal-derived foods... makes me break out in heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, IBS, arthritis, endometriosis, asthma, acne, migraines, and osteoporosis...think I'll pass!"

or (especially if I know the person well enough to know the answer is 'No')

"Do you eat veal? No?... me neither; dairy's the same thing. The dairy industry IS the veal industry... So it'd be hypocritical of me to avoid the one, and support the other, wouldn't it?!" (I'm always surprised how few people have ever thought about this issue... where do they THINK the baby cows GO?!!!)

I also like to point out that humans have only consumed cow's milk regularly for about 7,500 years, in our 400,000 years of evolution as 'homo sapiens' (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827202513.htm)... so actually, from a historical perspective, *consuming* dairy is the aberration! (I'm in the bible belt, so this usually deflects the convo nicely: now I'm in an evolution argument rather than a food ethics argument, which is guaranteed to piss THEM off too... rather than having a discussion that only annoys ME.)  >:D

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These questions are never benign. It really doesn't matter what you say to them, or even how you say it. There's just no use, and there's even less use in letting this shit get to you. Be strong in your convictions. You stand for something, and that makes some people uncomfortable and defensive. Fuck them.

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this is a little beside the point but for some reason lots of my friends and family STILL think I am gluten free, and well-meaningly will inquire if I've heard of different kinds of gluten-free products.  People always ask me how I live without cheese, and honestly when I was on the other side of the fence I would {annoyingly} ask the same thing. i guess its karma. I answer that I used to miss it and don't anymore, and recommened different recipes, etc...I've also been known to bring bags of nut. yeast as gifts when I go to people's houses.

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I had a discussion like this with a girl at work who's an an all-protein diet.  Besides many, many other things, she kept saying - "I CAN"T eat this and I CAN"T eat that..." then tried to make some kind of bridge between our diets, saying "I guess you know what that's all about."  Ummm.... no.  I said something like:  "The difference between what you're doing and I'm doing is you don't want to give up all the stuff you did and feel deprived.  I WANTED  to give up all the stuff I did and feel fantastic!"  What could she say?  Poor girl.

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I just say. . .

"I can but I don't."

People always wonder why I can't eat something non-vegan "just this once". That is when I say that I adhere to a set of rules as a matter of self discipline. Yes it takes self discipline to stick to an excercise routine, to not give in to cravings and vices, to eat healty foods and moderate portions. As I close in on the half century mark I am in better health and physical shape than most 20 year olds - testmony to my CHOSEN healthy lifestyle. Few people can argue the validity of my chosen lifestyle while they sit there with a diet pepsi in one hand and a donut in the other.

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I just say. . .

"I can but I don't."

me too.

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it's not nit-picking, it's the truth. if i really wanted to, i'd eat cheese. but i don't WANT to. no one is forcing me to be vegan. i chose it.

but i usually answer those questions by rephrasing theirs: they ask "can you eat this?" i say "is it vegan? no"

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I usually say that I chose not to, but I'm also lactose intolerant, so when I'm out places or if it's someone I don't know very well, then I say I can't, because it's true.  I mean, yeah, I miss it, so I agree when people say that, but I also like not getting terribly sick after eating it.

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These questions are never benign. It really doesn't matter what you say to them, or even how you say it. There's just no use, and there's even less use in letting this shit get to you. Be strong in your convictions. You stand for something, and that makes some people uncomfortable and defensive. Fuck them.

Yeah that.

Yesterday the entire hospital got ice cream for hospital week.  When I didn't get any there were questions and my answer was "I'm being good" and people accepted that.  What I wanted to say is "do you how many cows suffered so you 1000 ice cream eating pigs could get a treat???".   

I don't come across a lot of annoying people, and I never tire of their questions.  I do like the "I can eat it, but I choose not to because........" answer.

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I CAN. I choose not to. I can eat whatever I want, but I make ethical decisions to eat a particular kind of food and omit others. This is usually enough to either A) piss people off enough that they leave or B) engage them somehow.

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I'm another one who usually goes with some variation of "I can, but I choose not to."  In fact, I've said that phrase so often around my nephew and niece, who are 10 and 8, that now if their mother or someone asks if I can have some non-vegan food, one of them nearly always pipes up with "She can, she just chooses not to."  :)

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When people ask me that, they're usually trying to figure out what to feed me, or being genuinely curious.  They're not trying to needle me.  However, I do frequently respond, "I can but I choose not to," because I think it is important for them to realize that this is a choice that I make, not rules that are being imposed on me.

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I punch them in the nose as hard as I can

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I punch them in the nose as hard as I can

Take THAT for not living a kind life, you damn bastards!!! Now PISS OFF!

(AML, you have made me giggle.)

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violence begets violence?

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...or is it: '*uninformed-omni questions* beget violence'? (shrug) oh wel... tomato/ tomahto...  ;D

(for the record, if any young children are following this thread: violence is NOT the answer! also... do as I say and not as I do; a penny scraped is a penny burned; and, a bird in the bush is worth two on the plate... Is anyone writing this down? there's some bitchin' good advice going on here!)

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My dad used to alway ask me "can you eat X?" and I too would answer "I can, I just choose not to." Now he always says something like "read the ingredients on this, do you choose to eat it?" He says it in a kind of tongue-in-cheek way but I think it's funny. :) Love my dad.

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