Vegetarianism is a divisive topic, but no matter how you feel about animal rights, everyone can agree on one thing: it's incredibly hard to not eat bacon.
To explore the unhappy underbelly of ethical eating, we asked vegetarians across the country to share some of their day-to-day hardships involved in maintaining a meatless diet. Here are 23 reasons to have pity on their bacon-deprived souls.
Turning down home-cooked meals
This was by far the most popular response. It sucks when someone's gone out of their way to cook, and you're left to awkwardly decline their hospitality.
Being lumped in with snobby vegetarians
This was the second most common response. That person guilting you for enjoying meat? They're the 1%. Most vegetarians hate those types of preachy vegetarians.
Antagonistic, ethical wormholes
If a cow is killed in the woods, and no one is around to hear it moo in pain, will you eat it? If you had to kill a chicken in order to stop a world-destroying plague, would you eat it then? Vegetarians are not excited about answering these types of questions. Most will happily explain their views, if you don't come at them with gloves swinging.
Crappy non-meat menu items and bad fake meat substitutes
That one obligatory veggie enchilada isn't really making anyone happy. And surprisingly, vegetarians aren't all looking for faux meat dishes.
The fact that Hitler was a vegetarian
Talk about ethical dilemmas.
Not having opinions about local restaurants
Good luck joining debates on BBQ rankings.
Having to study labels in grocery stores
You never know where gelatin might rear its ugly head.
Missing out on family food traditions
If you're Italian, you can kiss Sunday meatballs goodbye.
Making your Mom cry
She worked hard on that vegetable soup, but somehow forgot that chicken stock comes from chickens. And chickens? They're animals.
One of the best things about traveling is exploring new food cultures. One of the worst things about vegetarianism is figuring out if a restaurant abroad cooks their beans in lard.
July 4th cookouts
Veggie dogs just don't feel as American.
Lack of restaurant options
Even the most veg-friendly cities have only a handful of decent vegetarian restaurants.
Grillmasters not having a dedicated pair of veggie tongs
Or if they overly stress their veggie tongs.
The undeniable deliciousness of bacon
Animal suffering never tasted so good.
Hope you like Subway.
Having to explain where you get protein from
Vegetarianism isn't a fad diet -- many cultures have been practicing it for centuries. That's even without the help of multivitamins!
Not getting enough iron
If you're not careful you might become anemic and bald and your fingernails will break in half.
Explaining that you don't eat fish
People who abstain from most meat but still consume fish are called pescetarians/quitters.
Picking meat out of dishes
If you take the pepperoni off a pepperoni pizza, it's still a pepperoni pizza.
Not the best time to talk personal politics or order a salad.
Try eating out these days without coming across a menu full of pork belly.
Seventeen baby carrots and a handful of asparagus do not a meal make.
Bacon will tear you apart.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He was a vegetarian for five years, a secret he has been keeping from his coworkers for just as long. Follow him to veggie enchilada flashbacks at @Dannosphere.