The DeVeggie Lisa Campaign: Day One


My friend Lisa has been a vegetarian for 15 years. 15 years! That’s a mighty long time to live a life of meatless depravation. I’ve tried every tactic in the book to talk her back into eating meat: she won’t budge. So now it’s your turn. Lisa has agreed to let you, my reading public, try to DeVeggie her. The way it will work is this. In the comments here, write an argument trying to convince Lisa to eat meat. (By meat, I’m happy with fish, poultry or beef. Lisa eats none of these things.) The winner will receive (drumroll): $100! That’s right. I will give you $100 if you can talk Lisa into eating meat. Why? Because there’s no way you’re winning that $100. I’m that sure of it. But maybe you can blow my mind (and wallet) and Lisa’s mind with your ultra-compelling arguments. That remains to be seen. But first, some background info on your subject—a letter from Lisa explaining her vegetarianism.

Dear Adam,

You asked me to tell you why I became a vegetarian.  Here is the tale:

On my eleventh birthday, my parents told me they would take me to the restaurant of my choice for a celebratory dinner.  Being eleven, I chose Red Lobster.  While browsing the menu for delicious seafood goodness, my father said to me, “Say Lisa, have you ever had a lobster?”  “Why no,” I replied. “They’re mighty delicious…” he said.  “I’d HIGHLY recommend one.”  And it was so.  He ordered me a lobster and I eagerly awaited the tasty treat that was to come.

Fifteen minutes later, a Red Lobster waitress placed a dead lobster on a plate in front of me.  That was the beginning of the end.  Until that point, I hadn’t thought much about the animals that died so that I could eat meat, but when they handed me that dead lobster looking just as it did when it was alive (where i’d seen it crawling around in the tank before we were seated), the whole concept just hit me like a big ol truck.  My eleven year old mind began to contemplate life and death and the food chain and right vs. wrong and power vs. weakness and good vs. evil etc. etc. etc.  So by the time I’d finished my lobster [YES, I FINISHED THE LOBSTER.   I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A GOOD EATER AND I WASN’T ABOUT TO QUIT JUST BECAUSE OF AN INTERNAL STRUGGLE], the choice had been made.  I would eat meat no more. 

Side note: If you talk to any member of my family, they’ll tell you that by the end of the meal I’d named the lobster Willie and asked if we could have a funeral for it, but that is a complete fabrication created by my family because they think it makes the story better.  I think it actually makes the story WAY LAME and that the story stands just fine as is. 

People frequently think that because I don’t eat meat, I think that everyone shouldn’t eat meat.  This isn’t the case.  It’s just something that I don’t feel right about doing, but I wholly respect the choices of others.  As long as you don’t eat people or my cat, I have a complete laissez faire attitude about your diet. 

So here I am, 15 years later, and still going strong.  I’m warning you – I have put a LOT of thought into this issue, and I don’t think I’m going to change my mind unless I develop a serious vitamin deficiency or perhaps when I’m pregnant and feeding an unborn child (but we’re hoping that doesn’t happen any time in the near future). 

Best of luck on your quest for change,


There you have it folks: your challenge. I can’t wait to read your efforts. And for those who find this contest uninteresting, stay tuned for the next installment: The DeFlower Lisa Campaign. (Lisa doesn’t know about this yet. Shhhhh….)

48 thoughts on “The DeVeggie Lisa Campaign: Day One”

  1. Lisa darling, if you don’t eat chicken, where will we find the place to bury them? As it is, the world’s facing a severe shortage of space…

  2. I have vague memories of science class but I remember the bulging eyes of my teacher when she said that protein hads seven parts called “acides aminés” and that some cannot be created by your body and can ONLY BE FOUND IN MEATs. So in fact your putting your health in jeopardy and no matter how much cheese or tofu or any other vitamin food you eat, you’ll be depriving your body of some essential ones. Now I don’t know if you watched those cartoons when you were a kid, about the human body and each cell was represented by a cute little person. Now imagine that little person not being cute anymore but skinny and tired and wrinkled and crying softly “Carne….carne…. quiero carne” (I just made up the fact that they speak spanish but you get my point). Also, I see that your vegetarianism is due to refusal of cruelty and killing. So what do you make of those mean sharks and yetis that kill and EAT people? I believe that , like parents talk to teenagers about puberty, at one point,hens gather all their little chickens to teach them The Meaning of Their Life which is ultimately to end up on a plate next to murdered potatoes and carots that have been skinned alive. So do them a favour, you’ve been hurting their feelings for way too long… ;)

  3. Lisa is a vegetarian virgin? Good for her! No need to rush into eating meat or doing err..other things. Does she wear leather products? I would assume not.

    Resist, Lisa, RESIST!

  4. Hey Lisa,

    I respect your diet as well. I write here only to win the $100.

    First of all, humans are also part of the food chain. Humans have been eaten by other carnivorous animals. We all wouldn’t be here, scattered all around the world and communicating thru some wires (!), if other humans hadn’t eaten other animals. Go look in a mirror and admire your beautiful teeth. Some of them are there solely for the purpose of tearing and chewing meat. Meat and fish are important in a diet as well. Your body lacks some essential vitamins and minerals etc.

    I understand mass production of meat in todays industrial countries is not always nice. As humans, we have to be respectful to the nature and behave nicer, especially to our food. But a happy cow, born and raised by her mother in freedom in the vast meadows of argentina, for example, is wasted if it just would die after, well 10 years. It could deliver you such a nice steak after a couple of nice years on the praire. Because, and that is the second issue, a really good piece of meat is delicious. Think about something you didn’t like when you were 11. Say, broccoli, or the neighbors son, or talking about the theater. Some of your dislikes are certainly gone, no? With 11 you can not have enjoyed a steak like you can when you are 26. People evolve, Lisa, that is how mankind has survived. Give it a try, and make sure you begin with something really good, not just an old hotdog from the corner.

    Thanks for listening *knicks*

  5. Hey, that Calfornian vegan woman on “Trading Spouses” ate alligator after not touching meat for twenty years, so the bottom line is, if you do break, make sure you eat something exotic. Like pork rinds.

  6. I don’t have any ideas now, but I’ll share some wisdom from the Simpsons episode Lisa the Vegetarian:

    Homer: “All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say ‘Yo Goober! Where’s the meat!?’. I’m trying to impress people here Lisa. You don’t win friends with salad.”

    From “The Meat Council Presents: `Meat and You: Partners in Freedom’. Number 3F03 in the `Resistance is Useless’ series.”

    Jimmy: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says its wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?

    Troy: Nooo, just ignorant. You see your crazy friend never heard of “The Food Chain”. [Flash to a picture of “Food Chain”, with all animals and arrows pointing to a silhouette of a human.] Just ask this scientician.

    Scientician: [Looking up from a microscope.] Uhhh…

    Troy: He’ll tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive.

    [Images of various wild carnivores attacking and eating others appear.]

    Don’t kid yourself Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he’d eat you and everyone you care about!

    [Image of a cow quietly chewing cud.]

    Jimmy: Wow, Mr. McClure. I was a grade A moron to ever question eating meat.

  7. Lisa, resist! As a vegetarian of more than 10 years, I can tell you that if you’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years, there’s no need to go back! Think about factory farming and the misery that animals in that system go through, not to mention the various and sundry environmental effect. (Animals poop. Sooner or later the tons of manure have to go somewhere. Too often it ends up in someone’s ground water.) For 15 years, you’ve been one less person contributing the that misery, and the consequences of that system. Don’t stop now! We need more people like you. Not less!

  8. sorry, but i’m going to have to be pro-lisa on this one.

    as for whether or not you can get all your necessary nutrients if you don’t eat meat, you can. my grandma is a dietician who’s kind of anti-vegetarian for non-professional reasons, and even she admits that at the most there are a couple of vitamins and minerals you’ll need to get from a multivitamin or enriched foods like cereal and otherwise vegetarians can be perfectly healthy.

  9. Lisa – your tale of a vegitarian transition is completely adorable and at the same time hilarious. I support your decision. Might I add that sometimes, it’s ok to eat scallops because they are MEAN.

  10. Lisa dear,

    By you not eating meat anymore…didnt stop Bush from going to war and whacking millions of people…it didnt stop osama from doing the nasty thing he did…it didnt stop from the recent tsunami that killed thousands…all i am saying is that i dont agree with your theory that if you stop eating meat, there will be one less lobster on the tank…actually, someone else may eat it up…Did you know that fish has very limited memory? they dont even know what hit them when they got killed….do you think that veggies have no life? you are killing live vegetables as well? how is that ok?

  11. Lisa, I took begacme a vegetarian at a tender age (11yrs). My parents sent me to camp one summer and we had horses and a farm. I toiled endlessly at the farm caring for the rabbits, sheep, goats, chickens, etc. to whom became quite attached.

    Went back for a second summer. Most of the same horses were there but none of the farm animals. One day I went into the walk-in freezer and found out why. It was pretty darn graphic. Let’s just say I never ate meat again.

    Like you, I don’t care what other people do and I don’t try to change their mind. So I’m not sure why people are bent on changing yours :)

  12. Lisa, how about insects?

    . . .Ok, wait a minute and hear me out.

    Yes, insects are meat, but they are also in many cases a good source of protein and eating them actually helps to reduce their population so that they do not destroy crops. (Crops of yummy healthy veggies.)

    So how about a chocolate covered grasshopper?

    And not to be too techincal here, but do you eat chocolate, peanut butter, or tomato sauce?

    If so, Adam arguably owes me $100.

    Paraphrased from National

    The FDA allows certain levels of natural defects in foods, as long as they do not pose a health risk.

    Chocolate can have up to 60 insect fragments per 100 grams, tomato sauce 30 fly eggs per 100 grams, and peanut butter 30 insect fragments per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).

  13. Dear Lisa – vegetarian for life,

    I too cannot take part in this contest, as I believe vegetarianism to be a wonderfully humane diet for those who can commit to it (which I sadly cannot!)

    However, I do care about animals very much, I eat meat only once a month, and I try to be free range and organic as much as possible with my purchases. However, I find the egg question very difficult! How does one not eat all of the fabulous desserts out their made with factory farmed eggs?

    Also, of course you know the drama behind the argument of murdering vegetables is hogwash. Vegetables do not have a central nervous system! Enough everyone!

    O.K. I hope I’ve conveyed the virtues of vegetarianism to everyone, even as I enjoy my monthly steak ;)

  14. Lisa, why only meat? How about those poor bacterias in cheese and yoghurt? What about beer and bread, its made with yeast … yeast is alive and yet we dump it in the oven to die of heat exposure. How cruel is that?

    Yes I do realize that this has more chance of making you vegan than carnivore but my point is, no matter how hard you try, you have to kill living organisms to live.

  15. I’m with Karen on this one. I was a vegetarian for 12 years, and let me tell you what changed my mind–it was that meat is tasty. It is sooooo delicious, I can’t even describe it to you. A warm piece of pastrami, crinkly bacon in the morning, a perfectly cooked scallop, a thin strip of prosciutto–they taste really, amazingly good. I think that being a vegetarian deprives you of a sinful number of fantastic life experiences. So many that it far outweighs the small environmental impact for me. Buy free range, buy local, buy tasty!!

  16. Wow, that is…a sad story. If going vegetarian stemmed from a trauamtizing experience (damn Red Lobster) I don’t really see the point of trying to make Lisa eat meat. At least she respects other people’s diets and she’s not doing it for nutritional purposes (not that I think meat is absolutely necessary for good nutrition but I don’t think it’s bad either). However, she will probably affect animals no matter what she eats. Eating wheat may support the beef industry as most grain in the US is grown for livestock. Same for soy and corn. If Lisa eats dairy products or eggs then they certainly affect animals as well. Animals may not have had to die for the milk or eggs but they may suffer depending on the source so I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to be vegetarian for humanitarian reasons without being completely vegan.

    The main reasons I can think of for someone to not eat meat are because the person either does not like the taste or can’t digest it or makes the person’s brain explode. I think eating meat is pretty natural although for various reasons it may not seem natural. We can’t exactly kill animals with our bare hands but that’s why humans invented tools among other things. Our stomach acids aren’t like a carnivore’s but our stomachs aren’t built like cows’ either. Something interesting in my opinion is that people are hardly (if ever) allergic to meat, but some common vegetarian foods are major allergens: wheat, soy, and corn. I don’t hink wheat and soy are very healthy and at this point (as I’m changing my diet) I eat them less than meat, which I eat about once a week as it is.

    If Lisa grew up in an environment where she had to hunt and eat meat, she’d be used to it. I don’t blame anyone for feeling queasy about the way meat is produced in our country, as most of it is disgusting and contaminated, but people will always eat meat no matter what. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to support locally grown meat or organic meat that was grown in a humane way to at least increase their part of the market.

    If Lisa doesn’t like the taste of meat and isn’t making up for it by eating tofu burgers or fake meats out of soy protein and she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything by not eating meat (probably not if she’s been doing it for so long) then I’d say continue vegetarianism as long as she’s healthy. I hate it when vegetarians buy meat substitutes because they just don’t want to eat meat. Meat is probably better for you, or at least less processed than some of the soy concoctions depending on the quality of the products.

  17. If we didn’t eat meat, there wouldn’t be such things as cows and chickens. Those things are being raised for their meat and milk. We would probably have some stuff for milk. These animals rarely are in the wild now.

    I was a vegetarian for a month. Haha. I couldn’t sway, but hey props to you.


  18. Ok, Please keep in mind that having been a vegetarian myself for 15 years I’m not saying I don’t understand and support it if you can be healthy while doing it. I’m only sharing my story…A year and a half ago I began having symptoms that led my internist to suspect the onset of MS. To make a long, very scary to me, story short, after 15 yrs of depriving my body of the necessary amounts of B12 I developed a b12 deficiency that was beginning to affect my central nervous system and memory. I was falling down, losing my balance, and my short term memory had suffered to the point where it would take my 5-6 tries to leave my office with everything I set out to take with me. I would sit down at the computer and have no idea what I sat down to do. I would drop things constantly, lose my balance and fall, etc. After being sent to a neurologist, undergoing an MRI, and blood work, it was determined that fortunately, it was a b12 problem. Options were supplements, shots, or eating meat/fish again. The supplements/shots made me incredibly sick. I decided, after much soul searching, to incorporate small amounts of meat back into my diet. That never made me sick and I saw a complete turnaround physically within 30 days! I honestly feel so much better, and to be perfectly honest…the meat and shellfish taste really, really good. I’ve read a lack of b12 over time can lead to Alzheimer’s. So anyway, hopefully, this won’t happen to you but it may be worth it to at least have your levels checked.

  19. Lisa:

    Its all alive before you kill it and eat it. The difference between meat and vegetables is that the vegetables can’t run away.


  20. Lisa should monitor her B12 intake, clearly … but I’m always mystified by arguments from meat-eaters that vegetarianism is unhealthy.

    I mean, I could be wrong, but don’t vegetarians on average live longer than meat-eaters? Not as much heart disease and all that?

    I guess this is no way to get the money. I’m not even a vegetarian.

  21. Lisa,

    Back to the insect argument. Do you ever kill bugs?

    Your problem with meat seems to be your hesitance to kill an animal for your own sustenance. But if you kill it ’cause it’s scary, and then you eat it, you won’t be violating your ideologoy. And I’ll win $100.

    So, next time you kill a roach (you live in NYC, right), or a spider ’cause you’re scared, eat it.

    You will have eaten meat. I will be rich.

    Thank you very much.

    P.S. I don’t think the previous insect post counts ’cause you’ve been eating them unwittingly all along.

  22. Lisa,

    While vegetarianism is probably quite healthy (I’m no scientist) and relatively easy to maintain in this day and age, I can’t help but think wistfully of the things I’d crave were I to begin eating only plants (and I love me a salad) for food…

    Duck confit, sweet and crispy and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside.

    Carnitas, yummy bits of pork, perfectly marinated.

    Bacon wrapped scallops.

    Creamy clam chowder.

    Smoked turkey with gouda on a baguette.

    Filet mignon, sweet honey ham, and once a year, ribs at the rib-off downtown.

    It’s true, when it comes to food, I’m a bit of a hedonist, and meat can be a big part of that. It’s just so good!

    While I’ve been trying to eat more grass-fed beef and free-range turkey from the farmer’s market, I don’t drive myself crazy about it.

    Being a vegetarian, while admirable (and TOTALLY a personal choice, of course), means there are flavors you will simply never experience, because plants can’t recreate them.

    Thus concludes my Spartan cheer for omnivores.

  23. A Big Fan of the AG

    True story.

    A friend of mine, a lawyer for the Office of the Interior, attended a meeting in the Midwest. Topic of the meeting was land rights – farmers versus cattle ranchers.

    At the end of the meeting, after much heated debate back and forth about the value of vegetables versus meat farming, a lone rancher slowly stood in the back of the room. All eyes turned to him in anticipation.

    This is exactly what he said:

    “Vegetables are not food. Vegetables are what food eats.”

    Lisa – whatever you are eating, it’s not FOOD!

  24. silly meat eaters, let them keep their $100. vegetarians are sexy. meat eaters are kinda smelly.

  25. Disgusting meat manufacturing anecdote #4,759,863:

    A modern hog farm produces as much sh#t in a year as the entire city of New York City.

    Stick to your guns, Lisa. Or, y’know, if you need the $, eat a bite, and go right back to being a vegetarian. No big deal either way. This is rather silly.

  26. Veggie King of Chicago

    In this day and age, one can get every nutrient one’s body needs, and not commit murder.

    Try ReLiv nutritional supplement. Brewer’s/nutritional yeast.

    Come on, carnivores. Get a real argument. What’s that? You… you don’t have one? Oh, I’m sorry!

    Stay strong, Lisa. Vegetarian/Vegan is the new gay, so just stick to your beliefs and enjoy your healthy, guilt-free lifestyle.

  27. Dear Lisa,

    You know what to do. Oh, also, if you’re at all concerned about a B12 deficiency, try out Luna Bars by the Clif Bar company — they’re amazing and have 100% of your daily B12 requirements. One a day and you’ll be right as rain. Totally vegan, and very tasty.

  28. Oh my god! I just had the most wonderful vegetarian stir-fry meal that cost me just

    $3 at the Asian Supermarket. Who needs dead animal carcass? Not you…not me! :)

  29. Wow to think, you can buy buy someone off with 100 dollars. What kind of friend is this exactly? Not a very good one. Although if my friends trued to change my lifestyle, and reached out to others and would reward them, i would have to divorce the friend. And perhaps kill the people who wrote in. Just saying, GO VEGAN. or in contrast, kill a puppy and eat it. Because it’s all meat anyway right? So kill your dog because it’s exactly like a cow.

    Sound disgusted? All meat is the same.


  30. yes, I know, everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Jeffery Steingarten makes fun of us vegetarians.

    but we’re not the ones putting the rotten carcasses of dead animals in our mouths.

    stay strong Lisa!

    (Challenge to Adam: give up meat for Lent. just think how entertaining it will be for us to watch a meat eating Jewish kid try it!)

  31. At least, if you’re going to have one last meat-filled meal before going vegetarian, you can’t do much better than lobster.

  32. why the hell would you try to deveggie your friend? she’s doing a great thing by not eating meat, and after 15 years there’s very little chance that she’s going to change. if you were really her friend you wouldn’t be doing this.

  33. How about spending a year or two in abject poverty?

    Food intake takes on a whole new perspective when it’s no more an issue of ‘lifestyle’ choices.


  34. This is Lisa’s mother. Everything she says is true. And we all respect her for her tenacity. I also should say that I am sorry that for many years, Lisa just got side dishes for dinner. Granted, there were quite a few side dishes, but the main protein source was targeted directly at her carnivore of a brother. Lisa — sorry. Really. But ONLY her brother tells that lame Willie story. I remember nothing of a funeral. Or even a tale of a funeral. I remember thinking after it lasted for more than the predicted 2 weeks that Lisa was a woman of conviction. When she said she was going to do something, she did it. And still does! I just thought I’d set the record straight …

  35. There is nothing missing from the vegetarian diet, healthwise. Not protein, not iron, and not B12. Whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan it all comes down to how much care you put in to your diet.

    Thats the science part. Now the personal part. When I went vegetarian I had more energy, felt better, looked better… and that improved even more when I went vegan. And thats on top of feeling and looking fine before. Logic tells me that if i’m feeling great, I’m doing something right.

  36. fyi, though, meat eaters smell bad. their poo smells terrible. i hate going in a public bathroom because of the meat eater poo stench.

    an indian man told me that if you don’t eat pork for a long time, then you eat some, you get a cold straight away because it’s so foul. i doubt that’s true but i admired his passion.

    don’t eat meat.

  37. Dear Lisa,

    You should eat meat because Mad cow is hip! Think of how sexy youll look dying of this very fashionable disease!

    You should also eat meat because it changes the flavor and scent of your sexual fluids. Not eating meat makes your fluids less salty, less strong and more sweet. It wouldnt be fair to your sexual partner if you had to eat a salty load and they didnt!!

    You should probably eat meat because not eating meat saves rainforest.. and We all know how pesky all those trees are!

    You should also probably start eating at mcdonalds too.. because america is full of fatties. And if you wanna look good, you gotta play the part! You cant jsut be skinny! you have to splurge on brugers and chips in public.. THEN throw them up in the bathroom later! Forget eating healthy! That is so overrated and 1992. This is 2005, baby! Supersize it!

    Im sure there are tons of other reasons to eat meat. But these are probably the coolest reasons! I mean, obviously its important to look good and have your choices accepted by your friends! So good luck with your new diet, im sure ive convinced you. Cant wait to get 100$! :) xox stina

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