"What? Why?" "You're kidding?" "We have to change that!" These are all responses I've gotten after dropping the bomb on the first date: I'm a vegetarian.
Even when I mention I'm a low-maintenance veggie, I love carnivores or that I once had my birthday party at Dinosaur BBQ, it's pointless. The date's ruined. When the conversation turns to job talk or questions about family, it always comes back up. "So, what do you even eat?" Check, please!
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It's 2014, and even though you can order almond milk in your coffee or grab a slice of gluten-free pizza to-go, there's still special-diet discrimination out there in the dating world. In our Breakfast, Love & Dinner survey, we learned that 50 percent of respondents would probably not date someone with significant dietary restrictions. Ouch.
But for online daters, it seems to be a different veggie story — and it's based on gender. New research from dating site AYI, found men prefer (yes, prefer!) vegetarian women 11 percent more than carnivores. But women are 13 percent more likely to message meat-eating men than vegetarians. Womp.
On or offline, I'm not ashamed of my plant-based diet. While the environment and PETA would be thrilled you snagged a meatless gal, there's plenty of other reasons to date a vegetarian.
In honor of this halfway-there positive new research, read on, stop judging, tell your friends, and go get yourself a herbivore. Can I get a kale yeah?
1. They'll Stick Around Longer
Like your date? Think there's a future together? Good, because she'll be here for a while. Vegetarians are thought to live 13 years longer than meat eaters. People who live in Okinawa, Japan, live the longest in all of the country — and they're thought to have the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world. Why? Their low-cal diet consists of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy. Additionally, studies constantly show that cutting out red meat is good for your ticker. It decreases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, and heart disease, which is the number one killer of women.
2. They Have Strong Bones
Want to toss around the football with your gal? Your date and his or her strong bones can handle it. Aside from dairy, calcium comes from tofu, broccoli, kale, collards and turnip greens. And we eat all of that — a lot.
3. They'll Keep Their Hot Bod
Those jeans you love on him? The dress that hugs her body in all the right places? Those items will stick around (and look good on them) for the long run too. A 2010 study found that those who ate about 250 grams a day of red meat, poultry, or processed meat gained more weight over five years than those who became vegetarians, even when they had the same amount of calories overall.
4. They Have Better Sex Lives
Consuming lots of soy (ahem, tofu) and other plant-based foods has been proven to heighten sexual activity. Why? These foods have large amounts of phytoestrogens, also known as the sex hormone. And, the good times in the bed last longer. According to Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat, meat eaters "experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age." Who needs Viagra when you've got zucchini?
5. They Have More Energy
You won't have to worry about dating a couch potato when you go veggie — herbivores aren't one to hit snooze. Vegetarian diets are naturally free of those artery-clogging products that physically make us sluggish. Instead, by consuming so many whole grains, fruits and vegetables the body is fueled with plenty of energy for date night and beyond.
6. They're A Cheap Date
You won't have to worry about your date ordering the $50 steak on the menu or spending your life's savings during a trip to the farmers' market, a plant-based diet is actually better for your wallet. According to Vegetarian Times, meat accounts for 10 percent of Americans food spending. Replacing meat for vegetables, whole grains and fruits would slash individual food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.
7. They Enjoy Giving Oral Sex More
Not only are their sex lives boosted, but vegetarians are the more generous ones in the bedroom. According to an OKCupid study, 9:1 male vegetarians enjoy giving oral sex, compared to 7:1 non-vegetarian males. For the non-meat eating ladies? (I'll spare you the dirty jokes on this one) The trend continues with them too. Must be something in that quinoa burger.
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