Vegetarian questionnaire

I’m vegan, so I had to fill out the vegetarian questionnaire. But the interviewer wasn’t convinced by my answers that I had really thought this through. Fantastic.

I’ve been vegan for a year, vegetarian for almost three, and had tried to go vegan just before coming to Japan but since I couldn’t read or talk I stuck with vegetarian for a while here. I realize three years isn’t all that long, but at the same time it kinda is.

Since I decided to apply in August, I’ve been preparing myself for the fact that I’ll probably have to eat meat. People have mentioned that in a lot of countries, the typical diet is, in fact, high in vegan foods. But that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy diet. If I show signs of malnutrition, Peace Corps will probably kick up holy hell. What if I live somewhere so cold that barely anything grows? What if I live with a host family and I need to eat what they eat? These are things that I had thought about already, and which are similar to the questions on the questionnaire.

But the recruiter has asked me to think harder, and to rewrite my answers. I’m not sure how else to answer the questions, though. I’ve thought about it a lot. I DO NOT WANT to eat meat, but I have wanted to join the Peace Corps for a long time and it’s something I’m prepared to do to make that goal happen. I’m vegan, yes, but I’m willing to go back to vegetarian and eat eggs (no milk, though, I’m super lactose-intolerant). Meat, though? That’s a lot harder. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it, but I’m willing to try – which brings up a whole different issue; should I really be vegan (or vegetarian) in the first place if I’m willing to put it aside for a couple years? That’s an issue I’m not ready to tackle.

I’m rewriting it and I’ll send it to him this weekend. We’ll see what he thinks of it next week.


4 Responses

  1. Hi there! I saw your comment on my blog – thanks for that πŸ™‚ Good luck with your Peace Corps application. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but I can say this: there are a lot of PCVs who ARE vegetarian and seem to get by just fine. In many areas, meat is an expensive luxury so even avowed carnivores like myself generally go without. As for host families, I can only speak for the ones I met in Kenya, but most of them were quite accommodating (if a little puzzled) by their trainee’s requests. Vegan is much, much harder – milk, eggs, animal-based fats, etc are big in helping to fill nutritional gaps in some areas. However, it can be done. One of my closest friends in the Peace Corps is an extremely strict vegan and although it takes work, he gets by just fine. (He’s a nutritionist, also, though, so that helps.) Here’s his blog:

    Once you get to site, your diet will often have more flexibility than the questionnaires would indicate. The question they’re most interested in is: are there situations in which you would consider eating meat? To sustain life? To avert a diplomatic meltdown? etc. For most people, the answer here is “yes.” If it’s not … well, that’s a healthy, conscionable, and reasonable decision. But not necessarily one the Peace Corps would be comfortable with. That tends to be what they mean when they say “think harder.”

    But anyway, good luck with your application! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi, thanks so much! I was just so surprised at the “think harder” because I made it clear I would eat meat if it were necessary for my health or to maintain good relationships. And they didn’t like that… weird. But I’ve practically written him a novel on my thoughts about it, so I hope he gets it now. :p

    Also, I’m not sure if it’s a mistake, but the link seems to be a link to your wish list, not a different blog. πŸ˜€

  3. SHIT! That looked awfully narcissistic of me, didn’t it? lol. That’s what happens when I try to write e-mails and do blog comments at the same time …

    Here’s the link I meant to give you:

  4. Haha, that’s ok, that’s what I figured happened.

    Thanks for the link! He’s a pretty good writer.

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