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I am regularly placed in situations where others are eating meat. For example, a family dinner or office lunch room. I find meat repulsive and it can be difficult for me to be in these situations. In particular, it makes it difficult for me to eat my own food.

How can I deal with meat repulsion in these situations?

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Find a means to distract yourself.

For example you could:

  • Listen to music.
  • Write something (a story, a shopping list etc).
  • Read something (a book, an article, some stackexchange questions).
  • Do some calculations (manage your finances, recite your times tables, take up maths as an actual hobby).
  • File your taxes? (Normally this would be terrible, but as noticing the meat is likely to make you even more upset, this is probably the only time they'll be less painful)

Ideally you'd also try to sit yourself away from everyone else if possible, at risk of being considered unsocial.

If someone asks why you you're acting oddly, try to be honest with them. I can't guarantee that they'll be sympathetic or understand, but it's probably better to be honest so they know its their food you have an issue with and not them personally. Make sure to qualify this fact with "I mean no offense, you are completely entitled to eat meat, the problem is on my part" to ensure they aren't offended.

Perhaps over time you can find a way to decensitise yourself. This may or may not help, but sometimes when I look at meat all I see is a slice of rubber or a piece of scenery rather than the common views of 'food' or 'flesh'- the justification being that what other people are eating is irrelivant to what I am doing, thus it is merely background noise.

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    Welcome to Vegetarianism Exchange. While I like the second part of your answer, the first part seems to miss the question by the OP about dealing with meat repulsion in social situations - it is not really a viable alternative to a family dinner to listen to music or go and file your taxes (I do like the joke though :) ). – Alexander Rossa Mar 24 '17 at 0:41
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    @AlexanderRossa I'm thinking more of an office/canteen setting for those parts. Naturally some of those would not be possible at a family meal, but if they help it would certainly be worth asking the (assumingly reasonable) family members if one could sit away from the table or listen to music. Mental arithmetic (i.e. 'some calculations', 'recite your times tables') can certainly be done at the dinner table, or even general daydreaming. – Pharap Mar 24 '17 at 0:45
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    I agree that distraction would be useful in "the office lunch room" mentioned by OP and in many other situations. This is the only answer so far that addresses the question in its own terms, and it's helpful to me, a big +1 – Zanna Mar 24 '17 at 4:27
  • The taxes probably are about as unvegan as anything. I guess it depends on why they are extolled. – can-ned_food Jun 21 '17 at 6:25
  • @can-ned_food Why are they 'unvegan' exactly? The suggestion was because taxes are a painful neccesity that pretty much nobody wants to do, thus it makes sense to do them as a means to avoid something that is potentially more 'painful'. – Pharap Jun 21 '17 at 15:27
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Accept that the instinct telling you "processed, badly preserved products made out of factory farmed animals are disgusting, how can one eat that" is telling you the truth :)

And also accept that what you are eating right now has naught to do with it. And look forward to the situation not only getting better but probably swinging to the positive. This might be a personal story here, but I found that vegetarian/vegan food goes surprisingly well with horror movies or gruesome news - the inner connection between "violence, cruelty, disgusting dead or sick flesh" and "food" weakens over time, and you will appear to have an iron stomach to your peers :)

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I think it may also help if you could develop a theory about the meat yourself. Currently, these feelings that you have are most likely mental-only, that is, it's probably not that you have an allergy etc. caused by the substance in meat. So, a good way to solve this problem is to give your mind a new and healthy way to think about meat. As a result, the next time you see meat, you will have (most probably) this new theory towards meat in your mind, and you will feel saner and calmer.

As to what this new perspective towards meat can be, I think that you should try to figure it out yourself, as what may work for one may not work for another (since different people have different mentalities and experiences, hence any stimulus will elicit a different response in both). For me, I rather think about the person eating it - I feel sorry for them. Most probably they are ignorant about the truths behind what they are eating, no one has shown them the facts or the torture etc. Since this brings out a feeling of compassion in my mind, I think it overshadows the feeling of disgust - plus this thought is powerful for me, so it just does not allow me to think about anything else (and you can invariably think of only one thing at a time).

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