Meatless Monday – What’s in a Name?

When asked, I now call myself “almost vegan”. Some would scoff at this and say that I am afraid of commitment. I think it’s more a matter of being realistic. Though I have cut most animal products from my diet, I still have not completely cut my ties with food of the lacto-ovo kind. Does this make me a pseudo-vegetarian? flexitarian? lacto-ovo vegetarian? After all, what’s in a name?
This week’s Meatless Monday explores my musings of dietary labels.

Vegetarian
A general term and catch-all phrase for those who typically shun animal flesh in their diet. Can come in a few flavours i.e. lacto-vegetarian (includes dairy but not eggs) and lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes both dairy and eggs).

Vegan
Someone who does not include any animal products in their diet (i.e. flesh, honey, gelatin, eggs, dairy). Can also extend to lifestyle choices whereby clothing and personal care products touched by animals in the manufacturing process are avoided.

Flexitarian
Someone who eats a mainly plant-based diet but occasionally will have meat.

Pescatarian
Someone who eats a plant-based diet and includes fish.

These labels, however, can be problematic. They are limiting and don’t take into account all the individual shades of grey in food preference. Labels can be useful, though, as they provide a quick and easy general guide so you know what to serve for dinner! Perhaps the popular term “plant-based diet” may be a more encompassing label for all manner of vegetarians out there. To determine exactly what that entails for each person could spark a dialogue whereby personal food choices are discussed and some vegetarian education can take place.

So I declare I am “almost vegan” and proud of it! If you want to know what that really means for me, just ask! I’ll be happy to share.

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