What's in a name? It seems like a lot. We really are a vocabulary rich bunch. Let's look at just the ones that talk about diet. I don't mean diet as the nasty word that you use when you want to lose weight. I mean your diet of what you eat everyday.
You've got your carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten-free and everyone in between. This is not even counting those people that have religious restrictions. Yep, I'm so counting this as one of the reasons I'm agnostic. I give up enough stuff for health reasons just think if I had to do it for religious reasons. I'd be 12 pounds. Hmmmm......that's a thought.
What I can talk about with some (not a lot) degree of knowledge is vegetarians. I've been one so long I hardly remember what it was like to eat meat. I did start out as a pescatarian. What the hell is a pescatarian? Well, you should ask. Let's take a moment to break all these down.
Vegan: These people don't eat anything. Or at least anything that comes from, is associated with, smells like, or has a vague resemblance to animals. Things on the list of Thou Shall Not Eat are eggs, milk, butter, honey, and (wait for it)....cheese! *Gasp* I am not one of these people. Some vegans don't eat anything that has been cooked. They eat everything raw. They have started to use the word raw as a noun. I.e. I'm Raw. Yeah, I know, crazy isn't it? Potatoes are just not right without being cooked then mashed with butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Just not right I tells ya. Oh well, to each his own.
Vegetarians: These people (myself included) don't eat anything that had a face. Okay, that was kind of flippant and clams don't have faces so you could make a case for eating them. We don't eat any animal proteins. So, no cow, pig, chicken, fish or shellfish. Yes, fish is an animal. Yes, chicken broth is an animal protein. No, I don't eat anything with gelatin (no Jello). What we do eat is butter, eggs, milk, honey, and (thank the good lord).....cheese! Just no cheese with animal rennet. I realize this is out of reach for some people but I gave all this up for health reasons and never felt better. I, also, don't think anyone has to give up meat. And seriously, no one needs to be as crazy as I am about the cheese they eat. I'm just nuts.
Pescatarian: These people don't eat most meats but do eat fish. They like to call themselves vegetarians but really they are just not quite there. That's okay. They are probably healthier than most vegetarians because they get a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids. I have to work pretty hard to get those and people that eat meat tend to not eat as much fish as they should. So if you felt inclined to get behind any of these diets this is a winner. It is also a great way to make that leap from dedicated omnivore to vegetarian without all the angst. My daughter-in-law is a pescatarian and like I said above, I was one for quite a few years. At least until I went over to the dark side (as JR likes to say).
Flexitarian: This one is the undecided child of the group. They don't want to give up meat at all but they know that reducing their consumption is good for them. JR and our boys flexitarian. For poor Jr, I don't cook meat at home so he eats it when we go out or I am out of town. He thinks he's getting away with something. Sort of like having a mistress except meat is his mistress. Without the sex part. Then again some would say that some meals are better than sex. Not me but some. I think I should shut up now.
I hope that clears up some of the confusion about vegans, vegetarians and a couple of others. I know that Flexitarian sounds like 90% of most Americans. Maybe what I should say is 90% of Americans are flexitarian wannabes. I think bacon is the deciding factor.
Are any of you among these groups?