Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is a vegetarian


A person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products.

Seems clear enough when spelled out on paper: one who does not eat meat. So why is there so much gray area?

Interpretation of this word depends on the mouth in which it comes out of and the tone in which it is used. Trying to explain that I simply eat most meals without meat due to cost, conditions of farming, environmental impact, and personal health seems obsolete.

When you turn down the factory farmed pork loin at a summer BBQ, or make the mistake of sharing how tasty your curried potatoes were that you made for last nights dinner, you have classified yourself as a vegetarian; for better or worse.

But wait, I'll eat sustainable fish, or pastured local pork chops! I'll eat the chickens we raise, and i'll eat the 100% grass fed lamb even if they are super cute and cuddly! What am I now?

I truly am a sad, cheating, slut of a vegetarian. I feel uncomfortable, and undeserving of the title. But to be fair I always provide full disclosure: I used to not eat meat, now I eat meat when I know where it came from, and in moderation. But like a scarlet letter I still have this invisible green 'V' sewn on all of my clothes and shunned from normal food worship gatherings.

Can't we 'meat' (pun intended folks) somewhere in the middle here?

Eating a few meals a week without meat just makes you a better person; socially, economically, and personally. Your health improves, your food budget may improve, and you will be less of a strain on the environment (seriously, do you know what it takes to 'grow' meat?!).

I won't call you vegetarian if you don't call me one.