4.22.2014

Labels

Beware, there is a rant here... If you don't want to read, look away!

Omnivore, vegetarian (and all it's subparts, lacto-, ovo-, pesce-), vegan, raw foodist, locavore, foodie, picky, garbage disposal, organic snob, DIY everythinger.... Perhaps you have been classified as one of these, or some other label I can't think of. I know I have.

Since Christmas, Hubby and I have tried to live a mostly vegan lifestyle for health reasons, influenced largely by documentaries and books such as The China Study, Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, and lots and lots of other things that point to the idea and research that a veg based lifestyle is better in the long run.

Do I call myself a vegan? Most of the time, but I am learning if I do that, I get looks... Looks when I say a pizza looks good, or looks when I eat a cookie that I know contains butter... Looks when I answer the question, and looks when I tell people to stop worrying about what the hell I put in my mouth.

Easter brought an interesting situation, one I had not dealt with before. Hubby's step-mom, bless her heart, was trying to work menu items into the celebration that we could eat. "You can eat this, it is vegan, you cant eat that, it isn't vegan." While I told her not to worry about feeding us, that we are used to just feeding ourselves when it comes to things like holidays and simple get togethers, she worried. As she usually does. I KNOW she was coming from a place of love and concern, as all mothers do... But I was frustrated that I was being told what I COULD and COULDN'T eat. Fact of the matter is, I will eat whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want.

I faced a similar situation tonight at school. My professor wants us to bring in dishes to have a potluck next week for the last day of class. I asked the question (damn my mouth) if anyone else was a vegetarian or had food allergies, because I don't want to feed someone nuts if they are going to asphyxiate! Then my prof asked what I was, and I said well, vegan, but PLEASE NO ONE CATER TO THAT. Bring what you want! Then I had people in class telling me that what they were going to bring was stuff that I COULD eat. (And you better damn well know that I will eat dessert. I have no willpower when it comes to sugary goodness.)

I KNOW that people are concerned about whether I can partake in the celebration, and eat good food with them. That is what our culture is a lot about, and most cultures for that matter. New life? Food. Death? Food. Marriage? Food. Divorce? Food (mostly desserts). My point is that now, my life doesn't revolve around the food. While, heck yeah, I love to enjoy good food and break bread and partake in celebrations with cake, my celebration now comes from the people I am with. I enjoy other's company more than I enjoy what I CAN or CANT eat. I don't like feeling that I have burdened people with my choices.

Honestly, I will eat meat (especially the beef from my sister because it is damn good and damn local). I don't do it often, but it happens. I don't eat meat/dairy due some moral obligation, but when I do I make sure to choose humane options, locally produced is preferred. I do not make special requests (other than no cheese, no mayo, easy stuff like that) at restaurants because I understand the idea that cooking for someone with dietary restrictions is a HUGE pain in the ass. I don't want to put anyone out because I am choosing to alter my diet. I would rather worry about feeding myself and going to a party full and enjoying the company rather than stuffing myself silly with food I know is bad for me.

I try to keep my opinions about what other people put in their mouths to a minimum, but I am happy to share what I eat, because I feel I am making a healthy choice. I guess my point is, is that I don't want to label myself anymore. I don't want to be a vegan, I don't want to be a carnivore, omnivore, foodie, etc... I just want to eat what I want, when I want, and I don't want people to worry about it. 

6 comments:

  1. We understand your dilemma. It's not about whether you can or can't, it's about an overall healthy lifestyle. For us, we've moved to raising our own meat, or buying it from a local guy who raises it right. We just can't give the meat up, although I have to say, if there's anything in the universe that could make me stop eating meat, it would be raising chickens for meat. We're doing it right and all, but they sure are gross

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    1. If I had to process my own meat, I don't think I would ever it, at all, ever again. To be honest, I know that I am too lazy for that. I would rather just grow veggies! Less work and less mess!

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  2. I would just call yourself a "flexitarian" :)

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    1. If that were a Facebook post, I would "Like" it. Good call!

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  3. I suppose "I follow a healthy diet" would really throw them for a loop. I am with you on this label thing - I am sure there are folks (I know some) who stick rabidly to a certain diet. I prefer vegetables and tend toward a vegetarian diet. But I cannot turn down cheese or ice cream. Why, I'd even eat cheese AND ice cream.

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    1. The whole "healthy" thing has really thrown people for a loop, because with labels, people know what to expect. With "healthy," there is such a huge range of variables! I've learned to turn down cheese 99% of the time... My girlfriend came over a few weeks ago with some great wine and cheese, and there was just no friggin way I could turn down a smoked cheese paired with crisp white wine. It was so good! But again, I did NOT go nuts, and tried to limit my intake. I didn't want to feel sick later on!

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