I’m A Vegetarian *apart from ______

While discussing vegetarianism with a colleague, he said “my girlfriend’s a vegetarian…but she eats chicken.” I’ve heard this many times, but still find it odd. According to PPTHealth website:

Vegetarianism is the abstinence of meat, fish and fowl from the diet.
Types of Vegetarians
* Vegan
* Pesco-vegetarian
* Lacto-ovo-vegetarian
* Lacto-vegetarian
* Ovo-vegetarian
* Pollo-vegetarian

I emboldened the two items above. Since when were fish or chicken no longer considered ‘fish or fowl’? The clue’s in the title. How can you be a vegetarian if you eat any animal, regardless of the species? This got me thinking. When people do add exceptions to vegetarianism why, oh why choose chicken: the most bland and tasteless of all commonly used meats with the most convincing soya replacement? It hardly seems worth the effort of singling it out. Yes, it’s widely available and convenient, but surely these people are lacking in taste and imagination and are certainly missing out on a great conversational opportunity. I would react very differently if someone said “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat eagle” or “giraffe” or “krill”. Or, even better, learn what the word means and use it correctly.

For some time now I have been a non-meat-eater. I won’t say ‘vegetarian’, as this is incorrect. I have avoided fish, meat and products of slaughter, including cheeses made with rennet and animal gelatin and fats. This has encouraged me to improve my cooking skills, invest time and effort into finding balanced, tasty recipes and to consider my health on a more practical level than previously. Then I hit a sticky patch. About two weeks ago I started obsessing over fish and smells of meaty foods were driving me to distraction, even invading my dreams. My mother advised me it was due to my diet lacking in amino acids which only animals could provide.

Friday night, after serious deliberation, I decided to eat meat. I chowed down on a selection of chicken, lamb and pork (it occurs to me now that, while peeling fatty bits of flesh off the pig’s rib bones, I never once considered that it was an animal. It was meat. To add further distaste, it wasn’t the best quality so probably not ethically sourced, and it was only briefly enjoyable). After such a long period of going without, the sudden heft of fat and protein hit me hard and I was unwell soon after. Farewell to the flesh. The next day I returned to my normal eating habits; stocked up on falafel, tofu, fresh fruit and vegetables and a generous array of Quorn products. This wasn’t a wasted experience as it confirmed to me that I am no longer impressed by the taste of ‘traditional’ meats. Their aromas are beyond comparison or duplication, but fail to deliver on the promise. It’s still early days for me and I’m not yet able to use the term ‘vegetarian’ without feeling like a fraud. But I am less inclined to eat animals than ever before. Some people find it easy to make the transition, but it’s a gradual process for me; one that I am determined to strive for as long as it takes.

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