Shannon Conley | |

Eating With a Purpose

I am a Flexitarian- that means I am a vegetarian who eats fish and meat …sometimes.

Yes, I know, you can call me a fish and chipocryte, but actually I am better and more rational than you think.  Because I recognize what many other vegetarians do not — namely that I am a veggie in a meaty world.

Growing up in the Midwest it was unusual not to be a big meat eater. There were some I knew who lived for meat and potatoes every day.  We never had the money nor desire for microwaves, junk food etc.

So from a very young age I learned how to garden and cook real food without recipes.  My mother was single with two children and she had a tight budget.  Red meat was very rare; chicken and fish were the luxuries.   My diet was mainly vegetables without all the labels of today.

Years later with the cooking skills and desire to be healthier; I sold my car and became for about a two years a serious vegetarian.  This was for health, environment and economic reasons.  Much to my annoyance I began to find that if in fact there was something new to try and you’re at a dinner party or out at restaurant there may be times where you would like to escape the label of ‘vegetarian’.  However, those that know you, along with your conscience make you stick to the veggie label.

I am not a fan of labels unless they are true to what I really am.  I never wanted to discredit some of the hard core vegans and vegetarians that never ‘relapse.’  It would be wrong of me to go by the same title that others follow like a religion.  Then, I came across the word Flexitarian, defined by Wikipedia as someone who occasionally eats meat, poultry or fish or all of the above.

There are no boundaries which say how much or little would define one as a flexitarian.  There are varying degrees.  For instance I can go months without having anything besides veg, legumes and fruit.  The reason  why someone chooses flexitarianism is personal to each individual and honorable to those whom choose even stricter lifestyles.

Although I would say I have been a ‘flexitarian’ from the very beginning due to how I was brought up, we must not forget that the majority of the developing world does not even have an economic choice in the matter and labeling themselves is last on their mind.  In the end it is nice to go to a restaurant with your friends, and order a vegetarian meal without someone asking “Oh, are you a vegetarian?”

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