Sunday, April 13, 2014

Types of vegetarians

I'm almost two weeks into being vegetarian. I've not felt deprived of meat (except on Thursday night when my roommate made hamburgers and the smell drove me wild), and I've been conscious of eating more fruit and vegetables, because I've been using my NutriBullet to make fruit/veg smoothies almost daily. 

One small apple, one banana, handful kale, handful frozen blueberries, 
three big chunks honeydew, tablespoon chia seeds, and purified water. Tastes better than it looks!

So I feel pretty good about how I've been eating in the last two weeks. But I've also noticed I'm eating a pretty significant amount of dairy and eggs, which is maybe because I'm used to getting a certain amount of animal protein and fat in my diet... or maybe I'm just freaked out about the idea of cutting animal products altogether. And besides, an egg and cheese breakfast bagel is to die for.

Toasted, buttered bagel with scrambled egg, fried onion, mozzarella cheese and tomato. 

In terms of cooking, I've pretty much done nada – I haven't made a single real meal for myself since I started this vegetarian project (unless you count the smoothies or a few fried eggs on toast). I've been eating only two meals on most days because being injured and getting next to no exercise for the past two months means needing far fewer calories/not being as hungry. The real magic, though, in being able to avoid cooking for myself is in having friends and neighbours who are generous with their food offerings because a) I still can't spend a lot of time standing at the stove and b) they can be convinced to make me food in exchange for things like a ride because I have a car and they don't. See the bagel above. That was a bartered bagel. 

This was a tasty meat-free burrito I concocted at a Mexican-themed potluck at a friend's birthday event tonight. 
Flour tortilla with fried rice, grated cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, pickled
shredded cabbage and carrot, and bean/cheese sauce. Very yum. 

And this vegetarian chili, which another friend made during the week, was the main course at a dinner party he hosted. It was, hands down, the best chili (meat or vegetarian) I've ever had. 

12 types of vegetables and three minced Thai chilies. So good!

And, of course, there's always eating out, which is more costly, but frankly, a lot more fun. This was dinner Saturday night when I went out to eat with a friend at the local St. John's falafel joint.

Lentil soup and Arabian salad. (Technically vegan.)

There may be some disagreement among foodies and animal rights advocates, but I think it's probably generally accepted that there are four types of vegetarians:
  1. First, there's the "flexitarian," the person who eats meat occasionally and is flexible about when and what type of meat, for reasons of health or animal welfare or a combination of both. I would argue most people these days probably fall into this category. I know some who choose to never eat pork or beef but will still consume fish or chicken, for example.
  2. Second, there's the pescatarian, which is where I am currently on my vegetarian journey. I don't eat meat anymore (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, game, etc.) but I'm still eating fish and seafood when I can get it. There is a lot of debate about whether a pescatarian can be considered a true vegetarian, but here are five reasons a pescatarian diet may be the best for your health.
  3. The fourth stage, which I would say is the first level of "true" vegetarianism, is the lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means someone who eats no meat, fish or seafood, but still consumes animal products such as dairy and eggs. Of course, there are also ovo-vegetarians and lacto-vegetarians – those who, perhaps for allergy or other reasons, eat dairy but not eggs or eggs but not dairy, (as well as no meat, fish, or seafood). 
  4. Once you get past eating no meat and also cut out animal products like dairy or eggs, you've gotten into vegan territory. As well as not eating animal flesh, a "true" vegan will also include on the "do not consume" list any animal products, such as dairy (milk and milk products) or eggs, honey, leather or fur, and will not use products made with or from animal products or by-products (such as candies made from gelatin – an animal protein derived from the skin, bones or connective tissues of mammals – used to give food products and some cosmetics their particular consistency).

So what type of vegetarian are you?

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