Friday, October 15, 2010

Who Are You? Who Who Who Who

Apparently there is a whole subcultural in Veg-Land that spends a LOT of time and energy creating vegetarian classifications. Miles of discussion boards are spent arguing about who is a "real vegetarian" based upon those classifications. Loads of "discussing" and tons of opinions left me no alternative but to decide for myself - Who am I?

Vegans eat nothing (flesh or by-product) from anything that ever had eyes. By-products include all animal milks, cheese and dairy in general.

Vegetarians (this is where it gets sticky) eat dairy. Some would call you a "Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian". One could conclude that if you didn't eat eggs, you would be a "Lacto Vegetarian". Right? I don't drink the milk here and I buy vegetarian cheese but I won't avoid sour cream and odds are, I'll use butter. Lacto/Check. I like eggs. Ovo/Check.

I'm getting that you're categorized by what you DO eat. Vegetarians who eat fish are called Pescetarians. Who knew?

In this months Men's Journal (best mag ever btw - I read it cover to cover every month and have learned more than all my InStyle's and Glamours combined!) Kevin Gray wrote a great article called "The Rise of the Power Vegan" highlighting several elite athletes (NFL included!) who are Vegan. One was a guy named Michael Arnstein who is a "Fruitarian" - he needs four refrigerators to hold all of his fruit. He ran the Boston marathon in 2:28. Quote from Mr. Arnstein "Literally, my shit does not stink. If I took an orange and blended it and put it in a bowl, you would not know if I had blended it or just crapped in that bowl." WOW.

I don't know how to segue from that but... Here's how it shakes out: I am lucky to live on a beautiful Caribbean island with wonderful fish. The fishing dock is less than 5 minutes from my house and I know that the fish is healthy and unprocessed. I feel great about eating that fish occasionally.

On the flip side, I battle the grocery store and importation of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis*. Any visions you have of wonderfully stocked fresh fruits & veg in Barbados are way off track. Our fruit often borders on rotten right off the truck - it took me three tries of $15 pineapples before I finally got something edible. Our veggies can be the saddest things you've ever seen.. sad sad cucumbers. We have no peppers to speak of - poblano, chipotle, green. And you can count on a small package of wilted, anemic asparagus spears to cost around $10 usd. I make every effort to eat local fruits but c'mon - how many mangoes do you think you could down during mango season? (My personal record is 172) The environment takes a 100 times greater hit from importation of my Fuji apples than eating the fish off the dock.

Verdict: Color me a lacto-ovo-pescetarian! I'm good with it!

**Just found another one! Those who "limit" meat or only eat small quantities are now called Flexitarians. Seriously.

*The very mention of Whole Foods, Wegmans, Harris Teeter (heck, even Publix!) produce department brings tears to my eyes.


  1. Wow, that is quite the quote from Mr. Arnstein. That's a great Botston Marathon time, but still...TMI!
    I guess our fantasy of fresh, juicy fruit falling all around us will not become reality when we visit. But we're still coming!
    I love your research and learning from your life, Lauren! Have a great weekend and ENJOY your fish tomorrow. :)

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  3. I have been a lacto-vegetarian for 35 years and at one stage was a fruitarian for 3+ month until I got a job at a vegetarian bakery/health-food store/restaurant and my decision was to enjoy their fine food. I also ran a marathon 1x (3 hr 34 mins) and in the end you don't need to justify ones lifestyle to anyone and each to their own. People have different philosophies, influences and lifestyles that justify their eating decisions and saying someone else is wrong is just ludicrous. Ultimately we are ALL going to die so its simply a case of how you want to live your life in the meantime. Eating can be orientated around 'health', karma, location and availability, affordability, fitting into a social group, family life, pure sensory pleasure, ignorance is bliss, addiction, cultural norms, or simply habit. Tolerance of others is I think something our own personal eating habit can teach us. Obviously, not everyone will agree or make similar choices to ourselves so tolerance means we can all enjoy our food together.

  4. David - I agree completely about the tolerance part. I'm learning that eating is such a fundamental thing about each of us. I never realized it before. This is such an interesting journey! Please keep leaving your input - I love it!