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"I'm a Flexitarian." "A What?"

Flexitarian: person who follows a vegetarian-based lifestyle with the inclusion of occasional meat products.

We are asked on a regular basis what diet we follow - paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw... Our stock answer is "we are not defined by our food choices." To which we generally then hear, "but what ARE you?"

What people choose to eat is individual, personal and often emotional. It's amazing how much one's decision to eat or not eat something can trigger a very emotional response in someone else! Believe us, we know.

When I decided to go vegetarian, then vegan, then raw, the people closest to me were concerned, upset and even angry. And boy did I get called out on it whenever I strayed even the tiniest bit from whatever diet I was following at the time. "You can eat that? I thought you were..."

From the earliest age food is used to celebrate, calm, relieve boredom or depression and to comfort in times of sadness and emotional distress. Because food and emotion are so closely tied, the very act of choosing to eat differently from someone can challenge their own relationship with food and even their identity.

Food became stressful to me, having to defend my food choices as well as feeling restricted by any specific definition - paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc. - which ultimately led me to stop defining myself by what I choose to eat. There is however, a relatively new term that I believe I can feel comfortable with: flexitarian. A flexible vegetarian. Someone who follows a vegetarian-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat.

Regardless of how or whether you define yourself or your food choices, making healthy food choices for YOU is what really matters.

Augusta and Lori

PS. We love to wax philosophical about all things food. Stop by the Peach to join in the discussion!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Edgar Allan Bro August 31, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others. Being as most of Danvers isn't vegan, residents are bound to interpret your diet as a means to grab attention and feel as though you look down upon them. It's just the way it is. I see what you mean, I'm a weekday vegetarian, I've been at it for about a year now. I get a lot of hate for it, I just laugh.
Augusta August 31, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Hey Jeff - thanks for the comment! Our philosophy is there is no one right way to eat, as indicated in our post by including both meat-based (paleo) and plant-based (vegetarian, vegan) diets in the list. No judgement here! I'm sorry to hear you receive negative responses for choosing to do what's best for your own health, but glad to know you take a healthy approach to it with laughter. --Augusta and Lori
Amanda Symmes September 12, 2011 at 03:21 PM
My sister forwarded this to me with the caption "Hey, it's YOU!" Funny and true. I gave up meat at age 16 (and am now 34) and never felt comfortable applying the label "vegetarian" to myself. I preferred to say "I don't eat meat". Now, I say I don't eat meat, except PORK! I love bacon and pepperoni! Hehehe. We are not our labels. We are people. End of story.
Augusta November 30, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Amanda, I LOVE your comment! I think it's so important for everyone to hear that we don't need to box ourselves in with labels... And later feel guilty when we color outside the lines (i.e. eat something that doesn't fit the label). Thank you for sharing your story. --Augusta

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