Monday, August 15, 2011

Labeling my eating

It is my honest opinion that we as humans must label and categorize things in order to best understand them; we label and categorize nearly everything in our lives. Not everyone has the same labels for things, but we all label and categorize everything. Sometimes, though, labeling and categorizing, in my opinion, becomes a bit unnecessary. When is that? With diets, that is.

I would consider myself a healthy eater (most of the time, says the girl who had two petifores at around 10 am from my work break room and just ate a handful of peanut M&Ms...whoops). I try to avoid overly processed food (*cough let's ignore those M&Ms I just ate cough*), get organic produce when it is necessary, and eat a lot of veggies (see my Food Philosophy). I have a great appreciation for vegetarian and vegan food because I find the food to be creative and resourceful. I also have an obsession with veggie burgers and get them out at restaurants all the time.

Why must I define it?
With my penchant for vegetarian foods, I tend to eat vegetarian at restaurants (usually healthier and cheaper, too!). When I order a vegetarian option, most people around me who don't know usually say, "Oh, so you're a vegetarian." I usually respond with, "Well, no, I'm not, but I happen to enjoy veggies a lot!" I even had a co-worker who was really stunned when he found out I wasn't a vegetarian since I order vegetarian lunches all the time; he almost looked at me in a different light. I am always in awe of how people feel the need to define and categorize how I eat.  I guess technically, I eat a "flexitarian" diet, but why do I even need to define it? When people find out I'm a non-vegetarian who adores veggie burgers, people tend to be perplexed. In their minds, veggie burgers fall under the vegetarian category, for which I am not a part of.

Next time you go out with people you don't know so well, think about how you perceive them before and after they order their meals. Do you wonder what they consider themselves? Could you care less? I find that people that have strict diet categories they put themselves into (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low-carb, kosher, etc.) tend to want to categorize other people's diets more often than people who aren't so clearly defined in their diets. I get why we do this as humans, but feel we might live in a better world if we aren't defined so simply by how we eat.

Do you define and categorize your diet? Do you do the same to others?

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