As the Vegan Examiner for Louisville I just published an article describing the many classifications of a vegetarian diet. It seems that as the popularity of vegetarianism has grown, the number of classifications has grown as well. There's a category of "vegetarian" diet to fit nearly any diet you choose. There's vegan to describe a person who consumes and utilizes nothing derived from an animal to flexitarian which describes a person who actually includes all foods in their diet.......but still, the label identifies them as vegetarian.
My question is this; should there be so many labels. Shouldn't the term vegetarian describe a person who only consumes plant based foods? Why does there seem to be such a need to identify as a vegetarian? Is it perhaps because people realize (either consciously or unconsciously) that consuming animal flesh and secretions is inherently wrong? Is it because people recognize that a plant based diet is better for their health? Is it because they realize that a plant based diet is more sustainable?
My personal opinion is that the myriad labels be dropped, that there be one term. I prefer that the word vegetarian describes a person who does not consume animal flesh, animal secretions, or the result of animal labor (honey), and animal slaughter (gelatin). I feel that the word vegetarian looses it's meaning when we begin to add those that eat fish, or those that sometimes consume meat (flexitarian). Vegetarianism should be a lifestyle of health, compassion and sustainability, period.
Share your thoughts.