What It Means to Be A Vegetarian

As you may have gathered from the title, I am, in fact, a Vegetarian.

(You can thank Best Friend for this post. On Death By: Apple Cider she commented that that incident happened the same year that she tried to feed me bologna…effectively giving me this idea for a post. ;))

An Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian, to be exact. I am not a Vegan, nor am I a Pescatarian. Not even a Dietary Vegetarian.

“What is the difference between all of these things?” You might ask me. Many people have.

Well, allow me to enlighten you:

  • Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: This is what I am. It means no meat, including red meat, poultry, or even seafood. If it had a face, we don’t eat it.
  • Pescatarian: This is what a lot of people seem to think I am. A Pescatarian doesn’t eat red meat or poultry, but they do eat seafood. So, basically, they don’t eat any kind of animal unless it lived in water.
  • Dietary Vegetarian: This is the Vegetarian that, perhaps, did not choose to be a Vegetarian. They simply can’t eat certain kinds of meat. I know someone who doesn’t eat pig products, but eats all other kinds of meat, which makes her a Dietary Vegetarian, technically…Dietary Vegetarians can also just pick meat out of dishes like casseroles, a lot of times, whereas that doesn’t really work for other kinds of Vegetarians.
  • Vegan: This is the Vegetarian extremist, which sometimes can go along with religious teachings. A vegan does not eat ANY animal products; this includes dairy, eggs, and, sometimes, honey. If it came from an animal, they don’t eat it. Period. End of story.

So, I’m gonna take you back to where I said: “Dietary Vegetarians can also just pick meat out of dishes like casseroles, a lot of times, whereas that doesn’t really work for other kinds of Vegetarians.”

Allow me to explain.

For a lot of Dietary Vegetarians, they are being Vegetarian to lose weight, or simply because that kind of meat doesn’t really agree with them. So, if they just pick meat out of, say, a casserole, they can eat it just fine despite the meat “juices” that are still present in the dish.

In my experience, as someone raised as an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian, meat makes me sick to my stomach. And no, I’m not saying that because I’m some hippy who believes in animal rights. I’m saying that because eating meat makes me feel sick. My body doesn’t react well to it because it’s not used to eating it. So, if I were to pick pepperoni off of a slice of pizza and eat it, I would still get sick because the flavor and “juices” of the pepperoni are still there on the pizza and my body isn’t used to that.

This can also happen to Pescatarians, and it can DEFINITELY happen to Vegans.

Another question I am asked a lot is: “How do you LIVE without meat?????” And yes, that many question marks is necessary because that is exactly how confused about my life that the people asking the question are.

The answer, simply, is that I grew up without meat. It was a choice, really, that my parents effectively made for me that I have now made for myself. When you grow up without eating something, it’s really not that hard to live without it. Especially when you take into account that eating meat makes me sick, and to condition my body to eating it would take a long time and a lot of vomitting. So that’s not really something I’m very keen on doing.

I think it would probably be easier for Pescatarians to transition to eating red meat and poultry, also, seeing as they are used to eating at least one kind of meat. But, I am not, in fact, a Pescatarian, so I can’t really answer that question. Go find a Pescatarian and ask them.

I assume that what is true for an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian is also true for a Vegan; since they have gotten used to going without dairy products, it’s not actually that hard. I also assume that conditioning their bodies to accept animal products would be a big, fat pain in the neck.

Dietary Vegetarians, as long as they get to a point where they are again allowed to eat whatever meats they couldn’t/chose not to, should have no trouble eating meat again, and I’m sure it is hard for some of them to go without it. (As long as they didn’t grow up with a dietary restriction preventing them from eating meat. Then it would be much the same as the Ovo-Lacto process to condition your body to eat meat.)

So, now you know. If you are any kind of Vegetarian and I’ve grossly misrepresented you (which I apologize if I have, but I don’t THINK I have) then I do sincerely apologize. Feel free to reprimand me in the comments.

But you meat-eaters out there, go strut around town with your Vegetarian Knowledge! When someone accuses your Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian friend of being Vegan, you are now equipped with the knowledge to valiantly step into the fray and tell that person the difference between the two forms of Vegetaranism (because it’s a pretty big difference).

Aaaanywho, thanks for reading, as always. You can follow the blog, like the post, or even leave a comment. If you want to do all three, you could do that, too! If you didn’t want to do any of those things, I gotcha. Just don’t do them. I can’t make you. And I’ll make sure none of my millions of adoring fans bully you. (Haha JK, I don’t have millions of adoring fans. But, I’m serious, I’ve got nothing against you if you don’t want to do any of those things.) *Sigh* I’m weird…go about your day now, citizens of the Interwebz. I’ll shut up.

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