Time to have a little chat. I’ve been reading some great posts lately, Perfect Eating is an Illusion and My Perfect (for me) Diet to name a few, and I’ve decided now is the perfect time for me to add my two cents.
Let’s back up a little. Last week I tweeted this:
Day after day I read blogs, news articles etc that focus on people calling themselves carnivores, vegans, paleo…whatever the case may be…and the more I thought about it, the more I decided it’s annoying for me to have to label the way I eat.
For those of you that don’t know, hubby and I decided to go meat-free back in August of 2011 as a one month challenge to ourselves. The challenge was more for him because he was a huge meat eater and I wasn’t. I’d also previously gone meat-free in 2010 for several months on my own so I knew I could do it. After the month was up, both of us decided that we didn’t really miss eating meat, so we opted to continue our vegetarian lifestyle.
One of the most annoying things, to me, about not eating meat was having to qualify my statements every time someone asked me about the way I ate. Did I consider myself a vegetarian? Yes. Did we eat seafood? Yes. So didn’t that technically mean we were pescatarians? Yes. So did we still eat eggs and drink milk? Yes. So we weren’t vegan? No.
That’s a lot of questions to have to go through with every person you talk to about the way you eat.
Last week, hubby was heading over to have dinner with some friends. They were having ribs. Ribs sounded good to him…and so, just like that- after 21 months of not eating meat, he ate ribs for dinner. And he enjoyed them. A couple days later, he ate wings for dinner- the one thing he said he missed most about being vegetarian. And he loved those too. In between, we had lentil veggie mac and cheese, one of our favorite vegetarian meals.
We started talking about what this meant for our diet and I told him my thoughts on hating to have to label the way we ate. I can honestly say that during the time we stopped eating meat, I probably only missed eating it 4-5 times. So, not very often. But there were a few times when a piece of chicken or a pulled pork sandwich sounded pretty darn good.
So, I’ve decided that from now on, I’m freeing myself of labels. If I want to eat meat, I’ll eat it. If I want to eat meat one night, then not eat it for 3 weeks, I will. Instead of focusing on whether I’m a carnivore, vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian….I’ll focus on making healthy choices, eating a well-balanced diet, choosing correct portions sizes and enjoying my food!
To sum it up:
- I don’t think there’s one perfect diet for everyone.
- I think meat can be a part of a well-balanced diet.
- I think you can absolutely get all the nutrients you need without eating meat.
- I think there are more important things to focus on than labeling the way you.
- I think you should do what works for YOU and not worry about everyone else.
So what does this mean for the blog? Not much.
- I’ll continue to show you my weekly eats. Some weeks you may see meat, some weeks you won’t. Some days I might eat meat at every meal. Some days I won’t eat it at all.
- I probably won’t eat red meat. I didn’t eat it before I went vegetarian. I’ve never liked steak, or hamburgers…so I won’t eat them.
- I’ll continue to post recipes. Some will be vegetarian. Some will have meat. As I do now, I’ll continue to recommend ways to make changes to certain recipes for those of you that want to add or take away meat!
- I’ll continue to focus on what I believe to be the most important: weekend food prep for healthy weekday eating, eating balanced meals, making your meals colorful, making at least half your plate fruits and veggies, treating yourself occasionally and enjoying your favorite foods in moderation.
I’d say the best thing about not eating meat for almost two years was that it gave me a chance to come up with some delicious vegetarian recipes. It also gave hubby a chance to realize that he can enjoy meals meat-free. I now have a whole arsenal of go-to vegetarian recipes that I didn’t have before. I’ve come to love things like black beans and lentils…two things I hated for almost my entire life! It’s been a great growing experience and I don’t regret a second of it!
But as happy as I was as a vegetarian, I’m even happier to have this newfound sense of relief that comes with being label-free!
Side note- If you like to label the way you eat, then by all means go for it. If you’re a vegan and proud of it, heck yeah you should rock that label. If you’re a meat-loving carnivore and you want to tell the world about it, go for it. I’m just saying that FOR ME, labeling is not the answer. And if trying to fit the way you eat into a certain category is stressing you out, maybe you should consider going label-free as well 🙂
So that’s all for today, friends!
Let’s chat: How do you feel about labeling the way you eat? Love it? Hate it? Never really thought about it?