Today’s word of the day at Dictionary.com is flexitarian. It’s a relatively new word, a portmanteau (remember that word of the day?) created by combining the words “flexible” and “vegetarian”. It was first recorded in 1990 and is defined as a person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry, or it is also a term relating to flexitarians or their diet: a flexitarian cookbook.
I get it. I’ve been a pescetarian for several years now, which means I eat a vegetarian diet and occasionally I east fish. But if I’m being completely transparent, I suppose what I really am is a pesce-ovo-lacto-tarian since I also eat eggs and dairy. But I am definitely not a flexitarian. I do not eat meat from mammals or poultry.
But I get it. We are all striving to be more health conscious when it comes to our diets. Going vegetarian, or vegan can be a daunting exercise for carnivores. Some people would never consider such a radical approach, especially those who opt for keto (high fat, popularized by Jack Spratt’s wife), low carb, or paleo fare. And then, of course there are is the gluten-free crowd, and the locavores who limit their diet to food that is produced locally. As radical as veganism or vegetarianism may seem, there are the raw diet aficionados, fruitarians (fruit only) and breatharians who believe that food is not necessary for human subsistence. I had never heard of this latter group, but I suspect that they are a dying breed…(Forgive my humor if you are a breatharian. I mean no disrespect. Obviously, if you are, and are still living and breathing, then my humorless assumption is incorrect.) There are a few other -tarians worth a mention, pollo-tarians (poulty eaters), the faith-based Kosher, Buddhist, and Hindu/Jain diets, and last but not least, diets that relate to specific populations: the Inuit, Mediterranean, and from our friends “down under” the kangatarians. Yep, you guessed it…they eat kangaroo meat to the exclusion of all other meats. Just one more…there is also a diet called the Shangri-La Diet, which involves consuming 100-400 calories of flavorless “food” such as extra virgin olive oil between meals as a way to lose weight. The Shangri-La Diet, when one examines the details, seems like an oxymoron to me. I guess this is a good place to stop. Though you should know, this is not an exhaustive list. You can find that list at Wikipedia.
All this to say that I think it is safe to say, we like our labels and categories. It makes us feel like we’re special, that we belong, which brings me to our word of the day…flexitarian. Is that really a thing, or is it rather a “non-thing”? Before the age of dietary enlightenment, weren’t we all flexitarians? Like I said, I get it. We like our labels and categories. Flexitarians can have their meat and eat it too.
Does it really matter how we identify our eating habits? Restaurants are catching on, as are food labels, making it easier for us to identify the special foods we choose to consume be it for religious, health, spiritual, or activist reasons. It really shouldn’t matter what we choose to eat. But as an Executive Administrative Assistant, I can tell you catering a nice employee appreciation luncheon can be a nightmare. From the moment the email invitation drops, I can count on being flooded with requests for the precise menu that is being served, and if it does not meet the “needs” of my invitees, requests for substitutions ultimately follow. The days of employees excited about a box of Krispy Creme donuts in the break room are long over. Believe me, it’s not worth the trouble to offer people free food. When the company asks for cost savings…I have a few ideas.
Before I launch into a rant…let me get to my haiku for the day using our word of the day… because I’m flexible that way I shall not tarry any longer. Have a great weekend and remember to be kind. Eat and let eat…and have the damn cake if you want it. Life is short. 🙂
in the beginning
we were flexitarians
just didn’t know it