My own diet aside, what other people put on their plate became of interest to me when I decided to have a young married couple over for dinner. They’d recently decided to switch to the vegan diet and I had no idea what that entailed.
It reminded me of the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Tula’s aunt meets Ian, the fiancée, and insists she’ll cook for him. When he tells her he doesn’t eat meat, she exclaims in disbelief, “You don’t eat no meat?” (Pause) “Oh, that’s okay,” she says, satisfied she can still come through. “I cook you lamb.”
I have challenges enough trying to figure out what to put on my own table since I have some health issues to be aware of. But when it comes to entertaining––and I do like to entertain––now I try to ask first, “Is there anything you cannot or prefer not to eat?”
Educating myself on just what a vegetarian would eat came fairly easily. I have some friends who serve at the local soup kitchen and I know what they put in their weekly main courses. The other “Vs”, not to mention the pescatarian and flexitarian, required a little digging.
Here’s some information to help you if you ever wondered how a friend might expect to be fed if they’re a guest in your home. Or…if you’re a guest in theirs, expect dishes prepared this way from them. Here’s a short lesson on some of the “arians” and “isms.”
- Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
- Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarianism includes dairy products such as eggs, milk and cheese.
- Veganism excludes all animal flesh and animal products, so it excludes milk, cheese and eggs. Vegan purists exclude honey because it is a by-product of bees.
- Raw veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Some allow the cooking of vegetables only up to a certain low temperature. Raw foods purist cook nothing.
Semi-Vegetarian Diets Include:
- Pescatarianism, which includes fish and sometimes other seafood.
- Pollotarianism, which includes poultry.
- Pollo-pescatarian, which includes poultry and fish, or “white meat” only.
- Flexitarian, which is primarily vegetarian, but will eat meat if easier by social circumstance.
Often, the first question a carnivore will have for the vegan is, “How do you get protein into your diet?” It’s a valid question. But we meat-eaters needn’t worry about anyone who’s done their homework. There’s protein in every living thing because proteins are the building blocks of life. So it makes sense that proteins are in every food we eat. The difference is in the amount.
For the sake of argument, even scientific studies are limited by the test groups and the conditions applied. If you’re considering a change, it’s best to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Healthy eating is also more than what we put into our mouths. We all know that many times it’s the community in our midst while we’re eating so let’s not be Foodie Snobs.
Some would say, “Think outside the box and try something new.”
I say, “Throw the box in the dumpster. And eat hardy.”