I am going to break it on down for you and dispel some crazy myths.
These days there are all kinds of ways to eat for all kinds of reasons:
- flexitarian (omnivore, I only call it that for grammatical reasons)
There are myriad more ways of eating such as fruititarian, pescatarian, raw vegan, paleo, gluten free but I’m not covering them here.
The first thing to do is to get out of your feelings.
- That means don’t judge (people), just stick with the facts because there are healthy, unhealthy and in-between ways of eating no matter whether you choose to go vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian.
- Forget about who else doing what because this is a highly personal decision. Most importantly, reject blanket statements and approach with an open mind and light heart.
- Don’t go around prothelesizing your chosen nutriligion because what’s good for you may not be good to someone else, and vice versa.
- Don’t assume that all vegans are always scrawny and have perfectly smooth skin or that all omnivores are unhealthy and obese because neither is true.
- Consider other aspects of your lifestyle. Are you on the go, will food restriction be too challenging for you? Will restrictive eating disrupt your social life?
- Don’t self identify with your eating style, you are much more than your -ism.
- Eating or not eating a certain way will not make you superior or inferior.
- None of these vegan, vegetarian flexitarian diets are ideal, perfect or more natural than the others.
- No eating style is an absolute miracle cure-all elixir for all that ails you (like some gurus will claim)
- You can be vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian and live a Nutrilicious lifestyle at the same time.
- Relax, and live your life.
Strict vegan means absolutely no animal products, no meat, fish, poultry, dairy, honey, or gelatin. No matter which way you eat you can and should definitely eat vegan dishes and or meals. When we take all of the mystique out of the term it’s pretty simple. If you eat a plate of broccoli, you’re eating vegan. Or my fabulously delicious vegetable curry. (generally I don’t try to be all fancy and call it vegan or vegetarian, unless I’m cooking for someone who is).
Some people choose to go vegan for ethical animal rights reasons. Others may try it because they want to lose weight, which may or may not happen depending on specifics of the diet. Because they avoid things (particularly processed foods) like cakes, cookies, pies, because they contain milk, butter they can be slimmer than vegetarians and flexitarians, but not necessarily. Sugar, flour, processed oils, can be vegan too. Some people are just hyper vigilant about eating plants only and feel lighter and more energetic that way, though that is really just a side effect of eating vegan. Vegan eating is a very mindful way of eating. Anyone who is as conscious of every single thing they put in their mouth will almost always be healthier.
Eating vegan also requires a deep understanding of nutrition in order to not become deficient in nutrients that are easier for vegetarians and flexitarians to get. Don’t believe the myth though, that vegans can’t get enough protein. They can, it only requires some diligence. The vegans who jump into this eating style unprepared and unaware are the ones who are likely to end up with nutritional deficiencies.
The potential problem with eating vegan is that it is very restrictive. Vegans have to always be on their toes and carefully reading lables and inquiring about ingredients in restaurant dishes. There is great benefit to being so mindful about everything you put into your mouth. I don’t know about you but I’m too laid back for that. And too greedified. But if that doesn’t bother you then go for it!
Vegetarian eating is generally no meat but can include dairy and other non-flesh animal products and is less restrictive than vegan but more restrictive than flexitarian. It’s easier to discern without probing if a dish is vegetarian or not than it is for vegan.
I like to eat mostly vegetarian, but I’ll never go exclusive. You see, because eating style is so personal, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone, which means who cares if you are vegetarian 4 days a week and flexitarian 3? It’s your own prerogative.
Being vegetarian does require some work though. I once had a friend who was vegetarian who didn’t have a clue and couldn’t cook a lick and basically lived off cheez curls, yogurt, raisins and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Needless to say, she had all kinds of health issues as she got older.
Flexitarians don’t exclude any food groups. But that doesn’t mean we’re just indescriminate eating machines like goats or sharks. Just like vegans and vegetarians, flexitarians can be very mindful and exclusive about what they eat, even though they are not completely excluding whole food groups. Some focus on only real whole food, others may be exclusively organic. They may pick and choose to exclude parts of groups like red meat, scavengers or dairy. It’s important to know that it is absolutely not true that meat and dairy kill people. It’s jankified food, especially processed meat and dairy that kill people.
Being flexitarian does not make everything simple because it’s very easy to slip into mindless and careless eating. It can also be so satisfying and fun. Just like vegans and vegetarians flexitarians need to educate ourselves about food nutrition and quality.
No matter which of these ways you choose, you can achieve health and vibrancy through a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet, especially if it’s incorporated into a Nutrilicious lifestyle. Nutrilicious living does not require adherence to a particular eating style because the focus is on taste, nutrition and quality. If you ask me, the best way of eating is to focus on a balanced diet of fresh, whole, real unprocessed food and just forget about adopting a label to wear on your sleeve.