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Why I Don’t Call Myself a Vegetarian

It’s been over a year since I transitioned to what most would call a vegetarian diet yet I haven’t quite taken to referring to myself as vegetarian.

I don’t fit the definitions ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan.’

Some even consider me to be vegan as I try to avoid dairy and opt for alternatives where possible. However, though I’d consider myself a far better person if I were vegan, I’m not. I don’t go to great lengths to avoid products with dairy or eggs. I’m unconvinced that I should be avoiding products like honey and I will purchase vintage leather, fur or silk items.

The biggest reason why I can’t really be considered a vegan or vegetarian? I’ll occasionally eat squid when dining out. But it makes little sense to refer to myself as a pescetarian when squid is the only seafood I enjoy! A pescetarian who doesn’t like fish is rather odd.

Don’t cater to me!

I believe being vegetarian is a more ethical choice than eating an omnivorous diet and is best for my health and for the environment. However, I’m wary of pigeonholing myself. Aside from the odd jar of honey or bottle of fish sauce, I buy vegan items to cook with at home. But I hate having others cater specially to me. I’d love to put on an amazing vegan dinner for friends to show them how delicious vegan food can be but when I’m the guest, I’d rather not create a difficulty for them. If it’s a small gathering, I will typically request a vegetarian option be available but if I’m just one of a much larger group I’ll leave it be. There’ll usually be something vegetarian and if not I’ll manage. It’s not as though I just stopped liking the taste of any meat.

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Delicious black bean tacos at Laundry, Wellington

Since you’re reading my travel blog, you can tell that travel is a big part of my life. I want to be a nuisance when travelling even less than I do in my ‘real life.’ While I like to seek out vegetarian options when dining out, if I’m visiting a local’s home I’m not going to ask them to do anything different just for me. After all, I’m there to experience how they typically do things!

There are also areas of the world I’d love to visit where the local diet is almost entirely based off of animal products. I’m probably going to have to deal with that if I want to spend any decent amount of time in these areas.

Do you have a diet that doesn’t fit any of the conventional labels, or do you just think I’m being crazy? Let me know in the comments.

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