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09 December 2011

Coining a new phrase ...

I'm not a picky eater, but it can appear as such. I absolutely LOVE food. I love it so much that I need to workout regularly to burn it all off. But I am picky ... no, selective ... about the food I eat. Let me start at the beginning...

In the 8th grade, it was the "cool" thing to go vegetarian. Since I'd never been a huge red meat fan (save for veal, which, I know, is the absolute worst of the red meat category!), I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. Hey, it was 8th grade and everyone was doing it. My mom quickly vetoed my new-found vegetarianism, worried that I wouldn't get enough protein and nutrients that I needed to grow. We compromised, and I only ate white meat (chicken and turkey) instead.

Soon (I think it was my freshman year in college or so) my only-white-meat-eterianism moved from being the "cool" thing to being a bleeding-heart-animal-lover thing. I'd seen the horrible videos and whatnot of the horrible animal abuses in slaughter houses, and, if you know anything about me, you know I prefer the company of animals to most people.

In my "freshman" year of the PhD program, my bleeding-heart-animal-lover thing morphed into an environmentally-conscious approach to eating. I was working for a family who had an autistic child and they were focusing on a mainly organic and natural diet in an attempt to keep him free from environmental toxins (because some research has linked autism and environmental toxins. But, when you have a kid who needs help, you will try anything to make things better. It was worth a shot.). I began investigating food production practices and science and learned a lot of things that made me think twice about the kinds of food I put into my body. My dietary preferences were (and are) more focused on both the treatment of the food (animal, vegetable, and fruit) that I consume as well as the environmental impact of said food.

So now, I will eat pork, chicken, turkey ... ONLY if I have relatively sure that the animal was raised in a humane fashion and that the farming practices are sustainable. I still do not eat red meat because, like I said before, I never real had a taste for red meat. I choose organic and sustainable vegetables and fruits whenever possible. I make a conscious effort to consume food which is humane and sustainable. It doesn't happen 100% of the time, but I try to make it happen MOST of the time. (Granted, this is totally a 1st world concern, and I recognize the privilege and elitism that influences my decision. I do wish that all peoples of the world had access to adequate and sustainable foods. I'm thankfully I have the means to make such dietary decisions.)

No the problem lies in explaining this when I go out to eat with friends. I'm not a vegetarian per se because I do eat meat under certain conditions. So, I need a new term to describe my dietary lifestyle. And I think I've come up with it: Enviraterian. It sounds like I eat the environment (which makes me laugh. I feel like a monster consuming all I see ...), but I think it makes sense with my purpose in dietary decisions.   Of course, this term itself will need explaining in it's own right, but it will take less backpedaling and clarification than saying I'm a vegetarian but ...

We'll see how it goes ...
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