We are asked on a regular basis what diet we follow - paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw... Our stock answer is "we are not defined by our food choices." To which we generally then hear, "but what ARE you?"
What people choose to eat is individual, personal and often emotional. It's amazing how much one's decision to eat or not eat something can trigger a very emotional response in someone else! Believe us, we know.
When I decided to go vegetarian, then vegan, then raw, the people closest to me were concerned, upset and even angry. And boy did I get called out on it whenever I strayed even the tiniest bit from whatever diet I was following at the time. "You can eat that? I thought you were..."
From the earliest age food is used to celebrate, calm, relieve boredom or depression and to comfort in times of sadness and emotional distress. Because food and emotion are so closely tied, the very act of choosing to eat differently from someone can challenge their own relationship with food and even their identity.
Food became stressful to me, having to defend my food choices as well as feeling restricted by any specific definition - paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc. - which ultimately led me to stop defining myself by what I choose to eat. There is however, a relatively new term that I believe I can feel comfortable with: flexitarian. A flexible vegetarian. Someone who follows a vegetarian-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat.
Regardless of how or whether you define yourself or your food choices, making healthy food choices for YOU is what really matters.
Augusta and Lori
PS. We love to wax philosophical about all things food. Stop by the Peach to join in the discussion!