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What's my label?

Cartoon by Bitstrips
I often have difficulty in how to label myself, that is, how do I describe my "diet"?

For a start I don't like to even call it a "diet" since my decision to go "plant-based" was nothing to do with losing weight, but the word diet" often refers to just that of course. I actually prefer to call it a "lifestyle" since the fact is so much changed that I in fact live a life that is very different than what it was before.

Of course if you read any of my posts you are likely to come across the expression "whole-food plant-based". I'm not sure who first coined that expression, but it was probably someone like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of "The China Study". It says it all - our diet (nutrition) should be nothing but whole-foods, that is, nothing processed; and plant-based, that is, no animal products. So stringing it all together you come up with "whole-food plant-based lifestyle". Quite a mouthful, don't you think? And people just aren't used to hearing it and understanding all that it implies, so I rarely use it in conversation with people.

To most people "vegetarian" is a very muddied label these days as evidenced by the questions that often follow when you say you're vegetarian such as - Do you eat cheese? Do you eat eggs? Do you eat fish? The true meaning of vegetarian was and should be "plant-based" which by implication means just that and dairy, eggs, and fish shouldn't even be thought of. To make the point clear, do I need to say I'm "strict vegetarian" perhaps? Then the follow-up question will probably just be about how I get enough protein.

The most expedient thing to avoid all the follow-up questions about milk and eggs is to label myself as "vegan", but that always makes me uncomfortable. Like vegetarian, the meaning of vegan is becoming corrupted, but in its true meaning it has nothing to do with what is my primary motivation, which is strict vegetarianism for personal health concerns. Veganism is just that - an "-ism". It's a philosophical and ethical stand to not eat any animal products - that includes honey by the way - and not to wear or use any animal products either - meaning no leather clothing, wallets, furniture, etc.

Ask my Facebook friends and they will probably tell you that I am primarily motivated by animal rights as it sure looks that way as I often share stuff stuff about factory farming and animal rescues. I look like a vegan to them, and that's because I really really do care about animal rights. I abhor and detest factory farming for its cruelty. I want to see it ended. But just as this blog's name suggests, it's primarily about health for me first and foremost. For me, the end of factory farming, the protection of animals from abuse and torture, the high cost of animal farming to the environment all come after my concern for my health.

This post was prompted by the following opinion piece that I ran across tonight about Beyonce going to a vegan restaurant in L.A. wearing fur. I found the piece and the comments rather interesting and thought-provoking. Check it out.

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/rankin-full-stop/2013/dec/9/vegan-police-nobody-safe/

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