For weeks at a time, I eat like a Mediterranean goddess. My body craves salmon, shrimp, maybe a little goat cheese and every single vegetable the Trader Joe’s produce section. This is when I’m knighted “a pescatarian.” Other times, dairy and fish don’t agree with me. So I’m a “plant-based vegan” queen.
I never eat meat, but I don’t judge anyone who does. Eating meatless is a constant in my lifestyle, so I’m most easily labeled “vegetarian.” But I always follow my body’s demands. I am a food chameleon.
Society is hyper-invested in food labels. I once called myself a vegan, because my stomach had been totally rejecting dairy for the last few months, and my girlfriend’s friend had a wildly emotional reaction.
“You ate fish earlier though,” she said with a violent eye roll. “You’re not a vegan!” I awkwardly laughed at this unreasonably emotive response.
“Okay, I’m whatever you want me to be,” I replied.
Sometimes, people “reward” others for their dietary restrictions. “I wish I could stop eating meat,” or “I could never do that,” are common remarks I receive, praising my (mostly) plant-based diet.
“You do you,” is my usual response.
Dietary restrictions don’t make you stand out. Striving for the “vegan,” or “pescetarian,” or “vegetarian” label isn’t something people should wish for, or worry about. Responding to bodily cravings is important, and being a slave to a society-driven dietary labels isn’t the point of fueling your body. Food is enjoyable, it’s fuel and it’s art. But what you choose to eat isn’t “you.”
Lizzy is a Brooklyn-based writer and guacamole enthusiast. Find her on Instagram and Twitter at @lizz_yonce.