The Power Behind a Label

Hello all! Tabby here, bringing this post to you in an effort to clarify the labels used to describe various mindful eaters. Before I dive in, I think it’s important to note that there are a lot of consumers who DON’T like labels of any kind. Therefore, don’t presume that someone who eats a plant-based diet really wants to consider themselves “plant-based” or otherwise. Although, for me, I embrace my label.

I lived as a pescetarian in my early twenties, for about ten months. I began dating a vegan in my late twenties. Approximately one year later, after learning about the destructive nature of the animal agriculture industry, I lived as a vegetarian for four months before I finally transitioned to a vegan lifestyle.

I am the first to admit that I am a reformed fast food junkie (although, the Impossible burger is making it REALLY hard to avoid slipping into bad habits again). I began my life as a “carnist.” If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be vegan AND hosting a plant-based podcast, I would have laughed in their faces. You might be wonder, what is a “carnist” exactly? A carnist practices carnism!

I know what you’re thinking… “huh?” If you’re still interested in this post and want your questions answered, I encourage you to read further…

Carnism

This term was first coined in 2001 by Dr. Melanie Joy, an American social psychologist and author. Carnism served as the primary basis for her doctoral dissertation, which Dr. Joy argues is a subset of speciesism and directly contrasts with veganism. Dr. Joy explains that carnism is an invisible paradigm, one which contradicts the many social values prevalent in modern society. Dr. Joy argues that meat eaters use denial, justification, and perceptional distortion to support their decision to consume animal products. In addition, Dr. Joy argues that animal protein consumption is a choice and not necessarily inherently “natural.” Food ways, of any kind, are influenced by social conditioning.

Are you still here? Awesome! Let’s get on with it then.

The reason I included the definition of carnism at the start of this post is because I think it’s important to understand the prominent ideology practiced my most consumers around the world. Some people are forced into this ideological practice by geography or socio-economic status; but most people have a choice. Most people, in North America and Western Europe in particular, have the option of choosing a different lifestyle. Many are interested in selecting food practices that accurately compliment their personal belief systems, but don’t they know where to start. Here at PBN, Holly and I work hard to bring you the tools you need to make more healthier and humane consumer choices. We provide you with the information, but it’s up to you to decide how far down the rabbit hole of plant-based living you are willing to fall. (I’m way, waaaaaaay, down below- in case you were wondering. I hope you’ll join me!)

May be you’re new to plant-based living, or may be you want to go vegan and you don’t know where to begin. May be you have a spouse, a child, or another family member who wants to go “plant-based” and you don’t know what the hec to feed them. Fear not! Use this handy-dandy cheat sheet to know the rules of “who eats what.” A detailed description of each of these lifestyles has been provided below. Don’t forget to check out our resources page for additional content that can help you transition on your plant-based journey.

“Who Eats What” – Your Plant-Based Lifestyle Cheat Sheet

Note: This chart should be considered a guideline, as some consumers may still avoid certain foods that are included on the “yes” list for their lifestyle-type.


Category Lifestyle“No” List “Yes” List
Plant-BasedFruitariandairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, seafood fruits, nuts, seeds, some vegetables
Plant-Based Plant-Baseddairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, , poultry, seafoodbeans, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, processed plant-based foods, whole grains
Plant-Based Whole Foods, Plant-Baseddairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, , oils (some), poultry, processed foods, seafoodbeans, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains
Plant-Based Vegandairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, poultry, seafoodbeans, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, processed plant-based foods, whole grains
Plant-Based Raw Vegandairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, poultry, seafood beans, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains
Mostly Plant-Based /VariationLacto-ovo vegetarian pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, seafood beans, dairy, eggs, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains
Mostly Plant-Based /Variation Orthovegan dairy, eggs, honey, pork, poultry, processed meat, red meat, poultry, seafood bivalves (clams, mollusks, oysters)
Mostly Plant-Based /Variation Ovo-vegetariandairy, meat, pork, processed meat, red meat, poultry, seafood beans, eggs, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains
Pesce-pollotarian pork, processed meat, red meat beans, dairy, eggs, fruits, honey, legumes, nuts, poultry (some), seafood, seeds, whole grains
Mostly Plant-Based /Variation Pescetarian pork, poultry, processed meat, red meatbeans, dairy, eggs, fruits, honey, legumes, nuts, seafood, seeds, whole grains
Mostly Plant-Based /Variation Pollotarianred meat, pork, processed meats beans, dairy (sometimes), eggs (sometimes), fish (sometimes), fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, processed plant-based foods, whole grains
Mostly Plant-Based /Variation Semi-vegetarian (or flexitarian)restricted intake of dairy, eggs, honey, meat, poultry, seafood mostly beans, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, processed plant-based foods, whole grains, and/or whole food plant-based foods.

Plant-Based Lifestyles, Additional Notes

100% Plant-Based

  • Fruitarians : some fruitarians will only eat fallen fruit.
  • Plant-based : the plant-based consumer may be focused on the health benefits of this diet, and have little personal investment or care regarding the ethics of consuming animal protein.
  • Raw Vegan : nothing is cooked, everything is served “raw” and unprocessed. The raw vegan is usually motivated by both animal ethics and the believe that raw food is the healthiest food form there is.
  • Vegans : the vegan is 100% invested in making consumer choices that create the least amount of harm on a global scale, these consumers are often motivated to defend and protect animals from exploitation and consumption.
  • Whole foods, plant-based : the whole-foods, plant-based consumer may be focused on the health benefits of this diet. This consumer may or may not be interested in ethical issues surrounding food. This consumer avoids processed foods all together.

Mostly Plant-Based/Variations

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian : these vegetarians consume plant-based foods and make allowances for eggs and dairy.
  • Ovo-vegetarian : these vegetarians avoid dairy, but they do consume eggs and other plant-based foods.
  • Semi-vegetarian (or flexitarian) : this plant-based consumers rely mostly on plant-based food sources but will occasionally make allowances for a restricted amount of animal protein. The flexitarian decides which items they want to restrict from their diet. It’s important to note that while some will argue that flexitarianism is actually a carnist ideology, the flexitarian only consumes a very small amount of animal protein. The flexitarian may eat animal protein on a semi-seasonal or weekly basis.

I hope that this post has helped clear up a bit of confusion surrounding the labels that exist within our communities. Remember, Plant-Based Nation is a digital community for the veg-curious explorer. This resource is intended for anyone interested in learning more about plant-based lifestyles.

Please contact me via email plantbasednationbc@gmail.com if you think there’s another item that should be added to this list! I would love to add and improve upon this page over time.

Thanks for reading,

Tabby


Check out our current episode:

19-01 Cows and Fur and Soap, oh my!

Available on Apple Podcasts, Podbean and Stitcher.

Published by Tabby

I am an artist, a vegan, an equestrian and an avid book lover.

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