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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering whether calling myself a 'transitional vegetarian' is okay?

Back story:
I grew up on a farm and was taught because we DO eat animals, that they needed to be treated with the utmost respect and care. Even in slaughter, it was emphasised that the death of an animal should be as quick and painless as possible. I thought everyone was taught that level of respect for the animals they were in charge of.

Even though I wasn't happy about an animal dying for me, I enjoyed meat and knew of no other alternative than tofu.

Things changed, I started dating a vegetarian and decided to give his lifestyle a go for a month, to see what it was like. Other things happened, like an abattoir video showing the torture of animals in my OWN country. And I put down my knife.

But, I'm not comfortable calling myself a vegetarian-

1. My parents. I had the opportunities I did, largely because of the income from our farm. I don't want to throw it in their faces. Our farm was/is a good farm, organic, respectful of the animals and very sustainable environmentally. If I knew everyone had those practises, I probably wouldn't consider vegetarianism at all.

2. I've only been 'meat free' for at most 2 months. Christmas and some other family meetings, where I wasn't sure where I stood, I just put the meat on my plate and ate it.

3. It's a huge step. I don't want to say "I'm vegetarian" just for, in a few months time, me have to take that step back. Both because there are some friends who think I'm only going down this path because of my partner (and they might not be 100% wrong) and because I don't want to cheapen the term. If I take it on, I want it to be a commitment.

So, is 'transitional vegetarian' okay? I mean, when people push me for a definition, I'd like to give them one. I'd like to be able to give myself a label to work on.

Any thoughts?
 

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I think you can call yourself whatever you like, it's not a label that matters. There are probably lots of people in the world that do not eat meat that don't bother with calling themselves vegetarian, it's just the way things are. I do think however that if you actually want to be vegetarian, one of the first steps is to announce it. This can save you from the awkward stares at Thanksgiving as to why you're not tucking into the turkey, and it gives you a certain responsibility to uphold it, so that you don't go back to eating meat, since no one would know.

Whatever you choose, good luck
 

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I agree with limes... Some of the problems I ran into with extended family when I first went veg is that some did not know and then felt HORRIBLE when they saw there wasn't much for me to eat.

I just made a big announcement to my immediate family and I got the "well what will you eat for Christmas" questions from my mom (big meat-lover) and I just told her she didn't have to do anything special, I'd take care of it. But she of course made sure a bunch of the sides were meat-free. Even if you tell your family your just "trying" to go veg it'll likely make things easier.
 

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You could say "I'm eating a vegetarian diet"/"I'm trying to eat a vegetarian diet"... It's not really a label in the same way saying "I'm a vegetarian" is. Or you could say "I'm meat-free"/"I'm eating a meat-free diet" etc (even though, by definition, meat-free doesn't include the slaughter by-products like gelatin and rennet whereas vegetarian does).

But I would agree with what Limes said.
 

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I think you should worry less about what arbitrary, pre-packaged label you apply to yourself. It honestly matters far less at the end of the day than the fact you're making an effort to reduce needless suffering and waste in the world. Things like "vegan" are only words, but there is tangible suffering involved in meat production. Suffering matters more than words. You're making a great effort and I think it's awesome.
 

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I agree. I am not into the whole label thing. I usually just say I eat a plant based diet or a vegetarian diet. The only time you might want to label yourself is when at a restaurant and ordering just so that you make sure to get a vegetarian meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys and gals!

I like the idea of 'meat free' diet for the time being.

Though, like everyone else :p, I agree with you Limes. Making the announcement is an important part. I just want them to be as okay and used to it before it becomes official. If it becomes official. I want to be okay with my choice and know I'm making it for the right reasons, not just looking for reasons for it to be right.

I know, it must seem incredibly weird that a grown woman is scared of telling people she's made a dietry choice.... But I love my family and don't want them to feel sad or rejected because of that choice.

So thankyou!
 

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If you're worried about them rejecting your choice, you can ease into it a bit. Start by saying you're just giving it a try. You could end up 'giving it a try' for the rest of your life, if that's what it takes to not hurt their feelings
But it doesn't take too long for other people to get used to it generally.
 

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I turned 80 last year. At parties, people assume when I ask if there is egg in something "Poor man, he must have some heart ailment", and I don't explain further. Or they ask if I belong to some religious sect. Truth is, I simply hate the idea of eating hen's periods. Others think it a bit 'holier than thou' to call yourself a vegetarian. (After all, no-one boasts about being a carnivore, so do they have secret guilt?). Again, I just say "I eat meat whenever I feel like it", not considering that I need add "and the last time I felt like it was in 1956". Consideration for hurt feelings is fine, but are people so brittle that you must sacrifice health, wishes and moral convictions to avoid annoying them? Sometimes, accidentally confronting them with new ideas is good for them. If you were born in a country where everyone thought eating stones was vital for survival, would you conform?
 

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I try not to label myself, though, if I was going to I'd be a lactose intolerant (sometimes ovo) vegetarian. I used to follow a vegan diet, but recently I started eating eggs from the chickens on my vegan friend's animal sanctuary: I know where they come from, and that they're free range and organic and I also know that male chicks (or any other chicks/chickens for that matter) aren't killed for me to enjoy a fried egg every once in a while (I don't eat them with any regularity, only when I can make it back up to London and see her.) Because of the complexities of my diet, I hate labeling myself. The only thing that really matters is that i definitely do not eat meat or any slaughter by products and I can't eat or drink dairy (crippling stomach cramps!). That really doesn't leave much to the imagination =s.
 

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Being, and doing are much more powerful than any label. I can see why you might not want to give yourself a credential now, seeing you are basically in the freshman class, and not a graduate. Keep learning and growing.
 

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I can honestly say the most difficult of eating a vegetarian diet is talking about it or trying to define it for others. That and the idea that is all or nothing. We all have our ideal person we want to be and sometimes they don't line up.

Try "I stopped eating meat". I think though, a discussion with your parents may be nice given your upbringing they might understand that you can't be assured that all animals are raised as they raise theirs so you're not going to eat any.

For me, as a new vegetarian, I needed to declare it, at least to myself and a few people I thought would be supportive/understanding. I also declared it at a restaurant last night, but the waiter directly asked me. I needed a clear cut, "as of this day, I no longer eat meat".
 
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