Why Being a Vegetarian Sucked [Day 6]

16 Sep

I have some theories as to why vegetarian foods weren’t so popular in the recent past, but I’ll share those another time.

That quote, from a previous entry was unclear. Better put: I have some theories as to why being a vegetarian sucked, prior to the popularization of the diet/lifestyle. But first, let’s start at the very beginning.1

My problem with the word ‘vegetarian’ has to do with its etymology: veget(ables) + -arian.2 And vegetables, in my mind and in the minds of many others, translates to leafy greens.

Lettuce. Kale. Okra. Spinach. Arugula.

The images of those vegetables alone, firmly planted in the bed of my consciousness, made the vegetarian diet seem decidedly unappetizing. For a long time, my understanding of the archetypal vegetarian was the giraffe — someone who extends his long, almost serpentine neck towards thorny branches just to pluck at some bitter leaves with his black tongue.3

But if you think about it, that kind of green and leafy arched framework does not fit around what most vegetarians practice in their daily diets. A looser and more realistic definition of ‘vegetarian’ is one who eats leafy greens as well as fruits, nuts, grains, mushrooms, and more.

When I realized this, I had a complete paradigm shift: being a vegetarian means eating anything that doesn’t move on its own, is fair game. The world of food possibilities less fins, wings, and legs is still a very rich one. So now, I have a renewed sense of appreciation for the classical cornucopia:

Look, people! It’s the horn o’ plenty! And it’s vegetarian!

There’s more to say on this topic, but I first need to catch up on my reading. It seems that as a student, I always have promises to keep, and pages to go before I sleep. And pages to go before I sleep.

1 A very good place to start.
2 -arian: indicating a person or thing that advocates, believes, or is associated with something. I am not even going to try and define “vegetable,” which sounds like an easier task than it actually is. (For an introduction to the debate, see vegetable’s Wiki page.) This ontological ambiguity gave rise to the confusion I expand on above, in the main body of the text where the real meat of my argument lies. Whoops, did I say ‘meat’?
3 I almost want to apologize to my real (i.e., not 1-month spree! whee! people like me) vegetarian friends, but why should I? The giraffes would probably be among those most grievously offended, and very few of them read this blog anymore, if I’m to trust what the traffic stats are saying.

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