Whether for health, religious, ethical, environmental and/or economical reasons people choose a be vegetarian consuming a diet centered around vegetables and eliminating meat. For some people, the definition of vegetarian is concrete but for others it is more liberal. There are strict vegetarians that exclude all animal meat and related products, as well as, those that eat dairy and eggs, or only eliminate red meat or those that include only fish.
I do relate to being a vegetarian, however, over the years I have slowly incorporated fish and chicken into my diet. So to be accurate that probably makes me a pollo-pescetarian. But if asked, “Are you a vegetarian?” I do answer yes, followed by a long explanation that specifies a little clearer my eating habits (“I do eat a little fish and chicken but will only eat chicken if organic, free range and locally sourced so I guess I’m not a strict vegetarian etc”). So, by definition does that make me a flexitarian? Semi-vegetarian? And to all those strict, ethical vegetarians I do feel it necessary to explain, because I have created what was once a strict vegetarian diet to now something less clearly defined.
Vegetarian is a term used to define a diet free of meat. However, in the realm of vegetarianism there has evolved a plethora of related diets that each have there own definition based on the various foods it may or may not include.
Vegetarians eat no meat, poultry or fish but can include eggs and dairy. To be more specific a lacto-vegetarian eats dairy but no eggs, ovo-vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy ovo-lacto vegetarian includes eggs and dairy products in their diet.
Vegans or sometimes called strict vegetarians eat no meat (including fish and chicken) and products containing milk, honey and/or eggs. Pescetarians include fish and other forms of seafood and a pollo-pescetarian include poultry as well as fish.
Other more strict vegetarian diets include a macrobiotic diet which includes mainly whole grains and beans but possibly fish and fruitarians who only eat fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the plant. Raw food diets are another emerging vegetarian diet that includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Flexitarian, a word describing a diet that is a little mix of all of the above, is a newer term Mark Bittam defines as “vegetarians who aren’t that strict and meat eaters who are striving for a more health conscious, planet-friendly diet”. This type of diet provides more flexibility and a general emphasis on healthy eating and living. It also enables people the option to use locally sourced foods which may include fish, meat or poultry.
This month we share a recipe for Tahini Sauce. It is a simple, zesty accompaniment to many middle eastern dishes. We like to serve it with Falafel Yam Patties (recipe coming soon) or use it as a dressing, or a dip with pita.
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup parsley
Juice lemons removing any seeds. Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.
Makes approx 3 cups sauce.
Will freeze nicely.