What Humans Eat

One thing that I foresee as being something of a "Food Trend" in 2015 is the continued shift towards an interest in vegan diets. As I always remind people, I'm not a vegan; however, I think the collective vegan mindset has a lot of good, strong philosophies, and I identify more with vegan attitudes towards food production than I do vegetarians, or even most fellow omnivores. 
To some degree though, I think there is still some confusion as to who exactly eats what, and why, which is why I thought I'd put together a non-exhaustive collection of the main groups based on their consumption of animal products. Of course, there are a number of spin-offs and sub-groups to this list, such as bee-gans - vegans who eat honey, but lets keep things simple shall we?


Technically, human beings are omnivorous animals, this means, our digestive systems are designed to eat both animal and plant materials, meat and eggs, as well as vegetables. A majority of human's still stick to this way of eating, and in modern history we've added grains, oils, dairy etc. to the equation. Basically speaking, omnivores are on the "default" setting, though you'll find many who've tailored their diets to suit their bodies, for example, those who eat white, but not red meat. 


I dont like this title, but it's been coined by someone else and I'm going to use it. Flexitarians are a new breed of omnivore, and they represent precisely the way that I, personally, approach food - me, Beyonce and Jay-Z apparently. Flexitarians eat both animal and plant materials, but which they choose is dependent on ethical and environmental factors. For example, flexitarians eat grass fed animals, but not those fed on a supplemented diet of soya and grains, flexitarians eat line-caught fish from high stocks, and flexitarians eat seasonal, locally sourced vegetables. The focus of the flexitarian diet is on low food miles, low impact, and reduced cruelty - so you know that factory farming is out, as are eggs from caged hens. Where a flexitarian can not be sure of the background of their food stuff (i,e - when eating out) or can't afford to make the most ethical choice, they're most likely to opt for vegetarian or even vegan options. 


Surprisingly common, pescetarians tend to identify as "vegetarians who eat fish", as opposed to "omnivores who only eat fish flesh and not that of any other animal" - and personally I think they've got it wrong, they're omnivores, not veggies. However, there are plenty of these "vegetarians who eat fish" among us, in fact, I reckon about 25% of the people that I know who identify as vegetarian, eat fish on a regular basis, they also eat eggs, dairy etc.


It's once someone's made a conscious decision to cut animal products out of their diet, that things get a bit complicated. Vegetarians do not eat any meat/flesh, this would include animal fats, gelatine etc. or anything made from the body of an animal. However - things made by the body of an animal, where production doesn't involve death, is on the menu - so predominantly, eggs, milk and honey. Some vegetarians wear leather, which might seem odd to many, and most will wear wool, silk and other animal by-products, they also differ on where they stand in animal products in cosmetics, household products and other odds and sods. A vegetarian does NOT eat fish though.


Considered the "hardcore" ethical stance on food, vegans live on a plant based diet, which includes grains, nuts, seeds etc. To clarify though, vegans do not eat animals, and they don't eat anything made by animals, including milk (and cream, cheese, yogurt etc.) eggs, honey, bee pollen (fast becoming a popular ingredient in super-food smoothies), and other associated products. Vegan lifestyle also extends a long long way past diet, and includes cosmetics, household cleaning products, and fabrics. Vegans do not wear leather, wool, silk, or other materials made from or by animals. I recently saw an infographic which claimed to prove that there is "no such thing as a vegan" by highlighting the number of things that animals are used to produce, including adhesives, dyes and inks, and candles. I have to defend vegans here to say that whilst I'm sure every vegan accidentally and unintentionally uses stuff containing animal products, most that I know, genuinely look in to almost every purchase - including having tattoos performed at parlours that only use vegan inks (these are more common that you think), not buying shoes where the soles are stuck on with animal glues, using natural hair colourant, burning soya candles (remember, bees wax is not suitable for vegans) and even using vegan contraceptives and so on and so forth. Many vegans are very knowledgeable and this info-graphic (which I've included below) does seem to suggest that this is "news" to the vegan community, which I'm almost certain it is not!

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