Cielo, a Los Angeles dreamer, enjoys recognizing images in the occasional cumulus cloud that meanders through the California sky, documenting interesting events and quotes and observations, and learning about different cultures, customs and lifestyles.
If you have noticed, it seems that in the past two years there was a huge vegetarian trend causing teens nationwide to dump meat and instead opt for veggie burgers. And as most do, the trend died and many returned to their carnivorous ways. I must admit that I too also occasionally slip in and out of being a vegetarian and go through arbitrary phases where I will be vegan for about a week. But for those who are dedicated and serious about maintaining an animal-friendly, meatless diet, here are your options and steps you may want to take if you are yet not ready to go all the way.
Step 1: Pescetarian
Pescetarians are those who maintain a diet free of land animals; although, they still consume critters of the sea. For pescetarians, while pork, beef and chicken are off limits, fish, shrimp, and crab are all fair game!
Step 2: Vegetarian
Vegetarians differ from Pescetarians in that, along with all meat, they also cut fish out of their diets. Vegetarians often use meat replacements made out of soy, mushrooms, and seitan. Vegetarians still eat some products produced by animals: eggs, milk, honey. So if
you choose to be vegetarian, do not worry; you can still enjoy tasty treats like ice cream or fro-yo.
Step 3: Vegan
Here is where it may get rough for some: Vegans ban all animal products from their leafy plates. This includes eggs and milk and honey and other sneaky products you may see on ingredients labels such as sodium caseinate, gelatin, and non-plant glycerin. Vegans maintain a plant-based diet filled with a plethora of colorful fruits and vegetables, grains and oats, nuts and roots. Some vegans also live a vegan lifestyle outside of their eating habits. They wear vegan clothing and vegan shoes and use vegan body products that do not include leather, suede, glycerin or any other animal derivatives. If you feel that veganism is right for you, remember that most gummy candies and marshmallows violate the vegan terms. On those cool winter nights that will come sooner than we know, if you want to make your hot chocolate special, there are several brands of vegan marshmallows that are sold at specialty stores and Whole Foods.
Step 4: Raw Vegan
Warning: this is only for the strong at heart, for this step may require immense dedication. Unlike other vegans who enjoy plenty of foods as long as they have no animal derived products, raw vegans take all their food (you guessed it!) raw. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain the most minerals and vitamins in their natural raw form; once they are cooked, they begin to lose these supplements. If you feel like you want to begin your journey as a raw vegan, for one, I commend you for your effort in reducing packaging waste from processed goods, thus reducing your carbon footprint, and I also have a piece of advice. Take your last bites of (cooked) pasta, pizza and tacos now; you will be doing without them!
I am sure that you are now excited about altering your diet to fit one of these lifestyles; but slow your roll vegan speed racer! It is important that you consult your doctor before changing your diet, especially if you plan to become vegan. She can inform you about any additional supplements that can replace necessary minerals you may be missing.
These are all textbook examples. Every Pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan, or raw vegan is different and finds eating choices that fit their lifestyle. Whichever step you choose to take, you can be proud in knowing that you are doing your part to make this world a greener place!