They are much more than just a food fad.
Written by: Tyler Tassi
Vegan? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? Chances are, you have heard these words thrown around the food scene lately. Food companies now more than ever are trying to market their products to adapt to these new food lifestyle choices. But what do these food lifestyles mean? What do the people who follow these lifestyles eat and what do they not?
The first difference that I must identify is that the food lifestyles that I mentioned above are just that, lifestyles. They are not fad diets, like cutting out carbs completely or only eating one meal a day, that doctors and dietitians repeatedly say are harmful and counterproductive for the body. These are lifestyle changes that people make in all aspects of their lives. This could be not buying specific products or supporting certain companies because of their brand ethos. These lifestyles mentioned above are not just about food. Unlike diets, food is only one part of these lifestyles.
Vegetarianism is a lifestyle where someone does not consume anything containing animals in it. This means no meat, poultry, seafood or fish. People go vegetarian for a variety of reasons. Some do it for their health, believing that not eating meat or poultry at all is better for them, some do it for the environment and trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and others do it simply because they don't prefer the taste of meat.
Veganism, much like vegetarianism, is when someone does not consume anything made with animals in it as well as anything made with animal products. This means fish, meat, poultry and seafood, like vegetarians. However, vegans also do not eat anything made from animals. This includes dairy products, eggs or honey. All of these products are made by animals and therefore not eaten by vegans.
Lastly, there is pescetarianism. Pescatarians, very similarly to vegans or vegetarians, abstain from all meat except fish. Pescatarians will eat fish and seafood, but that is it. They do not eat any other type of animal products. Many people go pescatarian because they want to cut back on their carbon footprint of eating meat, yet still need a source of quality protein. Pescatarian, for many people, is a stepping stone to becoming vegetarians. Many people will start out as pescatarians and over time evolve into vegans or vegetarians.
One important thing to note is that many vegans and vegetarians transfer this belief into other aspects of their lives. Many vegans and vegetarians do not buy leather goods or will not support brands that do not align with their ethical beliefs pertaining to animals. Many vegans and vegetarians choose to buy from brands that do not test on animals. Brands like Free People are known for using “vegan” leather in their products. This looks like leather and feels like leather, however, is not made from animal hide. Consumers have touted this as being more ethical and sustainable, however, still providing products that consumers want to purchase.
Like with anything nowadays, advertisers and corporations are marketing their products to this growing market of people. Step into Sprouts or Walmart and you will see products touting how they are now made dairy-free or do not contain any animal products in them. These food lifestyles are so popular that they have even created new products and whole new markets to sell them. Imitation meats, like Beyond Meat, Incogmeato or Impossible Burgers all create products that look and taste like meat, however do not contain animal products.