Monday, October 14, 2013

Restrictions vs Preferences

Sometimes when speaking about a vegan/whole-foods-plant-based diet, we refer to our diet as restricted. People may ask, “what are your dietary restrictions?” or “what’s off-limits to you, then?”

I prefer the term preference — my dietary preferences. My diet isn’t restricted, but I do have food preferences— just like anyone would. Nothing is really off-limits (physically), but I do have my favorites and things I prefer over others all the time.

Besides, being vegan doesn’t mean I CAN’T eat something, it means I CHOOSE not to. I don’t WANT to eat animal flesh. It’s not that I’m not physically capable of eating it (because I most definitely am), I choose not to eat it because I don’t want to.

Having food allergies or sensitivities is a better definition of the word restriction. If you will break out in hives from eating strawberries, then it’s no longer simply a preference — it’s a restriction.

Expect others to respect your preferences just as much as your restrictions. When you meet someone for the first time and say, “I prefer if you call me Liz rather than Elizabeth,” people respect that preference. When you order a salad and request dressing on the side, that’s your choice (your preference) and waiters respect that.

It’s no different to request a salad without the chicken, a veggie burger instead of a beef burger, or a Thanksgiving plate full of veggies instead of a plate full of turkey flesh. Just like nobody should force you to eat peaches when you prefer nectarines; nobody should force you to eat animals when you really just prefer vegetables.

When we can alter our point of view of the way we want to eat and the food choices we make, we can start to feel more empowered. See the abundance in what you choose to eat and feel the peace that comes with eating without causing harm! Represent your views with a positive attitude, and don’t apologize for your preferences.

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