All posts tagged qualitarian

Hi, I’m a Qualitarian. Nice to Meet You.

Perhaps the first diet labels stemmed from religion…kosher, for example.  But our evolution in labeling our approach to diet has evolved tremendously, especially in recent years.  Vegan and vegetarian, then lacto-ovo vegetarian (avoids animal products except dairy and eggs), pescetarian (avoids animal products except seafood), flexitarian (eats mostly vegetarian but not always) and now qualitarian.  I feel like all these labels are ripe for a magazine quiz, “Find out Your Diet Type”, right next to a quiz, “Are You Dating the Right Man?”

In all seriousness, I do believe these labels serve a valuable purpose.  They succinctly describe to others what you’re open to eating and they may help the individual using the label to put some structure around their eating goals.

I admit, I like to label myself when it comes to eating and have tested out a variety of labels, lacto-ovo vegetarian, flexitarian and I find myself at times idolizing the vegan label.  However, none of these have ever fit that well.  My guardrails around what I eat are based in how the food is grown, raised, sourced and processed.  I want my tomatoes to be in season and organic, my beef to be pasture raised and grass fed and my coffee to be ethically sourced.  So, imagine my excitement when I came across a new label, qualitarian, in an article by registered dietician, Ashley Koff.  Why, yes!  That’s me!

Qualitarian defined by Koff,

It means, first and foremost, that you choose to be the gatekeeper for what goes into your body. That you don’t feel deprived but rather empowered when you turn down a veggie burger with genetically engineered ingredients or hexane and enjoy one made from organic quinoa and mushrooms or a wild salmon burger or a grass-fed burger. It also means saying no to a ready-to-eat salad of chemically sprayed lettuces in favor of cooking your own organic broccoli (great to start with frozen too). And it means taking pride in being smarter than the front of a package or a commercial. Yes, you are smarter than both of those; yes, you are. You are smarter than the package that tells you what it wants you to know but doesn’t tell you the rest of the story.

As a natural food and health expert, I want to believe these labels are also a symbol for an awakening within our culture.  That flexitarians are not cutting back on meat consumption simply to lower their cholesterol, but because they understand the link between meat production practices and global warming.  That vegetarians are using the label as a way to increase consumption of fresh produce and decrease consumption of processed foods.

So, whatever you may be, a vegan or even an omnivore contemplating a trial as a pescetarian, I invite you test out a diet label.  Chances are, wherever you land it will provide an opportunity for you and those around you to question what you believe about food and be more thoughtful about the decisions you make.

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Image by Laissez Fare