Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegetarian Or Non-Vegetarian? - Vegan? Pescetarian? Or Flexitarian? Or …???

Are you a Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian? Is a frequently heard inquiry among new acquaintances, at home, at Restaurants and at Parties in order to seat them as per their food preference or isolate them into groups at a buffet. Non-Vegetarian preparations are served separately and with caution as the Vegetarians should not be inconvenienced. Today with Veganism picking up in the west and slowly creeping into India the problem has become more complex. The popular Vegetarian category – Paneer, Curd, Ghee, Butter, Khoya and honey preparations and many more such delicacies are not acceptable to Vegans. So they should be served a different food, separately and very carefully. Perhaps to avoid chaos at meals; the population of Vegans and the other Vegetarians in India who do not eat even root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, radish, other roots and tubers is a very small percentage as of now.
I am not sure whether Vegetarianism is picking up in India in spite of large scale news and articles appearing regularly, explaining the advantages of Vegetarian food and of avoiding Non-Vegetarian food. I am making this comment based on the parties I attend in the family and friend circles where majority of guests enthusiastically opt for Non-Vegetarian food and from the ratio of Exclusive Vegetarian Restaurants to Non-Vegetarian Restaurants in the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad which may be 1:100 or 1:150.
As 1st October is “World Vegetarian Day” and October Month is being observed as “Vegetarian Awareness Month” in the West, articles have started appearing locally on advantages of Vegetarianism. In spite of all the canvassing, people may not avoid Non-Vegetarian food altogether but would certainly reduce consumption and be selective, less of red meat and more of poultry and fish; for health reasons. And I fall into this category. I was never a Non-Vegetarian on a daily basis but a Flexitarian; meaning a Vegetarian-predominantly, having Non-Veg. food just on six to eight days a week. Except Beef I am permitted to eat all commonly available Non-Veg. food and I must say that I relish them.
I have mentioned Pescetarian in the title, which refers to people like most Bengalis who have fish and shellfish but not meat and poultry. I am not fully aware of more such terminology categorizing food preferences or should I say restrictions. But from Airline catalogs I know that they offer a variety of meal menus like – Moslem meal, Kosher meal, Jain meal and so on.

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Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry.

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