Nowadays, if you’re eating mostly food not made from animals, you’re said to be eating a “plant-based diet.”
Yes, you can still say you’re 1) vegan, 2) raw foodie or 3) vegetarian.
You could also say you’re a vegan who sometimes eats bacon.
Or a vegetarian who sometimes wants a chicken sandwich from a fast food joint—if it’s 2 a.m. and you’ve had too many drinks at the bar.
Or you could say you’re a gluten-free vegan who sometimes sneaks a cheese danish when no one’s looking.
But the new king of diet labels is now “plant-based."
It’s a plant-based diet, as opposed to a pig’s feet diet.
But why do we need to call it “plant-based?” Plant-based just sounds a tad too gentrified to me. Why can’t we just say we’re vegans or vegetarians or baseball fans? Why the fancy new term?
When I think of “plant-based” I think of dirt and leaves and bugs. I think of a garden center store with a ton of clay pots, plants, rakes and fermented bird shit soil.
I don’t want to think of my dinner as related to the above. I want to think it’s “tastes damn good-based.”
So if I’m eating falafel with tahini sauce and cucumbers—a fully plant-based meal—why do I need to say it’s plant-based? It’s a bean meal. It’s a vegan meal. It’s a “gonna give me gas” meal, but who cares?
It’s when we try to gentrify things and give them new fancy names to add 30% to the cost that we run into trouble. And then I get as prickly and mean as an Italian sausage sandwich with all the fixin’s.
Plant-based. Maybe it’s just another fancy term to sell seminars and books like, How to Live on Gardening Tools and Clay Pots Filled with Bird Guano.
Plant-based has too much dirt in the name. I don’t want to think of dirt when I’m eating my Impossible Burger (which are plant-based and quite delicious, thank you). I want to believe I’m eating healthy, that’s all.
If someone asks me what type of diet I eat, I say I eat anything I can stick in my mouth that won’t 1) get caught in my throat and 2) won’t break my teeth.
If I’m really hungry and have no food in the house I’ll eat a toy car. I just won’t chew on it. I’ll swallow it whole with a little ranch dressing.
Actually, all food is ultimately “plant-based.” Even if we’re eating animals.
All animals either are herbivorous or carnivorous—but the carnivorous ones ultimately end up eating herbivorous animals—so we’re all just surviving on a plant-based diet in the end.
Some dumb worm had a moldy leaf for dinner and we finally end up with someone in a restaurant eating a T-bone steak.
Even fish: Big fish eat littler fish and when you get to the bottom of the fish food chain, way down under the sea at the very bottom, there’s just a lot of dark green sludge that’s probably just microscopic sea plants, decomposed tires or plastic water bottles from a plant-based foodie in Baltimore.
And now I’m just really hungry and want to go eat something.
But I can guarantee you I won’t be going to the garden center for a “plant-based” lunch.
And I won’t be eating a clay pot or fertilizer made from bird shit.
Or my wife’s monstera plant, which has leaves, by the way, that would look mighty tasty stir-fried with some tofu and soy sauce.
That would be called a “houseplant-based” diet.