I’ve been thinking a lot about the 23rd and me. Not a DNA kit that reveals you once dated your half-brother by “accident”. The year 2023. For example, will this be the year I invent the perfect diet?
I’m not talking about weight loss diets like when your grandmother lived off Tabs and Figurines. I’m talking about a diet lifestyle. Maybe this is the year you become a “sutainatarian”, which sounds like a place they put people with TB in the old days.
If I become a sustainer, which is also a real thing, I’ll be the darling of the party! (“See, it’s about time we reduced our impact on the environment through a diet of whole grains, nuts, and legumes… Wait! Where are you going? I’m not done yet!”)
Speaking of which, what are legumes? No one really knows, but I’m pretty sure they’re those little fruit soda bottles made out of wax that you can eat. You’re welcome.
Sustainatarians are the noblest of the very specific diets you can choose from in 2023. If this mantle seems too heavy for you, maybe you’re more of a “social omnivore,” a term I just learned about in the current issue of “Bon Appetit,” which I believe is French for “I’d rather smoke.”
Social omnivores do not buy or eat meat at home, but eat it at a restaurant if they are invited to dinner, or to dinner at a stranger’s house. I believe the more familiar term for this dietary lifestyle choice is “cheap ass”.
Seriously, social omnivores try not to be so stiff as to hurt feelings or make party hosts cobble together separate meals like they’re picky toddlers.
You may be more of a “flexitarian” described as someone who is mostly vegetarian but occasionally eats meat and fish. Unlike social omnivores, flexitarians sometimes pay for meat and fish and consume them at home. They might even invite a few “meatatarists” to show their openness. Meatarians are people who consume meat every day. Like me.
You could leave this meat mentality behind at 23 and become a “reducer”, someone who consciously reduces the amount of meat and dairy consumed per day. If you still don’t understand what that means, let me use it in a sentence: A social omnivore and a reducer go to a bar. How long does it take for the reducer to realize that he has bought each wheel?
“Climate workers” do not consume any beef or lamb because of the environmental impact of corporate farms; “pescatarians” eat fish but not meat; and “vegans” do not eat meat, fish, seafood, dairy, or eggs, but subsist entirely on a healthy and wholesome plant-based diet, occasionally laced with a thinly veiled contempt for everyone else. The “carnetarian” eats meat but not fish, so I estimate the average age to be 24 months. It will take a little longer before the “fish” is shaped into the shape of a battered finger and doused in ketchup in the school cafeteria.
I had a hard time finding the right lane – I can’t be a meat-tarian forever – until I learned about a “veggie-eater” – someone who is not a vegetarian and eats meat but tries to cause as little suffering to animals and as little damage to the environment as possible . Perfect!
I already buy grass-fed beef because I prefer to think my steak came from a cow that lived a beautiful life on bucolic pastures only in the blue part of Texas, so, OK, on the streets of Austin. And I’ve been buying cage-free and free-range eggs for years because I prefer eggs laid by a chatty bunch of hens who wear “Rose’ All Day” t-shirts and make fun of all the big rooster energies in the backyard.
It’s possible that I was imagining it all. So as a vegetarian, am I right?
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT bestselling author and columnist. Email her at [email protected]