Does language work against vegans (and co)?

When I recently tweeted a photo of my miniature pecan pies, I wondered whether I should identify that they were vegan. I did, but it got me thinking about the stigma placed on certain diets, and whether this stigma is in part caused by the language we use when we talk about those diets – focusing on which foods are absent, rather than which are included.

I will be serving the miniature pecan pies at my upcoming Mostly Fructose-Free (Diabetic) Mothers Day High Tea, to a somewhat skeptical audience of family members. Imagine if I served two types of pecan pie, and I told them that the first was made of pecans, walnuts, coconut, dates and spices – cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Then I told them that the second pie was vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. I can already see my sister rolling her eyes and heaving a big sigh. One guess for which pecan pie they would go for. Even though both pies are actually exactly the same.

I am not gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, paleo or sugar-free, but I do use recipes from all of these groups. Not because they are absent of particular ingredients, but because they are often delicious!

I wonder, if we shifted the language and focus away from what these diets exclude (and the accompanying alienation they can create), and instead embraced the foods they do include, whether we might create a greater inclusiveness and interest in food and the wide range of options available in cooking.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: A (mostly) Fructose-Free Mothers Day High Tea! | Dreaming of Almonds (and a nicer world)

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