Flexitarians are vegetarians who eat meat

This coming Sunday, October 1st, is World Vegetarian Day. One month after that, November 1st, is World Vegan Day. A vegetarian, according to the Vegetarian Society, is someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter. A vegan is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat any animal products, including dairy and eggs, whether the animal lives through it or not. There are other types of vegetarians, too. Lacto vegetarians don’t eat meat or eggs, but they do consume dairy products. Ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat or dairy products, but they do eat eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they do eat both eggs and dairy products. People who don’t eat meat or poultry but do eat fish are called pescatarians. Technically they’re not vegetarians because the fish has to die during some part of the process. And people who practice vegetarianism most of the time but occasionally eat meat are called flexitarians. They’re not actually vegetarians at all. There are approximately 16 million Americans who have a vegetarian or vegan diet. So where’s the best place to live in the United States if you don’t eat meat? It would probably be someplace with a reputation for catering to eccentric hipsters, right? Right. According to the personal finance website WalletHub, it’s Portland. Surprise. To determine the best and cheapest places to follow a plant-based diet, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 17 key indicators of vegan and vegetarian friendliness. The data set ranges from the percentage of restaurants offering meatless options, the cost of vegetarian groceries, salad shops per capita and other factors. Texas has a reputation as a place for beef, and it’s deserved. Even so, Irving, Texas has the highest share of restaurants serving vegetarian options, 55.71 percent. Compare that to another city in Texas, Laredo, where vegetarian options are offered by a mere 2.31 percent of restaurants. Interestingly, Laredo is the cheapest place to buy vegetarian groceries, possibly because there aren’t any specialty shops there jacking up the prices. And the most expensive place to buy vegetarian groceries is Honolulu, the capital city of a state that ranks number one in smelling like plants. Scottsdale, Arizona has the highest share of restaurants serving vegan options, which, among other criteria, don’t use butter or lard. 15.04 percent of Scottsdale restaurants cater to vegans. Just a bit north of Scottsdale in North Las Vegas, Nevada, you can find vegan offerings at only 0.82 percent of restaurants. San Francisco has the largest number of community-supported agriculture programs, the ones where you subscribe to a farm and they send you a weekly box of food. They have 21 times as many as San Antonio. And Atlanta has the most salad shops, 14 times as many as Garland, Texas, a city named after vegetation. The top ten places to be a vegetarian or vegan are Portland, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Diego, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Austin and Oakland. Starting with the worst, the ten worst places to be a vegetarian are Greensboro, North Carolina, Baltimore, Chula Vista, California, Fremont, California, Anchorage, Santa Ana, California, Memphis, Chesapeake, Virginia, San Bernardino, California and Buffalo. Boise is 34th best. Our highest rating was in food quality. Our lowest rating was in vegetarian lifestyle, partially because we don’t have any established vegetarian festivals. Farmer’s markets apparently don’t count. We’re also short on vegan singles bars, where the meatless meet.