I know a lot of people who follow a particular diet, whether it's eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, organic, local, or dairy/nut/gluten/wheat-free.
I will state off the top that I do see allergies as somewhat of an exception--nobody asks to have a food allergy, and as I'm muddling into the middle of it myself I certainly feel the pain of thinking "but if I can't have ___, then what CAN I have?!" and it is overwhelming. However, this post is more about people who are choosing a particular dietary style based on morals or ideals, not on allergies.
My husband (before he was my husband obviously) took a girl out to dinner once. She told him that she was vegetarian, and he said ok, well, where would you like to go? He proposed an Indian restaurant, or a Thai restaurant, knowing that both of those places would have some great vegetarian dishes. She declined. He thought perhaps that was a little to exotic for her so asked about Chinese, but she said no. Where did she want to go? A soup and salad place...and once there, her dinner consisted of iceburg lettuce with a couple of carrots and tomatoes. She said that's what she usually ate.
I will bet you anything that her vegetarianism was short-lived, because you cannot survive on iceburg lettuce, and this girl wasn't willing to branch out and explore what vegetarianism had to offer.
In the grocery stores in November I always see something frightening: tofurky. Really? Turkey flavored tofu? Does anyone else think that sounds just gross? If you want to eat turkey, then do so. If you want to be vegetarian, then make a Thanksgiving meal centered on baked potatoes, or an amazing 'stuffing' casserole, or something like that.
If you like hamburgers, then eat them. If you are concerned about the treatment of the animals, then try eating local, grass-fed beef, or humanely-shot wild moose or elk burger. If you are morally opposed to meat, then feel free to grill up a portabella mushroom cap, or make rice & bean patties (which are good, but nothing like meat). But the 'veggie burgers' that are supposed to taste and feel like meat? Oh give me a break! They are full of fillers for one thing--they may be vegetarian, but I don't for a second believe that they are healthy...and if you're just eating substitute meats, then how committed are you to a meatless life? In my humble opinion, eating meat substitutes is still supporting a culture of meat-eating, even if you're not consuming it yourself, and if you don't believe in that...
The second part of my rant is this: if you DO eat meat, then you should be willing to participate in the whole process. I remember a college roommate who wouldn't touch raw chicken--it was too slimy and gross she said. But she liked to eat chicken. After the second time that she refused to help with that part of the meal preparation I told her that she had better give up chicken or else come help, because she was being a hypocrite and I wasn't going to enable her. (Yeah, I'm blunt like that ☺) From then on she helped...squeamishly, sure, but she helped.
Last weekend my husband went fishing and brought home a bunch of wild silver salmon. Salmon isn't my favorite fish, but they are plentiful here and very healthy, and you can't beat the price (or the feeling of fulfillment of literally providing food for your family with your bare hands). So he brought home fish...which then needed to be gutted and filleted. Do I enjoy gutting fish? Oh my no. But if I am going to eat the fish then I'd better be willing to start with an actual flopping fish, bash it's head myself, and so on. Yes, I have to touch it. Yes, I am taking a life. But I eat meat--that inherently means something died for me. So I participate in the whole process, doing my best to waste nothing (the heads and bones and other parts we don't eat get tossed back into the sea, where they will be put to good use).
The honest truth is that I don't really care what diet you have concluded is best for you and your family--be it vegetarian, vegan, raw, traditional foodism, or whatever else. I think that different families in different places have different needs. BUT, whatever it is that you decide you believe in, do it all the way, ok? Don't cheat on yourself. You're better than that. ☺
One of my food idols blogs here, and she not only has lots of appetizing photos and amazing recipes (mostly vegetarian + lots of gluten-free), she also blogs about her reasons for her dietary choices, her perception of 'real food,' and her active participation in the process. Go on over to her sites, be inspired. ☺