I'm sure there are also people who claim to be "moral vegetarians" with an asterisk, who allow themselves to eat seafood because they consider fish and shellfish lower, less intelligent forms of life than mammals. The Nazis made similar value judgments.
And don't get me started on Jews who don't keep kosher but refuse to eat pork, as if that's the one thing the Alleged Deity won't forgive. Jesus.
Related to the health vegetarians are the “is it healthy?” and the “is it fattening?” types, people who aren’t vegetarians per se, but who obsess so much about these questions that they can’t enjoy a single meal with carefree abandon. I know several people who maintain a sensible diet at home and rarely eat out, but when they do they don’t order what they really want, they order something they think is “healthy” (even if they should be thinking it’s “healthful”). It’s a perversely puritanical and wrongheaded approach. One meal won’t kill you, damn it. Enjoy something for a change.
I was once in a restaurant and I overheard a woman asking the waiter of every dish, “Is it very fattening? Do you know how many calories?” What waiter knows how many calories are in anything? This woman was hardly fat anyway. I felt like telling her to go home and make some fucking steamed vegetables if she was so concerned about how fattening the food in a restaurant was. But I kept my mouth shut.
Of course it’s important to be health-conscious when it comes to diet, but it’s equally important to the mental health to live life with gusto. Maintain a balance; don’t be a fundamentalist. It’s certainly a good idea to eat more like the Mediterraneans or the Japanese, but if you want to eat like a Hungarian every once in a while, go for it.
I know a woman who is not a vegetarian, but she is almost one by default, since she is unable to eat the meat of any animal she considers cute or any animal she considers ugly. I can’t think of too many animals in-between. I will confess that there have been two types of meat I could not bring myself to eat. The first was monkey. It was on a menu in a restaurant in Phuket, Thailand. I thought seriously about it. I went back and forth. I pride myself on culinary adventurousness, but ultimately I just couldn’t do primate. So I did the cowardly thing and ordered khanom jeen nam yaa, the local fish curry noodle soup. The other meat I couldn't eat was dog. This was in Vietnam, where there are special dog restaurants. All those restaurants have signs with a picture of the big, wolfish food dogs that they serve. The dogs are bred for food, and I suspect the restaurants may be segregated this way so they can be better regulated, to make sure they don't serve strays or pets. For me, though, the association with domesticated canines was too strong, and I couldn't bring myself to enter one of those places. Still, I haven't ruled dog out altogether. I haven't yet been to Korea or the Phillipines, so I may have other chances. I don't think I'll ever get over my irrational fear of monkey meat, however.