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Diet Terminology

It’s not easy to live in America and not follow the traditional American diet.  As a vegetarian I am highly aware of this.  Therefore I tend to try to send nothing but happy thoughts to my fellow non-traditional foodies, be they gluten-free, vegan, kosher, etc….  However I kind of have a beef (pun intended) with one group of them right now.  I’m looking at you pescetarians.

It is absolutely cool that you choose to abstain from all meat but fish.  I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.  What really pisses me the fuck off though is those of you who are running around claiming to be vegetarians.  You are not vegetarians!!

From Merriam-Webster: vegetarian: one whose diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products

Do you see fish listed in there? Are fish vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, eggs, or dairy products? No? Then you are not a vegetarian! You are a pescetarian.

Here’s Merriam-Webster to help you out again: pescetarian: one whose diet includes fish but no meat

I know. You’re sitting there going Why does this woman have such a problem with what I call myself, right?

How you label yourself directly impacts me.  It’s hard enough to be a vegetarian and have to explain to people things like it’s not appropriate to give your vegetarian niece marinara sauce cooked with meatballs in it, even though you’re not giving her meatballs there is still meat juice all up in that.  I know you face things like that yourself when you explain that you don’t eat chicken.  Pescetarians running around calling themselves vegetarians means I now repeatedly have this conversation:

Me: “I’m sorry. I can’t eat that.  It has fish in it, and I’m a vegetarian.”
Person: “Vegetarians eat fish.”
Me: “Um, no they don’t.”
Person: “But I know someone who’s vegetarian, and she totally eats fish!”

You are making things more difficult for us vegetarians.  It’d be like if I ran around calling myself vegan and gnawing down cheese.  Vegans already are a bit confusing to the public, how much more would that confuse them then? You are just wrong.   You are using the wrong word for your diet.  Even freaking Merriam-Webster says so.  I know pescetarian is a funky-sounding word and you will probably have to explain it a bit more to the public since it is not as well-known as vegetarian.  Do it anyway.  It’s what you are. If you really want to call yourself a vegetarian stop eating damn fish!

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  1. October 1, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I had never heard of Pescetarian but I do agree it is ridiculous for people that make the vegetarian claim and eat fish, especially if they have moral reasons not to eat meat (there are those who just dont like it, or do it because of health problems). I am very much an omnivore but I respect those strong enough to be a real vegetarian.

    • October 5, 2009 at 8:44 am

      Thanks for the return visit! It is a ridiculous thing, isn’t it? I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for some people to just use the appropriate term for what their diet is. I also have issues with omnivores who call themselves carnivores…..but that will just need its own post 😉

  2. jillndom
    October 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I love the last line 🙂

  3. megcaze
    November 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    When I became a vegetarian a million people asked me, “So are you still going to eat fish?” and I was like “uhhh no… because that would mean I’m not a vegetarian.”

    • November 24, 2009 at 9:21 am

      It’s amazing how some people look at a fish and don’t see an animal. It’s like they consider them the plant of the sea or something.

  1. October 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

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