Piscetarian, not Vegetarian

Things about Piscetarians:

Piscetarian is a variant spelling of the more widely used Pescetarian. Given that people in my locality more readily relate fish to “Pisces” than any other Latin version of the word fish, I prefer Piscetarian.

People who really love attaching descriptive prefixes to the word “vegetarian” will sometime describe the typical piscetarian dietary variants as:

  • pesco-vegetarian: a classic vegetarian* who also includes fish/seafood in his diet.
  • pesco-ovo-vegetarian: as above, and also eats eggs.
  • pesco-ovo-lacto-vegetarian: as above, also eats dairy.
  • pesco/pullo-ovolacto-vegetarian: as above, also eats chicken
  • semi-vegetarian: any of above combinations.

Like many vegetarians, some piscetarians don’t like these terms–they may be convenient in that they emphasize that piscetarians are not strictly eaters of sea creatures, but they are also confusing in that they suggest that piscetarianism is a type of vegetarianism. It isn’t. Fish, molluscks, and other water dwelling critters are ANIMALS. Eating their flesh is eating meat. However, piscetarians often find themselves forced to define the dietary style in relation to vegetarianism, anyway, as most people are unfamiliar with it. Like many a vegetarian, I, too, have been confronted with the idea that I can surely eat chicken, because isn’t that a vegetarian thing to do? For these reasons and many others, I really think that neither side is done any favors by cooking up extra-long vegetarian names for various dietary choices.

Not all piscetarians eat this way for ethical reasons, although the dietary style does reduce your carbon footprint and reduces ones support for atrocities like factory farming.

Not all piscetarians eat this way for health reasons, although it is a very good way to reduce or remove most of the harmful elements in modern western food ways.

Not all piscetarians eat this way for economic reasons, although a diet of primarily plant food supplemented with water-dwelling creatures can certainly be less costly. Sure, you’ll pay more for a decent piece of fresh fish than, say, ground beef or turkey, but if you are eating 2-3 meals of fish over a week, you are ultimately spending less than you would be if you ate meat at the average rate of consumption for most Americans–2 meals a day.

I eat this way because of a variety of health issues. I had a problem with hyperlipidemia–goodbye to most sources of saturated and trans-fats. I have a problem with hypothyroidism–goodbye to most soy products, and forget all the fake meat/cheese/milk soy substitutes for vegans and vegetarians, but, hello to an increased needs for proteins. I am allergic to chicken eggs–goodbye, yummy eggs, store boughten baked goods, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and so forth.

There you go, a plethora of issues that mean my personal needs will best fit in a tightly defined piscetarianism that eliminates most processed foods (as very few processed foods do not contain some chemical derivative of dairy, eggs, soy, or trans-fat), most land-animal products (I will allow honey as a sweetener and gelatin if I can’t avoid it), and soy in its unfermented state.

I cook a lot more. But I eat a lot better and my food tastes great. For many years, the only fruits I ate were bananas, pears, and apples, because everything else tasted like crap. Now, without all the junk I used to eat, without all the sugar in my system, most fruits, eaten in season, are true treats.

I don’t have a problem with eating meat or wearing fur, although I do object to the inhumane way in which animals are treated in factory farming. The longer I am a piscetarian, the more strongly I feel this. I do my best to buy in accordance with this, although, sadly, it is not always possible. This is why I am an owner at Outpost.

I’m putting this page together as a resource for myself and family members who sometimes wonder what it is I will eat. I thought about just adding a link page and letting it go at that, but the plain fact of the matter is that the cooking blogs that are most helpful to me (and anyone who wants to feed me) tend to be vegan blogs.

I wanted to make it clear that piscetarian is not vegan.

I wanted to make it clear that soy products–soy cheese, soy margarine, tofu, soy milk, soy fake meat–are not things I can eat. Tempeh and soy sauce, yes, because these are fermented. Everything else? Right out. There is a lot of soy in vegan cookery.

Cookery Blogs that I find helpful, some more than others, but not in any particular order:

Piscetarian Blogs to a particular friend: don’t look at these–you know who you are

And, yes, that would be it.

Not exactly blogs, but source or recipes for restructuring/redacting:

As for sites that actually explore the dietary style?

Not frakking many. Here it is: Pescetarian Life.

There is a growing awareness of the dietary style; maybe in a few years there will be better resources. Until that time, I’ll just collect links here.

*When western society began coining names for dietary styles, “vegetarian” meant someone who only ate plant-based foods. As time when on and western society became more aware of other vegetarian-like dietary styles, animal products began to be incorporated into the vegetarian diet, and all sorts of permutations of the word blossomed. These days, “vegan” is closest to a classic vegetarian, although the prohibition against use of all animal products including leather or fur and so forth may not have been a part of classic vegetarianism, given the lesser availability of petrochemical substitutes for non-food animal products.

As an additional note, part of the confusion regarding fish in the vegetarian diet may stem from the Christian practice of Lent, in which fish was not considered meat for the purpose of religious fasting. In the 21st century, many Christians continue to eat fish during this period on fast days, as this is an acceptable form of meat during this time of year. However, the end result of this is that a large faction of otherwise well-educated people have been trained not to consider fish as a type of flesh.


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