Classifications of Vegetarians


I’ve complained before about “faux vegetarians” who muck up things for the rest of us by claiming vegetarian status when they still eat chicken. After all, how’s a vegan supposed to get soup in a restaurant if the staff has been trained to think of chicken broth as vegetarian? But, truthfully, there is some value in labels as a means to communicate what one does or doesn’t consume to someone else. Below contains what I consider to be a complete and correct list of the terms currently in use. Please feel free to let me know if you find any of this incorrect or misleading.

The two (well, four) most common types of vegetarians are:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat beef, poultry, or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy products. (Similarly, lacto vegetarians consume dairy but not eggs while ovo vegetarians eat eggs but don’t consume dairy.)
  • Vegans consume no animal products or animal by-products. This means no beef, poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy (many vegans also avoid honey). Veganism also extends beyond the diet. Vegans avoid leather, wool, silk, down, etc. Some people use the term strict vegetarian for people who follow a vegan diet but still use animal products in other parts of their lives.

There are also some restrictive subcategories of veganism:

  • Fruitarians eat raw fruit and seeds only.
  • Raw/living foodists eat at least 75% uncooked (items may be heated up to 110 degrees), unprocessed, organic fruits and vegetables, with the intention of preserving more vitamins and minerals. There are very few “pure” raw foodists though many people “eat raw” at least occasionally.

Then there are the classifications of vegetarians that aren’t really vegetarians. Their inclusion here does not imply an acceptance of these often confusing, misleading terms, but rather to serve as a reference.

  • Pesco-vegetarians eat no beef or poultry but do eat fish.
  • Pollo-vegetarians eat no beef, but do eat poultry.
  • Semi-vegetarians or Flexitarians eat “less” meat (than who? Most people? Themselves, before? Ted Nugent?)

And, finally, there is the one classification that I made up but at least one person thought I was serious about:

  • Cannibal-vegetarians eat no animal flesh, with the exception of human flesh. These folks might do good to consider starting a company.

This page also has some very good information about classifications and definitions of the varying types of vegetarian.

108 Responses to “Classifications of Vegetarians”

  1. Sergiy Grynko

    Some factoids:

    1. a lot of people in the raw food movement aren’t vegans taking the next step, but rather people who think that that’s the way Christ lived.

    2. there’s a (small) branch of raw foodism called Instinctive Eating, which invovles eating whatever you feel like eating at the moment, so long as it’s raw — up to and including raw fish and raw meat.

    3. raw foodists don’t heat their food above 110F (105F is an even safer figure) in part because of vitamins, but also, very importantly, because of enzymes. From what I’ve been able to gather (maybe I’m wrong), a big cornerstone of raw foodism is the notion that it’s deeply unhealthy to waste your body’s enzymes on foods that really ought to be digesting themselves.

    4. Sproutarians are a little like fruitarians, except their diet is predominantly sprouts.

  2. Dennis

    I don’t think we should penalize someone for not being a full-time vegetarian. Just the fact that they are taking efforts to eat LESS meat should be commended. In order to make vegetarianism more common and acceptable to the general populous, we should try not to alienate them. We want more people to be vegetarians for the sake of the animals that they consume. One way to start is to have people introduced to eating vegetarian, even if it means they eat vegetarian meals for just 2-3 days a week, that is a step forward from where they were before.


  3. Dennis

    By the way, how do you get your source of vitamin B-12?

  4. Ryan

    Dennis—I agree. I don’t feel that we should alienated people who are aiming to eat less meat, indeed they should be commended since for some people it’s quite difficult. At the same time, I think we need to avoid using variations of the term “vegetarian” to label them. It just muddles the issue.

    Re: B12. I get my B12 from any combination of fortified soy milk, fortified cereal (Nature’s Path Organic Optimum has 100% of the RDA for B12), nutritional yeast, and supplements. Depending on what I feel like for the day, I get my B12 in any of those ways.

    Sergiy — Thanks for the additions. I’ll try and work them in.

  5. vik

    Two alternate names for pesco-vegetarians (or pesco-vegans – seems a lot of vegans I know have started eating fish lately): Vegaquarians or Fish-and-Chip-ocrits (better spoken than written)

    As for B12 – miso and tempeh both contain it, sa do mushrooms, provided they are grown in manure. In fact, AFAIK it is the dirt on the mushrooms that contains the B12 (and all the other nutritional value of mushrooms – the mushroom itself is undigestible lignin). B12 doesn’t occur in plants at all – any real sources have to be of animal or bacterial origin (seaweed apparently doesn’t contain B12 but a chemical which tests positive as B12 in the lab tests)

  6. five17

    I’m in full agreement with you on the term “vegetarian.” It should refer to people who eat no meat, plain and simple. People who eat less meat than others, as a conscious decision, should be commend for their efforts but attaching the term “vegetarian” to those who aren’t means constantly having to explain that “fish” and “chicken” aren’t part of a vegetarian diet.

    Did you get to Kate’s Joint in New York?

  7. Amanda

    When I tell people I don’t eat red meat, they say So your a vegetarian. I then tell them NO- I only eat a little bit of chicken and fish. And then after clarifying myself for 10 minutes, they still do not understand. I have been this way (whatever name you want to call it) for 15-16 years. At first I had no name to call it, I knew it wan’t vegetarian, so I said I only eat Chicken and fish.
    I think the problem is not with the people who limit meat in their diet, it is everyone eles who just doesn’t want to take the time to understand.
    I still have no name for myself, I started using Semi-vegeitarian (people got confused) and in all the searching I have done, the pure Vegetarians seem not to be pleased with this terminiology. Since there are conflicts over this name, for reasons I don’t understand.
    For myself I will continue to do what I have always done since I was 5 years old.
    “I am not a vegetarian…I only eat Chicken and Fish!”

  8. lori

    My 24 y/o daughter is complete vegan. I have recently adopted the vegan diet, not for ethical reasons but because I believe that not consuming meat, dairy, and eggs is better for ME. But I also think that fish is good for me so I do eat fish. So I guess I’m a pesco-vegan. Yes it takes explaination and yes it is contradictory to the vegan belief. I feel bad about calling myself a vegan. But what else would I call myself? And I do hope that I won’t be shuned by the true vegans and vegetarians, I’m not trying to corupt your classifications, I’m just trying to treat my body better.

  9. sherry

    i need help , i am doing a speach this friday march 18,2005.on y u shouldnt be a vegetarian.i need information on wat vegetarians cant get.

  10. Ryan

    Methinks you’re at the wrong site. Might want to send your opponents here.

  11. Wayne

    Im doing a project on lacto-ovo vegiterains and need to find out there nutritional value on each food they eat. Can you help me with this?

  12. MaryEllen

    I get really IRRITATED when people tell me they are a vegetarian but they eat chicken and/or fish. There is NO DEFINITION in any dictionary which states a vegetarian eats flesh of any kind. So why do these people feel the need to categorize themselves as some type of vegetarian – the simple fact is they are NOT A VEGETARIAN!

  13. lisa

    geez mary, whats the big deal. why do you even care, as long as they aren’t saying they are pure vegetarians…still.
    live and let live.
    ps i am a pesco-vegetarian :) ha

  14. Denise

    Something has been confusing me for a while now.

    I’m vegan. When I was younger and learning about vegetarianism, I read somewhere that a vegetarian eats no meat, but would eat cheese and eggs. So, I have always thought that’s what a vegetarian was. However, this also describes a lacto-ovo vegetarian, a term I haven’t used very much. So, what’s a vegetarian?

  15. Ryan

    Denise — Vegetarian is an all-encompassing term that includes lacto-ovo, lacto, and ovo vegetarians as well as vegans (a vegan is a vegetarian, but a vegetarian is not necessarily a vegan… and a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle… never mind). However, I think that most vegans classify themselves specifically as such, so “vegetarian” by itself would seem to indicate “other” vegetarians, usually lacto-ovo.

  16. Tina

    I became a “vegetarian” almost 1 year ago and actually started eating fish AFTER I became one. I want to cut fish out of my diet, but I’m not ready for that. I guess that from now on I’ll refer to myself as a “pesco-vegetarian”.

    However, what I’m really curious about is why you “pure vegetarians/vegans” care? I do understand why you would not want some one like myself to claim to be a vegetarian, but what’s wrong with us labelaing ourselves “pesco-vegetarian”?

  17. ismelstar

    I consider myself Pesco-vegetarian and I am happy to use the term because I often encounter this scenario–

    Me: May I have toast instead of bacon?
    Wait Server: I’m afraid not miss. There are no substitutions.
    Me: Please sir, I am pesco-vegetarian.
    Abashed wait-server: Oh. Oh, of course then.

    In our (unhappily) label-happy society, I think that many people our unable to distinguish between “food preference” and “life-style choice” without having an official name. I realize I am not a “true” vegetarian but so many others don’t realize that I have an ethical dissuasion against certain types of meat (as strong as say a religious dissuasion) without my label (sad but true) and I dont want to give an hour long dissertation of my ethical principle every time I order out. You may just want to think of these words as Eponyms or Metonyms–in other words, “vegetarian” is the source of these new words, even though it doesn’t relate to the meaning of them.

    Until society enlightens itself up a little, I don’t think it is not much more harmful than occasionally calling sparkling wine, champagne, just as long as the lesser informed are able to quickly understand your meaning.

  18. C

    I’m kind of hurt by the reactions to pesco vegetarianism. I’ve only recently (last year) cut chicken and red meat out of my diet, but I continue to eat fish, and shellfish. I do not eat farmed fish, however.

    In any case, I’m not the “real deal”, but I believe my choices are just as valid, and just as deserving of a label. As noted above, having a label which defines your specific choice can be very useful.

  19. Ryan

    The difficulty comes, though, with the “vegetarian” part of “pesco-vegetarian.” Vegetarians don’t eat meat, period (and, yes, fish count). “Pesco-vegetarian” is sort of like “Homocidal Pacifist” (“I won’t hurt anyone… but I might kill you!”).

    No, I’m not calling a murderer.

    Keep in mind that I’m not criticizing you, your diet, or your lifestyle. I’m criticizing the wording of the label alone.

  20. Denise

    Then what should a person who eats fish but no other meat call herself?

    Though I suppose if you need to explain it to a person, they’re going to understand “The only meat I eat is fish” better than “I’m a pescatarian”, since the general public isn’t up on terms.

    If it helps, C, any sensible vegan or vegetarian will recognize that you’re at least cutting out some meat and thus some cruelty, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. We’re all just scared that we’re going to start confusing everyone else who is not any sort of vegetarian, and have a really hard time explaining ourselves.

  21. upset

    I have only just become a pesco-vegatarian, and already i am upset with the response i am getting. People say ‘you’re not a vegatarian, you are a meat eater dressed up as a carrot’. I think that the way they treat animals is wrong, therefore i eat no meat or poultry. I also eat fish on the condition that it isnt farmed fish. What is everyones problem? WE ARE VEGATARIANS! ACCEPT IT! If we weren’t vegatarians then why do doctors and specialists put pesco-vegatarians as a category under the word VEGATARIANISM? Answer me that! I think it is unfair the way a label can cause so much dispute.

  22. Ryan

    Upset (what is this, Ann Landers?) —

    First of all, congrats on making the move to eliminate animals from your diet.

    Now, remember, fish are animals. Vegetarians don’t eat animals.

  23. Jenna

    I was a vegetarian for 15 years — nearly half my life — and a vegan for much of that time, until I began eating fish a few weeks ago. It was not a decision I entered into lightly, but I felt it was the right decision for me and for my body.

    I sense in several remarks a certain contempt for those who identify themselves as vegetarian but eat fish. I can understand, as I felt much the same for the past decade-and-a-half and considered my fish-eating friends somehow “less than.”

    But it’s this sense of intolerance that makes others so intolerant of vegetarians — in any form. Instead of labeling and deriding others for their choices, why not, as Dennis suggested, provide a positive example for others and celebrate steps, no matter how small, toward healthier, more humane eating.

    Not everyone will choose to give up meat, but any time we encourage others to reduce their meat consumption, or to choose humanely-raised, organic animal products, we have made a positive impact.

  24. Sarah

    I guess I’m technically a lacto-veg. (I consider eggs to be animals) but the only dairy I eat is cream cheese and the occasional (maybe once a week) other cheese product. I’m actually trying to get away from cheese period, but have done well considering I used to eat a LOT of cheese and various dairy products (I’m lactose intolerant, so you can understand that if I ate dairy with that it was even harder to stop completely). My question is this: Am I still considered a vegetarian? or do they shun all dairy? Yes, I know about lacto-vegs, but I only recently heard that term, and previously thought of them in connection to lacto-ovo’s. I also thought that vegans were the only collective group which shunned dairy. Also, could we maybe make a choco-vegetarian? “No, no meat, just chocolate, I’m a choco-veg.” it has a nice ring to it :)

  25. Ryan

    Generally “vegetarian” encompasses lacto, ovo, and lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegans and ovo-vegetarians don’t do dairy.

    BTW — not all eggs are animals… only the fertilized eggs are. Hens will lay eggs whether or not a male is involved, though. Just a little clarification. :)

  26. pissed off

    i became a veggie 6 months ago n my mate has recently begame a “veggie” . there in commas because she thinks its alrite to eat fish. i find this hippocritical bcz ur against killing animals n then u go and eat a fish which is still a living thing

  27. Karen

    Pissed off– I agree. I sort of get mad when people call themselves a “vegetarian” when they still eat things that were once called animals, but are now dinner. I think it’s totally poseristic (not a word). GTFOH.

    I thought that the whole point of being a vegetarian is to NOT EAT ANIMALS..

  28. M

    I’ve been a vegetarian for about 2 years, and enjoy it, and am proud to be one. But I’m concerned that I’m not getting the proper nutrition for my body. I was thinking about eating fish maybe once a week to supplement the problem, but they are still animals, and are still killed to be eaten, and thats the main reason I became a veggie. Any ideas?

  29. gia

    a friend of mine is a vegetarian an she was telling me about it and i thought it souded right for me because i hate the thought of people killing animals but she didnt tell me al i need to know because as i was reading ther were somethings she haddent told so if someone could tell me some things i need to know about being a vegetarian i could realy use the help.
    (oh and i don’t eat meat of any kind weather it be red meat chicken or fish.)

  30. Tanya

    I’ve found that the word vegetarian confuses a lot of people, so now I just say that I don’t eat anything with a face!

  31. Tanya

    Gia, you have to stay away from gelatin because it is made out of beef. You’d be amazed at all the food products that contain gelatin like yogurt, Altoids, and candy. Be aware of any baking products or anything that contains lard, or beef, chicken, fish, etc. flavoring. Always check the ingredients of everything you eat. :)

  32. mia

    I don’t understand why you who call yourself strict vegetarians come down hard on people, but go to ridiculous extremes to save the whale ,or the bogus like… a fish has feelings…blah blah…. God created them for food so stop slamming peoples personal preferences. If you wanna go gun- ho, good for you, but don’t slam other forms of vegetarianism like you are somekind of elite group!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  33. Jon

    Haha, my girlfriend used to say fish were OK since they didn’t have eyebrows.

    My standard for what I eat is simple…if I could bypass the grocery store and go out and acquire whatever I’m considering eating without feeling guilty, then I’ll eat it. I would feel bad if I caught a fish and had to watch it suffocate, so I don’t eat them.

  34. lisa

    hi, i’m doing a food technology assignment and it is due on tuesday….yes i left it to the last minute….haha….i was wondering if you could help me…..i need to know what pollo-vegetarians cannot include in their diet and how do you solve the problem of sufficient protien and missing nutrients??????????

  35. WINGS

    I am a Pesco Vegitarian. I try not to eat a lot of fish and that is mostly because all fish contain a naturally small amount of mercury in it. The main reason I do not eat any land living animals is not necasarily because of the animals themselves but because of all the resources it takes to raise them water and grain and such. I found out in one of my science classes that cattle use up more water than humans, It is for raising the grain to feed them and for their liquids, thats what the video we watched said anyways. I find it ridiculous to use up a resource like water on animals that we are going to eat. why not save that water and use it for vegatables and water for us. Another reason was because of my health. After I had my daughter I tried everything to get the wieght off and nothing worked, but when I changed my diet to only eat mostly vegatables and fruits I started to lose weight. Americans should really look at their diets and they way they eat. It saddens me to see children that are under the age of ten and are already obese. Why don’t pediatricians inform parents from the start they need to feed their kids proper food not McDonalds, and that they should breast feed their kids if they can, and tell them not to give them solid foods till they are 6 months old. Dr’s need to buck up and tell parents, in a formal way, that they are killing their kids by feeding them french fries and hamburgers. Anyways my point is for those who eat meat what they don’t realize is how many resources it takes to present them their hamburger. Another thing most people don’t realize is when they are eating pork and then drink any carmel colored soda (i.e. rootbeer, pepsi, coke) they increase their chances for cancer. Vegitarianism is a way better lifestyle by far. The only complaint I have is restraunts in my area, unless they are Indian, don’t really cater to my needs, thats when I eat outwhich isn’t often). I usually have to go to Seattle to get a restraunt like that. lol anyways that is my rant for the day.
    “I can fly wit my words”

  36. WINGS

    As for cheese, lol sorry two posts in a row, you can get tofu cheese or almond cheese. They still contain casin a milk product but less animal product in it. I prefer the Almond cheese it tastes better. I wonder though if they could make cheese from coconut milk or soy only. I don’t drink milk and thats cause I hate milk, when I went to wic to get stuff when I was pregnant they told me I had to drink lots of milk, yeah right. I can’t even drink it with chocolate in it. blechk! Anyways if we were meant to drink milk we’d be cows right duh it makes sense to me. I am also a breast feeding advocate. It is better for your kids. Anyways cheese almond or tofu is an option and almond tastes good. They are a lil more spendy but they are good, and come in a few diff flavors.
    “I can fly wit my words”

  37. WINGS

    Oh yeah and I have been told that Rabbi’s do not consider fish to be a meat although I still do think they are meat. I have been raised on fish and so I do like it a lot. I may one day though not eat fish at all but that is a maybe because fish has been a part of my diet and life since I was little. Jesus multiplied the fish and bread in the story when he fed the 5000. I know that true vegitarians don’t like those of us who are pesco vegitarians but we have made a dramatic change in our diets. It isn’t easy to become a full on vegitarian, it is like trying to quit smoking you can’t just do it. It takes time, besides if you eat vegatables then you would be consider a vegitarian, if someone eats meat and veggies then they would be a carnivore-vegitarian. All I am saying is you shouldn’t be so hard on those who eat only fish. Anyways I am now finally done no more for today.
    “I can fly wit my words”

  38. Dan Skiba

    yay cannibals!!!!!

  39. Tender Feelings McNuggets

    Any amount of Bacon and Eggs you could cut from Breakfast, Ham and Cheese you could cut from lunch and Veal, BBQ and Burgers from dinner.
    Could we re-label on the packaging as Pigs, Chicken and Embryos, Cow Juice, Baby Cow feeding on Cow juice and Foul fun with wildlife.
    Raising animals for food what a concept. Like raising people for slavery. Raising children for economic gain.

    Raising Dinosaurs for Oil?

  40. mleavitt

    This drives me crazy. When you eat fish it’s ‘pescetarian’ not ‘pesco-vegetarian’ (that’s an oxymoron. lol).

    Pescetarian, by definition, excludes other meats but not necessarily eggs or dairy.

    common examples:
    non-ovo-non-lacto-pescetarian (eats fish, no dairy or eggs)
    ovo-lacto-pescetarian (eats fish + eggs + dairy)
    ovo-non-lacto-pescetarian (eats fish + eggs, no dairy)
    lacto-non-ovo-pescetarian (eats dairy + fish, no eggs)

    It’s retentive but if you take the time to have a selective diet learn what it is properly called.

    I was non-ovo-non-lacto-pescetarian for 5 years before I became vegan.

  41. Cliff

    Wanted to add some recent developments from my own personal experience.

    I became a pesco-Vegetarian when I was fifteen and fully held onto it. When I first started I was fully a vegan and wouldnt touch anything with flesh. After about a year I started eating fish and kept my boundaries on what kind of fish I could and could not eat.

    I also went through the vigorous half an hour long explanations of why I would not touch anything that wasnt fish.

    During my time I have learned a lot about the human body, what to eat, how to eat and what to be careful around.

    I fully agree that you shouldnt look down upon people that have given up a type of meat etc and called themselves vegetarians. If anything this is a great thing!!

    Our society is so bloated down with McDonalds and all kinds of unhealthy types of eating that when someone comes forth and says they want to live a cleaner and healthier life they should be fully encouraged, not shunned because of a title.

    I have always refered to myself as a vegetarian, in my opinion there is a vast difference in vegan and vegetarian and the two should not be mixed up in defenition.

    All in all the point of being a vegetarian is to live a cleaner and healthier life. Rejoice that more people are finally taking there own health into there own hands.

  42. Cliff

    Forgot to mention that Im not 25 and have been a vegetarian now for almost eleven years.

    Your right about the eggs, chickens keep popping out eggs even when there are no roosters around. Once I found that out I felt a lot better about eating eggs once in a while.

    Dairy in any form what so ever is generally not good for you, but in moderation it can be taken in, being maybe once a week if not longer.

    If youve decided to go vegetarian in any form I reccomend taking in 1-2 vitamins a day.

    The hardest part of it all for me was about 5-6 years after I had started, I started to feel very weak and tired on a daily basis. This was from the loss of B-12. B-12 tends to build up a backup supply in your body that can last for years. Once you use it up you start to become very tired and even to a point of becoming physically sick.

    Also you should be taking in some things for the protien loss.

    One of the hardest things about being a vegetarian in todays world is that the world in itself does not really cater to it.

    Your going to need to do a lot of research in terms of what you can and cannot eat. What your going to need to eat to stay healthy. You should also be only eating organic vegetable and fruits. Stay away from the normal veggies and fruist at the grovery store as they have been sprayed down with pesticided and other chemicals which has reduced there vitamin and nutrient count by up to 90%!!!

    Stay away from anything fried, served at a fast food restaurant and be very careful when eating at a restaurant. Ask questions about whats in the food, they should have something somewhere that will detail what they put into it.

    Keep in mind that your body is the most precious resource that you have. It is the only thing you have when it comes down to it. Feed yourself things that will make you healthy and strong.

    When you buy food for your cat or dog you look for the healthiest thing you can find. There food is specially made to promote there health and there body. Otherwise if you didnt care you would just feed your animals what ever you had around the house.

    Why wouldnt you do the same for yourself?
    Why would you want to poison yourself?

    People who are old and have poor health, cancer, are overwieght etc became that way over a life time. They didnt wake up one day and wallah, im 50 pounds over weight.

    Take your life into your own hands, title be damned, and do whats not only right for youself, but the animals that are abused to feed our over indulgent society.

  43. helena

    Well im 16 and i dont know what category im in. I mean i feel perfectly fine with just saying i dont eat red meat but occasionally eat chicken and fish. I guess i could be branded as a semi-vegetarian or what not but why is everyone striving for these tags like its a prize at the science convention? I know it helps when your out and about but aslong as you know what your dietary preference is then i wouldnt be worried about what anyone else says.

  44. Ashley

    i think ur wrong. you can eat fish, but be a vegetarion. im a pesco, and i think you should stop slaming people down just becasue they eat fish or dairy.

  45. Ryan

    As has been said countless times: fish don’t grow on trees, so if you eat fish, you’re not vegetarian, you’re pescatarian.

  46. anna

    Pesco-vegetarians ? WTF? That’s like saying:

    “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat meat.”

    Its not pesco-vegetarian, its pescetarian.

    I’m a vegan and although I can understand the ‘lactos and the ovos’ – I can never understand why anyone would call someone who eats ‘meat’ – a pesco vegetarian.

  47. Vegan Momma

    I understand your frustration. I think part of the problem, at least for me, arises when I have eaten at restaurant. This is a rare pccasion for me. I usually eat out if it’s a business function. I have been to a few new places that thought since I was vegetarian (in my veggie days) that I ate fish or even chicken because so and so restaurant goer was in before and said they were vegetarian and they ate fish/chicken. Their not vegetarian I said. When I became Vegan I thought it would be easier but a few restaruants kept trying to sneak dairy into my food because of the same reasoning. I rarely eat out When I go to Indian and Asian restaruants I don’t have a problem. The problems have arisen when I have eaten at “regular restaurants” the problems have arisen.
    The last restaurant I ate at a few months ago served Thai food. I was so touched when the waittress asked me if I wanted my meal with or without egg! :-)

  48. Kira

    You know what folks, every step you make towards learning how to live a healthier, pro active lifestyle is worth congradulation. Every baby step will get you closer to what you think is important. If you have to eat the fish, do so. One day you may see that yes, fish are critters too. For every fish caught in a big ass net, other critters die. That is the bottom line. Unless you are out in a row boat catching one fish with one hook, you are indeed part of the mass killing in our environment. I was Pescatarian for a few years and now I an fully vegetarian. I eat eggs and milk products.

    I do not understand the hostility from some of the hard cores. I mean, at least people are educationg themselves to make better choices and to be aware.

    shine on!

  49. Etho-vego

    I am a vegetarian and have been so for two years. I do not discriminate against “pescetarians” or even people who simply cut down on meat. Any progress is good progress.

    Coming from a country where meat is a major industry, people are raised to eat it three meals a day. Even if we could convince the majority of western society to have a few meat free days a week, the world would be so much better off.

    People choose to become vegetarian for a number of reasons, personally I am vego for a few reasons.
    1. I could not personally kill an animal. I think people distance themselves from the killing by buying packaged meat and just thinking of it as “food” not as a cow or sheep or pig. I think the mass killing is a sickening thought.
    2. The production of meat uses up enormous amounts of our resources and land – forests are cut down to make way for the acres and acres needed to farm cattle. In a country of drought, water is a precious resource yet so much of it goes into cattle farming.
    3. The animals are not treated in humane conditions. Think battery-hens.
    4. Meat is NOT good for your body. It takes a long time to process and essentially rots in your bowel, increasing the risk of cancer.

    “Pure Vegos” please dont discriminate against the meat eaters – encourage them to cut down. If everyone cuts down on meat consumption both the environment and overall health levels in western society will benefit.

  50. Pescotarians Have Feeling Too!

    I guess after reading this I now have the label of a pescotarian. But, I would like to add that I only use Purology (vegan) hair products, and other vegan beauty products, and I refuse to wear leather, fur, silk etc.

    So, how is it fair for vegetarians/vegans to put me (and others like me) down for eating seafood occasionally, when I know a quite a few of them who keep buying leather skate shoes and belts and wallets and purses etc.? Doesn’t that seem to be a little hypocritical?

    In conclusion, I would rather be a pescotarian that uses no animal products for fashion, than a leather wearing vegetarian/vegan.

  51. Ryan

    If you’ve made the connection between fur, etc. and cruelty, what’s keeping you from giving up seafood?

  52. Danielle

    And many veg*ans don’t wear silk, wool, leather, or fur. Well, those who do wear leather are using up stuff they bought before they went veg–grandmothering it in. Sea animals feel pain, too. Your reduction in animal products and purchase of vegan beauty products is great, but surely you can stop eating sesafood.

  53. Pescotarians Have Feelings Too!

    It’s a journey, and I do plan to get there eventually. I know fish have feelings, anything with a central nervous system does. My consumption is minimal, but I still feel guilt about it.

    My husband is a carnivore, but I got him to agree to no meat (other than seafood) in our house or anytime he is with me, but he’s always been a seafood lover, and I could NEVER ask him to give that up. I feel he’s done more than most would for me, and that’s why I deal with seafood occasionally, though my guilt keeps me from really enjoying it.

    Everyone has reasons behind there choices, that’s why we should support and encourage, NOT discourage and call names.

    And BTW – the 12 skater vegans that I am exposed too all buy new leather skate shoes almost monthly, they’re not “grandmothering-in” new skate shoes, they are going to the store and buying them brand new.

    Purchasing new leather products and eating seafood are both supporting animal cruelty. So who are they to judge me. It’s that old saying about living in glass houses, you know!

    Everyone could be better, nobody is perfect.

  54. Danielle

    You’re right, both leather and seafood consumption are supporting animal cruelty, and it is hypocritical for someone sporting brand new leather shoes (they can’t find cruelty-free versions?) to bash you for eating fish once in a while. But most vegans avoid using animal products and products tested on aninmals. I’m not engaging in any name-calling, but I will ask you not to call yourself a vegetarian until you decide not to eat sea creatures again. And yes, it is a journey. Good luck on yours!

  55. Megs

    Hmm…Have been veg for almost 20 years and it seems there are many more deifnitions nowadays. I find that as time moves on, the label becomes less important and the life attitude more binding between folks. I have had many a meat-eater try to label me, and it is no mpore irritating than when a veg does. I think that the “new-veg” – a label I have for the young veggies who have so many more options now than there were in prior years – there is a lack of understanding why the distictions arose. Many of the pseudo-veg titles came when it was nearly impossible to find veg options and REALLY REALLY hard to find tofu – not jsut at a restaurant but anywhere in an entire city. So some people opted to reduce their meat intake, to not eat red meat, or restrict their meat in some way. These people made life choices that they have since stuck to for decades for their own reasons, but often with reasons common to all veggies.Don’t be hard on em – encourage them to be conscious eaters!

    Also, I know of one man who only eats “happy meat” – meat that has been able to run free and that he has hunted humanely. He is no trophy hunter, just a man who likes to know where his food comes from and hates what animals in faarms go through. Also he hates the impacts that farms have on forests. You may discagree but I appreciate his view more than I do many full-on vegetarians.What would you label him?

  56. Vegan Sommelier

    “Happy meat”?!? … “hunted humanely”??

    Umm… I would call someone who actually believes that there is such a thing “delusional”.

  57. Pup

    Well, I’ve recently gone vegetarian but I still eat bivales (seafood creatures with no brains like oysters). I’m sorry but no brain and you’re fair game. It’s like eating another version of a plant. But I’m not going to eat clams muscles and oysters everyday so it’s rare. I don’t feel guilt. And I don’t feel guilt using the label ‘vegetarian’.

  58. Vegan Sommelier

    Well, I’m certainly not going to tell you that you should “feel guilt” … that’s not the point. However, you still shouldn’t call yourself a vegetarian if you continue to eat animals.

  59. Meredith

    Okay all, I reading these postings after having a lengthy discussion with my younger brother. He just turned ten two months ago and has been a “pesco-vegetarian” for about three months now. He made this decision of his own accord, seeing how dedicated I am to the plight of animals in our society. My journey toward a more caring and healthier way of life came by influence of my aunt who has enjoyed a vegetarian lifestyle for over half her life.

    Here’s the problem:

    We had fish for dinner tonight which my brother and I both enjoyed which caused questions to arise, naturally, in my curious and sensitive little brother’s mind. So I say to him, “there are many different types of vegetarians…let’s hit the internet to find out what we should call ourselves.” So I find this website and read a rather scathing defition from an obviously very self-absorbed blogger.

    Get over yourself please, and also, you Ryan. Always with a quick remark to cut someone down who is obviously trying very hard to understand vegetarianism, veganism, and other “isms” that may be applied to them and others. Please just be content with knowing that these people are not coming here to say, “Hey Carnivores all the way!!!” They are coming to ask questions and learn and be informed…and most of all, supported!

    My point here is that no one is perfect. I’m sure many of you stricts out there have unitentionally bitten into something filled with meat at some point during your vegetarian journey. I would not likely say to you, “You’re not a vegetarian anymore” neither would I say to someone his is trying to cut things out “you’re not a vegetarian at all, you meat-eater!”

    Try to be sensitive and get over the labels. Making choices such as the ones that most of us have or are in the process of making is not easy. Vegetarians and vegans and any other classifications of such should hold eachother up and offer helpful stories, experiences, and alternatives instead of isolating eachother and holding “stricts” to a higher regard.

    I was very disappointed in some of the closed-minds represented on this website…especially as my impressionable brother read over my shoulder. He now feels that all of his efforts at being friendly to animals, not eating beef and chicken, and saving insects from being squashed in the road are in vain because he can no longer say to inquiring fifth graders that he is a vegetarian. I’m sorry that I brought him to this blog and I’m also extremely sorry that there are vegetarians out there that are so concerned with keep the title exclusive to the strict vegetarians that they become rude and unsupportive.

    And by the way, are those eggs that you consume a product of cage free hens fed on grain feed? If not those chickens probably suffer more in life than they ever would in death…same goes for the cow milk industry which regularly feeds its cows parts of other cows and engages in other unnatural and abusive practices. To me it’s all the same. Suffering is just as awful for the animal as the slaughter.

    Oh, and one more thing…do you support Relay for Life? Because all the money you help to raise goes toward companys who do cancer research. This research, more often than not, includes animal testing which isn’t even necessary.

    I just had to vent because my brother is now very upset. I am too. In my eyes, he’s still a vegetarian…no matter what.

  60. Jess

    Hi – thought the following would be helpful…I only eat fish, no other meat – I tell people (because labels are useful) that I am a “Pescan.”

    I would like to add – who really cares? The people who are “true” vegetarians and get horribly bent out of shape about a pesco or pollo vegetarian calling themselves vegetarians seems to enjoy the life style as a way of seperation from the “norm,” as their core identity, or as a way to feel “superior” – if you depend on your eating habits to completely define you that is a bit concerning. I do yoga – I don’t care if someone who does yoga once a year calls themself a “yogi.” I’m just happy they too have found something joyful in the practice.


  61. Danielle

    Jess, the reason veg*ans get upset at folks who eat flesh foods calling themselves vegetarian is many of us don’t want someone assuming we eat DEAD ANIMALS because some hypocrite calling himself/herself a vegetarian eats the stuff. It’s not that we enjoy separation from the norm (well, some of us do), but that we believe eating animal products is wrong.

  62. dirtygardener

    Ya know, last time I checked fish do not grow on trees.

  63. kar

    BTW, last time I checked eggs and milk/cheese didn’t grow on trees either, so it seems vegans are the only ones to have the right to call themselves vegetarians if we are going to get picky about it….

  64. Yo soy una Pescatariana

    Check out this site for an interesting look at the origin of the word “vegetarian”:

    That being said, I want to thank you alI for your comments and your passions behind your causes. I will no longer call myself a pesco-vegetarian, but rather a pescatarian, as the label is not important to me, but rather the actions I take and the lifestyle choice I’ve made. I will also continue to do my part for the good of my own needs while balancing it with the good of the world’s needs. I encourage you all to the same.

  65. s.j.yetman.

    i don’t like being labelled under any circustances.
    and the simple fact is that my choice not to eat red
    meat, chicken ,or pork is a matter wanting to make changes in the way i treat my body.i am who i am, that is it. who are you or any one else to tell me who i am ?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. cannibal vegetarian

    “Semi-vegetarians or Flexitarians eat “less” meat (than who? Most people? Themselves, before? Ted Nugent?)” ROTFL!

    Still, I don’t see anything misleading about “flexitarian”. It’s phrases like “pesco-vegetarian” that ends up encouraging the situations mentioned earlier, e.g. restaurants and relatives who think vegetarians will be happy slurping down lobster.
    “Pescetarian”, good; “pesco-vegetarian”, not so much.

    And if that statement makes any “pesco-vegetarian” out there feel slighted, unappreciated, huffy and like eating every cow they can get their hands on, just go right ahead; if it takes that little to sever
    your commitment it obviously would have snapped like a twig anyway.

    I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian who only consumes organically raised eggs and dairy products, so by the reasoning of some posters here, I guess I can call myself a “free range vegan”! Bwahaha!

    By the way, I’m just curious: WHY is it usually fish that people cling onto when they’ve given up every other meat? You don’t hear of too many “bovo-vegetarians” (beef only), or “porco-vegetarians” (pork only), etc. It’s sometimes “pollo-vegetarian”,
    but most often “pesco-vegetarian”. I have a suspicion that it’s mainly just a matter of taste buds: fish is the meat that’s hardest to find a good fake-meat substitute for.

  67. Kiri

    I too can’t see the problem with the term ‘pesco’, I go to all extremes to avoid all meats (with the exception of fish – which is flesh, not meat) and all animal by-products. I use vegan shampoo, soap, bleach type products, washing powder, you name it and i use it. Some may say I’m hypocritical but when the only thing i eat is a small amount of fish for the oils that it provides, and i go to extreme measures to make sure the fish i eat is, not farmed (eg farmed salmon), is wildlife friendly (eg dolphin friendly) and is widely availabe (fish such as cod i would never dream of eatting!), i think i deserve the term pesco-vegan. I only eat organic fruits and vegetables and buy my clothes only from distributors i know use only organic cotton! If i were to go into a restaurant and ask what on the menu was suitable for me it would take a long time to explain that i cant eat anything cooked in animal fat, i cant have milk or eggs but i can eat fish, when i tell people im a pesco vegan they understand me! Maybe if there was a specific ‘label’ (as horrible a word that is) for people such as myself that was comonly know then i wouldnt have a problem with using that but, as it stands, i am a pesco-vegen and very proud of it, because look at the big picture and i do a heck of a lot more to help the environment than a lot of people!

  68. ryan

    Kiri — instead, I think it might be time to consider if the fish oil is really necessary. Let’s figure out what you’re eating the fish for and get you some vegan alternatives.

  69. Kiri

    i eat the fish because i know it has a lot of got nutrients and oils in it, if i knew of an alternative then i would use that, i eat quorn regularly as meat substitute and dont mind that but there doesnt seem to be an alternative to fish.

  70. ryan

    Which nutrients specifically, though? DHA omega-3s?

    Also, Quorn isn’t vegan. It’s made with eggs.

  71. Kiri

    is it really? i never knew that! is there a vegan alternative?

    Vitamin A, vitamin D, the high protein content, Iodine, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium
    and the omega3.

  72. Kiri

    oh and i looked at my quorn stuff, it is actually vegan, it’s not quorn brand but i thought it was the same but it’s not :) it has no meat, dairy or animal by-products (such as gelatin)

  73. gladcow

    Hi Kiri,
    Fish doesn’t contain vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from the sun or is an additive (like in milk). Vitamin D can be found in a vegan diet from the sun (15, minutes of daily sun exposure should do the trick, unless you live in a northern climate) or from fortified non-dairy milks.

    Vitamin A can be found in red and orange colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, and sweet potatoes.

    Iodine can be obtained by using iodized sea salt or incorporating sea vegetables into your diet. I like to add a big chunk of dried kombu to soups and stews while they are cooking (then I take it out before serving) or having vegan sushi with nori.

    Selenium is found in almonds. I know there are other vegan sources, but my mind is drawing a blank.

    Potassium is abundant in almost all fruits and vegetables, kiwi and banana especially. I don’t love bananas, so I hide them in my smoothies in the morning.

    Iron is found in dark green leafy vegetables. It is absorbed more readily sometimes (like spinach) if eaten with citrus/vitamin c. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, as is molasses.

    Calcium is found in sesame seeds, quinoa and fortified non-dairy milks and fortified orange juice.

    Omega-3 can be found in flax and hemp seeds, as well as various legumes and seeds (in smaller amounts). I get my omega-3 dha from an Udo’s oil blend that has DHA from algae. I add it to my smoothies (you can hide a lot in there!)

    All of the vitamins and minerals listed above can be found in a vegan multivitamin. I prefer to get my nutrients from foods, but I do use a multi as a back-up (especially for my kids, it’s like insurance).

    Protein is in almost everything. If you’re eating a varied diet (with fruits, veg, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) you are definitely getting enough. When I want something high protein at the moment I stick with legumes and nuts/seeds. A handful of pumpkin seeds often hits the spot.

    Hope this helps!

  74. ro

    hi! I have been a vegetarian for four years,i started off by given up just red meat then moved on to poultry.Then gave up fish,and the rest of the seafood.Last November i began to eat chicken agian and shrimp,fake crab and lobster(occassionally).I once again gave up chicken but will eat shrimp,fake crab,and lobster in a blue moon!! what does that make me???

  75. Rem_rock


    Right, well, I’ve read everybody’s argument.

    I first made the hardest decision of my life – to become a Lacto Ovo Vegetarian – when I was 14 years old (I’m 20 now). I object whole heartedly to the slaughter of Animals for their flesh; I find the way they keep the animals repulsive and disgraceful. One day I decided to cut meat completely out of my diet – and it was gone. I’d never felt better about myself.

    But approx. 1 year later, I found myself getting very tired, very easily. I couldn’t perform even the simplest errand (for example, walking to the shop) without getting tired. I found myself becoming poorly every week with colds, flu, stomach flu’s… I was really ill. I saw my Doctor, and he told me that because I had such a strict Vegetarian Diet (I cut out everything except eggs and milk) I had become Anemic (which is caused through an Iron deficiency). I was put on Iron supplement tablets – these made me sick. I was losing more vitamins than I was trying to put into my body, and not only was I losing the Iron supplement, I was losing what was left of the small amount of Vitamins I had in me through pulses and beans.

    I was desperately unhealthy. I had no immune system to speak of (through lack of Vitamin B-12 and Omega 3)

    My GP cornered me on my diet – it had been unregulated, therefore I didn’t know what severe consequences of a diet of this kind could do to your body. So I started to have a once-monthly intake of Dolphin – Friendly Tuna, and then this ‘dosage’ was increased to at least twice a month. I also had to drink a glass of B-12 Enriched Soy milk. After about a year of this, (and also finding a Vegetarian Vitamin Supplement – 2 Omega 3 Fatty Acids Tablets [Named Eye-Q in the Shops] and Vegetarian Multi-Vitamins Supplement), I am pleased to report I am in full Health again, and I have not cut Tuna out of my diet.


    I want to ask the advice of you people; since you all have solid opinions and grounds for the opinions you share.

    How can I cut fish out entirely? What would you recommend I supplement it with? I simply cannot allow myself to slip back into the state I was in, although it seems a long time ago I’m frightened it will happen again. Although I do simply feel disgusted to have to consume fish on a regular basis. This is the truth.

    Many people ask me “well, if you feel disgusted, why do you eat it?”

    The answer is – for the good of my health.

    As a poor student, I simply cannot afford to be able to cook well proportioned Vegetarian meals every day with equal amounts of Vitamins – I don’t have the money, or time with being on a full time Law Course. My University also does not offer a well balanced Vegetarian Meal option, either.

    So I ask you; I want to cut fish completely out of my diet, but my GP, dietitian, my mother and indeed myself cannot allow me to simply through Health issues. Can anybody give me good supplementary advice for this?

    And also, in response to your arguments about true Vegetarians and Pescetarians…

    The majority of the Pescetarians (or Pesco-Vegetarians) I have spoken to have made the choice to include fish in their diet for health reasons only. Do you find this selfish? Do you find this wrong?

    I feel that Pesco-Vegetarians have the right to include “Vegetarian” in their diet definition. I feel that it is much easier for them to define themselves like this for the following reasons;

    1. Like somebody has already said; it is easier to explain to people (for example waiters, special dietary requirements sheets) about their dietary requirements. “Pesco” (or “Pisco”) is derived from the Latin term “Fish”, as “Pollo” is derived from the Latin Term to mean “Chicken”. So, calling yourself a “Pesco-Vegetarian” is logically, if not ethically, correct.

    2. True Vegetarians argue that people who call themselves Vegetarian, but supplement their diet with Fish, cannot call themselves Vegetarian simply because of this reason. However. These types of Vegetarian have still made the choice to absolve their diet from every type of Animal-derived product except fish – this is stated in their name. I know I’m not making myself totally clear, but what I mean is by calling them self a “Pesco-Vegetarian”, they are admitting they are not a true Vegetarian by eating fish, but yet because they have cut out everything but fish, they can still be loosely defined as within the Vegetarian Family. What I’m saying is they’re not trying to be a true “Vegetarian”, and they are not calling themselves as such.

    3. Vegetarianism is a way of life, an ethical choice. Vegetarians of all different shapes or sizes should unite together and help each other through the difficult task of becoming a Vegetarian, and helping others take the first steps forward in becoming Vegetarian. We can’t fight amongst each other for the right to use the name Vegetarian; all we can do is air our views and encourage others to take what we say on board. Please don’t discriminate against others, no matter what type of Vegetarian you are – it makes others feel that their ethical and moral choices are worthless in todays society, and that their first efforts in making the right decision, to protect our animals, has no meaning. Give them some credit, and allow them to have their title; after all – doesn’t this also give people an incentive to become full Vegetarians? And also, wouldn’t it encourage people more to join in the Vegetarian community if we weren’t all bickering with each other about titles?

    Some people like to define themselves; that’s who they are. And it makes them feel good to be able to give themselves a title and a purpose in what they’ve chosen to do.

    Sorry for the long winded response. :) I applaud you all in your dietary choices, and good luck!!

  76. Patricia

    HELP!!!!! I dont consider myself any kind of vegetarian or anything related to it. I just say that i dont eat beef or pork. At the moment i eat chicken, turkey, and fish. Mostly chicken and fish. I want to cut chicken completely out of my diet. Which is easier said than done. Turkey is pretty easy for me to not eat. I am wondering does anyone have any suggestions on how i can gradually cut chicken out of my diet??? For me it’s pretty hard cause im soo used to it. My family eats it also, so that makes it even more difficult. I dont want to push my values on them. I mean what are some substitues that i can use. I know this may not seem that something difficult to do, but everyone around me eats chickens and all kinds of meat. Personally i want to stop because i think its cruel to kill these animals. And i believe that the meat weighs you down in a way. So are there any suggestions????

  77. Rebecca

    Hey Patricia…

    Quorn is an excellent alternative to chicken. Why not go to your Vegetarian frozen food section in your local supermarket? This is where you’ll find most of your Veggie Alternatives.

    The Vegetarian alternatives are so wide now… you can get Veggie bacon, sausages, burgers, apple burgers, chicken flavoured pieces, chicken style pie… it is not difficult to cut meat out of your diet!

    Also, try the cooked meat section of your supermarket. There, they sell Quorn Ham, chicken and beef style slices, along with Veggie Cottage Pie, Lasagne & Veggie Mince! There’s so much you can do… going Veggie has never been easier!

    I’ve been a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian for a good number of years now (I’m 20 now) and my family are still firm meat eaters. If your family choose to try your alternatives, then it’s up to them… but please remember, choosing the Vegetarian lifestyle when your family are meat eaters is not forcing your beliefs on them. You must do what you think is right for yourself – take no notice of the people who put you down!

    Also, if you’re thinking of turning Lacto-ovo, Lacto or any other type of Vegetarian, I’d recommend a good vitamin supplement, for example Flaxseed Oil tablets with Omega’s 3,6 & 9 and a good Multi Vitamin Tablet. These will ensure you don’t get any problems with Vitamin deficiency. It is not medically proven that Vegetarians need Vitamin supplements in their diets, but it’s always better to be safe. But with these vitamins… make sure you don’t get fish oil! Because remember – Vegetarians don’t eat fish!

  78. ryan

    Note that Quorn is not suitable for vegans as it contains eggs (and maybe dairy, I’m not sure). The vegan alternatives to Quorn are just as tasty.

  79. Rebecca

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. Non meat diets are delicious and healthy, guaranteed to make you feel happier, healthier, and like you’re really making a difference.

  80. Lorena

    I have a question.
    I just became a vegetarian,but I’m not ready to stop eating chicken yet.
    Does that mean I’m not really a vegetarian or what??
    Is there any thing else I can eat to substitute chicken?

  81. ryan

    Lorena — If you eat chicken then, no, you are not a vegetarian.

    Fortunately, chicken substitutes are readily available and are usually very good. Check the frozen section of your grocery or health food store. Also check near the tofu, as they often have soy/seitan-based meats there, too.

  82. Patricia

    i m proud to declare that i have been a vegan for about two months now. i was though is it acceptable to eat foods that are made with milk ingredients……

  83. Nikkiponchatoula

    I don’t really care about labels. I eat fresh caught fish but nothing with feet. I also don’t eat farm raised fish. I care about animals but I really do it for health reasons. I’m trying to maintain an alkaline body to keep disease like cancer from growing. Call me whatever you want. I don’t really care.


  84. Isabelle

    I’ve been following a vegan diet for a year now. My roommate is also vegan, and we eat a fairly balanced diet heavy on grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and soy products (soy milk, tofu, fake meat.) I have always had very low iron (even when I used to eat meat) so I take plenty of iron supplements as well as B12 and calcium pills. So, theoretically, everything should be hunky-dory….

    …but I have to say that after the first 9 or 10 months, I began to feel sickened by the thought of all soy products. Soy products have been touted as “miracle foods” because of the high protein content, the soy flavonoids, etc. and the fact that soymilk is now boosted full of calcium and nutrients.

    A typical vegan might consume the following in one day: two glasses of soymilk (straight or in cooking); one serving of tofu; one serving of fake meat. That’s a whole lot of concentrated soy. Surely it can’t be healthy to be consuming so much soy?

    And yet if I were to reduce my soy intake, I would have even more trouble meeting my protein requirements than I do already. Of course, protein can be found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds. But you would need to eat an awful lot of those things in order to meet your protein needs.

    So now I am re-thinking the vegan thing. I would like to follow a diet which is eco-friendly and which allows animals to live healthy and happy lives. But it seems unnatural to me to eat so much of one type of food. Maybe the occasional dose of organic meat from an animal-friendly farm makes sense?

  85. mIchael

    Been a vegetarian for 7 years. Even living on the west coast it can be difficult with family gatherings and dinner parties, but people seem to be so much more understanding of a vegetable centered diet containing fish for some reason. I do object to the cruelty and even shy away from killing bugs much of the time. I think it’s important to live conscious of your actions, eating and otherwise, but if you’re doing harm to your own body in the process, it seems hypocritical to not eat meat out of cruelty to other animals. So I’ve been thinking about eating fish again, and after reading many of the posts above, I’m still undecided. Vegetarianism might be a good philosophy, but I think it makes a dangerous religion.

  86. ryan

    Michael — I think the important thing is to ask yourself what, nutritionally, you’re not getting that makes you think fish will be the answer. Chances are, it’s something a plant-based diet can easily supply.

    There’s no reason to give up your ethics for health reasons.

  87. Cleveland Vegan

    Isabelle – I believe it’s been said already, but most people (with a few exceptions, like, pregnant women or young children) need NO MORE (and surely can live healthily on much less) than 40 – 60 g of protein a day. That comes out to anywhere between 1 1/2 – 2 oz. It is absolutely important to pay attention to what you’re eating, but people shouldn’t be losing sleep over how much protein they get. I would be more concerned with my water or vitamin intake before I worry about protein.

    The occasional dose of “animal-friendly” meat does not make any sense whatsoever. First of all, you’re VEGAN.* Second of all, is a 3-4 oz “occasional” dose of organic meat is going to balance out all of the soy protein you’re eating in the meantime? Am I the only one who doesn’t follow the logic here? It is things like these that makes me think the whole welfare idea is pure BS. It’s not reducing the suffering of animals, it’s brainwashing at its finest to get people to feel okay about eating meat and eat more of it. I hope you (or anyone else in the same position) sit down and think about why you became vegan in the first place, and perhaps you can find the motivation to learn enough about nutrition to create a healthy diet that reflects your moral beliefs.

    *This is why we want to keep the words “vegetarian” and “vegan” true to their original meanings. I’m not saying that whatever diet you’re following is not relevant or not making any difference. What I don’t understand is why people are fighting so hard for a label that doesn’t even describe them properly. Sure, many people might not be familiar with “pescetarians” – so, educate them about it. Don’t borrow another term because it’s easier. Saying you are a pesco/pollo vegetarian is like saying you are a Catholic Muslim. You can’t be both. It’s not about us being superior, but about being able to accurately describe our own philosophy.

  88. Why labels?

    To build on the points made by a few others:

    If you are truly interested in animal welfare and the environment, please do not just encourage others to eat no meat at all – but be generous in encouraging people to cut down on their meat and even to choose non-industrial alternatives. If this, in the case of some borderline vegetarians, means being generous with the term “vegetarian”, so be it!

    Think of it this way: if the entire population were to cut its meat intake by half, it would be just as beneficial as if half the people went entirely vegetarian (and what a dream to have!)

    Setting up labels just leads to a sense of failure on the part of those who are not currently able to meat up to expectations. So please relax with your judgments and help others to take whatever steps they can toward healthier eating and a healthier world!

  89. cannibal vegetarian

    I agree that reducing meat consumption in any possible way is the important thing, but I don’t think I agree that being generous with the word vegetarian is likely to encourage less meat consumption. I think, human nature being what it is, that letting people call themselves whatever they like is more likely to result in their eating whatever they like.

    But good for you for focusing on the real issue: The impact that this what-do-I-call-myself question ultimately has on THE ANIMALS (and environment). I am really surprised by how many of the offended posters here focus more on their own HURT FEELINGS, blah blah blah…Man! When a vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian decides what to call themself, those are not the things they should be thinking of. I mean there are BIGGER ISSUES involved, right people?

    By the way, before I recently became a strict vegetarian (I can’t call myself a vegan because I still buy carnivore kibble for my cats), I often heard derisive comments from vegans about lacto-ovo vegetarians, and it bothered me very little even though I ate eggs and milk, because I knew perfectly well they were correct. If I had tried to call myself a lacto-ovo vegan (which makes as much sense as pesco-vegetarian), the resulting comments would have been even more derisive and even more correct. So hell, I didn’t do it.

  90. Greenwood

    I’m a vegetarian and I think that we should try to cultivate a separate term for pescetarians/vegequarians or whatever you want to call them, to an extent that it becomes widely accepted. Ideally there would be vegequarian societies/restaurants/grocers! Then fish-eaters would not be desparate for a label for themselves. Perhaps the term should be something that includes pescetarians and vegetarians, so that veggos are a subset of it just the way vegans are a subset of veggos. Obviously this is a long process but I think it’s the best solution.

    In the meantime: veggos, please don’t get too heated with fish-eaters! It’s true that they can’t call themselves vegetarians, but they are in a difficult position. They have made, or are making, very positive changes, and need encouragement. If your friend has proudly announced that they have become vegetarian, but is still eating fish, set them straight but also explain that the label vegetarian is just that: a label, something used for convenience. This label does not identify you as morally superior, or trendy, or hippy, or anything else. What matters is that they are on the right track and are obviously thinking and becoming aware of issues like health, environment, cruelty etc. This is far more important than calling yourself a vegetarian.

  91. Greenwood

    Just to expand on that, I feel that every label should encompass every more restrictive label. Thus, vegetarianism is a subset of vegequarianism (a type of vegequarian who does not eat fish), just as a vegan is a type of vegetarian who does not eat dairy or eggs. Vegequarians are not vegetarians, but neither are they omnivores, because omnivore is a negative label that does not include all more restrictive diets. An omnivore eats anything, and clearly a vegequarian does not.

    To summarise in the manner of a Venn diagram:

    Vegequarians = a subset of everyone, excluding all meat except fish
    Vegetarians = a subset of vegequarians, excluding all meat
    Lacto-veggos and ovo-veggos = two intersecting subsets of vegetarians, excluding eggs and dairy respectively
    Vegans = a subset of the intersection of lactos and ovos

    Of course, the diagram gets more complex when you factor in things like Flexetarianism (and Flexeganism??)
    Please comment!

  92. Kam

    God, this stuff cracks me up. People are so divisive and, frankly, pathetic!

    Okay, so someone says “because there are people who call themselves vegans who wear leather, I feel justified calling myself a vegetarian who eats fish”. That’s like saying, “I have met some mean black people, so it’s okay for me to think all black people are assholes.” Same logic.

    To me, I hate all the stupid labels. If you don’t eat any kind of meat (including fish) you are a vegetarian. I don’t care if you only eat eggs in baked goods or cheese when you mother serves it to you, you are a vegetarian. If you refuse all meat and dairy and eggs, then you are vegan. That’s it, cut and dry. And if you are either things and you wear leather, silk, etc you are an ass or uneducated or both. The end.

    And stop bagging on veg*ns who are trying to keep some sort of clarity and meaning in defining the names of these groups. Being a “vegetarian” and eating fish is like calling yourself a feminist and then saying you don’t think a woman should ever be president. You clearly are not a part of this group or ideology, too bad, so sad. Get with the picture or stop lurking on veg-related blogs and picking fights and whining.

  93. Earthfriend

    Kam, I understand your frustration and I share it. I am sick of being offered fish dishes as a vegetarian option.
    But we also have to remember that these people who have kicked all meat except fish out of their diet are making a very positive effort and should be encouraged, not belittled – your closing comments are the sort of thing that could drive people away from our cause. They are obviously not vegetarians, but the main reason they try to call themselves vegetarian is that they have no other socially accepted word with which to explain themselves. The way to fix the problem is to encourage the widespread use of the word pescetarian / vegequarian. I know it’s not good to have too many labels, but I think the number of people in this situation is large enough to justify it.

    And while I’m here, vegequarians – I think you’re doing great and you deserve all the support you can get; but please don’t call yourself vegetarian, it confuses everyone. If it’s any consolation, being able to call yourself vegetarian is not the key to being “in”; it’s just a quick label for the sake of convenience. There are many fantastic non-vegetarians around, and many horrible vegetarians. Even without the label “vegetarian”, you are a no less important part of a fantastic trend that is going to work wonders for the planet, animals, and human health. Be proud of that!

  94. lost

    dont plants have feelings too? as i remember plants are living things too… maybe thats just me… im a vegetarian, i have been for 6 years now… but i always wonder, if most vegetarians dont eat meat because its a living thing, why pick on the vegetables? free roaming animals have a chance for survival, but plants cant run away since most of them are rooted to the ground…. i feel guilty eating a broccoli when i know it didnt even have a chance… im also pagan, so i believe everything is created by mother earth, and thus life revolves around everything in it… taking life is a natural process, even animals kill eachother for survival…. its a natural process that cannot be controled, vegetarian or not… if humans werent supposed to eat meat it wouldnt of been available to do so… i believe meat is tainted and has lost alot of value with the poisons and added flavor enhancers and therefor is not considered a natural living thing… i also cut alot of other unnecessary products out of my diet, such as MSG, suger free products and meat tasting products… i dont see the point in eating things such a tofurkey, if u cut meat out of ur diet why eat something that tastes like it? but, its a matter of opinion im sure… besides if something does not die off to the point of extinction theres no room for evolution… humans and animals both are supposed to work together to continue this process… preservation and the ungodly toxins is only weakening mother earth… if we love her it is our duty to take a stand and right the wrongs mankind has unleashed….

  95. ryan

    No. Plants cannot feel pain. Can we, as reasonable people, just drop that sillyness?

    That post sounded like my cousin who used to joke that he was a carnivore for reasons of “plants’ rights” – “At least the animals can run away,” he’d joke. Except, I don’t think you’re joking.

  96. cara

    Wow! This thread has been going on for a while – so I thought I’d add my $0.02 as well.

    My husband, for lack of a better term, would I guess be characterized as a pesco-vegetarian. About 8 years ago he realized he was really overweight, stop eating red meat and chicken, and started running. Since then he’s been in a number of marathons (although he’s complaining about his winter weight gain at the moment) and still won’t touch red meat, chicken, pork, etc, but still eats fish. I don’t think he really ever had an ethical problem with it, but he’s much healthier now which is why it’s easy for him to stick with it.

    I, on the other hand, have ever tried vegetarianism in any form…I was raised on a ranch and eggs/bacon/steak were diet staples, but most of what we ate came from our own henhouse or from neighboring ranches. I suppose that to me it was just the cycle of life — but then again, we (like our neighbors) just had a small family homestead, we weren’t mass producing for the supermarkets, and our hens were ‘open-range’ before that was cool.

    Of course, now that I’m a city dweller and my husband doesn’t eat meat, I am getting more and more to the point where I don’t eat meat either. It’s much easier to prepare one meal for the both of us then to prepare two seperate meals…as a bonus, it’s actually cheaper! What really changed my attitude recently, though, was stumbling across one of those “this is what they do to animals” videos by PETA or whomever, and so…yeah. Very troubling, especially having experience raising animals myself…that’s just not right.

    I guess what I’m saying is we don’t really have a ‘term’ for what we are, we just eat what we eat, don’t get preachy about it, and hope that there are options for us when we have to attend a party or function. It’s really that simple!

  97. Marie

    wow – so much said – I don’t eat mammals – but I do eat fish, shrimp etc – things that don’t breathe and swim in the water – I guess I can call myself “pesco” but I would rather call myself Marie

  98. Joseph

    Fish breathe! They can also feel pain, too.

  99. Marie

    my point was – that everyone seems to have labels – why can’t you all get along –

  100. Marie

    what about so called vegetarians, though they don’t eat meat but they use and eat other food products with animal in them, such as soap, toothpaste, jello etc..

  101. Damian

    i dont like vegans. they dont like me. im a pesco vegetarian, but ill be damned if im not good enough for most of the vegans to consider good enough.

    vegans, i hate to break this to you, but you kill things. you kill animals. you bash little bugs to bits driving down the road. your fresh vegetables come from farms where little rodents are mowed down by harvesters. all of this suffering is part of your life, despite your good intentions.

    i have good intentions, but i also realize i cannot completely end the suffering in this world. i pick the suffering that REALLY bothers me and try to end it. what suffering is that, you ask? the meat industry. i abhor animals living a life God did not intend them to live. that is why i dont eat meat. fish… well, they are free. i dont eat farmed fish, nor am i into any seafood besides fish. i rarely eat fish at all, to be honest. my rationale is that fish arent suffering until they are caught- thus they are still evolving and we contribute positively to better fish in the world. i would also eat a deer if i went into the woods and killed it with a bow and arrow for the same reason. nature is cruel. this is God’s way. i cant stop all the suffering in the world, nor do i try to deceive myself into thinking im somehow better than anyone else for my efforts. i just do what i feel is right.

    i am a vegetarian. 99.5% of my diet is vegetables.

  102. ryan

    Damian —

    vegans, i hate to break this to you, but you kill things.

    No revelations there. Every vegan I’ve ever met is fully aware of The Real World and realizes that you can’t live a life that completely avoids death. So, um, “Duh?”

    I think that if you were to take a closer look at the devastating environmental affects of fishing and the cruelty associated with dairy and eggs, you might not just start to like vegans a little more, you might even become one.

    Congrats on being nearly vegetarian. I suspect that if you’re really that close, you’ll eventually go the rest of the way.

  103. David Benjamin

    Ok, I’m going to clear something up here. If you eat parts of animals, you are not a vegetarian in any way what so ever. Period. Meat from birds is meat. Meat from fishes is meat. Just like meat from mammals is meat, and so is meat from amphibians and meat from reptiles. If you eat meat from any kind of animal, then you are not a vegetarian at all.

    I can perfectly understand how incredibly annoying it must be to have meat eaters call themselves vegetarians. It’s ludicrous, and shows a severe lack of common sense/intelligence. Even I, as a meat eater, thinks it’s quite stupid and very annoying, that there are people who eat meat, but call themselves vegetarians.

    Wake up people, animals don’t grow on plants, they grow inside other animals, or inside eggs, which come out of animals. So I’ll repeat it once more: When you eat meat of any kind, you’re not a vegetarian, you’re a meat eater.

  104. MKC

    To all the judgmental vegetarians and vegans out there:
    Your unabashed intolerance of anyone unlike you is causing the exact opposite of what you should want. If you want more people to stop eating meat, then stop judging people when they EAT LESS MEAT. Labels are labels – actions are more important than words. If someone calls himself a pescatarian and eats fish, get over it – the ends justify the means. Fewer animals are being slaughtered. Get off your high horses and bend toward the common good.

  105. David Benjamin

    To MKC: Yes, you are absolutely right, of course. That sort of behavior is very annoying. However words mean what the mean, and the word ‘vegetarian’ does not mean ‘meat eater’. ‘Meat eater’ means ‘meat eater’!

    As said in my first post, I’m a meat eater, and even I get annoyed by meat eaters calling themselves vegetarians, it just sounds so stupid, and actually, it is just stupid. Meat, from whatever animal source, is not vegetarian food. Period.

    Example: I once lived in a place with a group of people, and a cook. One day, I saw some fish, and I thought: Great, I’ll have some fish for a change. When I tried to take some of the fish, the cook told me that it was for the vegetarians. Now, in this case, the cook knew better (a lot better, in fact), but there were actually people in the group, who called themselves vegetarians, who then went to eat meat! Ridiculous and very annoying, too.

    People should just use words for what they mean, and not assign meanings to words that just don’t make any sense.

  106. Chrissy

    I havn’t eaten poutry my enitire life and I think red meat is unhealthy for me because I have an illness that suggest we stay away from it…yup diabetes…so I eat fish, shellfish, fruits and vegies. People always ask me if I am a vegetarian, I use to say semi, but really what does that mean. I agree non vegetarians should not say they are vegetarians if they consume animals fish included. So no Iam not a pesco vegetarian I am a pescatarian because the dictionary meaning for a pescatarian is someone who does not eat meat but eats fish. You see being a pescatarian does not infringe on the rights of a vegetarian because the suffix -tarian can be used by any group. You can be fruitarian, pescatarian or you can be a vegetarian and understanding that tarian is not exclusive to vegitable eaters can make life a lil easier for all of us.

  107. elaina

    some of you people are down right rude!~ excuse me for having questions about a major lifestyle change for me and my family. I simply have questions and am looking for answers. Please dont judge..
    Alot of your websites are about compasiion for animals and their welfare and yet you “purists” are more concerned w/ your own self righteonous than anything else…
    obviously most people understand that there are different types of vegatarians thats why people ask for clarification, and most of us do understand that vegan means strict vegetarian.
    Doesn any one know of any books or sited that offer actual dietary guidance for familes w/ small children? I am lookung for real answers not some ones snooty opinion. Thank you for your unsderstanding.

  108. ryan

    These same comments are repeating and getting kind of tired, going in circles. So, after my quick reply to elaina, comments are getting turned off for this entry.

    Elaina — it sounds to me like you’re the one doing a lot of the judging, coming in and accusing people of being purists (in quotes for some reason) and accusing them of self-righteousness… no one’s dismissing you and the questions you have.

    As far as books, Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD is the main one to look for. Thoroughly researched and it covers all ages. It’s extremely good and should be on everyone’s bookshelf.


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