Vegetarians... who eat fish.

(167 Posts)

I suspect this has been done before but, here goes...

We probably all know people who are 'strict vegetarians' apart from the fact that they eat fish. And chicken. And the odd cat, if they're especially peckish and it doesn't move fast enough.

Personally, I don't especially lose any sleep over what other people eat or don't eat. I'm a vegetarian, and like most that I know, consider it my personal preference not to eat meat, just as it is that of others to eat the stuff.

It does, however, rankle slightly when people think you are unreasonable or unusual to not eat fish when you are vegetarian: I've seen more my fair share of eye-rolling and 'well, my strict vegetarian friend eats fish, so it must be okay, you utter loon' - type attitude. A lot of people just don't 'get' it.

Anyway, what has made me start a thread on this topic, even though I doubt it's the first time it'll have been aired on here?

Today, my childminder (otherwise a lovely, lovely woman who I trust absolutely with my child's care) gave my daughter fish fingers because they were out at a fast food place, and she thought they were ok for vegetarians. Now, she thought she was doing a nice thing, but not only has my daughter now been given meat when I really wanted to avoid that happening for as long as possible, I am upset because we have a seafood allergy in my family- so there's potential for serious consequences.

PS: before anyone asks, yes- I did fill in a form listing dietary requirements, and mentioned not only that we were ovo-lacto vegetarians, but that it was really important to avoid any nuts as we have serious allergies in my family. I don't expect her to carry this around with her: the fact is, this prevailing attitude that fish is fine for veggies led to her making an assumption.

Really more of a rant/pointing out of an 'ishoo' than an AIBU, I guess..! smile

feministefatale Mon 21-Jan-13 02:57:53

Cote, vegetarians get awfully bored constantly having to justify and explain themselves to people who are two lazy to do any research before they voice ridiculous statements about their life style and children.

CoteDAzur Mon 21-Jan-13 22:30:27

"Some of the healthiest children I've seen in my life have been vegan."

What kind of tests did you do on them (and all the other children you have met) to decide that the vegan ones were the healthiest children you have ever met?

"What do you think inland populations did before refrigeration?"

Ate meat, I suppose. Vegetarianism and especially vegan diets being a relatively new phenomenon, I suppose long term (several generations) data is hard to come by.

"Surely if fish made you that much brighter than everyone else, then fish-eating populations would have subjugated everyone else (human nature being what it is)?"

There is little doubt that seaside towns are economically more prosperous in mot cases than landlocked ones, but that is of course also because harbours (i.e. trade) is good for economy. These things are hard to figure out just with examples, because there are so many contributing factors...

... which is why people control for those factors and construct studies to test hypotheses re food and its effects.

And studies show that there is little room for "if"s. Study after study shows that eating fish is very good for the brain, even for the fetus of women who eat fish.

Feel free to try to prove that you can get the same nutrients from other sources, but please don't try to argue that eating fish isn't good for the brain.

CoteDAzur Mon 21-Jan-13 22:37:51

feminist - I'm sorry if some vegetarians are bored about talking on vegetarianism. In that case, maybe they should not read & comment on threads on vegetarianism.

I have seen maybe thousands of threads on vaccination around here. Not once have I seen any of the regulars of the topic say anything like "If you want to learn, research it yourself".

ouryve Mon 21-Jan-13 23:17:53

OK, a few reasons why i went pescatarian way back when.

Firstly, I had difficulty digesting red meat. I'd feel bloated and not sleep at night. It still does that to me, but I've learnt to eat smaller portions when i do eat it.

I was concerned about animal welfare. 10-15 years ago, the relative transparency we have about animal welfare yeah, it's still not much, I know) wasn't there.

So I swore that I would only eat organic and british meat. Yeah, that was easy to get in the 90s.

So I only ate vegetarian plus fish. For 4 years.

If I ate out, I asked for vegetarian because I didn't want to be served something with gelatine in from goodness knows where. There was one occasion when I was served a supposedly vegetable soup that I'm sure had chicken stock in, all the same.

Moominsarehippos Tue 22-Jan-13 09:08:15

Gelatine! You expect them to know if there is gelatine in a dish and what it's made of? How very optimistic of you! Bleuch. Won't touch the stuff. I have vegan jelly instead.

BinarySolo Tue 22-Jan-13 09:22:55

Cote there seem very little point in explaining the virtues of vegetarian or vegan diets to you as you come across as very closed minded on the subject. Yes, when you cut out food groups you do need to take extra care in order to avoid deficiencies, but I'm sure many meat eaters don't eat fish or much fruit and veg so can be more at risk than a well informed vegan.

We do not need dairy to be healthy. Milk marketing boards have done a pretty good job of convincing people that we do, but there are many good plant sources of calcium, most of which are lower in fat. Cultures like Japan consume very little dairy and their diet is widely accepted to be very healthy.

As for vegetarian diets being relatively new, well actually that's not true. Many indian cultures are vegetarian (including Buddha himself). The poorer classes in history would have most likely have been predominantly vegetarian due to not being able to afford meat. Vegetarianism for moral grounds in western society may be "relatively" new, but that's perhaps because farming is more intense and crueler than ever.

Many seeds contain the same omega oils as fish. Tbh a study comparing o two sources effects would be more interesting. The larger of the 2 studies you mentioned was based on self reporting which makes it less scientific - even asking certain questions can make people change their perceptions.

hzgreen Tue 22-Jan-13 09:24:29

I figure if I'm going to eat something with gelatine in I might as well go the whole hog (pun not intended) and have a bacon sandwich. It's pretty hard to avoid sometimes, it keeps turning up in unexpected places.

Like you ouryve I felt I would maybe be willing to eat British organic meat but its still really hard to come by especially if you care not only about how animals are raised but how they're slaughtered as well. I have found it easier to just avoid meat altogether.

fascicle Tue 22-Jan-13 09:36:42

CoteDAzur
Vegetarianism and especially vegan diets being a relatively new phenomenon
So you haven't heard of vegetarianism in Ancient Greece or India?

There is little doubt that seaside towns are economically more prosperous in mot cases than landlocked ones, but that is of course also because harbours (i.e. trade) is good for economy.

Absolute opposite to the truth, e.g.
www.shu.ac.uk/_assets/pdf/cresr-englishseasidetowns.pdf

ouryve did you call yourself a vegetarian? I think the confusion arises when people term themselves vegetarian, but eat fish.

CoteDAzur Tue 22-Jan-13 11:06:24

Binary - Thank you for calling me "closed-minded". I will cherish that along with the "ignorant" that I have already been called on this thread hmm

"We do not need dairy to be healthy"

We don't. Little children do. Except if vegans plan to breastfeed their children until they are 10 or so (which I don't see at all in the vegan families around me).

Well-informed adults can eat (drink, snort, or otherwise consume) whatever they want for whatever reason and I honestly wouldn't care much. It is when they impose these diets on small children, saying they are "vegetarian children" or "vegan children" as if they have a choice in the matter this becomes objectionable. This is what I have been saying on this thread.

"Cultures like Japan consume very little dairy and their diet is widely accepted to be very healthy."

Hardly surprising, since fatty fish make up a major portion of Japanese diet.

"As for vegetarian diets being relatively new, well actually that's not true."

I thought it was obvious that we were talking about Western world, but apologies for the confusion. I am of course aware of Indian diet & beliefs, but feel free to call me "ignorant" as some others have already done.

"The poorer classes in history would have most likely have been predominantly vegetarian due to not being able to afford meat"

And low income families' children have repeatedly tested lower on cognitive tests. Of course there are other factors affecting these results, but you really shouldn't say the above as if it helps your case (of abstaining from animal products not affecting children).

"Many seeds contain the same omega oils as fish."

Yes, but:
(1) Seeds don't contain all the essential fatty acids
(2) Absorption of omega oils is much higher from animal sources than plant sources, possibly because:
(3) Seeds have evolved not to be digestible by animals (which is the whole point of a seed - to be ejected out of the other end, after the fruit is eaten by animals)

"Tbh a study comparing o two sources effects would be more interesting."

I think there are many such studies, which is how we know that plant sources don't have all essential fatty acids, and that their absorption is much better from animal sources.

If you insist, I might have the time later this afternoon to find a few such studies, but since you people know everything and I'm so ignorant, maybe you already know them all and I'd be wasting my time wink

Crinkle77 Tue 22-Jan-13 11:12:04

YANBU especially if they don't eat other meat for ethical reasons. Fishing is one of the cruelest ways to die. I mean imagine having a big hook stuck in your mouth. Fishing is also hugely detrimental to the environment especially those big trawler nets which just scoop everything up off the sea bed

CoteDAzur Tue 22-Jan-13 11:15:25

fascicle - A casual look at the map of Europe will show you what I mean re seaside towns: Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Bilbao, Marseille, Rome, Naples, Athens, Casablanca, Algiers, Tripoli, Alexandria etc. All seaside towns that are historically and economically prosperous.

I'm sorry if you don't have many of those in the UK, but Dublin is on the sea and London is on the river Thames.

Again, I am not saying a diet rich in fish makes rich cities (there are so many other factors, like ease of trade), just pointing out that seaside port cities have historically been more prosperous than landlocked ones, in response to ThatGhastlyWoman's "if fish made you that much brighter than everyone else, then fish-eating populations would have subjugated everyone else".

CoteDAzur Tue 22-Jan-13 11:16:25

Crinkle - So would you prefer fishing with hooks or large nets?

Crinkle77 Tue 22-Jan-13 11:29:39

CoteDAzur don't really know why you are asking me that. I am not a vegetarian but all I am saying is that it annoys me when someone says they are vegetarian but they eat fish. If they don't eat other types of meat for ethical reasons then why is it ok to eat fish? I don't get it really.

BinarySolo Tue 22-Jan-13 11:48:44

Cote I never called you ignorant as you repeatedly say in your last post. You are coming across as closed minded though. Sorry if that offends you, but your posting style is quite aggressive, telling us veggies/vegans that we are damaging are children unless we can prove to you otherwise. I'm normally very happy to answer any questions about my diet, as are most other vegans/veggies I know but when someone is so hostile towards my beliefs then why should I waste my breath?

This isn't even a thread about the merits of non meat diets.

You've also taken some of what I said out of context. Yes Japanese diet contains plenty of fish but my point was about dairy. They manage to raise healthy children without using massive amounts of dairy. I'm managing to raise a very healthy toddler without using dairy and I'm in my second pregnancy without dairy. Any ill considered diet can be unhealthy, but stating vegan diets will lead to problem with conception etc is just ill informed.

I thought long and hard about my diet when weaning my son and saw a dietician. She had no problem with me raising my son vegan and when I told her what he was eating she said it was far healthier than the diets of lot of meat eaters.

Cows milk is for baby cows. We do not need it nor do we need to replace it with breast milk until the age of 10.

mademred Tue 22-Jan-13 12:10:31

Just out of interest how many vegetarians that don't eat fish drink wine? Because they use fish in some wines , infact a lot of wines.im allergic to fish and eggs and only buy coop Fairtrade that states its suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Scholes34 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:47:28

Since DS2 declared himself veggie (and won't eat fish on principle or baked beans to be awkward) we've discovered M&S's Veggie Percy Pigs. Why would anyone want to eat the non-veggie version? Veggie Percys are so much nicer.

Any veggie who wants the Worcestershire Sauce experience need look no further than Sheffield's very own Henderson's Relish (always anchovy free).

Something that I really don't know about, and not asking to be facetious, but do seafood and nut allergies run in families?

mademred Tue 22-Jan-13 15:03:57

Am not entirely sure if its hereditary, because I started my allergies when I turned 30 almost ten years ago.completely out of the blue, and my dad now also gets a reaction from eating fish and he's 68.i do wounder myself about my own kids , so maybe someone may enlighten us.

Just to be a bit funny why are vegetarians called vegetarians, to me this implies that they only eat vegetables, and no fruit or other non animal products. Sorry if this is silly but it occurred to me a couple of months ago, maybe I am too pedantic.

Moominsarehippos Tue 22-Jan-13 15:42:42

Yeh, lets change the name and really confuse everyone!

DoItToJulia Tue 22-Jan-13 16:07:15

Y'know, I forgot to hide this thread, and stupidly I have popped back to see the direction it has gone in.

It's such a shame that people want to criticise the use of a veggie or vegan diet for their kids. How I raise my kids is my business. How other posters raise their kids is their business. Whilst I am flattered that Internet strangers care about the nutritional content of my kids meals, I do wish they would mind their own business. By all means debate the merits of vegetarians eating or not acting fish, but do us veggie parents a favour and push off.

Wrt to isinglass in wine and some beers, are you trying to be helpful? I can't work out the tone of your post madem.

There. That feels better.

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Tue 22-Jan-13 17:04:39

I know about the wine and beer but I didn't realise until recently that prawn cocktail pombears are not vegetarian, never mind ds and dh can eat them smile

mademred Tue 22-Jan-13 17:48:15

Yes because a lot of people don't realise.and if I was a vegetarian and found out I was unwittingly being given meat or fish in something you didn't know, I would be really upset.and unfortunately at the mo the laws don't insist that wine makers need to list the ingredients.its a minefield.

snuffaluffagus Tue 22-Jan-13 17:50:09

I do find it a bit annoying because when asked, I say "I'm vegetarian" and quite often get asked "do you eat fish?", I just answer "no, I'm vegetarian" (with a smile!), the person usually quantifies it by saying - "oh you know some stupid people say they are but eat chicken or fish" etc etc.

It would be easier if that person said, I don't eat red meat, just chicken or fish for me.. but they don't. C'est la vie!

Moominsarehippos Tue 22-Jan-13 17:56:26

My 'classic' was in France many moons ago

Me (to waiter): 'can I check this on the menu? I'm vegetarian'
Waiter: 'you're what?'
Me: 'je suis vegetarien, je n'mange pas les animaux, poulet, poisson, jambon...' (oh, my french was red hot then)
Waiter (loudly, with look of disgust): 'pffffft. We don't get many of those around here!'

fascicle Wed 23-Jan-13 12:43:31

CoteDAzur
"We do not need dairy to be healthy"

We don't. Little children do. Except if vegans plan to breastfeed their children until they are 10 or so (which I don't see at all in the vegan families around me).

Neither little children nor adults (any size) need dairy. They need calcium, available from dairy and other sources.

As for vegans breastfeeding their children until 10 or so - this shows gross ignorance of not just dietary requirements, but breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding practices (i.e. for all sorts of reasons, including physiology, breastfeeding a 10 year old and beyond = virtually impossible).

CoteDAzur
"As for vegetarian diets being relatively new, well actually that's not true."

I thought it was obvious that we were talking about Western world, but apologies for the confusion. I am of course aware of Indian diet & beliefs, but feel free to call me "ignorant" as some others have already done.

You focus on the Western World with this comment, but completely ignore vegetarianism amoungst the Ancient Greeks. With the next comment below, you completely ignore the UK and the plight of its seaside towns (as per PDF in my previous post):

CoteDAzur
fascicle - A casual look at the map of Europe will show you what I mean re seaside towns: Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Bilbao, Marseille, Rome, Naples, Athens, Casablanca, Algiers, Tripoli, Alexandria etc. All seaside towns that are historically and economically prosperous.

I'm sorry if you don't have many of those in the UK, but Dublin is on the sea and London is on the river Thames.

Seaside towns? Those are cities, most of them capital cities!

CoteDAzur, I can't tell if you're making things up for your own entertainment, or if you actually believe the things you write.

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