Can You Still Be Considered a Vegetarian If You Occasionally Eat Meat?

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In summary, Debra's friend thinks that she is a vegetarian because she eats fish twice a year, while Debra does not consider herself a vegetarian because she only eats vegetables 365 days of the year. Debra's fiancee finds this distinction confusing.
  • #1
bpatrick
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I'm looking for opinions on a little disagreement my fiancee and I had this weekend (Easter). This wasn't a big deal, just something we talked about for a min or two then let it go ... I'm not even planning on bringing up the comments made here to her, I'm just curious.

So I have a pretty observant vegetarian diet (animals don't die for me to eat). I eat eggs and dairy products. I substitute all the morningstar and boca products for normal meat stuff, or I just cook tofu. This is the case 363.25 days of the year.

Two times each year, (Thanksgiving and Easter), Debra and I holiday with my family, who are all meat eaters (we do Christmas with Debra's family). Those two days of the year, I eat what everybody else is eating (turkey), mainly because they don't go out of their way to make filling vegetarian options for the family meals.

Debra does not engage in eating meat ever, even those two days, so she's very observant, and usually makes do with just mashed potatoes and broccoli rather than eating everything (the filling, gravy, and turkey which all are prepared with the turkey).

Now here's the thing that I found amusing. Debra remarked to me yesterday that I wasn't a vegetarian, yet she thinks her best friend from college IS a vegetarian ... I consider her a "pescetarian" or possibly, not even that because she eats seafood ALL the time, literally every time I've ever been at her place, she has been cooking fish/shrimp/squid/octopus/lobster/escargot/crab/etc...

Not that I really care about labels but I am kinda curious to get some opinions of what others think about this distinction she made that I couldn't really wrap my head around. To me, it's pretty simple: either I'm not a vegetarian because I eat meat twice a year (which is a fair call), therefore her friend isn't either!, or if you think that her friend Seymone IS a vegetarian, I'm not sure how you could argue that I am not but she is ... octopus and squid are super intelligent animals that she eats ALL the time, arguably more intelligent than the two turkeys that are killed on behalf of my family that I engage in consuming.

thoughts?
 
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  • #2
My thoughts, the friend that eats fish all of the time is not a vegetarian. If you only consume a small amount of meat twice a year, I think you can consider yourself a vegetarian. Of course different people will have different feelings depending on if they view vegetarianism as a moral/ethical viewpoint, or as just a dietary preference.
 
  • #3
To start with, vegetables are not food; they're what food eats.

Secondly, if she eats anything other than vegetables, she is not a vegetarian. I like your categorization of "pescetarian", although only the first thing that you listed (fish) falls into that bin. You also mention a lot of crustaceans and mollusks.
You could probably get by with labeling yourself a "vegetarian with benefits". :rolleyes:
 
  • #4
I would consider you more a vegetarian than your fiancee's friend.
 
  • #5
It seems to me that what is important is the personal choice, emphasis on personal. Some people have a propensity for sticking labels on people (often themselves), then attacking (or defending) the labels.

It sounds like your gf's friend subscribes to the 'nothing with a face' form of pseudo-vegetarianism.
 
  • #6
Danger said:
"vegetarian with benefits".
That is ... a troubling image.
 
  • #7
DaveC426913 said:
That is ... a troubling image.

Then my mission has been accomplished. :approve:
 
  • #8
Yeah, I mean I don't really get into the whole politics of it or labeling since I never call myself a "vegetarian". The whole convo struck me as odd because she said something last night about eating again after we got home from my relatives, and then said "at least you don't have to worry about more food since you're not a vegetarian", and then I just said something like "yeah, I know, I cheat on holidays", where she said, "you don't cheat, you're just not a vegetarian since you eat meat."

Then I asked her about Seymone since she often tells people that her and Seymone are both vegetarian (in the case when they are planning a group dinner or something and want consideration for their preference). I made my case then about how you can't call her a vegetarian and not describe me as one (if you're putting labels on people's eating) when she eats what she eats all year round vs my twice a year, ritualistic turkey eating.

Oh well, glad I'm not the only one who sees the flaw in logic. I guess she accepts her friend's "does it have a face?" definition of meat, but rejects my laissez-faire attitude towards the holiday dinner exception, haha. Whatever, I still love her to death, the little bits of crazy here and there are what make it interesting.
 
  • #9
Just make sure that once you are married, you do not under any circumstances give her control of the grocery list.
 
  • #10
I don't get the "I'm vegetarian but I eat seafood" thing, it's meat from a once living animal, how much closer to meat can you get?!

It's kind of annoying how vegetarianism is this whole thing. I have nothing against it, I don't eat much meat anyway, but it's like a merit badge for some people. Eat and let eat yo, we all eatin', eatin' to live.
 
  • #11
Adyssa said:
I don't get the "I'm vegetarian but I eat seafood" thing, it's meat from a once living animal, how much closer to meat can you get?!

You have to ask them about their rationale. Each one is different and there's no way to group them. Some might think that higher order animals such as mammals feel pain and fear, whereas lower ones do not. Others might just not like eating bottom feeders. These are just hypothetical examples.
 
  • #12
I don't eat shrimp because they are the cockroaches of the ocean (Everything else is fair game and tasty). Therefor, I eat some meat, and I eat some non-meat. By black and white standards, I am not a "vegatarian" and neither is anyone mentioned in this thread.
 
  • #13
QuarkCharmer said:
I don't eat shrimp because they are the cockroaches of the ocean (Everything else is fair game and tasty). Therefor, I eat some meat, and I eat some non-meat. By black and white standards, I am not a "vegatarian" and neither is anyone mentioned in this thread.

So how many PFers refuse to eat a particular food based not on its taste, but it's gross factor?

I haven't had liver in many years, not because it's yucky (actually it's delicious when prepared correctly), but because I now know what a liver does, and I don't want to eat the crap filter of an animal.
 
  • #14
lisab said:
So how many PFers refuse to eat a particular food based not on its taste, but it's gross factor?

I haven't had liver in many years, not because it's yucky (actually it's delicious when prepared correctly), but because I now know what a liver does, and I don't want to eat the crap filter of an animal.

Liver is tasty if you don't have to cook it! It's not so much what shrimp eat, as much as it is how they smell, their consistency, the stuff that comes out of them whatever that stuff is..
 
  • #15
QuarkCharmer said:
Liver is tasty if you don't have to cook it! It's not so much what shrimp eat, as much as it is how they smell, their consistency, the stuff that comes out of them whatever that stuff is..

Yeah, shrimp have that...stuff.

Crab have their own...stuff...too, and I know what they eat () but I can't help but love eating them :!)!

When I was a kid, my brothers and I would eat bone marrow. Cooked, of course. I could never eat that now, it would gross me out.

Ohai...this is a thread about vegetarianism? :smile:
 
  • #16
http://lolmart.com/files/2010/09/vegetarian4.jpg
 
  • #17
QuarkCharmer said:
http://lolmart.com/files/2010/09/vegetarian4.jpg

:smile:
 
  • #18
Sounds like wifey is rib jabbing.
 
  • #19
lisab said:
So how many PFers refuse to eat a particular food based not on its taste, but it's gross factor?

I haven't had liver in many years, not because it's yucky (actually it's delicious when prepared correctly), but because I now know what a liver does, and I don't want to eat the crap filter of an animal.

I love liver! Here, it's always fried up with onions and bacon. :-p
I'm deadly allergic to shrimp, so by extrapolation I won't touch other crustaceans such as lobsters. Fish and mollusks are okay. I love squid, shark, swordfish, slugs in a camper (escargot), and the like. The gross factor cuts into prevent me from eating any sort of bug. I have a morbid insect phobia. I can't help thinking that earthworms look mighty tempting, once you wring out the "earth" part.
 
  • #20
There's not much I won't eat, except asparagus, it smells awful when it's cooked!
 
  • #21
Adyssa said:
There's not much I won't eat, except asparagus, it smells awful when it's cooked!

Ahhh... I love that stuff. It used to grow wild in my yard back east. Here, it costs a tonne. Boiled or steamed, it's one of the few non-animal things that I salivate over.
 
  • #22
I'm almost a vegetarian, but I'll eat a tuna sandwich about twice a week. If I find an alternative to that to take to school with me, then I'll be off meat completely.

But I never understood people who eat seafood and say it's not meat. With that logic, I could be a vegetarian who only eats bacon, ham, and pork, since all I have to do is say "pig isn't meat" and somehow that makes it true.

I don't care what people eat, but I care what people say. So if they're going to say untrue things, then I feel I must respond.
 
  • #23
I like your attitude, Leroy.
For your understanding, I will clarify my position.
I am a strict carnivore. The only pleasure that I derive from eating is in knowing that something died violently so that I could eat it. I do, however, have enough Irish blood that potatoes are honourary meat.
 

Related to Can You Still Be Considered a Vegetarian If You Occasionally Eat Meat?

What are the benefits of following a vegetarian diet?

There are several potential benefits of following a vegetarian diet, including lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of certain types of cancer. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index and lower rates of obesity. Additionally, a vegetarian diet can be environmentally sustainable and may reduce animal suffering.

Is it possible to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet?

Yes, it is possible to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. There are many plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, and whole grains. By including a variety of these foods in your diet, you can easily meet your daily protein needs. It is important to note that the recommended daily amount of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

What are the potential risks of following a vegetarian diet?

There are some potential risks associated with following a vegetarian diet, such as nutrient deficiencies. Vegetarians may need to pay extra attention to getting enough iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. It is important to plan meals carefully and consider taking supplements if needed. Additionally, some people may experience digestive issues when first transitioning to a vegetarian diet, but these usually resolve over time.

Can a vegetarian diet be suitable for all stages of life?

Yes, a vegetarian diet can be suitable for all stages of life, including pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and older adulthood. However, it is important to ensure that all necessary nutrients are being consumed and to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and young children may need additional nutrients and should be monitored closely.

What are some tips for transitioning to a vegetarian diet?

If you are interested in transitioning to a vegetarian diet, here are some tips to make the process easier: start slowly and gradually reduce meat consumption, focus on incorporating a variety of plant-based foods into your diet, experiment with new recipes and flavors, and seek support from friends, family, or online communities. It may also be helpful to consult with a registered dietitian for personalized advice and meal planning.

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