Can Vegetarians Eat Fish? What Can Vegetarians Eat?

Vegan sushi
Vegan Sushi / Photo by Jakub Dziubak on Unsplash

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As we come to understand more about the role of diet in our own health, that of the planet and, of course, the wellbeing of animals, many people are changing how they eat. Where once upon a time you were either a meat-eater or a vegetarian, there is now much more nuance, as people consider the ethical and environmental impacts of their food, alongside taste and preference.

Can Vegetarians Eat Fish?

Vegetarians choose not to eat fish. This could be for any number of reasons, including: the suffering endured by aquatic creatures at sea and in farms; the ecological devastation caused by the fishing industry; or the fact that the global fishing fleet relies on slave labor. If you haven’t seen the documentary Seaspiracy yet, we recommend you take a look

Can You Call Yourself A Vegetarian If You Eat Fish?

You can call yourself whatever you like! But it’s best to be honest, and vegetarians don’t eat fish.

What Can Vegetarians Eat?

There are many kinds of vegetarian but normally if we say we are vegetarian, it means we don’t eat the bodies of any animals – so no meat or fish, no crushed beetles (which are found in some food colorings) and no cheese that has been made using rennet (an enzyme taken from newborn calves). Other than the flesh of animals, vegetarians can eat anything at all – and this includes the many faux meat and fish products that are available.

What Are The Types Of Vegetarians?

Grab the popcorn, here we go …

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian

This is what most people think of when they say they are vegetarian. It just means they do not eat meat but they do eat dairy (“lacto”) and eggs (“ovo”).

Lacto-vegetarian

This is a vegetarian (so no meat or fish) who eats dairy but not eggs.

Ovo-vegetarian

And similarly, this is a vegetarian who eats eggs but not dairy.

Pescatarian

This is not really a vegetarian at all, as pescaterians eat fish but not other animals’ meat.

Vegan

A vegan eats no animal products at all – so no fish, meat, dairy, eggs, honey or any of their by-products. They do, however, eat all the grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruits, salads, spices, and herbs, and all the products made from them, including pasta, bread, plant milks and cheeses, nut butters, faux meats and fish.

Flexitarian

This is someone who is actively eating more vegetarian meals but may still eat meat and other animal products at times.

Raw Vegan

Some vegans choose to incorporate much larger quantities of raw foods (and food cooked below 48C) into their diets too, usually for health reasons.

What Kind Of Vegetarian Are You?

We may not stick to just one way of eating all our lives. Many of us were brought up eating meat, became vegetarian when we were able to make our own food choices, and later decided to become vegan. Others may become flexitarian as they come to understand more of the ecological damage caused by animal agriculture, and later stop eating meat altogether.

What kind of vegetarian are you right now? And what kind might you become?

Conclusion

We can each make our own food choices based on what is most important to us, and those choices can change as we change. Taste is important but it is not the only factor. We have long known that our diets are intrinsically connected to both our short-and long-term health, but increasingly, we are coming to understand that our food choices have many more impacts out in the world. Those who wish to reduce the suffering of animals (both farmed and wild), protect their own health, minimize the impact on the planet, and reduce future pandemic risks, are increasingly adopting a vegan diet.

Want to try it, too? Check out our resources to help you get started.

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