Recipes farmers market by ecokaren

Published on November 23rd, 2010 | by Karen Lee

6

A Pescatarian’s Identity Crisis and Her Vegan Tofu Recipe

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farmers market by ecokaren

Photo: Farmers Market Finds by ecokaren

I am having an identity crisis at the age of forty nine. And it’s not about my ethnic background. It’s about what I eat.

I’ve stopped eating meat since June and occasionally had seafood in settings where I cannot get any good vegetarian meals. So, I’ve been going around saying, “I’m a vegetarian” and uncomfortably adding, “Oh, but I do eat seafood… occasionally.” I always wondered how can I call myself a vegetarian when I eat animal products like eggs, cheese, and once-in-a-blue-moon, seafood. Is there a dictionary to check ‘phrases’ to find proper words?

I couldn’t find one.

I just learned from my friend Becky, a vegan, that I am called a Pescatarian. What? Peca-who? After all these months of declaring that I am a ‘vegetarian who eats fish’ , I finally found a term that describes someone with my eating style. So, I did some research and found out that there are so many different types of vegetarians.

Wow.

What a revelation.

Now, before you start throwing tomatoes at me for calling myself a vegetarian while eating seafood, let me tell you, deciding NOT to eat meat was HUGE for me so cut me some slack and read on.

A Pescatarian in a Carnivorous Household

I have had to defend myself on why I decided not to eat meat on so many occasions with my mother. Actually, every time she brings a dish over, she grills me on what I can eat, what I can’t eat or what I won’t eat, like it’s due to a religious reason or something. What’s worse, I tell her not to make a big deal out of it when we go to a relative’s house or when we go out to dinner with people…because more often than not, there are always non-meat dishes available for me to eat so it’s no big deal. I mean, when was the last time you had just a steak and no salad or potato or green beans with them? But, as if that conversation never took place, she’ll say, while stealthily intercepting a plate that is being passed over to me, “No, she doesn’t eat meat”… as if I lost my ability to speak for myself since I stopped eating meat.

I know she means well because I am a mom too. I want to make sure my kids are eating well and being fed so that they are not starving to death. Seriously, that’s how my mom thinks of me – ‘starving’ all the time, because I’m not eating meat. After I declared that I no longer want to eat meat, my parents and their generation of adults thought I was just being difficult. To them, not eating meat seemed like a betrayal of a culture that works so hard to provide a good life for the family, which includes having meat on the dinner table. It’s a symbol of success. But I tell my mom, that buying fresh organic vegetables can be just as expensive, if not more than beef. So, I tell her, we can still be looked upon as being successful…half kidding, of course. And to that, she agrees. I know deep inside, she believes and supports my new eating habits because she, too, doesn’t like eating meat.

Do Genetics Play a Role in What We Eat?

The irony that my mom does NOT eat meat herself, and yet her grilling me about why I decided not to eat meat is funny. OK, not so funny when we are having a debate in the middle of a meat section but you know what I mean. If you read my ‘About’ page, you’ll see that she is the “green matron” without even trying. Well, add “not eating meat” to her ways of being green, in addition to her glass jar collection. But she never knew it.  She never liked meat but totally can devour any kinds of vegetables cooked in any way. And she didn’t even take the environment into consideration when she stopped eating meat.

Why doesn’t she eat meat? She hates to chew it. Yup. You heard me. I don’t know if that’s because she is an animal lover and she hates seeing animals being raised in factory farms in deplorable conditions. She also can’t see how slaughtering them for food is humane even if they were raised “humanely.” She also sees how raising her vegetable garden and eating the fruits of her labor is so much more efficient than raising an animal that eats feeds that we grow and then slaughtering the animal for food. Makes no sense, right? She says so too.

But in all honesty, I never understood why she didn’t like to ‘chew’ meat and always criticized her for being so “sensitive” and “difficult”, like it was a negative thing to be sensitive. Duh, what did I know? Then, my snotty attitude came back to bite me in the a** because my own aversion to meat started this past spring. Unlike her not liking the ‘chewing’ part, for me, it was not liking the ‘taste’ part. You see, I always thought being a ‘vegetarian’ meant either you had some sort of an eating disorder that made you gag due to texture or smell or taste of meat or you were self-righteous because most vegetarians I knew claimed to be animal advocates but many of them wore leather and silk so I always viewed them as hypocrites too. What did  I know? But one thing for sure.  I am becoming my mother, as my “About” page states but even in my eating habits. So, maybe genetics does play a small part in liking or not liking certain foods. Just don’t tell that to my mother that my not eating meat is her fault.

>>Next: How I don’t starve myself and a vegan tofu recipe.


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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.



  • http://www.lisashanken.com B.Linus

    I love tofu which is a staple for me and my kids. It is easy to cook that even my kids can prepare a tofu side dish. This love of tofu is because of a nutritional consulting session I had with Ms. Lisa Shanken.

  • http://girlstuckinarut.blogspot.com Natasha

    Hi! I’m new to your blog but just wanted to say I can really relate to this post. I too am a pescatarian. I stopped eating meat 15mths ago. My hubby has joined me and although his family is supportive, mine is not. I’m always getting remarks and them talking for me saying no, she doesn’t eat meat too! I’m from Alberta Canada which is the province of Beef eaters and proud Beef raisers, so I’m very much the odd man out! Anyway, love the blog and look forward to reading more :)

  • http://noteasytobegreen.wordpress.com Jennifer

    My Asian parents were also extremely disapproving when I decided to go vegetarian. I had some pretty uncomfortable meals with them in which there really wasn’t much I could eat, and my dad grilled me for being stubborn, weird, and whitewashed. Sigh. They’ve gotten better about it in the past three years.

    I’ve been following your veg journey since the post on your blog, and I am really delighted to hear you’ve found a solution that is working for you. I’ll try your tofu recipe!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vegetarians-dominate-meat-eaters-01/ INFORMATION

    MYTH: “I know she means well because I am a mom too. I want to make sure my kids are eating well and being fed so that they are not starving to death. Seriously, that’s how my mom thinks of me – ‘starving’ all the time, because I’m not eating meat….”=MYTH).

    NEWS: “THE LARGEST MOST MASSIVE BODYBUILDER IN THE WORLD IS VEGETARIAN”

    At 7feet tall and weighing in at over 435 pounds of massive vegetarian muscle, Rana, known by the nickname “THE GREAT KHALI” is the biggest Bodybuilder in the world and eats NO RED MEAT. He has been in two motion picture films, including Semi-Tough along with with Adam Sandler and in Get Smart with Steve Carrel of The office and the Daily show with Jon Stewart. Rana prepares vegetarian meals, and lives a pleasant life with his wife. He also stars in the WWE wrestling federation. Khali is so massive that the vegetarian weighs over 200 pounds of muscle more than Arnold Schwarzeneggar. So if you ever see or hear ANY person attempt to falsely assert that anyone is starving, weak, small, doesnt get protein, cant build muscle, is small, or any other impression, simply tell them that the biggest and most muscular bodybuilder on earth is Vegetarian. And pass on the picture below:

    LOOK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vegetarians-dominate-meat-eaters-01/

  • http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/excessive-meateating-kills-45000-each-year-2110289.html INFORMATION

    QUOTE: “want to make sure my kids are eating well and being fed so that they are not starving to death… because I’m not eating meat..To them, not eating meat seemed like a betrayal of a culture that works so hard to provide a good life for the family, which includes having meat on the dinner table.”=MEAT is what hurts children and causes child and human Death.

    NEWS: “A mother today sobbed as she told how her five-year-old son died in one of Britain’s worst E coli outbreaks after being served contaminated meat at his school”

    THE GUARDIAN – UK.

    “Police Inquest begins into death of Mason Jones, a child of 5 years old, who died after eating meat.”

    “Mills, a police community support officer, described how Mason suffered high temperatures, stomach pains and had hallucinations in the two weeks after eating the contaminated food.

    “I tried to do everything I possibly could,” she said. “Mason’s condition deteriorated considerably and he started to hallucinate saying he could see slugs and frogs. He went a yellow colour and started sweating like he’d just come out of a shower.” Mason was admitted to Bristol children’s hospital but died of kidney failure.

    The boy, from Deri, south Wales, was one of more than 150 schoolchildren and adults struck down in the outbreak. Thirty-one people were admitted to hospital but Mason was the only one to die. Butcher William Tudor, 56, was jailed for breaching hygiene laws by allowing raw meat to come into contact with cooked ham and turkey.”

    A mother weeps as eating meat caused the human death of her own child.

    Note: Not just 1 child was killed. Over 150 children and human lives were affected. And this is just 1 incident, in 1 country. There have been over 52 contaminated meat, beef, pork, chicken, and hamburger recalls just in the U.S. and just THIS YEAR ALONE. Just 1 of the recalls out of the 52 was over 4.1 million pounds of infected bacteria-laden meat.

    Note also, that if anyone ever attempts to assert that any vegetable also had salmonella, or ecoli, (as in lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, etc) their statement is debunked. As a point of Science, salmonella and ecoli bacteria are what are called “ENTERIC” bacteria. As in Gastro-ENTER-ological. In other words, salmonella and ecoli CANNOT ORIGINATE ON PLANTS. These bacteria originate in animal intestines. In other words, what you ate came in contact with fecal material that was up inside the feces tract of a livestock animal. Nearly every single instance of salmonella or ecoli on any produce has been traced back to a cattle, pig, or chicken farm, where some cattle or beef farmer got cow feces on the meat, or on his boot and tracked the poo into his truck, in which he laid the vegetables, or used irrigation water from pastureland tainted with urine and animal feces and sprayed it all over the vegetables. In other words, if it weren’t for people eating meat, and cattle farmers herding more and more, none of those plants would have become contaminated in the first place, all of these poisonous bacteria originate as a result of meat.

    Vegetarian is a sign of success. Studies showed Vegetarians tend to have higher social status, live longer, smell better, usually not overweight, more athletic, have higher quality muscle, and have higher IQ children. (This includes fish, which contains methylmercury, which dumbs the human brain. Eating fish causes cognitive damage. Look up “Methylmercuric poison” and “fish”. Then realize that the Omega3 study from all of the sites advocating fish has now been found to be debunked. In other words, sites were acknowledging the brain damage from ingesting fish, but still advocating it because they believed the benefits of the omega3’s “outweighed” the mercury damage, and now the Omega3 “fish oil” data they were basing that on, has all been proven wrong. The end result leaving the brain damage from eating fish. Omega3’s don’t even originate in animals, omega3’s come from plants, not fish. Fish do not even produce omega3’s. Currently the “Fish oil” studies are all debunked and all the merchants that were trying to peddle fish oil are now being called on it and regarded as pushing “Snake Oil”. Remember: Today’s fish is not like from 1,000 years ago. Nearly ALL fish caught today is contaminated due to mercury leakage. )

    Meat is associated with lower social status, diabetes, cancer, sickness, being fat, acne, bad skin, lower IQ, bad body-smell and B.O. It is not “a good life for the children”.

    In this case, eating meat killed a 5 year old child and hurt 150 other children and families.

    Remember, THIS happened, this year, in a 1st world country, in the 21st century, in fact it happened yesterday. And this is just 1 of more than 52 such incidents of meat sickness and death, this year. And the year is not over yet.

    READ:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/23/mason-jones-ecoli-death-inquest

    -

  • http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/excessive-meateating-kills-45000-each-year-2110289.html INFORMATION

    OMEGA3 FISH OIL DEBUNKED:

    NEWS: “Study: Fish oil supplements don’t slow dementia” – USATODAY

    “Fish oil supplements don’t slow the progress of dementia, according to a new study.”

    NEWS: Omega 3 “DHA Fish Oils Same As Placebo” – MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

    “Researchers report that those with brain dementia / Alzhimer’s Disease symptoms received no benefit from omega-3 DHA fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid) (from Fish oil) over an 18-month period”

    If being “SEMI-VEGETARIAN” or specifically PESCATERIAN is being used as a stepping stone in the transition toward becoming a regular vegetarian, that’s fine (fine for you, not fine for the fish or its family), but if fish is being held on for the known debunked-protein-myth, or the now known false omega-3-fish-oil-myth, then ingesting it is merely lowering IQ, and adding to Toxaphene and methylmercury poisoning in the body’s tissues. Mercury from fish crosses the blood-brain barrier, and it definitely should not be consumed by children whose brains are developing, or by pregnat women, whose fetus is being formed, and may be born learning-disabled due to eating fish. But remember, as bad as this is, Red Meat is even worse: causing metasticized lumpy breasts with cancer tumours, throat cancer, pancreatic cancer (the type that killed Patrick Swayze for example), not to mention the heterocyclic amines from any cooked or barbequed grilled meat that causes testicular cancer, and the estrogen in steak that helps a meat-eating man obtain gynecomastia (known in slang “manboobs”).

    FISH OIL OMEGA3 claims now debunked..
    LOOK:
    http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/alzheimers/2010-11-02-fish-oil-study_N.htm

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