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Friday, January 25, 2008

The Picky Pescetarian

When I meet new people in some sort of dining context, they invariably discover my dietary choice. Conversations usually run along these lines.

Person: Hey, have some steak; it's really good.
Me: No thanks, I don't eat beef.
Person: Oh! You're vegetarian.
Me: Not really, I eat seafood.
Person: So, you eat chicken.
Me: (thinking I haven't encountered any under the sea) No, just seafood.
Person: So... you're vegetarian!
Me: No, the term I usually use is pesco-vegetarian, to mean I eat fish along with
Person: Hey! We've got a vegetarian in the table!
Me: Argh.

I've used the term pesco-vegetarian to describe myself for the past twelve years or so, which is when I quit eating chicken (I'd quit eating pork and beef years earlier). So I named this blog "The Picky Pesco-Vegetarian" when I started it. Recently though, it has come to my attention that the term "pesco-vegetarian" is causing some controversy, because it implies that it is a form of vegetarianism.

Well, this was certainly not my intent. I used the word because it was the only term I was aware of that was close enough to describing my chosen diet. As mentioned earlier, it was a convenient term to use in describing the foods that I choose to eat, which are, basically fish and vegetables, as opposed to the usual beef, pork, and chicken. (That sentence is rather misleading or downright wrong though; more often than not I just choose to eat chips and chocolate.)

I came across the term "pescetarian" rather belatedly. After rolling the word around my tongue for a bit, I figured that this word is less controversial, and actually sounds more accurate. It says, well... that I eat fish. Now, I know that there are all these discussions as to why people choose to eat fish and not land animals, but I do not really engage in them.

People who find out about my choice of food sometimes challenge me. "Why do you eat fish only? Aren't they animals too?" These are some of the more common questions they ask. My pescetarianism is not some sort of activism. It's just a choice I made. I can't even pinpoint my own motivations. Maybe it's partly for health reasons, partly a result of some traumatic childhood experience involving pig slaughter; I'm not entirely sure. All I know is that I eat seafood, and for now, it seems that the word "pescetarianism" is what captures that definition most accurately. (Which is why I changed the name of this blog.)

Anyway, I'm a live-and-let-live kind of girl, so whatever you choose to eat is fine by me. Anyone is welcome to read and comment on this blog, even if you're neither picky, nor a pescetarian.


Svaj Malizo said...


I am curious as to what you called yourself before becoming a "pesco-vegetarian" (or pescetarian), that is to say, the time when you still consumed chicken (but no beef).

That is the stage at which I am now, and I am having trouble trying to define the concept. (a pescetarian-plus?)


Gidget said...

Hi Svaj!

Actually I didn't really call myself anything then (except a hearty eater haha), although I think that one term that people use for this kind of diet is "pollotarian". Some also use "pollo-vegetarian", but some vegetarians might say this is misleading as well.

cheers and happy eating!


tea_time said...

We're on the same boat! I just belatedly discovered your blog.

I use to call myself pesco-ovo-vegetarian (fish/dairy/veggies) and it still puts in me in long-drawn Q&A's.

Pescetarian. I like that. Thanks Ms Alex :)

P.S. More food reviews naman in the Makati area...if possible lang. :)

Alex A. said...

Thanks for dropping by, teatime :)
Actually I used to describe myself as pesco-ovo-lactovegetarian before, and it was quite a mouthful.

So, I was happy to find the term pescetarian too :)

Will write about Makati restos when I get the chance. I'm blaming the gas prices for my lessened visits to the area :D

Anonymous said...


yep,it was pretty annoying when people said that fish was an animal too...I've been trough it most of the time,why they wouldn't understand of this kind of eating habit.

hope they read this.

rocker said...

i just found out i was a pescaterian too

i thougth i was a vegeterian

but hey im only a first yr i sec.sohool

Alex A. said...

Hey rocker! A lot of people still call me vegetarian, so I am glad to finally find a term I could use to refer to my eating habits.

Tameri T. said...

Hi - glad I found you. Please visit my blog when you get a chance;

ImAVeggie said...

Hello! I just started a blog ( and am having trouble fitting into groups of people once they start rubbing it in my face that I don't eat red meat or chicken. I was wondering if you'd follow my blog and give me some advice on some posts? I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!

Tiny said...


I'm thinking of becoming a pescetarian. I already eat pretty healthily, and have dabbled in vegetarian/vegan cooking. Any tips or advice for beginners?


Alex A. said...

@I'm a Veggie- Sorry for the late reply. Will drop by your blog ASAP.
@Tiny- Have you started being pescetarian? Or are you just getting ready to start?

T. said...

@Svaj - I called myself a flexatarian at that time.
@Tiny - I give some tips for getting started at WWW,

Yeewah said...

Hello, I am Yeewah and I am a student from the New International School of Thailand. In Food Technology class, we are currently learning about different food restrictions, like Pescetarianism. While researching, I came across to this forum and it seems very interesting.
Would any of you mind answering a few questions about a pescetarian diet for me?
• What are the health benefits/non-benefits or being a pescetarian?
• How did being a pescetarian change your life?
• Why do you follow this diet restriction?
It would be really helpful and I am looking forward to your replies!
Thank you so much!