Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What is a vegetarian?

I'm not going to embarrass the person/agency who sent this email to me, but I think that it signifies just how little vegetarianism is understood. Well, either that or the sender didn't bother to read the "About Me" section of my blog.
Hello There,
My name is [deleted] and I work for [popular marketing agency] in Cincinnati, Ohio.
From your blog, I know that healthy eating is important to you.

One of our clients, [deleted], has taken an important step in offering low-fat, non-fried seafood choices with their new menu. This menu features Grilled Salmon, Grilled Tilapia and Shrimp Scampi.

I know personally since having a child and one on the way I have become a more health conscious person looking for healthier foods.

Since fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which benefits the heart this menu has really intrigued me along with health benefits for the heart, eyes, brain, immune system.

So I was wondering if you would be interested in trying it out for yourself. I will send you a couple of gift checks so you can do so for free.

I sent a polite reply letting her know that vegetarians do not eat seafood.

I realize that this is a slippery slope - I do know of some people who claim vegetarianism but DO eat seafood, but according to The Vegetarian Society (the oldest vegetarian organization in the world) vegetarianism can be defined thusly:

A vegetarian is someone living on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with or without the use of dairy products and eggs.

A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products.

Vegetarianism can further be broken down into those who eat both eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo vegetarians) and those who will not eat eggs but do eat dairy products (lacto-vegetarians). Those who take vegetarian a step further and eat no eggs, dairy products or other animal by-products like honey are considered vegan.

Someone who eats seafood but doesn't eat red or white meat is a pesceterian, NOT a vegetarian.

I am vegetarian: I do not eat mammals, fish or fowl, and I limit the amount of eggs and dairy in my diet. I buy only free-range eggs from a local farmer and do my best to avoid cheese with rennet - which is derived from the stomachs of calves and goats and is used as a coagulator for various cheeses. Admittedly it can be difficult to do when dining out.

For an at-your-fingertips guide of non-rennet cheeses, printing a copy of The Cheese List to have on hand is a good idea.


Heather said...

hahahahahaha - that made me laugh and laugh and laugh!

can you please email me and tell me what agency?


stepfanie said...

That's HILARIOUS!!! Which agency was it? email me!
Was it Long John Silver's? That menu sounds familiar (wrote about it recently).

Julie said...

I think that's an honest mistake-- I know several people who call themselves vegetarians but really just don't eat meat. Then you've got the difference between vegans and vegetarians, or lacto-ovo vegetarians, or pescetarians, or... you get the idea.

Confusing for someone who isn't familiar with strict, traditional vegetarianism.

That said, kinda funny. I get a lot of emails about frozen, processed foods, mostly from non-local agencies. You know, because I write about all of the Banquet Dinners I eat.