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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fish is a vegetable!

"Are you a vegetarian?"
"Oh dear, had I known I would have catered some 'veggie meat', I only have fish and chicken"
"I'll have the fish"
"Yeah?" "Aren't you vegetarian?"
"Yeah, but I eat fish, I'm pescatarian!"
"Isn't fish meat?"
"NO, fish is NOT meat"
"But it's a flesh food- a food from an animal"
"No! Fish is fish!"

Fish, in the minds of many vegetarians is an incredibly agile, living, breathing, face-bearing aquatic vegetable.
Fish, one person stated to me, is a food group in and of itself.  The adjusted food groups(based on this person's reasoning) therefore are:
  • Staples
  • Legumes and Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Food from Animals
  • Fruits
  • Fats and oils
(The original Caribbean Six Food groups excludes Fish as a food group, this was added to humour the suggestion but is NO WISE true).  Follow this link for the Caribbean Six Food Groups:

According to the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, the Caribbean authority on Nutrition information, fish is categorized as a Food from animal owing primarily to the major nutrient it supplies-protein.

The list of types of  'flesh' Foods from Animals are listed categorically below:
  • Fish - cod, mackerel, salmon, sardines, snapper, swordfish, trout, tuna
  • Shellfish - clams, crab, crayfish, lobster, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, squid (calamari)
  • Game meats- rabbit, venison(deer)
  • Meats - beef, lamb, pork, veal (including liver and kidney)
  • Poultry - chicken, duck, goose, turkey (including liver and kidney   

*Non-flesh foods from animals include eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt etc.

The Nutrition and Dietetic community does not categorize fish as a vegetable, despite the vehement claims by vegetarians that fish is not meat. From a technical standpoint fish is not red meat, neither is it poultry; it is not game or offal(organ meats).  It falls under the category of Fish! Fish? alright-Seafood!
Fish is not a vegetable!  Seaweed is! I'm not saying that the only constituent of the vegetarian diet is derived solely from the Vegetable food group but the assumption is that  the true vegetarian subsists entirely on plant-based foods. 
Fish is lower in saturated fat content than other flesh foods and contains omega 3 fatty acids which is touted for its health benefits, thus fish seems to be the leader of the fleshy Foods from Animals group because of its health promoting effects despite its reported high levels of mercury.  It still doesn't make sense why people claim the title of 'vegetarian' when they are out rightly consuming fish-a flesh food.
Check this- Chicken is lower in saturated fat than red meats such as beef; with this kind of reasoning why can't I be a "poultro-vegetarian"- a vegetarian who eats chicken and turkey(I just coined that one don't research it).  It's the same principle-fish is no less a food from animal than is chicken.  

Vegetarianism is more than a dietary abstinence from flesh foods , it is a philosophical stance rooted in spiritualism.  We must be aware of its meaning before we claim its title.  We'd be better off claiming a plant-based, whole-foods-eating status.

The stringent measures imposed by the vegan community are understandably done because of the degeneration of animals, the method of slaughter and the inhumane treatment of animals during captivity.  Free range foods from animals products(animals reared in open spaces) are choice products.  Research establishes the association between inhumanely slaughtered animals and decreased mental health in humans, listing decreased ability to handle stress and poor management of moods among the effects of its consumption are what you eat.

Let's avoid labels.  The important thing is that we consume a largely plant-based diet.  If you choose to indulge food from animals occasionally, or daily in limited amounts of the lean variety(skinless) as in the Mediterranean Diet, you will also benefit from lower cholesterol levels, lowered risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases-hypertension and diabetes.

The bible speaks of goat's milk, honey, cheese, and butter-all by-products of animals.  They were staple products in the Israelite diet.  Honey and locusts were prescribed for partakers of the Nazarite vow.  

We are commissioned to "call no man common nor unclean". It creates division and how dare we, when the only scriptural indictment on meat eating was given against consuming blood and organ meats(offal).  Let's just give thanks, eat, belch an' poop!

Mi aggo scale mi green leafy vegetable yah now!

If mi cudda jus' ketch it!  How dis yah veg a run so man-woi! a tyad!  Come 'ere! Y'a go dead tideh!

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