I have to just point out here that "vegetarians" don't ONLY eat vegetables. They eat wheat. They eat cheese. They eat eggs. They eat fruit. They eat Oreos. So that whole "fish isn't a vegetable" argument doesn't really work for me. Because eggs aren't vegetables either.
I know that according to some people, if something has a face, it's "meat". So if that's the case, I eat fish meat. If that's a person's definition of a vegetarian, then I'm not one. But according to Dr.Sears, you CAN be a "vegetarian" and eat fish;
"Pesco-vegetarians eat fish, dairy products, and eggs along with plant foods. (We believe this is the healthiest diet for most people)."
Maybe I'm not a "vegetarian" (though more than once on Dr.Sears' site it names "fish" as a food for vegetarians). I've never been much for labels anyway. I rarely fit them completely, and I really doubt most people do. I've found that when you label someone, they "have to" fit every single thing on the list of "what it takes" to be [insert label here], otherwise they're a "wannabe", or a "fake". It also implies that those who DO fit every single part of a label are somehow superior than those who are missing one or two points. And I think that's a slippery slope...deciding who's a better [label], based on a pre-determined set of "rules". Maybe I'm not the "best vegetarian" because I eat fish, but I'm okay with that. It's not easy to go from eating whatever I want, to eliminating entire food groups. I know for me, at least, that if I don't do this in a way that I'm comfortable with, it's not going to last. And I really want this to be long-term. Forever.
I don't eat pork, beef, or chicken because I don't agree with how they are raised or killed. They *generally* live a shitty life, and are killed in the least peaceful way possible because it saves money. Fish generally live a normal life before they're caught and killed. I go out of my way to not eat farm-raised fish. (Not because I think they're unhappy, rather because I've tasted the difference between farm fish and fish living in the wild, and farm fish tastes like nothing. It's weird.) And if that explanation isn't good enough for anyone, sorry. If you don't like it, label me a "bitch", because I don't give a crap. ; )
I eat cheese. I eat fish. I eat eggs. I'm not vegan. I don't know if I will ever get that far. In a perfect world I could just do it. This isn't a perfect world, and all I can say about it is that I'm going to work toward it. If it happens, great. If not, whatever.
I am hoping to move more toward a dairy-free diet, which I did for 20+ years due to a very severe lactose intolerance. (It went away with the pregnancy of my twins and never returned.) But as with every other major life change, I'm doing it slowly, so it's not just a "stage"...it's forever.
I'm removing one dairy product at a time and replacing it with a dairy-free option. I've started with milk...and switched (for now) to soy. I can get Organic (non-GMO) Soy Milk from the dollar store here. It's good, and I'm used to the taste. I'm not a fan of soy products (I think I've mentioned that before), but short-term it'll do. I'm going to be trying out other options along the way before I settle on something more permanent. I'm struggling with the idea of losing things like chocolate, and cheese, after living most of my life without them. But I'll find something to replace them too. (How hard will it be not to pop one of those Peanut Butter Balls in my mouth at Christmas?! It'll suck. But I'll survive it.)
As for the fish thing, I don't eat large-species fish (like shark or sword fish). I prefer fish that are native to my area, like salmon, trout, or catfish. And this diet is one I can maintain long-term. I don't miss eating pork, beef, or chicken. I know I can be happy without them in my life. I seriously think I could live on fish, though. Cooked or raw. Perhaps after I have removed the rest of the foods I would like to stop eating, fish will go too. But for now, it's staying. And if that makes me a "vegetarian wannabe", LOL, who cares. I'm sleeping at night. ; )
And finally, the eggs...are from free-range, antibiotic-free, happy and loved chickens, and owned by a good friend of my husband. We get them $2 a dozen. Can't beat that deal!!
**I also want to say here, for those who raise their own stock animals, that if you love your cow/pig/chicken/whatever, and you give it a good life where it's happy and treated with respect, and then you shoot it and kill it instantly, I have no problem with that animal being eaten.
If that makes me a bad [veg-based label], so be it. As I said, I don't fit well into categories, and labels don't really work for me.**
So that's that. No secrets. Just telling it like it is, and probably pissing people off along the way. And I'm okay with that. Because I'd rather be honest and have someone mad at me, than to be a liar.