Pescetarian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw: What’s the Difference?

Seeing that I practice all three and one more, I thought it appropriate that I share the differences.

A pescetarian is a person who does not eat any red meat, pork or poultry.  They consume fish or fish oils which are high on Omega-3 fatty acids.  They choose this lifestyle usually for two reasons: 1) the belief that consumption of fish is necessary for optimum life; and 2) as a stepping stone to a vegetarian diet.  The word is derived from the Latin word piscis.  Looks a lot like Pisces, huh???  And you know the symbol for Pisces, right?  In English, pesce means fish.  In Spanish, it’s spelled pesca.

The word “vegetarian” is derived from the Latin word “vegetus” meaning lively or vigorous.  A vegetarian is a person who does not eat any animals, but does eat eggs and dairy.  There are two categories of vegetarians.  Ovo vegetarians eat eggs, but no diary.  And lacto vegetarians eat diary but no eggs.  The eggs and dairy are maintained in the diet for the purpose of getting protein.  Good vegetarian protein sources are beans, peas, nuts, rice, dairy products, eggs, lentils, seeds, tofu and soya.  Vegetarians also do not eat anything that was derived from dead animals such as gelatin or rennet.  Gelatin is made by boiling the ligaments, tendons, skin and bones of pigs and cattle in water.  Rennet is an enzyme taken from the stomach of a slaughtered calf and is used to curdle milk to make cheese.
A vegan is one who eats nothing derived from an animal.  This means no eggs, no dairy and no honey.  Many concerns around a vegan diet is the lack of protein.  However, vegans get a great amount of usable protein from seeds such as flax, pumpkin and hemp.  Also, proteins can be found in a variety of vegetables such as kale, sprouts, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, celery and tomatoes.  And of course protein exists in nuts such as almonds and walnuts.

From an historical point of view, I want to share how the term vegan was derived.  In 1944, Donald Watson, a member of the Vegetarian Society in Leicester, England, set out to create an organization of vegetarians who did not eat any dairy.  The Society rejected them starting an alliance within so they ventured out.  They coined the term vegan (VEE-gan) from the first three letters of vegetarian and the last two letters.  Watson explained, “veganism starts with vegetarianism and carries it through to its logical conclusion.”

The other category that I mostly ascribe to is rawism, raw foodie or raw foodist.  In this diet, the foods consumed are uncooked and unprocessed.  The exact definition of raw food varies, but generally the food is considered raw if it has not been heated to more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  Although there is debate over what quantity of raw food intake actually defines one as a raw foodist, it is mostly agreed that one who consumes 75% or more of raw food fits.  In this diet, a rawist consumes food with the most energy because it is living.  Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force” of food.

I certainly hope this information has assisted you in understanding the differences between the alternate diet lifestyles.  Personally I am mostly a raw foodie, but in certain situations, I will go as far a pescetarian diet.  This generally occurs when I’m eating out and I’m not interested in a piece of lettuce and sliced tomato for my meal.  It’s absolutely amazing to me how so many restaurants resist expanding their options.  But oh well.

I encourage you to do research yourself on the foods you consume.  I guarantee that you will be shocked to learn how many of them are simply not good for your body.

Please share the things that you discover or have discovered.

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