We’ve heard from a few people who believe we should not be using the term ‘vegan’ in conjunction with ‘pesco’, since it appears to be a contradiction in terms. We disagree. Here’s why.
We love animals too.
We are not going to get into a big chat about animal rights – it’s a really big topic, and we do our bit where we can. We have no love of animal suffering! Our interest as naturopaths, however, is in the health and wellbeing of our unwell comrades. That means providing this resource for people who do not eat mammal meat or dairy (plus other varieties of diet) for whatever reason is important to us. The diet we offer help with is pesco-vegan, and we stand by our name.
What is a pesco-vegan?
We are called pesco-vegan because there is an increasingly large group of people who choose not to eat (most) animal products for whatever reason, but choose to include seafood in their otherwise completely (or mostly) vegan diet. This is the pesco-vegan.
It is not a doctrine. There are no rules. It’s a name. And a pretty good one at that.
Pesco-vegan is the most accurate term that we have for explaining this diet. It’s just factually correct. Pescatarian or vegetarian recipes relentlessly include dairy, eggs, and essentially everything but mammal meat, so are not a good choice for the pesco-vegan.
“But the word vegan does not mean diet; it’s a philosophy.”
Language changes and words develop new and expanded meanings. Vegan is no different. Words get co-opted all the time, and we’ve just co-opted a made-up word – vegan – for our made-up word – pesco-vegan. Vegan was a word made up by a guy many decades ago, and what a good word it is! It is short, sweet, and everyone knows what it means: no animal products. What a simple, lovely word.
Eating a plant-based diet is not new, and it is not reserved only for vegans who call themselves vegans. We argue that the word vegan can be used to describe a type of diet, not just to describe a philosophy. There are two ways of using the word vegan: as a noun (relating to the person living a vegan lifestyle, I am a vegan) and as an adjective (relating to food, I have made a vegan dish). People use this colloquially all the time, with a very specific example being as a non-vegan, you invite your vegan friend over for dinner, you make vegan food. Adjective. When you invite your pesco-vegan friend over for dinner, you feed them pesco-vegan food. Adjective.
Food is much more complicated than it used to be, and having accurate descriptors is really useful. This is why we chose to use the word pesco-vegan – the adjective form.
We aren’t arguing the rights or wrongs of keeping or eating animals or using their products. We’re not making a statement; we’re making recipes for people with specific dietary needs.
We reckon there’s room for us, all – nouns and adjectives.