Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fish eating vegan nonsense (and oven-roasted chestnuts)

I've been a terrible vegan this November. A week in London for a trip business led to eating lots of diary and seafood products. It's like the Brits have not fully embraced tofu. At least their animals are treated slightly better and they have higher food standards. My vegan self could not handle the porridge made whole milk. It made me realize how much I actually prefer the taste of soy milk. I was so happy to discover Pod Food.

Now back stateside I've become more of a pesce-vegan. I think I opened a flood gate with all the fish eating in the UK. Hmmm. Fish was always a tough thing for me to give up. I've been a vegetarian for 14 years now. During that time I've alternated between eating fish and abstaining. I think part of the problem is I don't feel bad about killing fish. I've been fishing before and gutted my own catch. However, I'd never want to kill a goat, sheep, cow etc. Plus there are some health benefits to fish (Omega fatty acids and all that jazz). Hmmmm.

While I ponder what to do with my fish eating vegan self. You can roast some chestnuts in the oven. Chestnuts are awesome and so appropriate this winter season. They can be quite filling.... "Chestnuts have twice as much starch as the potato. They are the only "nuts" that contain vitamin C, with about 40 mg per 100 g of raw product, which is about 65% of the U.S. recommended daily intake. The amount of vitamin C decreases by about 40% after heating."

How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Clean off chestnuts.
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut an X into one side of each chestnut, or prick chestnuts with a fork to allow steam to escape. (Or you might have some exploding chestnuts)
  • Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan, with the cut or pricked sides up.
  • Roast in oven for 15 to 25 minutes, or until chestnuts are tender and easy to peel.
  • Peel the nuts when they are cool enough to handle, and enjoy
To read my thoughts on all the comments below click here.
Everyone smile and have a great day.


  1. Wow, I feel exactly the same way! I so want to be a vegan and could give up everything.... except seafood (and cheese). Even stopped buying leather goods about a year ago. But yeah, it's kinda hard to feel bad about eating a shrimp... they just sit there. (Terrible?)

  2. I've gotta be honest when I say that as a vegan, I am incredibly offended by how flippantly you write off the killing of fish/crustaceans, yet have no problems identifying as a vegan. I can't tell you how many people asked me when I became vegan if it's a "phase" or if I will "cheat on my veganism" when I go out of town. I wouldn't dream of doing that but people like you who call themselves vegans give the rest of us a bad name.

    By choosing to eat fish, you are not a vegan or even a vegetarian for that matter. The correct term is pescatarian or macrobiotic (that is if you do not consume dairy).

    I apologize if my tone came off harsher than intended but this is something that gets me quite riled up.

  3. I'm sorry that you got offended from my blog post where I share my personal thoughts etc. However I don't think you know me enough or even have the authority to say I give vegans a bad name. I believe that everything is a process and sometimes it takes people longer to adapt then others (I started trying out the vegan thing 9 months ago). If anything you should try to encourage people to embrace the vegan diet and share positive/encouraging tidbits, not attack them.

    Hopefully, you can find a way to not be "riled up" by others trying to eat less animals and animals by-products. After all studies have shown that often vegans are less aggressive then meat eaters...

  4. We can absolutely agree on the importance of setting a good example for others to eat less animal by-products, avoid fabrics produced from cruelty, etc.

    That isn't my issue...it was rather the syntax of you referring to yourself as a "fish eating vegan".

    I'm certainly not the voice of every vegan but I know most of my vegan friends would take issue with someone referring themselves as a vegan and then going on to say that you don't see any problem with fish being killed for food.

    In my humble opinion, I think it would be better to say that you generally shun the use of animal products but occasionally eat fish and/or seafood because "fish eating vegan" is simply an oxymoron.

  5. I just want to point out that the title of this blog entry says "fish eating vegan NONSENSE". It's not to be taken so seriously.

  6. Hey there! As someone who identifies as vegan, I too had a strong reaction to your stance on eating fish. I identify with your struggle because until I went fully vegan nearly 4 years ago, I was a pescetarian for about 10 years. I too used the argument that I have been fishing and have killed fish and therefore didn't feel hypocritical in eating them (whereas, I knew I could not kill a pig or a cow, thus would not eat it). Having milked cows and collected eggs, that too was my reason for continuing to eat dairy and eggs. It wasn't until I became more aware of the environmental impact of these industries (egg, dairy, and fish) that I began to reconsider my choices. These days, I have more empathy for dairy cows, egg laying hens, and fish...but it was the environmental argument that initially won me over to veganism. I understand your struggles and I support your honesty in sharing these struggles. I also support your efforts to eliminate as many animal products and by-products from your life as possible. I do not support your choice to eat fish on the basis on my moral and ethical beliefs. But I do hope that my experiences can help you and others who are struggle to eliminate animal products from their lives to find something to help them.

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  8. Thanks 'queerveganrunner'. I truly appreciate your thoughtful response.
    And I just want to mention that nothing is set in stone. I was a 100% vegan from Feb - Oct. It was only this past month that I "fell off the bandwagon" as they say.

  9. I'm no longer going to respond to comments on this post. My thoughts are here http://look2beauty.blogspot.com/2010/12/labels-and-other-ramblings.html

    Everyone smile and have a great day.

  10. sorry for the double post! that's totally my fault. i'll try to learn how to use a computer. :)

  11. JBhumitra's post -->

    I became vegetarian when I was 9. Nobody around me was vegetarian at the time or for years after, so I didn't really have much information about the issues and didn't realize that I didn't know everything I needed to about the ethics of food production. Without that knowledge, I kept wearing leather and wool and eating cheese and eggs. About 10 years later a lot of research came out about how the nutrients in fish could stave off dementia. Because I still didn't know about how environmentally destructive eating fish can be and worse, how they suffer as greatly as any mammal, I adopted fish back into my diet and became a pescatarian. I ate that way for another 10 years, though I called myself a vegetarian, which is not an accurate descriptor. I was not a vegetarian for those 10 years. I ate a living, breathing, sentient being that felt pain, possessed a will to live, and had a right to its own life.

    About two years ago I started learning about food production in not only the meat, dairy, and egg industries, but the seafood industry as well. And then I got hungry -- not for mussels, which were once my favorite, but for more information. l finally realized that there were things I didn't know, and I began seeking the truth. I learned about fish and crustacean intelligence, how they communicate with each other, how they express sounds of fear when they detect a threat. Though, even if they didn't have all those abilities, I realized that it isn't how smart they are that matters, it's that they are not mine to eat. I don't need them to survive, and in fact eating them contributes to overfishing and a whole host of environmental problems that I don't want my name on.

    KCW, I don't judge you for eating fish, because I myself took a long time to reach the point of truly understanding why it was unethical to do so and reach a standard of vegan living that has finally aligned my actions with my conscience. But I do agree with Bess that it is not quite right to call yourself a vegan if you are not one. i commend all the efforts you do make to avoid animal products. However for those of us who make the effort to live a fully vegan lifestyle, accurate use of the label is important, because it is something we take pride in, and it is how we communicate our identities and help educate the public about our views.

    I should note that while fish are indeed a good source of omegas (and mercury and PCBs -- yikes!), nuts are an even better source because they don’t contain those pollutants and cause cruelty to fish (who are deserving of our respect, even though they may not be as cuddly as a sheep or pig). Something else I learned last year is that dogs and cats that are euthanized in shelters are rendered by the city and turned into fish meal (collars and tags and all) that is fed to farmed fish and shrimp. So, when you eat shrimp, you are also indirectly eating cats and dogs. I thought that was pretty gross when I found out. USC’s journalism school did a great investigative report on this: http://www.neontommy.com/2009/02/las-360tonayear-animal-renderi