The SFGate has a new blog as of today; it's called "Veganize It!" and it's written by Sabrina Modelle who proposes to spend her time veganizing recipes for readers. Modelle describes herself as having recently completed a 28-day vegan cleanse, in which she also omitted alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar.
By the beginning of March, I knew my eating habits would change drastically forever. Since I am a food writer, I adopted a six-day-a-week vegan/seagan diet with one day for research, cooking, recipe development for clients and dining at the latest and greatest. It works perfectly for me, and it feels like a nice balance for my health and the health of the planet.Basically, instead of attempting to compartmentalize veganism according to different meals (à la Mark Bittman), Modelle does so according to different days of the week. Unsurprisingly, she also restricts her consideration of the term "vegan" to food and describes her reasons for doing whatever-it-is-that-she-is-doing as being based in concern for her own "health and the health of the planet". Somehow, non-human animals get lost in the discussion.
A so-called six-day-a-week vegan diet would be confusing enough to The SFGate's readers, since it conveys that one can be somehow logically and accurately qualify oneself as being any sort of vegan when one continues to eat -- or otherwise use -- animal products. However, Modelle's use of the word "seagan" piqued my interest (albeit in a sort of all-too-familiar stomach-churning way). A quick Google search confirmed the obvious, that "seagan" is supposed to be some sort of variation of "vegan" which includes the consumption of fishes and other sea creatures.
Before my Google search, however, I left a short comment in response to her article asking what exactly she means in describing herself as "vegan/seagan", just to get the straight dope. Her response? It confirmed my suspicions and contained an attempt, perhaps simply based on a lack of nutritional information, to justify her not even following a so-called vegan diet for those six days out of seven:
Hi Mylene,Indeed, labels get awfully complicated. They particularly get complicated when someone attempts to co-opt one which denotes a lifestyle avoiding all animal consumption and tries to fragment it around part-time animal consumption, or the consumption of only certain animal species.
Until recently, I was eating a six day a week vegan diet, but it became apparent that soy products were triggering my migraines. I also eat beans and seitan for protein, but many beans trigger my migraines as well. About two weeks ago, I added fish to my diet. The result being, I eat a vegan diet with some sustainable seafood for added protein a couple of times a week. Seagan is just a made up name that I’ve heard tossed around over the years during my bouts of vegetrarianism/veganism/pescatarianism/ethical omni life. I like six day a week seagan because I’m not pescatarian since I don’t eat eggs or dairy (except on my one day a week). Labels are so complicated, right?
In good faith, I responded to her with the following explanation and suggestion:
I was curious, since you wrote "vegan/seagan" and vegans (by definition) avoid all forms of animal use or exploitation (i.e. food, clothing, entertainment, et al). Limiting the use of the word to food alone is problematic, but using the word "vegan" to describe a diet that involves the habitual consumption of one (or several) type(s) of animal species is certainly an incorrect use of the term. BTW, if the sole reason that you're consuming fishes and and other sea creatures is that you fear you're not getting enough protein (since you state that soy and some other legumes give you migraines), you should consider exploring other really good plant-based sources of protein like seitan, nuts/seeds (and their butters), quinoa, amaranth, oats and various other whole grain products.Hopefully she'll consider those options instead of thinking that she needs to continue consuming animal flesh to obtain adequate dietary levels of protein. At the very least, however, I hope she'll agree that it makes sense for her to cease using the word "vegan" to describe any facet of her own personal consumption as it stands now, diet or otherwise. As any vegan who's interacted with friends, family, coworkers, food service workers (and so on) already knows, there's already more than enough confusion out there over whether vegans consume this or that animal product. Let's hope that Modelle opts to clarify things rather than muddle them further for the general public. And let's hope that she gives some serious thought to actually going vegan.