I’ll begin by saying that I never thought I would be one of those people. I have actually always prided myself on being able to enjoy every cuisine. However my carefree eating habits officially shifted in July 2016, when I decided I was going to expereince the pescetarian life.
I think the biggest stigma that is associated with anyone who doesn’t eat meat is the misconception of what the diet represents. I have found that a lot of people don’t know what pescetarian actually means, or the difference between vegetarian and vegan. Then throw around the popular ‘gluten free’ phrase into the food talk mix and it makes dietary decisions seem like a fad.
So lets start with a basic definition:
Vegan – No animal products. No animal derived products (including eggs, dairy, honey etc.)
Vegetarian – No animal flesh. (May include eggs and dairy)
Pescatarian – No land animal flesh. (May include fish/seafood + eggs and dairy)
So why the change? My response is influenced by environmental factors, but primarily based on health reasons. For the past couple of years I have felt uneasy about meat consumption, and would always choose fish over steak, scallops over chicken, prawns over pork. I have always stayed away from bacon, and in 2015 when the World Health Organization released their findings on the link between cancer and both processed and red meat, I was prompted to do more research.
Before making the change official, I read a variety of articles, asked a lot of questions, and considered many different opinions. There was one article that I particularly connected to in the Huffington Post titled ‘5 Reasons to Become a Pescetarian’. I strongly suggest anyone interested in Pescetarian eating gives this one a read.
Since abstaining from meat, the most popular question I have been asked is “How will you be able to get enough protein?” This is another misconception about pescetarian/vegetarian diets — that eating enough protein and absorbing iron will be a difficult task. So far for me, it has been the contrary.
When I was eating meat, I never actively considered my protein intake, and always just figured I was getting enough through my regular diet. I have now changed my ways of cooking so that I am not only making sure I consume the right amount of protein, but the right amount of all other nutrients as well. I am exposing myself to different types of food and am constantly trying to eat cleaner.
My Fav Protein Enriched Foods For a Pesco
As an athlete, my diet will always be a topic of conversation, so constant blood checks will be especially important to make sure I am making the right choices. I also understand that this way of eating is not for everyone, which is why I encourage Jeff to order whatever he wants when we go out. If over the course of the year it ever indicates that abstaining from meat affects my health more negatively than positivitvely I will absolutely go back to a regaular diet.
Its been seven months since switching things up, and so far so good. Blood wise everything seems to be in check and previous stomach issues I have dealt with over the years have been under control. Heres to hoping my overall well being only improves and I will continue to be creatively inspired in cooking. (Stay tuned for recipes in future posts!)