Six Things that Happened when I became a Pescatarian

About eight years ago I decided I would no longer eat meat. Overnight I cut out any sort of any poultry, beef, pork and ham. But I did not become a vegetarian – I became a pescatarian. That means that I eat fish. I also eat dairy but only eggs and certain cheeses . I try to avoid any sort of milk dairy and ice cream – relying on almond or coconut milk alternatives for both.

It started off as an experiment because I had seen what happened when my sister stopped eating meat a year before I had made the decision. She has been sick since she was born and once she swore off meat she suddenly became much healthier. It wasn’t the cure, but it has helped her. It made me wonder what was pumped into the meat we eat that affected her health so drastically. It made me question what would happen if I tried cutting out meat.

This is what happened to me when I became a pescatarian …

I became a more adventurous eater …

Before I made this lifestyle change, my take out and restaurant orders were mostly “safe” options like burgers, chicken parmesan, chicken fingers or wings. Of course with these items now on the no-no list, I had to look for other meals and sources of protein. I started eating more fish, vegetables, salads, eggs and pasta. Salmon, swordfish, and shrimp became like my chicken, steak and chicken fingers. Brunch became my best friend. And though I had always loved sushi, it started becoming a more prevalent part of my diet. I also discovered the wonder of crab rangoons when I ordered my Chinese food.

I felt lighter …

Because I was no longer eating fried chicken fingers and fat-packed burgers and started eating lighter fare, (with the exception of the crab rangoon and pasta) I started to feel lighter. I was no longer getting up from the dinner table feeling like I had grown a food baby. All around, I just felt better.

My skin became clearer …

I’ve been blessed with fairly clear skin. But I noticed the overall appearance of my skin became more luminous once I stopped eating meat. Not what I had intended, but I will take it!

My headaches improved …

I have always suffered from migraines, and I still do. But these terrible headaches became more infrequent just around the time I stopped eating meat.

I became more informed about where my food comes from …

I had been a pescatarian before I went to journalism school, but it was actually an article that I read during college that ended up convincing me that I had made the right choice not just for my body, but also for the planet. That article is so old I can’t even find it on the internet, but it encouraged me to become more informed on what I was putting in my body. For example, do you know what is in a beef patty? Yes, there are places you can get a good piece of beef, but many places get their meat from slaughterhouses that prioritize speed over the quality of their product. I won’t go into too much detail here but if you look up “slaughterhouse wastes” you will get the picture. This is all on top of the cruel conditions that these poor animals are subjected to. Again, I won’t turn this post into a message for PETA, but really, it is appalling. And in Chloe Spencer’s article for the Huffington Post, 5 Reasons to Become a Pescatarian, she explains that, “for every hamburger that came from an animal raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest was destroyed.” Now I try to find out where all my food comes from so I know that I’m being a responsible global citizen.

I became the talk of every party I went to …

This was a side effect I didn’t expect. When I first became a pescatarian, everyone had questions about this change in my diet. My husband, then my boyfriend, would have me look up the menu at every restaurant we were going to, just to make sure they had something for me. One note: even steak houses have something for vegetarians and pescatarians. And when I would RSVP to a party, the hosts would always contact me to ask me what I actually could eat. Another note for my meat eating friends: chips and dip, salad, cake – all typical party fare – are good for us pescatarians.

Though this started as an experiment, eight years later I have not eaten any poultry, beef, ham or pork. And I have absolutely no want to do so. Now mandatory disclaimer, going meat free is not for everyone. You have to look for other sources of protein and depending on your tastes and dietary needs, a meatless lifestyle is not going to work. But everyone can do it for one day. So to start off, why not give Meatless Monday a try?

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2 thoughts on “Six Things that Happened when I became a Pescatarian

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  1. When it comes to meat I eat primarily chicken, and quite frankly have just become sick of it. My husband and I have talked about changing towards more of a pescatarian style diet since there are so many healthy meats that are protein-packed in the seafood world! Thanks for sharing your journey!!

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