In honor of passing the one-year anniversary mark of becoming a pescetarian, I am reposting an article I wrote when I first adopted the diet and lifestyle. Enjoy!
To preface this, I’d like to say that I completely support people who follow a vegetarian/vegan diet, and I admire people who follow such diets for moral reasons. As much as I would love to entirely cut out meat products from my diet, plant-protein is hard for my body to digest, so I need some animal-protein to stay healthy. This post is not to say that vegetarian/vegan diets are bad. It is meant to educate people about a healthy, morally sound, and environmentally sustainable lifestyle diet that they may not have heard about before.
I used to be obsessed with meat. Pork tenderloin, filet mignon, bacon… It was all so delicious! Sure, I liked some vegetables and fruits, but they were never a main staple of my diet. Sure, on occasion I’d like a nice salad, but I thought fruits and vegetables were incredibly boring. They were great snacks, but they could never be the star of a dish.
But then I went off to college. I go to a rather small, liberal arts college in Massachusetts. A rather sizable portion of the population is some form of vegetarian or vegan. And most of them do it for moral reasons. If it weren’t for the vegetarian/vegan population at my college, I probably would have never made the switch to pescetarianism.
Pescetarianism is a modified vegetarian diet that also includes fish. I made the switch to pescetarianism rather slowly. At first, I was reluctant to give up meat. Until I met the vegetarians and vegans at my college, I was never fully aware of the horrors of the meat industry. Male chicks being torn to shreds because they are deemed “useless” because they can’t produce eggs. Pigs, who are highly intelligent animals, are forced into small cages, kept there until they go insane from the stress and fear. I felt sick every time I ate meat after learning about this. I knew I couldn’t continue eating meat.
I was taught how to make vegetarian and vegan meals that were far from boring. After just a bit of research, I learned most of the foods I already loved were vegetarian/vegan! And, while slightly expensive, vegan junk food is just as good as the non-vegan equivalents!
So, I started cutting meat out of my diet. Over the span of several months, I ate nothing with a face. Due to medical reasons, I had to keep consuming milk and eggs to keep my calcium levels up. But I noticed I was feeling weaker without meat-protein. I worried I’d have to abandon vegetarianism in order to feel better.
But then a woman in one of my classes introduced me to pescetarianism. She had been a pescetarian all of her life, for both health and moral reasons. Until that point, I never knew what the heck that even was. She gave me a rather convincing argument for pescetarianism. She told me that some scientists believe that fish don’t feel pain like other animals do, if at all. And while that doesn’t completely make killing fish for food okay, it’s a step-up from eating an animal that has been tortured and killed.
So, for people like me who absolutely need the easy-to-digest animal protein, fish are a much more morally sound choice. And there are tons of health benefits for eating fish! They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acid. No more fish oil pills for you! Fish is one of the healthiest proteins, so you’ll get healthier if you cut out other meats from your diet!
Also, seafood is environmentally sustainable! Sure, there are species of fish that are overfished, which are to be avoided. But many types of seafood are perfectly sustainable! If you’re worried about eating seafood that isn’t environmentally sound, check out Seafood Watch. They let you know which types of seafood are farmed in an environmentally friendly way.
Turning towards pescetarianism has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made. I’ve become far more aware of what I’m putting into my body. I’m no longer a food zombie that simply eats without thinking. Even if the pescetarian lifestyle isn’t for you, don’t be a food zombie. Try to eat responsibly and know where your food comes from. Happy eating!
Question of the Day: Do you follow a specific diet? If so, tell me why in the comments below!