Pescetarianism is a fancy word for people that don’t eat meat instead, they consume dairy products and eggs and I was a Pescatarian from April 2016 to November 2016.
I first heard about Pescatarianism from an Instagram model (sorry, can’t remember her handle). She is a Vegan and she was giving tips to her followers about having a smooth transition to Veganism and one way was starting with Pescatarianism. The explanation was, becoming a Pescatarian for a while would allow you to get acquainted with life without meat. Giving yourself the time for that to happen, coupled with noticing a change in your body (positive changes) it would encourage you to continue the Pescatarian lifestyle or push you to transition further to Vegetarianism or Veganism. That was a great idea in my mind. Even though I had a fair idea about how I can start my journey I never really got around to doing it. That was until sometime in April when the push that I desperately needed hit me like a ton of bricks.
As long as I know myself and know my body, after having a meal with meat or dairy, one of two things would happen severe abdominal pains or abdominal pains+a mad dash to the bathroom. It was something that bothered me but didn’t bother me enough to want to do something about it. That all changed a day in April (this is the push) after having a breakfast of bread and a couple of Vienna sausages. I don’t know what happened after that meal but that meal gave me abdominal pains so bad that I can’t describe it. It left me huddled up in a ball, clawing at my stomach in pain. This pain lasted a good hour or so and lemme tell you, it was the most painful experience I had yet. I became a Pescatarian the very next day.
Here is what I noticed:
Pescatarian ≠ Healthy
I always heard this from people who were living the lifestyle and I never understood why. “You’re eating no meat and more veggies, how can it not be healthy?”. Trust me, I thought the same thing too. Let me explain, even if you’re not eating meat at all, your diet still has dairy, in general fish and everything else. Which means cake, ice cream, cheese cake, biscuits, chocolate, chips, soda, chocolate chips, fried foods and every other unhealthy food is not off limits. Trust me, I ate a lot of those bad boys.
It is expensive
This is something to be expected. H, in general, s expensive. Here in Trinidad, fish is very very expensive with the exception of canned fish. Expensive to the point where we (at least my family) believes that fish is a luxury. When I gave up meat and increased my intake of fish, I took on a heavier price tag than if I stuck to my normal diet of meats. To combat this, I tried to add Soya chunks into my diet because of how insanely inexpensive it was, but Soya is not the best tasting thing in the planet to be honest. I love Soya milk but that’s how far the love for Soya goes. No matter how many ways I have tried to season it, they always end up tasting like unseasoned rubber. Until I find another method of seasoning it, the Soya option was out the window so fish was my only meat substitute.
Your fast food options are limited
Ok. This may not be true for someone living in the US or otherwise, but in Trinidad, we don’t have a lot of fast food that cater to people that don’t eat meat. Sure, Subway offers a delicious veggie sub ( which is bomb by the way) and sometimes you could get fish in Popeye’s but in general, chicken is the default. The only time fish is the norm is during Lent. This is great because now we have more people eating fish, but due to demand, the price for fish in your fast food meal is a lot more than the chicken options and if you were to buy it from a fisherman. Soooooooo, you’re either forced to dish out for the meal, which is expensive (see point above) or just buy fries alone and that gets old quickly.
You are hungry all of the time
I don’t know what it is but for the 7 months I can say that I felt hungry ALL OF THE TIME. You never feel full after having anything to eat. After lunch for example, 20 minutes after eating a wholesome fish meal, I would sill be hungry. This posed a problem for me because I would have to be buy and eat snacks nearly every hour or two. Obviously, I gained like about 5-10 pounds in 2 to 3 months and I lost a lot of money.
Apart from having to eat the same thing over and over at fast food restaurants, I found myself cooking the same thing over and over again. I sense what you’re thinking,
“Why not try something new?”
(please see point above,”It is expensive”)
You do feel a lot better
To ease up on the bashing a little bit, I should admit that I did have a little extra pep in my step for the 7 months. Abdominal pains were no more, no rush trips to the bathroom so my digestive system was running smoothly.
Your skin would go through some tough times but it would be worth it
Before I started my journey a friend of mine who has been a Pescatarian for almost 3 years was telling me the benefits of the lifestyle and she mentioned better skin. For her, the first 3 weeks of her being a Pescatarian, her skin broke out really bad but like the 3rd week, her skin calmed down and she realized (plus she was told by a dermatologist) that her skin was detoxing. Basically her body is not accustomed to not eating meat for such a long time and it freaked out. That is what it was in a nutshell. From my experience I did notice that my skin was breaking out a lot less and my complexion was a lot less dull and dry. Thankfully my skin didn’t go through the expected “Freak out phase”.
In conclusion, I would honestly say that the lifestyle is a step in the right direction for anyone wanting a change in diet. Even though I am eating meat again, I do plan to give it up for good in the future, when I am able to financially support myself. I figure that because of my lack of variety and the fact that food is so expensive here, this is what bore me and made a lot of my time as a Pescatarian totally unpleasant. Don’t let my experience sway you from trying it yourself. If you are financially able to try out Pescatarianism, I say give it a go. Try for a month, see if it is something you enjoy.
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