Everyone has their own food story. Some stories are sad, others are rewarding, and the rest are in-between affairs filled with passion and hate. One minute we are ballroom dancing across the floor and the next throwing lamps and vases. How to eat food is not an easy or obvious journey. It is different for every person. What sucks is that the information available either contradicts the last article you read or is based on half-truths. When you read this post, it is not about right or wrong but about sharing my own story on how and why I am Pescatarian today.
Off and On Again
When I first wanted to ditch meat, I was in high school and accidentally stumbled upon Peta’s videos somehow. It traumatized me. As a young soul connected more to animals than human beings, this was an immediate and easy change. However, my Puerto Rican parents were not having it. I was going to eat what they made or eat nothing at all. So I had to reprogram my thinking into eating meat again.
In college, Michael and I listened to a podcast that helped us reconsider leaving meat again. But as the people we hung out with also refused to cater to our dietary needs, we fell off the wagon.
Fast forward a couple of years later as I enter the real-world and am three years into my career. I am a full fledged adult so I had more control over my life. I watched a documentary called Forks over Knives – which covered the scientific results of what happens to the body when you give up meat. It sparked my curiosity again. I nodded my head in logical agreement, “That makes sense.”
The next documentary focused more on animal abuse. The film was not shy about how farmers horribly killed and kept factory animals for our sheer consumption. It disturbed me to my core. As tears streamed down my face, I declared to Michael that I was no longer eating meat. The emotional part of my journey had kicked in.
As worried as Michael was during that the time about the automatic VEGAN switch, he joined me. Luckily for me, we both made it through the detox phase and have avoided pork, chicken, and beef for over five years.
The final switch
Pushing meat out of my diet was a learning process. I was vegan for a month until I realized I could not have a social life in the south. Everywhere you go, restaurants drizzled some form of dairy on even the most basic of foods – salads and soups. It was bizarre.
I realized that I could easily avoid dairy at home more than in public. Therefore, I loosened the dietary belt. Whenever I would go out with friends, I would morph into a vegetarian. That allowance opened up a lot more options at that point for pizza, salads, sandwiches and more.
After six months, I felt lethargic and craved salmon. This was odd for me because when I ate meat, salmon was not my passion – steaks and burgers were. To want salmon so hard was very strange but when I indulged in smoked salmon, I felt instantly better!
After that, I became an official pescatarian – vegetarian that eats only eats fish as meat.
How and why I am pescatarian today
Let me preface one thing.
In this country, we have grown up to think that we need to have a slice of meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This idea is not only a lie but also not sustainable long-term. We are already destroying the planet with the higher demands for pork, beef, and chicken. The demand for meat has increased so much that we lost humanity and empathy in the process. We are now entitled to something that was once a luxury.
For reasons pertaining to health, the environment, the people, and the animals that live in it, these are the reasons as to why I am pescatarian today.
When I say I am pescatarian, I say that to indicate that I allow fish in my diet every so often. I indulge in a bourbon salmon or glazed-lemon cod every other week. When I go out with friends to a Mexican restaurant, sometimes I want to split the Botana de Camaron with my husband. I say all of this to let you know that you don’t need to eat meat with every meal.
Michael and I are still trying to find the best ways to purchase seafood, knowing full well that there is always a con to it. If you buy wild-caught, the central question is – did the fisherman harvest it sustainably? Did they use huge nets, destroying a significant portion of the environment?
Alternatively, if you buy factory-farmed fish, you are eating sickly meat from poorly-raised animals. As you can see, the decisions we make are still hard even when we feel we are in the right direction. Of course I say this not for you to give up but to encourage you to keep thinking, questioning, and making the right decisions for your families.
We only indulge knowing the food came at a sacrifice. I would also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it either. So I understand that some of you love to wake up with bacon, munch on Chick-fil-A sandwiches for lunch, and end the night with a slab of steak. I get it; in fact, I was addicted to it. However, believe me when I say – it is cheaper, healthier, and enlightening when you take the steps of cutting out flesh from every meal.
I hope this post shed some light for those that are wondering why I am Pescatarian today. Being pescatarian is a lifestyle choice based on principle. It is not a fad diet like keto or skinny tea.
It is our life.
We do not cave in to smells and past memories of juicy pleasures just from peer-pressure. We hold our stance, and the people around us have to respect that.
The thrifting OOTD breakdown
The Express lace top and white jeans are from Goodwill. The Kate Spade handbag was a hand-me-down from my sister-and-law. I thought about adding a pop of color but was feeling the black for some reason – Can you blame me? Other than the shoes, the whole outfit cost me $10. Can’t beat that!