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Food for Thought: Attempting To Eat A Pescatarian Diet

What Is A Pescatarian? Attempting The Pescatarian Lifestyle

I walked into the conversation late—always a bit dangerous.

“Who’s a Presbyterian?” I asked, anticipating a good conversation about religion.

“Not Presbyterian, pescatarian,” my friend said, as if the emphasis would make me understand.

I gave her a blank look—the same one I adopt whenever my middle child tries to teach me some new technology.

“A pescatarian—someone who doesn’t eat any meat, only fish,” she carefully explained (though her eyes said, Duh).

And, like most conversations about diet, I asked my usual, “Why?”

“It’s just healthier. I have so much energy, and I feel great. Plus, the evidence is clear. Take herbivores versus carnivores —humans are more like herbivores. We extensively chew our food like herbivores. Think about it—it wasn’t until the invention of hatchets that killing and capturing prey was even on the table,” she said, laughing at her own joke.

“No meat at all?” I asked. I immediately pictured my husband and three kids. Extensive chewing or not, they define carnivore. I could actually see them wearing caveman drab, banging their clubs and demanding more meat. And, who was I kidding? When I was pregnant, my husband joked about my “meat-ee-ohs” every morning.

Despite my love of meat, the conversation got me thinking, and I decided this was worth a try. I’m a pretty healthy eater anyway, but every diet could use some modification, and I figured it wouldn’t be a problem.

Trying A Pescatarian Diet

Day 1: The kids begged me for tacos. I acquiesced, deciding to just load mine with guacamole, salsa and cheese. I browned the meat, placed it and the other fixings on the table and didn’t even flinch while they scrambled to fill and then devour their meat tacos. Yup, I thought, I had this pescatarian business in the bag…until I started nibbling my basically empty soft taco.  The more they lapped up the meat, the more energy drained out of me.

Day 2: It was a crazy workday, and I scrounged the house for dinner options. I decided on noodles, but what to put on them? I found the meat sauce my husband made and froze. Eventually I defrosted it and searched the fridge for some vegetables for my own noodles. I sliced and diced, sautéing those in one pan and warming up the meat sauce in the other one. Why do I feel like I am regressing in the meal preparation arena? An hour later, my family was laughing, twirling and munching. I was alone, languishing and picking through my noodles and veggies. No one seemed to notice.

Day 3: I dreamt that I was a cattle farmer with total access to all of the meat I wanted. I was starving. When asked, “What’s for dinner?” I snapped, “Why, are YOU making dinner? Are YOU shopping for all of the ingredients after working all day?” My kids exchanged a look (the “holy crap, take cover, and get as far away from mom as possible” look) and quickly vanished.

Day 4: I could barely get out of bed. I was despondent—a salmon swimming up river, alone. It was my own version of Castaway, and we all know how depressing that movie was.

I was tired, and I was drained. I’d reversed roles with my kids; now I was the picky eater. Hadn’t I moved past that? Wasn’t this supposed to get easier, not harder?

Then and there, I decided to forget it. Pescatarian was for the birds, and I was ready to re-join my clan—meat, bows and arrows, hatchets and all. Solidarity trumps health, I declared to no one.

Presbyterian would have been so much easier.

Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.

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