The Pescatarian Challenge
A trip out with my better half kick-started a conversation about eating meat; the quality of meat we are eating, the morality around the methods of how we kill the animals for our pound of flesh and so on. Both being meat eaters it really was merely a general chat that got a little out of hand and ended up us daring each other to stave from eating meat for a month. As she gladly took the challenge (and to be honest, had no doubt she could do it) I had to follow suit.
Pescatarian for a Month
That was what initiated my pescatarian diet for a month and as we approached the start I felt happy to take the challenge on. I’m a fan of meat (big fan of pork and its plethora of varities) but love fish too so thought it wasn’t going to be too bad.
When I was home the variety was incredible. My better half (and this being one reason why she is better) went out and bought fish and seafood I had never tried before. From white fish to smoked variations, sea based to fresh water, meaty swimmers to sea faring molluscs, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have one meal with the same fish throughout the month. Looking into recipes (check out http://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/recipes) we found a mesmerizing array of fish dishes, take out any that included bits of meat was like taking a cup of water from the dead see to see the affect it would have on the salt content. A whole new world opened up to fish and seafood and the question left to us with is “why did we not know all this?!”. We knew the seas were plentiful with our watery delights but meat is prevalent, so widespread we’d just forgot…or just became the norm to go meat first.
Things got difficult…
However, the month we had chosen to do the pescatarian challenge happened to be a busy one work wise and was travelling around quite a bit. It wasn’t long before I noticed what essentially became the biggest pain of being a pescatarian; eating out while on the move (of which happened a lot) is woefully void of fish options. Restaurants were OK albeit having a somewhat limited menu there was always, something to try and some places gave variety but the take-out restaurants, e.g. sandwich stops and the likes to keep me going while jumping on planes, trains and automobiles or just grabbing something quick and easy to take back to the office, was plane old boring. It was always some low-quality tuna or prawn-based meal with the biggest variety coming from the bread used…oh and pretty much always a sandwich or wrap. Some places did offer some better quality and variety of options, but they were far and few between, seeing 8 types of chicken, 4 varieties of pork and 3 beef options next to a damp tuna mayonnaise (eugh, mayonnaise) and prawn Marie Rose sandwich was becoming quite annoying by the third week.
So what did I really think?
At the end of the challenge, which we both completed, I was looking forward to some meat. I was very much looking forward to having choices again but the whole trial has left a lasting impression. Sushi was such a saviour in bringing some variety, excluding bread and not lathered in sauce fatty sauces that it has stuck as firm favourite for eating on the go. I now find myself reviewing the fish options at restaurants when eating out and salmon has now replaced my cooked breakfast as a healthier, and tastier option. I have to say I still love meat, certain dishes are still favourites of mine but the dietary split has gone from 70/30 in favour of meat to the same but in favour of fish.
In conclusion I highly recommend giving it go. It is not without frustration and like me, you may have some failed dishes (anything with crab is a no for me) but this was to be expected when giving things a go for the first time. Main thing I felt was how much better my diet was, quality sustenance when we could get quality produce (frozen mussels weren’t too great) saw less lethargy after meals and easier digestion. A bonus was a new world of food, love or hate it was great to find out new dishes, new seafood and new diet that has stuck with me. Even if not 100%.