As a new adoptee of a pescetarian diet, I wanted to share with you all the culinary challenges that I have had overcome this past year. Without making this into a somber post on the moral motivations behind being a pescetarian, I’m hoping just to talk about the techniques for sticking to my choice in the face of buckets of finger-lickin’ fried chicken. (If you’re going one step farther, here’s how to go vegetarian for a week.)
My decision to become a pescetarian was actually more of a logical one than anything. I don’t know how to cook and handle meat, and with so many food-borne viruses stemming from inappropriate techniques, I never cooked it when I lived my first apartment. Then, I moved to a country where meat was just so expensive I gave it up all together for the sake of my already thinning wallet. Here, I don’t want to be careless and say that I didn’t consider moral motivations when making my decision. But while I wholly appeal to these ethical considerations, I have to admit that they have been insufficient in motivating any action. So, I guess sadly PETA will never ask me to star in one of their ads and Peter Singer might shed a tear or two.
But, I did worry about one issue, and that was how my decision might affect others around me. Eating for me was as much a social activity as a biological necessity, and since most of my friends ate meat (aka meaties), would my choice affect our relationship? I didn’t want to be viewed as an imposing squash-wielding crusader, wanting to conquer the lands of meaties. As it turns out, the only real concern was when someone who wasn’t pescetarian was cooking for me. To be brief, the results have been very varied. It has ranged from me eating soya sauce with rice for dinner to a 5-course-Noma-inspired Danish meal specifically catered to my diet. But in general, I can’t really say that I’ve lost any meat-eating friends. (If your friends eat how you do, you can have cozy vegan dinner gatherings–lucky!)
The big problem of course was not how my friends stuck to my choice of being pescetarian, but rather how I stuck to my own choice of being pescetarian. Here, I want to bust the myth that pescetarians and vegetarians don’t ever feel compelled to eat meat. Truthfully, I want to eat that sizzling, juicy fatty steak just as much as the next person. At times, I just want to drown myself with the different flavors of Spam Musubi. So the reality is not that pescetarians and vegetarians don’t ever desire consuming meat. We definitely do. When I was only ‘secretly’ a pescetarian, meaning I never told anyone that I wasn’t eating meat, I would find myself relapsing and making ‘one-off exceptions’ (not!). But, once I told announced my new lifestyle choice to my friends and family, I found that I didn’t and couldn’t do this anymore. Essentially social pressure from my friends and family to keep my promise made it such that I never touched meat ever again. Like I said, the transition from a meatie to a non-meatie isn’t a romantic and smooth one, and let this be a testament to the weakness of my will.
Now I surround myself with people who have the same eating considerations as myself. This makes life significantly simpler and as a result allows me to experiment with the wackiest combinations (Eggplant Squid Curry, anyone?). While I still occasionally am tempted to order a bratwurst with my bun, and secretly wanted to lick the fingers of my friends after they ate their plate of hot wings, I am happy with my decision. As a piece of advice to all recent adoptees, take your time to ease into your transition. Don’t feel like you aren’t being a pescetarian/vegetarian just because you still want to eat a juicy burger and do look to the support of your friends and family. Then celebrate with me your healthier lifestyle choice and the smaller environmental footprint we are making together.
Stephanie is a recent adoptee of the pescetarian slow-carb diet. She likes pretending to be Danish and as a result eats lots of Danish Dream Cake. In her spare time, Stephanie likes shopping for her ever-expanding mustard collection.