30 days as a pescetarian: what I learned
I’ve gone 34 (today is 35) days without eating meat. It’s been an interesting month, and I’ve had a lot of questions from people about why I decided to do this.
At first, it was just an experiment. Meat is delicious, right? I grew up eating meat, and while I never ate a lot of it, I still love burgers (mmmm In-n-Out), roast beef dinners, duck, and everything in between. But then I slowly started watching documentaries and doing research on everything from cruelty to the farm animals we eat (including pumping them full of hormones and chemicals), to the link between red meat and cancer and heart disease (my family has a history of heart problems). And while I am a natural skeptic, it’s pretty hard to argue against science like that. Combine that with the desire I already had to overhaul my food consumption, and the March Pescetarian Challenge was born. :)
Here are my results:
- Lost 4 pounds. Although to be fair, I don’t know how much of that was from eating less meat, or increasing my exercise.
- My skin looks healthier, and less oily.
- I have more energy. Getting up at 5:30 for my morning run is never a problem, and I’m not as tired in the evenings when I come home from work.
- I’m eating way more often (but trying to be healthy about it).
For the most part, I ate vegetarian for 75% of my meals. I think the key for me (and my budget) wasn’t to replace meat with fish, but to eliminate meat, and continue to eat fish as often as I had been before. My boyfriend was also supportive of my change in diet. He stopped cooking meat when I was around (except for that one time he cooked massive quantities of maple bacon, and my house smelled delicious all day), and he has also started to examine his red meat intake as well.
Over the last month, I learned a lot about myself. Like, how to control cravings: when all I want is a big, juicy burger, how can I convince myself to eat an eggplant instead? And that quitting meat had no real impact on my life, aside from losing weight and having more energy. That surprised me. I thought I’d have to make tough food decisions and maybe even decline dinners out. But every restaurant had something delicious I could eat – I wasn’t stuck just nibbling on a crappy salad. And I always felt full.
I also found that I was a lot more conscious of what I was eating. Breakfast used to be 2 eggs and toast. Now, it’s a green smoothie. My go-to snack used to be potato chips. Now, I love making kale chips. Of course, these healthier choices often come with a price tag. For the most part, fish is more expensive than meat. And consuming so many fruits/vegetables is more expensive than eating cheap carbs. Still, I’m pretty sure I can continue to eat like this, while staying within my regular monthly food budget.
This has been an interesting experiment, and I don’t know what I’m going to do going forward, but I’m 95% sure I’m going to continue a pescetarian lifestyle. At least through until the end of April. It will be hard to say no to my mom’s amazing roast beef dinners, or my dad’s honey-glazed duck, and I’m not exactly sure how I’ll deal with the temptation of the food in Las Vegas when I’m there in May (am I really going to say no to a burger from In-n-Out?) … but for now, I’m not craving meat at all. And I feel so much better, lighter, and energetic. :)
Here are a few pictures of the food I’ve eaten over the month:
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.