I’ve made one of the most important decisions in my 28-year long life: I’ve decided to go pescetarian!
From today, I’m no longer eating any meat or poultry; only fish, dairy, and eggs. And I don’t plan on eating meat again for the rest of my life.
Going pescetarian from today has been planned for a few months. Over the long term I might go completely plant-based, but from a health perspective, I feel like pescetarian is the best way to go. I also don’t want to restrict my eating too much and I believe in taking baby steps towards any major changes, so in any case, this will be my first move down a new path. And then I’ll take it from there.
I’m not just jumping into this decision without closely considering it first. Since I was first introduced to following a vegan diet at my yoga teacher training at the ashram last year, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and research on eating plant-based. As you might know, I’ve been eating intuitively for the past year and a half, and slowly I’ve been cutting down on animal products, without even realizing it. I’m already eating a mainly pescetarian diet, just because it feels right, so the change isn’t that big. I even did a vegan challenge recently and was surprised by how easy it was.
I’m already seeing the benefits. I continued to use plant-based milk in my coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies after my vegan challenge. I also changed my normal whey protein powder to a vegan alternative. Around the same time, I further increased my consumption of seafood (especially shrimp and salmon) & avocados and decreased my intake of beef, pork, and poultry. After a while, I noticed a visible difference in my skin. Fewer breakouts, more balanced skin, and smaller pores, even around “that time of the month” when my skin would usually break out pretty badly. I don’t know if it has improved for some other reason… It could just be a coincidence, but it will be very interesting to see if the results are lasting now that I’m permanently changing my diet. I won’t be avoiding dairy completely, as I still love cheese and greek yogurt and skyr (Icelandic style high protein yogurt), but cutting down on regular milk now, is another baby step in the right direction for me.
There are many other reasons why I choose to be a pescetarian, but before I go on, I want to make it clear that the best diet for you is the one you can stick to. The one you choose and feel best about. I’m not here to preach, but I want to tell you about the reasons why I’ve made this choice for myself, so here are 5 reasons why I’m choosing to become a pescetarian and why I think it’s a brilliant way of eating, giving you the best of both worlds!
If you too feel like making changes in your diet after reading this blog, remember that little steps are ok. Some take a big leap in the beginning, others take smaller steps and move gradually towards their goal. I believe that as long as we are aware of how our actions and choices affect ourselves and the world around us, and we act on our intentions, that’s what matters.
5 Reasons Why I’m Choosing Pescetarianism:
1: Seafood contains healthy fats, minerals an vitamins
I want to include fish in my diet for health reasons.
Fish (especially wild caught) is very low in saturated fat and especially fatty fish contains large quantities of polyunsaturated omega-3, which have been connected to the treatment and prevention of various diseases and conditions. Another huge benefit of including fish in a vegetarian diet is the healthy amount of minerals, such as iron and zinc, in seafood. Eating fatty fish also delivers a healthy dose of naturally occurring vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is a common condition amongst people in many countries because of the lack of sunlight during winter, but even where I live, in sunny Dubai, vitamin D deficiency is very normal, as we tend to stay indoors during the hideously hot summer months.
2: Easy to get your protein in
The beauty of a pescetarian diet is, that you don’t have any serious restrictions when it comes to getting your protein needs met.
Coming from a fitness background, I’ve been eating and training to compete in bikini fitness for over 3 years, so I know how important it is to have sufficient protein in my diet, to keep my body looking and feeling fit and healthy. Even though you can meet your protein needs on a vegetarian or even vegan diet, I feel it’s easier to do on a pescetarian diet, as most fish and seafood easily packs over 20 grams of protein per 100 g.
I will also still incorporate some dairy and eggs in my diet, making it even easier to consume plenty of protein.
3: My spiritual journey
Continuing on my spiritual journey I’m doing hatha yoga, meditation and being aware of the Law of Attraction, as tools to feel better and become more connected to my true self. It may sound a bit out there, but it feels right to me.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika very clearly tells us what diet to follow – and what we should avoid – to allow our body to achieve it’s maximal state of health and open our mind to it’s spiritual awakening.
At the ashram my Guru, Yogi Hari, told me:
“As you become more intimate with your body, you get in touch with its real needs. At some point, there are certain foods that will become repulsive. As the process of refinement through yoga continues, you will become sensitive to the agony and suffering endured by animals in the process of slaughtering. You will naturally stop eating meat. But to start, if want to become a vegetarian and you are a meat eater, stop eating meat, then fish, then eggs. When you start like this, then naturally as the body becomes purified, you will feel that certain things are not suitable for you. Your body will reject them. But you have to start the process of purification.”
I’ve been consistently practicing my asanas and meditation while eating intuitively for over a year, and I feel like this is what’s happening to me now. I’m going to be stuck on my journey until I stop eating meat and I’m starting to lose my taste for it, so I’m taking this as a sign that right the time has come.
4: Being against animal cruelty
This is a controversial one. I think we can all agree that how most commercial animals are raised and what goes on in slaughterhouses is something we’d just rather not think about. I don’t want to preach anything, as I believe our choices are our own and we all have our reasons to eat as we do. If someone wants to enjoy their steak, nobody should be shaming them for it. But personally, I have been struggling with eating meat because of my love for animals since I can remember… As a little girl, I refused to eat chicken unless it was organic. I’d seen a video of how chickens are commercially raised, so I did my own little protest against that for a few years. I also never ate cage raised eggs, up until I got into bodybuilding and started consuming egg whites from 5-liter bottles and just chose not to worry about where they came from.
When I lived on a farm in Sweden, we used to adopt orphaned lambs and goats and bottlefeed them until thy grew big enough to eat on their own. They were literally the cutest things ever. We also had horses, geese, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats… And they all had their own little, adorable personalities, which I believe all animals do. They may not have human-like feelings, but they can feel their pain, fear, and suffering, just like us.
5: Better for the environment – but far from perfect
The environment and animal welfare is the main reasons why I’m still considering moving towards a fully vegan diet in the future.
Being pescetarian is better for the environment because it considerably reduces your carbon footprint, compared to eating red meat. Fish releases far fewer greenhouse gases than land-based animals, consume far less water and take up less land that can instead be used for agriculture. But unfortunately, a lot of fishery and fish farming is unsustainable: Fish farms are harming the environment by feeding the fish antibiotics and using pesticides. Wild caught fish are often caught in unsustainable ways, with commercial fishing boats using methods like trawling, gillnets, and long lines. These methods result in “bycatch”, the unintentional entanglement of other marine animals such as whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and other fish. Often they are killed or harmed in the process, only to be discarded back into the water and left to suffer.
And that being said, I haven’t even touched on the problems with overfishing or the fact that our oceans, and subsequently the seafood we eat, has become terribly polluted by microplastic, trash and other human waste.
When I have the option, I will choose sustainably raised or -caught seafood. I often go to restaurants that prepare mainly organic foods, in the hope that the foods I’m consuming here will be better for the environment. But it’s hard to make sure where what you’re being served actually comes from unless you grow and raise it yourself.