Growing up my exposure towards dietary habits was mostly influenced by my parents. My dad, an avid carnivore, who believes meat is a necessary component for each meal, is much different than my mom who could happily pass up the Thanksgiving turkey for her favorite stuffing and mashed potatoes. As a child, I had an affinity for barbeque chicken wings and above all, the smell of bacon in the morning really couldn't compare to anything else. Yet, as I've grown older and have begun to make more and more of my own decisions, I've come to realize that my diet is something that is entirely up to me as well.
After my freshman year of college, I decided that once I went home for the summer and had the means to cook for myself again, I would truly start fresh and eat healthier. What a failure that was. You'd think with the absence of stress factors and more options, it would be a simple goal to accomplish. Yet, with working like crazy I found even less time to cook for myself, and ended up following the patterns of my parents once again.
On July 2nd, a typical "pasta Sunday", I took a bite pasta with meat sauce (specifically ground turkey) and immediately felt rejection in my stomach. I swallowed and everything stayed complacent, but I just had this disgusted feeling burrowing inside of me. In the prime of my teenage years, I've seen this rejection of red meat repeatedly stem from my taste buds. I've said on multiple occasions, "I'm going to be a vegetarian one day", and at this moment I decided this would be the day.
To clarify, my choice to become a pescetarian, a diet that where one eats fish and dairy, was not fueled just by a dislike in the taste of meat. Social media and the knowledge I obtained from online majorly impacted my decision as well. In weeks prior, I stumbled upon this video on my Facebook timeline:
After watching this, I came to terms with my ignorance. Realizing just how privileged we can be as human beings, I decided that I did not need to follow this path for much longer. Unapologetically from birth, it seems as we are raised with this mindset that we are above animals. Everyone praises Chik-fil-A and Chipotle but never once dares to question how their beloved food is prepared before it is tableside. Let alone, do most people even consider doing the killing themselves.
However, just because we aren't slitting the necks of cows or pigs when we eat our food does not mean that we aren't still contributing to this industry. For too long have I played cluelessly and put such little thought to any kind of morals towards domestic animals. Once again, I blame this on how we are brought up. America loves its pets. I for one, love dogs and never once thought that pigs or cows have similar feelings and personality traits to our pets. After watching the documentary "Earthlings," I began to conceptualize a world where I understand that as living, breathing creatures, we really are equal beings who just want to be loved. Plus, I really just wanted to change my lifestyle to a more healthy one.
Becoming a pescetarian, I believe, was a great stepping stone for myself to possibly eventually become a full-vegetarian. I know many would criticize me and ask, "Why not just stop eating animals all together" or not consider me caring for all of the animals. I do enjoy the taste of seafood and fish and think they can be really healthy in moderation! Slowly, I have transformed my diet to include eating more fruits and vegetables and finding protein in other sources like beans, nuts, and some grains. This has been a major lifestyle change for me and as someone who has dealt with both body image/weight issues, and my mental health, I can sincerely say I feel amazing! I'm cooking at home more, experimenting with different recipes, and having fun while doing so. My energy has increased, some bloating has depleted, and I just feel proud of myself when I see the colorful foods I'm feeding my body and mind. Following this diet has given me more purpose and it is something I find I can grow with.
These are only a few of the varieties I have been granted after becoming a pescetarian. I have chosen a clean body, a clean life, and a clean conscious. The possibilities are truly endless if you simply try.