I Went Pescatarian for a Year and This Happened

Jenn Leach

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Back in 2017 I decided to try being pescatarian for a year. I had been hearing more and more about veganism and while I knew I would not be able to make the plunge and to be vegan right away, I thought it would be worthwhile to try being pescatarian for sometime, then possibly transition to being a vegan.

My Reasons for Going Pescatarian

My top reason for turning to pescatarianism was for health. 

I was overweight with really only one health condition that I was diagnosed with in my early 20s that I was taking medication for. 

Other than that I didn’t have any other health ailments like high blood pressure or diabetes or high cholesterol or any of that, despite being overweight. I didn’t have back problems, knee problems, or trouble sleeping. I didn’t have sleep apnea or any other obesity-related health conditions.

I was pretty lucky.

But I did love food. 

And I thought cutting out meat would help me be healthier and make it easier to transition to being a vegan. I also loved the idea of potentially losing a little weight from this lifestyle change.

So those were all my reasons for wanting to try being a pescatarian.

Before I share my journey and results, lets cover the basics.

What Is Pescatarianism?

A pescaterian diet is being vegetarian but eating fish. 

A vegetarian doesn't eat any meat like steak, chicken or turkey but, they do eat eggs and other animal products like honey.

There are many types of vegetarians including those that do not eat eggs, honey and animal products. Some pescatarians adopt this way of eating too but, I wasn't going to restrict these foods from my diet.

So you can enjoy fish, shrimp, shellfish, eggs, dairy, veggies and carbs. Meat like chicken, red meat, pork, and turkey are off limits. 

I thought I would do pretty good at being a pescatarian considering I didn’t eat very much meat in the first place. In the course of a week I would probably have one or two meals that contained meat. 

So I pushed forward on January 1st and set out to try being a pescatarian for a year.

Here’s how it went.

How I Started

I begin by stocking up my fridge and pantry with all the regular food I was eating minus meat. The fish that I enjoyed usually included salmon, whiting fish, tuna, and shrimp.

My diet before usually consisted of eating tacos, burgers, spaghetti and other meat-based meal staples several times throughout the month.

This ended.

I cooked salmon in every way possible including grilling it, baking it, pan searing it, and more. I eat it with lemon, I made teriyaki salmon, I enjoyed honey glazed salmon, etc. 

And it was all super delicious!

Another cool side effect of going pescatarian was the limited fast food options.

No more burgers and fries. Not every place offers a fish or vegetarian option so I found myself often skipping fast food altogether.

I wasn't a big fast food eater but I still wondered if I'd have cravings and miss out on my Taco Bell combo #6 or Burger King chicken sandwich.

I didn't!

Did I Go Meat-Free The Entire Year?

Surprisingly, I turned to pescatarianism pretty easily. I didn’t crave meat at all. And before, my meat of choice was most definitely red meat, especially steak. 

If I went to eat at a restaurant, I was getting a red meat dish. And don’t even get me started on the sirloin steak plates that Texas Roadhouse has! 

Delish!

Did I go meat-free the entire year?

Nope, sadly.

But, for a good reason, in my opinion, at least.

Every year a group of friends and I go to New Orleans for about five days and during that time I do indulge in meat, not because of cravings but because if you go to New Orleans, although there are a ton of seafood dishes you can enjoy, you have definitely got to try ALL the food there, especially one of my favorite chain's Willies Chicken. 

This chicken place is probably the best seasoned chicken I have ever eaten from a fast food restaurant and they have them all throughout New Orleans. 

And to be honest, that was probably the only meat that I had. Other than that I stuck with seafood like eating shrimp Po' Boys, smothered fish, and other delicious New Orleans food.

My First Unexpected Side Effect of Becoming a Pescatarian 

Ok, so there were two main unexpected side effects of becoming a pescatarian.

This is the first one: eating way less fast food.

As I mentioned above, I never have been a huge lover of fast food in the first place but when you can’t have a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets or other meat-laden combo meals from fast food chains, you just stay away. 

I said this before and I have to reiterate it again.

So the first unexpected side effect was you eat less fast food.

My Second Unexpected Side Effect of Becoming a Pescatarian 

Next, I lost weight. 

Not very much weight but weight loss, nonetheless.

I only lost around 12 pounds or so over the course of a year but this was weight loss that occurred naturally as a side effect of eating a meatless diet.

When I started this lifestyle journey, I wondered in the back of my head if I would lose weight. I didn't try to and I still lost so I'm pretty pleased about that.

What Happens Now?

So I did my year of being as pescatarian and I have to say I really did enjoy it. 

But when January 1 rolled around the next year, I did not continue with it. 

And I didn’t end up going vegan or vegetarian either. 

What did I learn from being a pescatarian? 

I think it’s a great way to embrace a more healthy lifestyle. But, even though you’re eating fish, you won’t necessarily be healthier. 

Do consider how you prepare your meals like if you’re constantly frying foods like french fries, tater tots, fried shrimp, or fried fish then you could gain weight being on a diet like this.

It’s also super important to think about where you are sourcing your fish. 

You want to stay away from fish that contains heavy metals like how tuna contains mercury.

Some people say that heavy metals can build up in your body over time. 

Whether or not that’s true, you still want to keep those types of seafood to a minimum. You also want to avoid eating a lot of farmed fish. Farmed fish can be larger and more abundant than wild fish but with farming, consider all of the chemicals and medicines those fish are being fed. You're eating it.

Wild fish is more expensive but is it better for you?

Maybe.

There are definitely differing opinions on this.

So what do you think? Are you pescatarian or would you go pescatarian? Let me know what you think in your comments below.

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Millennial entrepreneur and writer bringing you fresh content and ideas about making money, side hustles, personal finance, budgeting, and lifestyle. Connect with me: www.millennialnextdoor.com

Houston, TX
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