First thing’s first: what the heck is a pescatarian? A pescatarian is someone who does not eat meat with the exception of fish and seafood. Why have I been one since 2014? Just keep swimming.
In a world of absolutes, I caught myself wanting take action on what I knew about animal cruelty without giving up my intake of protein. So, the New Year’s Resolution was born. On January 1, 2014, I made the decision to cut meat out of my life yet leave fish in it. I was neither strictly vegetarian nor purely omnivore. However, I finally began to feel like I was making a difference in the world and in my health.
But why did I keep fish? Coming from an extensive New England family meant two things: you would like fish, and if you didn’t like fish, you would eventually. Ultimately, my roots in the north shore of Massachusetts made seafood a nostalgic reminder for the people who make me laugh my hardest.
Besides the clam chowdah and lobstah-eating lifestyle of my first home, here are the facts. Fish are high in protein and low in saturated fats, lowering the risk of heart disease and improving overall cardiac health. Additionally, a nutritious form of fat (say what?) is prominent in fish known as omega-3 fatty acids. Lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and reducing the risk of depression, anxiety, and memory loss, it is the superhero of supplements.
If you’ve switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet, your doctor will usually check to see if you are deficient in iron. Pescatarians are less at risk for the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States with an adequate amount of their iron coming from seafood and fish intake. Fast forward two years later, and it still sounds good to me.
It is clear that our planet also has some shaping up to do. The meat industry is a resource-intensive one, increasing our water, carbon, and ecological footprints the more we partake in it. To bring one pound of beef to your plate uses 1,799 gallons of water. Even a similar portion of chicken requires 468 gallons of water.
In the United States alone, 47% of the soy and 60% of the corn produced is used for livestock. Imagine if those numbers could go towards feeding some of the 795 million malnourished people on our planet instead.
Not to mention, 30% of potentially habitable land worldwide is dedicated to animal agriculture. More land devoted toward this practice means more greenhouse gases, pesticides, and fossil fuels that deteriorate the sustainability of our world and its inhabitants.
It’s time to do away with the hesitant “I’m just one person” mentality. One person giving up bacon, burgers, and chicken saves 162,486 gallons of water annually, freeing up that water for 445 people. Realizing what changing my diet has done is still jaw-dropping. I’m one person, and I’ve made an impact.
Real talk: I’m not asking you to adopt my lifestyle or become a vegan overnight, but I am hoping that you become a conscious consumer in regards to meat and its repercussions. Even going meatless once a week through Meatless Mondays, eliminating processed meats, or making meat portions a bit smaller can make a significant difference in our ecosystem and your health simultaneously.
But for now, fish tacos.