I have been pescatarian now for two years and it has been phenomenal for my health. I have and keep high energy levels, I do not deal with some of the immediate health concerns associated with eating your traditional meats, and it has had a positive impact on my weight and my ability to build and maintain muscle.
Being pescatarian means your primary source of protein is fish. So no chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or any other kind of animal that walks on land. I know… At first it sounded crazy to me too. However, as you will soon see, there are benefits to this type of lifestyle that can have lasting results.
Why I became a Pescatarian
Two years ago, I was on vacation in Thailand with an upset stomach (…that is an interesting way to start a story). From the moment I was out of the United States my stomach for whatever reason was very unsettled.
Prior to this experience, I was the type of guy who ate whatever was put in front of him. I did not discriminate; and I grew up knowing how to cook, so I would make my favorite foods all of the time. Not to say I was unhealthy, but I definitely was not the most health conscious.
I did notice however that I was constantly having heartburn and other types of bodily discomfort leading up to my trip. This was concerning to me, because I honestly thought why is a young man in his 20s having constant agida?… Come to find out, in your 20s is when health decline starts.
Once I realized my health was diminishing, I was desperate for a solution. My bodily health is so important; health period to me is so important.
I could not imagine myself dealing with meat sweats and discomfort from the food I ate for the next 60+ years. So, I was already in a position to receive something new prior to going on my vacation.
My trip to Thailand was 10 days, and I literally could not eat for five of them. My stomach was incapacitated. I was concerned because this was not common for me, and it definitely was not ideal while on the other side of the world.
By halfway through the trip once I was able to eat something of substance, I decided to only eat fish for the rest of the vacation. My logic was: I am just now feeling somewhat better and I do not feel like feeling worse again.
So I committed to only eating fish as my primary protein for the remainder of my trip; And on my plane back to America I thought, how about I try to keep this going. I immediately found value in the way being pescatarian made me feel and I wanted to keep feeling that way.
Pros and Cons of being a Pescatarian
Some of the pros of being a pescatarian include increased heart health, reduced risk of cancer, and reduced risk for diabetes and inflammation.
Eating fish increases your omega-3 fatty acid intake which is essential for a healthy heart. People who eat fish have lower blood pressure, a lower risk of abnormal heart rhythms, and fewer fatal heart attacks. Being a pescatarian can also combat your chances of getting colon or rectum cancer.
The cons of being a pescatarian is increased mercury levels, and it has a negative impact on the environment.
Fish concentrate mercury in their bodies. Mercury is a toxic compound however the type of mercury found in fish, does not pose health risks to humans. That being said, women who are nursing or pregnant should avoid certain type of fish high in mercury.
Fish farming is also not the most environmentally friendly practice. Fish farming is when fish are raised in tanks or enclosures to be mass produced and sold. Some of the draw backs to this practice is that it damages the ecology of bodies of water, introduces invasive species, and can cause disease in the fish.
Another con of being pescatarian is that it can be pricey. Fish is a low supply high demand food product with a relatively short shelf life. It is also a more luxurious protein due to its health benefits over other types of meat.
Is going Pescatarian right for you?
I say, try it. If you enjoy fish, like being healthy, and are in need of a dietary change; becoming pescatarian might be right for you.
The transition is not as ominous as one might think. At first I thought I would miss chicken and steak (I loved a good piece of steak), but I actually acclimated rather quickly to the point where I was able to cut out all other protein within a month.
The other thing that was attractive to me about becoming a pescatarian is that I did not have to change my diet at all really. Aside from fish, the rest of my diet remained the same. The biggest challenge I still sometimes have in this area is going to events or places where fish is not on the menu – in which case I opt for a vegetarian option.
It has also done wonders for my physical health. Because fish is high in protein, my body has had an easier time sustaining muscle mass.
Now I know what you really want to know about… the fish breath. Honestly just brush your teeth and use mouth wash. It is not as bad as you might think. I go about my normal day of eating with minimal concern about bad breath.
Overall, going pescatarian has changed my life for the better, and it can change yours too. One more hack I have discovered since being pescatarian is that I avoid fried foods like the plague. No, there is nothing like a good fried fish sandwich, and yes, I do have a cheat day, but in general my body is a fried food free zone (try saying that five times fast).
Here is a challenge: Go pescatarian for 30 days. If you are in a position where you need to and are ready to make a change for the better, commit a month to your health. Test the waters, kick the tires, and decide if it is right for you.
Another concern I originally had about going pescatarian is that I thought I would not have enough variety in my food options. And while my diet does skew towards salmon as a preferred fish choice, there is enough of a variety of fish that I am never bored come mealtime.
What are your thoughts about the pescatarian diet? Would you be willing to try it why or why not?
Join the conversation and share your perspective in the comment section below!