As a child, I hated fish with a passion. It didn’t matter how it was packaged, presented or disguised, I wouldn’t entertain it. The only ‘fish’ I remember eating without complaint were the pickled cockles you get at the British seaside.
As I got into my twenties I would eat cod -when pushed- and for fifteen years or so that was my lot. Eventually, I stretched my acceptance to shellfish but no thank you on anything that looked remotely fishy. So I’m sure it came as a surprise to many that I would contemplate on any level become a pescatarian ( even for a month).
Jessica has made several suggestions that we make this switch over the years but what she really wants to be is a prawn-a-terian!
I’m incredibly health-conscious, I watch what I eat, I go to the gym, we walk and we are selective about what we buy, so experimenting with this seemed like an easy achievement. I know to many a true pescatarian doesn’t eat anything produced by a land-based animal but for me, I didn’t want to take things that far- I love eggs and milk. Mark, however, has been using almond and soya milk- cheese still features heavily though.
As I’ve said recently, life is about experiences and if nothing else this is one of those things and it really has got us thinking carefully about what we eat and now mealtimes have become more varied. We are also making sure that our meals are balanced as making this kind of change can leave you with deficiencies, iron being one of them.
so what have we been eating?
Our Saturday/Sunday morning cooked breakfast has taken on a new look, gone is the bacon and in its place is smoked mackerel, we also swapped our wholemeal bread for sourdough – crunchier, much more satisfying and better for you and a handful of spinach and some plum tomatoes to really set you up for the day.
At lunch, gone is the ham we all love so much and in its place, tuna, salmon, tinned mackerel (not for me though), cheese or eggs.
Evening meals are where we have seen the biggest change: we always cook from scratch by recipe book but find we gravitate towards the same old, same old each time. This has made us rethink and actually make other choices from the books we have, it has been like gaining a whole new library of cookbooks. We are eating with more pleasure and enthusiasm than before too. It feels like a whole new world.
vegetable-packed omelette, veggie burger with jack fruit and tuna pasta bake.
Mark even made his own fish fingers! Veggie burgers and sausages seem to have come along way from the carboard, tasteless offerings of old. I found them to be wonderfully palatable and satisfying.
It’s most handy living with someone who enjoys to cook and experiment in the kitchen, these were the best fish fingers I’ve ever eaten.
We have noticed that when you have restricted dietary requirement eating out becomes a more conscious decision and we have realized just how limited choice can be in a restaurant.
It has made us more mindful but the fish choices were limited and there is often only one plant-based option that must really limit dining out for many people.
Fish is more costly than meat we’ve found, so not all our meals involve fish, many are vegetable-based meaning we probably eat better quality than we were before because we have to think about it. We have been trying to visit fishmongers rather than buying the fish frozen and we have even tried new foods like tofu and jack fruit – the jury is still out on both.
Tofu stirfry at home and a jack fruit pizza in Lazizi pizza restaurant.
Now that this little experiment is over what have we learned: we don’t miss meat, I did think we’d cave after a week. Because fish is so light we found we were hungry all the time until we got used to it, some of us became night foragers, scouring the kitchen in the early hours! The bathroom had more frequent visits too! (sorry but it’s true). We did notice an initial weight drop but that has stopped as we’ve become accustomed to the new diet. Our feeling now is that we would like to continue as we are but we won’t be too strict when we are out and about, although I now feel a sense of commitment and will stick to it as much as possible.
It might be too early to tell if our health has been positively impacted by our change but a fish and vegetable diet will eventually lower cholesterol, help with blood pressure and obesity amongst other things which can only be a good thing. Coupled with my training routine I’m hoping that in six months I will see a really positive change – if I can keep this up that long.