Becoming a Pescatarian…

By Elle.

A pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, but does eat fish. Basically, a sort of crap vegetarian.

I offer this explanation first, not to patronise I promise, but because since becoming one, I’ve been met with an unexpected number of blank faces, and then been referred to as a Presbyterian immediately afterwards by at least four people.  Even spellcheck is insisting I’m a bloody sectarian.

So, why am I putting myself through this UTTER HELL, you may be wondering…

Ummm, not sure really. Shall we examine further?

My boyfriend and I started eating less meat at home about 18 months ago. It began with less red meat at first, and then without really thinking about it, my beef chilli became turkey chilli, and eventually Quorn chilli. It was cheaper, healthier, and we both felt better for it, but meals out and entertaining usually meant ‘treating’ ourselves to burgers and steaks and other forms of animal flesh. Mmm. Then, a few months ago, we had some friends round and collectively chowed our way through several plates of processed meat by way of Tesco’s party nibbles. Don’t even try to make me put a number on how many cocktail sausages I ate. The next day, we felt shit – sluggish and tired and full. It was then that my boyfriend suggested we try giving up meat properly. So we did.

I love food — literally ALL of it (with the minor exceptions of baked beans and custard), but meat wasn’t really ever the best thing on my plate. I’d never have eaten a plain chicken breast, for example. That’s not to say I don’t miss chorizo and salami, and crispy Portuguese piri-piri chicken washed down with rose wine. But I like that I feel healthier, that the supermarket shop is much quicker (seriously!) and cheaper, that I don’t have to agonise so much over restaurant menus — it’s weirdly liberating to only have a few options to choose from. And yes, of course I’m glad not to be buying poor quality meat which is likely to have caused animal suffering. I’m sure there are vegans and vegetarians who would berate me for putting that last, but I’m loathe to dress-up my becoming a pescatarian as some sort of selfless act. It’s actually almost entirely selfish, to be frank.

Veganism is becoming more mainstream every day – it’s no longer considered an oddity to eat a plant-based diet. That’s a great thing in many ways, but I’ve always believed that humans should eat meat if they so wish, and that it’s a natural thing to do – especially if you can afford good quality.

For now, I’m sticking to my pescaterian ways, but if I want to eat piri-piri chicken on holiday, I will – and I won’t feel bad about it. We should all aim to be more conscious about what we use to fuel our bodies, particularly if health and the environment are concerns. And maybe they are, but you’re skint and stressed, and making protein balls from freeze-dried Hawaiian coconuts just isn’t an option. That’s totally cool with me. Because after all, there’s nothing more unappetising than a diet-bore.