Should I Become a Pescatarian?
Should I become a pesky pescatarian? I don’t actually believe pescatarians are pesky, I just like the alliteration. I’ve been struggling with some health issues lately. My primary issue is hypothyroidism, but I also suffered a bizarre bout of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It’s pretty strange, apparently calcium crystals slosh around inside my ear and make my balance go all crazy wonky. Like, fall down on my bum while trying to walk to the kitchen wonky. But I digress.
I’ve never liked to eat meat. My mom tells me I poo-pooed the meat baby food even as a tiny baby. I think it tastes gross. The texture is also super weird. And, while I think the ethical issues of not eating animals are a great bonus, it’s not my primary motivation for being a vegetarian. So it’d be hypocritical of me to say I’m a vegetarian to save the animals. After all, I still have a few leather products and I’m sure I have pills and such with gelatin or rennet or some other animal bone product that I’m unaware of. Of course, I wholeheartedly support the vegetarians and vegans who choose the full vegetarian and vegan lifestyle path for ethical reasons. You’re awesome! And stronger men and women than I.
But, since becoming aware of my health issues about a year ago, I’ve been struggling with whether to alter my diet to help combat my thyroid disorder. I’m supposed to eat more iodine, my Vitamin D and iron are low, and certain foods can contribute to inflammation in my joints and worsen my joint pain. Basically, my body is fighting toxins, allergens, infections and its own stress response. It’s redirecting that fight onto my joints and my thyroid.
So, while I’m on synthetic thyroid hormone supplements that are helping my body correct its issues, I think there’s more I can do. I’ve read a lot about anti-inflammatory diets recently and I think it might help me. And it might help my family as well. As you know if you’re a follower of the blog, my family is a blended-eater family. My girls (ages 3 and 4 now) are undecided omnivores—one leans toward pescatarianism while the other is a meat-eater—and my husband is a meat-eater while I’m a vegetarian. So, not only could a new diet make me healthier and able to better interact with my family, it may also make dinnertime easier by adding a new protein option for the entire family.
As part of my personal health journey, I plan to cut down on some of my starches and grains and I’m going TRY to start eating fish.
That’s right, I’m going to try to become a pescatarian after 25 years as a vegetarian.
Here’s the big downside: I hate fish. My family vacationed in Minnesota every summer when I was growing up. And I loved to go fishing. Eating the fish, not so much. Flaky fried fish with all those weird little pockets of flesh and strange black veiny things? Eww. But about 15 years or so ago in college, I experimented. I ate a bit of smoked salmon on top of a salad. And it wasn’t disgusting. I haven’t really had it since, but I remember it being tolerable. So today, I decided to embark upon my dietary adventure with a salmon patty.
Mr. Meaty, my poor beleaguered husband, had to hold my hand through the process. He fried it up for me, asked me numerous questions about optional toppings and dipping sauces and generally supported me through all the stinky faces I was making and the outright fear I was expressing. We opted for a plain patty for the first attempt. And Mr. Meaty offered me two dipping options: lime juice and malt vinegar. I tried both, as well as dip-free.
Now, the faces I made weren’t pretty. I didn’t like it. Not at all. But I also didn’t hate it so much that I spit it back out. So I’m calling that a win in the progress column. I’m not ashamed to admit that I asked my 3-year-old, Goose, to trade me her green beans from her little princess plate in exchange for my salmon patty remains. She gamely finished my salmon patty for me when I couldn’t stomach any more of it. That’s love right there.
I think, smothered in fresh spinach and maybe a chipotle-garlic aioli, it’s possible that I could stomach more salmon patties in the future.
Since I’ve been struggling with these health and moral issues, I’ve not been posting as many recipes as I would like. As you know if you’re a follower, I’m always super honest about the results of my recipe experiments. And until I knew for sure what path my diet would be taking, I wasn’t ready to share the nitty gritty details of my fishy exploits. But, now that I’ve chosen and started to make the attempt to flex over to pescatarian for a few days each month, I’m ready to share.
I’m interested in a modified pescatarian version of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. But of course, since there aren’t too many people out there who follow that diet, it will be an ongoing experiment. I’m not willing to relinquish all of my grains, beans, legumes and dairy anytime soon. But I think adjusting my diet to focus more on vegetables and healthy proteins (and a tiny bit of fish) might help me live a healthier and more energetic lifestyle with my family.
Thanks for “listening” and, as always, I’d love your input and advice!
What do you think of pescatarianism and auto-immune diets? Are any of you pescatarians? What are some of your favorite, healthy pescatarian meals?