About five years ago I adopted a meat with no feet diet. For those of you who don’t know what that is…I’m a pescatarian. I haven’t eaten meat in five years.
Yes. Black girl pescatarian here, and I’m proud.
First, I have to address the shock I get from my own people (black people) when they learn about my relationship with food. I guess because I’m black, I’m suppose to love meat…and watermelon. I don’t. And for as long as I can remember, never have.
Second, growing up I tolerated meat just like I tolerate many things (people even) that I don’t prefer. It was a struggle to eat meat growing up, as the sight and thought of consuming it would literally make me sick to my stomach. Being raised less fortunate (but with grand love) in a household with 10 siblings, I had to eat what my mom cooked or else I’d starve.
Right around age 25 I cut the cord…after a freak incident with cleaning a Cornish hen. As a special thank you, I decided to cook a big dinner for my nonprofit organizations board of directors. They were a supportive, hard working bunch. I wanted to do something special for them.
Obsessed with meats cleanliness, I flipped its body upside down by the legs to rinse the inside. Turn it back around and behold, the hens neck that I had not noticed before. Me being the melodramatic person I am, dropped (ok more like threw) the hen explaining (to Mel- a board member turned friend who I was on the phone with at the time) the f*ckery and how disgusted I was that the farmers hadn’t removed the neck. Mel being the sarcastic a-hole she is explains how the farmer kills the chicken by snapping its neck in its sleep. Sudden and aggressive. Then sends it out for plucking and packaging.
At this point I’m gagging. Feeling sick to my stomach.
I vowed then I would never eat meat again. At the board dinner I did not touch any of it, only sides. Having to relive the story leading up to it over dinner, everyone poked and joked claiming it was just a phase.
That was in early 2012. I’ve been loyal to my commitment since.
So here’s the truth about my pescatarianism experience:
It’s fun because for me it’s a choice. Much like my desire to embrace my ethnic hair in its natural state. I love seafood and there’s a huge variety of it out there. I’m still trying and learning new things.
My immune system. It is strong. Over the past five years I’ve been sick (with a common cold) twice. Two times in five years!? I’ll take it.
I feel good. Like all of the time.
It’s intrigued me to try some vegan alternatives to supplement the need for protein. Saytan is a protein that tastes like chicken. And it’s a little shocking but so so good. Protein Italian sausages are like amazing too. Again, shock factor whenever I eat it but delicious.
Supportive family. As mentioned, my family is massive. Family gatherings involves a lot of food. Much of which is genuinely made with pescatarian love. The lead cooks in our family (hey Ma and Roz) always make pescatarian versions for myself and my baby (y’all Miss. Sania is pushing 14 and is still my baby). Collard greens cooked in cherry pepper!? Oh My God… to die for.
Deeper relationship with food. Much of this credit is courtesy of my little lady developing an intolerance to high fructose corn syrup. Her nutritionist told me to read labels while grocery shopping and omit foods with it. What the half-*ss hadn’t advised me of was the fact that high fructose corn syrup is literally in everything processed. Which meant I’d have to cook most of my foods from scratch. Once I got over the shock, I took to the food network channel and research.
Sharing this love with others. Eventually I fell in love with cooking and began to host dinner parties for loved ones as a result. Eventually I’d carry this into my Brown Skin Women youth programs offering quarterly youth summits and annual weekend retreat exploring all things natural living. Food being one of the highlights.
I know others who have tried pescatarianism for health reasons or curiosity even. With the right resources, you can set yourself up for success. From time to time I’ll share recipes and good meat alternatives to try here on the blog and on my personal Instagram (@carmenveal) and brownskinwomens (@brownskinwomen).
Have you tried pescatarianism or any other diet? What was/is your experience? Any recipes i should try?