I'm Trying to be a Pescatarian

pescatarian or pescetarian

Yep, I’m trying to be a pescatarian, also spelled pescetarian. What’s a pescatarian? A pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat beef, pork, chicken, veal, lamb, or turkey. Instead, they eat fish and seafood, including lobster, crab, oysters, scallops, shrimp, clams, and finned fishes. Of course, like a vegan or vegetarian, a pescatarian consumes fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Some people use the term pesco vegetarian diet for this type of diet. As with lacto-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians, pescatarians also consume eggs and dairy products. According to research I did on the internet, pecatarianism is the healthiest diet to follow, according to most doctors. I asked my personal physician about this, and she agreed. She opined that some vegan and vegetarian diets might not provide enough protein, but with a pescatarian diet, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also, fish is generally much lower in saturated fats and cholesterol than are other types of flesh, and when fish does contain fats, they’re usually the heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

I can have this on a pescetarian diet.
I can have this on a pescetarian diet.

Why I decided to give a pesco vegetarian diet a try

I’ve always been a big carnivore. I love baby back ribs, grilled steak, fried chicken, barbecued pork chops, and southern pulled pork. I hate, however, the way the animals are treated while they’re alive and the way they’re killed. It’s not so much that I mind that the animals are killed for food – it’s how the animals are killed. Even worse, many farm animals have zero quality of life while they’re alive. Many meat-eaters prefer to believe that cows and pigs are killed in a humane manner, but that simply isn’t true, in most cases.

In U.S. slaughterhouses, a captive bolt pistol is most often used to stun animals before they’re bled out. Before the BSE or mad cow disease scare, many slaughterhouses used a penetrating captive bolt gun. When applied properly, the metal rod from the pistol effectively destroys part of the brain and leaves the animal unconscious and unable to feel pain. Now, however, few slaughterhouses use a penetrating bolt gun. Instead, they use a non-penetrating captive bolt gun with a mushroom tip that doesn’t actually enter the animal’s skull. It’s supposed to stun the animal temporarily, but it doesn’t always work well.

Ever wonder how chickens are killed? They’re usually dangled by their feet and submerged head-first into electrified water. This is supposed to stun or kill them, but it’s not always effective or efficient.

Besides the actual killing process, animals are sometimes treated horribly in slaughterhouses. They might be beaten, prodded with electric sticks, or kicked. Sometimes they might go days without food and water. Of course, some slaughterhouses and slaughterhouse workers are more humane than others.

And what about the lives these animals lead prior to their trip to the slaughterhouse? Many are cruelly confined for their entire lives. We used to raise cattle, pigs, and chickens, but ours did have some quality of life. Our chickens were free range, and our pigs and cows had plenty of acres on which to roam. Unfortunately, most large commercial livestock operations don’t follow such practices. With many animals, their feet never even touch the earth. They’re born and raised on concrete or spend their lives in tiny cages.

As a pescatarian, I can enjoy grilled fish.
As a pescatarian, I can enjoy grilled fish.

Will I remain a pescatarian?

I’m not making any promises about remaining a pescatarian for life. In fact, if I still hunted, I’d have no problem killing and eating deer, quail, and other game and game birds. Such animals live a free life until they’re killed, and they’re not exposed to the sometimes brutal practices of the slaughterhouse. A quick gunshot is more humane than are most methods used in modern slaughterhouses. In fact, I’ve thought about contacting a local farmer or rancher and purchasing a steer directly from the producer. If he’d allow me to shoot the animal myself with a high-powered rifle, I’d have no qualms about eating the meat.

Tomorrow, I’m going to get on the phone and try to find a local slaughterhouse that still uses a penetrating captive bolt gun. If I’m successful in my search, I might rethink being a pesco vegetarian. I might have to rethink it, anyway. My doctor kind of threw a wrench in my plan. Even though she thinks a pescetarian diet is very healthy for most people, she’s not sure it’s right for me. I’ve suffered with serious bouts of anemia, and I also have multiple myeloma cells, which makes maintaining healthy iron levels very important. I know what you’re thinking – I could just take iron supplements, right? Been there, done that. For some reason, my body doesn’t absorb iron well from supplements. Several years ago, I spent a couple of days in the hospital while my doctor tried to understand this anomaly. They ran all sorts of iron panels and other tests, to no avail. As long as I remain on the pesco vegetarian diet, I’ll have to stay on top of my hemoglobin.

I can enjoy crabmeat, too. By the way, we kill our crabs quickly before steaming them.
I can enjoy crabmeat, too. By the way, we kill our crabs quickly before steaming them.

My experience so far with being a pesco vegetarian

So far, I haven’t had any real problems with being a pesco vegetarian. My semi vegetarian diet has included baked fish, fried shrimp, crab legs, seafood salad, fried fish, crab-stuffed Portobello mushrooms, veggie burgers, cheese, milk, and eggs. Of course, I’ve also been eating lots of vegetables, nuts, grains, and a few fruits. I’m feeling better than I have in a long time, but that could be all in my mind. I’ll admit that when we went to a buffet the other night for dinner, I was tempted to dive into the fried chicken, barbecued pork, and beef stir-fry, but I didn’t. Luckily, they had a wide variety of other foods that I could eat. Right now, I’m happy with my decision to follow a pescatarian diet.

More by this Author


Comments 28 comments

mio cid profile image

mio cid 4 years ago from Uruguay

Interesting hub,I understand the reasons for your experiment , but I really think that rather than not consuming any beef at all maybe you should try to acquire free range beef for example in my country ,Uruguay most of the cattle are raised in prairies where they roam free and live a normal animal life until they go to the butcher shop.


Marlena Oechsner profile image

Marlena Oechsner 4 years ago from Wisconsin

Nice hub! As a pescetarian for the past eight years, I can say that it does not go without challenges, but it is very rewarding. I gave up meat for the cruel way that the animals are killed as well and have found that I really enjoy veggie substitutes, such as Boca and Morningstar products (I love Morningstar bacon more than I ever loved actual bacon). I suggest you try some of those products if you are able to find them (it depends on where you live and the availability). Good luck!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 4 years ago from US

hi habee. I like your experiment being a pesco vegetarian. I guess most of the time I am like that, but I also eat beef.

I understand your concern about captive bolt pistol versus penetrating captive bolt gun as well, pity those animals have to feel the pain.


hush4444 profile image

hush4444 4 years ago from Hawaii

I completely agree with everything you've written in this excellent hub. The way that animals are treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses is abhorrent. Although our cattle is grass fed where I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, I'm at the age where I need to watch out for the saturated fat in beef and pork. Good luck and continued success with your new way of eating!


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

Congrats on making such a big change! This is a well written and motivational hub. I wish you the best of luck with it. I hope that you continue to write about your diet & experience! ;)


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

Pescatarian sounds like the ideal way to go for healthy eating, too. I know you made the choice based on the treatment of animals and inhumane killing methods, but it will be interesting to learn what health benefits you reap.


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Mio, that would be preferable, but I'd still want to know how the cattle were slaughtered.


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Marlena, I love Morningstar Farms and Boca products! I haven't tried the bacon yet, but I will now!


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com

Ive been a Pescatarian for ten years now .. I started this lifestyle change for basically the same reasons as you have stated. I even have some similar hub. I lived in Buffalo,NY at the time and Buffalo Wings were my FAVORITE food, so it was tough! Ten years later I am most definitely the healthiest person I know, I never get sick, always have high energy levels and need less sleep than most. I have to believe the diet has some role in this.

The iron issue you state seems to be slightly inflated. Vegetarian diets are usually iron rich. Dark Green Vegetables, spinach, bok choy, green beans etc. Legumes offer iron and protein . Many cereals are very high in iron. Pumpkin! Im sure Ive seen some great pumpkin recipes from you!

There is an absorption issue to take into account though,as animal food irons are better and more easily absorbed. Making sure you have many sources of Vitamin C will increase your iron absorption rate!

Since your an accomplished cook, I suspect you will enjoy the range of ingredients and international cuisines that you will likley be more exposed to as you experiment and expand with your vegetarian diet


sunforged profile image

sunforged 4 years ago from Sunforged.com

oh and ditto on morningstar farms bacon and their veggie dogs, excellent, especially combined!


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks for your input, Sunforged! Yes, I don't know why I absorb iron better from meat, but I do. My former doc proved this to me. I love spinach, though, and just finished off a big salad of raw spinach for dinner, along with some pecan-encrusted tilapia. I get plenty of vitamin C from diet Hawaiian punch - my favorite drink. My doctors have decided that I have a really unusual body. lol. I'm really liking the pescatarian lifestyle so far. I'll just have my iron checked regularly.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

What a coincidence, Holle, I'm a pescaterian, too . . . whenever I have to walk instead of driving. Heh, heh.

Wait a minute, isn't Pescaterian a type of religion?


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Maita, great to see you here! How ya been, girlfriend?


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Many thanks, hush. Wow - you live in Hawaii?? How cool is that?!


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Veronica, thanks so much for your support!


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

LL, I'm going to keep track of my cholesterol, weight, hemoglobin, etc. Thanks for reading!


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

No, BJ - you're thinking "Presbyterian." lol. I'm one of those, too, sort of.


vway01 profile image

vway01 4 years ago

Very interesting hub, and very informative. I recently had my annual with very good lab results. Of course I got the usual "You know you need to lose weight" speech from my doctor.As I read your hub I realized this may be the diet for me! Since I live right on the coast I could easily feed my self.


habee profile image

habee 4 years ago from Georgia Author

For real, Annie! And you could send me fresh seafood, too! lol


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies, as well as whole grains, beans, nuts and small servings of lean, organic meats. I eat lots of fish, as well, and Boca more than meats. For many years, I've tried to be sure that my diet is comprised of about 70 % fresh green, red & yellow veggies and fresh (uncooked, eaten before other foods) fruit.

Perhaps I'll go all fish and seafood instead of any meat, as much for health reasons as humane ones. I do expect to live and stay healthy to at least 100 and am well on my way! One month to go to 80. hehe Like Sunforged, I'm the healthiest person I know.

Habee, I'm really proud of you for going this route. You've inspired me to step up my own health program! And I'm also an animal lover and hate the way commercial meats are produced and processed. It's shameful.


sweethearts2 profile image

sweethearts2 4 years ago from Northwest Indiana

My granddaughter was shown a film in high school about slaughter houses and stopped eating meat immediately. Cooking Sunday dinners became a challenge. I agree whole heartedly it's not the consumption that's the sin, it's the treatment and killing. I wish you much success with your new diet. I need to take steps to living healthlier and we all need to take steps to living humanely. Very interesting hub. Great food for thought. I enjoy learning about hubbers. Thanks for sharing. .


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

I could live comfortably on seafood. This lifestyle would be great for me. I hate beef anyway and am tired of chicken. I might just join you. My major problem here is that seafood is three time as expensive as meat so I might have a little problem cooking for my gluttonous fiance...lol. Not true but he does eat a lot and love pork.

Habee, is this your new years resolution?


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Great Hub, Habee and glad to hear we agree on killing methods -- they make me sick to even think of them.I eat beef and pork occasionally but love veggies -- which is a plus for a diabetic such as myself (who doesn't really adhere to the diet very well). I try to impose the "moderation" rule on myself and that helps. Good luck with your new diet venture -- and Happy New Year! Best, Sis


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

I have been some what like a Pescatarian from the past two years. I eat chicken, but no beef, pork, turkey and eggs. Before that beef and pork was my favorite meat, especially the ribs barbeque of pork. I can say that a lot of self control is needed and I usually feel a kind of victory each time I refuse to take those things in parties and other occasions. I think you have to stuck on your decision and good luck.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

I have never heard of it but it was interesting and sure makes sense. It sound healthy.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I had no idea what the big P word meant, but now I do!!!

I SHOULD have realized what the word meant though - it's similar to the Spanish for "fish."

I support anyone that is trying to become more healthy, and who supports the humane treatment of animals....just so long as they don't try to tell me that I'm immoral for eating meat!

In either late February or early March - it's going to be me, a fishing pole, and some sand bass....LOTS of sand bass. The bass spawning season is coming, and I'm excited!!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Habee - I have never heard of this. I have tried to be a vegetarian before and I just could not do it. I might could do this for a while, but I think I would miss my steaks too much. Great information though! Good luck on your iron and your health as you try to get more healthy.


Mimi 3 years ago

I am sure there are pelpoe out there that can get along just fine on an all-meat diet. There are pelpoe that run marathons that celebrate afterward with a tasty cigarette. Some pelpoe don't exercise but are also a vision of health.However, I've learned the hard way I don't fit in those catagories. My mother and I get to battle high cholesterol, fatty red meat just isn't in the cards for us. We have to be very diligent in what food we put in our mouths.I'm sure there are other pelpoe out there that have similar problems. Vegetables have valuable vitamins, complex carbs, antioxidants and fiber. I'll stick with the 5-9 servings/day of the fruits and veggies, thank you very much.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working