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.
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.
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.
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.