My Pescatarian Journey

The 1st of July marks the end of my sixth month living as a pescatarian!

Pescatarian?

You must be familiar with a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians eat everything aside from animals: vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, grains, etc., you name it. Vegans, on top of being vegetarian, don’t use products derived from animals – honey, chicken stock, even silk.

The pescatarian (or pescetarian) diet is similar to vegetarian but it adds seafood into the meal plate. Eggs are “optional”. The egg part applies to vegetarian too, actually, there’s a term “ovo-vegetarian” for vegetarians who eat eggs.

I started my pescatarian life in January 2019.

Why?

Many people turn vegetarian to defend animal rights, some others do it to be healthier. Some pescatarians started as their transition to vegetarianism.

Honestly, I used to believe I can never be vegetarian. I thought I could never leave red meat and poultry especially knowing how DIVINE Japanese beef is. I thought so in spite of my knowledge that meat production is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, which cause climate change, and I had been a promoter of climate change mitigation for the past 6+ years. In regard to farming, I knew how poisonous our poultry and beef products are. Still, I consciously chose not to cut my emotional bond with beef burgers and chicken karaage.

But last year I was involved in a research on lifestyles carbon footprint. We reviewed lifestyles that are aligned the global climate change goals. From that research I saw how our food choices make up a large portion of our emissions and also a hotspot where reduction will be largely effective.

This research convinced me to make the change. If reducing beef and supporting less carbon-intensive produce help the environment and prevent humanity from damage due to climate change, I will try to do it. 

I’m addition, why put products of poisonous industry into your body? I know how much chemicals they inject to chickens and how polluting animal farms are.

I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint and I strived to be healthier.

So the first step is to cut beef, the largest greenhouse gas emitter.  This wasn’t hard since I hadn’t been cooking much beef anyway (but mainly for economic reasons). I don’t find it a big challenge when eating out either – there are always vegetables and seafood options.

Second on the list are lamb and mutton. Easy – I hardly ever eat them. Chicken is trickier since it’s so common and affordable. But I managed.

Next comes the bigger challenge for me: dairy products and eggs! Forgetting, or even reducing, cheese will be a great and sad life change for me. Honestly, I’m not ready. So for now I just changed cow milk, a part of my staple, to soy. This experience was quite unique.

The first verdict: soy milk sucked in coffee. Thus started my experiment using different flavors (surprisingly there are plenty of soy milk flavors in Japan) and combinations. I told myself if Starbucks could make their Soy Latte work, I can too. 

Then I found the solution: coffee with soy milk works if the soy milk is heated first. So I just added a few minutes of breakfast time to heat soy milk before mixing it with coffee and sugar as usual. It works!

Egg is hard to leave, not because I love it but because it’s so practical and easily found ‘hidden’ in dishes when eating out. For the moment I will keep it in my diet.

Now six months have passed. And it’s not a big deal after all! I don’t miss beef or chicken. I even dislike the taste of chicken now… I buy veggies and fish for home cooking and chose ‘seafood’ or ‘vegetarian’ option when eating out. I follow many vegetarian cooking accounts on Instagram – but I’m actually not a cook and most of the times too lazy to make complicated dishes. :)))

Why not vegetarian? I’m not ready yet. It’s much more challenging as the options are very limited.

I started this in Japan and I’m now adjusting to options and groceries in Jakarta. So far it’s been trickier, not because I can’t resist but because options aren’t plenty.

But I’m sure pescatarian living is doable here and anywhere in the world, it just needs a commitment and a strong start! It’s worth for my better health and avoiding climate change. 

As I learned from yoga, everything we feel and think comes from the mind. The old me thought “I can never be”, but yet now, I am. And it’s nothing too difficult.

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