In January of 2010 I became a pescitarian meaning I don’t eat meat but do eat fish. Dairy is still in my diet but in very limited quantities. I have even begun to lean towards vegan. For me it has less to do with cruelty to animals (don’t get me wrong I do love them) and more about how I feel.
My earliest memory of my tummy aches goes back to when I was four or five. After a day at the beach with my father and sister, I got sick in the car on the way home. It was disgusting and uncontrollable. I’m not exactly what I sure I ate that day, but I could not even digest it.
Many episodes followed along with many trips to the doctor. I was told to stay away from sauces so for years I didn’t eat barbecue, teriyaki and every variation within. That didn’t seem to help. From ulcers to parasites, I was diagnosed with something different from every doctor I saw.
For long periods of time I was on the BRATT diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast and Tea. As you can imagine it wasn’t easy to stick to. I mean really, how long can you live on that?
When I was 23 I went to an acupuncturist. She put me on a diet of whole grain and fruit. It helped somewhat, but I think I was lacking balance because I didn’t feel good on it. To say I felt weak was an understatement and it lasted a short period of time.
I struggled through the next eight or nine years with vomiting and crippling stomach aches. Somewhere in there I created my own “diet” of mostly bread and snack foods. It didn’t make me feel good, but it didn’t leave me sick. I packed on the weight and with more stress from work I become sicker and sicker.
On a trip to the doctor in May of 2010 after more blood tests, I was told I was dehydrated and was showing signs of malnutrition. I was not eating much of anything and would then be so hungry I’d eat whatever I could get my hands on which made things worse than ever.
It was at that point that I began a relationship with someone I had been friends with for a few years. He lived on the other side of the country, but had always had a connection. Love blossomed and before I knew it I left my stressful life behind moving to Michigan to be with him. He taught me patience, supported and believed in me.
He awakened the chef inside of me again. I began cooking healthy food for both of us. I had more time to read labels and began reading books about diet and nutrition. I was paying more attention to my body more than I ever had before. It suddenly dawned on me, every time I ate meat – be it chicken, beef or pork – I didn’t feel well.
We began to eat more fish. I went a few days with eating only fruit, vegetables, whole grain and fish. It was a miracle, within a few days the stomach aches stopped. For the first time in my life I can eat and not be miserable after. My boyfriend encouraged me to take better care of myself. He was at times more concerned about my stomach aches that I was. They had become a fact of life for me, but he noticed how severe it really was.
The decision to remove meat from my diet was easy and hard at the same time. I simply adore BBQ ribs and a good steak. On the flip side I liked not feeling sick all of the time. I read everything I could about becoming a vegetarian. I knew that wasn’t quite for me and settled on pescitarian. I lean toward vegan, but not exclusively.
My diet is well thought out, but easy. It has become all about planning. You MUST have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand at all time. I always find it funny to see vegetarians who eat junk food. I read somewhere they are called French Fry Vegetarians – that’s not me.
Protein comes from soy, nuts, grains and fish. Veggies are the man component of lunch and dinner. This is where having veggies washed and ready is key. Fruit satisfies my sweet tooth. I eat it with every meal and look forward to strawberries and pineapple for dessert.
Even dining out isn’t hard. I have yet to find a restaurant who does not have a vegetarian option. Some are better than others and there is sometimes modifying involved. If you let your server know of your dietary needs they often have offer suggestions.
It doesn’t feel like anything is missing in my life beside the pounds melting off of me. I am eating great tasting filling foods and I feel great.
My lifestyle is for me and I am in no way trying to push my dietary choices on anyone else. My boyfriend still eats meat and I happily prepare it for him. I may indulge at some point, but am well aware it will have consequences.