Somewhere in my late-Winter/early-Spring attempt to get back on the healthy wagon, I overcame my craving for boxed mac-n-cheese and rediscovered east Asian and authentic Mexican food. Now, I’m finding any excuse to stop at the market’s taco counter, and steadily increasing my home supply of rice noodles (only because the preferred Vietnamese restaurant is on the other side of town).
First, the tacos. Forget greasy cheese, limp lettuce and meat sauce. These traditional-street-food babies bring together warm corn tortillas, vegan options like tempeh, rice and beans and nopales (cactus), pescetarian favorites like shrimp, and fresh pico de gallo and avocado. Most of that food is local, I might add. If I get a taco trio (for less than $10), that leaves me enough to do a tasting at the distillery a few steps away. Ok, just kidding (so far. Talk to me after this weekend).
The point of the article is that the current meat industry exists as it does because consumers demanded it. Meat has long been a status symbol, and the people of the United States went a little nuts when they could produce a lot of it, and then eat it for cheap.
As a diet nerd, I pride myself on stellar digestion.
Prepare yourself to join my husband in declaring that you know more than is perhaps necessary about the phenomenon that is my healthy bowels.
While I’m not of the caliber of Mary Roach when it comes to knowing about the workings of human intake and output, I do consider myself well aware of how they operate, and, more importantly, what affects them. Over the past three years, as I’ve moved from meat eater to vegetarian to pescetarian, I’ve also changed my habits regarding the things I do eat. Namely, getting a wide variety of whole grains, reducing dairy intake, cutting sugar and salt and processed foods and trying to eat local/organic/sustainable.
If you search “fish and chicken” in Google images, you get a surprising number of chicken-fish, fish-in-chicken, chicken-in-fish images that range from the oddly realistic to the freakish graphic novel variety. Oh, what a wild world, this realm we call the Internet.
So, here’s the thing. My family is pescetarian. You can read about the beginning of, and reasons for, that lifestyle choice here, if you wish. Long story short, I stopped eating all animal flesh in the Summer of 2010, and reincorporated seafood about a year later. My husband has been pescetarian since the Summer of 2011. We typically eat lots of beans, a moderate amount of eggs and seafood once or twice a week. I eat very little dairy, keeping it mainly to plain Greek yogurt for breakfast.
When I became a vegetarian, the animal flesh I most missed eating was seafood.
This might be because a lot of pork, beef and chicken products are well imitated with various meat substitutes, and easily replaced with items like tofu and beans.
But I have yet to find anything that stands in for a nice salmon fillet or sashimi sampler. I’d only come to know and love sushi in the couple years before going veggie, and it had become a significant part of my diet. More than bacon, more than chicken and yes, even more than steak, I missed eating fishies.
As of yesterday, I have been a vegetarian for exactly one year. The back story to that decision is here.
So, yay me! I wasn’t sure I could do it, but am happy to report that the adjustment was much easier than I’d anticipated, and that I do not feel a void – either emotionally, socially or nutritionally – in my life.
Now, I must admit one thing. I am, at this point, technically a pescetarian, meaning I occasionally eat seafood, though I try to do so with health and eco-responsibility at the forefront of my mind. I decided to reincorporate seafood mainly for health purposes – there’s no denying that fish offers numerous health benefits. It also makes eating anywhere other than home much simpler.