Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monthly Challenge: Pescatarian Diet

This month I decided to challenge my diet and try something new: for the month of November, I would live the Pescatarian life (no meat except fish)!
Why did I decide this? Well aside from my decision to engage in regular monthly challenges (more on this later!) it had to do with that ever annoying fact of life: vacation weight.
At the end of October, Kris and I finally went on a trip we’d been talking about for years: road tripping down from Toronto, through the US, and back.
we hit Cleveland, Chicago, Louisville, Nashville... we saw a lot, drank a lot and ate a lot... too much in fact.  
Vacations always mean letting your health slide a bit, especially when it comes to food; but after a week of rest-stop fast food joints and fried everything, I was missing veggies.  Not only did I not look great, but I didn’t feel great either.
So on our drive home I made my decision: I would eat a pescatarian diet for the next month to see how it made me feel. My goals were simple:
  • Shed those vacation pounds
  • Force myself to eat more veggies
  • Diversify my cooking
  • Give my body a pre-holiday-season break
Once I had made my decision, I decided on a few easy rules.
The first was the biggie: even though I was allowing myself to eat fish, I could only do it a few times a week. The point of this challenge was not to replace chicken with fish. But with no-nuts and a boyfriend who doesn’t like chickpeas (or black beans, or lentils), there’s only so many sources of protein available.
The second rule was that I wasn’t going to impose my new diet on anyone. If you’re making a full life change, you should let people know ASAP, but I wasn’t about to make my family and friends lives more difficult for the few food interactions we may have together in a single month. 
Finally, I had a hard and fast mantra that just because pizza can be vegetarian, it doesn’t REALLY meet the requirement of “more veggies”. Skipping meatballs with pasta? Same deal.  My last rule was to try new things and add MORE veggies, not just remove meat.
So how did this little experiment go? Let’s start with the successes! 
  • I lost weight! I have never lost vacation weight that quickly in my life (and then some!). My face looks thinner and I feel AWESOME.  
  • My gut health is on point. Not to get too gross but my life is even MORE “on the reg”, Plus I'm not bloating! 
  • I shook up my cooking. I probably could have done more, but I did manage to eat a metric ton of broccoli, rediscover parsnips, create delicious stuffed mushrooms and perfect my homemade jalapeño salsa Fresca! 
  • A few slip ups. Because I didn’t broadcast my new diet, I ended up eating a few pieces of chicken (2 meals to be precise) at Kris’ parents. Again, I’m totally ok with that versus the alternative, especially since they’ve already stopped cooking beef to accommodate my 2017 resolution
  • Not enough food! My first few days I was pretty hungry because I forgot that you have to eat so many MORE vegetables to get the same calories as you would from a small piece of chicken. There was an incident where Kris only used half the broccoli we had in a stir fry, and while he was happily eating his chicken on the side, I was mentally blowing up his head with my mind, because I get hunger rage
  • Restaurants are BORING. I have new respect for my vegetarian friends, the no meat options at restaurants are terrible, even the added option of fish often didn’t help. I often had only 2 or 3 things to choose from. Terrible. 
  • I felt a little left out at my family birthday dinner. We went for Indian food (my choice) which is a vegetarian delight. But while I was munching away on paneer dishes, everyone else was chowing down and sharing the wider assortment of food that smelled SO good. It was still a great night though!
So, would I recommend going Pescatarian? 
Am I going to make a life commitment: No
While I am happy with how I feel, and really enjoyed trying new things, I’m not connected with the idea of giving up meat all together. I definitely feel more confident in my ability to eat meat free though, and will try to continue to do so more days a week then I don’t. 
But I frankly am looking forward to more restaurant variety again... and also rotisserie chicken!
Have you ever challenged yourself to a particular diet? Do you live a pescatarian, vegetarian, or even vegan lifestyle? Are you basically a carnivore and think I’m nuts? Let me know down in the comments!! 
xxox, Laura