Some of you may have read in an earlier post that for the month of December I decided to avoid all meat, just to see how it made me feel. After a semester of learning how terrible a diet high in saturated fat (mostly found in animal products) is, I decided to see how I felt after a month without meat or poultry.
“Ohhh, okay so your a vegan,” as my dad said. No, not at all. ”I gotcha, a vegetarian.” Nope, not exactly. A pescitarian, dad. ”What?”
And that’s the response I got from most people. So what the difference in the three? According to about.com here are the differences.
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Most vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool.
Vegetarian: When most people think of vegetarian, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians: People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg).
Pescitarian: Occasionally used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. Although the word is not commonly used and a pescatarian is not technically a vegetarian, more and more people are adopting this kind of diet, usually for health reasons or as a stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet. Pescetarians often believe that moderate consumption of fish or fish oils, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, is necessary for optimum health, although vegetarian alternatives, such as flax seed oil, are available.
So what made me a temporary pescitarian? I didn’t eat any meat or poultry, however I did consume eggs, as well as Greek yogurt. Veganism just seemed a little too strict for me.
It has now been over a month since I took my last bite of meat and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The only complications I found were eating dinner somewhere other than home. Explaining to friends or family that I wasn’t going to eat their beautifully cooked meat was a little tough, however I was able to stick to my challenge. Choosing this challenge for myself in the middle of the holiday season probably wasn’t the best idea, but it did help avoid the over indulgence that I usually feel at the end of most holiday seasons.
Do I feel any different? Not really different, however many of my digestion problems have gotten better. I honestly feel lighter on my toes even though my weight remains nearly the exact same. Another thing I did notice was the difficulty of building muscle; I did still eat a lot of protein but it was much more difficult than eating say, a chicken breast. I had to pair different foods in order to ensure I was meeting the proper daily intake levels.
So what’s next? Will I eat meat and poultry in the future? Yes, I’m not ready to completely rid it from my diet, however I will definitely consume less. This challenge helped me see, even more, the over consumption of animal protein in the American diet. There were many meals that, at the end of my grain and vegetable combination, I was completely stuffed and more than satisfied, however, I know that if there would have been meat on my plate I would have eaten it too. I will only consume red meat on rare occasions, but like I said I’m not ready to cut it out entirely.
I did it, I did it! Now I’m ready for a delicious New Years Day meal including meat for the first time in a month!
(Photo from iquotewho.com)