Things I’ve learnt from not eating meat

I have recently become a Pescetarian after stupidly reading this blog post by Natasha Clarke and what I thought would be a simple 2 week fad, has become a 4 month and counting serious commitment.When I told Mr H he smiled, nodded and said something along the lines of “that’s nice”, I don’t think either of us believed I could go this far.

Sure, I miss the idea of eating a plate of bacon or smashing my face into Sunday roast pork slathered with a cranberry jus *drools* but so far, I have (mostly) kept my resolve, and have not really missed my carnivorous ways.

If you’re thinking about giving up meat then here are some of my observations, and if you already are a Pescetarian or full Vegetarian, you might have also noticed some of the below…

1) My cooking at home has become more flavorful and adventurous (veggies can sometimes be boring) and my wine pairings have had to involve much more thought. I have embraced the challenge and love cooking even more now.

2) I have been privy to an alarming amount of poor vegetarian options in restaurants and wineries – next time you go to an average eatery, count how many vegetarian dishes are available and see how many differ from dull pasta dishes, mushroom risotto or “fish of the day”.
There have sadly been far too many wine and food industry events where the vegetarian food has consisted of an alarming amount of potato – mashed, fried, potato-stuffed spring roll – and/or a soggy salad. I may be Vegetarian but I’m not blind or missing my tongue.

3) People don’t seem to understand the concept of no meat. I hate going to braais now because a) people keep telling me I’m cray cray and b) they’ll insist on cooking my veggie supplement e.g. large stuffed mushrooms after they’ve done all the meat which makes me hungry and gives me a dish coated in animal fat.

4) I’ve lost weight. Now this was a weird result, but I’m actually putting it down to the fact that vegetarian options are a lot lighter and have sadly been lacking so I just don’t eat as much.

5) I feel lighter. Not the same as the above, well, not really. It’s more about the fact that I don’t get bloated and I don’t feel weighed down by a gut full of undigested meat (in S.A we eat far too much meat for our bodies to handle thus increasing our chances of colon cancer).

6) I’m a lot more regular. Because you really wanted to know that.

7) I feel like an imposition. I hate being that person who has to fill out “dietary requirements” on an event invite and I know it’s a struggle for wine and food pairing events to have to come up with two menu options.

8) I really like fish.

9) I am poor. Seriously, eating a varied and appetizing veggie/fish lifestyle is incredibly taxing on the pocket. Have you seen the price of nuts today? If you want to be healthy and remove meat, consider become very thrifty with your weekly shopping.

10) One has to have a serious amount of patience in order to briefly but concisely explain to people why I don’t eat meat and to then shrug off the guffawing and comments about being “so hipster right now”.

fish dishes

Disclaimer – I did eat roast New Zealand Lamb when I was in the UK and staying with the family (my mum makes such good roast dinners) – I do feel guilty and I am judging myself, not least because of the distance that poor lamb had to travel and carbon miles are a killer.

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