Benefits of a vegetarian/pescetarian diet: My transition to a (mostly) meat-free lifestyle

July 6, 2012 in lifestyle, Member Stories

Lately, I’ve been considering cutting meat out of my diet. After a recent walk home from an indulgent dinner of General Tso’s chicken at a local Chinese restaurant, I realized just how sluggish I felt. Typically, I’m the girl that craves burgers and loves buffalo wings paired with a beer at the bar, but I’ve given up meat and poultry once before and saw real benefits from it. I lost a little weight and felt like I had more energy. So, now I’m ready to make the transition back to a mostly meat-free diet. Allow me to explain what I mean when I say “mostly meat-free.” I’m not opting for strict vegetarianism. I’m leaning toward taking on the pescetarian diet- avoiding red meat and poultry by opting for seafood alternatives instead. I also think placing a ban on all meat could be too tall of an order for me- more on that later.

Ever thought of trying out the vegetarian/pescetarian side of life? There are many benefits from taking the plunge. Cutting down on meat can lower your risk for heart disease by reducing calories, saturated fat and lowering the bad cholesterol in your diet, says the Mayo Clinic. And if you’re into eco-friendliness, you can feel extra good knowing that cutting back on meat can ultimately reduce your carbon footprint, another benefit touted by the Meatless Mondays movement.

I plan to do things a little differently in my second attempt to cut back on meat by actually cooking tasty, healthy vegetarian food instead of just opting for a tuna sandwich. I found a few websites that could be helpful to the vegetarian or pescetarian in the making:

Vegetarian Times- So many recipes and so many tips for the not-so-kitchen savvy (i.e., me). The recipes can be complex, but you can definitely find something with a short list of simple ingredients. They also have recipe sections for people with specific diets, such as dairy-free, gluten-free or low-fat. Even better, they offer a nutrition table on their recipes so you can have an idea of just what you’re eating.

Pinterest can be a fun way to find new recipes. After you’ve created an account, go to the top left and search for the type of diet you’re looking for (I searched under “pescetarian”) and you’ll be able to see other people’s favorite dishes with imbedded links to the recipes. I found this grilled shrimp po-boy recipe on there that I’d like to make in honor of my New Orleans roots.

My attempt at the Tassajara warm red cabbage salad from

101 Cookbooks- A friend of mine who likes to cook healthy food suggested this site to me. It’s based on the author, Heidi Swanson’s, collection of over 100 cookbooks featuring recipes with natural and/or whole ingredients. On the site, you can pick out recipes based on a main ingredient or type of dish. I’ll admit, these recipes seem a little adventurous for someone who could just as easily resort to a PB&J sandwich (once again-me), but I gave this Tassajara Warm Red Cabbage Salad a shot. Though I’m sure Heidi’s came out better than mine (see photo), I’d re-visit the recipe again to perfect it.

Don’t feel like cooking? Been there. Check out this list of meat-free restaurants in the Boston area from the Globe where a salad isn’t the only meat-free option. I’m a HUGE fan of the Clover Food Lab food trucks.

Afraid of branding yourself a vegetarian? MayoClinic’s discussion on a vegetarian diet also introduced me to taking on the role of a “flexitarian”- someone who mainly eats fruits and veggies, but will occasionally take off the vegetarian hat and have meat, poultry or fish. So, if you find yourself craving some barbeque this summer season, go ahead and indulge. If anyone asks, you’re a flexitarian. That’s what I plan on saying ;)

4 responses to Benefits of a vegetarian/pescetarian diet: My transition to a (mostly) meat-free lifestyle

  1. Hello, I am a pescetarian due to the Mayo Clinic and a documentary by Sanja Gupta. Since November I went cold Turkey and dove into the life of a pesca. I only eat fish less than once a week and at that I tend to move towards sustainable fish when I do eat fish. I would rather not eat fish at all but my husband worries. I started this for him after watching a documentary but soon I did feel better. I can attest I have not lost weight, but maybe I didn’t need to. I exercise on a regular basis. I do not consider myself fat. I find it difficult to explain my diet, but go to a local fair and walk around and look at the animals. You will feel like a real jerk knowing you are slaughtering or hindering their life for your diet habits. Read a book and consider the effects on animals. Open a paper and read the warnings on Mad Cow, swine flu or even recalls on products.

    I think it comes down to education. I love it when someone says meat is important because god wouldn’t make animals if we weren’t supposed to eat them. Right, and if we mere meant to fly we would be born with wings then.

    I urge anyone to try to be a vegan for a month.

  2. I am thinking about a Pescetarian diet for how I feel. I have no moral code in regards to eating animals. I also appreciate the term flexitarian. Thank you!

  3. A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. ‘;*:

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  4. Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, along with the concept of animal rights. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic.`:;`

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