This may seem a little too late but it is October!! the month of spooky stuff, Inktober, weather transition and it has officially been three years since I became a pescetarian! （〜^∇^)〜 yay!
I didn’t think I would last this long but it has been a strenuous journey. I’ve had to face many arguments, misunderstandings and constantly reminding and explaining people about my eating lifestyle. From a country that I was born in, meat has been largely associated as part of our culture, tradition and religion. Every cuisine must include chicken, lamb, beef etc… and very rarely on fish and veggies because we love our meat!
I started this journey when I was a student living abroad and it just happened that while I was studying, I decided to change my lifestyle. It wasn’t hard since I didn’t have easy access on meat and I was already eating veggies most of the time. Cutting meat out of my life was convenient for me. What I found inconvenient was how ignorant people can be when I decided to live as a pescetarian.
In spite of that, I never stopped myself from explaining extraneously about being a pescetarian. Not many people know about it. Since I don’t really have a valid reason (simply wanting to live this way is not a good enough reason), people I associate with tends to ignore it, telling me that it’s a temporary thing and you will start to miss meat after a couple of years. I only stayed quiet, smile and accept it. You must respect the opinion of others as of your own.
People who were curious about it would question about my health and other changes that has happened to my body. I don’t think it is the product of being a pescetarian but rather, practicing this type of lifestyle has changed my eating habits to a healthier version. I became more conscious about what I consume, and ensuring that I have a balanced meal every time I cook/eat out since I know the repercussions of cutting out a big portion out of your diet can be dangerous.
When eating out, I usually have limited choices in places I can eat. Not having meat means that I would cut out fast food chains and opt for something else. Most mainstream chain restaurants advertise lots of chicken-based menus and offer nothing else. So my friends had to make sacrifices for me and find a place where I can eat but this occur very rarely (most of the times, we don’t even know what to eat and take forever to decide). Fortunately, most places will offer alternatives such as salads or tuna in their menu. Sometimes it can be troublesome, as I find myself in a predicament with my own selfishness which would cause inconveniences to everyone. At this point, if push comes to shove, I would gladly find myself another place to eat on my own to ease everyone’s mind.
I don’t like to find people blaming me/themselves that they can’t eat what they want simply because of me and I don’t ever want to give anyone the liberty to use me as an excuse of not being able to eat what they want. As a parley, I would gladly find someplace else where I can eat comfortably without feeling any resentment afterwards. This is what I have to struggle with most of the time and usually, it’s eating at a relative’s or guests. Occasionally, I find myself having no choice but to eat whatever was served and it’s nothing but meat and rice. However, it’s not like I can’t eat it but rather, after not having them for so long; the sight, taste and smell of meat has made my stomach curdle.
I am eternally grateful for my parents, mostly Mum since she was very conscious about my eating habit. She made sure that, at most times, there would be alternative to meat on the table. Frequently, I would have to prepare on my own, which I am fine with. Father, on the other hand, would often forget that I don’t eat meat and would grin to compensate for a verbal excuse lol ╮(╯∀╰)╭
This further complicate things when I have to face conservatives, mostly coming from the generations before me. Just to make things easier, I simply would say my stomach doesn’t churn well with meat and this is the lifestyle that I choose to live with. For instance, someone whom I spoke to about not eating meat would be telling me that it is wrong because you would be denying the blessings that was given to you. Hence, if the situation opposes it, I won’t retaliate unless I have a choice. I would do this out of respect because of what our ancestors had to live with when life wasn’t made to be easy.
Nothing goes to waste if you really believe in something. It may takes time, yes, time because no one can change themselves in an instant and above everything else, to believe in what you believe in. It takes longer for you to change your mind than someone else’s.
There are no regrets in what I choose to believe and practice as long as I don’t put myself or others in danger. Over time, people who know me well respect my decision and I wouldn’t do any less than to respect them too. This doesn’t mean that I don’t cook meat. I cook meat all the time for my family and just because our lifestyle is different doesn’t mean that I should force my practice on them and vice versa. I can tell you I can cook a pretty damn good lamb shank.