The LD staff decided it was high time we all made health a priority. Enter Wellness Wednesdays, a series of weekly health challenges by LD writers (and editors!) where we commit to seven days of healthy habits and share the results with our readers. This week’s challenge: Pescatarian
This Week’s Participant: Cassie
I decided to take part in a pescatarian challenge for health reasons. For months, I have been experiencing constricting abdominal pain in my upper right quadrant. As young I am, I initially thought the culprit must be my gallbladder because of my family history. However after tests and doctor’s consults, my gallbladder proves to be normal and functioning at full capacity.
After learning the results, I decided it was time to try dietary alternatives to see if I had any food sensitivities. I would rather live life the rest of my life with an altered diet instead of experiencing constricting abdominal pain long term. For a week, I challenged myself to cut out meat except for fish to still get protein but cut out the higher fat content of other meat products.
Day One (Monday, January 9): I stopped by my favorite coffee shop for a lavender latte to kickstart my week. Breakfast also included yogurt with honey, cinnamon granola and blackberries. The day was going well until I realized I had a hair appointment and no time for dinner. Luckily, I had plenty of food leftover from the previous day’s brunch of a smoked salmon hash for lunch and dinner. I need to prioritize my dietary health more often and plan my meals accordingly.
Day Two (January 10): My workplace has been going through renovations. I needed to pack up my office, and I skipped breakfast as a result. To get a few minutes of fresh air, I treated myself to veggie-packed lunch and chia iced tea from the local cafe. My initial plan of healthy-eating fell through the cracks as I stress-ate loaded veggie nachos for dinner. Yeah, I really fell off the wagon on this one.
Day Three (January 11): My abdominal pains have lessened immensely, except for this morning (no more bingeing on loaded nacho ugh). On this day, I determinedly ate a breakfast of yogurt, granola and blackberries among the hubbub of construction in the office. No matter the happenings of the day, I need to focus on my food intake for a balanced life.
Twice a year Pittsburgh hosts restaurant week where dozens of restaurants offer deals and incentives for locals to join the celebration. I opted for a five course meal at a Mediterranean restaurant with one of my pals. I brought Prosecco for a treat and could barely eat half the courses.
Day Four (January 12): I skipped breakfast again. This seems to be a theme for the week, which is no one else’s fault but mine. The company bought pizza for everyone and was nice enough to order a veggie pizza for me. I hate to say it, but pizza just doesn’t always appeal to me like before. My Mediterranean leftovers were a welcome treat for dinner. Living life as a pescatarian is absurdly easy and hasn’t been a challenge yet.
Day Five (January 13): My body has adjusted to the diet. However, I am finding that I can only eat small portions of food every three hours or so. As a result, I need to be extremely aware that my food needs to hold as many nutrients as possible. It’s difficult to eat every few hours, because I’m driving all day for work. I treated my body poorly as I only consumed a bowl of soup for lunch, Greek veggie pita with homemade chips for dinner and a few beers for late night fun.
Day Six (January 14): Saturday definitely rates high on my best day of this dietary change. For breakfast, I ate half a gruyere, snap peas and caramelized onion omelet. Then at lunch, I opted for a grilled romaine caesar salad. As a tradition between my fellow and I, we stopped at a local restaurant for happy hour for oysters. After three oysters and one fish taco, I was absurdly full. But it wasn’t surprising that I was ravenous four hours later. The late night tapas bar really tempted me for the first time to order meat. The lamb couscous was making my mouth water immensely. Instead, we ordered arancini, which is a deep fried satisfaction.
Day Seven (January 15): Since I’m eating a lot less food now, I consumed Saturday’s leftovers for Sunday’s breakfast and lunch. Then I ate veggie-loaded quinoa for dinner, which left me rather hungry later. I avoided temptation to eat a brownie and just went to bed earlier.
I was surprised how little temptation I had for meat. I really tried to focus on substitute foods that incorporated more vegetables and fruits rather than carbohydrates. It became easier and easier to choose foods that gave me energy. However, I have a far way to achieve a healthier food lifestyle. By becoming a pescatarian, I believe this is a step in the right direction for dietary consciousness.
Although I have never been an abundant consumer, I am more aware than ever of my portions. My body deserves the proper nutrition as I find ways to incorporate more vegetables and fruits and less carbohydrates and dairy products. I will continue the diet for a month and see how my body reacts to this life change. As of right now, I have barely felt the stomach pangs that really disrupted my life last year.