I come from a state where you can find some of the best fried food you will ever taste in your life. At the State Fair of Texas, we never cease to amaze fair-goers with inventive, peculiar creations of oil-cooked-crispy-ness. Oreos, ice cream, alligator, carrot cake (what?!), and even beer (say what?!); you name it, we can probably find a way to batter it up and fry it down. And not to mention the reputation we have for grilling up some of the best barbeque in all of America, so I could only imagine the response I would get when I told people I was a practicing pescetarian from Texas, meaning I don’t eat red meat. A fish eater from the great king state of steak; oh, the irony! Looking back over it now, I’m even a bit tickled at how I acknowledged my Texan background as an authentic, fiery go-getter in a world of plastic and facades by calling out the kale eaters and organic heads of Los Angeles in my “About Me” section. No hard feelings y’all, I like my kale salads and organic fresh-pressed juice, too!* (see disclaimer)
In 2013, before doing a summer internship in Los Angeles, I made the decision to cut out red meat and pork, opting for poultry and seafood options, instead. I mastered that transition smoothly, as I hardly ever indulged in those types of meat anyway with the exception of goat meat, of course (like a true Nigerian). Anyway, as much as I hold down my southern roots, I cannot deny the fact that living here has rubbed off on my diet. Now that I’m a permanent resident of California, I’ve become a lot more health conscious for a number of reasons.
Over time, I grew to understand how much my everyday diet and food choices affected my confidence and happiness. I began to see that if I were sad or stressed, choosing ice cream over exercising put me deeper into that depression. Because I had a bad habit of stress eating, my face began to breakout in ways that I had never experienced, and I started to notice that my skin was (is) extremely sensitive to the certain types of food. My focus, my drive, and my consciousness were all effected by my poor diet choices and detrimental ways of living. I decided enough was enough. I truly wanted to feed my body, mind, and spirit quality food and authentic nourishment. In June 2016, I decided to officially live a pescetarian lifestyle.
Along with a constant frustration of rollercoaster emotions, I put in a great deal of research and self education leading up to the moment of my decision. Did you know that about every 11 months, our bodies utilize whatever we eat and create within us new cells? These cells become things such as our muscles, tendons, hair, and skin. Basically, we are recreated and renewed with our diet choices, so saying, ‘you are what you eat’ is, in fact, a valid statement. Also, there’s a lot of harmful chemicals that go into our food in order to gradually shut off/alter powerful parts of our minds, and there’s a small percentage of powerful people who, for their benefit, want to keep the masses oblivious to this part of their psyche. Hypertension and heart disease are rampant in my family history, so I wanted to take preventative measures to avoid these and other health problems. Lastly, I plan on looking and moving like a thirty-five-year old on the day I turn sixty, and just because the Book of #BlackGirlMagic says I won’t crack, doesn’t give me a pass to neglect my health. Hell, even the finest car will fall apart if it’s not serviced regularly.
To kick start my transition into pescetarian, I embarked on a 2 week Raw Fruit and Veggie Cleanse suggested to me by my amazing mentor, Dr. K Andrews of Human Renewal Institute. The rules of the cleanse were as followed:
- Only raw, organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
- I could only eat at 8 am and 12 noon, allowing my body to remain in growth mode most of the day)
- I couldn’t exercise or work out. This may sound like music to the ears of some, but it was tough for me. A change in diet meant a change in energy levels, and working out would deplete my body’s energy source much faster. Also, it sends the body into a fight or flight mode (i.e. stresses the body)
- I had to drink a gallon of water everyday, preferably spring, distilled, or alkaline water if my budget could handle it. This should usually apply to any diet.
- I was urged to get plenty of rest which, again, should be protocol for any lifestyle.
- She suggested that I keep a diary of my 2 week process to track what I was feeling and the changes my body went through.
During the first 2 days for most people, the symptoms get worse before things start to clear up. For me, I didn’t feel as bad as I’d imagined. Matter of fact, I felt as though the cleanse would be easy because my sudden change of diet and food intake didn’t cause me many cravings. By day 4, the side effects hit me like a ton of bricks. I became irritable, I was fidgety all the time, and my oral fixation came out tough, as I longed for the sensation of chewing when I was not eating. And all I wanted was salt and sugar; talk about withdrawals! Even though I slipped up once or twice (or three times- whoops) I kept going. I had to remember not to be too hard on myself for messing up because, as with any drastic change, it was certainly a process.
I challenge you to challenge yourself. You don’t have to switch to a pescetarian lifestyle or anything similar, but test any eating habits you want to change, even if only for a week. Make sure to keep a daily recording of any physical, mental or bodily changes you experience while doing so. As long as you are living and breathing, it’s never too late to invest in your health and vitality.
*I’m still a southern fried and ambitious Texan lady in the sea of plastic, kale eating Los Angeles. All day, everyday.
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