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10 Things I’ve Learned Being A Vegetarian (Who Loves Sushi)


10 Things I've Learned Being A Vegetarian (Who Loves Sushi); Artichoke

Two years ago today I woke up a pescatarian. The thought had been floating around in my mind for a new weeks before that (watching Princess Mononoke was the final push I needed – have you seen it?) but I called it quits with meat on February 16, 2012. And while I'm not a full vegetarian (how could I say no to sushi?!) I do feel better since cutting out other meaty foodies. Here are a few things I've learned in the last two years

10 Things I've Learned Being A Vegetarian (who can't give up sushi)

  1. Eating things with faces creep me out. And this obviously extends to fish as well (which is why I'm working on cutting it out of my diet completely) but something about eating any other animal has officially started to freak me out.
  2. Vegetables are awesome. Including brussels sprouts. And cauliflower. You know, things that I would never dream of eating before.
  3. I still don't love fruits. Pass the vegetables, please.
  4. I don't miss meat. Okay, except bacon. Is it weird that I actually had a dream about bacon last week? Besides that, I haven't had any sort of meat cravings in the last 2 years.
  5. Having dinner with other people can be awkward. I always feel a bit weird when people invite me over to dinner and I have to awkwardly inform them that I don't eat meat. And I end up feeling bad … but not bad enough to eat meat.
  6. Some people think it is stupid to be a vegetarian or pescatarian and like to tell you. Repeatedly. Hey, I used to be that person!
  7. Cooking is more fun and an adventure. My old dinners consisted of chicken or beef and carbs and a salad. Now they consist of at least 3 different types of vegetables and maybe a carb or starch. It has been a lot of fun getting creative with new recipes.
  8. I crave healthier foods. For some reason I've been craving healthier foods in general since becoming a pescatarian.
  9. I really want to stop eating fish. My heart honestly hurts every time I eat fish. Yes, even sushi.  I recently saw this quote and it pretty much sums up how I feel:

    “I went snorkeling and noticed how gently the fish welcomed us into their world, compared to the violence with which we welcome them into ours.  That incident caused me to became a vegetarian” (Syndee Brinkman, I think).

  10. But I really love sushi. And it probably isn't going anywhere any time soon.

Anyway, happy 2 years to me! I'm actually pretty proud that I've been (mostly) meat-free for the last two years.

Have you experimented with cutting meat out of your diet?

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Nicole is a treasure hunter and pup mama located in Seattle, Washington. Loves travel, politics, lifestyle, TV, & wine. She's an unapologetic SJW & feminist AF.

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  • Ember Grey

    Happy Anniversary!! I’ve been a pescatarian for 15 years now and can relate to most of this!! (Especially how people always feel bad when we’re out to dinner and it comes up that I don’t eat meat. It’s like- I’M a vegetarian for my personal reasons, I don’t expect everyone else to be too!) And I’m with ya- I just don’t think I could ever give up sushi. Vegetables rule! :)

    • 15 years, wow!! that is incredible! Have you ever had thoughts of going back to meat at all?

      • Ember Grey

        I have, actually, a few times! One time (this has been like 10 years now) I even ordered a filet because I was craving it and the second it was put on the table in front of me I was like I CAN’T DO THIS! I still crave red meat from time to time and love the smell of bacon but I just don’t think I could or would ever go back. Lots of reasons but the main two being my health and the lives of the animals ;) (That’s how this whole thing started for me, ya know. Freaking PETA.)

  • Haha #6 made me laugh. I would probably never be a vegetarian, but I only judge people for cutting meat out of their diets when they do it for reasons that don’t really make sense or aren’t healthy about it (like my college roommate, who said she didn’t eat meat because there were too many calories, but then ate a bucket of ice cream every night in the dining hall – wait, what?). I think there are plenty of (other) valid reasons to not eat meat, but none of them are for me. I do give up meat for Lent quite often, though, and I find the hardest part is when I’m at a restaurant and want to order meat. Otherwise, I just don’t buy meat and then I find other things to make instead!

    • ha! okay, I hate to judge other people, but cutting out meat only to substitute it with ice cream is a little ridiculous! I’ve heard of a lot of people becoming vegetarians and then eating nothing but processed junk food. I suppose everyone has their own reason for doing it but that sure doesn’t align with my own personal goals

  • BlushandBarbells

    I’ve been a pescatarian for a couple of years now too. I like to pretend that I only eat wild-caught fish that wasn’t farmed, but I’m only fooling myself. No crabs or lobsters either.
    I miss pork and beef every time I walk by the Cuban bakery, which is several times a week. But I can just be satisfied with sugary pastries and skip the cruelty.

    • Me too! I wish that I could find only wild-caught fish but it is so hard to track where fish comes from (especially in restaurants). I guess I do miss beef once in a while … like when I go past a Korea BBQ place!

  • Congratulations! Although you’ll have to teach me your brussels sprout ways- I’ve never found a recipe that’s made them palatable to me. But that being said… I could eat fruit all day. x

    • oh man, Amanda, they are so good! I marinate them in olive oil, aged balsamic, lemon juice, and garlic. Then roast them at 400 degree until tender. so good, I promise!

  • That’s a great achievement, to stick to a conviction for 2 years when it can be hard! Well done :) I cannot handle brussel spouts, but I often find veggie dishes more interesting than ones with meat.

  • I wish I was more like you, I am team fruit all the way but trying to get better about more vegetables as well! I don’t crave meat but I do crave sushi, luckily the avocado rolls are one of my favorites!

  • i’ve always thought about maybe trying to be vegetarian but instead, i just cut down my meat consumption. that’s a lie, i cut down my red meat consumption but i eat a lot of chicken. i thought about switching to fish but damn, fish is expensive! and i don’t like the farmed fish so the wild fish is hella expensive.

    my SIL is a vegetarian; been one for most of her life.

    • fish is SO expensive, especially the good stuff. But judos for cutting down on the red meat!

  • I always feel guilty when I eat meat with a friend who is a vegetarian. Luckily most of the time people don’t mind if other people eat it as long as they don’t have to!

    • oh, I bet nobody wants you to feel guilty! I never mind when people eat meat around me :)

  • Jessica Gehman

    I’m really interested in trying to go more meat free – although mine is mostly financially driven. We try to eat very local-ganic, and the local, organic beef and chicken is starting to break the bank. I can buy $1 worth of kale and it fills me up as much as $6 worth of beef. Ugh.

    • I actually switched to organic, veg-fed beef and chicken before cutting it out entirely. And man, it was SPENDY! I’ll all for filling upon Kale vs beef :)

  • jenn miltenberger

    Good list! I had a vegetarian childhood, then vegan into college…and then i started eating sushi so I can relate. I still eat sushi. If I eat meat, I try to get organic and free-range meats so I feel a little less bad about the animals lives.

    • how was it being vegan? I’ve been wanting to go vegan for some time now but it seems like it would be so difficult to eat out!

      • jenn miltenberger

        I lived in a vegan friendly city in college (richmond, virginia) so that probably helped! There are restaurants that are all vegan. When going out with friends to a meat-friendly place, you eat healthier because you eat more raw veggies and less carbs. :)

  • Oooh, I’ve been debating becoming a vegetarian or pescetarian for a few years now… more seriously over the past year or so. It’s just that Jurgen is a HUGE meat lover so I feel like it would mess up our grocery and eating routine. I don’t really like meat and usually go vegetarian when we eat out anyways… should I just finally take the plunge?

    • you totally should! I bet it wouldn’t mess up your grocery list too much, especially if you switch to having meat as more of a side than a main. There are always meat substitutes that can be used when it is burger night (although I don’t eat them too often since I try to limit my soy intake). Let me know if you want to chat about it!

  • I struggle with this too. I’d love to even be a Vegetarian. I already barely eat meat. But at this point I still do occasionally. I think about the animals I’m consuming and I don’t waste. Maybe in the future I can do it but right now I don’t really want to. Also, I have some very strict vegan friends and they are super condescending and preachy. I just want to tell them to relax.

  • David

    I think Brussels sprouts are so underrated. Roasted with some garlic or vinegar and it’s an awesome side dish.

  • I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I’m with you on the faces… GROSS!!!!!!!

  • 2 years – awesome! I still eat fish, too. Mainly because I love it and I just can’t imagine having a truly plant based diet, especially when I’m out to eat. But, it is in my long term goals to give up fish, too. Shrimp is actually my real downfall, so if I can mentally give up that – I’ll be good to go!

  • We eat three vegetarian meals each week, and for the other days, meat is more of a side-dish than the main course. This method works out well for us and we don’t have to worry about not getting all of the nutrients we need. When I have dinner parties, I always ask if there is something someone can’t eat, because I want all of my guests to go home happy and well fed. :)

  • I feel gross about eating things with faces too. oh and as for bacon – the Morningstar fake bacon is pretty good. I don’t eat it alone but it’s good on an English muffin with cheese and/or eggs. and bacon bits (I think the bacos brand?) are actually veg too – they’re soy based or something. I’ll sometimes add those to my salads. there are so many alternatives now so it makes it a lot easier!

  • Angie

    Happy 2 years!
    Veggie rolls are pretty good, that’s what I get whenever I go to a sushi place, edamame on the side and a cold beer is one of my favorite meals!
    #6 is so true. I am a vegan and still don’t get why people like to comment on my diet. It’s strange.

    • thanks, Angie! How long have you been a vegan? And your sushi meal sounds like perfection!

      • Angie

        I have been a vegan for 1 1/2 years now, and a vegetarian for almost 8.

  • I am a late-in-life convert to the awesomeness of Brussels sprouts but I pretty much only know how to make them with prosciutto so I’d love to see your vegetarian recipes for them!

    • oh man, looks like I need to share a recipe. I like them with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and sometimes balsamic. so delicious!

  • 2 years! Good for you :) I love my vegetables too! Oh and sushi, I’m a bit of an addict! X

  • I love sushi too. In your two years of eating vegetarian have you come across any must-share recipes? (Hint hint). I’m always on the look out for healthy dinner ideas.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

  • Congrats on 2 years. I just passed the 7 month mark on the 16th. Becoming vegetarian has opened my eyes (and stomach) up to so many amazing foods I had ever had before. I am loving all the new discoveries.

    • congrats on 7 months!! I honestly thought that the first 6months were the most difficult. After that it got a lot easier! Are you tempted to go back to meat?

      • Thanks. Honestly, I didn’t eat a lot of it before so I haven’t missed it much. Maybe a couple times and one of them I was drunk so that doesn’t count. lol

  • a vegetarian and no fruits?! i would not be able to live! but seriously this is awesome!

    • I know. To be fair I do try to eat some fruits (bananas & oranges) but my favorite fruits seem more like vegetables: avocados and tomatoes!

  • That’s a pretty cool accomplishment! 100% meat-loving over here, but I can totally respect your love for the veggies (even if you still can’t give up sushi, but hey, I don’t blame you, it effing AWESOME).

  • I went veggie for two years and loved it. People were always silly though and couldn’t fathom how you can go without meat. I still don’t eat much meat and when I think about it i get really grossed out.

    • I get pretty grossed out too. I never mind if people eat meat around me but I honestly am grossed out when I’m around it. Although … it smells so good!

  • I also have never been very into fruits. I love veggies though! I absolutely love that quote you shared — really need to write that one down.

  • ah, you’re such a nice host! I’ve been in a few awkward situations, unfortunately :(

  • I’ve been a pescatarian for about seven years with about 2 years of no fish in between, and I have to say that cutting the fish definitely had a negative impact on my health – likely because I wasn’t being smart about getting all those good B vitamins and omegas and what have you. I also feel guilty about eating too much fish – especially shrimp for some reason! I think because you eat it pretty much exactly as it looked when it was alive.
    I’ve never really had a hard time with people telling me that my choices were stupid, but some people love to point out the alleged hypocrisy of still eating fish when I don’t eat other animals … Sigh :p

    • I have a really hard time eating crabs for some reason. Shrimp I can do but I’ve pretty much stopped with crab lately because it makes me feel so guilty!

  • Although I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat at all, and I can totally relate to many of these! Especially things with faces creeping you out. I cannot eat something where the dead carcass is laying in front of me. I just can’t. And it is sometimes so awkward with friends, especially at dinner parties, because there are so many types of meat I don’t eat at all, and then some that I am very picky about (i.e. free range, etc.) that I have a hard time trying to figure out how to get around this and be polite.

    • finding a balance between being polite and doing what is best for you can be so tricky! I had the same problem when I ate meat. I remember seeing somebody cook a whole pig and I thought “no way am I eating that”.

  • That is awesome! Especially with how enticing bacon is:) I hadn’t had bacon for a what seemed like years until a few weeks ago when I ate a huge BLT. It was delicious, but I felt like a was oozing salt for days after that. I love the idea of opening myself up to trying new foods and not relying solely on meat. I’ll have to start with baby steps:)

    • yay to baby steps!

      but seriously, I’ve been tempted to have a blt at times. Although the smell kind of turns me off nowadays.

  • Ruckus the Eskie

    I love fruits and meat! You’re impressive!

  • Happy 2 years! I have seen Princess Mononoke but it has been several years, I know it has an environmentalist theme but can’t remember a specific about meat or vegetarianism. What is the relationship?

    • So Princess Mononoke doesn’t have a specific vegetarianism theme but the general theme of taking care of / respecting our environment really solidified the point for me. Also, have you seen Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind? That movie, even more so, made me want to put off meat forever.

  • Kristin

    GREAT list! You’re so right about it. People always feel like they have to cook something different for me, but I usually enjoy side dishes more than a main! Unless you’re only offering steak & potatoes, I can probably find something that works (except when we were home for the holidays D’s parents did a frozen lasagna with no sides except bread and a teeny, tiny salad…haha!). The only meat I sort of miss is sausage…especially if D is cooking it. Sushi…just yes. Always.

    • oh yes, I love the side dishes. In fact, I feel like most dinners I make are only side dishes :) I do miss sausage / hot dogs at baseball games but a lot of parks have great substitutes now!

      • Kristin

        Sausage, yes! Honestly, there are some things that just ARE better with real sausage. I still try to be lenient on myself when I travel (sausages in Germany would be a MUST) and for beer dinners.

  • SimplyEvani

    Man I don’t know if I could ever live without sushi. It is legitimately the food I would request as my last meal on earth ever. But heck if I did give it up, we’d probably save a lot of money?