As a veterinarian it’s no surprise that I really like animals. I have been a vegetarian for twenty-five years. Technically I am now a pescatarian, meaning I eat seafood in addition to eggs and some limited dairy products. I’ve always felt guilty about eating critters, but I’ve recently had some issues which have made me question my ethics.
Since I’ve been tracking my daily macros (protein, carbs, fats), I’ve been consuming a much higher volume of seafood to meet my protein requirements. I’m the type of person that can eat the same thing every day for lunch, which I did. In hindsight, eating five to eight ounces of tuna every day for a year was not the smartest move. A few months ago I decided to have my mercury levels checked since I consume so much seafood. Not surprisingly, my levels came back super high… toxic soup high. The highest levels my doctor had seen in fact. He advised no seafood at all and I was started on a ton of antioxidants and chelators to hopefully remove the mercury. We had a discussion about just eliminating tuna and known higher mercury containing fish and if my levels did not lower, then switching completely off of seafood.
Faced with the possibility of having to eat animals I hadn’t eaten in twenty-five years kinda freaked me out. I did find a local farm that raises free range chickens and turkeys, which could be a possibility. The whole idea of factory farmed animals really makes me cringe, so finding a local farm with happy animals was a necessity for me if I was going to consider eating them.
Last week I had my mercury levels rechecked and thankfully they have dropped dramatically. As it stands now I’m continuing to eat fish with lower mercury levels and will monitor my blood work every six months. I recognize it is ideal to eat protein from a variety of sources, but being a pescatarian is a decision that allows me to eat with a clearer conscience. I do supplement with protein powders and bars to reduce the quantity of fish I need to consume, and again, I know eating real food is always better. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make at this point.