Name: Jeanee Duval
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Location: Kansas City, MO
Website: Dirty Laundry
How long have you been pescatarian? And what inspired your journey?
I’ve been pescatarian since January 2005. Going off to college and living on my own, I found that I wasn’t a big fan of red meat. Growing up, my father BBQ’d so much that I became sick of ribs. At BBQs, I primarily ate the side dishes: spaghetti, corn, and potato salad, rather than piling meat onto my plate.
Shortly after, I found that my co-worker and good friend is a vegetarian. We’d have lunch together every day, so I became more interested in her salads, sandwich wraps, and veggie pizzas. I learned how to modify meals to make them vegetarian at non-vegetarian restaurants, I stopped eating fast food, and found myself disappointed when my Chicken Caesar Salad came with too much chicken.
Later, I met my now husband, and he’s vegetarian. For him, it started off as a medical reason, but then moved into the simple desire to be healthy. I think he was surprised that I didn’t eat meat when we went on those 1st impression dates. I was eating vegetarian out of respect for his diet, and simply starting to dislike meat.
Has pescatarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
After five months of dating my husband, I learned so much from him as far as meat substitutes and soy products. I was happy that he’d been around the block, tried everything, and knew what veggie brands were good. He also informed me of where our meat comes from. And that’s where I started to get concerned about what I was putting in my body.
I went home for the holiday and nearly got ill from the ham, turkey and stuffing. Thus, I made the choice to go pescatarian. But for the past two years, my fish intake has been very little. I’m just not interested in fish at the moment. However, if I happen to go on vacation near the ocean and the fish is fresh, I will treat myself.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I don’t want to start preaching about food, as I believe everyone is entitled to decide what they put into their bodies. However, I dislike the gaminess of meat, but still enjoy the flavor. Regardless, I don’t like what meat does to our bodies: the fat and calories.
Additionally, America’s meat industry is awful: the conditions animals live in, how they’re fed to get fatter quicker, and the way meat is produced. It’s all just plain gross.
Moreover, the myths of African-American soul food, what it means to eat black, and the “availability” of fresh food in black communities need to be dispelled. It saddens me to see so many obese black women. I live in the capital of BBQ and my husband and I are able to find plenty of alternatives to have at home and eat out.
Was there a community of black women that helped you along your meatless journey? And if not, what are you doing to change this for others?
No black women helped me along my meatless journey. My mother still cooks canned vegetables to death and uses Lawry’s seasoning salt. However, I know a black pescatarian couple, and both grew up vegetarian. It helps to know that my husband and I are not alone. I love to cook and bake, so I share my creations on my blog and Flickr. My husband and I do Tofu Tuesdays! I’m also a Zumba fitness instructor, so I try to share food and healthy eating tips on my Zumba blog.
Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian? Email email@example.com if you’d like to be featured in the Black Female Vegetarian Series. Check back every Tuesday and Friday for a new profile! Click to read past profiles here.
Thanks for sharing my story!
@Jeanee: This is a great article. I love this series. It’s so inspiring and needed. I am technically obese and I’m on my weight loss journey, and this series is my rock. I try to share it every time I run into a person who wants to change their health.
Thanks Frugivore, Arielle Loren, and all the brave brothers and sisters that have shared their stories.