Name: Sibyl Collins Wilson
Age: 45 on August 27th!
Occupation: Doctoral student, President of a Public School Academy
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Website: Sibyl’s Ruminations
How long have you been pescatarian? And what inspired your journey?
Over the past seven months, I gradually moved into a pescatarian lifestyle. While I found more success in a vegan diet (not full vegan lifestyle), I experienced more consistency in pescatarianism.
After a serious hypertensive incident that caused me to be hospitalized in December 2010, and a failing gallbladder in January 2011, I needed healing. My pastor, Dr. Gertrude Stacks, prayed for me and instructed me to change my diet, eliminating the deleterious foods and snacks that were aggravating my arthritis, hypertension, and gallbladder in addition to threatening my life. I jumped on it immediately and it changed my life.
Has pescatarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
Yes, this new lifestyle has enhanced my health. I have lost almost 50 pounds in the last seven months, my mind is clearer, and I am happier. I no longer have consistent chest pains, my sweets and sugar cravings have almost ceased, and I am no longer bloated. One of my prescriptions has been reduced, and my doctors are happy at the progress they have seen. Finally, I have much more energy and was able to walk around an entire outlet mall last week without having to sit or rely on a car to get from section to section.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I have no desire for pork at all (I gave that up more than 20 years ago), I can’t go back to beef because it would disrupt my system. Chicken and turkey still turn my head, but I have discovered seitan and other alternatives that are taking their place along with my fish. I am surprised that even my beloved fish and shrimp are sometimes not as attractive to me, and I am just as likely to order a meal without them as I used to be likely to order them.
In regards to the meat industry, it bothers me that most food is no longer safe and I worry about people, especially in the African American and minority communities and lower classes, who refuse to see the nature of the industry and its effects on people. I have seen what overindulgence has done, not only in my life, but that of my family and friends. It hurts that our people are afflicted and dying because of unawareness or stubbornness.
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?
There was not a community, per se, but several influencers. One of the church mothers always used to talk about “not eating anything with a face”. That was the funniest thing to us. But I remember I stopped eating lamb when I was about nine and realized that “Mary had a little lamb” was the lamb on my plate! My sister-in-law went vegetarian more than 10 years ago, I think, and I thought that was strange, until I saw how well she looked for her age. It makes you think! Finally, I made several trips to California over the past 20 years, and that is a completely different food culture than back home. I started to become a health food junkie. Also, my colleagues’ wife owns a vegan pastry business. It all comes together.
Starting with my home, I have not migrated my sons to a complete vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian lifestyle, but I have always created innovative ways to increase their veggies (I make a mean spinach lasagna and a spinach/seafood one as well!). I have always restricted their sweet intake, and I am a firm believer that humans were make to drink human milk and then find other forms of calcium and vitamin D. In my community, however, I have had an opportunity to make a difference. As President of the board for a local academy, I helped find a food vendor who based their menus on healthy foods, unique blends of fruits and vegetables, and have a plan to demystify food for children. They offer vegetarian options and fresh wrap stations daily for the children’s lunch. The company will also run seminars for the parents and the children on healthy eating. Through this, we will be able to impact 1,500 children and their families along with decreasing the amount of food thrown away at lunch daily. I’m excited about my new life!
Are you a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian? Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.