Name: Dr. Tamika M. Carter
Occupation: Internal Medicine Resident Physician and Bakery Owner
Location: Chicago, IL
Website: Sweet Serendipity Bakery
How long have you been pescatarian? And what inspired your journey?
I have been a pescatarian for about 7 years. I decided to become a pescatarian while I was in medical school. During school, practically every other day, I was bombarded with alarming statistics on African Americans and our health risk for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer solely based on our diet and lifestyle. I decided that I wanted to improve these statistics by becoming a cardiologist and educating myself and others within my community.
As a physician, I knew the importance of having a proper diet to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease. I knew that my diet and a healthier lifestyle was very important in order to maintain optimal health so I decided to give up eating meat.
Has pescatarianism enhanced your health? Why or why not?
Being a pescatarian has significantly enhanced my health. Originally I started off as a vegan, but I found that lifestyle to be a bit too challenging for me with my demanding lifestyle, working long hours as well as owning a bakery. As a pescatarian I feel that I make better food decisions and am more conscious about what I put in my body. My diet has helped me see food more as fuel and not as a comfort measure. My diet has helped me lose a great deal of weight over several years. I attribute that to having more energy through out the day from my healthy food choices.
In retrospect, how do you feel about meat? Or do you have any thoughts on America’s meat industry?
I feel that some meat can still be good for the body, but those that are very rare. The meat that the majority of people consume is from animals that are not properly feed and are injected with numerous chemicals. People who think they are still eating healthy foods by eating lean cuts of meat can unconsciously still be harming their body. I believe that the meat industry needs to me more transparent to the consumer and let them know exactly what they are eating.
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 of black women to help me along my journey. In the future, I plan on hosting several community health fairs with an emphasis on diet and exercise within the black community. I believe that there are many misconceptions on being black and not eating meat. I feel that if people had more information, people would be more open to considering other diet regimens.
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So what do you think about so called healthier meets like bison or elk?