I wanted to share the news that for lent this year, I have decided to change my diet and become a pescatarian. This means that I am cutting all red meat from my diet and only eating fish and vegetarian products.
For those of you who don’t know what lent is, it’s a Christian tradition where followers of the religion give something up for 40 days, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. We do this to remember the time that Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. I was brought up with the idea of lent, but in previous years I’ve decided to not give anything up because I don’t feel the need to.
But this year, seeing as there’s such a growing vegetarian and vegan influence on major food companies and restaurants I thought giving up red meat would be more of a learning experience for me and able me to broaden my palette and enjoy some new foods that will be on offer.
So, lent started last Wednesday and for it only being a week into my decision to turn pescatarian, I’m actually really enjoying myself. The fact that I’m being more open with my food choices has made me a lot more adventurous with what types of food I’m actually consuming. It’s definitely hard to remember that I can’t eat certain foods, but during this next week I’ll hopefully get into the swing of things.
I thought I’d share my experience with pescatarianism and let you guys know what I’m eating, how I’m getting on and if I continue with it after Easter Sunday.
My Favourite Meals 06.03 – 12.03
Vegan Tikka Masala: I absoloutley love Chicken Tikka Masala so when I saw that there was a vegan tikka, I had to get it straight away. Instead of chicken pieces there was plant protein and if I’m being honest there wasn’t much taste to that itself. But what was amazing was the sauce. The sauce in the tikka tasted almost identical to a chicken one and the plant protein did have a similar texture to chicken breast which made it all rather enjoyable.
With this I had plain boiled rice, mango chutney, a poppadom and naan bread which were all equally as lovely.
Vegan Button Mushroom Bourguignon Pie: I ate this whilst I was out at a pub and it surprisingly tasted so good! I love mushrooms anyway, so to find a pie that I could actually eat during these 40 days was a bonus. The contents of the pie contained button mushrooms and shallots in a bourguignon sauce, all together in a vegan suet pastry and a vegan puff pastry lid. The pastry itself was a little harder than what I’m normally used to, and I’m not sure if that was down to the fact is was vegan pastry or if it was just slightly overcooked. Either way, it was still very much enjoyable to eat.
This meal came with some boiled carrots, garden peas and chips, with a little filled gravy boat.
NANDO’S Mushroom and Halloumi Pitta: So Nando’s is one of my favourite restaurants to eat at at the moment. I tend to order a similar meal every time but knew this time I was going to have to search through the menu for a veggie replacement that I hoped I’d enjoy. Turns out there was an amazing one right under my usual order.
My order was a Mushroom and Halloumi Pitta, Plain (I didn’t want to add the spice to something that I didn’t know if I’d even like, so I played it super safe – I would normally go for Medium on some chicken) with Garlic Bread and Coleslaw which tend to be my go-to sides anyway.
As I explained earlier, I love mushrooms and halloumi is one of my favourite cheese so this was literally perfect for me. There was some lettuce and cucumber in the pitta along with some super tasty chilli jam which made me so happy that I didn’t add any additional spice!
It was really hard for me to not have chicken when I was there but I feel like if I managed to not break under pressure there, then I can achieve the full 40 days!
Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Avocado: Now, I only got into eggs benedict quite recently, and I’m glad I did. My Mum, Brother, Boyfriend and I went out for some brunch during the week and I wasn’t really feeling a veggie breakfast. I was going to work afterwards and so decided to go for the lighter option of the Eggs Benedict.
As extras, I added on the smoked salmon and avocado to try something new and honestly this made it even tastier than the first time I had tried it. I think this was down to the fact that smoked salmon is one of my favourite foods, but I know that from now on I won’t have a portion of eggs Benedict without it!
Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini: This was a little lunch that I made for myself. My mum had done a little shop to prep us for the upcoming 40 days and bought a range of veggie and pescatarian goods. Now I love pasta and hadn’t had any for a while, so when I saw this staring back at me in my fridge it was like a dream.
What’s also great about this is that the tortellini only takes about 5 minutes to cook so I knew I didn’t have to wait! Whilst it was cooking, I cut up a variety of cheese which were Brie, Feta and cheddar with pickled onions in it and mixed it in with the pasta after it was finished cooking. By doing this, the cheese melted and I ended up with a lovely thin layer of cheese sauce.
Another way you could cook it, like my brother did, is to just add some pesto to the pasta instead!
So they’re all of the stand out meals from my first week of lent. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to pescatarian, veggie and vegan foods and look forward to the remainder of the 40 days.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about any of the food above and let me know of any great foods that I should try!