Get ready to feel better! I am excited to announce that my 10-day pescatarian challenge has begun! The official dates are, June 5 and ends on Tuesday, June 14.
For those of you who are curious about the pescatrian lifestyle, this is your chance to give it a try. Be sure to check with your health care provider before starting the challenge if you have any health concerns.
Ten days may not be long enough to leave you with a set of completely new diet habits, but it will leave you with an idea of what to expect and the right social network to get you there.
There are no hard and fast rules to the challenge – simply eat a healthy, sustainable pescetarian diet for just 10 days and post your daily experiences on my Facebook page. Photos, comments and very short videos are welcome. Be sure to use the hashtag #Posh10dayChallenge.
In case you need a refresher, pescatarians eats a plant-based diet that is supplemented with seafood.
My friends at Z Living are joining the challenge, so you’ll be in good company. If you do it right, my guess is that you will feel lighter, leaner and maybe even a little smarter by day ten.
You can download a host of resources from the Z Living website that will help you get started. If you download the document, then you will be entered to receive an electronic copy of my cookbook, as well as a spotlight on Z Living.com.
Purpose of the Challenge
The goal of the challenge is not to convert you, although that would be pretty cool, but to make you more mindful of the way you eat and pay closer attention to what you put in your mouth. Mindful eating is allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D. among other health care professionals, says that following a pescetarian diet could potentially lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, erectile dysfunction and depression.
Embracing the Posh Pescatarian Lifestyle
Although there are no real rules to this challenge, but I do want you to keep in mind that my lifestyle goes beyond the definitions of pescatarianism. I lead an active, outdoorsy, healthy life. My TV series The Posh Pescatarian: Appetite for Adventure gives you idea of what my weekends look like. But they are not always filled with wild adventures. I spend a lot of time at farmer’s markets, grocery stores and ethnic markets searching for the freshest seafood, produce deals and unique ingredients.
As part of this challenge, make it a point to try something new. It can be a new spice, a new vegetable, or even a new cooking technique.
Things to keep in mind:
- Make sustainable seafood choices. If you need some help while shopping, check out my recent blog post on savvy seafood shopping, ask your fishmonger or download the Seafood Watch App
- Choose mostly whole or minimally processed foods
- Avoid highly processed and fast foods
- Hydrate with water instead of sweetened beverages or juice
- Get some exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day. My recent obsession is Pilates on the megaformer and beach yoga. Find something you love to do and you will stick with it.
How to get started?
- Make at least 50 percent of your meal vegetables (or 50 percent fruit at breakfast).
- Add healthy fats to your diet, such as olive oil, nuts, or avocados, when sautéing vegetables or dressing salads. I have learned to embrace good fat because it help keep me satiated.
- Fill one-fourth of your plate with high-quality protein. Most experts recommend seafood 2-3 times per week. Legumes, such as beans and lentils, also are good protein sources.
- Enjoy one-half cup of whole grains and/or other starchy foods (like sweet potatoes) four or five times a day.
Don’t be intimidated by your fish. Preparing seafood can be easier than cooking meat or poultry if you follow these tips:
- Grill, pan-fry, poach, roast, or steam fish and other seafood
- Measure the thickest part of the fish. Cook 10 minutes per inch (fish thicker than Â½ inch should be flipped over halfway through cooking time.)
- Don’t overcook. Fish, shrimp and scallops are done when they’re still slightly translucent in the center (they’ll continue cooking after you remove them from the heat source.) Fish should feel firm, but still moist. It should be just ready to flake.
Tips for staying on budget
Don’t worry, you don’t have to take out a bank loan or sell your car to participate in this challenge, or to become a pescatarian for life. Some of my favorite tips for staying on from myfitnesspal.com
- Scratch-cook. Not everyone will have time to make everything from scratch (OK, the vast majority of us), but cooking at home can definitely stretch your food dollars, especially if you’re strategic about shopping and minimizing food waste. Restaurants and takeout may be convenient, but 95% of the time they’re not the most economical way to eat.
- Scout the sales. If your local grocery store has weekly specials, sign up to receive their circular by email. Every week, peruse the flier for deals on produce, meats, fish, whole grains, dairy and pantry staples (i.e., canned or dried beans, herbs, spices, etc.), and plan your next few meals using those foods.
- Meal-plan. Some people enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and spending a couple of hours meal-planning each week, but it really doesn’t need to be a big to-do. Ten or fifteen minutes of scouting sales and jotting down meal ideas can be just as effective. One way of doing this might be to make sure each meal includes one source of protein, at least one vegetable (bonus points for adding veggies to breakfast) and a whole-grain or nutrient-rich starch, with fruit for a snack or dessert.
- Know how much you’ll need. The beauty of a meal plan is that it gives you a good idea of how much and what you need to buy at the grocery store. Before hitting up those grocery store specials, do a quick inventory of what you already have on hand. Don’t forget to check the freezer and pantry for ingredients (like frozen veggies or spices) that you might be able to substitute in place of buying things you don’t really need. When it comes to fresh produce, buy only what you’ll be able to eat (or freeze) before it goes bad.Buy small quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits so nothing goes to waste.
- Buy in bulk. One solid argument against buying only what you need is buying certain foods in bulk, particularly those that you eat several times per week, that have a long shelf life or that can easily be frozen. Buying in bulk can save significant money, especially at large grocers or wholesale stores, but it’s always good to do a quick price comparison against smaller quantities just to be sure.
- Frequent the freezer section. Shopping the freezer section can save you a bundle since it essentially eliminates the chance of spoilage and allows you to use only what you need. To maximize your food dollar in the freezer section, keep your eye on that grocery circular and stock up when frozen fruits, veggies, meats, poultry and fish go on sale.Buy frozen instead of fresh if on a budget. That way, meats, fruit and veggies don’t go bad.
- Eat what’s in season. Pay attention to the large bins of produce that greet you at the grocery store. They’re often filled with in-season fruits and veggies that retailers are looking to unload for a deep discount.
- Stick with store brands. Stocking up on supermarket-brand staples can save you an average of 15‒30% compared to national brands. Just be sure to check the ingredient label before buying to make sure the quality is similar.Look for store-brand products, because a lot of the time they are cheaper. I can get whole-wheat noodles for the same price as regular.
- Frequent your local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets can be a great way to get superfresh, in-season produce for less, because they cut out the middlemen who can take up to 92￠of every food dollar spent. On the contrary, farmer’s markets take only 6￠ from every dollar a farmer earns, allowing them to sell you their produce for less and actually make more money.
- Serve up smaller portions. Rather than devouring a heaping plateful of food just because you’re overly hungry and it’s just what’s in front of you, serve up a smaller portion and take your time to enjoy it. Oftentimes, you’ll realize you didn’t need quite as much food as you thought to feel satisfied.
- Prep (and portion) in advance. Having a fridge stocked with nourishing foods that are ready to eat, or cook, can mean the difference between noshing on something nutritious and spending $20 plus on a fast food fix.
- Make your own staples. Fancy salad dressings, gourmet granola and 100-calorie snack packs—these convenience foods sure do add up fast at the grocery store. Making your own staples is an easy way not only to save money but also to eat healthier versions of your favorite convenience foods, since they won’t contain preservatives and you can control the amount of added salt and sugar. Figure out what your most costly go-to healthy staples are, and experiment with making a homemade version. Once you do it one or two times, it’ll be hard to go back to buying the expensive, convenience version.
- Embrace batch-cooking. When you do have time to scratch-cook, think big batch and freezer-friendly meals. Batch-cooking will leave you with more (nutritious) food, more time and more money in your pocket.
- Use up your wilting produce. If you find yourself with a drawer full of shriveling fruits and veggies, one quick way to use them up is to make a homemade smoothie or soup. Smoothie leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours, and soups can be frozen for a fast dinner or lunch when time is tight.
- Learn to love leftovers. Cook once, eat (at least) twice. That’s my motto at home, and it really helps save not only time but also money, too. Consider doubling or tripling a recipe to use up all of the fresh ingredients or making a couple of meals at once that use many of the same ingredients. This way, you can minimize waste and enjoy the ease of reheating or freezing leftovers.
- Have some “back pocket” budget-friendly restaurants. Have a few restaurants in mind that work with your budget and serve sustainable seafood. One national chain that serves sustainable seafood is Rubios Coastal Grill. I have frequented this place in a pinch and it have never let me down.