2019 made six years since I went full pescatarian. No chicken, no cow, no pork, strictly seafood. I had no problem with it. A good portion of my family back home also partakes in this diet, so not much accommodation was required. My host family knew and would ensure I was well fed during every meal as they downed some beef and sausage links.
Here in Brazil, churrascos are very popular. This is essentially just a Brazilian barbeque… or as I call it, meat galore. As you can imagine, I did not spend much time at these barbeques. On Christmas Eve, I attended my first one. The family that was hosting knew I was not a meat-eater so they prepared rice for me to eat.
We gave thanks, exchanged a few words, screamed “Feliz Natal,” and sat down to feast. Everyone around me chose from the assortment of meat sizzling on the grill as I sat down with my rice and salad. The aroma of freshly grilled meat flooded my nostrils, but I did not mind.
My friend’s host dad sat near me, asking why I didn’t just try some. “Voce esta no Brazil,” he repeated. I sat, thinking to myself… it has been 6 years. And it’s Christmas, for goodness sakes. Maybe I should say ‘f it’. I am in Brazil, after all…. I continued to eat my rice.
My friends kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me to try some meat. “Just one piece,” “it’s so delicious!” I did not want to cave. Honestly, I had a strong feeling I would eventually give in. I wanted to try it badly. The smell was taunting me. After all this time, my tongue craved the sweet taste of meat.
“How long has it been since you last had meat?” someone asked. After telling them it had been 6 years, they changed their minds. “Oh. Maybe you shouldn’t…”
Let me tell you. At this point, I was done. Of course, as they changed their minds, so did I. I stood up and walked hesitantly over to the grill. My friends’ father grinned at me and let out a chuckle. He smacked some beef onto my plate and I pranced back to my seat. My friends cheered.
Oh. My. Gosh. That first bite. “What have I been doing to myself?” I exclaimed. At that point I could not stop there. I figured if I was going to eat meat for a night, I might as well go all in. I tried the pork, the chicken, everything. I had indulged… and I was loving it.
Leaving the churrasco that night I told myself it was a one-time thing. Solely because it was a holiday.
2 weeks later and I have been eating meat every day. Every single day. I regret nothing. This is amazing. I keep telling myself I will convert back to pescatarian when I leave here in April. We’ll see…