The holiday season is one of the greatest highlights of the year. Especially this year. Given everything that we’ve all been through, we all deserve a good old fashioned Christmas break.
I am writing this blog from the city of Toronto. Safe and comfortable at the comfort of my parent’s home. At the moment, my city is under another lockdown.
It's true that the dangers of the virus are quite scary. But what's more frightening is not being able to spend the rest of the holidays with the people you usually spend it with.
I come from a big family. I have about fifteen cousins, ten uncles and ten aunts. And not to mention a whopping total of 7 dogs. Yes, we are a canine family. Not that we have anything against cats. We just can’t resist those cute paws and hypnotizing puppy eyes.
As you can see it is a big family. Just imagine Christmas every year! It's more crowded and louder than a college party. Everyone’s singing, dancing and drinking like there is no tomorrow.
That’s why I guess this lockdown came as somewhat of a blessing - believe it or not. You see, I recently turned pescatarian. After reading ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma, I've decided to finally commit to eating healthier. Not that eating meat is completely unhealthy.
No more meat lover's pizza for me
Eating meat has its advantages. It tastes heavenly - especially a nice medium rare rib eye… mhmm - and is a good source of protein and iron which are essential to our bodies.
But the current meat industry is also riddled with controversy. Such as the unethical treatment of animals and its contribution to greenhouse gasses. But for me the fact that stands out the most is that a lot of the meat in commercial markets are subjected to questionable genetic tampering.
I was thinking of going full vegetarian. But I just can’t abandon my love for seafood. My mom always said that when she was pregnant with me, she developed a crazy, almost obsessive kind of liking for seafood. Especially crustaceans like crabs and lobsters.
Taking away seafood from my diet is like playing basketball without a ball or ice skating without skates. It doesn’t make sense!
So for now, pescatarian it is. Who knows? Maybe in the future I might just make that jump.
Anyway, every Christmas my family celebrates Nochebuena. Nochebuena is spanish for Christmas Eve. It is also our biggest feast in the holidays. This year, it was my grandfather that prepared the feast. And he LOVES meat.
On the night of the feast, there were two kinds of ham. One smoked and baked to perfection and another sliced and drenched with his signature beer and pineapple based sauce. He prepared an assortment of chicken wings breaded and battered in garlic bread crumbs. And the piece de resistance, his infamous grilled lamb racks. Growing up, I always looked forward to those succulent and juicy lamb racks.
Oh it was torture!
But yes, I am still pescatarian. In fact the whole night, I was being pushed to break my personal commitment.
‘Just this once’ they said.
‘It's Christmas after all’.
But I stood strong and resilient. I was pretty lucky. Apparently my grandfather wanted to ‘add some depth’ to his cooking by having one plate of fish and a plate of vegetables. Otherwise I would've watched my family eat zealously. Biting the perfectly cooked fat from the lamb racks and savoring the smoky flavor of the glazed ham.
The light at the end of the tunnel
As bad as it sounds, it wasn’t that bad. It was a really good fish. The roasted vegetables weren’t half bad. Sure, I miss eating meat. Particularly the lamb racks. Oh those lamb racks, moist and tender to the bones...
But I'm also starting to feel the benefits of being pescatarian. At first I was skeptical about it. Then I started noticing improvements.
Nowadays, I have more energy. I seldom feel sluggish and sleepy. And I feel as though I think clearer.
I also noticed that even if I sleep late, I can wake up early and feel just as energized. I’m not sure if my diet has something to do with it. But I only realized this after I turned pescatarian.
Sure, it's a bit tough. But I’m sure it's only in the beginning. Maybe next year, my grandfather will stop making those lamb racks and instead cook more seafood and vegetables. I can’t be the only one who will suffer anymore. Just kidding.
This holiday season is indeed different to what we’d usually experience. Some of us might think that this was the worst holiday ever. Some may think it’s the weirdest and most boring.
How about instead of looking at it as the worst, let's look at it as the most unique. It's true that we couldn't spend it with our usual company. Yet we still spent it with company that matters. Whether you celebrated with your family, roommates, friends or your pets. The holidays will always be a time of love, giving and happiness.
So let's look at the bright side instead of the negativities. Like my grandfather who loves to cook meat, ‘add some depth’ to your perspective. Cook fish and vegetables. You might just make a pescatarian feel… Christmassy.