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Why I Started Eating Fish Again

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Fish GraphicI was originally intending to begin this post with the phrase, “I have a confession to make…”

But then I realized that the use of that phrase makes it sound like I have done something bad or wrong.  While many will likely believe that my decision to start incorporating fish into my diet is exactly that, I do not agree.  It is what is best for me at this point in my life.  But I have not always felt that way.  I have to admit that when I first started eating seafood again back at the beginning of December, I felt guilty.  I felt like a fraud for continuing to call myself a vegetarian.  I also thought it was necessary to keep this choice a secret from pretty much everyone that I knew.  My parents knew and my boyfriend knew, and that was it.  I guess you could say that I was embarrassed for not being “strong enough” to maintain the way of life I had chosen three years before.

While I was a “closet fish eater” in my apartment and at my parents’ house during the holidays, I do not want to be that anymore.  I want to be my true genuine self here in this little corner of the blogosphere.  And if that means that I have to admit that I am no longer a vegetarian at this point in my life, then so be it.  More on the “labels” at the end of this post.

I do not feel the need to justify my decision to start incorporating fish into my diet, but I realize that many people may be curious or might be in a similar situation as me.  So I am going to give you a little background on my decision, starting with my transition to vegetarianism three years ago (today, actually).  I am going to break this down into somewhat of a timeline format to make it easier to follow.

The Timeline…

January 2012: I quit eating meat cold-turkey (no pun intended) and labeled myself as a vegetarian.

April 2012: I developed knee issues that prevented me from running and being active in the ways I wanted to be.  I have since had surgery, received 2 cortisone shots, tried the 5 supartz shots series, been to two rounds of physical therapy, and seen three orthopedic doctors over the past 2 1/2 years with absolutely zero improvement.  <– Talk about frustrating!  The right knee pain is predominantly what I dealt with from April 2012 until about October 2013.  I was still able to be somewhat active with walking, swimming, and weight lifting during this time.

January 2013: I still labeled myself as a vegetarian, but began eating a mostly vegan diet whenever possible.  I saw huge improvements in my acne, and felt better physically when I avoided most dairy.  This continues to be the case.

Summer of 2013: While I believe I subconsciously knew this for quite some time, I was finally able to admit to myself that I was underweight.  When I suddenly transitioned to a healthy vegetarian diet, I did not realize that even though I was eating the same amounts, I was eating far fewer calories since my meals were healthier and the things I was eating were less calorie-dense.  At first this was fun since it meant I was at a weight that I was happy with and felt confident in- even in a swimming suit.  But then it got to the point where I had lost too much weight, was unhealthy, and was just generally unhappy.  I also did not look healthy.  It was at this time that I began to wonder if my knee issues were a result of my weight loss.  I did not know what else could be the culprit since everything else that I had tried had not helped.

September 2013: I made a promise to myself that I was going to eat a lot more.  It was not easy at first (our society is SO focused on eating less, so this was a hard concept to grasp), but I made a conscious effort to eat more food and to eat more often.  I was still eating a mostly vegan diet and predominantly “healthy” foods, so this meant eating more healthy fats (nut butter, avocado, etc.), snacking more often, eating two-part breakfasts (which I continue to do), and eating out more often.  This is still a challenge for me at times because I feel like I am always eating, but it is important that I listen to my body.  As you can imagine, I have also gained weight (probably somewhere between 15-20 pounds), and I believe that my body is back to the “healthy weight” that it needs to be at.

October 2013: About a month into my new eating plan, I had high hopes that I would start feeling better.  However, the opposite happened.  My body became injured very easily.  During a spin class at the end of the year, I had a sudden sharp pain in my lower shin/ankle area of my left foot.  I figured I just needed some time off, so I took a break from spinning and began walking and “running” on the elliptical instead.  The pain, however, simply worsened.  This pain has yet to go away.  I have had the area x-rayed, have tried physical therapy, and have been told that I am dealing with shin splints.  However, not even rest, ice, or anti-inflammatories have helped.  The other more noticeable injury is of my right bicep/shoulder area.  After lifting weights one morning, my bicep was very sore.  I knew it was more than just a sore muscle, so I rested it for two weeks.  After two weeks, I tried lifting again.  The pain was still there.  I decided to take a month off from weight lifting, but this did not help.  More than a year later, and I am still facing bicep/shoulder pain that is now moving into my neck, elbow, forearm, and hand.  It makes blogging, working, and everyday activities (like cooking) incredibly painful and difficult.  I have an appointment scheduled at the end of this month for both my shoulder and ankle/shin, but I have almost all but given up on conventional medicine since nothing has helped yet.

Summer of 2014: At this point I was still very much dealing with pain in my knee, shin/ankle, and bicep/shoulder.  I also began experiencing aches in my wrists, hands, hips, etc.  Essentially, it is like waking up each morning and not knowing which joints are going to be hurting on which days.  Sounds like a fun guessing game, huh?  I mentioned these experiences to my doctor at my annual appointment and have talked about them with my orthopedic doctor.  Nobody seems to have any answers for me.  I would love to try acupuncture or chiropractic work, but since these can be rather expensive, I do not think I can afford to try something that has no guarantee of producing relief.  At this point, I have simply been “dealing” with the pain.

Thanksgiving of 2014: I was talking to my mom about how frustrating these pains are, especially for somebody who has a true desire to be active.  At this point in my life, I am doing zero physical activity.  Walking is too painful on my shin/ankle, and even swimming is impossible due to my knee and shoulder/arm pain.  As you can imagine, I was (and still am) extremely frustrated.  It was not rare for me to throw myself pity parties, especially when I saw the people around me being active on a day-to-day basis.  My mom and I talked about what could possibly be the culprit of my pains.  We realized that everything started back around the time that I became a vegetarian.  Could this purely have been a coincidence?  Of course.  But at that point, I was desperate to feel better and was willing to try almost anything.  I made a promise to myself that I was going to try eating fish (the thought of eating chicken, pork, etc. was and still is very unappealing to me) several times a week to see if I noticed any improvements.  Fish is known for being high in Omega 3’s, which can help with inflammation, so I figured I might as well give it a try.

December 1st, 2014: I ate my first bite of seafood after more than three years of having not eaten fish (I was not a huge fish eater before I became a vegetarian).  This will probably make you laugh, but the first thing that I purchased was a box of Dr. Praeger’s lightly breaded fish shapes that were Dora the Explorer themed.  For some reason, they were the only type of seafood that sounded good to me, so I went with it.  I remember that I topped one of my tortilla pizzas with them and dug in.  And guess what?  They tasted really, really good.

Present: I had extreme feelings of guilt with my first fish-eating experience, but it has gotten better over time.  Since then, I have eaten tuna cakes, tuna salad, salmon burgers, and broiled salmon.  The tuna cakes were delicious, and I am starting to get on board with broiled salmon.  However, all I could think about when I was eating the salmon burger was how much I really wanted a veggie burger.  Hopefully my taste buds will adjust soon.  Regarding my aches and pains, they are still here.  I am trying to be hopeful and am continuing to incorporate seafood into my diet several times per week.  I know from experience that it can take our bodies time to adjust to diet changes, so I am still holding out some hope that I will begin feeling better.  I am hoping to not have to incorporate meat outside of fish into my eating plan, but may try it at some point if I feel the need to.  It pains me to not be a vegetarian anymore, but I have reached a point of physical and mental desperation and am willing to try almost anything.

What now?

So about those labels…  Yes, I am no longer a vegetarian.  In the world of labeling diets,  I would be classified as a “pescatarian” since I eat fish but no other animals.  Giving a label to my diet is a touchy subject for me at this point in my life, though.  So I am going to avoid that for the time being.  Instead, I simply like to refer to myself as someone who eats a mostly plant-based diet with seafood added in every now and then.

What does this mean for Clean Eating Veggie Girl?  I’m honestly not sure.  I will definitely still be blogging, and I do not imagine that you will see a whole lot of changes for the time being.  I am still learning how to cook fish, so do not expect many seafood recipes until I get the hang of that.  You may, however, see some fish popping up in my What I Ate Wednesday posts and Friday Foodie Favorites posts.  I hope to keep bringing you tons of delicious plant-based recipes, so if that is why you are here then you can stay happy!  I will definitely still be the “Clean Eating Veggie Girl” since my diet is mostly centered on “clean” eating and tons of veggies.  I also do not feel the need to change my tag line because I still follow a predominantly plant-based diet.  A slightly new “About Me” section is currently in the works.

I am fully open to questions regarding my decision, but what I am not open to is negativity and criticism.  This transition has been incredibly hard for me, and I should not have to feel bad about making a choice to try to get back to a place of healthiness and happiness.  I will make no apologies for that.  Will I still be eating fish a year from now?  Who knows?  What will my diet look like at that time?  I’m not sure.  But I have come to realize that the specifics of my diet mean very little.  What really matters is doing whatever I can to get back to a healthy and happy way of life.  That is the journey that I am on now and will continue to pursue.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Suggestions?
What are your favorite seafood recipes that are EASY to make?

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{ 178 comments… add one }
  • Wendy January 8, 2015, 1:15 am
    Hannah- do not feel guilty! Do what you need to do to feel physically healthy. A few things, it sounds like you need to see a rheumatologist and not an orthopedic doctor. My step mom went through so many specialists before a rheumatologist finally diagnosed her pain. Might be worth a try! How about a dietician too? Maybe you have some crazy food allergy? I've heard of people with celiacs that have joint issues. Either way, I truly hope you are on the road to recovery. Best wishes xoxo
    • Nicole Cochran January 8, 2015, 5:58 am
      Wendy, I was thinking the same thing for her. I'm a registered nurse and rheumatoid arthritis was the first thing that popped in my head! Labels are awful!
      • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:22 am
        Thank you Nicole! I am already doing what I need to in order to get an appointment set up with a rheumatologist. Thank you for your suggestion. I hope it leads to good things!
        • K Raynaud March 26, 2018, 12:13 pm
          Hi Nicole, I had similar issues but discovered I had LYME Disease. Early on the treated my for RA but it didn't sit right with me. I had to test-test and re-test. I had joint pain just like you have. Nitrates and Gluten will make my pain terrible. I now eat organic meat and fish but I am removing meat this week. Anything that is processed (even boxed health food.) makes it worse. Have you tested for LYME?
          • ClnEatingVegGrl March 28, 2018, 10:46 am
            You're a good investigator! Since I wrote this post nearly three years ago, I have since received a chronic Lyme diagnosis. It only took me 7 years of tests to figure that out!
            • K Raynaud April 5, 2018, 3:37 pm
              I'm sorry to hear about your Lyme. It's not easy - I still can't close one of my hands but it is what it is. I don't wake up in pain every day and I feel much better. I hope you're doing well! If you have any tips - please share!
              • ClnEatingVegGrl April 5, 2018, 4:03 pm
                Thank you for your kind thoughts! I just started the Buhner Herbal Protocol about 6 weeks ago- still too soon to tell, but I am hopeful! I will definitely be updating my blog as time progresses.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 10:04 am
      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Wendy! I am working on getting an appointment with a rheumatologist right now! I have also thought about a food allergy. If I don't find relief with rheumatology, I will certainly look in that direction. I appreciate your recommendations!
    • Louise January 20, 2017, 3:30 pm
      Hi Hannah. I have been eating clean for a couple of years now slowly removing foods that cause me pain. I still eat salmon and sardines but I am mostly a verge girl. The biggest change to my health began when I removed all grains. My migraines reduced from 3-7 a month down to 1 a month. Before that I took out gluten coffee sugar dairy eggs and alcohol. Nothing changed until I removed grains which caused aches all over my body especially my knees. I have noticed that vegans and vegetarian diets can still be hugely dependent on grains. Check it out it might be worth looking into ?
      • ClnEatingVegGrl February 3, 2017, 8:14 pm
        Thanks so much for reaching out, Louise! Since I wrote this post I have dabbled with the Paleo diet and I also generally find that removing all grains, dairy, and even nightshades and nuts can make a big difference for me. It's all about figuring out what works for our individual bodies!
  • Jeannie January 8, 2015, 1:33 am
    Eat what makes you feel healthy, that should always be the key. According to the latest 2015 news a flexitarian diet that is vegetarian before dinner is the healthiest diet. Your diet has to work for you, I love that you are willing to listen to your body. I have had to incorporate eggs into my diet due to severe vitamin d deficiency levels and now eat fish 1 day a week. I tried supplementation for 2 years along with mushrooms and am taking 10,000 mg daily. My doctor said I have to bring the levels up and I want to start feeling less tired and run down. So, huggles to you on your journey towards health and understand that I and I am sure many others have had to alter our food intake to help our bodies heal and get healthy. PS I hope that you can get some resolution for your pain issues. Huggles, Jeannie
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:47 am
      Thanks so much, Jeannie! I sure do appreciate it :)
  • melissa January 8, 2015, 1:47 am
    thanks for sharing! I am a strict vegetarian but have an AI disease and have often wondered if I might have to eat fish in the future. Please keep us updated & please continue to post veg recipes with veg protein! I count on them haha :)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:48 am
      I sure will do both of those!
  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles January 8, 2015, 4:58 am
    You are still a clean eating veggie girl! 100% you are! It's like this - I am the cookie chrunicles but I eat more peanut butter than cookies but that doesn't change that I love and eat cookies - does that make sense? lol ---- I am so so proud of you. I had no idea how injured you were/dealing with those ailments and I am so sorry about that. Nothing wrong with eating some fish from time to time, at all. Nothing! You know I do on occasion and yeah so that classifies as pescatarian but who cares? like I said yesterday, most people don't even know what that is so I still say that I am a vegetarian when first asked and then answer the question of - yeah, I can eat fish if u want to....I hope that the omega 3's in the fish you eat help your body. It's so high in those inflammation fighting nutrients. meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted...Thinking Out Loud ThursdayMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:50 am
      I SO hope so too!! It is super frustrating! And thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I needed those :)
  • Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie January 8, 2015, 6:17 am
    I think you made the decision that was best for you and your body. No one can fault you for that! I hope that you do see some improvement with your knee pain by adding fish back into your diet. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted...WIAW: Fueling up for DisneyMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:53 am
      I sure hope so, too. Thank you for the kind thoughts and words!
  • Maria January 8, 2015, 6:26 am
    I went through something similar. I was a high raw food eater. I was having bad cramps and aches in my stomach. Through process of elimination I realized that the culprit was dairy and chicken. I already didn't eat beef. My joints seem to get worse and worse. I stumbled upon a nutrition and the first thing she asked me was do I consume splenda (which I was using daily), She said if so stop using it right now and she told me to take vitamins D12 and series of other vitamins. At this point I had been to my doctor and a rheumatologist and had gone through several tests. They couldn't find anything wrong with me. Within a week I was feeling better and gradually each week I felt better and better. Like you, I eat fish and I eat clean. If I deviate too far away from clean eating (including fish) then I do notice that my symptoms start to creep back. Hang in there girlie!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 11:55 am
      It is crazy to think of all of the possible culprits that could be causing these issues. I am hoping a rheumatologist can help. But if not, I am definitely going to look more into the diet/allergies thing.
  • Heather @Fit n Cookies January 8, 2015, 6:58 am
    Oh Hannah! I feel so bad for all the injuries and problems you've been dealing with! I can't even imagine waking up and wondering what new ache you'd have. That is very weird it happened at the same time. Could it be arthritis? I know it can come on suddenly and cause issues like that. Might be worth looking into? I'm not sure but I am so glad you are doing what is write for you! Who cares about labels. You eat way healthier than many people (me included!) and we will all still love you regardless if you eat fish or not :) Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted...The Willis Tower SkydeckMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:12 pm
      I heard that question from several people, so I am looking into going to a rheumatologist to see if they can help. Fingers crossed!
  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies January 8, 2015, 7:02 am
    You always have to do what's best for you and I hope your aches and pains improve! It's definitely unfair that a fit, young person who tries so hard to make healthy decisions has to deal with chronic pain. And no one should care what's on your plate but you! Though I identify as a vegetarian, I occasionally eat fish, too. It's easier to explain than "Technically I'm a pescitarian, but I'm going to be pretty picky about the type of fish, source of the fish, the frequency in which I eat fish, so probably just only present vegetarian options." Mostly just raw fish (fish the the only "meat" that your body can handle totally raw, so I take it as a biological indication that it's something I'm "supposed" to eat) but occasionally to make the lives of my friends/family easier when they're trying to cook for me. My opinions wax and wane though, sometimes I'll be more willing to eat it and other times less willing. I selectively don't blog/instagram about when I eat fish, because sometimes people are too involved in other people's dietary decisions and who needs an argument when they're trying to eat? :-p Hopefully this helps bring everything back into balance! Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies recently posted...Mashed Blueberry Panini with Peanut Butter and NutellaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:16 pm
      I can totally get what you don't blog/instagram about it. I thought a lot about it and decided to go for it because the criticism doesn't bother me TOO much, especially right now when I am pretty desperate to find anything that will make me feel better. Heck I might even post some seafood recipes if I get the hang of cooking with it! ;) As far as eating out goes, though, I imagine I will still mostly stick with vegetarian meals whenever I can!
    • Em @ Love A Latte February 6, 2015, 2:48 pm
      I second what Kelly said: "no one should care what’s on your plate but you!" - great comment! You have to do what is best for you. I occasionally eat eggs but I largely identify as vegan, so I totally get where you're coming from. And you deserve to feel your best! You can still be a veggie girl AND eat fish! I hope you continue to feel better & better. I know you mentioned getting your Omegas...I take a Deva brand Omega vitamin that I really like if you're looking for something. I'm no doctor but I just thought I'd throw it out there! :) Em @ Love A Latte recently posted...What I Eat as a Plant-Based Eater, Full-Time Working, Nursing MamaMy Profile
  • Katie January 8, 2015, 7:40 am
    Bravo!!!! Way to open up and do what is best for your body. I wouldn't worry about a new blog name unless its something you really really want to do. Katie recently posted...Confessions of a Closet HoarderMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:17 pm
      Nah, I think CEVG is sticking around. It still works so don't fix what isn't broken, right? ;)
  • Joanna @Makingmine January 8, 2015, 8:00 am
    Wonderful post Hannah! I'm so proud of you for doing what's best for YOU! That's all that matters. You are so much more than any label - and your friends, family and readers all know that! Can't wait to keep reading and learning from you! Joanna @Makingmine recently posted...the rise of the mompreneurMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:23 pm
      Thanks so much, Joanna! I appreciate having great friends like you! :)
  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine January 8, 2015, 8:50 am
    There is no shame there! You don't need to label your diet now does anyone else! I have a pretty strange diet that no label will fit, but it makes me happy and works for me and my body right now at this point in my life! (Easiest fish to "not really even cook" ---- open a can of skinless/boneless sardines and mash them in a bowl of ALL the veggies and top with salsa and nutritional yeast ;) DONE! ) Do not be scared of sardines ;) They are one of my favorite life savors in a pinch! Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted...Cinnamon Pear Oat PancakesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:24 pm
      I have to admit that sardines kind of scare me... but maybe I'll get brave, like when I first ate tofu, and give them a try!
  • Miranda @ Miranda Writes Blog January 8, 2015, 9:39 am
    I think what you're doing is great. From the outside it might seem like a 'bad' thing for someone who is very passionate about not eating animal products to reincorporate fish/seafood, but I think what's most important is listening to your body and doing what is best for you, despite what anyone else may think. That's much more important that any label or particular eating philosophy. =) Miranda @ Miranda Writes Blog recently posted...Grown Up Ramen NoodlesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:33 pm
      You are so right, Miranda. I am so happy that I wrote this post because of people like you!
  • Robyn @thereallife_RD January 8, 2015, 10:48 am
    Rock on girl, do what's best for you! I like to eat vegan most of the time, but dairy and meat find their way into my diet sometimes too. Nothing is black and white and that goes for how we eat too! I agree with above commenters, I'd get checked out for RA. Hope you feel better soon!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:53 pm
      Thanks so much, Robyn! I am working on getting an appointment with a rhuematologist right now, so hopefully that will provide me with some answers!
  • Becky @ Olives n Wine January 8, 2015, 11:05 am
    When I was a "vegetarian" I still ate fish. A label is just that, a label and you can make of it what you want! I'm interested to see how/if this helps your knees/body pain. I can also relate to being super thin when I was a vegetarian. I was eating quality foods but it just fills you up a heck of a lot faster so you don't eat nearly as much which can be a problem if you are trying to maintain weight. Thanks for sharing your journey and struggles - I'm excited to follow along. Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted...Pregnancy Thoughts #3My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:54 pm
      Thanks for the support, Becky. It is great to have people like year here in the blogging community!
  • Alexis @ Hummusapien January 8, 2015, 11:09 am
    I'm so sorry to hear about all the pain you're having--how frustrating!! Good for you for making your own decision to do what's best for your body. I personally love fish, and I eat it here and there. I still identify as "plant-based" and I have a plant-based blog because 9 days out of ten, I eat totally vegan! Experiment and find what works best for you. You'll get there!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:55 pm
      I love the "plant-based" label as opposed to pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan. I definitely identify with that MUCH more!
  • Catherine @ foodiecology January 8, 2015, 11:10 am
    I haven't commented in a while, but I just have to applaud you for doing what's best for YOUR health. While I follow no specific diet (everything-aterian?), I can understand the anxiety you initially felt. You have no reason to apologize! Like others have said, my first thought was to look into RA or some other AI issue. I really hope you find answers; or, if not answers, at least relief with this new diet! As for seafood recipes, I love simple sautéed rainbow trout (olive oil, s&p, Italian seasoning, and maybe a little panko for crunch) and shrimp & grits! I realize you mentioned dairy as a culprit, but one of the best things on Earth is authentic New Orleans BBQ shrimp, which have nothing to do with BBQ sauce and everything to do with loads of butter, creole seasoning, lemon, & Worcestershire! So, so good with crusty French bread for dipping. Not the healthiest, but an occasional indulgence for sure. Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted...WIAW: Eating Habits While BreastfeedingMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:56 pm
      Thanks so much for the seafood tips! I am completely new to it so it is fun to hear what others are loving!
  • Dana | fresh simple five January 8, 2015, 11:21 am
    I think the last thing you should feel is guilty. Instead, you should be proud that you are taking the steps to improve your health. I hope it works for you! In terms of labels (who needs them anyway), but I was going to suggest plant-based as you said. I look forward to seeing how you incorporate seafood into your diet. I've grown to love seafood (and prefer it to meat most days) and am always looking for new ideas. My fingers are crossed for you to find relief soon. Dana | fresh simple five recently posted...What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 12:57 pm
      Plant-based is definitely the best label for me right now if I want to identify with one because that is exactly what my diet is! Thanks so much for your kind thoughts :)
  • Lynsi January 8, 2015, 11:32 am
    Everyone's comments on here are so spot on with seeing a rheumatologist! I was having awful stomach issues (diarrhea). I had gone to my doctor and he just said it was some stomach bug. It never went away. At the three week mark, my body basically turned on itself. I had so much joint pain in my knees and wrist. I had lifted weights the day before and thought I had really done something. But by day two, the pain was so bad I couldn't walk. My husband took me to an urgent care clinic that night as I couldn't get up off the floor because I couldn't put weight on my wrist. The doctor thought rheumatoid arthritis right away. I got put on a steroid and that got me a lot better after a few days. Igot a referral from our family doctor and was able to get into see a rheumatologist 6 weeks later. She was incredible and really went through everything with me and ran lots of bloodwork. In the end, I was diagnosed as having reactive arthritis, basically my body turned on itself and started attacking my joints. Autoimmune diseases run in my family. Diet is really important, so maybe adding fish back in is the way to go. Please don't feel bad about trying to heal your body! You would still be clean eating veggie girl as you make veggies really shine in everything you eat...even if you were to put salmon, a big steak, or chicken on the plate! Keep us posted and feel free to email me if you have any questions!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:17 pm
      Thanks so much for you comment, Lynsi. I appreciate hearing about your experiences. I am currently working on getting an appointment with a rheumatologist. I have my fingers crossed that they will have some answers for me!
    • spee June 30, 2017, 11:06 am
      How did the Dr. come to the conclusion of Reactive Arth? I know its a hard one to diagnose.
  • Lois January 8, 2015, 11:34 am
    Have any of your doctors mentioned fibrmyalgia to you? Just a suggestion. I started hurting similar as to what you were describing and that is what a rheumatologist finally came up with. Also have you had any blood work done to see if you are deficient in some area. Anyway good luck to you:) please don't stop blogging and I'm sure people would also be interested in how you are feeling if you care to share. Thanks!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:18 pm
      None of my doctors have specifically mentioned that, but it has definitely crossed my mind. I am working to get an appointment with a rheumatologist, so hopefully they will be able to help me figure out what is going on!
  • Danica @ It's Progression January 8, 2015, 12:54 pm
    I was a strict vegetarian for a while, and even ate mostly vegan, but as I learned more and more about true nutrition, I learned that not eating good quality animal products was actually damaging my health instead of improving it. I started eating fish again, and some organic cheese occasionally. I was also underweight at this time (I can relate to so much you said here!)...I'm not going to tell you to eat meat again or whatever, you'll come to the best decision for you with time, but I personally think that incorporating good quality animal products is only going to benefit your health, both in the immediate and future! Danica @ It's Progression recently posted...Book Reviews: Brene Brown, Nicholas Sparks, and Joyce MeyerMy Profile
    • Danica @ It's Progression January 8, 2015, 12:55 pm
      p.s. you can absolutely still be "clean eating veggie girl" because I'm certain veggies will always be a part of your diet, and you eating "clean" include animal products when done with good quality! I'm glad you shared this post today :) Danica @ It's Progression recently posted...Book Reviews: Brene Brown, Nicholas Sparks, and Joyce MeyerMy Profile
      • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:20 pm
        You are definitely right about that, Danica! Thank you so much for your comments. I truly appreciate them. At this point, I simply want to do what is best for my body and what can get me feeling better!
  • Lisa C. January 8, 2015, 12:57 pm
    Please don't feel you have done anything wrong. I, too, do not like labels. I am also a vegetarian that occasionally eats fish. I am very much into healthy eating/lifestyle and there is overwhelming evidence that fish are an important part of the human diet. Hey, it's even in the bible. ;) My thoughts: have you been taking routine B12? Have you ever had your levels tested? Also, how about vitamin D? Best of luck to you on your path to health. I applaud you for being honest! I love your blog. See you over on Zach's fb page! ;)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:30 pm
      Thanks so much, Lisa! I appreciate that! I used to take Vitamin B12, but had not really noticed a huge difference in anything so I stopped. Maybe I should try incorporating it back in again. Good thinking!
      • Lisa C. January 9, 2015, 8:20 pm
        Hannah, please have your B12 tested! B12 is only found in animal products. Actually, it used to be abundant on produce (it is a vitamin produced by bacteria) but we wash and sanitize everything now and if you don't eat animal products, you will eventually be deficient. If you are deficient, you will need to be tested until your levels rise. Here is some good info: http://veganhealth.org/articles/vitaminb12 Also, get your vitamin D status checked too. Both are so important! Best of luck to you for abundant health to come!
  • Heather @ FITaspire January 8, 2015, 1:14 pm
    I made a similar shift and "confession" over a year ago and I remember those feelings of guilt and wondering what people would think. Great job getting past that and sharing where you currently are! Your eating habits are your choice & I hope you'll find that others respect that. :) Heather @ FITaspire recently posted...5 Tips for Morning WorkoutsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:31 pm
      Thank you, Heather! It was a hard post to write and share, but the feedback has been great! I am really glad I decided to share :)
  • Missy January 8, 2015, 1:25 pm
    After over two decades (I'm old yo) of vegetarianism (including bouts of veganism) I ate seafood and I'll never look back. I still slip and say "I don't eat meat" or "I'm vegetarian" because it was most of my life! LOL and also? Who really cares about what I eat and I give no effs about labels. I am glad you "gasp!" outed yourself because gurrrl? Do you. You'll still eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals (probably most of the time) which is a win win for errbody. And you watch... I am sure you will notice and feel a difference. OK finally, here is where I am giddily selfishly happy you "came out" <--Gasp! LOL- because can I now expect to see some Hannah-fied Seafood recipes? Oh gosh please say yes.
    • Missy January 8, 2015, 1:28 pm
      Oh and I forgot...even though labels are meh -- you gotta admit that pescatarian is so fun to say! (Yes, that is my official foodie title. LOL. With ovo and occasionally lacto thrown in. See? Stoopid labels.)
      • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:47 pm
        You got me on that one! Pescatarian is definitely super fun to say! ;)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:46 pm
      Haha, since I LOVE cook and share recipes here on CEVG, I can only imagine that some seafood recipes will certainly make there way in here. Just you wait! ;)
  • Katie @ running4cupcakes January 8, 2015, 1:31 pm
    Good for you for doing what is best for YOU and your body! High five. ;) And fingers crossed that it makes a HUGE difference in your body! Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted...The BIG newsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:48 pm
      Thanks so much, Katie! I truly appreciate the support from people like you :)
  • GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth January 8, 2015, 2:34 pm
    After all the blowback Jordan got last year I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, but I'm a total advocator of doing what feels right for your body. Hopefully you figure out what's us with all the aches and pains before it gets any worse! GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted...Almond-Chocolate Breakfast CookiesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 1:49 pm
      Thank you SO much! I am so lucky to have so many people in my corner :)
  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs January 8, 2015, 4:58 pm
    I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be to be in pain each day. I suffered with pain for a while and it made me so angry I just wanted to throw things. Your body; your rules. Truly. I'm not here to judge anyone. I do hope you're able to figure out why you're in so much pain and find a solution that works for you. Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted...2015: More and LessMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 2:11 pm
      Thank you for your comment. Ange. It is great to have others' support. And you are right... some days I definitely just want to throw things!! :(
  • Angela January 8, 2015, 7:22 pm
    Also another food with omega-3 for anti inflammation is flax seed - you probably already know that but it's a cheaper source of omega 3's
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 2:15 pm
      Yes! I have started incorporating that in as well! Thanks :)
  • dixya@food, pleasure, and health January 8, 2015, 8:55 pm
    please do not feel guilty dear...and who cares about these labels. food is a medicine and whatever makes you feel better, happier, and healthier! on a side note, i make fish, mostly salmon using a method called salmon en papillote, heres a really really simple recipe. also, you can use whatever herbs/spices you prefer http://www.foodpleasureandhealth.com/2013/12/salmon-en-papillote.htm dixya@food, pleasure, and health recently posted...Announcing “Blogger of the Week” SeriesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 3:18 pm
      Thanks so much for your support, Dixya. I appreciate it :) For the heads up, I tried clicking on that salmon recipe link and it lead to a "Page Not Found."
  • Koryn @ High Heels & Healthy Alternatives January 9, 2015, 11:54 am
    Hi, I'm a new reader and thought I'd share my experience with this as well. I was a vegetarian for 5 (!!) years before becoming pescatarian for a year. I also felt guilty at first but then realized how completely silly that is, soon after. Your diet/lifestyle/journey is just that - yours. And truthfully, your definition of yourself is the only one that REALLY matters, so continue to do what's best for you and your health. I actually eat poultry and some red meat (not much) also, now, and I honestly haven't felt better. Will I ever go back to being a pescatarian, or even a vegetarian? Who knows? Probably not any time soon, but I just love having the option whenever I feel it's right/healthy/best for me. :-) Koryn @ High Heels & Healthy Alternatives recently posted...10 Month UpdateMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 3:20 pm
      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Koryn. I appreciate it! You are so right. The label really does not matter. What matters is doing what is best for me, my health, and my body. I love your name, by the way!
  • Linda @ Veganosity January 9, 2015, 4:46 pm
    You have nothing to apologize for Hannah! Eat what you want to eat, no judgment here. I really don't think that your physical issues are a result of your diet, only because you eat healthy. I agree with the other comments, you should get checked out for rheumatoid arthritis. There is something more going on with you than not eating fish or meat. Don't stop blogging! You're good at it and it seems like you enjoy it. Best of luck! Linda @ Veganosity recently posted...Baked Onions with Fennel Bread CrumbsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 9:08 pm
      Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement, Linda! I really appreciate it. I also think there must be something else going on besides just what I eat. Hopefully I will be able to get help from a rheumatologist to get to the root of the pain.
  • Miss Polkadot January 9, 2015, 7:22 pm
    It's a coincidence you're posting this just now that I've been working on a similar post on the topic. Honestly, you won't hear any judgement from me and I can completely relate to the guilt you're describing. It was the same for me when I reintroduced dairy regularly and the feeling last for a -long- time. Ultimately, though, it's really not about what others think but what helps YOU feel best. I applaud you for being serious enough about your health to try whatever it takes to get back to a hopefully pain-free life. I'm sorry about your history of injuries and am keeping my fingers crossed the next doctor's appointment will bring new results. Miss Polkadot recently posted...Vegan Red Pepper Cream Rice [gluten-free]My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 9, 2015, 9:09 pm
      Thanks so much for your positive thoughts! I really appreciate it! You are right, what matters most is about me being healthy and feeling good. Hopefully the steps I am taking will help!
  • Ashley January 10, 2015, 8:19 pm
    Hannah, oh my goodness I am so sorry for all these aches and pains you've been dealing with! I really do hope that you find some relief and answers soon. And seriously, do not apologize or feel guilty, you need to do what is best for you and your body. End of story. I hate labels ... or trying to just fit into one category, that sort of thing. I'd say I eat a plant-based diet about 85% of the time ... and that is what works for me and let's me feel my best. You do what you gotta do! Ashley recently posted...White Bean Salsa Verde Chili with Lentils and QuinoaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 10, 2015, 10:50 pm
      Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and words, Ashley. I truly appreciate it! And yay for no labels. That is something I am definitely trying to work on since they really DON'T MATTER!
  • Mary Legare Whaley January 10, 2015, 8:42 pm
    Giiiirl, don't feel the least bit guilty from straying from your norm! And definitely don't feel like you've misled anyone or that you're in any way a fraud. You have to test the waters to see what works best for you. There is no textbook/ideal diet for everyone or for any one person. We all thrive on our own perfect blend. I find that a heavy-on-veggies diet with fruits, a little bit of dairy, lots of oats (and other whole grains), and (all) seafood works best for me. Fish/shellfish provide the oils and fats that lubricate your joints, as well as a heavy dose of protein that keeps me going. Most vital nutrients can be found in nature, in non-animal form--this is mostly true, from what I've gathered. Of course, I'm not expert. Some people can live a strict vegan lifestyle and be healthy, but I don't know if everyone can make it work, I think that's still up for debate. But don't let food choices get you down. Maybe you can swap fish for more vegetable and nut-based oils? Sounds like you've got a game plan and some experts to advise you in the weeks ahead. I think you'll get some solid answers based on the food tests you've tried on your own. Best of luck, you've got this! =) Mary Legare Whaley recently posted...The Installation of my Nest.My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 10, 2015, 10:54 pm
      Thanks, Mary! You are right. Certain diets work for some people and not others. The important part is to find the diet that works for me!
  • Deryn Macey January 10, 2015, 9:01 pm
    I eat a mostly vegan diet but don't label myself a vegan, or any other label. Technically, I guess I'm vegetarian but I've thought about adding fish back in one day. I would probably feel guilty too just because of my ethical beliefs...but you really have to do what's right for your body. Healthy eating is what's healthy for you, and enjoyable! All the best :) Deryn Macey recently posted...Are You New to Healthy Eating? Start here.My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 10, 2015, 10:55 pm
      Thank you Deryn for your support. I really do appreciate it! I am definitely working to focus LESS on the labels and more on what is best for my body!
  • Christina @The White Gift Bag January 11, 2015, 11:26 am
    I also think you should eat what is good for you. Overconsumption is the real problem. If you have fish once in a while and it's good for you, I see not much harm in it if you make sure it's good quality fish too. Personally, I have not given up meat or fish yet, but I have reduced my consumption of animal products drastically. I go for healthier, plant-based options whenever possible but if I really want to indulge, I do it. Your body knows what's best for you, you just need to listen!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 11, 2015, 4:34 pm
      Thank you, Christina! I definitely need to listen to and do what is best for my body, regardless of the label or what others think. I appreciate your support :)
  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt January 12, 2015, 7:56 am
    I'm a little behind on this post, but I just wanted to reach out and tell you not to feel bad. I ate only vegetables for along time too and then switched to vegetarian who eats seafood. As a pescatarian there are a lot more food options for me in the world and I actually really like fish now. I have to not really think too hard about what I am eating though, because it makes me sad. But I know it is the right choice. I've become pretty good at cooking fish if you have any questions. Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted...Back From AntiguaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 12, 2015, 11:38 am
      Thank you for your comment, Julie. I truly appreciate it! I was just thinking the other day about how much easier it will be for me to eat out at restaurants now. I suppose that is an added perk!
  • Mary January 12, 2015, 8:25 am
    I only found your site for the first time this morning and this is the first post I've read. I have not read through previous comments so I don't know if this has been mentioned before. I haven't and don't think I ever could be a vegetarian as I do truly enjoy eating meat but I do need to incorporate more vegetables into my eating. I understand that vegetarians and vegans often make the change for ethical/moral reasons in regards to the killing of animals. Reading about your joint issues and muscle pains, I'm glad to read you re-incorporated fish into your diet. There are many good salmon patty recipes out there that are way better than regular salmon burgers! My family loves them and won't eat salmon any other way. Try to get the canned salmon that still has bones (they're very soft) in it so you get that added calcium. Just mix it up with your fingers to make sure you go through and crush most of them. I don't particular care to bite into them while I'm eating =) Another suggestion would be to incorporate eggs for the nutrients provided there. Nutritionally, they are one of the most easily digestible and complete proteins available. The next idea would be to add in a homemade bone broth. I personally make mine in 3 gallon batches and it lasts about a month. I had major shin splints and knee pain for about 6 months when my doctor told me I needed more collagen/gelatin in my diet. Now I use the broth in everything from rice and quinoa to gravies and soups. My son loves to drink it plain. This would be a good way to incorporate animal food nutrients without physically chewing the meat. For poultry it's best to use backs, necks and wing tips. For beef, look for knuckle bones (more collagen) and sliced open marrow bones. Beef bones do best if roasted in the oven first. I'm guessing that until you re-added the fish that you avoided animal products of all sorts. The last addition I would suggest is some ghee or butter. I too have issues with dairy and acne but I find that I can have butter, ghee, cream, homemade yogurt and hard cheeses without issue. Butter (especially grass-fed) has so many nutrients and it just plain tastes delicious. I'm working through my own health journey and I'm always happy to learn when people have had success in their's. Good luck!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 12, 2015, 11:46 am
      Thanks so much Mary for all of your suggestions. I truly appreciate such a thorough comment! I will have to try homemade salmon burgers, and I also find your suggestion of bone broth very interesting. I do currently avoid gelatin, but maybe that is something that I need to look into incorporating back into my diet.
      • Mary January 12, 2015, 12:04 pm
        If you'd prefer to buy plain gelatin, I recommend Great Lakes Gelatin (Amazon.com). It is from grass-fed cows so it will contain more nutrients than factory farmed stuff. I most frequently stir mine into tea (mix with cold water then add the hot). My joint pain went away within about a week after beginning to take it most days. I've also noticed a lot less popping in my joints and I've had the snap-crackle-pop in my joints my whole life.
        • ClnEatingVegGrl January 12, 2015, 5:00 pm
          Ahh, thanks so much! I'll look into that :)
  • Grace January 14, 2015, 9:25 am
    I've been "vegetarian" for several years as well, although about a year in I started eating fish/seafood maybe once a month or every few months (sushi is my weakness). But I've been feeling EXACTLY like you lately because I've been eating it more and more-- which doesn't feel like a big deal to some people, but as you said, I feel like a quitter. I'm glad I'm not alone. I feel like people--especially other vegan and vegetarians-- can be judgmental about others' dietary choices. And while I don't really care what other people have to say, I have felt like I'm cheating myself. Thank you for providing your experience, and for helping me not see myself as a fraud!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 14, 2015, 1:38 pm
      Please know that those feelings are pretty normal, but you don't have to feel that way! Lately, I have been trying to tell myself that while I am not strictly a vegetarian anymore, the "label" of what I am really doesn't matter much (and for people who REALLY take offense to it, their opinions probably shouldn't mean much to me anyways). What is important is that we do OUR BEST to be healthy and feel good. Eating vegetarian 80% of the time is better than not at all!
  • chlay January 23, 2015, 6:05 am
    Have you considered acupuncture? I had neck pain for 2 years and mine has got significantly better with a very well trained acupuncturist <3 Please don't feel guilty, feel good that you're doing everything you can think of to help your body <3 there's no point in being vegi if you are completely bed ridden and miserable <3 take care x
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 23, 2015, 7:13 am
      Thanks so much for your suggestion. I have not tried it, but have wanted to. I simply cannot afford it at this time :(
  • Lucy October 11, 2015, 12:47 pm
    Looking forward to exploring your blog! I have recently discovered and got really excited about plant based eating, but also decided for health reasons to eat a little bit of fish aswell. I though maybe i could go vegan so i do feel a little guilty about it, but im not (probably ever) going back to land animal meat, and generally do not eat dairy either now, so i guess i have still made ethical and healthy improvements from when i was omni. I think you have to do whats right for you at this time. I feel for me that pescatarianism is right, and a good compromise between veganism and omni...ness. Off to explore your blog now....
    • ClnEatingVegGrl October 11, 2015, 3:17 pm
      It is so important to do what is RIGHT FOR YOU!! Good for you :) I still get feelings of guilt from time to time, but I know that my health is a priority for me. Good luck on your journey!
  • kelsey January 12, 2016, 3:28 am
    Hey thanks for your post - you're right, by sharing your truth you help others that are in the same position feel less alone! ;) I went pescetarian just over four years ago... and have been vegan for around two and a half... and one class I'm so glad I took at university was 'environmental ethics'. We went through so many different ways, theorists and questions that come up in morality and I began to question my own beliefs... I've always said vegan is the best label for me, but I actually have no problems with people fishing or eating eggs from their chooks... There have been several times the opportunity has arisen and whilst I have 'no problem with it' have not been able to eat it... Time will tell but I really do feel that eggs, at least, would round out my diet a bit more and that I would love to one day again, eat fish... It would just have to be in a way I deemed ethical... i.e. a local farms market NOT from a big commercial trawling boat shucked to the supermarket... Anyway, thanks for your post!! <3
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 12, 2016, 8:27 am
      Thank you for your comment, Kelsey. I am glad to hear it resonated with you. Ultimately, it is about doing what is best for YOU! Also, taking those first steps are definitely not easy, but it starts to become second nature. So if bringing pasture-raised eggs and wild caught fish is what will make you happy and health, I say go for it! :)
  • sondra January 12, 2016, 10:58 am
    I'm late to the party but wanted to thank you for your post. I was eating vegan for 4 years before incorporating fish back into my diet. Like you, I lost too much weight and didn't feel I was reaping the benefits physically or mentally. I've been eating fish now for a year and sometimes struggle with guilt. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone! I can't deny that my body is much happier and healthier and my weight is holding steady. On the ethical side of things, I find that purchasing pole caught, ethically sourced seafood when possible is a responsible way to keep our oceans happy. Thanks again for your post!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 12, 2016, 12:26 pm
      Despite how much we WANT to eat certain ways, sometimes we just have to listen to what our bodies are telling us. I am glad you are doing just that!
  • priscilla January 13, 2016, 3:25 pm
    Thank you for your honesty! I just celebrated 11 years of being vegetarian in October but have been debating for months eating fish. I recently bought a can of tuna (like you and the fish sticks, it was the only appealing thing) I had a very small bite and felt instantly guilty. Not only for letting myself down, for those I've preached to about living a vegetarian life, and for the fish itself. Ugh, now I'm just stuck. I keep having joint pains - different joint every day, and while I feel healthy mentally, I can't help but feel something crucial I just can't get from plants is missing in my diet. I think I'll try some fish tonight when I go out to dinner, but I'll leave that heavy guilt at home.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 13, 2016, 5:44 pm
      Thank you for your comment, Priscilla. I will tell you that the first few times (or even weeks) are NOT easy. It feels so strange and different. BUT, when it comes to your health I truly believe you need to do what is best for you. I think you will come to find that it can and does get easier!
  • Sherine January 21, 2016, 5:04 am
    I feel your pain I've been a vegetarian for the last 4 years I tried to be vegan/raw vegan then I suffered hair loss went to a doctor and bam I have anemia he told me to eat tuna I couldn't I'm gonna feel guilty but emotionally I'm starting to accept the consept of eating fish but can you help on that give me tips please !! Also my hair is short now after it was like hip length its waist length now did you notice any difference in your hair after eating tuna !
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 21, 2016, 1:41 pm
      Unfortunately I have still been noticing issues with hair loss (and I am now back to eating both seafood and meat). Maybe you should get your thyroid checked out?
  • Claire March 23, 2016, 2:16 pm
    Thank you for this post! Exactly what I needed to read, considering eating fish for health/fitness reasons after 6.5 years of being vegetarian.. and was feeling so guilty! Felling better now :)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 23, 2016, 2:56 pm
      I am glad you found it helpful, Claire! You definitely need to listen to your body and do what is best for YOU! :D
  • Stephanie March 25, 2016, 2:10 am
    Amazing Hannah... I've recently done the same.... after 20yrs of being vegan. Love eggs and absolutely cannot get enough of fish. I'v got to do what truely feels right. Not deny yourself because otherwise where is the compassion in that? Xxxx
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 25, 2016, 7:10 am
      Exactly! You need to do what is best for YOU! I'm glad you found the post helpful :D
  • Marija April 5, 2016, 12:48 pm
    Hannah! What a good post ! Thank you for sharing the pitfalls of vegan diet! This is so important ! You are doing a great job ! I won't go Into my story of food life but I want to share the info about my joint pain. Please look into omission of nightshade family veggies. It might be connected !! I will follow you xx
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 5, 2016, 12:54 pm
      Thanks so much for your care and the suggestion! I actually eliminated nightshades quite a few months ago. While I think it has helped my acid reflux, I have not noticed a huge improvement in my joint pain :(
  • Suzanna April 24, 2016, 12:02 am
    I have been wondering about this. I am 57 and have been a vegetarian, sometime fish eater, for 40 of those years. Although I rarely ate fish, and only sushi when I did, I gave it up completely about 10 years ago. It was exhausting to trace if the source was humane and ecologically sound. But....I hurt all over. I have crispy dry skin, all my joints hurt and I have thyroid issues...Maybe I am just old and wasn't meant to live long but I am battling my conscience verses my remembering how I felt when I ate sushi:( I am trying to drink vegetable broth each day to resolve the issue but it is difficult.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 24, 2016, 9:19 am
      Thanks so much for your comment. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck in improving my symptoms based on diet just yet. I think the ultimate thing I have learned is that you just need to experiment and do what is best for YOUR body because we are all different. Good luck!
  • Natalie May 31, 2016, 1:15 pm
    Hi, I've been veggie for almost 10 years now, aged 26. My knees click and creak a lot and I get very light-headed/dizzy quite often. I have no desire to eat beef/pork/chicken etc and I was never a big fish water before I went veggie. I have started to contemplate eating fish but am having difficulty digesting it, and feel very sick after eating it, as I believe my body does not have the enzymes to digest it. Any tips on how to gradually introduce fish into a veggie/ verging on vegan diet? I too have only told my boyfriend. Thanks, Nat
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 1, 2016, 8:29 pm
      I am sorry that I am probably not much help since I didn't really have any bad reactions when I reintroduced fish. I would say just start slowly and then seek additional assistance from a medical/nutrition professional if needed. Good luck!
  • Robin June 14, 2016, 6:41 pm
    I want to encourage you to do what you need to do for you. I believe that our bodies are as individual as we are. there is no one diet fits all. Good luck I hope you feel better soon.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 15, 2016, 8:15 am
      Thank you so much for the support. I definitely believe you are correct! It is a journey to figure out exactly what MY body wants!
  • Klaske June 19, 2016, 3:22 pm
    Hi, I’m so happy I found your blog! I had been a vegetarian for about 14 years and stricktly vegan for over 3,5 years. All that time I never craved meat of fish. But just last week I suddenly realised (on the train home from work) that I wanted to eat fish. So I bought some and ate it. And liked it. And I didn’t even feel bad about it and can’t explain it. Before this happened I had been thinking about my veganism a lot and how it wasn’t making me happy anymore. I also accepted I had to eat cheese and egg on my holiday in Spain last month, which took some effort at first but turned out to be ok. Is eating fish just the next step? Now it feels like I can’t stop eating it and I have also added some cheese to my diet. Going to the supermarket is now exciting and new, since there are so many things I can/want to eat now and couldn’t/wouldn’t before. Research on the internet only made me feel bad, like there’s nothing worse in this world than a former vegan who starts eating “forbidden” foods again. But your story and especially the reactions to it made me feel a little better. I’m still very strongly against animal cruelty but in the end nobody decides what you can and cannot eat but you.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 20, 2016, 7:25 am
      It sounds like you are doing what is best for YOUR body and for YOU, which is exactly what you should be doing. Good for you!! I'm glad you could relate to the post.
  • Laura June 26, 2016, 8:54 am
    All the feels. I too am Pescatarian. It's the choice I made for me to feel good about my choices and what I think is the healthiest for my body. I don't care what other people think, I'm doing this for ME. I don't judge people who eat meat or who are Vegan. I can tell you, no choice gets you a plaque on your wall! Kind of like giving birth without medication. I've done it with and without(not my intention-it happened on the way to the hospital) and there's no plaque on my wall for that either.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 27, 2016, 8:19 am
      Yes, yes, yes! You most definitely need to do/find what is best for YOU and your body. Way to go :)
  • Tania July 27, 2016, 4:28 pm
    Omg! I have recently decided to eat a vegetarian, but still want to continue to eat fish and your post has made me feel wonderfull about this decision. I recently discovered the brutality of the meat industry and feel I don't want to be a part of it. You should not feel guilty. Thank you for sharing this.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 27, 2016, 7:53 pm
      Good for you for doing what is best for YOU. We should be accepting of others and not judgmental!
  • Ann August 8, 2016, 6:24 pm
    Glad to read this article. For health reasons, I am considering the same transition after being vegetarian since the 80's. Wondering if you had any adverse effects when you started eating fish. I have had some meat products without knowledge in the past and wound up quite ill. Because of this, I have been nervous to take the plunge.Interested in learning more about the experience.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl August 9, 2016, 7:59 am
      My body actually responded quite well, but I was cautious about how I introduced it (slowly and in small amounts). I think seafood is a bit easier on our bodies than something like red meat would be, but overall I have never had much of an issue introducing in animal protein. Good luck!
  • Julia August 10, 2016, 1:39 pm
    Hi I've started thinking about being vegetarian for mostly healthy and cruelty reasons but I know that I won't be able to live life without some kind of "meat." So I also was thinking about becoming pescatarian.But if I was to eat fish and not eat other animals why would it be okay for me to eat fish (as they are animals too) and not other animals in cases of cruelty?Are fish not harmed? And if I am to start this and become pescatarian how can I tell if the brand I'm getting is bad against the fish? :| I really want to start this but I'm not sure how. Julia recently posted...Beefy Beet Burgers with Sweet Peanut Butter SauceMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl August 10, 2016, 2:12 pm
      Julia, thank you for your comment. It really is up to you to determine WHY you are wanting to make the switch. If it is for animal/cruelty reasons, maybe eating fish is not in your best interest. If it is for health reasons, it could work great for you. It is all about you determining your "why" for the decision. I hope that helps!
  • Amy October 2, 2016, 9:14 am
    Thank you for this! I googled "why do I feel good when I eat fish" because I do and I desperately want to be a vegan but eating seafood on occasion once a week makes me feel good, alert. I feel guilty too but we shouldn't of it makes us feel physically better. Good luck with finding out what is wrong and continue listening to your body. It knows best! Take care .)
    • ClnEatingVegGrl October 3, 2016, 8:10 am
      Thanks so much for commenting! Always remember to listen to your body and do what is best for YOU! :)
  • Andy November 9, 2016, 12:26 pm
    Similar experience. Vegan for a year and a half and felt super. But then noticed my sudden strength and burst-energy were non existent. I can't take vitamins b/c they make me sick. Now I eat 4-8 oz of fish, usually sardines, everyday . And I feel great. My strength is back and I don't feel guilty. I'm mindful, respectful that life is taken when I eat flesh, but the universe is okay with that. Do what is right for you.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 9, 2016, 6:42 pm
      Exactly! I am so glad you have found what works best for your body!
  • Brenda November 25, 2016, 11:09 am
    I'm so glad I found your post. I've been vegetarian for 5 years and recently have been thinking about eating fish. I'm tired of the tofu, it makes me feel yucky. I originally stopped eating meat for ethical reasons and am now feeling guilty about having these thoughts of eating fish. I feel like if I were to eat fish, then I would going back on everything I believe in as if I'm not strong enough to stick to my beliefs. I have a lot of thinking to do. Thank you so much for posting this!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 28, 2016, 8:29 am
      I'm glad you could relate, Brenda. Unfortunately, the decision will likely not be an easy one for you. Just remember that it is important to listen to your body and do what is best for YOU!
  • Steph December 14, 2016, 6:17 pm
    Hey girl, I've been vegan for the past year but I've noticed I get alot of brain fog in the past couple months.. I feel tired and small physical activities cause me alot of pain the next day and my body is taking much longer to heal.. I've been thinking about eating salmon again even just once a week.. I eat really well and put so much effort into getting everything out of my diet but something is missing.. it's difficult because my gf who is vegan keeps saying there's no excuse to eat another person and I understand that.. I feel so guilty about eating seafood again if I decide to but I also can't help but think if it will benefit my health do I have a choice? I'm really torn and I'd love to hear about how you're going since you have reintroduced it into your diet.. thanks for the post x
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 16, 2017, 9:58 am
      My biggest recommendation is to listen to YOUR body (not others.. even though that is tough) and to do what is best for YOU. What works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for the next!
  • Kendra February 28, 2017, 8:09 am
    Heay, so for yrs i experienced pain, always getting hurt, and always getting sick. I have been vegetarian for 11 yrs with a heavy focus on soy and dairy. Well i went to an allergist and it turns out i am allergic to soy, eggs, casien, dairy, citrus, pork. Once i eliminated these foods, i started to be pain free. So i highly recommended to go see an allergist.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl February 28, 2017, 12:36 pm
      Thank you so much for your thoughts, Kendra. I appreciate it! Since I wrote this post a couple years back, I have since gone through food sensitivity testing and elimination diets. They have helped some, but not fully. It's still a work in progress for me!
  • Jessica March 3, 2017, 8:30 pm
    Hi, after being vegan two years today I had my first piece of fish, I also suffer from knee and shoulder pain and I feel my organs hurt too, after you started eating fish again did you aches eventually subside ?
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 4, 2017, 11:47 am
      Since eating fish and writing this post about two years ago, I have now switched to a predominantly Paleo diet. This has offered me some relief, but not full relief. I'm still working through healing my body. One thing I have learned over these past couple of years is that it is a PROCESS!
  • Luke April 6, 2017, 11:01 pm
    Ive been feeling bad because I was vegetarian for about a year while still eating fish (sushi) because it made me feel great. Then I met my girlfriend and went full vegan. A year later I have gone back to eating fish, and now feel guilty about it for her and frankly no other reason. Thank you for this writing, it's refreshing to read this.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 7, 2017, 8:22 am
      It can definitely be tough, but it is important to do what is best for you and your health. It does get easier!
  • Alan Keck April 13, 2017, 12:59 am
    Thank you for your story. I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian overnight in September 1970 after a particularly intense LSD trip. I have not eaten any fish or meat in 47 years. I have always enjoyed good health, working as a carpenter with an active life style. But, at 68, during the last couple of years I have noticed some health issues. I am presently on the 13th day of a two-week water fast. Amazingly, a couple of days ago, I felt it is OK for me to eat sardines. Exactly where that came from (maybe an angel's advice?), I do not know; but it is liberating! My plan is to eat a tin of sardines in a couple of weeks or so after my digestion has stabilized after this fast. On this fast, my health issues have greatly subsided (arthritis and stomach distress). I want to keep those issues gone! I have hopes that the sardines will help with that along with some other changes I am making with my diet. I have not told anyone yet. My wife and six grown children will be so surprised--this is something entirely new for the dad they have always known. Let a new adventure begin! I see fishing in my future! Young vegetarians, listen to your conscience and to God. Don't be afraid to make a change if He so directs.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 13, 2017, 10:44 am
      Thanks so much for sharing, Alan. It is definitely so important to listen to our bodies and what they are telling us since we all respond differently to different ways of eating!
  • Mary April 16, 2017, 10:22 pm
    Hi Hannah, Those sound like hard issues to deal with, I'm glad you've found some relief since then but wish all the pain was gone (wondering whether pregnancy has helped or not?). I myself was fully lacto-ovo vegetarian for over a decade (14 to late twenties) and since then have re-incorporated some seafood into my diet. I've gone non-dairy for long periods (nursing with colicky, dairy sensitive babies) and tried gluten-free for extended periods too. It's been an interesting journey and learning experience to figure out what will suit me and my family best. It's hard when everyone seems to be pigeon-holed into their own little label and of course you want to do what's best for animals, the earth, and for yourself. I like your attitude about it all in your "About Me."
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 17, 2017, 8:40 am
      Trying to find good health and feel our best truly is a journey. I imagine it is something I will be working on for the rest of my life!
  • Martin June 1, 2017, 4:16 pm
    Hi thanks for writing your story it is really helping with some things i am trying to figure out myself, I have been a vegetarian for 5 years now and i am debating with myself about introducing fish into my diet which is how i came across your blog. Some things you mentioned really struck home with me, I was out walking with my brother and his dog tonight and was telling him that i am going to make a doctors appointment because of the pains and issues with my knee, Since i stopped eating meat i have also suffered with hypertension and i am still struggling to keep it under control and i know exercise is a good thing for this but with the general knee issues and constant lethargic feeling this does not seem at this moment in time a plausible way. There are a few other health issues and speaking with family members and friends people started to mention how i have had these only since quitting meat and fish 5 years ago, So here i am trying to make another major decision in my life, Like you the idea of eating things like Beef, Port, Chicken "Meat" is a big no for me but maybe fish can reintroduce some nutrients that my body is longing for, I think i am going to give it a try just a couple of times a week and see what happens. I understand your post was from a while ago so i was wondering how things are now with your diet and the issues you were having with your health? I would love to know how things have gone for you. King Regards Martin
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2017, 7:53 am
      I am glad you reached out. A few months after I reintroduced fish, I also reintroduced meat. I essentially tried a Whole 30 and transitioned into a mostly Paleo diet. While I have not found complete success yet, I have felt better than when I was eating a solely vegetarian diet. For me, I have realized that it is definitely NOT just the diet though. It is other things (leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, stress, etc.). So I am trying to work on those! My best advice is to do what is best for YOU and YOUR body. No diet/lifestyle works for every person.
  • Yasmin September 26, 2017, 10:30 pm
    Hey Hannah, thanks so much for this post! I am currently a vegan and have been for a few months. Overall, I enjoy it but I have been struggling to meet all my nutritional needs. Let's just say I have not been feeling or looking my best. I was thinking about incorporating fish back into my diet but I have been feeling really guilty about doing so. Your story has encouraged to listen to my body and do what's best for it. Thanks so much for your insight!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 28, 2017, 5:57 pm
      I am so glad you could relate. Remember, do what is best for YOUR body, not what others think is best for your body!
  • Chris December 6, 2017, 1:16 am
    Regarding the chronic, unexplainable, and ever-shifting pain...check out books from John Sarno on what he calls Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Can probably find some of his writings for free or just a few bucks for a paperback. He’s also on plenty of YouTube interviews too. I had similar issues as you until I read one of his books.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 6, 2017, 10:29 am
      Thank you for your input. I will definitely look into this! I just recently receive a chronic lyme diagnosis, so that may be my actual culprit.
  • Cheri February 7, 2018, 6:31 am
    About 3 years ago I started a high protein low carb diet. I lost a lot of weight doing this....but, I noticed that my hair was getting thin. My hair stylist told me that it could be related to no carbs and add some back in. I did and things went back to normal. As time past on my high protein diet, I was getting terrible knee pain, ankle pain. Went to doctor and he took x-rays and blood work. I had arthritis. He told me it was age appropriate arthritis. I was baffled by this. I was at that time in my early 40's and thought, geez what will I be like 10 years from now. Well almost 10 years later, it got so bad, that my knees would swell up and be painful to the point of hardly walking. I could not bend my knees at all. I stopped practicing Jujitsu because of my knees for fear of hurting my self to the point of surgery. Fast forward to January of 2018. The relationship of meat and arthritis kept playing in my head. This is what a high protein diet consist of. Meat and Whey shakes. I decided to attempt a vegan lifestyle as of January. Drastic, yes, but I felt in order to see if the relationship between arthritis and meat exists for me, I would need to cut out dairy and meat. It is almost impossible to be completely vegan if you ask me. So many foods contain hidden dairy in it. Like cookies or cakes, sauces and so on. I do my best to avoid them. Meat has not been a problem to avoid. What's hard is coming up with dinner every night. Buying hamburger and whipping something up was easy. Now I have to put some thought into my dinners. The reason I even commented about this blog, is because I too eat tuna and feel that tuna or fish adds valuable life sustaining substance to my diet. I love animals, but I believe animals are to be eaten. I choose not to eat them (most of them). Now should the farmers and the government be held accountable for the standards and conditions of the chicken, fish and dairy farms, ABSOLUTELY!! Farmers and government should also be accountable for all of the pesticides used on fruits and vegetables we eat too. Farming is big business! No title or life style is perfect and we should all use common sense and pay attention to how our bodies react to our food we eat. Well the long short of this post, is to say that I will try not to sacrifice my health, just to fall under a title. Thank you for your honesty and the desire to be realistic about a healthy lifestyle. That's the title I want "Healthy Lifestyle!".
    • ClnEatingVegGrl February 7, 2018, 8:45 am
      I am glad you could relate to this post. One of the biggest things I have learned over the years is that one thing does not work for everyone, and we all have to figure out what works for our individual needs!
  • blueberry April 5, 2018, 3:56 am
    stumbled on your blog post when I was googling for a way to dip my toe back to eating a bit of fish . been vegetarian for 20 plus years and i literally was super nervous when i started eating fish roe . thanks for sharing your experience because i felt alone when i experimented with eating fish products again like other people were going to judge me but then i realised what the heck, life is too short to care about anyones judgement.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 5, 2018, 8:12 am
      Yes! You do you!
  • Anne Waford April 14, 2018, 10:42 am
    There is no excuse to eat fish or any other animal. You are causing another creature pain to save your own? There are other ways but you need to find the right doctors.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 15, 2018, 8:10 pm
      Unfortunately that is simply not the case. Coming from someone who has tried and tried nearly everything, I know what is best for my body at this point. Not you. Please take your judgmental self elsewhere. Let's spread positivity, not negativity.
  • Jodi April 26, 2018, 6:49 pm
    I have been Vegan for a very long time even Raw for spurts however now I am living abroad. We are traveling the world and I gotta tell ya... its not easy and sometimes totally just not a ailable to find raw nuts and seeds for the fats we need. I too suffered with achy joints so I addeded eggs eating yolks. Pain went away..but now Im in colombia and I am feeling so dizzy and weak I bought white fish and had it tonite. I prayed a prayer of gratitude! I have been feeling the protein deficiency and or maybe Omega 3. So we will see. I went to the pharmay here and go injectable B1,6 and 12 weekly injections. Animals in my beleif is plan B for human dieatary needs. If we can get what we need to be healthy from plants then that should be plan A. When I go back to the states or if I can find nuts and seeds I will most likely stop the fish, Bit for now its Necessary! I am pro Vegan all the way but I think we meed to listen to our bodies and be responsible with the life both plants and animals. We ate all here to co exisit and help eachother. Nameste
    • ClnEatingVegGrl April 27, 2018, 8:43 am
      We are all different and have our own unique experiences. As a result, our body's may have different needs at different times. Good for you for listening to your body!
  • San May 23, 2018, 7:20 am
    Hey girl, i have a question for you. How did your body react to you eating fish again for the first time? Im in the same situation, ive been fully vegan, but am starting to incorporate fish into my lifestyle due to circumstances. Would love to hear from you. :) x
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 19, 2018, 7:49 am
      Honestly, my body was perfectly fine with adding in seafood. I did not notice any ill effects.
  • Zoo July 8, 2018, 2:02 pm
    My first fish after being vegan for two years were the dr. Praegers Fish shapes too!! Lol
    • ClnEatingVegGrl October 26, 2018, 10:45 am
      Hah, so funny! There must be something about them that just sounds appealing ;)
  • Krystal Landrum September 13, 2018, 3:21 pm
    I'm in the same boat as San. Went vegan a little over a year ago, and in the last 2 months started craving fish and eggs. Which to me, is a sign I'm deficient in a vitamin or mineral. I'm tired of labels as well, and getting constant jokes from meat-eating friends. "You know I have to tease you about this but I love you." Actually no, you don't have to pass judgement and antagonize me for my food choices. I don't care what YOU eat, so leave me be! Hoping for the best, and that my seafood/egg intake is minimal, as the animal welfare and economic impact still weigh heavily on my heart. Going for pastured or local eggs, and figuring out the fish aspect so it's healthy, yet sustainable. Hannah I'm so sorry you've been diagnosed with Lyme! However, now you can handle and treat it accordingly. Cheers to you both.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl October 26, 2018, 10:38 am
      Yes, no matter what you ultimately need to make the decisions that are best for YOUR body. We are all different and all require different things.
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