I wasn’t always a pescatarian. I’ve stopped eating meat for probably seven years now, for a slew of reasons. This is something I’m not very vocal about, but people catch on and ask the following questions, without fail:
“How long have you been vegetari–er–pescatarian?”
“Do you eat eggs?”
In the past year or so, I’ve noticed that people are less surprised at my alternative diet.
If you are trying to make a social change, here are a few things I’ve noticed.
1. Change begins as a fad.
It’s becoming more common to be pescatarian or vegetarian or vegan. Look, this study (conducted by Dr. Orlich, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University) found that out of 96,354 men and women, anyone who had an alternative, non-meat-based diet cut down risk of certain cancers by 22%. More of my friends have stopped eating meat, or at least become more conscious of eating less of it.
As a society, we’ve become more conscious of present health issues and have an increasing obsession with preventing them (and rightly so). For example, the Ontario government is investing more than $50 billion into healthcare this year. The Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey found that 41% of gen Xers will pay more for healthier foods and better ingredients.
This obsession did not exist five years ago; these days, everyone is talking about cutting meat and it’s the next best thing to a fountain of youth.
2. Changing yourself is hard, but changing society is like shifting a mountain.
Changing the norm is not the easiest nor most glamorous task, but if you know in your gut that you are right and there is a better way, then you owe it to yourself to try.
It was hard to get support for a health hackathon at first; companies were rude to us, shutting the metaphorical door. We were doing things the way we always did, and we didn’t understand that to make a change, we needed to do something different, to get in front of different people who would support a new movement.
We have this great technology–3D printing, data analytics–that the medical industry is not using, simply because the two industries are not talking to each other. Creating a 3D printed cast for a broken arm is much more comfortable and economical than a traditional plaster cast. So what if I could get 300 people from medicine and technology together, and create something to improve a cancer patient’s life?
A society without change remains stagnant, and we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss changes we don’t believe in; just because we don’t understand it yet, doesn’t mean it won’t affect us.
3. Making a change can be lonely, because you are one of the first.
Sometimes you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing, because no one has done it before.
But I promise that it will be worth it to follow through to the end. Because you will know whether your hunch is right, and you won’t be left wondering forever what would’ve happened if you’d tried harder.
Perhaps this is pioneering a new kind of music technique. Perhaps this is advocating for a different kind of education system. It starts with getting that one person on board, then it may snowball. It may not. But at least you will find out if your hunch was right.
There is no guarantee that you are right about the change, or that people will catch on at all (look, it took everyone else 5 years to catch onto being pescatarian), but you will always have the satisfaction of knowing.
And look, the satisfaction of knowing whether things were meant to be, is all we need for a peace of mind.