My Life Without Bacon


Hi, my name is Emma Bernstein. I am 11 years old. I have been a pescatarian since I was 5. A pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, but does eat fish.

The first question I usually get goes something like this “Do your parents force you?” The simple answer is no. In fact, my brothers live off beef jerky and my cousins spend most of our family picnics waving burnt cheeseburgers in front of my face, a valiant attempt to tempt me.

The next question I get is “Why? Are you, like, diabetic or on a diet or something?” I usually say it’s because I love animals. The real reason is, when I was 5 I spent a lot of time on our “family” farm, Allandale, which you may or may not know. We would take in cows during the summer to “fatten them up.” I loved these cows, and one day they were gone. Of course I didn’t understand—until someone told me about the burger I was eating. I was disgusted, and no more meat for me.

Of course just because I had said no to meat didn’t mean everyone else had. It was easy for the first year, because we brought our lunch to school. The second year was tougher; I was 6 and had to find nonmeat, easy-to-make meals. Easy answer: I have salad, right? Or, like, some sort pre-made veggie tofu.

That’s the first thing that comes into most people’s head. But I was 6; I couldn’t stand tomatoes, spinach or crusts; I wasn’t exactly a fan of veggies and I loved chocolate. (I haven’t changed much!) So I let fish into my diet. Also something that a lot of people don’t realize is that some foods can be vegetarian without saying so. A vegetarian meal doesn’t have to have a ton of veggies; actually pasta is my savior and I eat it all the time. Currently I love fish and chips, bagels and since we are living on Allandale now I always bike over to the Allandale stand for a snack. That’s pretty much what I eat on a day-to-day basis. I go through fads in what I eat. I’m starting to like pesto and I’ve been doing a lot of baking projects. Sure, it seems like a hassle to avoid meat, but it’s part of life for me. I feel guilty if I think about forgoing pescatarianism and eating meat; it’s even a little hard for me to eat fish (which I consider necessary for my health).

I don’t even think about it anymore. I can’t even remember the taste of meat.