The Simple Approach to Eating More Plant-Based
What on earth is a pescatarian?
I remember the first time I encountered a pescatarian. I went out to eat with a friend who I understood did not eat meat. But when we got to the restaurant, she ordered a large plate of fish. Dumbfounded, I looked over at the girl who had not eaten a burger in eight years feasted on a plate of salmon. Noticing my surprise, she laughed and explained that she was a pescatarian, not a vegetarian, and could, therefore, eat fish.
Many wonder, as I did, what exactly a pescatarian is. A pescatarian primarily follows a vegetarian diet with the exception of seafood. They avoid all land animal meat products such as beef, pork, and chicken, but still indulge in fish.
Why include seafood?
The main reason people adopt a pescatarian lifestyle is for health. In recent years, health professionals have been raving about the benefits of seafood over red meat. Not only does fish contain a plethora of healthy fats and nutrients, such as Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, B12, and phosphorus, it also boosts cardiac health. While red meat offers a high amount of protein, it can clog arteries and have some negative effects on the body.
Often vegans and vegetarians have difficulty ensuring they receive all of the nutrients they need with their limited diet, but pescatarians need not worry as fish generally satisfies their nutrient needs. Additionally, many pediatricians recommend a pescatarian diet for children of vegans or vegetarians as the benefits of the diet help with development, and the children will not miss vital nutrients for growth.
Living as a pescatarian for health reasons does not mean eating loads and loads of fish. Rather, the trick to a healthy pescatarian lifestyle is to focus on a plant-based diet where the majority of the foods you eat are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, along with some fish. Seafood is just an added element that can be consumed two or three times a week as a side portion.
For the wrong reasons
Interestingly, some people follow a pescatarian diet to avoid land animal cruelty. While this dietary shift does lower the deaths of land animals, it ignores cruelty against water creatures. Because of the recent high demand for seafood, certain kinds of fish, such as Atlantic populations of halibut and yellowtail flounder are in danger, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Consequently, the pescatarian diet can act as a segway into a diet void of any animal cruelty, but on its own, it does not stand as a legitimately humane diet, if that is what you are seeking
The pescatarian diet is a relatively easy diet to adopt considering it’s not as drastic compared to a vegetarian or vegan diet. It offers great health benefits and is a perfect starter diet for someone wanting to go vegetarian or vegan. Even on its own, a pescatarian diet can be a satisfactory lifestyle, offering energy and health.
Written by: Jessica Goddard