If you’re new to the idea of being Pescatarian or simply interested in the benefits of adopting this diet, then you’re in the right place. ‘Pesce’ is the Italian word for fish. Thus, ‘Pescatarian’ describes an individual who enjoys a more plant-based diet, whilst still consuming fish and other seafood as a source of protein. We often find people question why we support a Pescatarian diet. Many consider fish to be meat and argue the disadvantages of its consumption. Of course there are disadvantages – we wouldn’t deny that. Neither are we encouraging people to eat fish with every meal. What we do encourage is steps taken towards living a life without meat; and becoming Pescatarian is a great starting point for people wanting to do that. Often it can feel impossible to cut down your meat intake or become Vegetarian. Particularly if you consider yourself to be a full-on carnivore right now. Going Pescatarian first can help make things easier; and below we discuss the main reasons why that is. But don’t worry, we’re not going to reel off the same old reasons you often find on the web. We’re going to sum those ones up briefly and save the best ‘til last…
It’s a healthy starting point. Lots of research supports the health benefits of eating more fish and less meat. Where red meats are linked with the clogging of artery walls, fish and seafood boast a huge amount of vitamins and minerals. Particularly dietary sources of Vitamin D. Not only that, but fish often contains far less saturated fats in comparison to meats too. Yet it still contains similar levels of protein. The fats found in fish and seafood are the good kind – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Along with high levels of Omega 3, these fats can improve your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. Omega 3 is crucial for your body and brain function too. All this means being Pescatarian can benefit weight loss; and what’s not to like about that?
One of the reasons to go vegetarian is because it can better your mood. The high levels of arachidonic acid found in meat can cause mood disturbances. Indeed, research has found cutting meat out of your diet can improve your state of mood after only two weeks. Particularly states of depression, anxiety and stress. Increased levels of omega-3 from fish and seafood is also linked with reduced levels of depression and its prevention.[7,8]
When you’re used to getting your protein from meat, it’s seems alien to think you can get just as much from plants. But it’s true. Becoming Pescatarian first will lend you that important time to explore plant-based protein. Meaning cooking will become a more fun and healthy learning experience. However, due to pollution in our seas (sad face), it’s advised you consume fish that has the lowest levels of mercury and try to avoid farmed fish completely.
Making small incremental changes to your diet first, i.e. going Pescatarian, may make it easier for you to maintain a plant-based diet in the long run.
In a new report from the Human Research Council (HRC), it said only one in five new vegetarians and vegans stick with their respective diet. The rest find their way back to animal products in less than a year. Why is this? Think about it for a moment. Most people have eaten meat since before they could even talk, so ditching it and going veggie is a big change. We’re not surprised by the number of people who find their way back to it. It’s better that we instead treat meat consumption as a deep-rooted habit of eating. To maintain any habit change, our bodies need to become adjusted to the lack and cravings we are likely to experience. Continuing to eat fish and seafood for some time before going vegetarian helps eliminate your desire for meat. Your body’s craving for mammal and poultry meat will begin to disappear, and you’ll eventually repel it.
As you gradually embrace more and more plant-based foods, and eventually reduce your fish consumption, your long-term goal of being vegetarian becomes more accessible. You’re more likely to achieve and maintain this lifestyle with less chance of relapsing. And isn’t that your ultimate goal?
At the end of the day, Pescatarianism is a branch of Vegetarianism. Choosing to reduce your meat intake or become Pescatarian first doesn’t mean you don’t have similar moral intentions as a vegetarian or vegan. Every person (including you) who chooses these types of diets are making an effort to improve their health; contribute less to animal cruelty; and help reduce agriculture’s negative impacts on the environment and planet. And that’s something to be proud about. These diet choices should be praised and not criticised as they demonstrate people are moving in the right direction. One step at a time.
So when someone questions your decision to be Pescatarian, you can throw back some of these reasons. Keep doing what you’re doing! Always remember that each step towards a #lifewithoutmeat is an incredible and respectable one. We hope you enjoyed reading this article and hopefully it provides you with some inspiration and motivation.
To start you off, check out our range of Pescatarian recipes; and feel free to share this with friends who might be interested too.
1. Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis
2. Vitamin D: can fish food-based solutions be used for reduction of vitamin D deficiency in Poland?
3. The health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence.
4. Consumption of cod and weight loss in young overweight and obese adults on an energy reduced diet for 8-weeks
5. Restriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: A pilot randomized controlled trial.
6. Omega-3 for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
7. High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish.
8. Omega-3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder.
9. Study of Current and Former Vegetarians and Vegans.