The Pescatarian diet is usually described as when someone only eats fish, but what else does it mean? In this article, I will be reviewing where this diet came from, what you can and can’t eat, the pros and cons, and my key takeaways!
The term Pescatarian came from the Italian word for fish, “pesca” and the word “vegetarian” in the early 1990’s. This diet is often described as “pesco-vegetarian”, meaning a pescatarian is someone who eats fish and other seafood while following a vegetarian diet. You may also come across the term “vegequarianism” which is vegetarian and aquatic combined. In most cases, the Pescatarian diet has no restrictions on what type of seafood you are allowed to eat, as long as it is not a mammal. Many proponents of the diet encourage eating wild caught seafood whenever possible. (1)
While it varies depending on the person, eggs and dairy may be consumed while on the diet. While many people chose to add those into their diet, if you don’t, you may need to check your calcium intake! (2)
WHAT YOU CAN HAVE
- Fish and shellfish (frozen and fresh)
- Whole grains
- Legumes (kidney beans, pinto beans, peas)
- Tofu and hummus
- Peanuts, nuts/nut butter
- Seeds (flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia)
- Dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese)
WHAT YOU CAN’T HAVE
- Beef (Red meat)
- Wild game
Basically- no meat!
- Environmental and ethically aware
- Receiving majority of your calories from plants, tend to lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and just about every other modern-day illness.
- It is high in key nutrients. This diet provides more vitamin A/B2/ E, carotene, calcium, and fiber than meat-eaters.
- More Omega 3 Fatty Acids which benefits the body by:
- Reducing the risk of disease
- Decreasing systemic inflammation
- Improving mood, cognitive performance, and brain health
- Optimizing fat loss
- Accelerating muscle growth
- It is easier to follow than strict Veganism.
- Let’s be real, if a diet is hard to follow, were more likely to quit :/
- It can be high in Mercury
- Highest level Mercury fish are: Tuna, Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, Marlin, Spanish Mackerel, and Grouper
- Low in Vitamin D
- Low in Iron
- Low in Vitamin B12
- Easy to overeat carbs
MY TAKEAWAYS FROM MY RESEARCH
This way of eating provides more flexibility and some additional nutrition compared to a standard vegetarian diet. (3) Adding in fish and shellfish adds extra nutrients to your daily intake and the health benefits are critical and well proven. While the cons of the diet aren’t abundant, they can cause health problems in the long run. A well- formulated multivitamin is suggested to ensure enough Vitamin D/B12 and Iron are entering the body while on this diet. If you are looking into the vegetarian diet but you are needing a little more substance, this would be a good one to try!