A pescetarian is someone who eats fish and seafood, but no other meat. The diet of a pescetarian is often very similar to that of a vegetarian, usually containing vegetables, fruit, dairy, nuts and pulses but also includes fish and seafood.
We often get questions such as “why would you cut out meat, but not fish and seafood?”.
Laura and I eat a lot of vegetarian meals that are extremely beneficial to our health. Cutting out red meat reduces your intake of saturated fats, one of the leading contributors to increased cholesterol levels. This is important, since high cholesterol levels can have a significant impact on your risk of heart disease [source].
Although being a vegetarian can bring huge health benefits, without a well-tailored diet (difficult if you are a fussy eater) there can be health issues with being a vegetarian. Vegetarians remove meat and often all animal products from their diet, this increases the risk of developing an Iron or B12 deficiency, which can result in anaemia. Luckily, fish and seafood provide a great source of iron & B-vitamins. The iron present in fish is also more easily absorbed into the body, when compared with the iron from plant based sources.
Some vegetarians often struggle to get enough protein in their diet. Laura found this particularly difficult when she was a vegetarian. In addition to this, many people deciding whether to be a vegetarian or not, often see protein as a huge deciding factor. Fish is an excellent source in protein. The GDA of protein is roughly 55g for a male and 45g for a female [source]. Below are a few examples of the protein content in common sources of fish:
- Raw tuna – 25.2g protein / 100g
- Swordfish – 28g protein / 100g
- Atlantic Salmon – 22.5g protein / 100g
As you can see you are roughly half way to your recommended daily amount of protein in just one 100g serving.
As well as certain health benefits, I personally find being a pescetarian brings with it a lot more options when cooking. Introducing fish and seafood into the kitchen gives me greater freedom to experiment with various recipes.
Many pescetarians only eat fish and seafood for ethical reasons, seeing it as a good compromise between being a vegetarian and a meat eater. Finally, removing meat from your diet has significant environment benefits, since the largest carbon footprint in the average diet is through the consumption of beef and lamb [source].
Hopefully this gives insight to why we have chosen to be pescetarians and helps other find the right diet for them.