Sure, you’ve heard people drone on and on about the benefits in becoming vegetarian or vegan, but maybe the thought of giving up meat (and *gasp* dairy) seems too overwhelming and difficult (especially when cooking for your family).
In this post, I encourage my readers to consider trying and learning more about the pescetarian diet (also termed ‘sea’gan).
Personally, I chose to eat a pescetarian diet nearly one year ago and it has had a tremendously positive affect on my health. I’ve lost 25 lbs (mostly lost in the first 2 months), have more energy, sleep loads better (‘loads better’ is a scientific measurement used by moms of toddlers in case you were wondering) and (what I’m most proud of) have influenced my family’s overall health (short and long term).
So, what exactly is pescetarianism and why the heck should you care? Read on -
As known as pesco-vegetarian, the word itself is a blend from the Italian word ‘pesce’ which means fish and the English word ‘vegetarian’.
People who adhere to pescetarianism eat any combination of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, fish and seafood – however, they do not eat mammals (ex. cows, pigs, deer) or birds (ex. chicken, turkey). Some pescetarians may eat eggs and/or dairy, whereas others do not (I do not).
To put plainly, it is someone who chooses to eat seafood but not any other meat (or dairy in some cases). Pescetarianism is closely compared to the Mediterranean Diet and, by some, has been used to transition into vegan/vegetarianism if desired.
Why give up my cheeseburgers for fish?
Consider this – try opting for fish instead of meat for your main entrée. Here are just a few of the benefits you (and your family) will gain:
Raises good cholesterol (while lowering bad)
Once a person starts eating a Pescetarian diet they experience a raise in
HDL (aka ‘good cholesterol’) levels which immediately begins to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease which prevents coronary artery disease and reduces the chance of stroke and heart attacks.[*][*]
Helps manage weight
Foods that are typical consumed in the pescetarian diet largely help stabilize blood sugar (beans, nuts, vegetables, fish) which combats binge eating. There is a reduction for the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension when choosing opting for fish instead of red meat (or even chicken).[*]
Better mental wellness
Pescetarisns naturally consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids due to the larger consumption of seafood. Diets rich in omega-3s have been shown to reduce depression and improve cognitive assessment.[*][*]
Keeps blood pressure in check
Adopting a pescetarian diet does wonders for blood pressure. Since the diet typically omits foods high in sodium and saturated fats, it naturally reduces the risk for hypertension which plagues diets that consume red meat and dairy. Also worth noting, the high intake of omega-3 fatty acids with helps lower anxiety (particularly social anxiety disorder) and stress.[*][*][*]
Reduces risk of cancer
It is no surprise, the more you or your children consume red meat the risk of cancer mortality increases (of various types). On the flip side, diets higher in fiber and that are plant-based (such as pescetarians) reduce cancer risk in a number of the most common cancers.[*][*]
Improves women’s health
For those of us that are pregnant or nursing (or essentially childbearing age) a diet rich in fish and omega-3 fatty acids is superbly beneficial for brain, eyes and central nervous system development in the fetus and nursing infants. The effect of mom isn’t lost either, forgoing meat and substituting for fish will support a better heart, immune system and inflammatory response in mothers-to-be (or all moms in general).[*][*][*][*]
Better eating habits for children that stick for life
Science confirms the consumption of fish reduces rates of all-cause mortality, cardiac and sudden death in adults, yet the research is currently insufficient regarding infants, children and adolescents. What can be said, however, is healthy dietary patterns that include fish are established early in life – of which influence dietary habits and health as an adult.[*]
Power boost of Vitamin D3
For the average American, diet accounts for approximately 10% of the total vitamin D intake. The remaining 90% would then be at the mercy of light exposure (or supplementation). A significant portion of the population is deficient in vitamin D. Diets rich in fish (particularly salmon and other fatty fish) significantly increase vitamin D levels which largely impacts immune function, mental health regulation, and lowers the risk of cancer.[*][*]
Ethically speaking, you can sleep better at night
There is no doubt that a pescetarian diet is kinder to our animal friends and the environment. An omnivorous diet (consuming cows, pigs, chickens, eggs, etc) uses an extrapolate amount of fossil fuels and water (contributing to forest depletion and water pollution) – it also contributes to the current grossly inhumane treatment of billions of animals a year.
The Power is Yours
When it comes to food and dietary choices there are numerous factors on what ultimately is chosen (taste preference, social influences, expert advice, etc).
The choice is yours – in essence, the choice of what we (our children) decide to consume is the ultimate power over our genetic code (just check out the research of nutritional genomics).[*][*][*]
All and all, I hope this information provides some information on a possible alternative to yoru current eating habits that might helps you make better choices for you are your family – I know it has mine.
"The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs,
but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition”