Like seafood? Then you are going to love the pescatarian diet. That’s because this diet plan uses fish and other types of seafood as the main protein source. A healthy pescatarian meal plan also includes lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. Simply put, it’s a vegetarian diet with the addition of seafood. Dairy and eggs are up for grabs; some pescatarians eat them, while others refrain.
There are many benefits to eating a pescatarian diet. For one thing, it's easier to stick to than a strictly vegetarian diet, making it more maintainable for many people. By following a healthy pescatarian meal plan, you can reap lots of health benefits, as well. Take a look at some of them to see if this is the kind of lifestyle you want to start living.
Before we tell you how good the pescetarian diet is for you, let’s just talk about what this diet plan actually is.
Pescetarian meal prep will include lots of fish, fruits, and vegetables. Fatty fish like salmon are especially recommended for their high omega-3 content, but other options include tuna, trout, herring, shrimp, catfish, clams, and scallops.
Additionally, a healthy pescetarian meal plan should have good helpings of:
- Eggs, a great source of protein when you’re tired of fish
- Dairy products (though not all pescetarian will eat dairy products, it’s up to you)
- Whole grains like bulgur, spelt, oats, and amaranth
- Quinoa and buckwheat are also great options (and they're gluten-free if you're interested)
- Legumes, including beans (pinto, kidney, black, brown, etc.), peas, tofu, and chickpeas
- Nuts, and really, go nuts! Cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, brazil, macadamia, hazelnuts, and even peanuts are all great options.
- So are the rich butters that are made from these nuts (just look out for the ones with added sugar)
- Seeds like flaxseed, chia, or hemp
For one thing, fish is known to have lots of omega-3 fatty acids. While the name may sound offensive, it's actually a supercharged unsaturated fat that helps keep your heart healthy and can also:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower risk of heart attack and stroke
- Decrease the development of plaque within the arteries
- Reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, even if you have a heart disease
So omega-3-rich foods are extremely beneficial to your heart, and pescatarian meal prep will always include plenty of fish on the menu.
It is worth noting, though, that a strict pescetarian diet may not be recommended for pregnant women. This is due to the mercury levels found in the fish. For the majority of people, trace amounts of mercury is not a problem. However, expecting and nursing women are advised to avoid fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish as these contain larger than normal quantities of mercury.
Now that you know what you can and cannot eat, it's time to look into why the pescetarian diet is such a good option for people today.
It's no secret that a vegetable-centric diet is the healthiest way to live. There are countless studies showing the tremendous health benefits of loading up your body with fresh produce, including lower blood pressure, improved blood lipids, and lower risks of heart diseases. What's more, vegetarian diets have been linked to actually reverse plaque build up in the arteries, something until recently believed to be impossible. Pescetarians are also shown to run a lower risk of obesity.
If heart disease (the number one cause of death in men and women across the United States) prevention isn't enough, how about cancer prevention? The pescatarian diet has been shown to protect against some of the worst types of cancer, namely colorectal cancers. These are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America today. The vegetable and seafood-heavy diet followed by pescatarians has been linked to colorectal cancer-fighting bodies.
While not as lethal as cancer or cardiac arrest, diabetes is not something you want to live with if you can prevent it. Fortunately, you can! By sticking to a pescatarian diet, you can reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes (as well as metabolic syndrome). This is as a result of the high intake of produce, which contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents that combat diabetes contraction. What's really interesting is that the pescatarian dieters had even higher levels of flavonoids (a beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent) than vegetarians. Apparently, the combination of seafood and plant-based dieting is the antioxidant sweet spot.
Frequently, people will turn to vegetarianism, veganism, or pescetarianism for moral reasons. They do it to protest the inhumane practices of farming and killing animals for consumption. You might wonder why the pescatarian diet is any better than a carnivorous one since fish are living creatures being killed for food just like a cow that is slaughtered for steak.
A fascinating study was published a few years ago, showing that fish don't experience pain due to a lack of the necessary neural pathways. This, in addition to the fact that fish farming is a sustainable farming solution, puts the pescatarian diet several notches above your typical meat-eater diet.
So, pescatarian is the happy medium between wanton carnivores and staunch herbivores.
One thing people worry about when it comes to taking on any specialized diet is meal prep. Most people don’t have the time, patience, or know-how to whip up healthy, tasty, and diet-specific meals every day, so despite noble intentions, their diet falls to the wayside. Here are a few pointers for sticking to the pescatarian diet and really making it work:
1. Pescatarian food delivery services
Cooking meals every day is tough for anyone, even if you aren't following a specific diet. Pescatarian meal delivery services alleviate the biggest hurdle to staying on track. With several services competing for your business, today, you can order a delicious pescatarian meal kit, and have dinner ready and on the table in minutes. Many of these meals don't even require cooking, so you can literally go from box to belly in no time.
2. Cook and freeze
You might not have time to cook a full meal every day, but you probably have chunks of time to cook at some point during the week. Take advantage of these time slots to prepare multiple meals at the same time (cuts down on prep time too), and then freeze ready-to-eat meals for the rest of the week.
3. Create a meal plan
Starting a new diet can feel like looking down the barrel of a loaded gun: terrifying and potentially explosive! That’s why it’s good to go in with a plan. Sit down and create a healthy pescatarian meal plan before you do anything else. Look at recipes, get ideas of meals you’ll like, and create daily, weekly, or monthly menus (depending on your time availability and personality).
Armed with a plan, you can shop for the necessary ingredients, cook foods that you’ll like, and easily stick to your diet without the fear of the unknown to derail you.
Whether you are ready to take on the entire brunt of cooking on your own or you prefer to rely on pescatarian food delivery services to supplement your daily meal plan, the pescatarian diet can work for you. You’ll boost your heart health, reduce the risks of contracting heart diseases, cancers, and diabetes, and improve the world around you as well. So, what steps will you take towards living a healthier lifestyle today?