New diets are constantly emerging. This is due, of course, to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. An effective diet plan must be developed based on individual needs and taking the whole person into account. With this in mind, a vegetarian diet may prove to be more beneficial to you than a carnivorous diet, and vice versa. But what if you discovered a new option that combines the greatest aspects of a vegetarian diet while also allowing you to eat fish and seafood? The pescetarian diet is what it’s called. The following paragraphs provide an outline of the situation.
What is the pescetarian diet and what are its principles?
The pescetarian diet is essentially a vegetarian diet that includes fish and seafood. The word “piscis” comes from the Latin word “piscis,” which means “fish.” “Pesco-vegetarians” or “pescetarians” are people who follow this diet. There are no hard and fast standards for determining whether you are a vegetarian or a pescetarian aside from consuming seafood.
There are also no guidelines as to how often you must eat fish to be considered a pescetarian. This means that you can follow a meatless diet with only occasional seafood consumption or you can choose to include seafood in every meal.
To provide you with the necessary protein, you eat seafood, legumes, grains and oilseeds, and sometimes eggs and dairy products. The pescetarian diet contributes to a balanced diet that provides you with all the necessary nutrients. It also allows for flexibility in modifying a vegetarian diet by adding lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and seafood) to the vegetable and fruit portions. This diet is nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in calories, which may also help with weight loss.
The pescetarian diet is often compared to the Mediterranean diet because fish is a primary source of protein in both diets. In addition, they emphasize nutritious foods, such as lean protein and vegetables. This explains why the pescetarian diet can be classified as semi-vegetarian: plant products are the primary source of nutrients, but some animal products are sometimes included.
The advantages of the pescetarian diet
One of the great advantages of the pescetarian diet is that it provides us with an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces inflammation. These are found in fatty fish, especially salmon, mackerel, herring, and fresh tuna. In general, the pescetarian diet helps to lower bad cholesterol, thus improving heart health. Studies have shown that this way of eating reduces the risk of developing certain pathologies such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, which are all risk factors for heart disease.
Added to that is 2016 research that showed omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a lower risk of fatal heart attacks. One study also linked the pescetarian diet to positive effects on chronic disease and lower mortality rates, compared to diets that included meat. Results showed that people on the diet had lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure and a lower risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, compared to non-vegetarians.
What foods are allowed?
Unlike vegetarianism, the pescetarian diet is not rigid and allows for experimentation with certain foods. Here is the list of permitted products:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grain pasta, bread, and brown rice
- Superfoods like quinoa and buckwheat
Foods to avoid
As a general rule, the foods listed below should be excluded from your diet when following the pescetarian diet. However, you can allow yourself to eat them from time to time and in limited amounts.
- Red meat
- Deli meats
- Foods containing trans fats
Are there any disadvantages and health risks?
The main drawback to the pescetarian diet is that fish and seafood can be more expensive than meat, especially if you don’t live on the coast. Do you have to worry about pollutant levels? All fish contain varying amounts of mercury – a pollutant that can be very toxic to the nervous system.
According to health organizations, it is recommended to eat up to 4 servings of oily fish per week. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning to conceive should not exceed 2 servings of fish per week because mercury can affect the nervous system of the fetus and cause developmental delays in infants. Sharks, swordfish, and marlin have a high mercury content, so be careful with them. Therefore, care should be taken with these.
Like all diets, the pescetarian diet must be balanced and varied to be healthy. The lack of red meat means that iron intake may be suboptimal. It is therefore important to include plant sources of iron such as spinach and broccoli and to opt for low-sugar (breakfast) cereals, as they are fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Some pescetarians don’t eat eggs or dairy products, which can mean they lack essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and zinc. So if you’re considering the pescetarian diet, it’s important to make sure that what’s on your plate is healthy and balanced and provides the nutrients you need.
2-day pescetarian menu
When you start the pescetarian diet, it is important to give priority to home-cooked meals. This guarantees a healthy and varied diet, which is the main objective of the diet based on the consumption of vegetables and seafood. If it is difficult for you to take the plunge, simply try this healthy diet for 2 days and judge for yourself.
Breakfast: 1 piece of toasted avocado and egg toast + 1 antioxidant berry smoothie
- 1 slice of whole-grain sourdough bread
- ½ small avocado
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 1 tbsp. chopped green onions
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Toast the bread. Spread it over the toasted bread. Whisk together the egg and milk. Lightly grease a small frying pan and add the egg and milk. Cook to place on toast. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and pepper.
For the smoothie: 1 can of Greek yogurt + 1 cup of frozen berries + ½ cup of pomegranate juice.
Lunch: 1 low-calorie, fatty tuna wrap; ¼ cup roasted red beet hummus
- 1 whole wheat wrap or 1 tortilla
- 85 g tuna (canned, water drained)
- ½ stalk celery, diced
- ¼ red bell pepper
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup spinach, fresh, rinsed, wrung out
1. Place drained tuna in a medium bowl. Add the diced celery and bell pepper. Add the plain Greek yogurt and stir.
2. Place the spinach in the middle of the wrap and pour the tuna mixture over it. Fold in the edges to form a wrap.
Dinner: 1 serving of 120g pan-fried salmon with quinoa and spinach Mediterranean style
- ¼ cup black olives
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- 225 g of wild Alaskan salmon
- Black pepper
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Dried basil
- 30 g feta cheese
1- Chop the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley. Peel and chop the garlic. Set aside.
2- Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package.
3- Meanwhile, rub the salmon with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Cook the salmon in a pan for 3 minutes on each side.
4- In a frying pan, sauté the minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil. Add baby spinach and sauté quickly. When the quinoa is cooked, mix it with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, and salt. Stir and add the feta cheese. Put the filling on a plate and place the salmon on top.
Breakfast: 1 bowl of oatmeal with spinach and feta cheese + ½ grapefruit
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1- Bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the oats and lower the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the oats have absorbed all the liquid. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and spinach in a small non-stick skillet. Remove from pan and set aside.
2- Cook the egg. Put the oatmeal in a bowl. Add spinach and feta cheese. Top with egg and pepper.
Lunch: 1 Mediterranean-style sandwich + 30 grams of almonds
- 1 small carrot
- 1 small zucchini
- ¼ tbsp. olive oil
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 2 tbsp. hummus
- ½ Roma tomato, sliced
- 1 handful of microgreens
- 1 roasted red bell pepper (canned)
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
1- Slice the carrot and zucchini into strips. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the vegetables for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
2- Place the roasted bell pepper, garlic cloves, walnuts, and vinegar in the bowl of a small blender. Blend until smooth.
3- Toast the bread. Assemble the sandwich: spread one slice of bread with hummus and the other with the spread you just made. Place the carrot and zucchini strips and the tomato slices on top. Add the microfoam and cover it with the other piece of bread.
Dinner: 1 portion of spicy halibut topped with blistered cherry tomatoes and barley
- 450 g halibut, in 4 pieces
- 2 tbsp. zaatar (traditional Middle Eastern spice blend)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 225 g broccolini, about 12 stems
- 1 cup of dry barley
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
1- Put barley and 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until the water is absorbed.
2- Sprinkle halibut pieces with zaatar, rubbing all sides without skin. Grill the fish in a pan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
3- Place the broccolini in a large ovenproof bowl with 3 tbsp. water. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.
4- Add a little olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften. Remove from heat. Add the broccolini to the same pan and stir.
5- Mix the barley with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among 4 plates.