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So, the question is can you eat seafood on a plant based diet? Typically, seafood is any form of sea life that humans consider as food, such as fish, and shellfish. 1 Shellfish includes different species of crustaceans such as lobster and shrimp, and mollusks such as oysters and clams and mussels. Squid and octopus are also popular options.

Another form of seafood is the echinoderms, for example, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. All around the world, people have embraced edible sea plants such as edible microalgae and some seaweed. They are extensively eaten as sea vegetables. Seafood is a significant source of protein all around the world. Globally, more than one billion people depend on seafood as the primary source of animal protein.

A plant based diet is a meal plan that mainly consists of food that has been derived from plants and contains few or no animals’ products. Essentially, this kind of diet is not vegan. The term has been used to define different types of diets that include variable amounts of animal-based foods. Therefore, an individual can be on a plant based diet and still consume fish. The individuals who do not eat land animals or their by-products but can eat fish are referred to as pescatarians. An individual can maintain a plant based diet by solely consuming seaweed and echinoderms; even this is not very common.

Seaweed salad with avocado

A Variety of Plant Based Diets

There are different types of plant based diets, and they will vary depending on what an individual wants to achieve.

There are the Lacto-ovo vegetarians that will eat eggs and consume dairy products but cannot eat poultry, meat, or seafood. The Lacto-vegans will consume dairy products but avoid eggs, poultry, meat, and seafood. Ovo-vegans will eat eggs but will exclude all other animal products, including dairy. So, can Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat seafood on a plant based diet? It’s unlikely.

Vegetarians will omit any animal products, including eggs, honey, and dairy. Flexitarians, otherwise known as semi-vegetarians, will eat meat and poultry on occasion. 2 Most Pescatarians will eat shellfish and or fish but exclude all other animal products. So, can pescatarians eat seafood on a plant based diet? You betcha. 

sushi with shrimp and avocado

The 3 Mediterranean diet focuses on vegetables, olive oil, fruits, and fish. 4 The Nordic diet plans emphasize eating more fruits and vegetables. This includes more whole grains in the diet and eating more food from the lakes and seas. So, can those on a Mediterranean or Nordic diet eat seafood on a plant based diet? More than likely, yes.

Emphasis on Whole Foods

For people who prefer a whole food plant based diet, the emphasis is on whole foods which are minimally processed. They minimize animal products, and some individuals may avoid animal products entirely. The diet omits processed oils, added sugars, and white flour. It pays particular attention to the quality of food. There also is an emphasis on organic and locally sourced food. This whole food plant based diet helps in weight maintenance and helps to improve your general physical health. Studies suggest vegetables and fruits diets may aid in decelerating Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline in older people.

Plant Based Diet Meal Plans

According to scientists, the best method to source cancer-protective nutrients is by eating a plant-based meal plan. This way, your body will acquire vitamins, fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals without having to take over the counter supplements.

Plant-based meal plans lay emphasis on local ingredients. They don’t rely on the mass production of animal products and animal products. Thus, they are more environmentally friendly. Compared to individuals with unhealthy eating habits, individuals following plant-based plans live longer. According to studies, a healthy diet lowers the risk of mortality caused by up to 25%.

By following a healthy diet, you aid in keeping your cholesterol levels in check. A lot of animal products have high cholesterol levels, thus cutting them out can cut your cholesterol levels by 15% or more. By sticking to a stern exclusive plant-based meal plan, a person can cut up to 25% cholesterol levels in the blood. High levels of cholesterol lead to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. This, in turn, can restrict the flow of blood around the body. Consequently, this can lead to a stroke and or heart related disease, or a heart attack.

Over the years, a lot more people have embraced plant based diets. While some people prefer to cut out animal products entirely, some people have maintained varying amounts in their diets. The transition is a considerable change to a lifestyle and may come with few effects. Relapsing to your old feeding habits comes as no surprise to a lot of individuals who have tried this before. To ease the migration step into this lifestyle…

Here are a few pointers to help you through 

    • Start small- if you revamp your entire diet overnight, it is possible you will struggle a lot before your body catches on. Relapsing to old eating habits will be a problem you deal with regularly. To avoid frustrations, later on, it is very advisable to start by making small changes to your meal plans. Gradually explore ways to incorporate the diet changes in your lifestyle. This will help you decide what works for you and what your preferences are, rather than forcing extremities on to yourself.
    • Macronutrients are essential- when most people are trying out plant-based meal plans, they are centrally focused on vegetables and fruits while they disregard proteins, fats, and complex carbs. By cutting out animal protein, you have to find substitute sources of proteins and fats to incorporate into your diet. Not only are these for health benefits, but complex carbs and proteins are what keep you satiated.
    • Start with foods you are familiar with and like- you should understand that you have eaten plant-based meals before, it is only that you were not so conscious about it. Start with these foods, such as pasta & sauce, oatmeal, and hummus wraps to help you ease in. You can choose to try one new plant food every week.
    • At breakfast, eat vegetables-  this will help you increase your vegetable intake for the day without having to compromise your diet plans. For instance, blend kale or cauliflower into your morning smoothie or if you would rather eat a breakfast salad.
    • Change your desserts- most desserts will have some form of animal product, and all of them will have processed ingredients, such as added sugars or processed oils. Thus, substitute these with your favorite fruit instead.

Seafood Based Meal Plans

It is possible for an individual to be on seafood plant-based meal plans. For pescatarians, their primary source of protein is from fish and other varied forms of seafood. There are a lot of….

Health benefits from this kind of diet:

    • Individuals who eat fish have reduced risks of blood pressure problems, unusual cardiac rhythms. They are also less prone to heart attacks than people who do not eat fish.
    • Pescatarians have lowered risks of suffering from coronary heart diseases. This is because their diet includes a lot of vegetables and excludes unhealthy fats associated with land animal products. Pescatarians are less likely to suffer from fatal heart attacks.
    • This kind of diet may protect individuals from colorectal cancers: that is, cancers of the colon and rectum. According to studies in 2015, these cancers are another top cause of cancer deaths in the country.
    • Compared to other types of meat, 6 seafood contains an assortment of minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, vitamins A and D, selenium, and phosphorus.
    • By incorporating seafood into your plant-based diets, you reduce the risk of having type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. These conditions include obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.
    • Eating fatty fish provides enormous long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. This is unsaturated fat that is fundamental for living a healthy life.
    • By eating seafood often, you have better chances at reduced inflammation, which is responsible for diabetes in adults.
    • An omega-3 fatty acid is essential in improving the brain development of an infant.
    • A pescatarian diet will help an individual to retain a healthy weight and can help in weight loss programs. Compared to other diet plans, this diet is more helpful in reducing weight since it does not depend on calorie insufficiency to cut weight.
    • Unknown to a lot of people, seafood plays a significant role in healthy retinal and visual function. It lowers the possibilities of being affected by macular degeneration and, in some cases, cataracts.
    • In infancy and early childhood, seafood stimulates the maturation of the immune system and lowers the likelihood of childhood allergies.

The Downside

However, this kind of diet has its cons as well. For instance, it can be expensive to maintain this kind of lifestyle, more so if you live a long way from sources. With the increase in industrial pollution to water sources, there has been increasing concern over the contamination of marine life. Mercury poisoning from seafood is not uncommon to people whose diet consists mainly of seafood even though scientists explain that the mercury levels in fish do not pose a considerable risk to most people.

For pregnant women, young children, nursing mother, and women considering to become pregnant are advised against eating specific fish; that is tilefish, swordfish, shark and king mackerel

Some individuals may be severely allergic to seafood, thus limiting their options on meat-based diet plans. When transiting to pescatarianism, be sure to consult a physician and find out whether you have allergies. Most seafood allergies tend to be severe. 


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 References for Can You Eat Seafood on a Plant Based Diet

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/seafood


  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/pescetarianism


  1. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-plant-based-diets


  1. https://health.usnew.com/best-diet/nordic-diet


  1. www.eatingwell.com/article/291622/the-health-benefits-of-eating-a-plant-based-diet-and-how-to-get-started/


  1. https://groupkhatarnak13.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/seafood-advantages-disadvantages