A simple way to look at being pescatarian is that they are essentially a vegetarian who eats seafood!
Now, you can still eat all of the foods a vegetarian eats (like the protein sources I listed above), but your main source of protein will come from seafood!
What is a Lacto-Ovo Pescatarian?
Ever heard of someone classifying themselves as a Lacto-Ovo pescatarian and wondered what it was?
While most pescatarians eat dairy and eggs, some do not. A pescatarian who chooses to include dairy and eggs into their diet is technically a Lacto-Ovo pescatarian!
Ahh, so many different terms right?
But don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed by all of these different diet names and such.
For everyday terms, many people just say they are pescatarian instead of Lacto-Ovo Pescatarian. This is so they don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty explanation of it.
Food You CAN and CAN’T Eat
So you are probably wondering, what can you eat and what can you not eat?
Here are some examples of foods you can and cannot eat on the pescatarian diet!
Foods that you CAN eat:
Seeds and nuts
And so much more
Foods that you CAN’T eat:
As you can see, the list of foods you can’t eat while on the pescatarian diet is very small. There are TONS of room for flexibility with this diet!
Alright, so now that you know what a pescatarian diet is (along with some comparisons to other diets as well), let’s talk about the benefits of this meal plan!
According toMedical News Today, the pescatarian diet has a lot of health benefits associated with it.
Here is a list of all of the pros that could come with eating a pescatarian diet:
Improves heart health
Reduces the risk of diabetes and inflammation
Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
There have been some studies on the pescatarian diet being good for weight loss as well!
So now that you know about the benefits of a pescatarian diet, let’s jump into the cons!
The biggest concern of the pescatarian diet is the high levels of mercury in seafood.
Naturally, mercury is present in bodies of water.
Because of this, nearly all seafood could be a potential source of mercury.
BUT, the good news is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that mercury doesn’t pose a risk for most people. They have a great chart on which types of fish you should avoid and which ones are good to eat.
For lunch, here is a simple bowl recipe that you can easily make and take to work with you:
Choice of Vegetables (i.e. Bell peppers, peas, etc.)
You can always mix things up by maybe substituting quinoa (if this is your jam) instead of rice.
Or maybe add some different spices to cook your shrimp and vegetables with.
The possibilities are ENDLESS!
Alright, on to the last meal of the day: DINNER! Here is an easy dinner you could incorporate to your pescatarian diet:
Choice of Vegetables (i.e. broccoli, asparagus, etc.)
Once again, substitutions and changing things up is the key to not get bored of these kinds of meals!
My Pescatarian Experience
Okay, the moment you have been waiting for…
What was my experience like being a pescatarian?
In 2017, I decided to start my health and fitness journey. I was ready for some change, and I was ready to do it ASAP.
Along with exercise, I knew nutrition and diet was going to play a key role in my personal weight loss.
So I did the easiest thing I could think of: I cut red meat and chicken out of my diet and became pescatarian. If it weren’t for sushi and poke, I probably could have gone full-fledged vegetarian.
But my love for these two foods exceeded the possibility of living the #vegetarian life.
Surprising Fact #1: It Was Easy!
Now, I will say that I was a HEAVY meat-eater before I made the switch. I thought the transition would be difficult for me since I loved all things meat-related.
But in all honesty, I can say that it was not hard at all! I actually began to truly enjoy my diet plan!
Within the first 3 months, I lost weight and gained lean muscle (supplemented with the right exercise and rest days of course). I couldn’t tell you how much weight I lost because I hardly ever weigh myself, but I could definitely SEE and FEEL the difference in the mirror.
Surprising Fact #2: I Could Eat WAY More
This part surprised me the most!
I found that I could eat way more food than I could while I was eating meat! I wasn’t getting extremely full to the point where I thought my stomach would explode (I’m sure we all know this feeling).
Not only was I eating more food per meal, but I was also eating more meals in general!
I’ll be honest here, I would usually only eat 2 meals per day when I was eating meat (unhealthy, I know). But once I started the pescatarian diet, that changed.
I was now eating 3-4 meals per day while STILL losing weight.
Also, I found myself enjoying all of my meals and not feeling guilty for any of them!
Surprising Fact #3: I FELT Healthier
Now, I know being healthy is a lifestyle and an adjective to describe things for most people.
But I found that healthy was also a FEELING.
My days were much happier, my skin was GLOWING, and I didn’t need naps anymore!
My Struggle With The Pescatarian Diet
While I mainly had a great experience with the pescatarian diet, I also did run into some struggles (like anything in life).
#1 It was hard to eat with my friends and family.
My friends and family are big carnivores and love to eat out. So sometimes I would run into problems where I would feel bad for holding them back on going to a restaurant that only really served meat.
And other times, it was hard to say no.
If my friends wanted to go eat Korean BBQ (where nearly everything there is red meat), I had to choose to say no.
It was hard at first because I wanted to spend time with them, but I knew I would probably just end up sitting there, watching them all eat (which would just make me hungry lol).
But in the end, everyone was really understanding of my diet change. It was something for them to get used to at first.
However, everyone soon understood my diet and was happy to make little changes for me (which I was SO grateful for)!
#2 I had a lack of energy on my busiest of days.
This is solely due to the natural lack of B-12 (which gives you energy), usually found in red meats, presented in seafood.
But, there is good news.
You can always supplement with a B-12 vitamin.
So, I would take one B-12 vitamin per day to combat this problem and I felt much better!
Final Thoughts On What A Pescatarian Diet Is
I HIGHLY recommend the pescatarian diet! It is great and sustainable, unlike many other diets, for beginners wanting to transition to a healthier lifestyle!
I truly do think this is one of the easiest ways and most simple step to integrating health into your life. It is a great stepping stone to further diets as well, such as being a vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc!