As with any diet, there are often many questions about what foods are off-limits. Sure, vegetarians do not eat meat, but can they eat fish? Do vegetarians allow themselves to eat fish?
If someone on a vegetarian diet wants to eat fish and other seafood, they become a pescatarian. As soon as the fish is added to a diet, it is no longer vegetarian.
So, for those asking if vegetarians can eat fish, the simple answer is – no.
What is a Pescatarian?
A pescatarian typically follows a diet of vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, and anything that comes from the sea!
Basically, they choose vegetarianism with the inclusion of fish. For some, it is the best of both worlds.
The Advantages of Adding Fish to a Vegetarian Diet
Although plant-based diets provide plenty of nutritional value on their own, they also come with their fair share of deficiencies.
Often those who completely eliminate meats and other animal products from their diet find they are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients.
Adding fish to a vegetarian diet is an easy and effective way to ensure your body gets everything it needs.
Many vegetarians find it easier to add fish to their diet rather than animal flesh and other products from land animals.
Adding fish to your plant-based diet ensures that you are consuming:
- Omega-3s: these fatty acids are found in fish, nuts, seeds, and other foods. They are essential for supporting both heart and brain health.
- Protein: Sure, there are vegetable and plant-based proteins to choose from if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. If you are willing to add fish, you can make it that much easier to consume more lean protein throughout your day.
- B Vitamins: Vitamins, such as B12, are essential for many of the processes occurring in your body. Unfortunately, it is impossible to source this vitamin from plants, but they are available in many types of seafood.
Is it Healthy to Eat Fish?
There is no such thing as the perfect diet, and it is important to understand how well a diet fits your life before incorporating its habits and practices.
Vegetarians and pescatarians have little to worry about while adhering to their dietary restrictions. The most common drawback of these diets is deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals.
But is it healthy to add too much fish to your diet? Simply stated, it depends on the fish. Larger fish, such as tuna, can contain higher levels of mercury and other toxins. When digested in small amounts, these chemicals usually pose little to no problem.
However, if consumed regularly and in large quantities, they can actually poison your body and cause surprising health issues.
Most healthy individuals won’t have to worry about this occurring. However, young children and pregnant and nursing women should be careful when consuming larger fish such as king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, and shark.
Most experts agree that one palm-size serving each week is appropriate.
Other fish, like light tuna, are much safer to eat multiple times a week. These fish don’t contain the same high levels of mercury, so you can enjoy them more often while knowing you aren’t consuming too much mercury at any single time.
Are There Any Vegetarian Alternatives to Fish?
People who want to avoid eating fish may purchase ready-made alternatives or try to make fish dishes with the help of home substitutes.
Below is a list of 8 fish alternatives and ways that someone can use them to replicate certain popular fish dishes.
- Banana blossom fish
- Carrot salmon
- Seitan scampi and prawns
- Jackfruit tuna
- Vegan fish sticks and fillets
- Tofu fish
- Mushroom fish
- Garbanzo bean fish-less
Final Thoughts on Do Vegetarians Eat Fish
Those vegetarians who prefer to keep fish in their plant-focused diets have a massive selection of dishes and cuisines to choose from.
Whether it’s sushi, fish n’ chips, or just a grilled filet, there is no limit to finding exciting and delicious meals to pair with all of your favorite vegetarian dishes.