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Can Vegans Eat Fish?

Can vegans eat fish? That is a question a lot of vegans have when they first become vegan. If this is something you’ve been wondering about, this article will put your mind at ease.

Lots of people have heard about the vegan diet, but not everyone knows what vegans actually eat. A vegan is someone who does not eat or use any animal products. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey – basically anything from an animal. 

Vegans typically try to avoid all animal-derived ingredients and products that could contain animal by-products. This often brings about a popular question, ‘Can vegans eat fish?’.

Let’s start by examining what a vegan diet is.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

What Is A Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is predominantly a plant-based diet, and it omits all animal products such as eggs, dairy, and honey. A whole foods vegan diet emphasizes nutrient-rich plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. 

Energy from a well-balanced vegan diet comes from carbohydrates and fats and proteins from plant foods.

A vegan diet can mean a lot of things. A vegan diet can consist of only plant-based foods, a pescetarian diet, a Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet or even a raw food diet. A diet that consists of only fruits and vegetables is usually referred to as an “Anti-Inflammatory Diet,” while a vegan diet that includes dairy is typically referred to as a “Macrobiotic Diet.”

Read Also: Vegetarian Vs Pescatarian: Which Diet Is A Healthier Option?

Types of Vegan Diets

Whole-Food Diet

A whole food vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. It excludes processed foods, refined foods, animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), and soy. 

Whole food diet only uses unrefined, single-ingredient foods to achieve optimal health. There are many advantages of such a diet, such as achieving optimal digestion, better nutrient absorption and eliminating the risk of nutritional deficiencies when you consume processed junk food. 

A whole food vegan diet is generally low in processed foods, added salt, refined sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein. It is relatively high in complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamins, phytochemicals, and minerals.

Raw Food Diet

The Vegan Raw Food Diet is a common category of veganism. It is a lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals and animal products from the diet. Typically a raw vegan diet excludes meat, fish, eggs, dairy items, food cooked above 104 Fahrenheit [40 Celsius], salt and other processed foods that contain additives. The raw food diet is used for weight loss, increased energy, detoxification, better health and longevity.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can use it to transition to a plant-based diet with good results. That’s because the raw food diet is entirely vegan. While most people think of eating “raw,” as all salad with nothing that was heated over 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the idea of the raw food diet is that you eat all unprocessed foods or minimally processed with no cooking. Additionally, it should be nothing heated above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 C).

Junk Food Diet

Junk food is a pejorative term for food containing high calories from sugar or fat with little fibre, protein, vitamins or minerals. Many processed foods are considered junk food, such as fried chicken, pizza and ice cream. 

Although many foods like pizza and hamburgers can be eaten on a vegetarian/vegan diet, the term ‘junk food’ is commonly used to refer to meat-based fast food.

The Vegan Junk Food Diet is a lifestyle that focuses on the idea of eating junk food but in a way that makes it healthy. It is not just about vegan food since it can also be used while preparing other meals for all kinds of people.

Low-fat Junk food

A low-fat junk food diet can be healthy if there is a balance between saturated fats, trans-fats, carbs, proteins, calories and fibre. 

Junk food is most often cheap fast food that is high in calories with low nutritional contents. Examples of junk foods are burgers, fries, pork rinds, sodas etc. Vegetarians may avoid all meat products but also be consuming unhealthy amounts of processed food.

Can Vegans Eat Fish?

A popular question asked is, can vegans eat fish? Vegans are often stereotyped as being completely against everything that is willing to harm an animal. 

Surprisingly, this might not be true for all vegans, or at least it is not true for all vegans 24/7. 

Fishes are technically an animal product, even though the sea seems far away from the harsh realities of animal farming. Fish can also contain residues of chemicals, antibiotics, acids and cancer-causing pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. Following a vegan diet means avoiding ingredients that come from animals or their products. Vegans avoid the consumption of all animal products, including fish and its by-products. All fish and shellfish belong to the animal kingdom and therefore fall into the vegan’s no-eat list.

Alternative Fish Product For Vegans

Vegans do not eat the meat of any kind for a variety of reasons. Their diet is very strictly plant-based, allowing no animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs or honey. This can be a challenge when it comes to seafood because seafood contains the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids of any food source. Luckily, there are many alternative fish products that vegans and vegetarians can turn to for their omega-3 fatty acid intake. Some of these alternatives include:

  • Seaweed flakes 

A Seaweed is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. It is a nutritious, marine algae with a wide variety of applications. Seaweed flakes is the alternative fish product for vegans. If you are vegan, you can try seaweed flakes and enjoy sushi dishes at home. There are several restaurant menus that offer vegan sushi and seaweed salad rolls. Seaweed also serves great health benefits and has low calories content.

  • Peas and quinoa mixture

This is another recommended alternative to fish that vegans can include in their diet. Peas and quinoa mixture is simple and quick to make. There are two basic steps to making this dish; cooking the peas and cooking the grains (quinoa). Not only does this recipe taste great, but it is packed with protein, fibre, iron and other essential nutrients.

  • Vegan salmon 

A Vegan salmon is a fish substitute made from plant-based products. It is an excellent alternative to fish products.

  • Soy and tofu

These are the number one source of protein in the vegan world. Tofu is an inexpensive, versatile, high-quality, fast-absorbing protein source. It is made from soybeans and often used for stir-fries, dips, sauces, soups, desserts, marinating tofu before cooking or baking. Soy is a versatile ingredient in its own right and has also been added to non-vegan recipes for generations.

Foods To Eat On The Vegan Diet

Foods To Eat On The Vegan Diet

If you are interested in starting a vegan diet but you’re not sure where to start. This is the ultimate guide for foods to eat on the vegan diet.

The vegan diet is a lifestyle in which an individual’s food and drink are derived from plants, vegetables, and grains. It is very similar to vegetarianism but differs in that it does not allow the consumption of dairy or eggs. A vegan diet consists primarily of fresh vegetable based foods, fruits, nuts and seeds. Some foods to eat while on the vegan diet include:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruits
  3. Nuts and seeds
  4. Quinoa and brown rice
  5. Beans and lentils
  6. Cereals and grains
  7. Dairy products and eggs
  8. Soy milk
  9. Seaweed

10: Tofu

Foods To Avoid On The Vegan Diet

If you are thinking about becoming vegan, it is important to be aware of foods you should not be eating. Some of these are listed below.

  • Lactose (Milk)
  • Meat products
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Gelatin
  • Honey/Bee pollen
  • Alcohol
  • Seafood
  • Caviar
  • Wine and Beer with non-vegan flavourings
  • Caffeine/Energy drinks except for vegan friendly ones
  • Non-vegan Bread, Pastry & Flour products

Plant-based Diets That Include Fish

A popular and growing trend in the plant-based diet community is including fish as part of your diet. This approach is known as a ‘pescatarian diet.’ Some eat fish because they claim that fishes have a less painful death, while Others do it for health reasons.

Although the name Pescatarian is a little strange, this diet choice is perfect for people who want to improve their overall well-being. It is a positive step towards eating and living more sustainably and not totally ethically.

Health Benefits of Vegan Diets

1. Vegan diet lowers heart diseases

A vegan diet provides the greatest amounts of antioxidants to the body. Plant-based, whole food vegan diet leads to enhanced antioxidant capacity. This has been found to be effective in lowering the chance of developing coronary artery disease.

2. Vegan diet reduces the risk of cancer

A vegan diet can help prevent and reverse cancer. Study reveal that vegan diet cuts the risk of developing cancer and improves diabetes. It is also helpful for heart disease, obesity and autoimmune disorders. 

3. Vegan diet is excellent for weight loss

A vegan diet is the best way to lose weight fast. Vegan diets have been proven repeatedly to eliminate excess fat, cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure.

4. A vegan diet can reduce bad cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation

A vegan diet reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. A study concluded that vegan diets could significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. A vegetarian diet has beneficial effects on heart function and structure. This is mostly due to the lack of saturated fats in vegetarian foods.

5. Vehicular diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack, cancer, arthritis

Vegan diets are based on foods that are high in fibre which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.

6. Vegan diets are also linked to lower risks of obesity.

A study has shown that Vegans are at a lower risk of obesity, the number one risk factor for diabetes.

7. Vegan diets improve digestion.

Vegan diets offer numerous health benefits. One of the more surprising things is that they improve digestion. A vegan diet improves digestive system functioning because it lacks many of the components that can adversely affect digestive function. These include saturated fats, cholesterol, and processed foods. 

Risks Associated With Vegan Diet

Being vegan means not eating any animal products. However, consuming only plant-based foods can lead to certain nutritional deficiencies. There are considerable risks associated with following a vegan diet. These include;

  • Low intake of vitamins B12 and D, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and zinc
  • Low DHA levels, Boron deficiencies
  • Fewer protein sources
  • Lack of Fibre and a few others.

How To Minimize The Risks Associated With Vegan Diet

Although the fact that there are risks associated with the vegan diet has been established, it is possible to minimize these risks by doing the following:

  1. Get your Vitamin B12 from a supplement
  2. Focus on Lentils and Beans
  3. Try brown rice instead of white for a boost in iron
  4. Take multivitamins
  5. Eat food rich in animal protein.

Eating Out As A Vegan

Eating out as a vegan can sometimes be a challenge. However, with so many options available, the choice is easy. You can do the following when eating out:

  1. Find restaurants that cater for vegan diets
  2. Make a list of all the possible menu items you can order, including any side dishes  
  3. Discuss your needs with the chef
  4. Look out for labels

Vegan Diet: Sample Menu

Below are some sample vegan diet menus you can try out.

Breakfast: Spinach and banana smoothie

Lunch: Black beans and rice, with a side of carrots

Dinner: Tempeh cooked with greens and chickpeas

Snacks: Living foods trail mix and homemade fruit and veggie juice

 

Breakfast: Superfood smoothie

Lunch: Creamy potato and asparagus soup

Dinner: White, wild rice and mushroom risotto

Snacks: Nuts and seeds

 

Breakfast: Fried Tofu with gravy, pate and tofu scramble

Lunch: Lettuce, tomato and tempeh sandwich

Dinner: Spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce, olives and vegan cheese

Snacks: Fruit platter and a slice of vegetable pizza

Vegan Snack Ideas

Some great ideas for vegan snacks are listed below:

  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Veggie Pizzas
  • Baked Falafels
  • Bananas – Vegan chocolate chips snack
  • Hummus and veggie sticks
  • Chocolate covered fruit
  • Trail mix with raw nuts
  •  Granola Bars
  • Popcorn
  • Fruits 
  • Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup
  • Spinach Quinoa Salad
  • Baked Falafel

The Bottomline 

Fish is probably the most controversial animal product for vegans. Many believe that you can because fish are cold-blooded animals too. But others claim it’s because fish feel pain, which is why they shouldn’t be eaten.has become

If you’re a vegan and want to be vegan, you cannot eat fish or other animal by-products by definition. 

Maybe you can do so occasionally if you want to try a pescatarian diet and find yourself in a restaurant with an appealing sea bass dish. However, if there is any other way to eat it, such as ordering the same vegetable dish made with extra eggplant instead of marine sea bass, then do so.

Read Also: Vegetarian Vs Pescatarian: Which Diet Is A Healthier Option?

FAQs

What do you call a vegan who eats fish?

A vegan that eats fish is called a ‘Pescatarian’

Why can’t vegans eat shrimp?

Vegans cannot consume shrimp because it’s a sea animal and is considered a predator species.

Is Tuna considered vegan?

No, Tuna is a type of fish and not vegan-friendly. Instead, tuna fish is specifically for consumption by those who eat fish. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can purchase something else entirely.

Is it cruel to eat seafood?

Pescatarians and vegans alike can agree that it is almost always cruel to eat other living creatures. A few believe that eating fish and seafood is just as cruel as eating land animals. From the moment creatures enter into our food chain, their lives become unfair and riddled with pain. And while some people claim catching and killing sea creatures for seafood is more humane than killing other forms of livestock such as pigs, cows, and chickens, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Is Pescatarian healthier than vegan?

It depends on what you want. Pescatarian became popular as a diet nowadays because it gives people the benefits of both vegan and pescetarianism and adding fish (a lean protein) to your diet.

Can I eat fish on a plant-based diet?

If you decide to try a plant-based diet like the pescatarian, then you can eat fish.

Is dry pasta vegan?

Most pasta is made from durum wheat, a plant-based base ingredient. This makes pasta a vegan-friendly food.

How do vegans replace fish?

Vegans replace fish by eating alternative fish products like seaweed, soy, quinoa and some other substitutes that provide the same nutrients as fish.

 

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