I am a 18 year old male and I’m being ridiculed by people for being a pescetarian. Everyone keeps telling me things like I’m not growing properly, you’re going to die sooner, you’re not getting enough protein, etc. Are any of those remarks true? Do you believe its healthy to be a pescetarian?
Thanks for the email.
First things first, many of my readers are probably unfamiliar with the term pescetarian. It refers to a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. It can include nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains beans and dairy. In fact, pescetarian is the correct characterization for individuals who identify as vegetarian – but who still eat fish.
There are a few things to keep in mind.
Vegetarian diets – even without the inclusion of fish – can be extremely healthy. In fact, most of us would be well served to eliminate much of the meat we consume. A recent study found that, over a six year period, vegetarians had a 12% lower risk of dying when compared to meat eaters. There have been numerous other studies linking vegetarianism to increased longevity.
In other words, when people tell you that you’ll die sooner for eliminating meat, they’re wrong; the science demonstrates otherwise.
It’s also entirely possible for vegetarians to get their required protein. Beans, for example, are a great protein source. If you add fish into the equation, getting enough protein becomes even easier. A fillet of salmon, for example, has a whopping 39 grams of protein. For most men, that’s nearly a full day’s worth. Keep in mind, protein requirements vary from individual to individual and are dependent on a number of factors. You can use this calculator to determine your daily protein requirement.
When we talk about fish consumption, mercury is always a concern. To minimize your risk, it’s possible to make fish selections that contain little to no mercury. These include salmon, oysters, herring, tilapia and others.
Of course, your pescetarian diet is only as healthy as you’ll make it to be. Eating ice cream and chocolate is technically pescetarian – but it will do nothing to help you achieve your health or fitness goals. Stick with plenty of vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, berries and beans – and you’ll be great!