Following the latest research data which link the increased risk of cancer to the excessive consumption of red meat, along with all the health risks linked to the consumption of processed meat, more and more people consider changing their diet to include less meat.
Of course, some follow the full path and exclude all animal products from their diets, but for those for whom going vegan is not an option, nor are ready to completely give up on meat, there is another alternate – the pescetarian diet!
This diet lets us consume fish and simply all kinds of seafood, while excluding the flesh of all other animals. The diet can be practised in three main variants: excluding meat, but not depriving ourselves from other animal products, e.g. butter, diary, eggs; excluding meat and lactose products but keeping a lactose-free diet and sticking to eggs, for example; or going into a pescetarian vegan state and forgetting about all animal products.
Let us make one thing clear here, many people claim that are vegetarians or vegans while they keep fish and seafood on their tables, so indeed this eating pattern makes them pescetarians.
The diet regime got its popular name in the 90s, with its etymology as easy as finding different types of frozen fish at your local super market, unfortunately finding fresh fish, especially from wild catch is quite of a challenge for most of us.
The name of the eating regime, in the English language, originates either from the Spanish and Portuguese word pescado or the more plausible Italian pesce (all meaning “fish”) which both derive from the Latin verb piscare (“to fish”).
Pescetarian Diet – History
The root of the word was combined with the English word “vegetarian” to give the diet its name and concept – Pescetarian diet. As we can see, the diet originally intended to describe an eating pattern based on seafood and plants, synonymous to vegequarian (a vegan, who allows himself to consume all types of aqua “water” food).
The term appeared firstly in print in 1991, in The Fiddlehead Cookbook: Recipes from Alaska’s Most Celebrated Restaurant and Bakery, where the authors Nancy Decherney and John Decherney stated that: “In order to please our ‘pescatarian’ crowd, we have used Alaskan smoked halibut”.
The pescetarian diet is a good choice for those ready to give up on the palate pleasures of red meat, and a smart first step for those planning to later switch to a vegetarian diet. The moral and eco-friendly benefits of the diet are facts, but there are certain disadvantages which shall not be under-looked. Some fatty and white fish like salmon, mackerel, sea bass and halibut, for example, contain low levels of certain pollutants which can over time build up in our bodies and thus increase the risk of ….. cancer!
So we come back to the golden rule – choosing carefully and consuming food in moderation regardless of the diet plan we choose to follow.