Seagan Diet – Is This Diet Healthy?
Seagan Diet – Something fishy is going on in the wellness world, and it’s making waves as the new gold standard for sustainable, satisfying, and healthy eating. Called the seagan (seafood plus vegan) diet, it’s ideal for those who can’t—or don’t want to—go whole-hog vegan but crave the nutritional benefits of a largely plant-based diet. Others find it a useful steppingstone on the way to full-fledged vegan-hood.
What do Seagans Eat?
This colorful, nutrient-packed diet features fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, plus all varieties of seafood. Off the menu are red meats and pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Note: Seagans should not be confused with pescatarians, who do eat dairy and often eggs.
Of course—despite the healthy choices listed above—it’s possible to be an overweight, unhealthy seagan. Oreos, French fries, potato chips, fried fish, sugary “ice creams,” and other junk foods may all be vegan/seagan, but they can pack on the pounds and lead to serious health issues. Everyone needs a treat now and then, but aim to eat clean, whole foods as often as possible.
The Magic of Omega-3
What’s special about a seafood-plus-vegan diet versus, say, a chicken-plus-vegan or bacon-plus-vegan diet (yup, I get that one a lot)? Fish—the right kind of fish—delivers an impressive dose of omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need to grow and thrive.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week, preferably fatty varieties such as sockeye salmon, Arctic char, Atlantic mackerel, rainbow trout, and mussels.
While omega-3s can be found in plants—most famously flaxseeds—the vegetarian form is a type of precursor omega-3 (ALA) that is less efficient and more difficult to absorb than that found in seafood (EPA and DHA).
Need more reasons to eat fish? It’s low in saturated fat, high in protein, and drenched in vitamins and minerals.
But before you get hooked, know that …
Fish is Fraught
Our oceans, and the plant- and wildlife within, are suffering:
- Noxious pollutants contaminate the water, and eventually the fish (and us)
- Seafood populations are in decline due to overfishing
- Ocean floors and reefs are ravaged by destructive capture techniques, such as bottom dredging
- Bycatch, in which marine life like turtles and birds are unintentionally caught while fishing for other species, has devastating consequences
- Farmed fish often feast on pesticides, antibiotics, and dye-infused pellets (note the “healthy” pink color of farmed salmon), and many fish farms cause damage to the surrounding ecosystem
- Imported fish don’t have to meet the same health and cleanliness standards as domestic seafood
That’s why it’s important to seek out the “right” fish, meaning it’s plentiful, was caught in an eco-friendly manner, and is relatively free of contaminants. Sound like a lot of work? Here are some handy tips to help you make good choices.
Size Definitely Matters
Small fish at the bottom of the food chain—for example, anchovies, sardines, and herring—are more plentiful than their larger cousins, grow more quickly, and contain fewer contaminants, making them sustainable and healthy choices.
The large, top-of-the-food-chain predators that eat other fish—think albacore tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel—absorb toxins and pollutants from their meals, which then accumulates in their flesh. Consumed in high doses, these can be harmful to humans so be sure to watch your intake.
Fish caught in American waters are generally a more environmentally sustainable choice than imported varieties, since the United States imposes fairly stringent regulations that aren’t instituted in other countries. If you live near a lake, river, or ocean, eat local catches whenever possible.
Shop at a Reputable Fish Market
Whether at your local grocery store or neighborhood fish market, the person behind the counter should be knowledgeable and know the answers to questions like: What is locally caught or super-fresh today? Is the fish endangered? Is it sustainably caught? Is it wild caught or farm raised?
Also, sniff around. Fish stores should never smell—well—overly fishy, which could signal decaying seafood. A clean, briny, ocean-y aroma is what you want.
The state of our waters and fisheries is constantly in flux as conservation efforts are implemented (or ignored) and fish come and go off sustainability lists. These organizations are great resources, where you’ll find best-and-worst lists, downloadable PDFs, smartphone apps, and more helpful tools:
A Few Good Catches
Here are some excellent choices that meet the criteria for healthfulness and sustainability: anchovy, Arctic char, black cod, catfish (domestic, farm raised), haddock, Atlantic mackerel, rainbow trout (farmed), wild-caught Pacific salmon, Alaskan king crab, and most shellfish. Consult with your fishmonger for more good options or check with one of the resources listed above.
A Few Bad Catches
Try to avoid these varieties, which may suffer from overfishing, heavy mercury load, and/or other problems: Chilean sea bass, Atlantic cod, grouper, imported king crab, king mackerel, orange roughy, Atlantic salmon, imported shrimp, swordfish, and Atlantic Bluefin tuna.
What Users Are Saying
“Seagan Eating is a must-have book for vegetarian striving to be seagan or vegan. Truly the ultimate seafood + vegan resource and cookbook – probably first seagan guidebook known to the public. Filled with tips, recipes, alternatives, macronutrients, and wisdom, you will definitely finish reading it in one instance aided by its brevity and concise writing. Enlightened, indeed!”
“After a year and a half of strict veganism, I felt ready to expand what I was eating and was beginning to reintroduce fish into my diet when someone recommended this book to me. I now feel enabled to responsibly and sustainably eat fish the right way! Definitely keeping this on my shelf.”
Plant-Based Eating With a Catch
Seagan eating can be your ticket to nutritional nirvana, a wild diversity of food options, and delicacies that will delight your palate.
Always make sure to consult with your primary care physician to make sure you are able to incorporate a specific-food-restricted diet.
Seagan Diet – Is This Diet Healthy? Questions & Answers
A Seagan diet is a combination of vegan and seafood. It typically includes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Sustainable seafood options like wild-caught fish, shellfish, seaweed and other marine life can also be included in a seagan diet.
Lisa McComsey is award-winning copywriter that has worked for well-known publication companies like Vogue, People, Life, Real Simple, Vanity Fair, and more. She was also the Copy Director of Allure magazine and has received the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement twice.