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Can vegetarians eat seafood? This is a tricky question when you dig into it. The simple answer is “it depends”. It depends on what you consider a vegetarian to be. Also what type of vegetarian you are. It can also depend on the type of seafood if you consider it an animal, or the ethical and humane treatment of the beings.
In this article, I dive into the topic of vegetarians eating seafood. I also provide ways to replace the health benefits of seafood and ways to enjoy your favorite seafood flavors as a vegetarian.
The majority of vegetarians do not eat seafood. There are varying types of vegetarians if someone considers themselves a pescatarian or flexitarian they are vegetarians that eat seafood.
Table of Contents
What Types Of Vegetarians Are There?
There are five main types of vegetarians.
Flexitarians– a Flexitarian isn’t technically a vegetarian but, deserves recognition. A person following a flexitarian diet eats a standard diet but reduces their meat, seafood and dairy consumption.
Pescatarian– a Pescatarian doesn’t eat red meat or poultry but, will still consume seafood, dairy, and eggs
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian– a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian avoids all meats but, still consumes dairy and eggs
Lacto Vegetarian– A Lacto vegetarian only consumes dairy products eliminating all meats and eggs.
Vegans– A Vegan does not eat or use any animal products
Do Vegetarians Eat Fish?
Some vegetarians eat fish. A pescatarian is a vegetarian that still consumes fish and sometimes dairy products.
People may consider themselves as flexitarian and mostly consume a vegetarian diet with the occasional consumption of meat and seafood.
Why Do Some Vegetarians Eat Fish?
Some people choose to follow a vegetarian diet that includes the consumption of fish. There are many reasons why some of the most common are.
- Fish is a great source of protein
- Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Fish is high in zinc and B-12
- Some people are pescatarians to reduce the carbon footprint, not for ethical reasons
- Some people don’t like meat but, enjoy fish
- Some people believe fish do not feel pain
What Are ShellFish?
Shellfish can be broken down into two groups crustations and mollusks.
- Cray Fish
Most shellfish can be found in saltwaters.
Can Vegetarians Eat Shellfish?
A person who considers themselves a pescatarian or flexitarian can eat shellfish. Shellfish are full of health benefits. Shellfish are high in zinc, B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are some downsides to eating shellfish. Shellfish can be high in heavy metals. They can also be contaminated with foodborne illnesses. Due to these risks, it is not recommended for pregnant women, older adults, and those who are immune-compromised to eat shellfish.
Shellfish are amoung the top food allergens. An allergic reation to shellfish can range from stomach pain to life-treatening anaflatic shock.
Why Do Some Vegetarians Eat Shellfish?
Some vegetarians eat shellfish for the following reasons.
- Health Benefits
- Pure Enjoyment
- To Lower Carbon Emissions
Why Do Vegetarians Eat Seafood?
Every person who considers themselves a vegetarian has made this decision based on different reasons. Ethical, health, personal preference, lifestyle, animal cruelty, human rights, or many others.
The reason a person has chosen to be a vegetarian may not exclude seafood.
Being a vegetarian is usually a journey, not a destination. A person may be at a point in their journey where they are consuming seafood. I personally weaned my way off animal products and still consumed seafood a year or so after I started my vegetarian journey.
Is It Ethical To Eat Seafood As A Vegetarian?
This is a question that is open for a large debate. Is it ethical to eat seafood as a vegetarian? Personally, I feel if a person is becoming a vegetarian for ethical reasons they should not consume seafood.
A vegetarian who has chosen vegetarianism due to ethical concerns does not consume animal flesh or would want any living creature to be harmed in order for them to eat.
There is now a lot of grey areas as far as vegetarianism is concerned. Many different lifestyles and titles that are grouped under the main title of vegetarian. There are also many different reasons why a person may choose a specific vegetarian path. As a whole, we should never judge someone for their choices and support the life they have chosen.
What Is A Vegetarian Called That Eats Fish?
A vegetarian that consumes fish is called a pescatarian. A pescatarian still consumes seafood, dairy, and eggs.
A person may also consider themselves a flexitarian. They do not exclude animal products from their diets but, eats as a vegetarian the majority of the time.
What Do Vegetarians Eat Instead Of Seafood?
There are many options for vegetarians to consider when replacing seafood in their diets. Whether you are focused on replacing the health benefits or flavors and textures of seafood there is an option for you. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Health-Focused Seafood Swaps
- Hemp Seeds (high omega-3’s)
- Flax Seeds (high omega 3’s)
- Pumpkin seeds (zinc)
- Algae oil supplements
- B12 supplements
- Zinc supplements
I personally use all of the above products.
Flavor and Texture Seafood Swaps
- Jackfruit – mimics the texture of crab or tuna
- Smashed Chickpeas- chickpeas make a great mock tuna salad
- Banana Blossoms- this one is new to me
- Soy Curls – make great “clam strips”
How To Get The Flavors Of Seafood As A Vegetarian
The best way to replicate a familiar food is to try to mimic the textures and flavors.
Favorite Seafood Flavors
- Tartar Sauce
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Dulce or Seaweed- for umami sea flavors
- Ocean Halos Fish Sauce
Favorite Seafood Textures
- Do vegans eat fish? – Vegans do not eat fish. Vegans do not eat any animals or animal products that may have caused harm to a living creature.
- Do vegans eat shellfish? – Vegans do not eat shellfish.
- Can vegans eat seafood?– Vegans do not eat any living creatures from the sea. Technically seaweed is seafood that vegans will eat.
Vegetarians may eat seafood if they consider themselelves a pescatarian or a flexitarian.
A pescatarian is a vegetarian that consumes seafood, dairy and eggs.
A flexitarian consumes a all animal products but, chooses to eat many of their meals without meat.
If you do not consume seafood there are many ways to replace the health benefits and flavor enjoyment of consuming seafood.