I decided to write about this topic because of my very good friend Neil. He does roof restoration with a Roofing Contractor up in Queensland. Like all tradies, every morning he has a bottle of V with a pie. What is so special about that? He claims his pie is a vegan seafood pie.
We all love amazing food. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. Could signing up to become a vegan mean that you’re about to miss out on all the beautiful tasting meals of this world? On the other hand, what if vegans can eat seafood? Wouldn’t that be something to be excited about?
Whether vegans should or shouldn’t eat seafood is a controversial issue. To understand the nature of the problem, we’ll have to pedal backward and get a broader understanding of the nature and purpose of the vegan lifestyle. Leggo!
Understanding the Vegan lifestyle
Being a vegan means completely avoiding the consumption of animals. That is total abstinence from anything extracted from animals. Perhaps you are a vegan already, or you’re considering becoming one. So, no more chicken (oh no!), no more beef, eggs, honey, and cheese (the list is endless), and in exchange, what do you get?
You get peas, lentils, and beans, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, coconut milk, dates, soymilk and vegetable oils. Now, you find yourself anticipating (or experiencing) the difficulty of sticking to a vegan diet, and it bothers you. And that’s okay.
Answering the Vegan Seafood Question
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s okay for vegans to eat seafood, it means you likely belong to the class of people who adopt the vegan diet for its health benefits- reduced risk of heart diseases, improved kidney performance, lower blood sugar, accelerated weight loss and so on. All of these are significant benefits, no doubt. But, you see, not every vegan is a vegan solely because of its health benefits.
For a vast number of people, their reasons are religious; for others, it’s ethical, and for some other groups, their decision to withhold from eating animals and its derivatives are psychological. People in the “psychology group” think this decision as an act of kindness to the animals, so to speak- they’re protecting them from the cruelty of humanity.
Here’s the point being made, religious and ethnic groups who have deep-rooted beliefs that certain creatures shouldn’t be eaten, would usually have the forbidden animals spelled out: Jainism out rightly bans the consumption of meat. For Islamists, the list of animals that are impermissible for consumption is inexhaustive. Hindus do not eat eggs, meat, fish, poultry but they do eat dairy… yadda, yadda, yadda.
As you can see, the guiding rules are clear and a person belonging to any of such groups wouldn’t need to wonder what he can or can’t eat. But are there any guidelines for individuals who are going the vegan-way because of its perceived health benefits?
Here’s what we recommend.
Let your Health & Vitality Goal be your Guide
Generally, the goal of the health-induced vegan lifestyle is to lower the body’s cholesterol levels. It’s safe to say then that you can eat any seafood that doesn’t deter you from your original health goal.
For most persons, it’s usually okay to eat Salmons, Lobsters, Crabs, Tunas, Squids, Shrimps, Tilapias, Cods, and a wide range of fishes. These sea creatures could be prepared into delectable meals that will make your vegan journey more interesting and satisfying.
It should be said there’s a popular perspective that those who abstain from meat but consume seafood aren’t vegans they are pescetarians. But that’s just nomenclature, nothing more.
You may begin with other flexible diets. You could start by having more vegetables on your plate, gradually cutting down on animal products. We would also recommend that you pay close attention to the nutrients you could be lacking as a result of the lifestyle change.
For instance, Vitamin B12 would be in the deficit because those are only found in animal products so you would probably need the help of supplements or a fortified intake of soy milk, orange juice, and also from fortified breakfast cereals. In short, start small, keep it easy, simple, and be determined to reach your health and vitality goal- whatever that is.
So what’s the Bottom Line?
There are varying perspectives on which seafood to eat or not to eat as a vegan. Our advice is, let your end goal be your guide. We’ll end with Horace’s words “Healthy eating is a way of life, so it is important to establish routines that are simple, realistically and ultimately livable”.