Veganism is experiencing its most popular and prominent moment yet, with many of us cutting out meat, dairy and other animal by-products both for our health and the good of the environment. In fact, research conducted in November 2018 suggested that as many as one in eight of Britons are now either veggie or vegan.
Many of those who are apprehensive to take the next step to become vegan may be concerned about ensuring they maintain a wholly rounded diet, which is perhaps where the new vegan trend seaganism comes in.
What is a seagan diet?
As its name suggests, seagans are those who follow a vegan diet (with no meat, dairy, eggs or other animal bi-products), with the exception of continuing to consume fish and other seafood. In some ways, seaganism to vegans is what pescetarianism is to vegetarians.
‘The seagan diet is similar to a flexitarian diet in that is based on veganism, with the occasional fish consumption,’ explains nutritionist Lily Soutter.
‘This diet is perfect for those want to take the vegan plunge to reduce their meat consumption, but are struggle to go the whole hog.’
What are the benefits of a seagan diet?
Fish can ‘bulk up’ our meals and provide our diet with a great deal of nutrients we may otherwise miss, or find it hard to make up for in a vegan diet.
‘The health benefits of including more plant-based food within our diet is well-known, however the seagan diet has the additional benefits which come with fish including high quality protein and a rich source omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats support cardiovascular health as well as brain and skin health,’ says Lily.
‘What’s more, fish is a source of vitamin B12 which would otherwise often be lacking in a vegan diet. It is also low in saturated fat therefore a seagan diet is extremely heart friendly.’
Are there any negatives to a seagan diet?
Despite advocating a seagan diet generally, Lily explains that it’s important not to overdo it.
‘When including fish within the diet, balance is key. Overconsumption of large oily fish such as sea bass or even fresh tuna can lead to a high intake of mercury which may have adverse effects on health.’
Those concerned with maintaining a diet that is environmentally friendly and sustainable will need to follow certain rules, too.
Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, authors of Seagan Eating, encourage seagans to consider sustainability. They advise the following:
‘Steer clear of fish containing high levels of mercury/PCBs – as a general rule, the lower a fish is on the food chain, the less mercury it’s likely to have.’
They recommend sticking to fish such as sardines, domestic crab, haddock, farmed rainbow trout, shellfish, Arctic char, black cod, and Pacific wild-caught salmon.
The pair add: ‘Look for a Sustainable Seafood label from the Marine Stewardship Counsel (MSC), and consult a resource like Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to make sure your catch is sustainably caught and low in contaminants.’