Our answers to your most pressing questions.
Why did you decide to convert from a strict vegan diet after so many years?
After doing tons of research, we decided that the high-quality, essential omega-3 fatty acids (crucial to healthy cell growth, proper fetal development, robust immune functions, and strong organs and tissues) you can only get from fish were a missing link in our plant-based diets.
We went vegan for health reasons—and we converted to seaganism for health reasons, too. Plant-based foods still comprise the bulk of our daily diets, but we now eat seafood two to three times a week.
How is seaganism different from flexitarian, pescatarian, or reducetarian diets?
Diets like flexitarian and reducetarian allow red meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Pescatarians consume a vegetarian diet (including dairy and eggs), with the addition of fish. We don’t believe meat, dairy, and eggs are the healthiest choices.
Shopping for seafood can be confusing and misleading in terms of what is sustainable and healthy. What seafood is the best to keep an eye out for? And what should I avoid at all costs?
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. Your safest bets: sardines, domestic crab, haddock, farmed rainbow trout, shellfish, Arctic char, black cod, and Pacific wild-caught salmon. Eating domestic fish is safer than imported varieties.
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. Learn how to communicate with your local fishmonger to properly shop for and select the best seafood.
I’ve bought my fish and now I’m ready to cook it. What are some healthy spice suggestions that pair nicely with seafood that I should try?
All fresh herbs go beautifully with seafood. Try some fresh basil, chopped tomato, and sea salt over any fish. Place fish in a loose tinfoil pouch, top with herbs and veggies, close foil and bake, barbecue, or broil. Or try fresh tarragon, a tablespoon of white wine, and chopped asparagus over the fish in foil pouch. Our favorite is cilantro, lime juice, corn, and tomatoes over fish in foil pouch.
You focus on eliminating all types of oil from your recipes throughout the book—why is that? Isn’t some oil and fat healthy for you?
We follow the teachings of Amy’s first mentor (and client), Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn—author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease—who prohibits any added oils to decrease your risk of heart disease. Since we do not have heart issues, we believe in getting our fats from the nutrient-dense foods themselves—avocados instead of avocado oil; olives instead of olive oil; nuts instead of nut oils, etc.—and avoiding all those fat-laden calories.
A lot of the recipes in your book include cashews and/or nutritional yeast. Why are these ingredients so useful in vegan/seagan cooking?
Cashews are miraculous to a vegan/seagan cook. When raw cashews are pureed with equal parts water, the resulting cream is flavorless and can be substituted for heavy cream in any recipe. Thus, you substitute a super-healthy fat of nuts for the artery-clogging fat of cream. Nutritional yeast is a great substitute for the flavor of Parmesan in vegan/seagan cooking without adding dairy.
You both lead healthy, active lifestyles as marathon runners, triathletes, bicyclists—has switching from a strictly vegan diet to a seagan diet had an impact on your fitness?
We felt great as vegans and equally great on a seagan regime—strong, healthy, and energized. We love that we’re now getting omega-3s from the best source (seafood) and that seaganism offers a broader range of menu options.
Itching to ask us something? We’re all ears. Contact us now.