Take the Seagan Plunge! Here, a few ideas and resources to guide you.
What the Fluke do Seagans Eat?
Start with a primarily plant-based diet—including fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains—and occasionally add seafood to the menu. Work with your fishmonger to select the healthiest (low in toxins), most sustainably caught fish. If you’re an omnivore, it’s time to start weaning yourself off red meat, pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Can’t go cold turkey? Eliminate categories one at a time and ease your way into seaganism.
Get More Vitamin Sea
Eat two to three servings of seafood a week, says the American Heart Association and you’ll reduce your risk of heart attack. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish also help prevent and treat certain cancers, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, diabetes, allergies, and more.
Size Definitely Matters
Fish is a nutritional powerhouse. But it can be a filthy mess, too, as many varieties are tainted with mercury, antibiotics, and other pollutants. A general rule of thumb: Small fish at the bottom of the food chain (anchovies, sardines, herring) are “cleaner” than large predator fish, like albacore tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel. Consult Seafood Watch for updates on the best/worst seafood for health and sustainability.
Stocking up on frozen fish can simplify your life—it’s always on hand for spontaneous meals, and you’re not sacrificing quality or freshness. Once captured, fish are usually processed and deep frozen right on board the vessel at the peak of their condition and healthfulness. To buy: Look for shiny, rock-hard frozen fish in well-sealed packages. Avoid anything with freezer-burn spots, frost, ice crystals, or signs of blood.
American fish are generally a better, more sustainable choice than imported varieties, since they’re more closely regulated than seafood coming from afar. For example, imported shrimp is notorious for being grown in dirty, cramped conditions and coming with a wealth “sides,” like pesticides, banned chemicals, carcinogenic antibiotics, cockroaches, mouse hair, and pieces of insects. If you live near water, eat local catches whenever possible.
Fish that come in cans, jars, and pouches are great to keep around for a quick meal or unexpected company. Plus, they’re inexpensive, long lasting, and super convenient. Salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring, crab, and sustainably caught tuna—check for words like “hook and line,” troll and pole,” or “troll caught”—are perfect in sandwiches, pasta sauces, salads, dips, and more.
Skip the Farmed Salmon
Salmon farms have harmed the Atlantic salmon population. Pens packed with fish are often plagued with parasites and disease, along with the antibiotics and pesticides used to combat them. Frequent escapes occur, which spreads disease and forces indigenous fish to compete with farmed fish for food, causing population decline. And that rosy pink color? Thank you, “pinkifying” pellets! Wild salmon get their ruddy pigment from eating krill and shrimp, while farmed varieties feast on chicken litter and corn-and-soy fish pellets—which means they also have less of the omega-3s found in wild-caught salmon.
Excellent Seafood Resources
- Aquaculture Stewardship Council
- Colorado Ocean Coalition
- EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) Seafood Selector
- Food & Water Watch
- Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC)
- Marine Stewardship Council
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
- Safina Center Healthy Oceans Seafood Guide
- Seafood Health Facts
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fish Consumption Advisories
- Vital Choice
- Wild American Shrimp
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