October Is National Pescatarian Month

Pescatarian Month


October Is National Pescatarian Month

National Pescatarian Month was inaugurated in 2020 in conjunction with National Seafood Month by the National Fisheries Institute to celebrate the pescatarian diet and help educate the public on its benefits. Being a pescatarian means that you follow vegetarian diet to which you add seafood.  While this may be only the second year for National Pescatarian Month and only 5% of the population identify as pescatarian, the practice has been recognized as a healthy and sustainable way of eating for centuries.[1]  In the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E., the Pythagoreans (followers of Pythagoras) were thought to have been vegetarians, but they may also have eaten fish which would make them the first recorded pescatarians. [2], [3]

In the U.S., pescatarianism has been popularized by celebrities and has led to a rise in the number of cookbooks tailored to the pescatarian diet.  To help celebrate the 2021 National Pescatarian Month, the Dish on Fish blog sponsored by the National Fisheries Institute created Everyday Seafood Recipes, 65 Quick & Easy Dishes (to download free).[4]

Benefits of a pescatarian diet

Pescatarians eat seafood plus a vegetarian diet:  fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, and eggs.  People who replace red meat, pork, and poultry with seafood are not only decreasing their intake of saturated fats, but also increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and selenium.  There is strong evidence that eating seafood is good for cardiovascular and brain health and decrease inflammation.  In addition, omega-3 fats in fish are important for the development of a baby’s brain and nervous system. [5]  A review of 20 studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants indicates that eating approximately one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week—salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines—reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent.[6],[7]  Research has shown that a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, and a moderate amount of fish is associated with a significantly reduced risk for colorectal cancers compared to people whose diets include meat.[8]  The American Heart Association and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating seafood at least two to three times per week.

Benefits of Pescatarian


Vegetarians can run the risk of not eating enough protein, vitamins and minerals, but by choosing specific foods and supplements can ameliorate that risk (e.g., quinoa, soy, and nuts for protein and spinach, lentils, and tofu for iron).[9]  Another way is to ensure adequate protein, vitamins and minerals is to add seafood to the menu and become a pescatarian.  A 2020 article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that a Pesco-Mediterranean diet with intermittent fasting (8-12 hours) may be optimal for heart health.[10]

Salmon cooking ingredients


Pescatarians eat like people on the Mediterranean diet or the diet of people in Blue Zones (known for the longevity of their populations),[11] including whole grains, olive oil, and fresh vegetables, but without poultry and (occasionally) red meat.[12]  Daily exercise is part of the lifestyle of people who live in the Blue Zones and around the Mediterranean -  e.g., they walk to the market and work in the garden where grow vegetables, herbs and fruits.

Ways to try the pescatarian lifestyle

Eat seafood at least two or three times per week – try it for two weeks, or maybe a month.  There are so many kinds of fish and shellfish and so many ways to prepare it that you can be a pescatarian for a month and not eat the same meal twice.  Or if you’re a creature of habit, you can figure out six or eight favorite seafood meals and not eat the same meal twice in two weeks. 

To be sure you’re getting the nutrition you need daily, you can consult the website of the US Department of Agriculture - FoodData Central - where you can search the nutritional values of a large variety of foods.  Another useful website is Seafood Health Facts:  Making smart choices (a joint project by the Universities of Oregon State, Cornell, Delaware, Rhode Island, Florida, and California and the Community Seafood Initiative), which has a list of the omega-3 content of frequently consumed seafood products.  Good omega-3-rich fish options include salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and light tuna. 



Seafood is sustainable

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US had a well-earned reputation as a global leader in sustainability.  US fishermen abide by some of the most rigorous environmental measures in the world for both wild-caught and farmed species.[13]   Sizzlefish.com has many years of experience sourcing, preparing, and packaging the best seafood.  Eating high-quality seafood is not only good our customers, but also for earth, with natural, sustainably sourced seafood.   

Sizzlefish offers a number of seafood collections tailored to specific diets (e.g., paleo or whole-30 compliant, omega-3 protein mix), so finding a variety box to try out a pescatarian diet is easy!


[1]  https://nationaltoday.com/national-pescatarian-month/

[2]  https://nationaltoday.com/national-pescatarian-month/

[3]  https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pythagoreanism/

[4]   https://dishonfish.com/go-pescatarian/

[5]   https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fish/

[6]   https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fish/

[7]   Mozaffarian, D., Rimm, E.B. (2006) Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA, 296:1885-99. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/203640

[8]   https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-diet-to-lower-your-colon-cancer-risk-2/

[9]   https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/plant-based-diets-are-best-or-are-they-2019103118122

[10]  O’Keefe, J.H., Torres-Acosta, N., O’Keefe, E.L., Saeed, I.M, Lavie, C.J., Smith, S.E., Ros, E. (2020).  A Pesco-Mediterranean Diet With Intermittent Fasting: JACC Review Topic of the Week, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 76(12):1484-1493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.07.049

[11]   https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/blue-zones-what-the-longest-lived-people-eat-hint-it-8217-s-not-steak-dinners/

[12]   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

[13]  https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/5-things-you-should-know-about-sustainable-seafood

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