While the Paleo diet (short for Paleolithic; from the Paleolithic era) has been all the rage lately, and people swear by its benefits, it, together with the infamous red meat and poultry, may not be a viable option for everyone.
If you want to try the Paleo diet, but the red meat is holding you back, then great news: you can experience the benefits of Paleo without consuming red meat or poultry via the Pescetarian Paleo diet.
What Is Pescetarian Paleo Diet?
Pescetarian Paleo is a hybrid diet claimed to be a ‘healthier’ version of the Paleo diet. It involves following a Pescetarian diet designed according to the principles of Paleo.
“And what are those principles?,” you might wonder.
Well, they are simple – eat what our prehistoric ancestors (read: cave dwellers, hunter-gatherers) ate.
While it’s practically impossible to trace these ancestors’ exact dietary patterns, researchers believe (knowing how the world and their lifestyle were back then) that their diet was primarily comprised of whole foods and was heavy on proteins and low in carbs.
Pescetarian Paleo makes it possible to try the Paleo lifestyle without gulping down steaks, chicken, or bacon every day. So, if you want to try the immensely popular Paleo diet but avoid red meat and/or poultry for any reason, Pescetarian Paleo is for you!
What Do You Eat on a Pescetarian Paleo Diet?
Pescetarian Paleo diet may seem a little confusing initially, but it becomes quite easy to follow once you understand the basics of both Paleo and Pescetarian diets. In fact, I am going to make things even easier for you.
To save you from the hassle of researching both diets and understanding their concepts, I will be listing down all the foods that you can and cannot eat as a Pescetarian Paleo:
Foods that You Can Eat on a Pescetarian Paleo Diet
- Nuts and seeds
Foods that You Cannot Eat on a Pescetarian Paleo Diet
Foods that are off-limits on a Pescetarian Paleo diet include:
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
Note: While Paleo prohibits dairy, some people occasionally consume dairy while on a Pescetarian Paleo diet for various reasons, such as personal preferences, or, as a follower highlighted on a Reddit post, to avoid nutrient deficiency and make meals more filling when you’re tired of eating fish.
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Pescetarian Paleo Diet?
Like most other dietary programs, Pescetarian Paleo doesn’t come without its own set of advantages and limitations.
Let’s take a look at the good and not-so-good sides of the Pescetarian Paleo diet, so you can make an informed decision whether to follow it or not.
- Pescetarian Paleo diet is more flexible than vegetarian and vegan diets, which means you have more food options.
- It makes a good option for people who want to try the Paleo diet, but either do not want to eliminate meat from their diet or avoid red meat and poultry for any reason.
- Pescetarian Paleo diet can be a good choice for those who want to limit their consumption of processed foods and refined sugar, which have long been proven to be harmful to one’s health.
- A Pescetarian Paleo diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy protein intake as compared to a strict vegetarian diet.
- Pescetarian Paleo does not require you to eat red meat, which has been linked with many health problems and is also avoided by many people for ethical and religious reasons.
- The Pescetarian Paleo hybrid diet helps you avoid the health problems that are common among the followers of Paleo, such as iodine deficiency.
- Fish are not one of the best natural sources of health-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but certain fish also provide vitamin D to your body, which deficiency is prevalent these days. (According to research estimates, about 42% of American adults are vitamin D-deficient.)
- More foods are off-limits, as you have to avoid foods that both the Pescetarian and Paleo diets restrict.
- Eliminating dairy, legumes, and grains can lead to certain nutritional deficiencies.
- Excessive consumption of high-mercury fish can put you at risk of mercury poisoning.
- Since grains and legumes are off-limits on the Pescetarian Paleo diet, you may end up consuming more protein than your body needs. This can lead to weight gain over time since our body stores excess protein as fat. Excessive consumption of protein can also increase your risk for kidney damage in the long run.
A Final Word – Is Pescetarian Paleo Diet Worth Trying?
With an unprecedented rise in interest in healthy eating, both Pescetarian and Paleo diets have gained huge momentum in the past few years despite being around for several decades. There are proponents of both dietary trends who swear by their benefits. However, both diets have their limitations, too.
The Pescetarian Paleo hybrid offers a viable solution to those looking to improve their diet but do not want to go for a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. It allows seafood and eggs and emphasizes increasing the consumption of whole foods and eliminating processed foods and refined sugar from your diet, which are all healthy modifications.
It’s important to note that Pescetarian Paleo doesn’t allow grains, legumes, and dairy, which are essentially Paleo guidelines. This has sparked controversy in the healthcare community and is the primary reason why many healthcare experts criticize the Paleo diet.
The choice is yours!
If you choose to follow the Pescetarian Paleo diet, be very careful about your nutrient intake. Make sure you don’t end up overloading on protein or missing out on the essential vitamins and minerals that we usually get from grains, legumes, and dairy. Find out their alternatives and plan your Pescetarian Paleo diet carefully to make sure it’s healthy and well-balanced.
If you found this article interesting and informative and want to learn about other modern diet trends, do check out my article “An introduction to the Pollo-Pescetarian Diet”.