Two former vegans, Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, explain why they've tweaked their diet in favor of more omega-3s.
Everyone knows the vegan diet is boring, restrictive, and unhealthy ("how do you get your protein?")—and that vegans are pale, Birkenstock-clad treehuggers who sport "Meat is Murder" bumper stickers and proselytize at cocktail parties.
So it was a bit of a shock when we fell in love with veganism. We even wrote a how-to-go-vegan guide and cookbook (The Vegan Cheat Sheet) to share our passion for the plant-based lifestyle. All those preconceived notions about being vegan? Baloney!
We felt fit, healthy, strong, and satiated. And did we mention we had curves?
Several years into our vegan bliss, we had a fall from grace: We were seduced by seafood. Having gone vegan for health reasons, we couldn't ignore that we were missing one important nutrient: the high-quality, essential omega-3 fatty acids you can get only from fish.
It was our dirty little secret for a while. One day, Amy was caught red-handed eating a 2½-pound lobster, and her "friends" (aka the vegan police) tried to post her sin on social media. Lisa was fingered sneaking calamari off the appetizer platter.
Now that we've come out of the closet, we believe a seagan (seafood + vegan) diet is the gold standard of eating. You get a rich variety of nutrients from fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains—with the added boost of omega-3s from fish. Plus, for those who resist going "whole-hog" vegan, this is a more approachable diet with plenty of options when dining out or at home.
The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings of seafood a week. Stick with sustainably caught varieties that are low in contaminants, such as Pacific wild-caught salmon, North American haddock, Arctic char, domestic crab, and small fish like sardines and anchovies. Look for the "certified sustainable seafood" label when shopping, or ask your fishmonger what's fresh and local.
Frozen, canned, and pouched seafood are excellent choices, too, and are super convenient for last-minute meal prep. Just follow the same guidelines for sustainability and try to find BPA-free cans.
Important note: Pescatarians are vegetarians who eat fish but—unlike seagans—they also consume dairy and often eggs, which we don't consider healthful choices.
Take the seagan plunge! Amy’s decadent recipes will shock and delight your friends and family.