My Own Experiment With a Pescatarian Diet
What Is A Pescatarian?
Firstly you may wonder what exactly is a pescatarian diet? Well a pescatarian is very similar to a vegetarian, as in you don’t eat meat and can eat all dairy products. The only other difference is that a pescatarian can eat all fish products. This can be very useful for gym goers who want to stop eating meat, as you can get high volumes of protein in your body by consuming fish. I decided to try a pescatarian diet myself for 10 weeks to see his it would effect my body and what pescatarian benefits work for me.
What Type Of Pescatarian Diet I Went For.
My first idea to go on a pescatarian diet came because I watched the documentary Game Changers on Netflix. In this documentary he seemed to portray that a vegan/vegetarian will enhance your physical performance. more than any meat eating diet. I decided to give it a go.
When doing more and more research it seemed apparent that fish had too much health benefits for me to stop eating. This is when I began looking at a pescatarian diet. There where a few diets that I considered.
At first I considered a pollo pescatarian diet, which essentially means on top of fish you can also eat poultry. Therefore I could eat chicken and turkey but refrain from any flesh (red) meat. I decided this wasn’t the right one for me as I would essentially still be eating meat.
The next diet I kept on coming across was the low carb pescatarian diet. It seemed to me that 90% of people on a pescatarian diet followed this regime. Once again however, I decided this was not for me as I liked to keep my carbs moderate to fuel my very active lifestyle.
I settled on just my usual high carbohydrate, high protein diet. I would just simply substitute any meat parts of the meals for fish/vegetarian substitutes.
Pescatarian Diet Plan.
Here is the pescatarian diet plan I would be trialling for 10 weeks:
Meal 1: Breakfast - 6:30am
My breakfast would not change. It would consist of a blended up shake of the following:
- 1 banana.
- 30g of oats.
- 1 scoop of MyProtein impact whey chocolate protein.
- 1 teaspoon of peanut butter.
Meal 2: Early Morning Meal - 10:00am
My first meal was something I used to consume a lot when I was younger and it has great nutritional values. It would be as followed:
- Tin of tuna in spring water.
- 1/2 a cup of brown rice.
- 1 handful of spinach.
- Vegetarian friendly hot sauce (to taste).
Meal 3: Lunch - 12:30pm
Once again for lunch I like to have a fish meal. I would change this from day to day to keep it from getting boring.
- 200g of baby potatoes.
- 1 salmon fillet or 2 white fish fillets.
- 160g of mixed frozen veg.
I would sprinkle mixed herbs across the baby potatoes and fish for flavouring.
Meal 4: Afternoon snack - 3:00pm
My afternoon snack was simply to fill a gap before I go to the gym at around 5:20pm. It’s as followed:
- 1 apple.
- 4 plain dark rye crackers
Meal 5: post workout protein shake - 7:00pm
Once again I would use MyProtein chocolate whey protein. I would have 2 level scoops with around 300ml of water. This is also a good time to have supplements, I would have 2x cod liver oil tablets and 2x BCAA tablets.
Meal 6: Dinner - 7:30pm
For dinner I would genuinely go for a vegetarian meal. More often that not this would be bean burritos, which consists of:
- 2 tins of lentils.
- 1 tin of pinto beans.
- 1 tin of mixed spicy Mexican beans.
- Brown onion.
- Wholemeal wraps.
- Brown rice.
- Fajita spice mix.
The amounts of this can vary depending on how hungry I was or how many calories I thought I needed after my workout.
Meal 7: Late night food - 10:00pm
At night I would simply consume around 60g of cottage cheese for casein protein to keep me fuelled while I slept.
It’s also important to note that these are my most common pescatarian recipes but I would alter them from time to time. On a weekend I would have 1 or 2 cheat meals but I refrained from eating meat the whole of the 10 weeks.
Pescatarian For Physical Performance
In terms of the diet above it’s pretty much the exact same as my usual diet, however I have swapped out meat for fish/veggies. Everything else is the same!
The reason I tried a pescatarian diet is for physical performance, not for how I looked. It says on the documentary that it could optimise your physical performance and how it was explained it made sense to me. For my rating of this diet I will be going off strength and fitness, not off appearance.
Pescatarian Diet Review.
Starting off for the first 0-2 weeks, as usual I didn’t see too much difference in the gym. However, I did feel my stomach and overall healthiness of my insides feeling better.
Once moving into weeks 2-4, the main thing that I could notice happening, was that I had dropped some weight. I predicted this would be happening with all my protein coming from lean sources. Strength wise I stayed similar still benching 110kg for 1 rep, all my Olympic lifts where similar strength as before.
The 4-6 week mark was when it started becoming apparent this might not be the best diet for me. Other people began noticing that I was dropping weight. I kept all my training the same as when I ate meat and I felt myself feeling drained. My strength had not changed by this point and in terms of fitness I felt like I wasn’t as fit anymore. I also had the flu for 3/4 days in this stage so it would always effect me physically, which could maybe make these weeks findings void.
Weeks 6-8. For the first time in a long time I actually felt my strength deteriorate. I started struggling more on the same weights or even having to drop weight on certain lifts.
Finally on weeks 8-10. My strength had gone down a considerable amount. This could be due to the fact I had also dropped about 4kg just from having lean proteins. I tested my one rep max on the bench press and could barely lift 105kg with a spotters aid! I even felt considerably less fit when participating in CrossFit workouts. In terms of appearance, I looked a lot more shredded than before. It was totally apparent I had dropped a lot of fat but I had actually maintained a lot of muscle (obviously not maintained all my muscle).
A Final Overview Of The Pescatarian Diet.
Now for me I tried this diet purely for optimising physical performance. However, that certainly wasn’t the case. Due to losing weight I actually lost strength, which shouldn’t happen following my training regime. On the other hand I cut up very well, so, if that is your primary aim, it could be a good diet choice for you.
I would also say that there are a lot of vitamins and minerals that I would have suffered from a lack of without eating meat. I would recommend if you go on a pescatarian/vegetarian/ vegan diet, to do your own research! Depending on your aim and lifestyle, will depend on what vitamins you should supplement. For me I didn’t use any and believe it could have been a big factor into losing strength and fitness. Vitamins can be easy to supplement and you can get multivitamin tablets to make even easier.
Lastly i did have the flue midway through this experiment. Some people may argue this could have affected the rest of my time on this diet and that's why i lost strength. It is important to note that on a meat eating diet, flu normally only effects me for a week at the tops. After a week i am back to normal and my strength doesn't drop too much. Also it could have been due to the lack of certain vitamins i normally get from meat, that i actually fell ill in the first place! A lot of things to consider all in all but i hope it helps with anyone looking into this diet.
Thank you for reading.
© 2020 Ben Smith