News and opinion

Allison Tannis

Nutrition Expert, MSc RHN

Your Guide to Making Popular Diets More Planet-Friendly: How and Why Keto, Whole30 and Flexitarian Diets Should Include Sustainable Seafood

February 1, 2022

Discover how to transform your diet with this guide to making Keto, Whole30, and Paleo more planet-friendly.

Rising awareness of how our everyday food choices impact the environment and global warming is fueling new dietary lifestyles such as Flexitarian and Climatarian, which encourage you to take the planet’s health into consideration with your food choices. Have you considered whether the foods recommended in your diet are good for you, and the planet?  

As a holistic nutritionist, I know it’s possible to meet your health goals while also eating a sustainable diet. Making conscious food choices while factoring in the nutritional benefits and the impact my choice has on planetary health is important to me so I choose certified sustainable seafood – it’s nutritious, easy to prepare, and part of a healthy eating plan.  

Come explore how you can easily make your diet a planet-friendly one, with the help of this guide which includes over 12 delicious sustainable seafood recipes.  

Yes, you can meet your health goals with a sustainable diet. 

Is Your Diet Good for Planetary Health? 

Congratulations on making conscious choices to eat foods that are good for you! But let’s take a moment and consider how those food choices may be impacting the planet. The process of growing and getting foods onto your plate generates greenhouse gas emissions – with the worst offenders being red meat and cheese, according to researchers. (Of note, evidence also links the consumption of red meat to an increased risk of disease.) But, protein is important in a healthy diet, notes research.

So what’s a better protein-rich food for your diet?

Seafood has a markedly lower impact on the environment than red meats and processed meats, according to scientists. (Plus, it’s healthier too - consumption of oily fish is linked to better heart and cognitive health). Make your popular diet more planet-friendly by looking for certified sustainable seafood options when shopping – it’s easy! Look for the MSC Blue Fish logo. 

Protein-Rich Foods to Eat Based on Their Environmental Impact (Ranked Best to Worst) 

  1. Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils (lowest impact) 
  2. Sustainable Seafood 
  3. Nuts and Eggs 
  4. Poultry, Pork, Dairy 
  5. Red Meat (highest impact) 

*Source World Resources Institute, Protein Score Card 

Healthy diets include sustainable seafood. 

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How to Include Sustainable Seafood in Popular Diets 

No matter which popular diet you’re following, sustainable seafood can be your go-to choice for a healthy protein. From Keto to Climatarian, Paleo to Flexitarian, here is your guide to making popular diets more planet-friendly, including how and why sustainable seafood should be included. 

What Sustainable Seafood Can You Eat on Keto? 

Keto encourages a limit on sugar intake with a focus on protein. As a great source of healthy protein, sustainable seafood is an easy food to include in a keto lifestyle. Plus, compared to meat, seafood contains high amounts of taurine, the most abundant amino acid in the brain spinal cord, white blood cells, eyes, heart, and muscles. Taurine has vitally important roles in maintaining immunity, calcium balance, eye, and heart function, according to science.  


If you’re following a Keto diet, here are some sustainable seafood recipes that may fit into your diet: 

 

Fishing for More Ideas? Explore the MSC Ocean Cookbook 2022 today – it’s free! 


The Biggest Diet Trends are Sustainable: Flexitarian and Climatarian Diet 

Flexitarian and Climatarian diets illustrate how it is possible to improve your health, and planetary health at the same time. The Flexitarian diet focuses on mostly eating plant-based foods with room to choose some animal-based proteins. You can make this diet more planet-friendly by choosing sustainable seafood. Similarly, the aim of a Climatarian diet is to reduce your carbon footprint which can be accomplished by choosing mostly plants, locally sourced food, and MSC certified sustainable seafood. It’s important to note: not all local seafood is sustainable so do your due diligence and ask where the seafood you’re about to purchase is coming from.  

If you are following a Flexitarian or Climatarian style eating plan, you’ll love these delicious sustainable seafood recipes: 


 

For more sustainability tips, check out 22 Tips to Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle in 2022


What Seafood Can You Eat on Whole30? 

The Whole30 diet encourages choosing real food in its whole form which definitely can include sustainable seafood. Whole foods offer more nutrients than processed alternatives, and seafood is no exception: a nutritious source of nutrients, including selenium, vitamin D, and astaxanthin. Research suggests that astaxanthin may have antioxidant benefits, reducing markers of inflammation. Where do you find astaxanthin? You can actually see it - it helps give salmon, lobster, and crustaceans their colour! 

If you are following the Whole30 diet, you may enjoy these sustainable seafood recipes: 


 

Is Seafood Paleo? 

Yes, seafood is included in the popular diet, Paleo. Since the Paleo diet aims to mimic what our early hunter and gatherer ancestors ate, as a wild protein that has been fished for millennia, seafood is a perfect match. Eating sustainable seafood is a smart choice - research suggests eating seafood may improve cognitive ability, and benefit brain structure. It’s a smart idea for the planet too - through conscious choices and sustainable fishing practices we can feed and nourish the world.  

If you are focusing on a paleo diet, here are some sustainable seafood recipes you may enjoy: 

 

The Best Diet Plan for the Planet 

Are you ready to improve your health and the planet’s? With popular diets, such as the Flexitarian and Climatarian, you can! Evidence shows focusing on eating more plants is a great choice for you and the environment. And, if you choose to eat seafood, be sure to choose a certified sustainable seafood product. It’s easy to do – simply look for the MSC label.  

To learn more about sustainable seafood, try taking one of the following actions:

 

References:

Fish intake may affect brain structure and improve cognitive ability in healthy people. Front Aging Neurosci 2020; 12: 76. 

Seafood consumption and its contribution to nutrient intake among Canadians in 2004 and 2015. Nutrients 2021 Jan; 13(1): 77. 

Multiple health and environmental impacts of foods. PNAS 2019 Nov; 116(46): 23357-23362. 

The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2015 Jun; 101(6): 1320S-1329S. 

The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis 2010 Jan; 208(1):19. 

Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science 2018 June, 360(6392):987-992. 

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of astaxanthin in cardiovascular diseases (review). Int J Mol Med 2021 Jan; 47(1): 37-48. 
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