What Happens To A Vegan When They Eat Fish

Veganism has become extremely popular over the years. Whether it be for ethical beliefs or environmental concerns, more and more people are choosing to take on the lifestyle.

What Happens To A Vegan When They Eat Fish

However, like any diet plan, veganism comes with its pros and cons.

If you realize that you aren’t feeling your best while on a vegan diet, you’re confronted with the option of going against your beliefs, going through a mental shift, and adjusting to eating meat once more.

If you can relate, you may have wondered what might happen if you reintroduce animal products into your diet, including lighter options, like fish.

Vegans may worry about whether eating fish may make them ill, or lead to digestive problems.

While these may be possible, vegans are more likely to experience mental issues from eating fish (or meat), due to distress from moving away from the vegan lifestyle.

You’ll learn more about what happens to a vegan when they eat fish below, including whether it will lead to sickness, as well as tips to help vegans reintroduce animal products into their diet.

Before we get into the article, remember that this post isn’t trying to persuade people to eat animal products, or stop people from being vegan.  

Everyone is different, so it’s important to be kind and avoid blaming those that realize veganism isn’t for them. The information below is designed to help those that do not thrive on a plant-based diet.

Will Fish Make Vegans Sick?

Vegans that choose to eat meat once more are often advised to eat lighter meat products first, like fish, then slowly add other meat products, like poultry, back into their diet.

However, some vegans believe that eating fish, after abstaining from meat for a while, may make them ill. 

Doing so may have mental effects, but generally speaking, most vegans won’t experience much after eating fish again.

Some people may think that they may struggle to digest fish if their digestive system has accustomed to living without it.

The truth is that there is limited scientific proof of this, though these effects may be the result of psychological factors behind the belief.

Vegans may feel panic or anxiety once they recognize what they are consuming, which could prevent them from functioning as usual.

This response may be a result of distress, though there is a chance that some vegans may grow food sensitivities regarding fish.

This may lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, like gassiness, heartburn, and bloating. Some may find that they experience general irritability and headaches too.

We don’t fully understand why food sensitivities occur, but they may be a result of the many differences in digestive systems.

While some people can tolerate fish without any issues, some people may find consuming fish causes inflammation, acting as a trigger for several symptoms.

How To Reintroduce Animal Products Back Into Your Diet

As seen above, eating fish after abstaining from meat for a while may lead to mental and physical side effects. This is also likely to be the case with other meat and animal-sourced products.

If you’re thinking about eating animal products again after being a vegan, here are some tips to help you reintroduce these into your diet, minimizing any side effects as much as possible.

Gradually Introduce Animal Foods Separately

Vegans or vegetarians moving back to an omnivorous diet should start with fish first, poultry next, and red meat last.

If you have been vegan for a while, you may want to consider eating eggs before trying fish. 

However, remember that this is just general advice. Choosing what products you want to eat again is a personal preference. Listen to your body and note down any cravings that you experience.

For instance, if you want to avoid the ‘heaviness’ that comes with eating meat after being vegan, you may want to stick to our advice, choosing to start with fish or eggs before moving on to other products.

However, if you’re experiencing cravings for red meat, your body may be low on healthy nutrients, like zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. Choosing an organic, grass-fed red meat product may be better for you, in this case. 

Consider Taking Enzymes

Another way for vegans to avoid the ‘heaviness’ of meat, as mentioned above, is by taking digestive enzymes. 

What Happens To A Vegan When They Eat Fish (1)

This heavy sensation may be the result of weakened digestion. Your body may have stopped producing as many meat-digesting enzymes when you were vegan, which may lead to low stomach acid.

You can give your body some assistance by taking digestive enzymes with a meal. 

If you still experience digestive problems after eating meat, you may be consuming more than you can handle. Either try a different type of protein or decrease your portion size.

Tackle Disordered Eating Patterns

Vegans that have had disordered eating patterns in the past may find it difficult to eat animal products once more.

Some people living with orthorexia may use veganism to cover up disordered eating patterns.

While it looks healthy on the outside, trying to eliminate all sources of fat, processed foods, and every ‘unhealthy’ food can become restrictive.

Going back to eating meat once more may lead to intense feelings of guilt and sadness. These disordered eating patterns may continue as you transition out of veganism, where you may be scared to even go near meat once more.

Eating disorders and their patterns vary between people, so the best treatment for one person may differ from the next. 

Some common treatment options include counseling/therapy, nutritional counseling, and dialectical behavioral therapy. The best one for you will depend on the extent of your disordered symptoms. 

Avoid Factory Farming

Many meat eaters agree with vegans that factory farming is unnatural, unethical, and terrible for the environment and animal welfare. 

Despite choosing to eat meat once more, you can still choose to purchase products from grass-fed, organic farms.

This ensures that the meat you eat is always of high quality, as well as abstaining from unprincipled farming practices. 

Final Thoughts

Veganism isn’t for everyone, so if you notice that you aren’t thriving on the lifestyle, you may want to transition back into an omnivore diet. 

If you have been vegan for a while, you may want to make it easier on your digestive system by gradually adding meat back in. Starting with fish, then moving on to other meat products, may be better than going straight to red meat. 

Vegans may notice that they experience digestive issues after eating fish, or mental issues from the guilt of reverting from veganism.

You can reduce the chances of these side effects by adding fish slowly back into your diet, only in small amounts. 

Therapy and nutritional counseling may help with any stress or mental anguish from eating once more. Experienced specialists will be able to help you change your attitudes about consuming animal products.

Jenna Priestly
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