Can Vegans Eat Shrimp?
Have you ever thought about becoming vegan? Have you seen anybody around you who has recently become vegan? Can you find vegan food in your neighbourhood? Do you think we must become vegan? And, if yes, do you know what types of food habits they have?
For example, are they only prohibited from eating meat? Or, are animal-related products also forbidden for them? What about marine and sea creatures? Which one can be eaten by vegans and which one cannot? If you want to know the answer to all these questions, you have to come with us through this paper.
Take shrimp, for example. It is a popular food in many countries globally thanks to its delicious taste. There are many controversies around shrimp. Some people believe that vegans can eat, but some others say vegans can't eat shrimp. So, first, we have to see who are vegans.
What is their definition of being vegan? How many types of vegan food habits or food styles do we have? Then, we need to talk a bit about shrimp and explain all the health and environmental issues. Finally, we will answer the critical question of whether vegans can eat shrimp. So, let's get started.
Who Is A Vegan?
I don't mean to make any of you confused. So, I will stick to the simplest definition of veganism. Then, I will shortly talk about different types of veganism. To put it simply, vegans are individuals who must not eat meat and any other animal-related products. This is where vegans separate themselves from vegetarians. In fact, vegetarianism is similar to veganism, but it is a bit easier because vegetarians must not eat meat just like vegans. However, they are free to eat animal-related products such as milk, eggs, etc.
Why Are People Becoming Vegans?
Not too many years ago, nobody was vegan. Perhaps, a few decades ago, it was widely taken for granted that humans, to survive and have a healthy life, should eat meat, egg, milk, etc. They believed that nutrients and other compounds available in meat and other animal-related products could not be found in plant-based materials.
However, people gradually realized that eating meat and animal-related products is wrong for so many reasons. We will talk about these reasons a bit later. Then, they decided to change their mind and change their food habits. People started eating plant-based materials to feel guiltier and happier. I talked about reasons for becoming a vegan, right? So, let's see what they are:
Veganism Makes You Healthier
There are many reasons to believe that vegan foods are more suitable for your body than meat, egg, and dairy products. Let's take meat as an example. Several studies have shown that eating meat is closely associated with significant diseases. The same is true about other animal-related products. Let's have a look at the most important reasons why you should stop eating meat.
Eating Meat Is Associated With An Increased Risk Of Cancer
in the market, we have two types of meat, including salami, bacon, sausages, and hot dots as group 1 or processed meat and pork, beef, and lamb in another group named red meats. The sad truth about these two groups is that they are both can be considered carcinogenic foods. All types of meat, including natural or processed, increase the chance of developing different types of cancer. The most common cancers caused by meat are breast, prostate, and finally, colon cancers. Devoid of fiber and other nutrients are essential elements in causing these kinds of cancer.
Meat Can Cause Heart Diseases And Diabetes
Heart disease and diabetes are the primary conditions associated with overeating meat and other animal products. Do you know what deadly compounds are that could let you get heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and various types of cancer?
Well, dairy products and eggs are all full of saturated fat, responsible for heart disease, storks, and diabetes. Saturated fat is also associated with other dangerous diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and cognitive decline. Also, all these foods are full of cholesterol which is another harmful compound.
Eating Meat Distorts Our Bodies
Having a nice body size is a dream for many people. Unfortunately, many of them cannot have a beautifully shaped body just because of one simple reason: overeating meat. People who usually eat more meat are more likely to be obese and suffer from its side effects. The less meat you eat, the more in shape you become.
Foodborne Illnesses Are More Coming From Meat And Other Animal-Related Products
Let me start with a simple but shocking fact. Each year, nearly 50 million people in the US suffer from food poisoning. Among foods which the highest levels of involvement with food poisoning, beef stands as fourth, chicken as sixth, Turkey as 10th, and eggs as 13th. These foods are more likely to carry foodborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The most famous microbes are E. coli and Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
Contributing To Erectile Dysfunction In Men
This is the worst. Many men cannot have sex with their partners regularly because they have arousal issues. Studies have revealed that most of the time, sexual dysfunctionality is associated with overeating meat and animal-related products. Slowing the flow of blood to all the body's organs is one of the side effects which could have dangerous consequences, including unsatisfied sex. Other issues such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes, prostate cancer or inflammations, and hormonal imbalances, which are direct or indirect results of eating meat, could be added to the main problem.
Hormone Issues In Meat
Another big problem with the current food industry is that companies are doing everything to produce more meat. This includes hormone injection so that animals grow faster and become fatter. That's how companies are making money by suffering animals and making them like a balloon full of air. So, the main problem here is that artificial hormones could be hazardous for humans. So, it shouldn't happen just because we have to produce more and send it to market earlier.
Making You Resistant To Antibiotics
Animals are given too many antibiotics while they are raised in the farmland. The problem is that antibiotics stay in their body and enter ours when we are eating meat. And then, for example, if I get a disease that requires me to eat medication for it, I will have a hard time recovering because the bacteria in my body are resistant to the drug and medication I am using.
So, eating meat and other animal-related products is essentially a bad thing. The alternative for these foods is vegan foods which are based on plant materials. Vegan foods don't negatively impact regular foods as they are made from only plant-based materials. So, let's briefly review some of the advantages of becoming a vegan.
Vegan Foods Are Better For The Environment
If you think about it accurately, you will realize that many of our current dilemmas are directly or indirectly related to the way of living we have all chosen. Today, there are still millions of people who haven't become vegan, right? It means more farmlands, more animals getting kicked just for the sake of humans to get fed, more lands to be destroyed for growing plants and feeding animals, and more use of water, soil, and every other natural source we have available. In this way, we cannot survive and very soon are running out of time. Veganism is an effective but straightforward alternative to do that.
Vegan Foods Are Healthier
Some studies have been conducted to determine whether vegan foods are more enriched than other foods or not. The answer is yes. In many different aspects, vegan foods are superior. Fibre, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E are more in vegan foods than traditional foods.
Also, if you have a plan to lose weight a bit, you should know that with vegan foods, you will be able to do it sooner due to the lower amount of calories in them. Other health benefits of vegan foods include lowering blood sugar levels, improving kidney function, protecting your body against certain cancers, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and preventing paint from arthritis.
OK, so far, we have understood that vegan foods are better options for health-related and environmental reasons. So, sooner or later, we have to join millions of vegans out there. However, we have to know what we are dealing with. There are some discussions about whether some types of foods are considered vegan or not.
One of them is shrimp. So, why is this question so important to be answered? It is mainly because shrimps are excellent sources of many nutrients and other compounds. So, it is not just simple food that you can quickly put aside. This is the central question that needs to be answered accurately. Can you eat shrimps if you are a vegan? Before answering the question, let me justify why eating or not eating shrimps is so essential.
Are Shrimps Healthy?
The short answer to the abovementioned question is that: yes, it is! It is one of the most nutritious and joint seafood in the world. What are the best features of shrimps which make them so appealing to millions of people out there?
- Shrimp is an excellent option for those who are worried about gaining weight. Interestingly, shrimp has a low amount of calories and a high amount of nutrients at the same time. You can usually find protein, selenium, vitamin b12, Iron, Phosphorus, Niacin, Zinc, and Magnesium in shrimps. Also, people who are suffering from iodine can benefit from shrimp as it has pretty enough iodine. For those who don't know, iodine is essential in thyroid function and brain health. Some people believe that shrimp is not a healthy food because of the presence of cholesterol in it. However, this might not be true for all people because only 25% of people are sensitive to dietary cholesterol.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found abundantly in shrimps which are responsible for boosting health. Other studies have shown that if shrimps are eaten daily, your body will have enough good HDL cholesterol 12% more than average and 13% fewer triglycerides which leads to a decrease in the risk of heart disease.
- Shrimp is also a good source of antioxidants which are responsible for their red colour. As a result of antioxidants in shrimps, inflammation by free radicals will be prevented. In this way, your body cells will stay healthy for a more extended period. Shrimps have also avoided several chronic diseases.
As you can see above, shrimp is a precious source of food. Now, should we eat it when we are vegan? Let's finally have an answer to this question.
Where Does The Confusion About Eating Shrimps For Vegans Come From?
As I mentioned earlier, there are many controversies around shrimp. Some say it should, but others say it shouldn't be considered a limitation in the vegan lifestyle. However, is there a correct answer? Can we try to find that? Let's do our best.
There was a guy named Peter Singer many years ago. He claimed that eating shrimps are OK for vegans and vegetarians. His reason was that shrimp, just like oysters and clams, are bivalves. He thought that because bivalves don't have complicated nervous systems, they are OK to be eaten.
That's the main argument that led some vegans to think that eating shrimp should be OK. However, is it the case? Not, it is not! Peter was wrong! Shrimps are not bivalves which means they have a much more sophisticated nervous system and can feel pain. So, similar to other animals, eating shrimps must be on the table for vegans.
You might not be convinced yet, right? Let me give you some information about shrimps. Here are some facts about them which make you believe why they should be treated similar to other animals.
Shrimps Feel Pain Like All Animals
- As we said earlier, shrimps will understand the pain because of pain receptors on their skin. The shrimp's peripheral nervous system responds to harmful stimuli. So, when you physically hurt them, it will be excruciating for them.
- They also have specialized receptors called nociceptors which receive painful stimuli. When you cut and heat shrimps, these receptors send a signal that travels through a chain of nerve fibres along the cord to the brain. Accordingly, they will show some behavioural and physiological responses, which can be translated as experiencing pain.
- Shrimps have shown symptoms of physical pain when eyestalk ablation is happening. In this procedure, eyestalks from a shrimp are removed. Framers do this to treat female prawns in most marine shrimp reproduction or maturation facilities.
Shrimps Show Protective Behaviours
Several studies have shown that when shrimps are subject to electric shock or heat, they will try to run away. This and many other behaviours are indicators of protective features in shrimps.
Eating Shrimps Has Negative Ecological Consequences
Let me ask you a question first. Why do you think people become vegan? In most cases, people say because we want to protect our nature and we don't want it to be destroyed. So, if you do something against nature, it must be kicked out of your vegan lifestyle.
If you start eating shrimps, you are walking on the path of mangrove forest destruction. Farmers destroy mangrove forests and change the ecology of coastal regions to make way for shrimp ponds. However, by destroying these regions, many other species should suffer now. You don't want to see this as a vegan.
The ecology of seabed regions is highly delicate. However, when farmers decide to hunt shrimps, they use a net that brings trawlers to the bottom of the seabed. Trawlers hunt shrimps but not very much. However, the net brought the hunter and hunted near each other, resulting in shrimp communities' mass destruction.
Again, benthic environments should not be exposed to trawling because shrimps and all other species at the bottom of aquatic ecosystems will be in danger of extinction. The benthic environments should not have any contact with trawling nets. However, it seems that nobody cares anymore. Their nets have maximum contact with the seabed, which leads to crushing, grinding, exposing, and burying marine animals.
What does bycatch mean? Well, imagine that you want to hunt just a specific species of fish. However, to minimize your budget and get the best out of your situation, you act unselectively and catch everything that comes to your net. Then, you leave the unwanted creatures dead or perhaps, you try to get them back into the sea.
This happens a lot to shrimps. Farmers are looking for something else, but they happen to hunt thousands of shrimps too. At this point, many of them are dead, or many become food for seabirds. So, that's how you intentionally kill them all for more profit and make more money.
There are many more ecological and environmental problems associated with eating shrimps. So, as a vegan, you have to 100% avoid eating shrimps. If you don't, you are not different from those who are eating cows, pigs, chickens, etc. the bottom line is that you must not eat shrimp because, just like other animals, they can feel pain and react to it. Also, killing shrimps equals ecological destruction, which is not welcomed in the vegan community at all.
What Should We Do? Should We Forget About The Taste Of Shrimps?
So, are there any alternatives for shrimps? Yes, there are! You can find products that have imitated the taste of shrimp. I think it will be an ideal win-win situation when you can taste shrimp without killing them at all. Here, I will introduce several foods, which are called vegan shrimps. There is a company called Be leaf which produces vegan shrimp.
They use Konjac powder, vegetable gum, vegetable root starch, paprika, brown sugar, sea salt, plant-based vegan seasoning. “GTFO it's vegan!” is another company that produces vegan shrimp. The ingredients are Water, Modified Starch, Sunflower Oil, Glucomannan, Pea Extract, Sea Salt, Seaweed Extract, Brown Sugar. Additionally, there are famous vegan recipes available on the internet. Vegan shrimp scampi, vegan Mexican shrimp cocktail, and vegan shrimp & grits plant-based bacon are three of the most common vegan shrimp recipes on the internet. You might want to try them. They are delicious.
There are some alternatives to vegan shrimps too. Vegan tuna, vegan scallops, and vegan lobster are now available. Do you know companies that produce vegan shrimp? I told you about two of them. However, you might want to try MIND BLOWN-plant-based dusted shrimp, vegan shrimp by Sophie's kitchen, and NoPigNeva is other exciting choices you have.
More and more people are showing interest in becoming vegan. They have understood this is the only way to have a peaceful and comfortable life in the future. However, there are always unanswered questions about veganism. Recently, some vegans claimed that it is considered OK to eat shrimp.
Shrimps are inheritably animals, but some suggest that they cannot feel pain, and that's why you can eat them even you are vegan. This article proved that this doesn't seem right, and vegans must not eat shrimp at all. These creatures can feel pain just like other animals. Also, when you kill shrimps, you are destroying ecosystems and all creatures in them.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about Can Vegans Eat Shrimp? Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
Your Opinion Is Important To Me
Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Would you please leave me your questions, experience, and remarks about Can Vegans Eat Shrimp in the comments section below? You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.