The latest eye-opening documentary, Seaspiracy, has attracted global media attention, delving into the global seafood industry’s environmental impacts.
Debuting on Netflix last week, the controversial film, from the producers of Cowspiracy, highlights multiple issues around the destruction of the world’s oceans; from government policy, the war against plastic, the total devastation of sea life, to slavery in commercial fishing.
A clear message throughout the documentary is that consumers should be making conscious choices to switch out protein sources from animal to plant-based. This could prevent thousands of fish from being killed, leaving many viewers feeling a moral imperative to make a change.
The NZ Vegetarian Society agrees with this message and encourages people to look at the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. Charlotte Besant, spokesperson for the NZ Vegetarian Society, agrees that consumer food preferences are changing:
‘There has been a rise in people wanting to move in a more sustainable direction with their eating habits. The increase in vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians proves people are thinking more about their choices at supermarkets and restaurants, and are open to trying new food alternatives.’
The recent and rapid rise of veganism in New Zealand has seen the introduction of a wide range of new nutritional and sustainable plant-based products appearing on our shelves, many of which make cutting out animal products a much easier process.
Although New Zealand still has room in the market to expand, there are products available for those looking for seafood replacements. Popular plant-based brand, Gardien, offer a fish alternative, Golden Fishless Filets, and online stores, such as, The Cruelty Free Shop and Berkano, offer a range of vegan seafood including crab cakes, scampi, calamari and smoked salmon.
NZ fast-food restaurants have even taken the Kiwi classic, fish and chips, and ‘veganised’ it. The Burgerie on Karangahape Road, Auckland, offer a vegan version of the classic takeaway, and popular vegan joint, Lord of the Fries, also offer a plant-based alternative to fish – the ‘Phish Burger.’
Although it is widely believed that fish and fish oils are the only source of Omega 3, the NZ Vegetarian Society wants people to know that omitting fish from your diet doesn’t have to negatively affect your health and wellbeing. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which provides vital health benefits, and because a human body is unable to produce enough on its own, we have to get it from foods. Ms. Besant explains this can be found in many plant-based foods or vegetable supplements:
‘It is possible to have a healthy, tasty diet without fish. Some good plant-based sources of Omega 3 are linseed (flaxseed), chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and green leafy vegetables. There are also plenty of vegan Omega 3 oil and supplements available, which are a much more sustainable way of getting these benefits.’
For more advice and information on health and nutrition, visit NZVS website: http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/health-and-nutrition/omega-3/