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Transitioning from pescatarian to vegetarian: Vegan rangoon, vegan crab cake

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Some people miss meat. Others miss chewing gum. But one of the other big obstacles to take steps from omnivore to vegetarian is getting past the pescatarian (or pescetarian) phase.

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The American Heart Association gives plenty of pros for consuming seafood at least two times per week: protein, fights against cardiovascular disease, decreases the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), lowers blood pressure and slows the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque (plaque buildup in the arteries).

Fatty fish recommendations that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna.

But for every pro, there is a con, and some seafood is high in mercury. Low mercury seafood includes shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

To a vegetarian or vegan, those benefits don't matter nearly as much as a living thing being killed for consumption, especially when there are healthy alternatives. However, the truth is that for some newbies, the biggest issue with giving up a pescatarian diet is missing the taste of seafood. It can be even more difficult to a past omnivore than giving up chicken, beef or poultry.

But trying out vegan and vegetarian recipes (or visiting restaurants that serve vegan and vegetarian recipes), browsing through recipe books and going on social networking sites, such as Pinterest, for cooking ideas can make the phaseout much easier.

Big fan of crab rangoon? Try The Picky Vegan's rangoon recipe. Recipes like this may come as a shock to seafood lovers, and they'll immediately identify whether it's the seafood that makes the product taste good or is it everything else? In the case of this recipe, a mix of the Tofutti and the scallops provide a similar texture to crab.

Or, try The Comforting Vegan's vegan crab cake recipe. The white beans and carrots give these crunchy delights the texture of crab.

As with any diet, some are able to go cold turkey. Others may cheat and revert back to old habits. Both reactions are fair, especially for those who used to eat meat. It takes less time to miss something you've never had than it does for someone who knows what food "should" taste like and constantly compare the two. Give it time. Get creative. Try plenty of recipes to see which ones to keep and which ones to leave.

Additional Tips:

Vegan Crab Rangoon:

Serving Size: The recipe link is for 24. The measurements below are for 8 rangoon.

Nutrition Information (vegan version for 8): 35.5 grams fat; 14 grams protein; 96 carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber (123 calories per rangoon)

Nutrition Information (crab version for 8): 32 grams fat; 16 grams protein; 64 carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber (79 calories per small rangoon) (Note: However, restaurant versions usually serve crab rangoon twice the size of small puffs. The ingredients double to 64 grams fat; 32 grams protein; 128 carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 158 calories per large rangoon.)

Weight Watchers members: 2 points per puff (Note: Average points for crab rangoon, according to USDA's SuperTracker statistics, is 2 pts per puff. However, restaurant versions usually serve crab rangoon twice the size of small puffs. For large rangoon, each one is 4 points per puff.)

Vegan Crab Cake:

Serving Size: The recipe makes 12 crab cakes.

Nutrition Information (vegan version for 12): 1.4 grams fat; 39 grams protein; 57.5 carbohydrates; 18 grams dietary fiber (76.5 calories per crab cake)

Nutrition Information (crab version for 12): 120 grams fat; 156 grams protein; 60 carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber (166 calories per crab cake)

Weight Watchers members: 2 points per crab cake (Note: Average points for a crab cake, according to USDA's SuperTracker statistics, is 4 pts per crab cake.)

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards. She's on Twitter @BlackHealthNews.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago nutrition and fitness entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Diet and Exercise channel at the top of this page.

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