That’s pretty fishy.
Mayor Adams admitted late Monday that he eats fish sometimes after refusing to come clean about it for days and even deploying his press team to insist he’s on a strict vegan diet.
Adams, who has for years claimed adherence to a “plant-based” lifestyle, finally fessed up to his fish-eating in a written statement provided by a City Hall spokesman.
“Let me be clear: Changing to a plant-based diet saved my life, and I aspire to be plant-based 100% of the time. I want to be a role model for people who are following or aspire to follow a plant-based diet, but, as I said, I am perfectly imperfect, and have occasionally eaten fish,” Adams’ statement read.
The concession capped off a confusing back-and-forth set into motion after Politico reported Friday that Adams has been spotted dining on fish at a Midtown Manhattan restaurant.
Responding to the report, Max Young, Adams’ communications director, claimed the mayor follows a strict, plant-based diet and never eats fish.
But addressing the matter during a news conference at Kings County Hospital on Monday morning, Adams didn’t echo Young’s sentiment.
Rather, Hizzoner played coy and refused to give a straight answer when pressed about his eating habits.
“Ignore the noise. Don’t worry about what’s on Mayor Adams’ plate,” he said, adding that he’s “not going down this rabbit hole of ‘What do you eat?’ ”
In yet another wrinkle, a source close to the mayor told the Daily News later Monday that Adams has been spotted chowing down on beef and chicken in addition to fish.
Representatives for Adams did not return requests for comment on the beef and chicken details.
Adams’ eventual pescatarian flip-flop stands in sharp contrast to his past pronouncements of consuming only plant-based foods.
Adams has long told a story of cutting out animal proteins from his diet entirely in 2016 after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He says the dietary move helped him reverse blindness in his left eye and wrote a book about it in 2020 entitled, “Healthy at Last.”
In an interview with Grub Street last September, in which he was identified as “vegan,” Adams said he saw no circumstance under which it would be palatable to eat animal products, not even in “moderation.”
“There are no health benefits to balanced moderation,” he said at the time. “You don’t want diabetes in moderation; you don’t want heart disease in moderation.”
Some New Yorkers found Adams’ struggle with veganism relatable — but questioned why he wouldn’t be forthcoming about it.
“As someone who mostly wants to be vegan but is constantly surrounded by non-vegan friends and inconvenient food choices, cheating every once in a while seems ok. Pretty unclear why he doesn’t just say it though,” tweeted Rajit Iftikhar, a New York-based software developer.
His occasional animal consumption aside, Adams has long been a fervent advocate for veganism. His visit to Kings County Hospital on Monday was focused on rolling out a new lifestyle and diet program centered around plant-based living.
Under the program, NYC Health + Hospitals will over the coming year launch six clinics across the city that will provide patients suffering from diabetes and other chronic conditions with access to plant-based diet resources and coach them on the benefits.
After announcing the program, Adams headed to a kitchenette located in the hospital to hold a cooking demonstration of vegan chili that he said he often makes for himself.
In between chopping up onions and tomatoes, Adams acknowledged he sometimes falls short of his stated culinary goals — and offered a curious comparison between food and hard drugs.
“I don’t have this great self-discipline. Food is like a drug,” he said. “Food is addictive. You take someone hooked on heroin, put them in one room, and someone hooked on cheese, put them in another room, and you take it away, I challenge you to tell me the person that’s hooked on heroin and who’s hooked on cheese.”
That’s pretty fishy.