Fish consumption is definitely a example of where people need to be properly educated before making any drastic dietary changes. Over the years, we have been told by government agencies such as the ADA (American Dietetic Association) that our diets should reflect those of healthy societies such as the Japanese, Italians and Greeks who presumably eat a practically vegetarian diet with the addition of lots of “heart healthy” fish (this actually isn’t true, but we’ll leave that revelation for another article).
As a result, people have been avoiding red meat like the plague, basing their protein consumption mainly on fish, especially oily fish, which is known for its favorable omega 3 fatty acid profile. The result? Widespread mercury toxicity in consumers of fish pulled from toxic waters!
Heavy metals have always been present in our oceans, but the past 150 years or so have seen widespread pollution of the world’s water supply due to man-made activity. And clearly, the fish who swim in these waters absorb this mercury at a rate proportionate to their size. The mercury in these fish, plus the mercury in vaccines and dental fillings are definite contributors to the rising autism epidemic.
In true fear-based fashion, the authorities are now contradicting their own advice and telling women that they shouldn’t eat any fish at all during pregnancy! But instead, should take omega 3 supplements (something that they otherwise advise against). While I do think that supplements are often necessary as a boost to good nutrition, avoiding real food in favor of supplements is not the way to go.
That’s why I got really excited when I learned of Randy Hartnell’s company Vital Choice. Randy is an environmentally-minded fisherman who was put out of business 20 years ago by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Several years later, he started this company to bring the finest quality high omega-3 fish to market (at a very reasonable price). He only hires small fisherman that he knows well who fish in the cleanest waters of the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Fish (ranging from wild Alaskan salmon and Alaskan halibut to crab legs and mussels) are frequently tested to ensure low mercury and PCB levels, well below that required to pass muster with the Dept of Environmental Protection. Then it is flash frozen to preserve freshness.
Don’t be fooled by so-called “organic salmon”, “farm-raised salmon” or “vegetarian-fed salmon”. Fish are meant to roam wild which is where they pick up all kinds of plankton, smaller fish and seaweeds that are converted into the healthy substances you want in your body. These farmed salmons are essentially caged fish. Which translates into fish that swim around in enormous cages, lowered into sea water, where they are allowed to swim around in a pool of their own excrement. Their vegetarian feed consists of corn and soybeans (besides not being the natural diet of fish, it is often the genetically engineered variety).
Randy’s fish is simply the best which is why it has been endorsed by celebrities and health gurus such as Christiane Northrup, Andrew Weil and Martha Stewart. Vital Choice seafood also makes an excellent salmon gift for people who have everything!