There’s Something Fishy Going On & I’ve Got Questions.

As I navigate my clean food journey, there’s been one question that comes up in my head more than any other: “To eat fish, or not to eat fish”.  I am lucky enough to be close friends with a local fishery that gives me low-down on the fish industry from time to time.  Neopol Smokery.  They pride themselves on artfully preparing locally grown/raised and organic foods whenever they can, and specialize, among other items, in smoked fish–especially salmon.

I’ll always remember during my transition from eating meat to being a non-meat-eater, my friends at Neopol warned me that fish is much more dangerous from a pollution and contamination standpoint than meat is.  The fish industry has so little control of what goes into the vast waters they fish from that even under the best circumstances, no matter how wild the fish is, pollution is inevitable.  Conversely, with meat–take chickens for instance. A free-range, organically raised, vegetarian-fed chicken coming from a happy farm, is likely exactly that.  No more, no less.  Nutrition aside, that chicken will do you better than a wild catch of salmon.  But nutrition is never really aside, is it?  So that’s why I went ahead with my plan to cut out the poultry and meat, even in light of the unstable fish world. 

Thanks to a friendly commenter, I learned that Neopol is in good company with it’s information and facts:

Says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, champion of the “let food be thy medicine” theory:

Fish is one of the most polluted foods we eat, and it may place consumers at high risk for various cancers. Scientists have linked tumors in fish directly to the pollutants ingested along the aquatic food chain, a finding confirmed by the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory. In some instances, such as with the PCBs in Great Lakes trout and Salmon, it can be shown that a person would have to drink the lake water for one hundred years to accumulate the same quantity of PCBs present in a single half-pound portion of these fish, reported John J. Black, Ph.D., senior cancer research scientist for the Roswell Park Memorial Institute to the American Cancer Society. From the flounder in Boston Harbor to the English Sole in Puget Sound, scientists report that hydrocarbon pollution from habitat and our environment concentrate in fish in toxic levels.

So what to do.  The theory proposed above is sound!  Makes total sense.  Still!  Knowing what I now know, reading what I’ve read…I still want fish to be a part of my diet.  But can I afford it?  Can any of us? Does it defeat the purpose of my otherwise clean colorful food world (we’ll talk eggs another day :))?  Even looking at a broader picture–where does anyone draw the line?  Many of us are eating clean these days, and trying to consistent, and stay educated.  But doesn’t something have to give at some point?  But where?  How do you decide what the lesser evils of our fat, sugar, pollution saturated communities lie? 

In the meantime, eat colorfully!  You can never go wrong doing that!



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9 thoughts on “There’s Something Fishy Going On & I’ve Got Questions.

  1. Somer says:

    Good research Jinji! You are right about drawing a line somewhere. I decided that I can’t draw the line on whole grain breads or strawberry freezer jam (with processed sugar, I don’t know how to make it otherwise). I don’t care what Dr. Fuhrman or anyone else says. A girl’s gotta have some toast sometimes!

    Love the blogging banter!

    • jinji says:

      🙂 Speaking of freezer jam……..
      •3 lbs. strawberries, hulled and stems removed
      •1 3/4 cups apple juice
      •1 1/2 package no sugar, low sugar pectin (Pomona’s from Whole Foods is all natural)
      •Mash the strawberries in a large bowl.
      •In a small saucepan, bring the apple juice and pectin to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
      •Pour straight into the mashed strawberries and stir hard for 1 minute.
      •Ladle into the freezer containers and place in the refrigerator overnight to let it cool slowly and set.
      •Then store in the freezer.
      •Good in the freezer for up to 1 year, in the fridge for 3 weeks.

      Let me know how it goes!!!

      • Somer says:

        I love you right now! Is it apple juice or apple juice concentrate? I have been using raw sugar, which is certainly better then the bone-char white granulated kind, but that sounds like an amazing alternative! Going to try it next week when I get a costco pack of strawberries! Thank you a million times! I will update you with results.

      • jinji says:

        Yeah! ! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. I have always used the unpasturized, organic apple juice…the kind you have to shake! I get confused with concentrate vs. not from concentrate…lol Enjoy!!! Hope it works out for you! I learned that you can’t really get rid of the sugar and the pectin at once, but you can do one or the other. Like if you want to get rid of the pectin because you don’t want additives, you can keep the sugar and use lemon juice instead of the pectin. Or, to get rid of the sugar, try the recipe! Apple juice and apple sauce can take you a lonnnng way in baking/cooking.

      • Somer says:

        You clearly know more about jam then I do! I have been a 15 year jam veteran of making low-sugar sure-jell freezer jam variety. I never varied into the cooked field because I like the freshness that freezer jam has to offer. I rarely make anything since strawberry since that’s what my family loves. I didn’t realize that there were pectin options at whole foods and that the process can be tweaked (sure-jell wants you to believe that any variance will result in catastrophe!) Clearly I have much to learn! Silly me 😉

      • Somer says:

        Oh and I LOVE baking with applesauce

      • jinji says:

        Yeah, Whole Foods and I have a very interesting relationship. I find that alot of the produce–even the Dirty Dozen–is not organic there (but still sell for an organic price)! However! What Whole Foods IS good for is little treasures like all natural pectin, or fun, unique hot sauces, etc. … just my two cents 😉

      • Somer says:

        So true. I came home with 2 different brands of whole wheat fig newtons from there the other day only to fin they both contain HFCS. I thought whole foods would protect me from having to read every label. WRONG :/ It was nearly a cause for a break up, but I don’t have a better option. :/

        Check out this post from Lindsay over at lean green bean. I want this store in my neighborhood!

      • jinji says:

        Well, with about 4 awesome markets within a 5 mile radius of my apartment, I can’t complain too much, BUT!! Maaaaajor food envy there!! I love going to grocery stores, and most especially independent ones that really care about what they carry! Thanks for sharing!!!

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