Tag Archives: clean diets

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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Waging War Against Weight Watchers

Yup, I said it.  I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and ’tis the season to say something about it out loud before people dive in whole hog, only to get their feelings hurt when they don’t get the results they were looking for.  To be fair, it’s not just Weight Watchers.  It’s all the “hype diets”.  Although, before I get to the bigger picture, I do have a bone to pick with Weight Watchers in particular.

A colleague of mine is dead set on losing weight, and a lot of it.  He’s really committed to changing his appearance.  Again.  He really wants to do it!  Again.  So much so, that he’s back on the ole wagon.  Again.  And he’s using Weight Watchers to do it!  For at least the dozenth time in the two years we’ve worked together.  Oh, have I tried!  “…it’s a lifestyle change that you’ll have to commit to, not a fad diet…” and “…balance your diet, eat clean foods, and move your body around a few times a week, that’s all you have to do…”.  But after Jennifer Hudson’s endorsement of Weight Watchers, he’s more gun-ho than ever to stay the course.  That is, stay the course with his daily microwave egg/cheese breakfast sandwich on white english muffin, some variety of a microwave salt-lick for lunch, sugar rush of whatever’s at arm’s length at the mid afternoon crave time, and I shudder to think what dinner consists of.  In fact, during the crave times, I’ve offered some of my nuts, or muesli, or figs.  But he declines (siting “points” restrictions),  and eats the leftover double chocolate chip cookie from the lunch room, because he’ll “just add it to [his] points for the day, and still come in under what he’s allowed”.  Allowed.  Nice.  One day he was going to burger night at a local dive, noting: “I ate very few points all day, so I could have a cheeseburger and 2 beers tonight!”  Should I have congratulated him?  I should also note that during his on-again, off-again relationship with Weight Watchers, I’ve haven’t seen whole grain number one, nor have I seen any semblance of a leafy green, outside the iceberg ones covered in caesar dressing.  Now, I know I have higher expectations for veggie consumption than the average bear, but come on!  That just hurts my feelings.

If I can try and be academic for a moment, the Weight Watchers dilemma is clear.  It simply doesn’t train the mind nor the body to make good choices with food.  Instead, it surrenders to the learned societal need for the limitless amounts of salt, sugar, grease, alcohol, processed foods, etc.  Eat all of it you want!  Just stay inside of the “points” we’ve allowed you, and you will lose weight.  PS. No avocado or nuts (seriously.  Also hurts my feelings!).  Admittedly, people do lose weight with the program.  My colleague has, a dozen times.  He’s also gained the weight back, and then some an equal amount of times.  I can’t imagine he’s alone.  And to broaden my thoughts here, this indeed applies to most fad diets.  It’s been proven time and time again, the ONLY sustainable, and reliable method to weight loss is to pay attention to our bodies, eat whole foods, and commit to a lifestyle change, void of all the pitfalls that many fad diets allow, promote and sell.

I don’t know, I think the Weight Watchers of our world should have a little more faith in the ability for people to change and learn new things in terms of diets.  Otherwise, it’s kind of an endless cycle, right?  Big business marketing tells us what to eat.  So we eat it.  We become addicted to it.  We crave it.  We get fat.  So then the fad dieteers (die-et-ears) create diets which emulate our bad habits and reinforce the legitimacy of them.  We lose weight, and quit the fad diet, but the fad dieteers aren’t worried because they know we’ll be back.  So what to do?

I guess I just wish people would eat more colorfully, that’s all.  Any soldiers want to join me?

 

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