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Ocean Revolution

Posted Aug 23 2008 10:26pm

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck... Dalai Lama

Eat fish, it is full of Omega 3s. Don’t eat fish it is full of mercury. Eat fish, it is good for your heart. Don’t eat fish, we are ruining the marine eco-system. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! By the time I figure this out I could starve to death.


Until recently, most people considered the ocean to be a salt-water womb providing a never-ending source of food. But now we are learning otherwise. Industrialized-fishing, non-sustainable fish-farming practices and polluted waterways have rendered many species extinct (or nearly so) and left many others chock full of mercury and PCBs. Bad for the environment. Bad for you.

What’s a Conscious Foodie to do?

Organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which was created by the World Wildlife Fund, are working to certify fisheries that are sustainable and to have a labeling system (much like the “Organic” labeling for produce) that will identify these practices. They've got a way to go, but they are on the right track. Check out their site for more in-depth information.

And in the meantime, here is a link to a list that categorizes fish that as Safe, Sometimes Safe, and Best To Avoid. This list provides some good guidelines for choosing fish that is good for the body--and for the environment.

Salmon is one of those fish that appears in all three columns of the list. The safest salmon is Alaskan, wild caught, and as you can imagine, the variety with the highest price tag…often upwards of $25 lb. Salmon to eat “occasionally” would be from CA, OR, WA or other wild caught varieties. Don't even think about eating farmed salmon, or salmon from the Great Lakes.

Salmon happens to be a favorite in my house. Given what I've learned, however, it mostly shows up as a companion rather than in a starring role these days. But if I’m going to splurge on the best possible salmon, here’s how I’ll prepare it:


First, an hour or so in a marinade of:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • a few cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • juice of one organic orange
  • 2 tablespoons of real, organic maple syrup (grade B or C if available)
  • chopped herbs such as lemon thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary

Then, I preheat the grill on high and lower it to medium just before putting the fish on. I like to grill salmon skin-side down first and let the skin “stick” to the grill… after the first side is cooked through I use a spatula to separate the “meat” from the skin and then flip it back onto the skin thus protecting the delicate flesh from direct heat and keeping it from flaking apart.

Served with some steamed green beans from the garden...mmmmmm.

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