Gone Fishin’! – Wild Caught versus Farm Raised

We’ve all heard about the health benefits of fish! It’s a lean protein, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids while being low in fat and calories. Though living in today’s fast pace world, I try to eat a balanced and healthy diet. One of the ways I do this is by eating fish two times per week, which is the recommended amount. I never gave much thought about where my fish was coming from, until I recently became aware of the controversy over wild caught versus farm raised fish.

The amount of fish we take from the ocean yearly is equivalent to the amount of human weight in China, and climbing. As a result, our marine life is on a fast decline and has researchers concerned that the ocean cannot sustain us fishing at this rate. Due to the high demand of fish and manufactures wanting to produce products at a faster rate, an alternative to the wild caught fish was formed, called farm raised fish.

Fish farming is when fish are entrapped in concentrated environments, which is accomplished two ways. The first type is called containment farming, which is when the fish are raised in a tank. The second, and most common, way is actually in the sea, where the fish are entrapped in a cage or net. This type of fish farming causes the most controversy because such populated habitats harvest parasites and disease, which not only spread throughout the colony, but seeps back into the natural waters.

The other issue with fish farming is controlling their diet. Fish do not naturally produce Omega fatty acids; they generate this through their food consumption of algae and tiny marine life such as shrimp. Manufacturers are limiting when and how much their fish can eat. The makeup of this fish food is questionable too, as there have been traces of chicken leftovers, soy, skin, bones, et cetera. This has had a direct effect on the health benefits to the consumer, because studies have shown lower amounts of Omega acids in farm raised fish.

The FDA has approved farm raised fish and has marked it safe for the customer, but there’s clearly still room for improvement. I’ve decided to move away from farmed fish because they are more susceptible to disease, parasites, and have lower counts in Omega fatty acids. Also, because they’re unable to swim freely and lean out, it results in them having a higher fat percentage. Though I respect the initiative behind farm raised fish and its efforts in saving marine life, after educating myself on the fish farming process, I will remain a wild fish eater.

To compare the health benefits of wild caught versus farm raised fish see the chart at the following link: http://www.prevention.com/which-healthier-wild-salmon-vs-farmed-salmon#

So how do you know what you’re eating?
If you’re buying packaged or frozen fish it will say on the labels if it is wild or farm raised. That also is true when purchasing from a grocery store fish counter. The fine print on the labels will state where the fish comes from.

20140320-123926.jpg

20140320-123952.jpg

20140320-124048.jpg

Resources: http://www.mandyvision.com/2010/03/extensive-aquaculture-is-better-than-intensive-aquaculture-for-the-fishes/, https://soundcloud.com/#doctoroz/interview-paul-greenberg-part, https://soundcloud.com/#doctoroz/interview-paul-greenberg, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-farmed-salmon-is-becoming-a-viable-alternative-to-wild-caught/2013/09/23/aaff33ca-1cbf-11e3-8685-5021e0c41964_story.html

Got Milk?!

In my last blog, I commented on how I’m taking a stand against added growth hormones. Hormones are given to animals to increase their growth and development, which results in increased profit due to producing meat and dairy products at a faster rate. One of the main ways we consume these hormones is through cattle products, such as, beef, milk, yogurt, & cheese. Though the FDA has approved the use of added growth hormones and claim it’s safe for consumption, controversial studies have many consumers avoiding these additives, myself included.

“Some hormones that may be used in dairy cows include:
• Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH)— to promote milk production (may also be known as bovine somatotropin [BST])
• Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterine—steroid hormones added to promote growth and production
Beef cattle are often given steroid additives to increase growth and development. Common steroids include:
• Natural steroids like estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone.
• Man-made steroids from compounds of estrogen, androgen, and progestin”
(Quoted by: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=90869 )

In my opinion, we are what we eat, and it’s hard to believe there aren’t any negative side effects to our health through the ingestion of these animal products. There are many controversial topics surrounding this subject such as: increased risk of cancer, early puberty in girls, environmental impact (such as cow manure contaminating our soil), developmental risks during reproduction, etc. These concerns clearly resonated with decision makers in Europe, as hormone additives are banned for consumption. This raises a red flag that we are being put at risk due to manufactures pushing quantity over quality.

To move forward with a hormone free diet, here’s what you need to know:

• Buy certified organic meat and dairy products: 100% organic feed, no antibiotics, and no growth hormones.

• Buy rBGH-free or certified organic dairy products

(Articles: http://www.livestrong.com/article/98816-effects-growth-hormones/#page=5 & http://www.sustainabletable.org/258/hormones)

20140312-215354.jpg

20140312-215416.jpg

To a Healthier ME!

One word you never want to hear in life is Cancer and unfortunately my family has been affected by this awful disease first hand. Watching someone dear to my heart that I love more than life go through the pain and torture of this disease and treatment has made me continually ask “Why?”  The question “Why?” triggered an urge to research our food consumption and other bodily products we use on a daily basis. I’ve come to the conclusion that this MUST factor into the rise of cancer.

I know that there are many ways to be exposed to cancer causing substances, but I have control over what I put in and on my body. With that being said, I’m taking a stand against added antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, chemicals, and all other additives being applied to our foods, lotions, drinks, etc. This life style change to live more holistically is a long-term goal, which will clearly not change over night. But my efforts are underway!

To help others make adjustments to their life styles, whenever I find a great organic alternative I’ll be sharing it via social media!

One of the substitutes I’ve currently made is replacing lotion with coconut oil.  I was inspired to do this after I read the ingredients on the back of my lotion bottle, which to my surprise seemed to be all chemicals. I started Googling these ingredients and did not like what I found.  Our skin is the largest organ in our body, which absorbs everything it comes in contact with. To me… finding an organic replacement needed to be an immediate change and that is when coconut oil came into play. After much research this has become my new lotion and I am always happy to see there is only 1 ingredient: 100% unrefined organic coconut oil!

Coconut oil front coconut oil back. lotion

Not only is this a healthier option, but I find that it hydrates my skin better than lotion too! To apply this change to your everyday life, here’s what you need to know:

  • Where to find: Jewel -> Organic Section -> Look of the oil that says “For Hair and Skin” (other grocery stores should have this too)
  • Price: $7.00
  • Product life: Mine lasted up to 2 months!
  • How to use: I keep mine in a bowl of hot water when I shower. By the time I’m done, it’s liquified and ready to use. I towel dry and gently rub the oil all over my body before I exit the shower!