GMOs: in Food

This is to pick up from GMOs: from the beginning where we learned where they started- in the medical industry.  The research then brought me to the controversy of GMOs in your food.

I read through this quick read [I think it is meant for juvenille education purposes but, you know, that means it will be quick and to the point].  So I learned before that GMO is a genetically modified organism, where scientists take one gene from the DNA of one unrelated organism and puts it into the DNA of another organism.  From the outside the plant can look the same but carry a characteristic that it normally doesn’t have.  This biotechnology can range from tomatoes that are more juicy and melons that ripen more slowly to vegetables that can be their own pesticide.

For years, farmers have played with genetics to get the best from their crops and livestock.  They pick seeds from the best plants to re-use and they choose the animals that produce the most milk and are the most healthy [therefore carrying “good” genes] to use for breeding.  Farmers and gardeners have also learned how to cross similar crops.  For example, they can cross a juicy apple with an apple that is healthier for you, creating a healthy juicy apple.  They call these plants hybrids.  They can also cross breed similar animals.  A breed of sheep that can stand the cold can be bred with a breed that produces thick wool making a strong hardy sheep with thick wool [cross breeding animals, however, can take many years].  With biotechnology, scientists are able to take the desired gene from one organism and place it into the DNA of even an unrelated organism [this is a GMO].  Therefore, they can use a gene from a fish that keeps it from freezing in icy water and put it into the DNA of a tomato, resulting in a plant that can better survive frost.  Scientists discovered that a tiny bacteria in the soil makes a poison called Bt that can kill insects [but they say doesn’t hurt people].  They have now added the Bt poison to many crops making it it’s own pesticide.  This results in not having to spray the crop with pesticides.

Some scientists believe that GM crops are the answer to world hunger and our fears of weather changes.  They see endless possibilities of making crops that wouldn’t normally be able to grow in areas that are too dry or too cold.  They are doing things like adding a gene to rice that produces Vitamin A so that rice is healthier for countries that rely heavily on rice as a source of food.  They are using GM to make animals grow bigger and faster.  Or to make animals with less fat and more meat.

So why is this all so controversial?

Some scientists believe that GM crops could wipe out wild plants or create super-strong weeds.  Controlling GM crops is near impossible.  As corn that creates it’s own Bt is created, it can naturally crossbreed with other plants, making them create their own Bt.  This means that plants and flowers that you don’t want killing off insects [killing off insects means messing with pollination] or that it’s killing more insects than what you want.  Monarch butterfly caterpillars do not eat crops yet studies have shown that corn pollen from GM corn can kill them.  If a gene that allows GM crops to be unaffected by weedkiller, overtime gets into the weeds [through cross pollination] this could create a “superweed” resulting in the need for more chemicals needed to keep the weeds from choking out crops [brought to you by…the same company that makes the GMO seeds].  The effect that genetically modifying plants can have in nature is unknown and almost impossible to predict.

Right now crops are tested to make sure they are safe for us to eat.  They have said that complete testing of all GM foods would be too lengthy and costly of a process, so the government has come up with a standard that as long as it is “substantially equivalent in nutrition” to the conventionally grown food, the food does not need to be tested beyond it’s initial test.  The problem that some scientists argue is that they may be nutritionally equal but may not be physiologically equal.  Therefore their reactions with other chemicals could be different.  So, a GM tomato gets tested and approved  because it’s substantially equal. But the tomato sauce that gets made from the tomato does not need to be tested.  However, when it’s made, the tomatoes could react badly with [let’s say] the onions, causing it to be toxic when it normally wouldn’t have that reaction.  It would never be noticed because the tomato itself was not toxic and was deemed “the same.”  The problem didn’t occur until it was mixed in.  Since they are not testing all possible consequences of that tomato mixed together with everything else [and most importantly what reactions happen within our individual bodies], this label of “safe” is only relevant, at best, to the individual tomato that was tested.

People with food allergies could also begin to have reactions to foods they wouldn’t normally react to.  For example, in the 1990s a gene from a brazil nut was added to a soybean to make it more nourishing.  They realized that people with nut allergies would have a reaction to the GM soybean and had to discontinue.  So if we start adding soy genes into corn and corn genes into soy, it could mess with those who are allergic to corn but not soy [or vice-verse].  What about adding the fish gene into something like a tomato?  Someone who is allergic to fish could now be allergic to tomatoes.

These scientists, believe that this isn’t an answer to world hunger [or at least not a safe one] and is very damaging to our ecosystem and the way things naturally work.  As far as enhancing our food nutritionally, these scientists would say where a potato could be genetically modified to contain less starch, it would be safer to just eat less potatoes.

For more information by scientists in support of GM foods go here.
For more information by scientists against GM foods go here.

Both sites are done by professional, well-educated scientists.  Both, not surprisingly, talks very negatively and defensively against the other.  So which is it?  Who is right?  How far should we go in genetically modifying foods?  And because we “can” does that mean we “should.”

I dunno.

I think it is something for all of us to think about and make a decision for ourselves.  And here is where I have a huge problem.  Right now we are not able to make the decision, whether our family will or will not be eating genetically modified foods, on our own.  Over 80% of processed foods [non-organic] contain at least some GM foods.  Whether it’s a little [just a bit of the corn] or in entirety [that tomato].  They are not currently labeled.  Which means I can’t watch and see if I personally have a negative reaction to soybeans or just these particular genetically modified soybeans.  In most of Europe, they have now moved to making food makers and restaurants label foods if they contain GM foods.  But not in America.  The US is currently the largest maker of GM foods.  I’m not sure the reason behind them not labeling them except that they want to protect their industry and are afraid that we won’t buy them if we know they’re there.  So right now, the only way I can choose to not eat GM foods is to buy purely organic.  The problem is, like all products of higher quality, they cost more.  My family can’t afford to eat 100% organic like I would like.  It concerns me to not be able to look at two brands of a product and choose which one uses GM foods and which one doesn’t [I can at least choose a brand of spaghetti sauce that doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup over a brand that does].

So whether or not you believe it’s good or bad, I think we can all agree that it’s our right to know that it’s there.  Here is a link to a site that shows how you can read a plu to avoid GM produce [of course I don’t know if it is accurate].

To join the fight visit this site: www.labelgmos.org
Or to learn more about the movement against GMOs: http://www.saynotogmos.org/
I tried to find a site to go to, if you want to support the GMO movement but couldn’t, so you’re on your own there.  😉

Also- this link will take you to the research Dr. Oz did on the subject.

Hopefully this helps you understand the fight better.  I don’t think I exhausted [of course] all research on the subject but it helped me understand the fight and the arguments on both sides for me to be able to make a decision for my family.  Hopefully it helps you decide for yours.

GMOs: from the beginning

GloFish pictured above is the first genetically modified pet.

This is the first of two posts about GMOs where I want to compile the information I learn.  Obviously I have an opinion.  Everyone has an opinion on everything.  But I always try to remember that there are 2 sides to every coin.  I’m always open to read more information that is presented to me.  I will put out the info that I find in my search.  I’m also going to ask the questions that the information raises in my mind.  If anyone finds answers to these questions feel free to add a link.  I am not offended by your opinion but I am offended by rudeness or snide remarks, so if you have conflicting views, no biggie- leave comments below with your educated information [I cite sources, so should you] minus the rudeness and I’ll be happy to keep reading on the subject!

Like all good internet researchers I started here with Wikipedia.  I know, I know, hardly scientific or reliable BUT it cites it’s info [which as we know I am a believer of] and so it is a good place that has a lot of links on the same topic, a place to start and branch from.  To sum up the page, basically GMO [genetically modified organism] is where they take the DNA molecules from different sources and combine them to make a new set of genes.  Now the techniques of how they do this sounds a little iffy to me, yet I acknowledge my very limited biology knowledge could be the reason the uses of “viruses and “negative-bacterias” to accomplish the integration of the molecules sounds scary to me.  Maybe the terms “virus” and “negative-bacterias that cause plant tumors” encompasses much more than what I know about.  Could definitely be.  But it automatically makes me feel uneasy about the process.

Nonetheless, it’s done and now you have a GMO.  Here is the quote from Wikipedia of the first GMO:

“This is called genetic engineering and was made possible through the discovery of DNA and the creation of the first recombinant bacteria in 1973; an existing bacterium E. coli expressing an exogenic Salmonella gene.[4] This led to concerns in the scientific community about potential risks from genetic engineering, which were first discussed in depth at the Asilomar Conference in 1975. One of the main recommendations from this meeting was that government oversight of recombinant DNA research should be established until the technology was deemed safe.”

I clicked on the reference above [4] and tried to read that report of this first creation but since I’m not biologically sound couldn’t really make much of it.  So going by what I read here in Wikipedia, what they created had Salmonella.  And it scared people.  And they said we have better watch this [in 1975].  In 1978 Genentech was founded and in September they released that they were able to create human insulin [up until this point diabetics were taking insulin shots that was taken from the pancreas of animals see here].  As exciting as it was here is a quote from Genentech’s press release:

“While extensive testing and refinement of the process is needed, we want to see human insulin and other genetically engineered products benefiting the people who need them in the shortest possible time,” said Swanson.

Four years later, in 1982, FDA approved Humulin, the first r-DNA [recombinant DNA] human insulin manufactured by Lilly.  To me, it seems like a pretty good discovery for those with diabetes.  Of course, there are many debates to some of the side effects [of which the FDA says there are no differences between natural human insulin and GMO human insulin].  Here began the wide the use of GMOs in pharmaceutical drugs.

BUNNY TRAIL
*Side Note: Here as I click on link to link to link I begin to see a close relation to the pharmaceutical drug company, Lilly, and the Bush Sr. and Jr. administrations – Bush Sr. who was on the board for Lilly in1977-1979…right before he ran for president in 1980.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who footed the bill for his campaign…note to self: research what legislations regarding drugs may have occurred during Bush Sr.’s reign. In 2002, during Bush Jr.’s administration, this little diddy went down [from this page of Wikipedia]:

Vaccine legislation protection

Early in 2002, U.S. Senator Bill Frist tried to obtain protection for Eli Lilly from suits attached to legislation that would increase the availability of vaccines to average Americans, and regulate lawsuits against Eli Lilly involving thiomersal, but this attempt was thwarted by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, who opposed the measure. Despite Kennedy’s effort, however, identical legal protections found their way into Homeland Security legislation (H.R. 5005). After the bill passed, no one in Washington, D.C. was willing to take responsibility for having written or inserting the Lilly legal protections. The rider was later annulled by Congress in 2003. Eli Lilly’s Political action committee (PAC) had given Frist almost $10,000 in campaign contributions in 2004.

The White House denied any knowledge of the author/sponsor of the Lilly amendment. Many argue this stretches belief, considering the ties the Bush administration has to the pharmaceutical giant.

So in 2002 Lilly pays to get written protection from lawsuits regarding their Thiomersal used in vaccinations.  Why would they pay $10,000 for that?  Because this campaign was happening [encouraging everyone to get a flu shot, actually 2 shots, targeting small children].  And they knew the vaccines had Thiomersal [a vaccine preservative containing mercury] in it and they new that mercury in children causes neurological damage.  You’ll notice in that previous link, information from the CDC [Center for Disease Control] about what mercury does, vaccines aren’t listed in the ways exposed to mercury.  They say ethylmercury isn’t harmful like methylmercury is.  Ok. So.  Lilly spent a lot of money to make a protection against lawsuits magically appear…because Thiomersal isn’t dangerous?  Sounds “fishy [mercury pun intended]” to me…but we’ll explore this bunny trail another day when I blog my vaccination research.*

Ok back to GMO’s originating in the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Here I can see the benefits of the use of GMOs.  Those who are prescribed a pharmaceutical drug are given a list of possible side effects and risks attached to the use of this GMO derived drug.  From there it’s up to the consumer to do their research and decide if it is right for them.  Even if they decide to use the drug, they can monitor how they feel and can know what is the source of how they feel- negatively or positively.  Either way it’s up to the consumer.

Now another way that a GMO is now used is in our food.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

To date the most controversial but also the most widely adopted application of GMO technology is patent-protected food crops that are resistant to commercial herbicides or are able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant, or stacked trait seeds, which do both.

Click here to continue with me in my search about GM foods.

Salmon, in the crockpot?

Do you like my bonus mom's oldie dishes? They're kinda fun. 🙂

Sounded odd to me too but if you can bake a cake in your crockpot (a really awesome molton-lava one) then cooking fish in your crockpot doesn’t seem too far off.

I got this recipe from here.

What You Need:
1/2 pound to 2 pounds of salmon
2 lemons
12 oz of fresh spinach
1/2 t black pepper
3/4 t kosher salt
2 t dill
1/4 cup white wine (water, vegetable broth, or apple juice would all work in place of white wine.)

Directions:

PUT entire bag of pre-washed spinach in the crockpot (use organic spinach – spinach is one of the worst for having E-coli…don’t believe me, read here.  3 deaths?!)


PLACE
the fish on top of the spinach and sprinkle both sides with spices and herbs.
SLICE the lemons and place them on top and around the fish.  Pour in the wine.
COOK on low for about 2 hours or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Normally with a crockpot meal you don’t really have to watch the clock.  If it goes over no biggie- it will just be more tender.  Not the case with this meal.  I cooked it longer than 2 hours (just waiting for ppl to come home) and it was a little tough.  Remember how we talked about overcooked fish gets tough and fishy?  True.  It was still good though and incredibly easy.  Next time I’ll just watch it a bit more.  The surprise with this one was the spinach.  Oh my goodness it tasted so good.  There were 4 adults eating this meal and we all wanted more spinach.  If I were to ever make it again for more than just our little family I would put another bag in.  It seems like a lot of spinach when you are stuffing it in but it cooks down a ton.

This is good and is in my lemony-goodness obsession category (Ok, I don’t actually have a lemony-goodness category, but I should).  Put this on your list to try.

Something Fishy Here…

I am such a liar.  A fish recipe blogged every week.  Pshesh.  Well, I did the recipes and took the pictures but never blogged it.

Also, I did this:
I learned how to clean a fish.  My daddy taught me how:

Now I’m going to throw my husband under the bus here.  Sorry dear, I’ll clean the tire marks off for you…but he wouldn’t go near the area during the lesson.  He got all squeamish and mumbled something about animal cruelty (yet he had no problems eating it later).  I was feeling all good about myself.  Imagining me taking care of my family after some sort of national disaster.  Dad was showing me..I was paying close attention…then one of those “dead” fish in the sink flopped.

“Dad that fish is alive.”
“Uh-huh.”
“Should it be?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Why doesn’t it matter?”
“It’s actually easier to clean if it’s freshly-dead.”
“How will you kill it.”
“By cleaning it of course.”
“Huh.”
“Ready for your turn?”
“Um, let me just rest a minute.”

The thought of cleaning a fish while it was alive definitely made me feel squeamish.  I considered joining Jon’s mumbling of unjustness, but the thought of the bragging rights over my husband kept me going.  I started with a verifiably (spell check tells me I made up that word…weeeee!) dead one.  Problem was, it was difficult.  It didn’t seem as easy as watching dad.  He had to finish the job before I mutilated the meat.  “Try a not-as-dead one,” dad suggests.  And truth be told it’s so much easier.  Rigor mortis sets in pretty fast making the process more difficult.  That’s why you’ll see nets of caught fish fastened to the dock emerged in the water.  Keep them alive as long as you can until you get to the chopping block.  Well, come to find out, that voice inside you screaming, “this is inhumane!” quiets after your first couple live-cuttings.

It wasn’t my night to cook and they chose to fry them.  I am terribly anti-fried foods, but I’m not going to lie, they sure did taste good.

You know, I’ve learned a few things I think I got from my dad.
1. Work ethic.  The man is always “working.”  If he’s not at work then he’s working on the house or doing some sort of project.  He enjoys work and doesn’t shy away from it (hence the bruised nail pictured above).  Also, when he gets his mind on doing a project you can’t talk him out of it – even if he’s doing it in the pitch dark.  That sounds familiar.
2. No sleep.  The man goes to bed around 10:30, is awake from 2:30am-5, sleeps from 5-6am and then is up for the day.  And that’s on a good day.
I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  I will deny admitting that until the day I die so don’t use it against me.

Pesto Stuffed Grilled Fish

Immediately I would like to complain.  I do not like my camera anymore.  I would love to have a digital Nikon or something that easily takes nice pictures but that’s not on the books anytime soon.  So I apologize for the pics.  They will have to do for now.

This recipe I adapted from Kraft Foods.

Stuffed Grilled Medium-Firm Fish

What You Need:

2 lemons, each cut into 10 slices, ends discarded
6 medium-firm fish fillets {filling can be stretched our extra full so buy as many pieces of fish as you have mouths to feed}
1/2 cup {4 oz.} light cream cheese {doesn’t have to be light}
2 Tbsp pesto
1 tsp minced garlic
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup  halved grape or cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
foil
Directions:

HEAT grill to medium heat.

MIX together the cream cheese, pesto, and garlic.  (It’s easier to mix if the cream cheese is room temperature.)

ARRANGE 3 lemon slices, slightly overlapping, on half of each of 4 large sheets heavy-duty foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place fish, skinned-sides up (my fish didn’t have skin), on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread each with 1 Tbsp (just eyeball it) pesto mixture. Roll up, starting at thin end of each fillet.  Secure with toothpicks.

PLACE 2 roll-ups (I just did one per pack), seam-sides down, on lemon slices on each foil sheet; top with asparagus and peppers. Fold each foil sheet to make packet.

GRILL 6 to 8 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork. Carefully open foil packets; top fish with lemon slices.

I served it with Organic Quinoa from Trader Joe’s.  You can also serve it with rice, but please, I beg you, use brown rice.  White rice is the same grain as brown rice, only stripped of all it’s nutrients.

The great thing about this recipe is you are cooking the meat and veggies all together.  No need for other side dishes (besides your whole grain of choice).

For this meal I used Trader Joe’s Ocean Cod.  I could see in the package that they were long pieces which I knew would make it better for rolling.  If you clicked to the original recipe you’ll see that I completely changed the filling.  That was because I wanted to use my pesto.  It was sooooo yummy.  The lemon was so great with it, but you will find I have a small obsession with lemon.

While summer grips on, use this opportunity to use your grill a few more times!  (Although, I think that baking these foil packs would work just as well.  Maybe 15 minutes at 375?

Try it and tell me what you thought or what variations you tried!

For Beginner Fish Chefs

When Jon and I got married, we were given Betty Crocker’s Cookbook as a wedding gift.  It was probably one of the most helpful wedding gifts we received.  It taught me how to cook.  It has a glossary of cooking terms that not only gives you a description of what it means but also pictures that show you exactly what it means.  For example, it tells you how to slice, julienne, cube, chop, snip, and cut up.  Before I began cooking, those terms would have all meant the same thing to me.  If a recipe said to chop, or to cube, or to cut up – it would have all looked the same under my knife.  The glossary shows you with pictures what the end result of each of these terms should look like.  This was so helpful in understanding why my recipes maybe didn’t look the same in the end!  Every category of the cookbook is full of these helpful how-to’s {people, it even shows you how your water should look when it’s boiling and how it should look when simmering!},

So this is where I started when I first began cooking fish.  There are some helpful things to know when cooking fish so that’s what this post is about.  If you’ve been cooking fish then feel free to skip this one and go to the next which will be the first of tried and true fish recipes!

1. Buying Fish:  Fresh fish should smell fresh and mild – not fishy or like ammonia.  It should be shiny and firm not slimy and browning.  Also, check out the eyes.  They should be clear and bright not cloudy.  But honestly, unless you live close to the ocean don’t buy fresh fish.  You’re better off buying it freshly frozen.  When you live in Missouri and it says “fresh” you know that can only be relative…  Also, just like everything else in the darn food industry of America, there is something fishy about the fish business.  Honestly, I haven’t done a lot of reading on the issues because I just lean on Trader Joe’s to do what’s right.  They are up to date on this issue and have made sure that all their seafood is sustainable.  I suggest you buy your fish from them.  To read more on their practices click here.  Anyways, there are different cuts of fish like in any other kind of meat.  Most of the time, they will call for filets (it’s like the boneless, skinless, chicken breast of fish cuts).  You typically want 1/3 pound per serving (unless you’ve got a hungry man and then adjust accordingly – you know if you have one of those).  The second most common type of cut is a steak (good for grilling) which you also want to allow about 1/3 pound per serving.

2. Know Your Types of Fish.  You see, when a recipe calls for chicken it doesn’t have to name a type {usually just it’s cut – like wings or boneless breasts}.  Each type of fish changes how it’s cooked {or really just how long}.  So don’t let that detour or overwhelm you.  Use this guide {you will pay attention to the textures and then the flavor is determined by your preference}.

Delicate Texture:
Mild Flavor:
Alaska Pollock, Catfish, Flounder, Orange Roughy, Skate, Sole, Walleye Pike
Moderate Flavor:
Lingcod, Pink Salmon, Whitefish, Whiting
Full Flavor:
Butterfish, Herring/Sardines, Smelt

Medium-Firm Texture:
Mild Flavor: Cod, Cusk, Grouper, Haddock, Sea Bass, Snapper, Tilapia, Tilefish
Moderate Flavor: Amberjack, Drum, Mahi Mahi, Ocean Perch, Pompano, Redfish, Rockfish, Shad, Rainbow Trout
Full Flavor: Bluefish, Carp, Mackerel, Sablefish, Salmon (Atlantic, King, Sockeye versions), Wahoo

Firm Texture:
Mild Flavor: Halibut, Monkfish
Moderate Flavor: Shark, Sturgeon
Full Flavor: Marlin, Swordfish, Tuna

Here’s how you use these guides.  As you find fish recipes, they’re going to name a fish for ya, like in – “Chipotle Haddock”.  You go to the store but you can’t find “haddock”.  No biggie.  Just replace it with any other Medium-Firm Texture fish (like in this scenario, with good ‘ole, easy-to-find, cheap Tilapia) found in this guide and continue with the recipe as is.  Now, every once in awhile I do jump categories but then I have to adjust the recipe a bit.  A delicate texture fish is going to cook much faster than a medium-firm.  So if the recipe calls for a medium-firm fish and you use a delicate, check it much earlier as you won’t cook it as long.  Also, you won’t want to put a delicate texture fish straight on the grill like you would a firm texture.  It would fall apart and get lost in the grill.  So, you would want to make sure you used foil packets or a fish grilling tool.  After you’ve been cooking fish for awhile, you’ll begin to know which fish your store of choice carries.  That guide doesn’t have all types of fish in it {especially for you freshwater fishermen}.  But again, after awhile you’ll be able to just look at the fillets and know if they’re going to work for a specific recipe.

3.  Ways to Cook Fish.  You can bake, broil, fry, grill, steam, and even slow-cook fish.  We’re going to try a bunch of different ways in posts to come.  I’m especially excited to try a crock-pot recipe.  I would have never thought of cooking fish in a crock-pot.

4.  How to Tell When it’s Done.  This is usually the biggest question and rightfully so.  I cannot say this enough so it will be in bold and all caps.  WHEN FISH IS OVERCOOKED IT SMELLS AND TASTES REALLY “FISHY.”  Honestly.  I’m convinced that people who say they hate the taste of fish have had badly cooked fish.  Here’s the paragraph from Betty Crocker on determining when fish is done.

Fish is delicate and tender; overcooking makes it dry and tough.  Fish is done when you can flake it easily with a fork.  Test this by inserting a fork at an angle into the thickest part of the fish and twisting gently.  The flesh and any juices should be opaque.

It doesn’t take long, at all, to cook fish (one of my favorite things about cooking it!).  They say about 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness in the thickest part (most fish are only 1-1.5 inches thick unless it’s a steak).  But as you’re doing your twist test, look inside.  Fish uncooked is transparent {that’s fancy for clear or you can see through it}; fish cooked is opaque {that’s fancy for white or you can’t see through it}.  The exception to this is salmon which doesn’t become white when cooked it gets more pink.

Finally, I would like to say to those who say they only like the taste of salmon- salmon is one of the fullest flavor fish there is!  It doesn’t get much more fishy than that {ok- maybe sardines}.  So go ahead and try some others!

Here is a printable version of the fish texture guide – while you’re learning, take it with you to the store and in your shopping list just write down {from the recipe} the texture type you need.  When you’re at the store you can see which from this guide they have.

Other posts on fish:
The Vegetarian Meat

The Vegetarian Meat

Fish is a big one in the world of health food.  There is a quote from Ron Swanson on the subject,

I love to fish.  I don’t eat it though.  Fish is meat for vegetarians.

It’s funny cuz it’s true.  I can’t tell you how many vegetarians I’ve met that say, “I don’t eat any meat except for fish.”  But there are reasons why a lot of healthians do eat fish.

We all know that too much red meat is bad for your heart.  On the flip side, fish is very good for your heart.  More specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are good for the health of your heart.  And here’s the deal, short of taking a supplement, eating fish is really the only way you can get it.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  There you go.  That should be reason enough.

No?

Ok.  Well how about these?

1. It’s really high in protein {could be a reason some “vegetarians” eat it}.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids help with inflammation.  So if you struggle with pain and inflammation {like in arthritis} eat more fish.

3.  Omega-3s are good for your brain.  They are good for brain development but also help with your memory {see, I need to eat more fish!}.

4. Fights cancer.  The fish are like little ninjas swimming around in your body fighting cancer.  Ok.  I’m lying.  But seriously, several studies show anti-cancer benefits of omega-3s.

There are a few things to be noted, however.  Some fish {specifically fish that eat other fish like swordfish, tilefish, and sharks} are really high in mercury.  High levels of mercury can be dangerous for fetuses {so don’t eat these if you’re pregnant} or for young children.  That doesn’t mean you should throw out fish all together {if you’re pregnant or a young child}, just know which ones are dangerously high in mercury.  Click here for a good place to go for that info.

For everyone else the American Heart Association {and your mom} suggests you eat fish two times a week.  I have to admit, I typically make it once a week.  Not because I don’t like fish but because of a lack of good recipes.  Please, please, PLEASE don’t read this and start throwing a bunch of fish in the deep fry.  That’s just not right.

So once a week I will be trying a fish recipe and letting you know how it goes.  You should try some too and then send them my way!