Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eating Meat

I eat meat. Not often, but I do. Lately, it's been something to ponder.

Here's the deal: I love sushi. There is something about fish protein, raw or cooked, that works for my body. I crave it. And when I'm craving it, all I have to do is think about walking into Yum Yum Fish to place an order site here and my mouth starts to water. They make a killer spicy scallop roll and their saki (salmon) sashimi is delicious. My favorite roll is saki, cucumber and avocado and they will make it for me. If you get to sit at one of the three tables in the tiny space which smells of fresh fish and have tea while you eat, all the better. Or, taking a selection of items home to enjoy is also nice because you can eat it on your own dishes with your favorite chopsticks.

Lately, though, I've been eating less sushi. Not because I crave it less, but because we are over-fishing the oceans. It would be a shame if future generations didn't have the privilege of eating fish. Not to mention that messing up the biosphere of the ocean by allowing fish to go extinct couldn't be a good thing and would most likely have catastrophic consequences for mankind and the earth.

Not to mention that my favorite sushi fish, salmon, has gotten all kinds of bad press in the last few years. . . I don't want to eat a piece of raw farmed fish that grew up swimming through water full of fish poop eating food with high levels of PCBs, who died colorless because he never had the opportunity to eat ocean krill and ended up on the market with "color added". Farmed fish has PCB levels 16 times higher than wild fish and, according to this article by National Geographic click here causes the decline of the wild population just by existing. Since I am now choosing to do what the movie "Home" suggests and "Believe what I Know" click here I will be having a conversation with my sushi chef to figure out if the salmon I so enjoy is wild or not. And I will choose to eat it, or not, based on that information.

How does one know which fish are doing fine and which are dwindling in numbers? Should we just not eat fish unless we catch it ourselves? I'm done ignoring the facts about our food supply. Ignorance isn't bliss for me any longer. And yet, I'm not really ready to take fish, a protein that works well for my body, out of my diet. I want to be able to eat fish occasionally, raw if I choose, and I want it to be safe for me and for the fish.

Mr. Green found a useful guide, recently, created by Seafood Watch, a program that is part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium click here. It has lists of which fish are Best Choices, Good Alternatives or fish to Avoid. The guide can be printed out, folded up and tucked into your purse or wallet so next time you are dining out you can check the list. Brilliant. My favorite fish, under the Good Alternatives heading, has an asterisk. The info next to the asterisk says "Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants."

I'll be taking the list with me next time I go to eat sushi. And I'll be asking a lot of questions. And then I'll be making an informed choice. Which quite possibly means I'll be skipping the salmon. We'll see.

Tomorrow's Blog: Eating Meat - Part II - I eat Beef.

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