Is Seafood a Healthy Alternative?
I would have never guessed when I got certified as a Pilates instructor that I would be taking on the role of therapist. When people are comfortable enough around you to move their bodies in sometimes uncomfortable and crazy positions, they tend to trust you and will tell you just about anything. I could probably write a book, but of course I won't. Now, as a health coach people also love to tell me all about what they eat. I talk to my own health clients about this, but no matter where I am it always comes up in conversation. Lately, I have been hearing people tell me how much seafood they eat. They speak of seafood as if they are making a healthy choice. Yet when I hear this my insides cringe a little.
Seafood definitely has some benefits, although I am not sure the benefits out weigh the negative effects seafood can have on our bodies. Surprising, right? We have been told how healthy seafood is, and how good it is for our bodies. Although I’m not really sure we fully understand what we are eating when we eat seafood.
When you are eating a nice piece of salmon, you are eating much more then just the salmon. You are eating the fish that they ate, and the fish that they ate, and the fish that they ate, etc. Just like when you eat animal meat, you are also eating the food that they ate, which is one of the problems we run in to. We never think about this. We never think about what the piece of salmon had in its body to make it healthy or unhealthy before it entered our own body. Whatever the salmon had inside it, is now inside of us.
I'm sure you know, but in case you didn't, our oceans are contaminated with pollutants, toxins, plastics, and garbage. You will find mercury, heavy metals, pesticides, and BPA's. Fish in the ocean have no choice but to inhale these things when they take a breath or eat other living organisms in the ocean. It's not just oceans, but other waterways, as well, have pollutants from run off caused by farming and agriculture. Mercury, one of the elements found mostly in fish and shellfish, can be detrimental to your brain, kidneys, heart, and immune system. It’s mostly found in adults from the consumption of tuna.
In Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Diet, he tells a story of barnacles that my kids thought was hilarious. He tells of how organotins, pollutants that make us obese, were found in paint placed on the outer hulls of ship. This was to prevent barnacles from attaching themselves to the ship. The problem was, as this practice became more widely used, they noticed that female snails were growing penises. Yup, you can see it now. My 8 and 10 year old boys cracking up over this. It’s pretty crazy to think about. These pollutants are clearly hormone disruptors, and if they can cause male parts to grow on female sea animals, there is no reason why it wouldn't have the same affect on us (don't worry ladies, we are a little bigger then a barnacle, so it would take a long time for you to grow male genitalia). Even though these organotins have been banned they are still found in our waterways today, causing disruption in our hormones, compromising our fat cells, and increasing our chance for tumors and cancer.
Am I saying you should never eat seafood ever again? No, not really. I think many of us love seafood. I love good sushi once in a while, and who doesn’t love a good seafood dinner when we are at the beach? We all do. We just need to be mindful about what we are eating. Let’s really understand what we are putting in our mouths, and truly understand what’s healthy and what isn’t. Seafood can give us many health benefits such as Omega 3’s and other nutrients, but is it worth the negative side effects that come along with it? That’s up for you to decide!
Do you tend to eat a lot of seafood and not sure of an alternative? Here are two plant based recipes that I love!
Mushroom Stroganoff I love adding extra veggies to this!
Check out nutritionfacts.org for more great information on this subject and many more by Dr. Michael Greger.
Wondering if what you are eating is really healthy for you? Unsure of how to determine what is healthy and what isn't? Contact Lindsay, IIN certified Nutrition Health Coach for a complimentary health consultation.