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Rule 32 – Don’t Overlook the Oily Little Fishes.

Pollan says: “Wild fish are among the healthiest things you can eat, yet many wild fish stocks are on the verge of collapse because of overfishing. Avoid big fish at the top of the marine food chain–tuna, swordfish, shark–because they’re endangered, and because they often contain high levels of mercury. Fortunately, a few of the most nutritious wild fish species, including mackerel, sardines, and anchovies, are well managed, and in some cases are even abundant. Those oily little fish are particularly good choices. According to a Dutch proverb: ‘A land with lots of herring can get along with few doctors’” (71).

Incidentally, if you hate sardines, you might think salmon is a good alternative, but beware. While true wild salmon is generally considered healthy, many experts agree that farm raised salmon is quite unhealthy with high levels of PCB’s, red food dye, antibiotics, sea lice, and freakish diets of chicken feces and soy rather than the krill that wild salmon love (and from which they get that ruby color). And fish labeled “Wild Atlantic Salmon” is nearly always farm raised salmon. Choosing “Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon” is supposed to be more likely to ensure that the fish is truly wild, but the price will reflect that. This little CNN piece can help explain, but just Google the topic, and you’ll get the idea:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/expert.q.a/01/08/salmon.fresh.farmed.jampolis/index.html

The tips are courtesy of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. New York: Penguin, 2009.

Happy, Healthy Eating!


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  1. How to eat sardines sustainably | Deep Sea News linked to this post on May 2, 2012

    [...] food writer Michael Pollan’s Rule 32 (Don’t overlook the oily little fishes”) elaborates further: Wild fish are among the healthiest things you can eat, yet many wild fish stocks are on the verge [...]

  2. How to eat sardines sustainably – Deep | Forage 4 Food linked to this post on May 2, 2012

    [...] Eating. Also, food writer Michael Pollan’s Rule 32 (Don’t overlook the oily little fishes”) elaborates further: Wild fish are among the healthiest things you can eat, yet many wild fish stocks are on the verge [...]

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