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Archive for May, 2011

Over the weekend, I took my daughter to the Ty Warner Sea Center. Between petting the sharks and holding the hermit crabs, we passed by their exhibit on consuming sustainable fish. As a part of the exhibit, they made available these handy little wallet guides to help make seafood choices when shopping or dining easier. The Monterey Bay Aquarium created the guides and they update them each year. They also have a Sushi Guide which I grabbed too.

Most health professionals will tell you that consuming fish is healthy. What you’ll learn through these guides and other resources  is, that unfortunately, many varieties are overfished or are caught/farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. In addition, health concerns surrounding mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) exposure are very legitimate. Below is a list of resources to help you make the best seafood choices. Want the cliff notes? Skip to the bottom and see the Super Green List of seafood.

Seafood Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a whole section of their website devoted to helping people find the best seafood options.

Mobile Apps

  • Seafood Watch has helpful smart phone apps for both the iPhone and Android. Best of all? They are free and very easy to use. A quick search on my iPhone does show other seafood apps, but most are not free.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

The EDF supplied the containment information for the Seafood Watch guides. Their site features:

  • A great chart which shows the maximum servings that can be safely eaten each month of a long list of fish (with regards to mecury & PCBs)
  • A complete list of seafood with “Eco-Ratings”
  • A Fish Oil Supplement guide

EatingWell

Eating Well has put together their own Seafood Guide. It is a long list of fish and for each type, shows:

  • Health concerns – mercury, PCBs
  • If it is a good source of Omega-3s
  • Harvest notes – impact on environment/overfishing/farming

The Super Green List

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has identified seafood that is “Super Green,” meaning that it is good for human health and does not harm the oceans. This list highlights options that are currently on the Seafood Watch “Best Choices” list, are low in environmental contaminants (below 216 parts per billion [ppb] mercury and 11 ppb PCBs) and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (at least the daily minimum of 250 milligrams). This list is considered the “best of the best” and was last updated September 2010.

  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)

Image: Ramon Grosso

A Look at Why We’re All Confused About What to Eat

Part of my job as the primary blogger for Be Food Smart is to stay up to date on what’s new in the food and nutrition world. For the most part I love it, but inevitably, there comes a point in my week where I throw my hands up in frustration. It seems that every type of food I thought I knew somehow becomes a subject of debate. Need some examples?

Sugar – The stuff that comes from the lush sugarcane plant is now suddenly associated with the “T” word. Remember when toxic was primarily used to describe a pile of nuclear waste oil drums with skull & crossbones? Robert Lustig’s YouTube video has only been viewed 1.16 million times.

Wheat – Between whole, unbleached, enriched, stone ground, and bleached, wheat is downright confusing. And all this before I even mentioned the almighty power word: gluten.

Salt – Sodium is bad, right? Or wait, is the regular stuff bad and sea salt good? What about rock, kosher, or unrefined pink Himalayan salt? Do I need the iodine (especially since the Japanese nuclear reactor is leaking)? I predict a future blog post on salt…
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