Adding more fish to your diet is a huge step to improving your overall health. This is part of the phenomenon behind the Mediterranean diet and healthiness of the Japanese. But recently new concerns have surfaced about fish that make it so we need to be more conscious about the type of fish we eat and where it comes from.
One concern is sustainability. Certain species and populations of fish have been decimated by over fishing, which makes their return to viable numbers questionable. It’s also important to know how our fish were caught. Conventional fishing is done by laying out miles of baited hooks. Plenty of the sought-after fish are caught (often too many) and of course they also catch hundreds of other types of marine life they weren’t intending to catch. These are generally considered trash and are thrown back in the water to die.
Even more devastating is net fishing, which catches anything in its path and as the boats drag their nets along the sea floor unknown quantities of coral and other sea life are mowed over and destroyed.
Then there’s the health impact of fish on us humans. Because of water pollution, mercury levels in the seas have risen dramatically. Mercury levels in fish will vary greatly depending on where the fish is harvested, which is another reason why it’s important to know where your fish comes from. It is also important to know if the fish has been tested for mercury content. Finding low mercury fish has become a bit of a challenge.
Because of these concerns and others, Kelli and I we were thrilled to discover what has become our favorite ‘real’ seafood company – Vital Choice, a small operation based in Washington state.
Their fish is guaranteed wild, not farmed, which makes a huge difference to the quality, nutrition, and flavor of the fish. Wild caught are definitely the healthiest fish and the best fish to eat. One of the nutritional differences between wild and farm-raised salmon is the vitamin D levels, farm-raised fish having only a fourth as much as their wild counterparts. Because of their healthy products, Vital Choice has been endorsed by well-known doctors like Andrew Weil and Joseph Mercola who are very nutrition-oriented practitioners .We love that they always test their fish to guarantee that they do not sell fish high in mercury or levels that are anywhere near harmful.
One of our favorite products from them is the canned sardines. Recently we went on their site to purchase more and we were surprised to see that they were out of stock. The reason for this was they had reached their predetermined annual harvest amount, so they would not be harvesting any more until the next season. Their commitment to sustainability and quality was more important than losing sales. We felt ok about going without our sardines for that. How are sardines good for you? They have amazing levels of EPA and DHA Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, calcium (skin and bone options), and loads of lean protein. And since they come in a can they’re really handy for snacks while on the road traveling, too. They’re one of the best types of fish to eat.
Have you ever tried scallops that make you wonder if there was sugar in them? Order a bag from Vital Choice, pan fry them in just a little bit of olive oil, no other seasonings added, and eat it plain. The first time we cooked those I had to look at the ingredient label. They were undeniably the best, sweetest scallops we have ever tried.
For fun we have tried some of their other products as well, like their dark chocolate and nuts. We liked them, but we have found just as good or better (Kelli’s pretty particular about her chocolate) from local suppliers and at lower prices, so we don’t tend to buy Vital Choice’s cashews very often (though we do when our local supplier is out). But when it comes to their seafood, we haven’t found anything that matches their quality. Try a piece of salmon from them and one from your local grocery store side by side and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
If you’re looking for fantastic tasting seafood that you can feel good about purchasing, spend a few minutes browsing Vital Choice’s website, pick out something you like, eat it up and shoot us an email to tell us what you think.