Real Food - Eat more fish

I just finished reading "Real Food" by Nina Planck, and recently started reading the Super Foods book as well.  Lately I've been trying to intermix educational reading into my usual stack of fiction novels, and I thought that a good place to start was with our food.  Sure, I can cook, but I don't know a lot about what's really good for me to eat, and I like to know the reasoning behind WHY it's good or not good to eat a particular food.

Alright, well maybe not THESE fish....

The one food I definitely don't eat enough of is fish. I'm just not a big fish eater.  I don't outright hate it, but I never order it in restaurants and I certainly don't cook it at home.  I ate quite a bit of fish during our honeymoon in Jamaica, but that was mostly because it was on the buffet and very low-risk to try. I liked it well enough, but I did love it and thus haven't been motivated to try to make it at home.

But "Real Food" was reiterated what I already knew - there are incredible health benefits associated with eating fish and I would absolutely love to incorporate fish into our diet.  But for now I need to keep things simple and tasty.  I want to ease into this change, and not overdo it early on, because that will just make me dislike fish.  

In order to do that, I decided to start with the most mild varieties of fish, and work our way up from there to things with a stronger taste over time.  I know that wild salmon is one of the best fish out there is terms of health benefits, but we're not ready for the strong taste yet, and the source of salmon is more questionable these days as overfishing occurs.  So that means we need to balance our desires for a mild tasting fish while keeping health benefits and the sustainability of the fish population in mind.

So what are the milder fishes? A long list is available here, but for now, here are the ones that popped up on the lists most often and in parentheses I've added where they fall in terms of the lists above.

Tilapia (good)
Grouper (not red) (bad)
Mahi Mahi (not horrible, not great)
Cod (Pacific is ok, but Atlantic is not)
Red Snapper (Bad)
Flounder (? Not on any of the lists)
Rainbow Trout (good)

See my "good, bad" comments in parentheses?  That refers to the list that Nina Planck included in Real Food, regarding the health benefits and sustainability of each type of fish.   Fish on the "good" list are both good for you and sustainable, whereas fish on the bad list are either non-sustainable, are caught using questionable methods, or are high up on the food chain and usually contain unsafe levels of mercury.

Fish that are good for you and socially responsible/sustainable:
Catfish - farmed
Pacific Halibut (not Atlantic)
Wild Salmon
Striped Bass
Sturgeon - farmed
Tilapia -farmed
Rainbow Trout - farmed
Tuna - troll/poll caught


Not horrible, but not great either:
Pacific Cod
Summer Flounder
Mahi Mahi
Pollock
Pacific Sole
US Swordfish

Bad:
Chilean seabass
Atlantic cod
Grouper
Atlantic Halibut
Monkfish
Orange roughy
Red snapper
Farmed Salmon
Shark
Atlantic Sole
Imported Swordfish
Bluefin Tuna

So, I started with Tilapia, a fish that I knew I would like.  I found a recipe online for a breading, and it was awesome.  Success on that account!  I'm planning on having tilapia two more times before switching to another fish.  I tried mahi-mahi while in Mexico, and liked it, so that's a possible choice, even though it's on the "only ok" list.    It seems like rainbow trout would our next logical choice, but before committing to that I need to do some additional research, since I really thought that was trout was a stronger tasting fish.

Does anyone know? Is trout a "fishy" fish? Or a mild-tasting one?  Also, what's YOUR favorite fish and your favorite recipe to prepare it?  I would love to know!

2 comments:

Kelly @ The Startup Wife said...

Hi, I just found your blog from Jenna's! :) I've been trying to incorporate more fish into our diet, too. And I learned a lot from reading this post--I'll definitely check out that book sometime.

I really like this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Umbrian-Fish-Soup-242000

And it's hard to go wrong with fish tacos. :) I also love this recipe and it's my husband's all-time favorite:
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/sushi-bowl-recipe.html

I make it with seared salmon, because salmon is our favorite, but I bet you could sub any other fish and it would be delicious!

Emily said...

I dont eat fish either but lately ive been eating that Gorton's fisherman brand lemon & butter pollock. Pollock is high in omega 3 & low in omega 6, which is good for people with high inflammation levels (since 3 decreases inflammation where as 6 can increase).
Plus! Its only 100 calories!

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