Wild Alaskan Salmon is a superfood but Farmed Salmon not so much…
Most people are already aware of the health benefits of eating oily fish. Did you know that if you consume oily fish twice a week you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 35%? That’s massive!
But I’m not here to tell you about the health benefits of oily fish in this post. What I really want to talk about is something less known – not all salmon is equal.
Essentially, there are two kinds – Wild Salmon and Farmed Salmon. And the difference in the two is huge.
Also known as Alaskan Salmon, Sockeye Salmon or Red Salmon. It has by far a superior omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Farmed Salmon has about a 1:1 omega 3 to omega 6 ratio and this is due to the JUNK it is fed. However, Sockeye Salmon has anywhere from 6:1 up to 9:1 omega 3 to omega 6 ratios. This means you are getting up to 8 times more omega 3 in wild caught salmon.
‘Wild caught’ doesn’t actually mean that the salmon was living in the wild. And frankly, this pisses me off because as a consumer, misinformation really gets up my goat! Studies show that 70% to 80% of fish marked as ‘wild’ are in fact farmed. So how can you tell if your salmon is actually wild? Always, choose Alaskan Sockeye Salmon (also called Red Salmon) because this salmon is not allowed to be farmed, which means that it is truly wild caught! Also, Alaskan Salmon is bright red, not pink. And the white fat stripes are quite thin. When buying tinned salmon, ‘Sockeye Salmon’ is your best bet and ‘Alaskan Salmon’ is also a safe choice.
Also known as Atlantic Salmon (yep that means our famous Tasmanian (farmed) Salmon…)
Let me point out why Farmed Salmon should be avoided:
Farmed salmon is fed artificial food made from corn, soy, grains – often containing GM products. Its feed can also contain chicken and feather meal. Moreover, it is given synthetic astaxanthin (which is the potent antioxidant that makes Wild Salmon red). This synthetic product is not approved for human consumption yet the farmed salmon that we eat is fed with it…
Farmed salmons are kept in pens. Essentially they are ‘couch potatoes’ and suffer many of the health issues humans do when they don’t get the correct exercise. They get sick – this means antibiotics are needed.
And there is a huge environmental concern too. The pens that these salmons are farmed in are in our oceans. So, unconsumed food is left to float into our oceans. Those GM products, waste materials, pesticides… They all go into our oceans.
There is an infection called the Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus which has been found in all areas across the globe where salmons are farmed. Once the virus infects the salmon suffers a heart attack. And we eat these salmons!!!
Farmed salmon are the aquatic equivalent of confined animal feeding operations and they have the same disease, environment, and ethical issues as cattle and chicken farms.
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Have you noticed there are million-and-one ways to ‘eat healthy’? No red meat, no saturated fats, gluten free, low carb, raw foods only, no dairy, specific macro ratio’s, fructose free, paleo, according to your blood type, low FODMAP, insert newest found diet here! It can be completely overwhelming. But what if we strip it all back to a simple concept?
Sound easy enough, but what exactly is real food?
I’m referring to food that comes from nature and is as close to its unprocessed state as possible. This includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, meat, eggs, fish, seafood etc. Basically, if it comes from nature, it’s a real food. Note – There is a caveat, which I’ll get to soon.
The epidemic of food-like products
A ‘food-like product’ is something that tastes like food, looks like food and even smells like food, but isn’t actually FOOD. To explain what I mea, let’s take a look at something I would call a ‘food-like product’:
This is what a major Supermarket brand in Australia uses to make it’s chicken nuggets, something you probably consider to be a food, right? But as you can see, you’re not getting chicken covered in breadcrumbs which is what you assume chicken nuggets are.
Let’s take a closer look.
All those numbers in the ingredients list are additives made in a chemical lab. I can assure you, they don’t come from nature! ‘Wheat gluten’ is one of the proteins within the wheat grain. Have you ever stopped to think about how they might get the gluten out of a grain? Know this; it wasn’t done in kitchen. Another ingredient listed is ‘Natural flavouring’ but rest assured, it’s far from natural. This is something that started with a food based ingredient and was then manipulated with upwards of 40 chemicals to make a ‘flavour’ that could be added to these little nuggets of wannabe-food, to make them taste more like real food. ‘Egg powder’ is made by spray drying liquid eggs, a process which is known to oxidize the naturally occurring cholesterol in the yolk, making it extremely dangerous for human consumption. Egg powder has a shelf life of 5 to 10 years when stored without oxygen. Is this a real food? I think not. I could go on but you get the point.
Unfortunately, chicken nuggets are just one example. In reality, the vast majority of what you will find in a supermarket can be considered ‘food-like products’.
Take a look for yourself. Do you have ice cream in the freezer? Perhaps some Milo in the cupboard? Shapes or other premade savoury delights? What about your yoghurt? Surely yoghurt is real food? Quite possibly not… go take a look at the ingredient list on some of your store bought products. See how many ingredients you actually recognise and ask yourself this: If you don’t recognise them, do you think your body will?
The aforementioned caveat.
Ok this is where it can get a bit tricky so I’ll keep it as simple as possible. Arsenic comes from nature, but it’s not a real food, for obvious reasons. Seed oil comes from nature but it is not a real food either. Why? Because it has been very heavily processed with heat and chemicals which create a product that is nothing like the product we started with. As mentioned, real food comes from nature and is as close to its unprocessed state as possible. On the contrary, Olive Oil is a real food, made simply by pressing olives to squeeze out the oil. That’s it! Can you see the difference?
There are many examples I could give but my aim is to make your healthy eating habits simple, not more complicated! So if it comes from nature, the next question to ask is, did your Nana’s Grandmother eat this? Seed oil = no. Butter = Yes. (Because butter is a real food. It’s just agitated cream and maybe some salt) Did your Nana’s Grandmother eat margarine? No. Did she eat ice cream? Possibly, but only if it was home made. Did she eat bread? Probably, but it didn’t contain anti-caking agents, preservatives or bleached flour. You get the idea.
A simple summary.
Eat real food. From Nature. As close to its unprocessed state as possible.
If in doubt ask yourself, did your Nana’s Grandmother eat this?