Mercury Levels in Fish

By now you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t eat too much fish because it’s high in mercury.  But like many people, you might also be wondering, what does mercury do to me and why is it found in fish?

Here’s the deal:

Mercury is a metal that exists naturally in the environment.  But we humans do things that negatively impact the environment, such as factory farming, burning coal, and using mercury in manufacturing.  This increases the amount mercury that flows through the air, water, and soil.

When in water, mercury changes its form and becomes methylmercury. Fishies absorb this mercury just like we often inhale bad chemicals when we breath in oxygen.

All fish and shellfish have some level of mercury, but it’s typically not a huge deal because fish also have so many health benefits.   However, if you eat fish ALL the time, or choose varieties that are higher in mercury (see chart below) it can be potentially harmful.

The good news is, mercury will leave the body over time in the urine, feces, and breast milk.  The bad news is if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding that mercury could have detrimental effects on your little one.

Mercury can also have nevetive effects on us grown ups.  Remember when Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a Broadway show?  Yeah, mercury poisoning is a real thing so read up below and be in the know…

fish_mercury

Chart from Canton Becker

NOTE: Mercury is only an issue with wild caught fish even so, this option is WAY better than farm raised fish.  Fish that are farmed are fed a completely unnatural diet, including dyes to make their flesh appear more vibrant and they are kept in confined spaces where they can’t get enough exercise.

Always, always, always avoid farm raised fish!!!

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Travel. Eat. Thrive.

Our friend Nathan Agin has been living out of a backpack for the last three years, has never been healthier, and is now launching the show Travel. Eat. Thrive.  We’re pretty impressed too and knew we had to share his story with the HCC community.

What’s it all about? Here’s the 40-second version…

HCC: You’ve been a nomad for 1000 days and counting… What sparked your decision to go on the road?

NA: It was May 2010. I had just come back to Los Angeles after a three-month acting gig in Seattle at the Intiman Theatre. Despite being in the best year of my career (stand-up, Super Bowl commercial, regional theatre), I discovered that, after 10 years, I wasn’t passionate about acting any more.

So it became a question: “what DO I want to do?” And then: “if I’m not tied to LA (because of acting), where would I like to go?” At first I just thought of moving to San Francisco (love that city!), but then I wondered if I could recreate my Seattle experience in other places, stopping in for three months at a time and getting comfortable.

As anyone who travels can attest, the bug bit hard and once I actually hit the road, I found myself wanting to visit more and more places. Nearly three years later, I still have a deep love for traveling, meeting new people, and encountering new ideas.

HCC: We love to ask people “what do you eat?!?” so tell us, what does a typical food day look like for you?

NA: As soon as I wake up, I go for a 1-2 large glasses of water with lemon (and honey/cayenne pepper if available) to rehydrate my body and to jumpstart my digestive organs.

After an hour of creative work, 20-30 minutes of exercise, and 30 minutes of meditation, I’ll fix myself a green smoothie: typically water, banana, spinach, celery or cucumber, ginger, and perhaps some frozen berries. Watch my “Green Smoothie in 3 Easy Steps” video here.

Lunch is a GIANT salad, with many or all of the following: spinach, kale, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, onion, bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and avocado. For dressing: lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.

Dinner is typically lots of vegetables and herbs (such as zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, garlic, cauliflower, cilantro—either steamed or sautéed), and perhaps wild-caught salmon or free-range chicken. I also love sweet potatoes every now and then.

Snacks might be fresh fruit (apples, grapefruit), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), and nut butters (almond, cashew, or sunflower).

Learn more about the *exact* recipes I’ve used on the road in my cookbook, Nonstop Awesomeness in the Kitchen.

HCC: What does healthy mean to you?

NA: Being healthy and eating healthy is a very personal decision. Of course we all know that eating real food and exercising *is* healthy, but in terms of what specifically to eat (and proportions) and what exercise to do, NOBODY can tell me or you the “best” or “right” way—it’s absolutely about experimenting and listening to your body! Do what you enjoy, what feels right, and what delivers the results you want.

To me, being healthy means having an abundance of energy, being able to do physically what I want, having a positive mindset, and feeling focused, clear, and engaged with life!

HCC: What is the show Travel. Eat. Thrive. about? And how does it help people with cooking at home?

NA: The show is designed to share restaurants around the world serving nutritious and delicious food, and then—how you can make those same meals at home! We connect with someone locally—someone who wants to eat healthier—taking that person out to different restaurants, and then to have him or her decide what meal to recreate in the kitchen at home.

I’ve found that many people I’ve stayed with have often been fascinated with how to make a green smoothie or why a plate of vegetables tastes so good. As someone who was horrible in the kitchen, it’s been fun for me to discover how EASY making tasty and good-for-you food can be—and then sharing these recipes with others.

The vision is to bring this out to a wider audience all while still creating a personal connection. There are lots of ideas of how to engage and include the audience (something I think many current food and travel shows are missing)—from viewers directly contributing content to creating worldwide communities around food.

HCC: What is your best advice to people for how to stay healthy when they are traveling? 

NA: Usually when you’re on the road, it’s not about dramatically improving your health or training for a triathlon; you just want to focus on what will help you maintain, sustain, energize, and inspire.

I like to say that you need to remember to pack two things: Commitment and Flexibility. Commitment is your pledge to yourself in terms of what you do everyday to hit the four words above; these are more general terms, like exercise, meditation, nutrition, gratitude, etc. Flexibility refers to *how* you can practice your commitment—you might only be able to squeeze in 10 minutes of yoga (instead of your usual 90) or maybe you can find a couple pieces of fruit for breakfast instead of a green smoothie.

The fact is you are doing something—which is WAY better than nothing, and you’re keeping up your routine, rather than letting it all slide, feeling guilty, and depressed (which can add to the stress you might already be experiencing from being in a different place).

Do whatever you can to keep yourself grounded and connected to your regular way of life—these habits will absolutely help you feel more present and energized during your travels.

Quick Fire Time…

Favorite meal to eat? Salad – so many variations, and I feel great afterward.

Favorite meal to prepare? Broccoli, Avocado, Mango salad. Creamy, sweet, and delicious, and I love sharing this one!

Favorite restaurant? I have favorites in many cities—I always love hitting up Café Gratitude (in LA and the Bay Area)

Favorite city? Again, lots of faves. Hawaii ruined me on cities (why so much concrete?!), but I quite enjoy the PacNW trio: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver (BC)

Favorite daily practice? Meditation. Hands down. Game-changer and life-saver. Haven’t missed a day in over 3 years, and don’t plan on missing one—ever.

Favorite farmer’s market? Sounding like a broken record: again, SO many to choose from; Santa Fe has a really great market surrounded by lots of arts and culture—can’t wait to re-visit that one!

***

If this kind of info is up your alley, we invite you to check out Nathan’s new show Travel. Eat. Thrive.—where he takes you to restaurants around the world serving nutritious and delicious food, and then shows you how you can make those same meals at home!

Visit www.traveleatthrive.com to learn more, get the free handout “24 Tips for Healthier Eating Out!”, and…

Enter to WIN a free meal for two at restaurants around the US (and Canada!)—check out the contest here: traveleatthrive.com/win-a-meal-for-two/

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You Could Be Featured In Our Next Video

Have we told you lately that we love you?Not to get all mushy, but we do.  YOU are the reason that we make videos and post recipes.  We honestly live to make your life easier, more fun and super delicious.So we wanna know: What’s up?

  • What are your cooking questions?  
  • Health queries?  
  • What do you struggle with?  
  • What techniques do you want to learn?  
  • What recipes do you need help tackling?
Send us ALL your concerns and cooking conundrums and YOU just might be featured in our next video!

Just email us (info@healthycookingcamp.com) or post your questions in the comments section below.  If your questions is chosen we’ll contact you to let you know.

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Keepin’ It Real

We often receive emails from our loyal fans requesting nutritional information for recipes.  Since we know this is an important question and nutritional info is very important to a lot of people we wanted to share our views and thoughts about this topic with all of you!  We spend a lot of time thinking about what information we want to include with the recipes on our site; we know that how long the recipe might take make, as few ingredients as possible and swaps are all crucial for our Cooking Campers.

We only use the highest quality ingredients and stick with whole foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds,  whole grains, meat and fish for most of our recipes.

beaverton-farmers-market

While we totally understand that a lot of people are focused on the nutritional data that accompanies their food (fat, calories, fiber, etc), we are much more focused on the nutrient density and health benefits of the ingredients.

Even though there are thousands of dietary theories out there, the research all agrees on one thing: eating a primarily plant based diet is the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight.

So for now the HCC will not be posting specific calorie, fat, carb and protein data but we promise to continue to give all the amazing facts about the health benefits of our favorite ingredients.

Now we want to hear from you!  What do you look for when you’re checking out a recipe?  Are figures like calories, fat, and fiber the most important factors?  Or do you look at the ingredients?  What other details impact if you’ll make a recipe that you find online?Please share in the comments below!

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