Ask Tammy: Fish-y Business

oldsweetsong_asktammy It's January! Unofficial month of getting your shit together health wise. After all the damage we did over the holidays it just makes sense to reevaluate and make a few changes. The gym has been oddly uncrowded though so I'm not sure if everyone got the memo. You know, the memo that says "new year, new start, blah blah blah." Anyways, I'm doing my whole Whole30 thing, but are y'all doing anything healthy-ish for the new year? If so or if you have any health-related queries hit me up and my pal and health sensei Tammy will answer them for you here. Oh and keep your eyes peeled next week because I'll be giving away a copy of the brand spankin' new cookbook Tammy worked on, A Good Food Day. I've already flipped through my copy and not only is gorgeous but it is a wonderful resource for anyone who is trying to eat healthfully, thoughtfully and deliciously. For now, here's my latest question for Tammy.

Amy: I am always trying to eat more fish but the choices can be overwhelming. What are the healthiest type of fish and are there any types we should avoid?

6d2503970f2cfcbc88acc5ce506c63e1beautiful image from Eats&Arts

Tammy: Good Q! While I was working on the cookbook, one of my research discoveries that really stuck with me is the fact that only 1/3 of Americans eat fish on a weekly basis, and most of those that do have just one serving a week. Crazy town, right?! Fish is an awesome lean protein, quick and usually easy to cook, and many varieties are particularly good for you. We go deep into this in the fish chapter opener, so consider this a preview!

My top picks come with the most health benefits and are sustainable choices (some fish farms can be every bit as disgusting and environmentally harmful as factory cattle farms). For its unbeatable omega-3 fatty acid content, I recommend salmon, specifically Alaskan salmon and sockeye salmon. These are wild-caught since Alaska doesn't allow salmon farming. Next to all those stacks of Chicken of the Sea tuna, you'll find canned Alaskan salmon. Get that! It's cheap and you can keep it in the pantry. (Bonus if you get the kind with bones in it: LOTS of calcium. And no, once you stir stuff into it, you don't notice the soft, tiny bones.) Other varieties of fish with high omega-3 content are the little guys - anchovies, sardines, and herring. These aren't in danger of being overfished and because they're small, they don't have the higher levels of toxins found in big fish. Grilled sardines, sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil (I like Wild Planet), marinated white anchovies, smoked or pickled herring - all awesome.

What to avoid? Before I answer that, I want to point out that the benefits of eating fish regularly far outweigh the potential risks from mercury and other contaminants. The concern about those risks is kinda overblown. Basically, the really big fish are the ones that have the highest mercury levels. So, the common ones I wouldn't eat very often are swordfish, bluefin tuna, and bigeye tuna (the "toro" on sushi menus is usually from the belly of bigeye tuna). These are dangerously overfished, so another reason to avoid them. And for obvious reasons, go easy on any type of fish that's breaded and fried.