How to Find Safe, Sustainable Fish

As a longtime The Daily Green blogger, on the occasion of the publication of my second book, The Conscious Kitchen, I'm using my "Ask An Organic Mom" space for the next 8 weeks give or take to invite you to join me on the Conscious Kitchen Challenge.

What does it mean to have a Conscious Kitchen? It's a little different for every person, but at its heart, it means knowing where your food comes from, what it is, and how good it is (or isn't) for you and for the environment. It also encompasses the energy it takes to cook, what you're cooking on and storing food in, and even how you clean up and handle waste.

We all know we need to be eating better foods local, organic, local and organic, humanely raised meat, wild and well-caught fish, packaged foods containing five pronounceable ingredients or less but they're not always so easy to find. Or it's not always so easy to motivate to find them. Think of this like you think of New Year's resolutions. Choose your own personal goal make it attainable for better success and then together we'll methodically get you there. Keep in mind that any conscious steps are better than no conscious steps 10 percent is better than no percent.

Week 1: The Kitchen Self-Exam
Week 2: Food Shopping
Week 3: Fruits and vegetables
Week 4: Meat

Week 5 Challenge: Fish

The Issues
I write this post with a heavy heart. I cannot think of fish right now without thinking of the Gulf Coast oil disaster, including what that is doing to aquatic life and the fishing industry. Who knows at this point how wide reaching the repercussions will be. But it's devastating on just about every level.

Seafood has always been a tough topic for me. The wild versions are woefully contaminated, as our waterways are the runoff basin for all of the environmentally destructive activities we humans do (mercury from power plant emissions, PCBs that were banned so many years ago but still linger, hormone disruptors from the cosmetics we wash down the drain), and the farmed fish are very similar to factory-farmed animals. I would never willingly eat the crap they feed the fish including hormones, antibiotics and dyes so I don't eat the fish that eat it. To top it all off, eating locally something I try to do a lot of can be particularly difficult if your local waterways are known to be contaminated, which mine are. Further complicating things, 80 percent of the fish in the US is imported from Central America and Asia, where regulations are iffy. Their wild stuff tends to be fished in ecologically destructive ways, and the farmed stuff usually raised in what are essentially sewage pits. No thank you.

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