Mercury, Fish and EFA’s? Another Vegan Benefit

Essential fatty acids are an important part of a well balanced diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. What is surprising is that many people don’t know fat is essential to maintaining normal weight as well as many other health benefits. Our country has fallen in love with “low fat”… and in part, it’s making many people fat. If your body senses a lack of fat intake, it starts storing it… and surprise, surprise, you stay fat!

Fish is routinely recommended by many as a great source of EFA’s although there’s one small problem.

“…nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury.”
FDA / EPA What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

“Children under age 5, nursing mothers and women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid fish with the highest mercury levels — tile fish, swordfish, king mackerel and shark. They should also limit their fish intake to no more than 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that contain low levels of mercury, foods such as shrimp, salmon, pollock, canned light tuna and catfish.

Albacore tuna is higher in mercury than canned light tuna, so consumption of albacore tuna should be limited to nor more than six ounces a week, the experts write.

Eating a variety of fish may reduce the potential negative effects of environmental pollutants. Try to avoid farm-raised fish, which tend to have more fat and calories and slightly less protein than wild fish. Farm-fed fish may also contain higher levels of contaminants due to toxins in their feed, according to the experts.”
HealthDay

Why is mercury bad? Well, for many reasons, and the report above, directly from the FDA plays down the effects on everyone except for young children, and pregnant and nursing women. Unfortunately it’s a little more serious than that:

“Canadian scientists studying the toxic effects of mercury have made a major breakthrough, showing for the first time how the metal that gave rise to the expression ‘mad as a hatter’ actually debilitates and destroys parts of nerve cells.

The finding, announced yesterday, is likely to raise further controversy over exposure to mercury in dental fillings and food, and provide new clues to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Three scientists at the University of Calgary exposed the brain cells of snails to small amounts of mercury and found the damage caused by the silvery-grey metal was similar to that seen in brains of humans suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The protein in snail brain cells is identical to that in the nerves of human and other higher animals.

One of the co-authors of the paper, Dr. Fritz Lorscheider of the university’s faculty of medicine, said the research highlights the need to reduce public exposure to mercury. The experiments used mercury levels that are typically found in people who have a large number of amalgam fillings.

“What it really means is that we . . . need to be far more concerned about sources of mercury exposure,’ Dr. Lorscheider said.

A paper outlining the findings is being published as the cover story in the April issue of the British journal NeuroReport.

Almost everyone in North America is exposed to trace amounts of mercury. Fillings emit mercury vapour when people chew. Mercury concentrations have been rising in many seafoods, as fish absorb metal dispersed by coal-burning power plants and mining.

Until now, scientists have known that mercury is a potent nerve poison, causing tremors, loss of memory, insomnia, depression and personality changes, but they did not understand how.”
Scientists unlock mystery of mercury’s harmful effects

I don’t know about you, but would you knowingly eat a poison that could cause tremors, loss of memory, depression and countless other effects. Would you feed it to your children? Especially if you had options? Since you can get EFA’s from many other sources, why risk your health and the health of your children? Is it worth it?

To me, another reason for the vegan diet… for your health and your life.

Peace.

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Delicious Summer Salad

Posted on May 25th, 2006 in Uncategorized by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on Delicious Summer Salad

Looking for a healthy, live-food dish? Try this satisfying and easy to make salad I call “Avo-Veg Delight”.

What you’ll need:

(all fresh, uncooked and preferably organic)

  • 1-1 1/2 Avocado
  • 1-2 Tomatoes
  • Handful Cilantro
  • 2-3 Kale Leaves
  • 1-2 Green Onions
  • 1/3 Red Pepper
  • 1/2 Corn on the Cob
  • 3-4 Large Romaine Leaves
  • Handful Parsely
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Cumin

Optional:

  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Flax Crackers (GoRaw makes a great -very thick- original flax variety)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Here’s How To Make It:

In a large mixing bowl mash up avocado. Add all chopped vegetables, squeeze lemon, add cumin and optionally sea salt to taste. Mix up well. Lay out 3-4 large romaine lettuce leaves and add one large scoop of salad on each romaine leaf. Eat as a salad or wrap lettuce leaves around salad and eat burrito style! Enjoy with live flax crackers or your favorite veggies.

Makes 1-2 servings.

This is a very satisfying dish! Enjoy experimenting with different veggies and have fun.

Enjoy and all the best for your health…with living foods!

Mark

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Raw Road Trip

Posted on May 14th, 2006 in Uncategorized by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on Raw Road Trip

Greetings from my first ‘raw roadtrip’! I’m currently in Amarillo, Texas traveling from Chicago back to my home in Arizona and the first roadtrip since starting my raw journey.

Many of you have written to share your experiences when traveling and here’s how I’m doing it.

My first stop before leaving Chicago was Karyn’s, the popular raw vegan cafe, restaurant and marketplace. Picked up a few ready to eat meals (garlic pizza and california rolls… both were great choices) along with some pumpkin seeds, raw crackers and small salad from the buffet. I dropped these into a cooler with some ice packs and went on to Whole Foods Market just minutes away.

At Whole Foods I picked up spring water, 5 bunches of bananas, a quart of fresh strawberries, a bag of dates, and some apples (all organic). Dropped everything in the car and with plenty of food for 2.5 days of driving was ready for my first raw road trip!

In addition to the food I picked up, I had placed an order for the Phi Plus (raw whole food) I’ve mentioned before and had several bags ready to go.

I started the day with several glasses of water and then several hours later added a few bananas and strawberries. Throughout the day I added dates and grabbed a banana whenever I got hungry. At dinner time I pulled out one of the prepared meals from Karyn’s along with some raw crackers. Evening snacks included Phi Plus and dates. I drank less water than I normally do to minimize the stops along the way! :)

I’m in my last day of travel now, feeling great and still have plenty of food. Eating fresh whole foods I brought along made it easy to eat whenever I was hungry, make fewer stops and gave me lots of energy to be able to drive as long as I wanted.

Share your travel experiences by leaving a comment!

Thanks for reading and all the best for your health…

Mark

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