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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Traveling on the Raw Food Diet?

Posted on July 9th, 2009 in raw diet,raw food,raw vegan diet,travel,traveling,trip,vegan diet by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate 8 Comments »

One of the things many talk about when transitioning to a raw food diet is 'how do I travel when eating raw?'.

Some look at it as a challenge, some as an obstacle, some as the natural thing to do.

On The Raw Road

Posted on August 6th, 2007 in children,driving,eating,raw,snacks,summer,traveling,trip by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on On The Raw Road

I've just returned from a 9 day vacation with my daughter... a road trip from Arizona to the mid west and back. It was her first driving trip and we both had a ball enjoying the scenery, time together and visiting family.

I noticed much about our society along the way as well as how easy it is to eat a healthy diet on the road while traveling.

First I noticed how unhealthy most people we ran across looked. It's no wonder with the type of food available at highway stops... fast foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, tacos, ice cream and the like. In fact we joked (kindly) that many people looked just like the fast food they were eating (think big and super-sized). We made good use of McDonalds and Taco Bell's along the way... they had clean and mostly empty restrooms! While visiting a McDonalds for a restroom break we decided to walk into the restaurant to see the highway below (a great view) and noticed most folks eating there overweight and weren't very happy. Interesting.

We decided to stop at Whole Foods before leaving and packing a large cooler with freezer packs and food for 2-3 days of meals. My daughter does eat some cooked food and we brought some pre-made soups for quick meals for her along with plenty of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I brought my Vita-Mix blender (won't leave home without it!) and we started each day with a fresh blended fruit smoothie, more fruit throughout the day, a soup for my daughter and a larger salad for me and a smoothie for dessert.

There were 2 Whole Foods Markets along the way not far from the highways we were traveling on, and we stopped at both on the way there and back to stock up and sit down for a fresh and healthy meal. We noticed each store had different locally grown fruits and vegetables and made sure to try them all.

We both felt great throughout our trip, had nice picnics in scenic areas off the highway and thoroughly enjoyed our fresh and organic meals. Fun!

I believe one of the important parts of getting back to a natural diet and lifestyle is to spend time with our children, families and loved ones. Away from televisions and many of the modern technologies we have grown accustomed to in our society today. Time in nature, noticing the flowers, mountains, creeks, fresh breeze and beautiful sunsets. We experienced all that and more on this trip, and it was priceless.

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