Food with Fins

Something fishy is going on here … and it probably means you’re buying and eating your fish all wrong.

Prices increase, mercury poisoning and the threat of overcooking … this can make even the experienced healthy eaters shy away from a delicious dish that uses seafood as the main course.

Fit Columbus spoke with Doug Denny, THE fish guy of The Fish Guys at the North Market, to help calm the waters of people’s anxiety about food with fins.

Price Increase

[toggles style=”toggles”][toggle title=”PRICE INCREASE”]Yes, the price of fish is going up. But it makes sense (and cents) as to why. The price of catching the fish and then transporting it to market is going up, too. Fishermen need to make money. Selling their daily catch is their livelihood. With the price of fuel going up, the price of fish has to go up too so that sea captains can keep filling the tanks. We also live in the middle of Ohio. Not a whole lot of fresh ocean fishing is going on around here, so it takes a lot of fuel to drive the fish to their grocery destinations. There also has been a reduction in the number of fish that fishermen are allowed to catch in order to help stabilize aquaculture population shrinkage. With less fish to sell, the price naturally has to swim upstream.[/toggle][toggle title=”MERCURY POISONING”]While the threat of consuming too much mercury is a reality, it’s only a slight concern. You aren’t likely going to be eating fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. However, if you truly are worried about the mercury in fish, keep in mind that the bigger the fish, the more mercury will be found inside it. Bigger fish eat lots of smaller fish, which all contain trace amounts. So if you stick to the smaller fish that only eat a tiny amount of really small fish, then you’ll be fine. It’s also important to note that the health benefits of consuming fish compared to consuming red meat or other high-fat protein sources far outweighs any damage that could be done by minute amounts of mercury.[/toggle][toggle title=”THAT FISHY SMELL AND TASTE “]Listen, if your fish smells fishy, then it is. If you’re looking for a good “starter” fish to try, grab tilapia. This is a white, firm fish that doesn’t have the taste that turns some people off. You can also try salmon for the same reasons. Both fish are easy to prepare properly, and you don’t have to worry too much about the threat of overcooking. Just keep your preparation methods simple; a good fish doesn’t have to be dressed up too much to be delicious.[/toggle][toggle title=”NOT KNOWING WHEN, WHERE OR HOW TO BUY”]The best time to purchase your fish is the same day you plan on preparing it. If you’re a meal planner like me, then you’ll want to plan your fish night on a day of the week when you can stop by a store to pick up your main ingredient. And when I say stop by a store, I mean stop by The Fish Guys at the North Market. It is pretty much the only place I have ever gone to get my fresh fish, even before this article was assigned to me. These experts know what they’re doing and they love doing it. You can even preorder your fish a few days in advance to make certain they’ll have it when you go in. Just remember that they are in the business of selling fresh, healthy fish, so they might not always have exactly what you’re looking for the day you’re looking for it. That’s why it’s important to be flexible, know HOW you are going to be cooking it, and ask for suggestions if a backup plan is necessary. The fish you’ll find at the North Market is free from growth hormones, antibiotics and artificial colors. (Yes, people, factory-farmed fish are now being treated the same disgusting ways factory-farmed cows are, and you don’t want that kind of stuff in your food.) They also make sure the fish they sell eat a higher quality of feed, or are wild-caught. You won’t find that at your local chain supermarket.[/toggle][/toggles]

Studies have shown that eating fresh fish at least once a week can improve your heart and brain functions, as well as provide the rest of your body with the lean proteins, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins it craves. Eating more fish is definitely a healthy habit worth catching. •