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Wild-caught fish is best choice

July 5, 2010 at 2:05 a.m.
Updated July 6, 2010 at 2:06 a.m.

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

Q: Can you please explain the difference between sustainably-caught, wild-caught and farm-raised fish? I am totally confused about which is the best purchase.

A: According to Greenpeace, a fish is sustainable if it comes from a fishery with practices that can be maintained indefinitely, without reducing the species' ability to maintain its population and adversely having an impact on other species within the ecosystem by removing their food source, accidently killing them or damaging their physical environment.

Wild-caught fish are hatchery-spawned fish that have been farm-raised, then released into the ocean to be caught.

Farm-raised fish, the product of aquaculture, are fish raised in large, underwater cages and, in many cases, injected with growth hormones. The practice of farm-raised fish started as a reaction to our fishing practices that caused many fish species, such as halibut, cod, orange roughy and sea bass, to become depleted.

Of late, criticism has increased over farm-raised fishing practices because fish are too crowded in the cages, fed too many antibiotics and growth hormones, and dyes are being added to the water, leaving it toxic, and the fish are being exposed to and absorbing these chemicals.

Fish naturally spawned, grown in the wild and caught in the wild are still the best catch.

Q: I do not drink milk, but do enjoy a bowl of granola occasionally and wonder what is the best non-dairy substitute; soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk or rice milk?

A: The best flavor will depend on your palate and the manufacturer.

If you prefer a slightly nutty taste, a bit creamy with little or no fat, almond milk is excellent. It is made by pressing the nuts and adding water. Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat because of their nutrient content, and therefore, is the most nutritious milk alternative on the market.

Soy milk, made by pressing the soybean and adding water. It has a good fat content, a decent amount of vitamin B 12, no cholesterol and less fat than regular cow's milk. However, soy has certain properties that can interfere with the body's ability to assimilate nutrients.

Coconut milk is actually made by pressing the white meat in the coconut husk, while rice milk is made from pre-soaked or dried brown rice and filtered water. Rice milk contains less protein than soy and almond milk.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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