The Dish on Fish

Posted by: doctormama in PregnancyNutritionfish on  

doctormama

wildsalmon.jpgIn all of my pregnancies, the taste, the smell, even just the thought of cooked fish could send me right into gagfests.   No worries, I thought, I don't want to expose my baby to all that mercury anyway.    And, not to mention, our oceans and fish supplies are suffering due to bad fishing practices, so no need to contribute to that environmental quagmire.

But then the news came out that pregnant mamas who eat fish have smarter more coordinated babies (a Harvard study in June 2005 and a British study in Feb 2007), and I had reason to revisit the fish issue.  Or at least find a way to get those potent omega -3 fatty acids in me and my in utero baby and my young children's developing brains!

What about just taking fish oil supplements and not have to think about it?  Unfortunately, there is no way (yet) of knowing that there is no mercury in them and/or that they are coming from eco-friendly sources.  Give it a few years and some regulation getting involved and that will probably be a great option.

So back to the fish.  From my research I knew that mercury is truly bad news and has seriously detrimental effects on young nervous systems in particular.  Not worth rolling that dice.  I also had tacked up in my kitchen the Environmental Defense Fund's "eco-worst" list of fish to avoid if you care about our planet.  So where was I to find fish that was safe to eat, that I could swallow without puking and that I could eat without feeling guilty?

My list had dwindled down to: wild salmon, pacific halibut, and yellowfin tuna, caught in US waters.

Fast forward to a recent date night with my husband when we visited our favorite sushi bar.  As we settled in, the sushi chef asked, "How's the sushi baby?"  Two years later, he still remembers me for eating sushi right through the ninth month of my last pregnancy.   And I'm not talking just California rolls, girls, I mean the real deal sashimi.  Sushi?!?!? I hear you scream, but it's RAW!!!  Yes.  And a food borne illness in pregnancy should be avoided at all costs.  With names like Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, better to leave them on an exotic baby name list, as my girlfriend suggested,  than have them wreaking havoc on your GI system.  So why would I risk it?  Well, they do it in Japan and the reason is that if you are eating the freshest of the best, as I was, you can eliminate your risk.  I trusted my sushi source; he would rather die than have someone be sick from his sushi.  And in over 20 years of eating there, no one I know ever has been.

And so with that assurance, I gorged on high grade sushi, which never has a fishy smell so I never once gagged.  The result?  My little "sushi baby" - is one smart whippersnapper, if I do say so myself, who happens to love eating raw fish too.


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