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Fish with No Guilt: Does it Exist?

Used to be that the big obstacle for feeding your kids fish was that it tasted…well…fishy. (When I was a kid, I remember holding my nose in the store the entire time my mom was haggling with the fishmonger.)  These days, it’s a little more complicated. We want fish with brain-boosing omega-3s, but we don’t want those omega-3-loaded fish to be victims of overfishing and headed towards commercial extinction. I encourage parents who are wrestling with their conscience every time they head to the fish store to listen to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with Paul Greenberg. Greenberg is the author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, the book that tells the story of four fish — salmon, tuna, cod, and sea bass — and, as a result, the story of the current state of our planet’s oceans. As Gross notes in the interview, we as a planet are in a state of “staggering psychological denial” when it comes to the rapid depletion of wildlife from our oceans. The interview goes on to paint a grim picture, but it is not without moments of actionable, helpful advice, too. For instance: I took away from it that I don’t have to feel bad about buying tilapia. It’s entirely farm-raised, but in a sustainable, safe way. And though he can’t say it’s an optimum choice health-wise, Greenberg says it’s among the best of the worst when it comes to protein sources. Greenberg: “Tilapia — because they don’t eat a lot of fish meal, they don’t fit the omega-3 profile that so many nutritionists say we should be having. That said, as a form of protein, it’s better — I think — to eat a low-fat fillet than a big chunk of beef or even pork or chicken. It’s just leaner. … Overall, I eat tilapia. In the profile of food we have to eat out there, I think it’s certainly a better choice than beef.” Listen to the interview when you get a chance.

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