Fish farms are killing off wild salmon. Norwegian policies are making farmed seafood unsustainable and unhealthy. Open cage salmon farms, used to raise what is perhaps the most popular type of farmed fish, pose numerous problems for the environment and public health.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Many environmental experts have warned about the unsustainability of fish farms for close to a decade now, but nothing has been done to improve the system. As usual, government agencies and environmental organizations around the world turned a blind eye to what was predicted to become an absolute disaster, and now the ramifications can be seen across the globe.
Fish Farms – One of the Most Unsustainable Food Production Strategies Ever Implemented
Farmed fish is now so common, if you bought fish in the supermarket recently or ordered one in a restaurant, chances are it was farm raised. (About the only places you can find wild-caught fish these days are specialty fine-dining seafood restaurants.)
These oceanic feedlots, consisting of acres of net-covered pens tethered offshore were once considered a wonderful solution to over-fishing, but the reality is far from it.
As mentioned in the video above, it can take up to 5 kilos of wild fish and Antarctic krill to produce just one kilo of farmed salmon!
Rather than solving the problem of over-fishing, fish farms are literally competing with human consumption for what little wild fish thereare left…
Open cage salmon farms are also decimating natural salmon stocks, and destroy the livelihoods of fisheries across the world.
Fish Farms Breed Disease that Decimate Wild Fish around the World
Conditions at fish farms are like conditions at factory farms everywhere: overcrowded, sickly, infected animals are fed whatever it takes to grow them as large as possible in as short a time as possible. But these techniques create disease, and the techniques employed cause otherwise near-non-existent disease to spread past the pens into the wild.
The “answer” is to add antibiotics to the fish feed – the identical “safety” measure employed by cattle- and poultry farms, for example. As a result of the excessive use of antibiotics, resistant strains of disease have emerged that now infect both wild and domesticated fish.
Sea lice, a type of crustacean that is easily incubated by captive fish on farms, have also become a significant problem.
To deal with it, chemicals that have not been tested for safety on other species are now being routinely used in salmon farms – even though no one actually knows what these untested chemicals will do to other crustaceans, such as shrimp, crab and lobster. After all, these pens are in open water and there’s no way to control the spread of these chemicals.
The inevitable result of these modern fish farming practices is an evil circle of disease, antibiotic use, followed by the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains.
According to the video above, diseases created by salmon farms have now destroyed the Chilean fishing industry, and affect wild salmon in Canada, as well as sea trout in Ireland and Scotland.
The wild salmon fisheries in the US have also gone bust.
Two years ago, US federal authorities declared that the West Coast ocean salmon had reached a tipping point, and that the fisheries in California, Washington and Oregon had failed due to a sudden collapse of salmon. As a result, both commercial and recreational fishing for salmon was banned for the first time in 160 years.
Farmed Fish Also Pose Additional Human Health Hazards
In addition to being an unsustainable practice and an economic disaster, farm raised fish can also spell disaster for your health.
It’s important to understand that ALL farm-raised fish – not just salmon — are fed a concoction of vitamins, antibiotics, and depending on the fish, synthetic pigments, to make up for the lack of natural flesh coloration due to the altered diet. Without it, the flesh of caged salmon, for example, would be an unappetizing, pale gray.
The fish are also fed pesticides, along with compounds such as toxic copper sulfate, which is frequently used to keep nets free of algae.
Not only do you ingest these drugs and chemicals when you eat the fish, but these toxins also build up in sea-floor sediments. In this way, industrial fish farming raises many of the same environmental concerns about chemicals and pollutants that are associated with feedlot cattle and factory chicken farms.
In addition, fish waste and uneaten feed further litter the sea floor beneath these farms, generating bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures.
Studies have also consistently found levels of PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene and dieldrin, as well as mercury, to be higher in farm-raised fish than wild fish.
This fact alone would be cause to reconsider consuming farmed fish!
Wild caught fish have already reached such toxic levels, it’s impossible to recommend eating them with a clear conscience anymore. For example, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study, mercury contamination was detected in EVERY fish sampled in nearly 300 streams across the United States!
More than a quarter of these fish contained mercury at levels exceeding the EPA criterion for the protection of human health. Another study on fish from US lakes and reservoirs found that more than half contained excessive levels of mercury — so much so they were deemed unsafe for children and pregnant women to eat.
So, when you consider the fact that factory farmed fish typically are even MORE toxic than wild caught fish and also contain an assortment of antibiotics and pesticides, avoiding them becomes a no-brainer – at least if you’re concerned about your health.
Could Moving Fish Farms Onto Land Solve the Problem?
Some, such as Orri Vigfusson, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, believe that the answer to the current problems is to relocate the fish farms from the open ocean onto land, where it can be better controlled.
But even though that might help protect the oceans to some degree, it still not solve the problem of exacerbating over-fishing to create fish feed. It also wouldn’t solve the problem of the excessive use of antibiotics and other chemicals, which are an integral part of any factory farm setup, whether it’s in the ocean or on land.
Besides that, where would the toxic waste get hauled off to? The environmental devastation would still be significant.
What are Your Options?
Sadly, contamination of our oceans and waterways is so great that I don’t advise eating ANY fish, whether farm-raised or wild-caught, unless you can verify its purity.
What options do you have, then, to get the health benefits of the omega-3 fats in fish, without exposing yourself to pollutants and excessive amounts of antibiotics, and contributing to the decline of the fish population and destruction of the environment?
These days I recommend you get your omega-3 fat from an alternative source like krill oil. Not only are krill (small, shrimp-like creatures) a superior source of omega-3, but they are one of the most easily renewable food resources available, making them an excellent nutritional source from an environmental perspective.
Though I know many of you enjoy fish for the flavor and the health benefits, if you can’t confirm that it’s from a clean, sustainable source, I believe the risks from eating it — both to your health and the environment — vastly outweigh the benefits. The only source of wild salmon I can personally recommend is from Vital Choice.
Related Articles:Fish Farms Become Feedlots of the Sea
A new study recently compared patient-physician relationships and relief of symptoms between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional primary care (COM). The study was part of a Swiss evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine.
Researchers looked at more than 6,000 patients. The study included patients of 77 non-certified CAM physicians and of 71 conventional physicians.
The patients completed a questionnaire which asked questions about symptom relief, patient satisfaction, and quality of patient-physician interaction.
According to Biomed Central:
“CAM physicians treated significantly more patients with chronic conditions than COM physicians.
CAM Patients had significant higher healing expectations than COM patients.
General patient satisfaction was significantly higher in CAM patients,
although patient-reported symptom relief was significantly poorer, The
quality of patient-physician communication was rated significantly
better in CAM patients.”
The study concluded that more effective communication patterns by complementary and alternative medicine could play an important role in allowing patients to maintain more positive outcome expectations.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Patient-physician communication is an integral part of clinical practice, but this skill has slowly but surely eroded over the years, with insurance companies and financial incentives significantly dictating doctors’ behaviors.
Most conventional physicians get paid for the number of patients they see and the number of procedures they perform – not for how much time they spend on these tasks. As a result, there’s a real incentive for them to spend as little time as possible with each patient.
Lack of quality face-time with their doctor is a major complaint by most patients, and naturally, it can lead to everything from misdiagnosis, or missed diagnosis, to incorrect treatment or being improperly medicated.
So, it’s no wonder most CAM patients rate their satisfaction as greater than those seeing a conventional medical doctor. CAM doctors typically operate under a different set of incentives, such as obtaining results in order to build a good reputation to build their (non-insurance-based) business, for example.
What is CAM?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to a wide-ranging collection of medical and health care practices and products that do not fall outside the realm of “conventional medicine.”
CAM practices include, but are not limited to:
The Moral Crux for Modern Medicine
Aside from the detrimental financial incentives mentioned above, another moral crux for modern medicine is that if too many people actually improve their health, many in the medical industry would lose their jobs.
This fact cannot be ignored, and this is probably a major reason why modern medicine drags its feet when it comes to implementing preventive practices and/or recommending the use of CAM.
Quite simply, the current medical paradigm focuses on treating disease, not promoting health, and the government is complicit it spurring and promoting disease as well.
For example, government drives the obesity/diabetes epidemic by subsidizing the production of non-nutrient-dense foods and high-fructose corn syrup. And statin anti-cholesterol drugs are approved by the FDA even though they don’t reduce mortality rates…
Modern medicine is an industry that wants more, not less, disease to treat.
This is why you can’t get common-sense disease prevention advice from your doctor, and this is why conventional medicine has such an abysmal success rate when it comes to chronic disease (as opposed to emergency medicine, where conventional medicine truly shines).
This is also why conventional medicine is so quick to dismiss preventive therapies as “unproven.”
But guess what.
More than HALF of All Conventional Medical Therapies have “UNKNOWN” Effectiveness!
Conventional medicine prides itself on being science-based, and shuns alternative medicine for being “unproven,” but did you know that more than half of all conventional therapies have UNKNOWN effectiveness?
Worse yet, only a paltry 11 percent of all conventional treatments are actually estimated to be beneficial!
These remarkable statistics can be found in the journal Clinical Evidence.
The article states that “the figures suggest that the research community has a large task ahead and that most decisions about treatments still rest on the individual judgments of clinicians and patients.”
If you get run over by a bus, the modern emergency room is a blessing. But when it comes to promoting health and treating most all chronic diseases, conventional medicine still has a long way to go, and, more often than not, will send your health into a downward spiral.
More People Opt for CAM as Drug Paradigm Shows Its True Colors
As of 2008, an estimated 38 percent of U.S. adults, along with 12 percent of children, use some type of complementary and alternative medicine.
This is not just because alternative medicine typically offers a more positive treatment experience and typically produces better results, but Americans are also increasingly distrustful of prescription medicines, and rightfully so!
Prescription drug use causes an estimated 700,000 emergency room visits a year in the US alone, and according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered cause about 106,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
Furthermore, in 2003, Johns Hopkins Medical School discovered that if you add medical errors and prescription drugs together, the conventional medical system may actually be the LEADING cause of death in the US!
It’s a remarkable testament to the power of denial that a system with a track record like that can still considered the primary, and officially promoted as the best, form of “health” care.
Interestingly, the study above, published in Biomed Central, found that CAM patients had significantly higher healing expectations than those using conventional medicine. And this may be a major part of the equation -how invested you are in taking control of your health…
Taking Control of Your Health
It is important to understand that additional government involvement doesn’t hold the answer to the health care crisis in the US. What is needed is more personal involvement — your personal involvement — in the form of a commitment to your own health.
If you carefully follow some basic health principles — simple things like exercising, eating whole foods, sleeping enough, getting sun exposure, reducing stress in your life, and nurturing personal relationships — you will drastically reduce your need for conventional medical care, which in and of itself will reduce your chances of suffering ill side effects.
As drug sales are now dwindling due to a depressed economy, you and your children are likely to be bombarded with increasingly aggressive pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer advertising, and lobbying for more forced drugging and mandatory vaccinations.
Don’t fall for the scare tactics and disease mongering!
And don’t believe the fairy tale that taking a pill with a laundry list of side effects will somehow improve your health…
The more you take responsibility for your own health — in the form of nurturing your body to prevent disease — the less you need to rely on the “disease care” that passes for health care in the United States in the first place.
Take if from a man who knows what he’s talking about. 109-year old Bernardo LaPallo offers this sage advice:
“Your health should be your first priority, and in order to do that, you [have to] eat properly.”
Indeed, promoting health and preventing disease is not nearly as complex or difficult as conventional medicine would like you to believe.
For a list of my top 10 health-promoting lifestyle strategies, please see this previous article.
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The human brain is remarkable — but it can be fooled. Take a look at these mind-blowing optical illusions.
By Dr. Mercola
There’s little doubt that one of the best ways to improve your health is to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed high quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw.
One simple way to boost your vegetable intake is to juice them.
Juicing organic vegetables is highly recommended to patients in our clinic who are working to restore or improve their health.
I am firmly convinced that juicing is one of the key factors to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health.
I simply do not know of any other single nutritional intervention that has a more profound influence on health than eating and/or juicing fresh, organic vegetables.
You can review my comprehensive approach to how to juice on my vegetable juicing page.
Are All Vegetables the Same?
If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option.
USDA Organic farmers (and many small, local organic farms working without certification), must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:
- Disruption of your endocrine system
- Immune system suppression
- Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
- Parkinson’s disease
This information alone should give you pause when considering whether to buy local, organic vegetables or not. But I encourage you to do further research about organic versus conventional farming conditions. I believe that after researching the facts and statistics, you’ll come to the conclusion that organic vegetables are far more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables.
Conventional Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Loads
Certainly helpful to your decision about which vegetables should be purchased organic and which conventional veggies may be safe, is the measured pesticide loads found on conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables.
Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Grapes (imported)
In contrast, these foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet corn (frozen)
So if you need to work within a certain budget, use this information to help guide you to the best choices when it comes to lowering your overall pesticide exposure.
The Importance of Fresh Vegetables
Buying your vegetables from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that your vegetables are both fresh and high-quality. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt they loose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthy than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables!
Another reason to buy your organic vegetables from a local source is that fresher vegetables also contain the highest amounts of biophotons.
What are Biophotons?
Biophotons are the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms – including your body.
Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp was the first to suggest that this light inside all biological organisms must originate, at least in part, from the foods you eat. When you eat plant foods, the light waves (photons) are thought assimilate into the cells in your body.
The purpose of these biophotons is much more important than many have realized, because they are the transmitters of important nutritional bio-information used in many complex vital processes in your body.
Every living organism emits biophotons, or low-level luminescence (light with a wavelength between 200 and 800 nanometers). It is thought that the higher the level of light energy a cell emits, the greater the vitality and potential for the transfer of light energy to your body.
In other words, the more light that a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is when you consume it. Fresh, organic vegetables are naturally rich in this biophoton light energy.
Illness Can Occur When Biophoton Emissions are Out of Sync
Research by Dr. Popp also showed that the light emissions of healthy people follow a set of biological rhythms by day and night and also by week and month.
However, in his studies, the light emissions from cancer patients had no such rhythms and appeared scrambled, which suggests that their cells were no longer communicating properly.
Likewise, according to Dr. Popp’s research, multiple sclerosis patients were taking in too much light, leading to what he considered confusion on a cellular level.
Even stress can influence your biophoton emissions, causing them to increase when stress increases.
It’s also known that cancer-causing chemicals alter your body’s biophoton emissions, interrupting proper cellular communication, while certain natural substances can help to restore proper cellular communication. For instance, Dr. Popp found that mistletoe appeared to restore biophoton emissions of tumor cells to a normal level!
Interestingly, even conventional medicine confirmed that mistletoe extract does appear to have a beneficial effect on cancer, with one study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine showing that mean survival rates nearly doubled among breast cancer patients who received mistletoe extract.
An Important Tip for Gathering Valuable Light Energy
As regular readers know, I’ve long recommended eating a diet of mostly RAW food to stay optimally healthy. This is because living raw foods contain the most biophoton light energy that your body needs.
The greater your store of light energy from healthy raw foods (this should not be confused with your vitamin D status, which is produced by the sun on your skin), the greater the power of your overall electromagnetic field, and consequently the more energy is available for healing and maintenance of optimal health.
I firmly believe it’s only a matter of time before the importance of light energy in your health and well-being becomes more widely recognized and applied in the field of medicine. Until then, remember that your body is not only made up of tissue, blood vessels and organs. It’s also composed of light.
Reasons to Juice
As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the best ways to get ample amounts of raw vegetables into your diet is through juicing. Many people see juicing as inconvenient, but with the proper juicer it really is not very time consuming at all.
The fact is, many people initially think that juicing will be a real chore, but most are pleasantly surprised to find it’s much easier than they thought.
There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating organic vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:
- Juicing helps you absorb more nutrients from the vegetables.
- Juicing allows you to efficiently consume more vegetables.
- Juicing can add a wider variety of vegetables into your diet.
However, you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant — not make you feel nauseous.
It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Personally, I’ve noticed that I can’t juice large amounts of cabbage, but if I spread it out, I do fine.
Please review my comprehensive vegetable juicing instructions for more information.
What are the Best Vegetables for Good Health?
Whether you’re munching them raw or juicing, some vegetables contain more health building nutrients than others. This list details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.
|Highly Recommended Vegetables|
|Avocado (actually a fruit)||Fennel|
|Beet greens||Green and red cabbage|
|Brussel sprouts||Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf|
|Chinese cabbage||Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot|
|Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels|
|Vegetables to Avoid|
Tips to Make Your Juice Taste Better
If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:
- Coconut: This is one of my favorites! You can purchase the whole coconut or use unsweetened shredded coconut. It adds a delightful flavor and is an excellent source of fat to balance your meal. Coconut has medium chain triglycerides, which have many health benefits.
- Cranberries: Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may help protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
- Lemons and Limes: You can also add half a lemon or lime (leaving much of the white rind on)..
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little “kick”! And, as an added boon, researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Nutritional Typing and Juicing Vegetables
According to Nutritional Typing principles, if you are a carb type, vegetable juicing is STRONGLY recommended. With patients in our clinic, we strongly encourage it if they expect to regain their health.
If you are a mixed type, it is certainly useful to juice. However, protein types need to follow some specific guidelines to make it work for them, which I’ll review below.
I used to charge a fee for my nutritional typing program; however I’m now able to offer this exceptional tool for FREE, so I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. You can find the free online typing test here. This program can help guide your food choices even further. We use to charge $29 for this test but I wanted to make it available for everyone, so please take advantage of this free test to help you learn what foods will improve your health.
Protein Types and Juicing Vegetables
If you are a protein type, juicing needs to be done cautiously. The only vegetables that should be juiced are your prime protein type vegetables, which are celery, spinach, asparagus, string beans and cauliflower (including the base).
Also, to make drinking vegetable juice compatible with protein type metabolism (which needs high amounts of fat), it is important to blend a source of raw fat into the juice. Raw cream, raw butter, raw eggs, avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground flax seed are the sources of raw fat I most recommend.
In addition to adding a source of raw fat to your juice, you may also find that adding some, or even all, of the vegetable pulp into your juice helps to make drinking the juiced vegetables more satisfying.
Final Thoughts about Vegetables
The truth is, scientists really don’t know all that much about nutrients, and taking isolated nutrients through supplements is not always a good idea, since it’s been shown that using supplements can actually lead to negative health consequences.
A much better way to get the vital nutrients your body needs is through eating whole, fresh organic vegetables. I recommend at least one third of your total diet be eaten raw, and a great way to do this is through incorporating juicing into your eating plan. Personally, I aim for consuming about 80 percent of my food raw, including raw eggs, dairy and meat.
Be sure to also take into account your Nutritional Type, because some people definitely function better with more vegetables in their diets than others. Again, to take my free online nutritional typing test, see this link.
But I want to emphasize that eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetables at all, so don’t get down on yourself if you’re able to juice organic fresh vegetables only a few times a week. Even if you have to start slowly, I think you’ll soon begin to notice positive changes to your health when you increase your intake of fresh vegetables.
Even better, review my nutrition plan, which can help you take a comprehensive look at your overall health as it relates to food, and may even help you to change the way you think about eating.
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